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neverrain

Neverrain's "First Tank Journal" - Nuvo 16

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neverrain

Current Pic (4/10/13)

akVPqAm.jpg

 

Tank:

Innovative Marine - Nuvo 16

 

Water Flow:

Stock 211gph Pump

SpinStreams x2

Koralia 425gph Powerhead

 

Filtration:

Stock IM Media Baskets with included filters

Purigen and Chemi-Pure on the way! Will add filter floss to the third compartment as well.

 

Lighting:

8 Watt SkkyeLight LED @ 14k x3

 

Heating:

Hagen Fluval 50 Watt E-Series

 

Livestock:

CUC (8 Dwarf Ceriths, 4 Nassarius, 5 Florida Ceriths, 4 Nerites)

Firefish Goby

Royal Gramma

 

Here is my story:

 

My entire life I have wanted a saltwater tank. I've spent years oogling them whenever passing by, and reading whatever information I found, I am finally ready to begin my first saltwater tank. Having owned nothing more than my dad's crappy goldfish aquarium when I was a kid, I have finally purchased my own tank to pursue a long wished for desire of wanting to be a "reefer".

 

I will never pretend to be an expert in this hobby. I will be relying on a mix of what I've read, questions I have asked, and (soon to be) personal experience. It took a while to convince my girlfriend that it was time. Being that we live together, the space was hers also. But now, I have finally found a tank that I feel is perfect for apartment living, but most importantly, one that she feels looks good enough to display in our living room. Low and behold my favorite purchase this year:

 

yDpW20y.jpg

(I claim no credit for taking this photograph. Well, I did take it, just not with my own camera)

 

The tank itself is pleasing to the eye, well designed, and looks like a piece of art in any room it is set up in. Just imagine how great it looks with water, rocks, sand, and other goodies.

 

So the day finally came where I placed my order using various gift cards I had collected, as well as the remainder from my own wallet. Well, I bought it online, so the only thing that actually came from my wallet was the number I used to pay over the phone. The kind lady at Drs. Foster & Smith told me that expedited shipping on this item was hovering at the $180 range (which is half the cost of this tank), so I would need to wait for boring ground shipping to Seattle all the way from the Midwest (Wisconsin iirc). After waiting 5-9 business days, it had finally arrived. Too excited to take photographs of the opening of the tank, it sat boxed in my living room for close to 40 days, while I was too busy to open it. Well, I also had no where to put it, and my girlfriend tends to frown when I leave shredded cardboard lying around the house, large plastic bags, and peeled sticky paper shrewn about. Our cocker spaniel tends to eat things on the floor as well, so I waited patiently, biding my time...

 

I also had the problem of needing to find a stand. I went through 3 purchases online (unsturdy, untrustworthy construction, and general crappiness) before I realized that I would need to pound the pavement and find something within budget, that matched the furniture in the living room, and I felt stood up to my tests of support. Being that every piece of wood in our living room was from IKEA, I made the 35 minute drive down to Renton and proceeded on my quest. Not expecting much, I headed to the restaurant to grab some Swedish meatballs and fries covered in that gravy and collected my thoughts. After consuming pure starch, protein, and fat, I poured through the tables, stands and desks before I walked into the 214 sq. ft. "living space" display and found this:

 

hemnes--drawer-chest__0152704_PE311015_S

(I claim no credit for taking this photograph. Well, I did take it, just not with my own camera)

 

I walked up to it and gave it the initial shake that many had failed before it. It didn't move. OK. Good sign. It appeared sturdier than 95% of the furniture I had seen at IKEA. It was made of solid wood. I was impressed. None of that particle board crap for me. I cleared the top of cheap decorations and gave it my final test. I jumped up onto it, sat down and proceeded to move around vigorously, shaking it every which way I could. It didn't even budge. If this thing could support 6'5" and 220 pound of man, it could surely support my 16 gallon Nuvo. Lastly, it came in Black-Brown, the color of my entertainment center. I was sold.

