A brief history of my fish-keeping career:
All my life I've been fascinated by aquatic life. My two favorite places to visit as a kid were NASA and any of the decent sized aquariums. My first attempt to actually keep fish myself ended in disaster. I had just graduated high school and moved away from home, so I thought my first apartment would be a perfect place to try setting up a fish tank. I got one of the 29 gallon kits from Petsmart, did no research whatsoever, and killed everything I tried to put in it for several weeks. Discouraged, I gave up for several years.
While living at my last apartment I actually started working in the fish department at Petsmart, and after a while decided I had a good grasp of the basics, and would try a small freshwater tank. It did very well, and when I moved into my house I set up a 56 gallon cichlid tank, which has been running perfectly for a few years now. I'd always heard how much harder/more expensive/time-consuming saltwater was to keep than freshwater, but when I saw the Nano-Cube for sale for under $50, I figured it was time to give it a try.
I did a bit of reading, put 15lbs of sand and about 10-12lbs of live rock in, mixed up some salt water (with conditioned tap water), put in a Marineland Stealth Pro heater, thermometer, a bag of Ammo-Carb, and let it sit for a month. Did a 50% water change, headed to the LFS and got a half dozen each hermit crabs and assorted snails.
Waited another month and 2 25% water changes, and got a Yellow-tail Blue Damsel. Aside from semi-regular water changes, that's how it's been sitting for the past 8-9 months.
About a month ago, after seeing a friends 14g nano, I started doing more serious research, and stumbled upon NR. I've been reading heavily, and it's given me the motivation and confidence to start working toward a reef tank.
I think I'll use this thread to keep track of my progress, documenting my successes and failures along the way.
First order of business was to re-vamp the back end of the tank. I took out the sponges, bio-balls, Ammo-Carb, non-functioning heater, thermometer, and stock pump.
I put in an inTank media basket with filter floss (pillow stuffing from Wal-Mart, another great tip I learned here!), Purigen, and Chemi-Pure Elite in the first chamber. Removed some backing from the second chamber, rigged a home-made light box on the back (also read about it here), and put some chaeto in there. Replaced the heater and thermometer in the third chamber, and upgraded the pump to a MaxiJet 900. I also gutted a damaged Marineland LED light fixture I got in trade and modded it into the hood behind the stock PCs. Hooked the lights up to a timer, currently 10 hours with the main lights on and the 'fuge lightbox on opposite them. I may change it so the LEDs come on on hour before the PCs, and then turn off an hour after for a ghetto sunrise/sunset cycle. Worth a try.
After all the new hardware was in, I got a few more snails and hermit crabs to replace the ones lost over the last several months, along with a peppermint shrimp to help get my Aiptasia infestation under control (hitchhiked on the LR, didn't know better than to let them do their thing). Did a 25% water change, and when the water parameters checked out good, got a Percula Clownfish.
Things seemed to be going well, but yesterday the Damsel was acting extremely stressed, and eventually died. Did another water change and test, everything looked good, and the Clown was fine. I probably should have waited a bit longer, but went ahead and got another Clown this afternoon. What can I say, we were in the area, wanted to stop in and look, and couldn't resist. Watching them carefully, and so far so good.
Edited by nevermore1701, 12 January 2012 - 03:54 PM.