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jcolletteiii's 12 gallon NC


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It's been up and running for quite awhile now, so I figured it's finally time to put up a thread to track this tank for myself at least. It has not been smooth sailing, though. Right from the start I ran into a huge problem when I received the wrong tank from Petsmart.com. I ordered the NC12DX, and they sen the normal NC12. I called them that night, and they said they would overnight a DX to replace the tank they shipped, but unfortunately, it was late in the day when I got home with a load of liverock, and couldn't really wait 2 days for the new tank to get here. So I set things up in the NC12 and ordered an upgrade kit from Nanocustoms.com. Petsmart.com refunded the difference in purchase price promptly. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos during the set-up process, so some photos of the products I used to set this tank up...



A nanocube...



The livesand...



The stand. This is actually a Pegasus brand bathroom 'vessel' vanity, in that it is designed for a glass bowl type sink to go on top - hence the two holes. It has a granite top and is painted a nice semi-gloss black. I didn't have the time, or I would have built one. The NC completely covers both holes in the top.


I used 14lbs of liverock, plus what has been added attached to the various corals that now inhabit the little reef. A roughly chronological synopsis of what has gone on from the start.


Day 1

Mix water; add water; put heater in chamber 3; turn everything on; warm up to room temp; add livesand; allow suspended particulates to infiltrate system; once temp has reached ~72 started aquascaping. It's gone through a couple of different hardscapes, but the final one is shown in the FTS way down below. After finishing the initial setup, I sat down to order some additional stuff. I ordered an ATO from Bulk Reef Supply - got the Aquamedic Niveamaut, which uses a doser-style pump; and a digital day-night timer. Then I went to home depot.


Day 2

I knew I would be using chamber 2 for a refugium, so I had bought a set of 3 undercounter led light 'pucks' from Home Dumpster, along with a 3-gang (new work) pvc wiring box. The lights are 'daisy chainable' and are quite bright. I've had this set up running for over a month now, and the Chaeto is growing quite well. I got these from the kitchen section, but tehy are not listed on HD's website.


I removed the 'ears' on the box, painted it black with Krylon fusion spray paint, cut a piece of ply to fin in the box, mounted the lights to the ply, then mounted the entire assembly into the painted box. Velcro was added all the way around. In action...



I then measured and scored the black vinyl on the rear of the tank behind chamber 2. I added velcor, then mounted it up. The carbon is no longer in there... The only physical filtration now on the tank is the coarse sponge. I still have the ceramic tubes in the bottom of chamber 2 for biological filtration. The rest of CH2 is now stuffed with Chaeto.



Rest of week 1

I was fairly sure there would be no cycle because of the high quality cured LR and the livesand I was using. There was no NO2, NO3, or NH3. I added a small Paly at the end of week one, along with 4 small blue hermits and 2 slightly larger scarlet hermits.





Week 2

I saw some NH3 this week, up to about 0.25 or so. At the end of the week, I saw a bit of NO3 - no measurable NO2. By the end of the week, all parameters were once again unmeasureable. Nice, quick cycle.


Week 3 - let the fun begin!

I went shopping this week. Came home with a normal (orange) firefish, some purple mushrooms, and a HUGE colony of zoos that look like they could be 'fire and ice' or one of the similar named morphs. There must be 150-200 polyps on this thing, and it is beautiful. I think it was in sub-par lighting in the LFS, as it continues to get brighter under my pc lights. I also bought a gorgeous 4-color open brain.









Turbinaria - it's much greener in person - quite teal actually.






Parazooanthus sp.


Haven't added anything else this week. Don't have any good pics of the 'grumpy' the firefish yet either.

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Thanks - natural is the look I'm going for. The stand was on the expensive side - $199 at Home Dumpster. It does come with a nice black/dark gray granite top though. I could have build something similar for less than half the cost, but I just didn't have the time. I went to a few local places that do unfinished furniture, oak furniture, used furniture - could not find anything that had the look I wanted, which was contemporary without being chintzy. This has clean lines, and looks maybe a bit oriental.