 

I drive it home, pulled it out of it's box and proceeded to construct this piece of furniture that would soon support one of my life long dreams. Some 4 hours later (easily the most complicated piece of furniture I have ever seen from IKEA) it was complete. I dragged it to it's final resting place and turned in for the night.

 

The next morning I awoke like a 6 year old on Christmas. I had order 22 pounds of live rock from LiveAquaria (solid company btw) and a bag of Aragamx and it was due to arrive today. I ran out into the living room and tore the box apart that housed my new tank. Peeled off all the plastic, wiped down the base, broke out the vinegar and distilled water and put my hand into the tank to clean in preparation for set up. I clean the left side, then turned to the right and saw this:

 

Gx5L3Ha.jpg

 

I was heart broken. Why did I not inspect the tank when I received it? Who knows. I placed a call to DFS and explained the situation and they agreed to send another tank out that day to replace mine (solid customer service) at no cost to me whatsoever. Pressing on.

 

Sure enough, my live rock did arrive just after my call:

 

SLMDuJq.jpg

 

Here is a shot of me opening the box:

 

Xs26tJx.jpg

 

Styrofoam (sp?) carton out of the box:

 

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Lid off:

 

N1q9Hms.jpg

 

Bag open and newspaper removed:

 

EC0s9Ey.jpg

 

Here is the rock all laid out, minus one massive piece:

 

TXnWGu2.jpg

 

And one massive 12 pound piece (yes I weighed it) that was too big to fit in the tank:

 

xSvktax.jpg

 

I took a hammer and screwdrive to it and broke it down into several smaller pieces and this is what remained, which unfortunately ended up in the trash:

 

oyF44M4.jpg

 

Since I had a cracked tank, I couldn't very well leave this rock lying around. Since I already received my salt (Red Sea Coral Pro), heater, powerhead, extra pump, and second heater, I had to improvise. A quick trip to Home Depot netted me a couple 5 gallon buckets, which I would use to begin the curing process of the rock. So combining the salt with this excessive amount of distilled water, for which I needed to buy out two separate Fred Meyers to obtain:

 

4aTsv3W.jpg

 

I have created this dirty bucket of smelly rock (Yes, I cleaned the loose stuff from the top. The white thing is cheese cloth with pieces of the rock):

 

TvqFTu4.jpg

 

Fast forward about 24 hours to my first water test:

 

s.g.: 1.025

PH: 7.8

Ammonia: 8.0+ (the chart doesn't go as high as the color in the vial)

Nitrites: .50

Nitrates: 0

Temp: roughly 80f

 

The water was ugly and smelled roughly of a dirty aquarium. Not too bad, but my girlfriend walked into the living room and said it smelled like mold. She would later mention that I failed to warn her of the smell. I remember no such thing.

 

Day 2 came around and I performed my second water test:

 

s.g.: 1.026

PH: 7.9

Ammonia: 8.0+ (the chart doesn't go as high as the color in the vial)

Nitrites: 1.5

Nitrates: 0

Temp: roughly 80f

 

I posted online about doing a partial water change since there was no filtration at all in the bucket aside from the rock. I have read elsewhere that you are not supposed to change the water during the curing process either. It was recommended that I do a 50% water change, so I did because of the level of ammonia. I also brought the salinity back to 1.025.

 

Day 3. I preformed a test in the morning after the water change had a chance to circulate for a bit.

 

s.g.: 1.028 (starting to get evaporation, likely from the temp in the water)

PH: 7.8

Ammonia: 8.0+ (still)

Nitrites: 5.0 (Nitrites are going up, good things are starting to happen)

Nitrates: 0

Temp: 80f

 

Not more that one hour after something wonderful happened. I was sitting at my computer annoying my girlfriend with that clicking of my mechanical keyboard (DasKeyboard ftw) when I heard a knock on the door. I sprung up, peeped through the hole and saw nothing. I opened the door, looked down, and saw a massive box sitting in front of my door from DFS. OMG. The new tank. I had checked tracking the night before and it wasn't scheduled until next Tuesday. FedEx delivered the tank on a Saturday. A total of 4 days since I called DFS. Amazing.

