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Gerbil's Spineless Manta Ray 15


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#1
gerbilbox

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Full Tank Shot April 1, 2012

After a year of lessons and mistakes with my 15g, I discovered what I really wanted (I think) out of the hobby and I decided to start anew. I wanted a smaller tank, a better filtration system, and a cleaner display area. I wanted a tank with built-in rear chambers so I can hide equipment without a sump and grow chaeto to maintain pH. PicO Aquariums seems to have some of the best options around for what I wanted. It's a gorgeous tank and Chris was incredibly responsive to my questions.

I took inspiration from Jake Adams' EcoReef One, so I'll be experimenting with almost complete water changes on an infrequent schedule. Bioload will be light and so will feedings. It's also bare-bottom for easier cleaning, which I'm a little sad about because I love sand-borne invertebrates.

Corals & Relatives
  • Acan (Acanthastrea)
  • Brain coral (Favia or Favites)
  • Duncan coral (Duncanopsammia axifuga)
  • Grape coral (Euphyllia)
  • Hammer corals (Euphyllia parancora)
  • Plate coral (Fungia)
  • Wedge coral (Diaseris)
  • Zoanthids
  • Maxi-mini carpent anemone
  • Mini carpent anemones
  • Unknown tropical Corynactis
Other Spineless Critters
  • Pacific cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)
  • Amphipods
  • Copepods
  • Isopods
  • Collonista snails
  • Vermetid snails
  • Mini Asterina (folium?) stars
  • Little bristle stars
  • Bristle worms
  • Little sabellid featherduster worms
  • Little serpulid featherduster worm
  • Spionid worms
  • Spirorbid worms
  • Flatworms
Fish
What's a fish?

Foods
  • New Life Spectrum Crustacean pellets
  • PE Mysis
Equipment
  • Tank: PicO Aquariums Manta Ray 15 w/ glass cover (15" x 15" x 9", about 6.5g display area, 8.75g total)
  • Lighting: BoostLED PAR30 Reef Lamp Kit (2 royal blue, 1 blue, 1 cool white, 1 neutral white, 60° optics), AquaTop LED Clip-On moonlight, PicO Aquariums Refugium LED
  • Filtration: Activated carbon, GFO, filter pad, Chaetomorpha, Marco Rocks
  • Circulation: Hydor Pico Evolution 300 w/ Hydor Flo
  • Heater: Eheim Jäger 50w (78-80°F)
  • Controller: Apex Jr.
  • ATO: AutoTopOff.com Nano double switch on a timer, AquaLifter
  • Saltwater: E.S.V. B-Ionic Seawater System Salt Mix, BRS custom RO/DI unit, D-D Refractometer, Pinpoint Salinity Calibration Fluid
  • Other Equipment: Surge protector, GFCI, grounding probe, Penn-Flax B11 emergency air pump, Nimble Nano cleaner, Fisher Scientific Digital Thermometer, AquaController Apex and aquaPlanner apps on my iPod Touch.
Posted Image
March 18, 2012

Posted Image
March 18, 2012

Edited by gerbilbox, 29 July 2012 - 05:38 PM.


#2
krisko

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looks good man. Awesome colors!

#3
JR!

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love the orange plate

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#4
awcasper

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Looking clean. That's a green Diaseris plate you got.
20 gallon long full of gobies, favids, corallimorpharians, and diaseris plates on a 4" sandbed.
Casper's Low Tide Tank

#5
gerbilbox

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looks good man. Awesome colors!


Thanks! I'm planning to add a bit more color with some zoas in the coming weeks, and also to cover up the rock.

love the orange plate


Same here, it's my favorite coral in the tank.

Looking clean. That's a green Diaseris plate you got.


Looks familiar? :)

#6
gerbilbox

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The LED refugium light arrived today from PicO Aquariums! The one watt LED is much brighter than I expected, so it should help maintain the pH. My small apartment has poor circulation, so CO2 levels can get on the higher end of the scale, so I'm happy to have this light. This means that all my aquarium lights are now LEDs: the PAR30 main light, the moonlight, and now the refugium light.

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Update: Chris @ PicO Aquariums has told me the LED is upside-down as pictured, so the power cable should be coming off the bottom.

