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CMac07's IM Nuvo Micro 30 Reef - New Duncan and Nerite Eggs!


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Hello fellow nano-reefers!


Updated FTS 7/6/13:



Backstory and Introduction:


Ive been lurking on the forums for the past few months, and have dreamed of having a reef for a very long time. The girlfriend just finished a semester at her University and moved in a few weeks ago, and in the midst of the chaos that is unpacking ones lifelong collection of trinkets and clothes and the like, we decided that it would be a great time to dive into the saltwater hobby. After all, the house was already being rearranged, so making room for a tank and stand would be a snap. Weve both had success at keeping various freshwater fish, and knowing that between my rotating shiftwork and her incredible patience and dedication, we could very realistically keep a saltwater reef. We currently rent, but are looking at purchasing in a year or so, and as such decided to keep this first tank in the nano size range. My background in chemistry (organic specialty, but why not delve into water chemistry?) gives me some more confidence in attempting to balance a complicated system in such a small environment.


We ordered most of the hardware from BRS (just a few things from inTank, great guys!), and we couldnt have been happier with the service. After only 6 exasperating days, I came home from day shift to find a front porch full of brand new aquarium supplies. I thoroughly meant to take pictures to document this momentous occasion, but we were so excited to get started that we just opened everything up like a couple of kids on Christmas morning.

We set up the tank in the garage for a leak test with just plain ol faucet water (which in my locale is actually pretty good water). Here is the lady filling the tank. Excuse the recycling that I still need to take out in the background. She looks so ashamed




After a successful day and a half long leak test, we decided to test the rock for phosphate leach. I had read quite a few threads on various forums complaining of a phosphate problem from these rocks. I was fully prepared to let them steep in their own juices for a few weeks before putting the tank together, and accordingly we mixed up our very first batch of saltwater. After running the RO/DI system for what seemed like two eternities, we had enough water to cover the rock. After checking that base line phosphates for the water were indeed at 0 ppm (or as close as you can reasonably read a phosphate test Every one Ive done in all of my lab days have been nearly impossible without a colorimeter), we let the rock sit in the bin (held at 1.024 SG salinity and 80° F) for two days and checked again. I read a 0.5 ppm and the girlfriend read between 0.25 and 0.5 ppm. There may be some leach from the rock, but Im not ready to jump to any conclusions. At any rate, we agreed that a 0.25 - 0.5 ppm per 48 hour period phosphate issue wasnt really an issue at all, and may have just been being caused by die-off on the rocks since they didnt really look all that dry when they got here. Macro algae in the refugium (and if I can sell it, maybe a few splashes in the display!), SeaGel, and Purigen, should be more than capable of keeping that in check; if not, we can surely figure something else out. On with the tank assembly!


I found out the hard way that this hobby can consume you. Or at least your electronics. After carefully assembling the rockwork, spreading the sand in a carefully thought out 1 bed, and pumping in 20-something gallons of freshly made (the day before) saltwater, we came up about 4 gallons short. I fired up the RO/DI and ran the water into a five gallon bucket I bought for salt mixing and top-off water, put in the powerhead and heater, then added salt. I was running a bit late for my evening shift, so I went to change into my work clothes. My work shirts have breast pockets, and when I wear them, I always keep my iPhone in the left one. They also have buttons to secure whatever happens to be inside those pockets. Guess what I didnt do? As I bent over to take the heater and powerhead out, I saw my phone leap from the pocket and take a beautifully executed swan dive directly into the bucket. Screaming profanities, I snatched it from the water and ran inside, drying off the phone with paper towels the best that I could. The girlfriend knew to put it in rice and had already grabbed it from the cupboard. Im sad to report that even after 36 hours of drying, there seems to be no life left in the old girl. I will always remember her as my first saltwater tank casualty


As a result of this tragedy, I lost a great deal of pictures from the setup of the tank. I had aimed to post some pictures of the tank dry with the scape, then with sand, then as we were filling, but those pictures have faded to black along with the rest of the un-backed-up goodness on CMacs iPhone 5 Instead, all I have to share are a few FTSs, a few angle shots, a few side shots, and a shot of the DIY mounting solution for the AI Sol. I went to the hardware store and rigged up a few fasteners and shelf brackets, had the lady paint the brackets black, then mounted them upside down and hung the light fixture from the end of the brackets. A day later it seems structurally sound, so Im ready to call this a success for now. Unfortunately, the girlfriends iPhone (I now have taken to calling it the survivor) really accentuates the blues of the light. I ordered a Neptune Apex controller with the VDM and AI cable for light control, but until then the lights are just on 100% for white, blue, and royal blue channels. Enjoy!