 

So I tore apart the box again, peeled off all the plastic, wiped down the base, and visually inspected the tank like a hawk. No cracks, or suspect looking seals. I smiled. I moved the tank with it's stand into the kitchen and placed it gently onto the counter softer than most people place their child into a stroller. I filled the tank with 4 bucket fulls of warm water to perform a leak test. Since my girl and I had dinner plans that night, it would be allowed about 6 hours to sit. It didn't leave my mind the entire time.

 

After we got home, I ran straight to the tank. No leaks! I was set. I drained the water using a valve tube thing I made (looks similar to a beer bong without the funnel) and drained all the water from the tank. I cleaned it out with some vinegar, washed it out and moved it to the new dresser I had built for it in the living room. It looked great. Pictures really do not do this tank justice.

 

I cleaned out my 2 5 gallon buckets and filled them with 4 gallons of water and salt each and set them mixing. While that happened, i wieghed out about 5 pounds of sand and poured it into the tank:

 

VJiZVgv.jpg

 

Yes, yes, I know:

 

veba.jpg

 

I did this because I didn't want the rock placed directly onto the glass at the bottom of the tank. A small layer of sand also helps create a base for the rock. I added my live rock. Following this I added about another 7 pounds building up between a 1 and 1.5 inch base. My apologies for not having pictures of this process as my hands were gross and I didn't want to handle a $700 camera at this point.

 

So I added water and created this beautiful Santa Monica beach water aquascape. Except I think mine is more transparent that Los Angeles beaches (Yes I can comment, I spent the first 30 years of my life living in LA, I only recently moved to Seattle):

 

KPSTFDh.jpg

6lNdMKb.jpg

 

I checked on it every 15 minutes. I was excited. I broke out the turkey baster I bought and blew sand off the rock that had settled. I didn't leave it alone for 3 hours. Then I went to sleep.

 

This morning I woke up and ran to it. The sand had settled. It looked WAY cleaner than the bucket, and much better than last night (this picture taken 3/25/13):

 

nCwpQot.jpg

 

I made a couple tunnels and a couple caves. I have no idea what livestock I wanted to go with, so I wanted to be prepared.

 

I performed the first water test in the tank about 20 hours after setting it up:

 

s.g.: 1.024

PH: 7.0

Ammonia: 3.0 (finally much better)

Nitrites: 5.0+ (higher than my chart reads)

Nitrates: about 5.0 (things are happening)

Temp: 76f (I have since bumped it to 78)

 

So this is where I am right now (as of this post). I will use the above picture as a monthly reference date so I can monitor the progress of things. I will obviously be updating much more frequently, but this is my for myself to look back on. If anyone made it this far, thank you for reading and welcome to my journal. I'm happy to have you.

 

I have two concerns at this point:

 

1. The PH level doesn't seem to be moving past 8. I don't know if this is a curing process thing or I need to chemically boost it.

2. If anyone other Nuvo 16 owners check this out, I am curious how full you keep the back middle section of your tank.

 

I will be updating daily at this point with water readings as well (and likely questions). Thanks for checking it out!

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Roshan8768

Slick looking tank man, looks really good. I wouldn't worry about the pH too much, your still cycling. I've had my tank for a year and it has always had a pH of around 7.8, and everything does reasonably well in my tank. Good luck with build, looks great so far!

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Luigiestrada

i too like to live dangerously lmao!!!!!

 

when the part came about the tank being broken, my eyes opened up really big like WTF! hahaha

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eitallent

What a wonderful adventure. I loved reading your post. It is very well written. Thanks for all the pictures it was great. I would not worry about pH yet. My 12 g nano runs about 7.8 too. I do regular small water changes which helps pH and I add a smidgen of kalk to the top off water just enough to raise pH to 8.0. Also, I found that flow in a small tank is critical and tricky! Try to avoid dead spots as I noticed algae and other undesirables tend to grow in low flow!

 

Good luck!!

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neverrain

Thanks for comments regarding the story. I figured if I was gonna do this I would at least TRY to make it interesting to read for others. Glad some liked it.