The next couple of things I want to add to the tank coral-wise:


a small photosynthetic gorgonian, purple/yellow/orange?;

a small colony of green striped shrooms;

and a chunk'a acans.


I don't want to HAVE to feed anything in this tank (other than grumpy the firefish), nor do I want anything that is overly aggressive. But I do like variety of color and form. With these guidelines set down, any suggestions as to what else would look good?


Woops, forgot to mention - have an emerald green crab in there also. I will likely also be adding a cleaner shrimp at some point, a large(ish) tube worm, some kind of smallish colorful reef-safe sea star, and at least one sand sifting sea star (they're NOT fish...).

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nice tank.I plan on uing a stand somewhat like that when get around to a new cube.I was walking around in homedepot one day and saw them and thought would be perfect.

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nice tank.I plan on uing a stand somewhat like that when get around to a new cube.I was walking around in homedepot one day and saw them and thought would be perfect.


It is pretty solid. There is a 5/8" thick MDF top below the the 5/8" thick granite top. Sides are 5/8 or 3/4" thick, and the legs are quite chunky. I glued and screwed a couple of additional ledger strips along the inside top edge just to add a bit of strength. Also, at 30" high, it is the perfect height to have just at the end of the sofa. The bottom trim of the tank is just visible over the arm of the couch :)

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!Just had my first jumping incident! :o


Put in some of Grumpy's favorite flakes this evening... nothing. The little blue hermits made their usual mad dash to the front of the tank to try and snatch something up - but the little firefish was nowhere to be seen. I have seen a number of threads dedicated to disappearing fish, where large pods are usually blamed, but Grumpy was so full of life... I couldn't believe he was gone - so I looked in the back. There he was, hunkered down under the pump in chamber 3. So, power off, top off, everything out of chamber 3, catch him/her, reassemble it all again... UGH!


As a few of you have already dealt with jumpers, what devices do you use to stop this from happening? I'm off to search the forums, but if you have good advice (preferably w/photos) it would be appreciated!

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Still haven't decided exactly what to do about keeping Grumpy out of chamber 3, but I am leaning toward black corrugated cord organizer. I have some laying around somewhere - now if I could just find it.


I went to the candy store both yesterday and today (and possibly tomorrow as well...) and have some new inhabitants in the little reef. Yesterday I added a nice little brown and white tube worm as well as a single peppermint shrimp. The tube worm was fully extended the entire 30 minute trip home - in the bag! I placed him in a little crag on the left side of the tank with a small pebble on the backside of his tube to keep him from becoming dislodged. When fully extended, his gills are about 2" in diameter.


Today, I drove down to the not-so-local coral specialty place and picked up a nice green striped shroom rock with 8 polyps as well as a $12 30+ polyp frag of eagle eyes with a bonus purple shroom on it. Just did a WC, so the tank is a bit cloudy - I'll post some new photos in awhile.


I'm also thinking that the beautiful branching Turbinaria is going to have to go. It was a bit of an impulse purchase - I had gone looking for the green shrooms I bought today or a decent deal on some Acans. As nice and as colorful as it is, it is just the wrong scale for this tank I think. I think its just a bit too big, a bit too bulky, and I just can't find a place in my little reef where it looks natural at all. So, a trade-in might be in order, and hence another trip to the candy store tomorrow! I'll post some new pics as soon as the water clears up.

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New tube worm...



Eagle (sleepy) eyes...



Closeup of the Turbinaria that is probably going back...



And the new FTS...


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New tube worm...



Eagle (sleepy) eyes...



Closeup of the Turbinaria that is probably going back...



And the new FTS...


I am a fellow 12g nanocuber! Your tank is beautiful!! Love it man.

