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ADA 60-F Shallow in Texas


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#1
chippwalters

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Hey gang!

Well, I've finally moved on from Picos to Nanos-- but not too far as the Nano is pretty small. A couple months back I ordered an ADA 60-F shallow ~8 gallon tank.

First, some background on this new build:

Those of you who have kindly followed my first forays into this hobby, may know I've had a 3.5 gallon Pico going since last summer. Recently, I added a Tupperware Sump and was truly amazed at how adding another couple of gallons-- and chaeto-- helped my Pico.

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By now, my poor little Pico was just about full-- or at least seemed so. The acans were crowded and complaining, the zoas didn't seem to get enough current, and I made some big mistakes when I started this one up-- being a newbie and all.

Mistake 1: Sand WAY TOO fine. Any stirring at all and there's a snow storm-- AND snails and CUC can't really do anything but bury themselves in it. Plus, all the 'rubble parts' seem to float to the top and just make it look really bad.

Mistake 2: Attached my very first coral, encrusted gorgonian, (like GSP) to LR. Ugh-- while it is a beautiful green under the correct lighting, the stuff grows like a weed and once attached is there to stay. As you can see in this picture of my Pico (now cleaned out), it's clear the stuff has spread all over!

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Mistake 3: LFS LR had tons of hitchikers-- some really interesting, but some created problems. Zoas seemed to be continuously attacked by something (not the Sexy shrimps), aptasia galore, many many worms and colonial hydroids, brittle and asterina stars-- and me not knowing which is good, bad or indifferent. Plus there's these white dots and spots all over the LR-- perhaps more worms, or snail eggs? I dunno.

Mistake 4: Added 2 Damsels. One bullies the other and they're impossible to catch. Won't do that again!

Even so, things seemed to do pretty well in the tank for the most part, but I was forever 'on the watch' for new aptasia and trying to figure out what's killing what.

So, I ordered an ADA 60-F and about a month ago it arrived:
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Man, those Japanese do a really nice job of packaging! And the build quality and clarity of the sapphire glass is in stark contrast to my other tank.

I knew I would take my time figuring out the best way to do all this. So, I researched here and elsewhere on the web-- looking at other ADA 60-F's and putting together my 'list' of must have items.

And, I took a page out of Mark Callahan's book and decided my new tank would use dry rock and dead sand. I found the best sand I could, Tropic Eden Reef flakes, and a GREAT local reef guy, Dave Beck aka 'prof' from Austin Reef Club, to drill my tank (only $25) PLUS-- and for me this was a great find-- Dave has a stockpile of superb dry rock dry mined out of Florida. It is old coral reef and sold for $2.50/lb-- and wow is it nice looking-- and clean. I had to take it to the shop and chisel it apart to get the sizes I wanted:

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(OOPS, forgot to mention I also picked up a screaming deal on a new MP10 from my fave LFS)

OK, now I had a 3.5 gallon Pico with a Tupperware sump and a drilled but empty 60-F with dry rock, a Vortex and no water. What next?

I needed a plan.

I decided I would connect both tanks together-- through a sump. This way I could quickly create a water column of mature and bacteria enriched saltwater in my new tank. Furthermore, I already had a Walmart 1 1/2 gallon which I used to keep snails and excess chaeto-- which was getting nastier by the month! So, I purchased a 10 gallon glass rimless at LFS for under $50 and put the Walmart special (after cleaning) directly in the middle-- with all the chaeto from both it and the Tupperware sump, thus creating my 'fuge chamber.'

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After much debate on skimmer vs reactor, I opted for a Phosban reactor filled with Purigen. I know I don't need a skimmer yet (if ever) and I've preferred Purigen over Chemi-Pure Elite, so I set it up in the Sump-- to which it immediately dumped half the Purigen out of the reactor onto the sump floor-- which required a complete restart includine emptying the sump, cleaning it out and refreshing the water. Ugh! I did add a fine filter pad in the top of the reactor which keeps the Purigen inside, and things seem to work fine now.