 

I'll try not to worry about PH for the time being. The tank is still cycling, but it is holding steady at 7.8-7.9. If it bothers me in the future, i will add a chemical to boost it a bit.

 

Something weird that I noticed today though. The water in the middle compartment in the back was randomly 2-3 inches lower that it was the day before and I cannot figure out where that water went. Maybe the rock and sand is absorbing it? My s.g. was actually 1.023 today which is the lowest reading I have gotten yet, so I mixed up about a half gallon of water (which read to 1.028) and added about half of that to the back of the tank, so it was roughly 1/4 gallon lower than yesterday. Weird.

 

Today's updates:

 

So I began to notice this white film gathering on the inside of the tank so I ran over to PetSmart and purchased this fantastic cleaning brush for the inside of the tank. Well not really. It's pretty much a kitchen scrubbing sponge glued onto a stick. If I thought I could make it cheaper I would have, but the thing was only $6, so I picked it up. It actually worked pretty well. And yes, I rinsed it off with distilled water before I put it in the tank. Aside from that, just another round of watching and waiting.

 

Today's water readings:

 

s.g.: 1.023 (Prior to adding in extra saltwater. I plan to check it again in a couple hours.)

PH: 7.9

Ammonia: .75 (My lowest reading yet, the process continues)

Nitrites: 5.0+ (My chart doesn't go higher than this, but Nitrites are clearly spiking.)

Nitrates: under 5.0 (Higher reading than yesterday, but noticeably different color than yesterday as well, they are going up.)

 

If anyone has comments on where they think the water went, please add them. I'm curious about other opinions. I'm also going to snap a couple pictures of things I'm curious about. Thanks for reading and for the well wishes!

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neverrain

So here are a couple things I have been watching in the tank, that I am really unsure of what they are. I'll do some more research on it as well.

 

This first one looks like little branches or roots, not really sure if this is growing out of the rock or not:

 

NZafRb0.jpg

 

The second is this cool crystalline looking thing:

 

U9wjfSs.jpg

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neverrain

Just a quick water test update, nothing special to announce:

 

s.g.: 1.025

PH: 7.8

Ammonia: under .25

Nitrites: 5.0+

Nitrates: under 5.0

 

Ammonia should be gone this week. =)

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Hook'Em2006

The water evaporated!! You'll want to top it off with distilled water or Ro/di water. Not saltwater. The water evaporated, leaving the salt behind.

 

Might check into getting your own RO/DI filter from www.bulkreefsupply.com. One less thing you will have to worry about as far as water quality.

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kdxboy

Great write-up so far! I'll be curious to see how your tank develops, I love the look of that Nuvo!

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neverrain

The water evaporated but the salt level didn't change? I'm not noticing salt crust anywhere. Is that normal?

 

Thanks kdx! I can't wait!

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Spirofucci

Great write up and welcome to NR!

 

Not sure if you have a sponge or filter pad in the back. Make sure you clean/change it often. It it obstructs the flow in anyway you will have fluctuations in water levels in the back chambers.

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neverrain

Great write up and welcome to NR!

 

Not sure if you have a sponge or filter pad in the back. Make sure you clean/change it often. It it obstructs the flow in anyway you will have fluctuations in water levels in the back chambers.

 

The only filtration I am using are the stock filter baskets. When they need to be changed, I will look into using something else, but I'm not sure if those are considered sponges or not.

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Hook'Em2006

When the water evaporates from the tank, the salt stays in the water column. Over time, you will notice "salt creep" on the sides of your tank exposed to air. You need to "top off" the tank daily with fresh water to keep everything in check. You can check into auto topoff systems. Some can be had for pretty cheap from www.autotopoff.com.

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neverrain

Then why is my water still testing at 1.025? Serious question, not trying to be rude.

 

Edit - Is the idea that the water fills back up and grabs the extra salt?

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MeepNand

Salt creep is calcuim, not salt. Evaporation will only make noticeable differences over a few days, unless you are running fans over the aquarium to cool it.