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Thanks for the comments. I did trade the Turbinaria - I got a pretty nice piece of fluorescent green Caulastrea with 14 heads. It's a much better scale for the tank and I like the form much better. I'll post some pics this evening - now I'm off to grade 300 finals...

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  • 2 weeks later...

A photo intensive update...


So, as noted earlier, I traded the Turbinaria for a fluorescent green Caulastrea. It currently has 14 heads, but two are in the process of splitting. I made a hole in the piece of live rock in the front right and superglued him in there - I think both the coral and the placement look much improved over the Turbinaria - that thing was just too massive.





The next new coral I got was a green striped mushroom rock. There are 8 shrooms on it currently, but one is moving and has a tendril coming off of the base that has not let go yet - I think I'll sever that little piece and have 9. They are still not quite as open as they were in the LFS - mushrooms seem to take a few weeks to achieve full extension for me - can anyone confirm that they get the same thing? I also picked up a small yellow non-photosynthetic gorgonian from a local reefer. The color and form of this gorgonian are both stunning. I have only had it in the tank for a 4 or 5 days, and have yet to see full polyp extension. I have started feeding it a phyto blend, but I think th epolyps are large enough for zoo. On a positive note - my live zoo population has skyrocketed in the 4-5 days since I tried to feed this guy. The pods mush be gobbling the phyto, so it turns out I have a live zooplankton population. If any of you want to increase your pod population, I suggest adding a bit of phyto to your water - the pods will be crazy in a few days. Anyone have a mandarin that want to rent out???


Shrooms and gorgonian.



I've also finally managed to get a few photos of Grumpy the firefish. He/she hangs out in the cave most of the time. Lately, though, it's been getting a bit more comfortable in the tank and hangs out in the reef a bit more. It's cave is quite, well - cavernous... it's pretty comfy in there. In any case, got a funny picture of Grumpy peeking out to see if hte coast is clear...



And a pretty decent shot of him/her hanging over the reef...



I have not had another jumping incident, however, I took precautions to not have another. I had some spare wire protector/organizer laying around from ferret-proofing the living room. This is the larger sized black corrugated stuff. I just cut a piece to length and put it on the back divider. It nearly reaches the bottom side of the hood, so hopefully Grumpy will stay put!


Woops - forgot the requisite FTS


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A couple quick snaps - before cleaning the tank today the yellow gorgonian had nearly full polyp extension - during the day photoperiod! The guy I got the gorgo from had a bit of red cyano in his tank, you can still see a bit on the gorgonian. I lightly scrubbed it with a soft bristle toothbrush today, but there is still some on there.







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  • 4 months later...

I haven't updated this thread in awhile, and alot has happened and will be happening soon.


Lost a huge portion of my 'fire and ice' zoa colony (don't know if that is exactly what it is or not...) from pox. It is starting to mount a comeback, though. The yellow gorgonian is still hanging on, but I have it in my frag tank right now, as it requires TREMENDOUS care and feeding to keep alive. I've added a 'meteor shower' favites, green palm cloves (which are spectacular when fully extended), and a small green paly colony that has already started spreading. The brain is doing well, and everyone is happy and growing nicely. The requisite FTS...



6/10/09 FTS


I have just today added 5 sps frags under my pc lighting. Hold on... my led supplies get here tomorrow, so by this weekend there will be PLENTY of light for these new additions. I will be running 6 cool whites and 5 royal blues on separate drivers, but the same power supply - don't care about dawn/dusk right now - may want it later though. Will post a step-by-step of the LED build in super gory detail with parts numbers, suppliers, and cost breakdowns, and one million stepwise photos. There are some great DIY's out there, in fact that is where I got my ideas from - but to enable ANYONE to be able to do this retro (which I think that they can), I just think more detail in the form of photos might do the trick.


SPS added today: ORA 'pearlberry', ORA 'red planet', awesomely cool mystery coral (photo below), a pink birds nest, and a really nice dark green acropora. Pictures to follow soon. Here's a shot of the mystery coral - know what it is?



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