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I made some changes to the display area so I need to take a new full tank shot soon. My next major tweak is replacing the moonlight. The current one is a little defective and unmounted, so it sits directly on the glass cover. I'm looking for something with an arm so the light can be suspended over the tank and still provide light if remove the cover to work on the tank at night. The options I've found don't look very promising, so I may end up building my own mount out of a wire clothes hanger to mount a new moonlight. Any ideas?

Edited by gerbilbox, 25 March 2012 - 07:18 PM.


#7
bdaniel5278

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looks good, love to orange plate, im going to get me one of those soon hopefully
Tank: PicO Aquariums MR18, mp10, 2 rapidled par38
Livestock: Ocellaris Clownfish, Cleaner shrimp, Zoas, GSP, Mushrooms, Clam, Torchs
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My Pico Thread


#8
gerbilbox

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Finally, a photo shoot with my new tank! I'll start with some full tank shots:

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Front.

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Side.

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The whole shabang.

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With all my reef books and nautilus shell.

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Happy acan.

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Fungia, my favorite coral in my tank.

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Diaseris, thanks again to awcasper.

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Zoanthids. They were one of my first corals, and had been shrinking and eventually started closing up over the past year. Since moving them to the new tank they've been doing a lot better, opening up most of the time again and color has improved too. I hope they'll start growing soon.

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Duncan. I don't know why I picked it up at a summer frag swap but it has grown on me and I really enjoy its swaying.

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Close-up of my big hammer coral. I want this to get huge.

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Maxi-mini carpet anemone reaching for the (LED) stars. It's not getting enough light but I'm still acclimating the tank to the LEDs, so I'm hoping it'll be fine once I get the light dialed down in a few weeks. A few months ago it drifted too close to a Maxijet that had a protective grill over its intake. The poor thing didn't get shredded, but it looked like a cat with its head stuck in a cup.

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Favia I think, but could be Favites not I'm not familiar with these two genera.

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Hammer coral.

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More zoanthids.

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Montipora of some kind. Not sure if I'll keep it, but it's in my tank for now.

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Pacific cleaner shrimp, my favorite motile animal in the tank. It's very active and loves cleaning my hand.

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Pair of Collonista snails. I've been seeing them in pairs lately, but not sure if that's how they do the hanky-panky or if they broadcast spawn, but they are definitely doing well in the new tank.

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Hydor Flo. I used teflon tape to get it to fit. It provides great flow to the front of the tank, but the back is somewhat stagnant so I need to figure this out. Not sure if an MP10 would may be overkill but it's on my consideration.

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Rear chambers of the Manta Ray. Chris put a lot of thought into its design.

Edited by gerbilbox, 18 March 2012 - 05:18 PM.


#9
TheKleinReef

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that hammer picture is amazing. any advice on getting my frogspawn to grow some new heads? all my LPS are groning tissue but not stalk, any ideas why?

anyways. nice pictures tank!

Edited by TheKleinReef, 18 March 2012 - 04:18 PM.

DSLR PHOTO THREAD

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#10
gerbilbox

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that hammer picture is amazing. any advice on getting my frogspawn to grow some new heads? all my LPS are groning tissue but not stalk, any ideas why?

anyways. nice pictures tank!


Hmm, I don't think I did anything special with it and growth actually has been somewhat slow. I don't feed it although I've been meaning to since others here seem to have successful with it. I do feed the tank with Oyster-Feast but the hammer doesn't react to it at all. Have you tried changing its location to see how it reacts to flow? I was surprised to find that my hammer prefers less flow than I expected.

Thanks. I've been long overdue for a tank photo session, and I especially wanted photos of my new tank.

Edited by gerbilbox, 18 March 2012 - 06:14 PM.


#11
Criley7

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Nice tank and pictures!

XXIX MIXED REEF

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#12
wtaylor

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Nice set up!! Where did you buy the light fixture from??

#13
gerbilbox

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Nice set up!! Where did you buy the light fixture from??


Thanks. It's the BoostLED light fixture that goes with their PAR30 bulb:
http://www.boostled....lamp-lamp-clamp

#14
Spirofucci

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Oh man, nice set up. That's a whole bunch of nice specimens. I really like the acans.

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#15
PicO Aquariums

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Great looking stuff!

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#16
FlCandy

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Nice Tank! I love the BB with this one.

#17
gerbilbox

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Thanks everyone! I made a few landscaping changes so I'll try to get a pic this weekend. It's a little tricky because I have large windows opposite of the tank. Closing the blinds aren't enough so I have to cover them with a bed sheet before the glare is low enough to take full tank shots.