Next, I hooked up the 3.5 Pico to the 10 gallon sump (only 1/2 filled) and got things running.

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Now onto the ADA tank. I first added sand, then the rock, then filled it up with freshwater (we have sterilized rainwater here in the country) and started mixing saltwater (using the MP10 powerhead-- man is that thing fun to play with!).

After it mixed for a number of hours, and checked out with the refractometer, I then began the process of hooking up the ADA to the sump/fuge. I used a 3/4" high density PVC elbow (because it's gray not white) for my overflow intake. Then I added some PVC sprinkler gray and black components for the return (again better than white and all available at local Lowes/HD)-- some valves and tubing and-- GOOD TO GO.

So, I started pumping water to the ADA and thankfully, after a few minor adjustments, things looked good. I kept the flow ultra slow, so to no shock anything in the 3.5 Pico, and let it sit for 24 hours.

The water goes from the ADA into the sump. The return from the Pico goes into the fuge tank inside the sump, which overflows to the sump. For now, I'm also running the exit from the reactor into the fuge tank inside the sump as well. As soon as everything settles down and the ADA water is more 'dirty' , I'll run the media return into the sump and the ADA return into the fuge.

I also added a single Ecoxotic Par 38 (12K), thinking it would hold for awhile, but turns out I needed two of them. They do look nice and I like the color more than my Pico fixture. Plus-- I hope they can work on my pitiful acro-- which is just not meant for this tank. If not, I'll be giving it to another reefer hopefully soon.

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After a few talks with some respected reefers, I decided to NOT wait for a full cycle, as there was plenty of enriched water moving between the three tanks, and I put a few frags of the encrusted gorgonian in the new tank, and it went GREAT. Slowly over the next few days I started migrating healthy corals, one at a time, to the ADA, and for each one, they seemed to really like the new tank much more.

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I put in the Sexy Shrimp, some snails, added the acans, the candy canes and torch-- everything good.

So, my next move is to wait a month, then tear down the Pico, store the live rock and try and drill the back. I'd eventually like to make a display fuge out of it-- or get rid of it altogether.

Oh, and take the Damsels back to LFS, and purchase a pair of tiny clowns for the ADA.

Some thoughts:

  • I'm now a big believer in decent and varied flow. The MP-10 is amazing and it's clear the corals much prefer it to the smaller and consistent flow of the Pico Rio pump and HOB filter.
  • Can't say enough about the Tropic Eden Reef Flakes. They don't blow around much, contained little to no dust making them super simple to wash-- and are beautiful to look at.
  • I'm hoping the 'tank within a tank' model for my sump will make it super simple to clean. I can just remove the smaller tank, drop the chaeto and LR into a bucket, clean the tank in the sink and be done with it all.
  • Much, MUCH, more noise than before. Most of it is due to the siphon overflow on the Pico, which is a temporary solution.
  • Wow. Water evaporates FAST. Up to now I've always had the Pico covered and only added 1/2 cup per day. Much different with all 3 tanks with open tops. For now, I've added a JBJ ATO with an Aqualifter. We'll see how it does. I'd eventually like to get a full-on tank controller.

That's it for now! Comments, questions, admonishments WELCOME!

Video:


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Edited by chippwalters, 07 April 2012 - 06:12 PM.

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#2
viplok

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what substrate you using? and does the mp10 kick up the sand? what mode? how many % of power?

#3
got2envy

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looks great! The corals look very happy :)

#4
chippwalters

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what substrate you using? and does the mp10 kick up the sand? what mode? how many % of power?

Tropic Eden Reeflakes Aragonite
http://premiumaquati...TE03616R30.html

The stuff is GREAT. No dust-- MP10 doesn't kick it up. Super stuff. I think I saw it recommended by Mr. Saltwater Tank.

looks great! The corals look very happy :)


Yep, they do! Thanks for stopping by. :D

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#5
duoc9119

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That's a pretty neat set up.