From the Left Side



A Better View of the Scape



From the Right Side






FTS w/ Brackets



Im going to try to keep this updated as often as possible as the build progresses, but were going on vacation next Monday to Hawaii, so I dont see much happening in the next week and a half or so. But stay tuned! Good things are sure to come. Or at least so I hope!







- Innovative Marine Nuvo Micro 30 gallon AIO w/ stock pump

- Ecotech Vortech MP10w

- PICO Evo-Mag powerhead (for salt mixing)

- Eheim Jager 100W Heater (2, one for the tank, one for mixing)

- JBJ Nano-Glo LED Fuge Light

- inTank Fuge Basket

- inTank Media Basket

- AquaIllumination Sol Super Blue LED lighting system, black

- BRS 4 Stage Value Plus RO/DI system 75 GPD


And the software (reefware??):

- Refractometer

- Water change kit (sink siphon thing)

- Red Sea Coral Pro Salt

- Salifert NH3, NO2-, NO3-, PO43-, and pH Test Kits

- 10 lbs Fiji Dry Rock

- 20 lbs Pukani Dry Rock

- 20 lbs Fiji Pink Arag-Alive! Sand

- Assorted other little accessories (net, mag cleaner, you know, etc)






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Looks like you're off to a great start! Either you've been saving your lunch money or you've got some deep pockets. But this hobby is among one of the most addicting and financially draining ones I've ever gotten into. (Aside from cars and guns).


Welcome to the money pit. Eagerly looking forward to this tank's progress. :)


Good luck!

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Deleted User 4

That mount, ahah looks pretty cool from far away standpoint. From the 1st picture you posted, looks like some kind of ancient fox ears on top the tank. :)


I know, I sound crazy retarded aha.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey everyone!

Thanks for the warm welcome! We just got back from Hawaii a few days ago. What a beautiful place! But on to the stuff you folks care about: the tank.


After we returned from the trip, we checked water parameters and saw the tail end of the cycle; there was only a slight trace of nitrite (0.05 ppm) and a bit of nitrate (~2 ppm) with no ammonia and no phosphates. We had a slight surprise as well: our first diatom bloom!






My apologies for the poor pictures, but it was just difficult to get a good view of the bloom. At any rate, we decided to dose the biospira and get ready for a preliminary clean-up crew to get an idea of how big we should go. Unfortunately, our only LFS within 300 miles is a PETCO, so we ventured out hesitantly


Fortunately, our PETCO has a few highly knowledgeable employees that work the aquarium department. Although the tanks werent pristine, they were considerably better than we had expected. The snail selection was rather small, however, so we ended up only getting 3 turban snails. I ordered the rest of the clean-up crew from the folks over at reefcleaners.org. I highly recommend them, as their service is personable and excellent, with free shipping on the quick-crews. I went with the quick-crew designed for the 26 gallon hex as it most fit the dimensions of our tank, added a pod starter kit to hopefully begin building a sustainable pod population in the tank / fuge area, and a ball of chaeto for the fuge.


I thought long and hard about it, and although some may disagree, I felt that with such a substantial clean-up crew, good levels, a nice bloom of algae, and other factors, it was acceptable to add our first fish to give the snails something to pick-up after. His name is Chester, and he was sold to us as a regular Ocellaris clownfish. His coloration isnt the traditional variety though, and I think he may be something a bit special. Im no biologist however, so any help would be appreciated!




There are plans for a fire shrimp soon, just kind of waiting for things to settle out so he will have a lovely home to move into.

Thanks for tuning in!


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Great start and great equipment!

Thanks! Although I have to say, I didn't think an ATO would really be that necessary, I am now really wishing that I had one. With these IM 30s, you only have about two days worth of evaporation (even with LEDs and the glass on!) before the sump level gets so low that the return pump starts drawing air. Micro-bubble City this morning!


Anybody have any recommendations for an ATO? I was looking at the Tunze Osmolator Nano. Maybe a DIY setup with a breakout box for the Neptune? Thanks!


Edit: Forgot to mention that from where the reservoir would be, I'd have about 4-4.5 feet to climb, so the pump will have to be able to cope with that.

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Ive tried them all, DIY, Avast, JBJ, Tunze, and HANDS DOWN the tunze nano is my favorite. I love it.. I had the full blown Tunze ATO too but prefer the nano. The included pump can really get that height too if that a concern, my currently pumps up about 5 feet no problem!

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Thanks jarob! I think i may wait a bit on it, but Tunze Nano it is. On to more pressing matters... As this tank approaches its one monthiversary, we're thinking about branching out and getting a coral. I've done tons of research and have limited it to a few already, but does anyone have a coral that they absolutely recommend to get you acquainted with coral care? We were looking at the obvious choices (zoas, mushrooms, etc), but we really like the look of GSPs and think they would fit better into the planned final (as final as aquascape ever is, hahaha!). Any reason we can't just get right after that?