I'm liking the bare-bottom "Corals in Space" look, but it's still a work in progress. There's still leftover sand and detritus that I'm still eliminating. If I ever use a sand bed again I'm going for the larger sand grains. According to an article from the first quarter 2010 of Reef Hobbyist, my live rock will be shedding some detritus for a little white:
http://www.reefhobby...f/version13.pdf

#18
gerbilbox

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Let's get my non-visual update out of the way: I've decided to replace my heater every year to guard against failures. Even though I have a controller, I don't want it to fail the other way where it doesn't turn on. The new heater is the same brand, a 50w Eheim Jäger.

I rearranged the rock and corals so the tank looks better now but I'm still not sure how much I like it:
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I replaced the cheap eBay LED moonlight strip with the AquaTop mounted LED. It has three blue LEDs, as well as 18 white ones that I'll never use. I was worried that it might not be bright enough, but it turned out to be too bright so I blocked out one of the blues with electrical tape:
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The blue deeper than I expected but it's nice as a moonlight:
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I also bought a basic coral cutting kit from Bulk Reef Supply because my grape coral had a skeleton too long to stand up, and a hammer on a small piece of slanted rock. I fixed this using the bone cutter, which was easier than I expected. For the grape coral I remounted it on a new frag disc using superglue:
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I have a hitchhiker that I've never been able to get a good photo. It's probably a tropical Corynactis, a tiny corallimorph related to ricordeas, rhodactis and such. It's not photosynthetic and has green florescent spots under a blue light, but it's otherwise colorless. It's small (less than a centimeter) and partially hidden in a cave. A dedicated macro lens would be nice, but until then this is the best I have. You can see its bright ball-shaped tentacle tips sticking out in center of this photo:
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Finally, I took this video of one of my vermetid snails eating, which was pretty neat to watch:

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#19
gerbilbox

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Full tank shot, April 1, 2012. The new tank is nearly a month old and I just did the first water change. It was a nearly complete water change, leaving only one inch of water so the cleaner shrimp has some wiggle room to not freak out. I'm experimenting with infrequent but large water changes because the tank is lightly stocked, lightly fed, and none of the corals grow quickly. Calcium and other essential elements are all instantly reset. So far results are promising, I saw good polyp extension throughout the month and zoas showed more growth than ever before.

I also installed a top off system from AutoTopOff.com. I had good luck with their system on my old tank so I bought from them again. It's their dual-switch nano system so it's very compact, and it has no snail guard because I don't have any large snails anymore. I have it plugged to a timer as a contingency.

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Float switch, with back-up switch in the background.

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#20
i<3nanotanks

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very nice, well-done!

#21
Deleted User 4

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Hey, nice tank. I'm just curious, is your glass starphire or regular? And how much did this tank cost you from pico. Only your lights, ato and refuge light are not included in the pico tank deal right?

#22
miniwhinny

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Love what you're doing :) I'm going to be tagging along. I'm doing almost the same thing...a 15 gallon, BB (looks like sand but isn't) with corals and inverts only.

I like your scape. Looks like you have lots of room for growth and new stuff.

#23
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This is sweet!

#24
boxboy

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great looking tank. enjoyed all the photos. keep up the good work.

#25
gerbilbox

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Hey, nice tank. I'm just curious, is your glass starphire or regular? And how much did this tank cost you from pico. Only your lights, ato and refuge light are not included in the pico tank deal right?


It's all regular, glass cover included. I considered the starphire, but I read here that the extra clarity is not that noticeable on thin glass; the tank is only 1/4" thick. I'm very satisfied with the clarity, but I'm sure to get starphire if I was setting up a much bigger tank.

It was about $250 before shipping, and that included the glass cover, media basket, and refugium LED light. Main light and ATO were completely separate. The refugium LED arrived separately only because Chris forgot to package it, but he shipped it right away.

Love what you're doing :) I'm going to be tagging along. I'm doing almost the same thing...a 15 gallon, BB (looks like sand but isn't) with corals and inverts only.

I like your scape. Looks like you have lots of room for growth and new stuff.


Go inverts!

I'm still experimenting with the landscape and I just changed it again to give it a two island look. Yeah, there's still plenty of bare rock that's begging for more corals, so I started up the quarantine and plan to buy more corals this weekend.

I thought about faking a sandbed, but I didn't know how to do it. I love how it looks on your tank.