Could you link to the sockets you used for the Par bulbs?

#6
chippwalters

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That's a pretty neat set up.

Could you link to the sockets you used for the Par bulbs?


Thanks. Just a basic lamp on light with he clamp and shade removed.

http://www.homedepot...p;storeId=10051

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#7
metrokat

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Following!

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#8
JR!

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Following!

same here. looking good chip :D

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#9
chippwalters

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Following!


Thanks Kat. I don't believe I can ever match the shoe and frag binge buying you've chronicled-- though it appears you have some good taste in both!


same here. looking good chip :D


Thx. We've a frag swap here in Austin his month. Hope to add to the tank-- and I'm hoping the Pico *can* be drilled to create a display fuge or frag tank.

Edited by chippwalters, 11 April 2012 - 09:20 AM.

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#10
milk

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i really like the frags of gsp! little shrubs of love
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#11
Spirofucci

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Very nice!!

Mr. Saltwater tank is cool.

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#12
chippwalters

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i really like the frags of gsp! little shrubs of love

Thx. Actually it's encrusting gorgonian which looks very similar to GSP. And just like GSP, you want o keep it off your LR as it has a tendency to take over.

Very nice!!

Mr. Saltwater tank is cool.


Yeah, I agree. I enjoyed reading his tank setup guides.

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#13
jT415Gz

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glad to see another shallow setup in the mix :D

Edited by jT415Gz, 11 April 2012 - 09:36 AM.

New to Saltwater
I'm not shallow... you must be lQQking at my tank =B
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#14
JR!

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Thx. Actually it's encrusting gorgonian which looks very similar to GSP. And just like GSP, you want o keep it off your LR as it has a tendency to take over.

i have gsp on a rock of its own but it seems to be going nowhere :huh:

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#15
chippwalters

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i have gsp on a rock of its own but it seems to be going nowhere :huh:

well, this stuff grows, and attaches itself to other stuff-- daily. It is ridiculously green though and sways pleasantly in the flow.

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#16
JR!

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ive had a decent size piece for about 2 weeks and i dont see anything new lol. maybe not enough flow?

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#17
chippwalters

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ive had a decent size piece for about 2 weeks and i dont see anything new lol. maybe not enough flow?


I don't think flow is all that important. It seems to do fine in all sorts of lighting conditions as well. I've put clumps of it all over the tank-- the ones closest to you in this picture have much less flow than the ones closer to the vortech pump.

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#18
chippwalters

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Any help?

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I've got this brown stringy algae showing up on everything. My turbo is doing his best to keep up with, but can't get it all. Twice a day I stir the sand, brush the rocks and corals, and blow it out to the sump filter sock, but it keeps coming back.

I'm hoping it's just the New Rock breaking in, but it seems like there's more to it. I've got a cleaner shrimp (doing nothing), a lazy hermit, sleepy ceriths, nassarius who prefer meat to veggies, a couple stoned sexys, and the blue collar Turbo. Also, as I've previously mentioned, this water is shared with LR in the sump and frag tank.

I've quit feeding completely except for a flake or two once a day to my striped damsel. Nitrates and phosphates are zero. I've even cut back the light hours, BUT the tank does get morning sun...

Any thoughts anyone? Do I just keep cleaning and wait this out?

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#19
viplok

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those are perfectly normal to show up in the tank. i have it in my tank b4 i just waited it out. brushing and stirring sand wont really help with this problem patient is key. if u dont have chemi pure elit i suggest you use that. good product =D

#20
chippwalters

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those are perfectly normal to show up in the tank. i have it in my tank b4 i just waited it out. brushing and stirring sand wont really help with this problem patient is key. if u dont have chemi pure elit i suggest you use that. good product =D


Thanks. I have Chemi Pure Elite, Phosban and Purigen in the sump right now.

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#21
ccapasso

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That algae looks similar to what I just got through dealing with.

At first I think it was that dinoflange stuff. However it came off real easy when hit with Turkey Baster.

