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Musho3210's First 20 Gallon Reef Log


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Hello, well a bit about how i started first.


On december 2006 my mom and i went to petsmart to buy dog stuff. As a joke i said "how about i get a fish tank for christmas" she very quickly said no. Well after the joke i thought about it and more and more i really did want a fish tank. So i brought up the topic a lot. We went to petsmart again another day and i was able to convince my mom to buy a fish tank. Oh boy was i excited, i planned freshwater of course. I bought a top-fin starter kit and a tank stand. The top fin kit included a top-fin 20 power filter, NO (normal output) fluorescent lights, and an all glass aquarium heater. I got all the equipment i needed including a book. I then joined a forum. Learning a lot of things i ended up buying more stuff for my tank since the original things i bought were no use. Mainly leaving the top-fin area for the more popular seachem and aquarium pharmacueticals etc. I upgraded my heater to a visi-therm stealth, i upgraded my filter to a bio-wheel, but i kept the lights. I upgraded my test strips to liquid tests. Not really paying attention i accidentally bought a reef test kit. Upon realising this at home i felt really bad since i felt that i wasted my moms money after all she had spent on me to start a new hobby. Very depressed i moved on without a liquid test kit. Then we got a coupon from petco where the liquid test kit was on sale and bought it then. After i bought the kit i started to want to upgrade tanks to a 55 gallon. I thought after i upgraded i would use the 20 gallon as a reef tank so that reef test kit wont go to waste. I started researching early january. I finally upgraded my freshwater tank to a 75 gallon and the 20 gallon was empty. I started buying equipment:



20H gallon tank

100w Visi-therm Heater

Tunze Nano DOC skimmer

1 Maxi-jet 1200 with Flo attachment

150 watt 14,000k MH lamp (sunpod)

Milwaukee instruments refractometer

25-30 pounds live rock

0-10 pounds base rock depending what would look good in my tank

20-30 pounds Carib-Sea Ooltic sugar grade aragonite sand, not live, aiming for 2.5 inches

Reef Crystals Salt

Melevs reef RO/DI unit

Garlic Guard

Omega one saltwater flake food


garlic guard

API reef master test kit

API saltwater master test kit


Kent turbo calcium

Kent marine buffer



I have everything there right now and will take a group picture of it all.


Here is what i plan on having as livestock



2 O. Clownfish

10+ Blue Legged hermit crab, amount will depend on how much algae i have

6+ Astraea Conehead Snail, amount will depend on how much algae i have

6+ Nassarius Snails, amount will depend on how much algae i have

1-2 Peppermint shrimp OR Scarlet Skunk Cleaner

0-1 Emerald Crab, amount will depend on how much algae i have

Mushroom corals

Polyp corals

Lots of LPS (want it to be an lps dominated tank)

Maxima or crocea clam

May include some macro algae.

Various hitchhikers i will be expecting from the live rock



So here is the start of my reef log, i will set up my RO filter tomorrow and my tank will get filled up tomorrow.

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Ok good and bad news:


Bad news: I found a polyp that looks sorta like a apstasia. But i got rock from another reefer who said it was in his system for over a year. How do i distinguish apstasia from polyps? It has a white base and white tips but everything else is transparent. When i poke it it kinda closes the same way a closed zoanthid looks. I cant get a picture, its all blurry and you cant see the polyp well since its transparent. It looks sorta like number 12 on this website http://www.tampabaysaltwater.com/thepackage/organisms.html

After you poke it it does close but i can still see it easily in a curled up ball on the rock, it doesnt retract into a hole or anything, its like those rolley pollies that curl up in a ball when in danger.


My ph is about 7.9, should i leave it like this for a while to see if it rises or should i add some of that Kent PH buffer? I dont know my KH yet so i guess i shouldnt. Plus i tested cloudy water so the color might be a bit lighter than usual, if so my ph is probably 8.0-8.1, but im nervous....


Good news: Rock is alive since i found life on it.... Also the skimmer works as it pulled out a lot of dust last night but i had the air intake all the way open. I closed it today since i am cycling, i need to replace it with some salt water....


Ammonia is at .5 ppm so hello cycle.


The light is way to white, i need more blue.... When its time to change bulbs im going with those pheonixes.



I was about to test for calcium, KH, but i lost the color sheet thing. Anyone got a picture of there color card so i can compare?

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actually it is a lot more colorful than you think. I turned 2 rocks over and found out that i had burried the colorful part and the dull part was pointed up. I quickly fixed that and they are a lot more colorful now. But it did kick up a lot of sand... So i have that cloud again....

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Talk about do it once do it right!


Looks like a great start to me, although you might want to take out some of that sand as time goes on.

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too much sand? I agree if that is true.... Should have gone with a shallower bed.


You can always siphon it out on the next w/c. I hold backup sand just in case my sand bed gets dino's or something nasty. I just siphon out the old and add the new.

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So let me get this right you bought all the salt equipment so as not to let a test kit go to waste. Nice start though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ooo its been a while since an update, sorry everyone:


I got my cleanup crew since my cycle finished and algae was showing up. 6 astraea snails and 6 blue legged hermits. My hermits took care of my rocks and my snails took care of my glass with a little encouragement. My diatoms and hair algae are at a minimum now.


Phosphates were a little high acording to my lfs who tested my water with liquid test for free. He said it was ok since my tank just started and the live rock is probably leeching phosphate since i dont use tap water. Its lowered a bit so my phosban is working.


Skimmer is all good


I downgraded my MJ 1200 to a MJ 600, but i also got a hydor koralia 2. Hydor is at one side of the tank pointing down, MJ at the other side pointing up. I feel that i am getting good wave patterns.


Other than that not much to say....

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ok ok i apologize, i cant be an update without pictures, plus i did change my aquascaping a little bit.


5 dollar fan i bought at target that i thought should have been worth 20 dollars since it is silent, works better than my fan that came with the sunpod, and has an on and off button which, ive noticed, that many things in this hobby doesnt have.



A clearer pic of my shroom before the rescape



FTS of my new scape which looks a lot like the old one.....



My pumps










And skimmate



Unfortunately no hermits came out to the camera.

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  • 4 weeks later...


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