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chironerd21

I dont know if anyone asked this question yet... but what are you using to measure the salinity? Is it a cheap plastic hydrometer or a refractometer?

 

If its a hydrometer you might be getting false readings. I used a plastic one and it can never accurately measure my salinity. Spent the cash on a refractometer always get constant correct readings each time.

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nicholc2

I dont know if anyone asked this question yet... but what are you using to measure the salinity? Is it a cheap plastic hydrometer or a refractometer?

 

If its a hydrometer you might be getting false readings. I used a plastic one and it can never accurately measure my salinity. Spent the cash on a refractometer always get constant correct readings each time.

+1 I have both as I used the plastic kind before. Now I have the D-D refractometer and it's great. So easy to use and accurate. It correctly reads RO at zero and Pinpoint at 35.

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neverrain

Sorry, on my phone so I can't quote (easily).

 

I chose not to skimp on salt measurement and bought a refractometer. Also, the water level doesn't appear to have dropped much in the last couple days compared to the first day where it was very noticeable.

 

I'm going to do my water test after I hop in the shower, so ill see where it reads. I just looked at it and I'm not noticing any creep at the moment either.

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Nickereef

Nice start so far man...

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neverrain

Nice start so far man...

 

Thanks!

 

Just did my water test:

 

s.g.: 1.026

PH: 7.9

Ammonia: under .25

Nitrite: ~5.0

Nitrate: under 5.0

 

I also added some distilled water to the tank to bump the back level up a bit.

 

And to the person who recommended an RO/DI unit, I live in an apartment so I can't really mess with the plumbing. Trust me, I would love to have that as an option.

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nicholc2

If you don't want to mess with plumbing and your tap water isn't too bad to begin with, you can use this. I use it as my house already has a whole house filtration system. I say if it's ok to begin with because I lived at one time with well water and it literally used a whole canister of media with one partial on a 10G tank! Now that was crappy water!

 

http://www.marinedepot.com/Aquarium_Pharmaceuticals_Tap_Water_Filter_Deionization_Only_Tap_Water_Filter_Systems-Aquarium_Pharmaceuticals_API_MARS_Fishcare-AP4111-FIRODI-vi.html

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Nickereef

I guess you could connect your RO/DI unit to sink or if you have a outlet for dishwasher, laundrymachine without messing with the plumping... Just get the right supplies from the hardware store.

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neverrain

If you don't want to mess with plumbing and your tap water isn't too bad to begin with, you can use this. I use it as my house already has a whole house filtration system. I say if it's ok to begin with because I lived at one time with well water and it literally used a whole canister of media with one partial on a 10G tank! Now that was crappy water!

 

http://www.marinedepot.com/Aquarium_Pharmaceuticals_Tap_Water_Filter_Deionization_Only_Tap_Water_Filter_Systems-Aquarium_Pharmaceuticals_API_MARS_Fishcare-AP4111-FIRODI-vi.html

 

That's an idea. I'll look into this thanks. I'm not sure how "good" my tap water is though. Guess I can check.

 

I guess you could connect your RO/DI unit to sink or if you have a outlet for dishwasher, laundrymachine without messing with the plumping... Just get the right supplies from the hardware store.

 

Unfortunately all of those are used and we only have a single bathroom. Something that hooks up to the tap in the sink would be ideal.

 

Also, I just noticed where all the "salt creep" is collecting. The two back chambers to either side of the middle has a bunch of crusty white stuff collecting in the bottom. Guess I found it.

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neverrain

Just adding more water results. I'm not sure if ammonia is gone yet, the color is very close to the 0ppm, but not exact. It has been at this color for a couple days now, so I don't know if trace amounts are still present or not. Guess time will tell.

 

s.g.: 1026

PH: 7.9

Ammonia: under .25

Nitrites: 5.0

Nitrates: under 5.0

Temp ~78

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Mr. Microscope

Good start! Have fun finding all the little hitchhikers that come with your live rock. It's one of my favorite parts. When I first started this hobby, I spent most of my time in the ID thread trying to figure out what I had going on in there.

 

:welcome: to Nano-Reef!

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