If yours is easy to remove, just keep at it I guess. I added some chaeto and chemi pure elite to help. Also added additional CUC from reefcleaners.org. In addition, you could try more frequent water changes and maybe shortening the light cycle.

btw...love the setup...especially the acans!

#22
chippwalters

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That algae looks similar to what I just got through dealing with.

At first I think it was that dinoflange stuff. However it came off real easy when hit with Turkey Baster.

If yours is easy to remove, just keep at it I guess. I added some chaeto and chemi pure elite to help. Also added additional CUC from reefcleaners.org. In addition, you could try more frequent water changes and maybe shortening the light cycle.

btw...love the setup...especially the acans!


Thanks. I, too was worried about the dinoflange issue, but if you're saying the turkey baster test Is a reliable one, then I can breathe easier, as this stuff, like yours, is sucked up easily. I might need another CUC. I'm for sure going to get another turbo.

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#23
ccapasso

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Thanks. I, too was worried about the dinoflange issue, but if you're saying the turkey baster test Is a reliable one, then I can breathe easier, as this stuff, like yours, is sucked up easily. I might need another CUC. I'm for sure going to get another turbo.



Hit up reefcleaners.org. If you aren't sure what you need, send them a list of what you have and your tank size. They'll hook you up.

#24
chippwalters

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Some updates.

FTS
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Went to a local frag swap. Ended up purchasing a torch, baby anemone, and a duncan. Received free some electric green gsp, some kenya and some sort of green polyp. Other than the candy cane, all are pretty small.

They gave a clinic on dipping, and said it's mostly OK to dip everything, but I killed the anemone by dipping it Coral RX. Bummer. Turns out Coral RX doesn't seem to be good for softies.

Anyway, here's some shots. The duncan opens and closes-- right now it's closed.

Trumpet (yes the encrusting gorgonian is pissed since the dipping as well-- I dipped them as well as they seemed to be suffering from something.
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Acans pretty much bulletproof-- always have been...
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My old candy canes doing well along with acans. You can see the gsp, duncan and kenya in the back left. The green polyp is closed but I'll grap a pic when it opens back up.
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Photosynth blue sponge is also quite hardy. More acans and the second kenya frag.
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I haven't yet figured out where everything is going to go in this tank so things are 'just spaced out so.' I'm waiting until things settle down before starting to serious aquascape this. Currently, there's nothing glued down, which of course is a treat for my Mexican Turbo.

One other thing. Purchased a cleaner shrimp which the blue damsel terrorized from the start. He had also bullied the 3 stripe damsel so she wouldn't ever come out either. Finally decide to banish him to the old tank which is now some sort of fuge/frag tank (I'll be taking it down soon to drill it).

While chasing the little devil, somehow my large sexy jumped the overflow and I found her days later when cleaning out my chemi-pure sock in my sump. I had already washed it out with fresh water and the little gal was just barely wiggling when I noticed her.

I carefully put her back in the tank in a quiet place. She laid on her side for a day, barely moving. Then the next day she moved a bit but not much-- and today she's up and running around. I even fed her a shrimp pellet which she devoured (is that wrong feeding shrimp to shrimp?).

My little male was spotted only once and not seen again. The cleaner shrimp molted (I think it was a molt) and is MIA since. And the 3 stripe yellow damsel hides in the back of the rock-- I'm thinking of turning the damn thing around as it's now host to my male sexy shrimp, cleaner, pom pom and damsel!

Anyway, here's the current setup:
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And I've added Seachem's "the Bag" as a filter sock to both tank drain lines. I put Chemi-Pure in one and a 4-day Phosban in the other. And of course the reactor is still moving Purigen. All in all, I'm pretty sure between the sump config, daily cleanings and my voracious Turbo (what a work ethic!) I seem to have my algae problem well under control.

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One more FTS:
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Sorry for the book :)

Edited by chippwalters, 28 April 2012 - 05:05 AM.

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#25
chippwalters

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Spent some time cropping and tweaking some photos this evening
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