Thanks everyone! This is such an exciting hobby! I've never been more excited to get home from work! It's like getting to peek into a whole new world without ever leaving your living room!

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Hey all!


When I checked the tank this morning, the water was considerably more cloudy. I think it may be due to the increased bioload brought on by the extra clean-up crew, but I also think I may be overfeeding. It's more of a yellow/green tinge. I hadn't been using my media yet, so I went ahead and threw in both the SeaGel and the Purigen. I also am mixing up some water for a decent sized (10 gallon) change. Any other recommendations? I have a few corals coming next week (nothing crazy, just a colony of zoas, a ricordea, and a small mat of GSP all from Aquascapers), so I'd like to have things tip top by then.




Edit: Can't post pics from work (web filters...), but I will later on if it will help. Thanks again!

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your tank is looking awesome cmac! :)

As for the cloudy water, do a water change, you could still be experiencing a small cycle, but nothing a water change can solve. ;)

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Hey all!


I think that cloudy water was just some microalgae, maybe from overfeeding, as it went away after a couple hefty (10 gallon) water changes. As I said earlier, I went ahead and started using Purigen and SeaGel just as some added protection. The corals came in a couple days ago, and I meant to get pics up earlier but I've been working overnights so it's been a little difficult. Anyhow, I threw the new FTS up at the top, but here are some close-ups and a nice blue+royal shot to see the luminescence. All of these guys are from Aquascapers.com. There's a little mat of Gables GSPs, about 12 heads of Platinum Aqua Vice Zoas, the same of Ultra Miami Vice Zoas, 3 mushies (1 neon green zebra and two purple chocolate w/ blue dots), and a tangerine w/ blue Ricordea.They took great care of me, and they even threw in a couple extra rics! Gables GSPs are fascinatingly metallic green, and the vice zoas are crazy iridescent, even in normal daylight lighting (~10000 K if I had to guess?).


We also ended up finding a beautiful Fire Shrimp that we couldn't say no to, so everyone please welcome Crimson to the party! On to the coral!


Gables GSP:



Hopefully that stuff will encrust the whole top of the rockwork, then I'll do my best to keep it just to that (good luck, right?)


Platinum Aqua Vice Zoas:


Mushrooms + Ricordea:


Ultra Miami Vice Zoas (bonus shot of Chester and Crimson!):


FTS (Actinic):


Thanks for tuning in!


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey nano-reefers!


I have been crazy busy with work lately, so I haven't had much of a chance to update here (excuses, excuses...). We recently made a trip up to Billings, MT for a wedding a week ago and looked into an LFS up there. We found a nice Duncanops for a great price that was already budding a ton of new heads, so we went ahead and bought it! No pictures right now (I'm at work... Grrr), but I'll be sure to post them shortly. In other tank news, we moved the mushrooms to the back where they seem to be much happier, one ricordea detached and made its way a bit further into the rockwork, so we let him stay where he wanted, we moved the Miami Vice zoas up the rockwork a bit, and the Gables GSP has been acting up lately... We have found hermits on it multiple times and have moved the offending hermits to another tank (should eventually become a planted tank someday!), but today it looked even worse. No polyp extension at all, and now what seems to be its messenterial fillaments have began to come out of a few of the polyps. I'm more concerned that every other piece of coral seems happier than ever, but the so-called "weeds" of my tank are apparently dying. Any ideas? Parameters are great (see my signature) as of this morning. The only thing I've changed recently is my feeding; now that we have a decent amount of coral, we started feeding phytoplankton once to twice per week. It perked the zoas right up, but maybe the GSP ate too much and is just now finishing digestion?




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Some new pics! The Duncan is being shy today since we fed him a few days ago, so this isn't his normal extension, but just look at all of the new heads coming in!




I also updated the FTS at the top, but here are some more detailed views of the mushies in the back and the nicely thriving rics.








Overall, the tank is coming along nicely. Coraline algae is beginning to take over the rock surface, and the chaeto in back is home to an insane amount of copepods, and even more are in the display. The back divider seems to be alive! We just put in an order through liveaquaria before the holiday, so it should arrive Tuesday with some nice SPS. A blue bottlebrush acropora, a purple monti cap, a green open brain, and another addition that I will keep a surprise until it arrives!


Thanks for following along!

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Forgot to mention, we have a bunch of white spots showing up on the rocks, and after further research, they seem to be Nerite snail eggs! I doubt these guys will make it long, but I can't wait to see what happens!




I'll also put this in the ID forum, but I found a Nerite with what appears to be a polyp growing on its shell. No clue what it is, so I moved it to the QT, but it looks a lot like the little bumps on the stalk of the Duncan that appear to be new heads coming out. All help is appreciated! Best pic I could get:




See the close-up of the Duncan to see what I mean. Thanks all!

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