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tlombardo

Tony's Tonga Tank - Update

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tlombardo

2/28/14 Update

see page 4

 

2/11/2014 update

Well it has been quite a long time since my last update and a good bit has changed. I have added a decent amount of coral and a fish and am in the middle of deciding where to mount everything. You can read more detail in my update post.

 

IMAG0202.jpg

 

11/1/2013 Update:

Well the tank has been cycled for at least a month now (guessing) and things seem to be going well. The monti cap, acro, birdsnest, and zoas from my first purchase are all doing well so far. I made another purchase of some more zoas and a branching hammer with a few small heads. I leave for vacation today for a while so wish me luck

 

DSC_0215.jpg

 

 

Hello everyone! I am about to embark on the journey of nano - reefing and am too excited about it to even wait until my stuff is delivered before writing this. I hope this thread can serve to tell you about myself and my tank as it progresses, and help me to figure out what I am doing (ha). I've broken it out into segments below, enjoy.

 

About me:

 

I am a recent college grad with absolutely no experience of any kind in this hobby. I grew up in Florida and have always been interested in the ocean and saltwater tanks but never had the means to pursue it previously. Now that I have a relatively permanent location and stable income I have done a lot of research over the last few weeks to make some initial decisions that you will see here!

 

Equipment:

 

Innovative Marine Nuvo 16 Black

Cobalt MJ 900 (to replace stock pump)

75w Ehaim Jager Heater

Reefbreeders value fixture (to replace stock lights)

Koralia nano 425

Aquaticlife mini skimmer 115 Doesn't fit - haven't found a replacement yet

JBJ ATO Controller (I think I can use the stock pump for this or the aqualifter I got)

Reef Keeper Lite with 2 PC4s, temp probe, and ph probe

Eheim automatic feeder

Intank media baskets

Spinstreams

fuge light from intank site

 

I'll be running filter floss, chemipure, and purigen in the media baskets

 

Rock, sand, and salt:

10lbs ocean direct live sand that I have left over from the first 20 lb bag

After my bryopsis/GHA infestation and restart this is where I ended up: 30lbs dry tonga branch from BRS mixed between their single branch and multibranch type. I ordered a lot because I heard it is very dense and want a lot to work with.

 

Livestock plans: 1 maybe 2 fish

Currently have a Bangaii Cardinal and a cleaner shrimp - not sure if a second fish will happen or not

I would love to pick up a really active swimmer that will enjoy the tonga branch scape

 

CUC is randomly picked up from different LFS around here. Unfortunately they dont have the variety John does but I couldnt be home to wait for the package when i was needing the CUC.

 

Corals:

 

I hope to have a good mixed reef involving some sps up top, a good assortment of euphyllia, and zoas or mushrooms covering some of the branches if possible

 

Any and all feedback is much appreciated, thanks!

 

-Tony

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Anna576

The only 100% reef safe urchin I know of is the long spine, and the spines get so long I'm guessing it wouldn't fit to well in the Nuvo 16. The other thing is I've heard that when a sea cucumber dies it releases a sort of toxin or poison that can really ruin a smaller tank (less water to dilute) so you may want to avoid that. Your fish choices sound great. You can't really go wrong with a goby/shrimp pair. They're so cool to watch.

 

Most people here would tell you to avoid hermits. They tend to go after your other snails in search of shells, and the ones that get a little larger can be rather annoying when trying to place corals... I got the snail only CUC from reefcleaners and then just bought 3 blue legs from my LFS. They stay really small and I haven't had issues with them going after snails (yet).

 

The hydor does the same thing as the spin stream, it just doesn't look as "sleek" in my opinion, but it is considerably cheaper.

 

I'm looking forward to your build, it sounds like you've done a lot of thinking putting this together!

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tlombardo

Thanks for the answers on some of the future inverts! I got the feeling that most people here are not huge fans of hermits but am hoping if I give it extra shells and get the least aggressive kind it may be ok.

 

I will have to make the decision of money vs aesthetics at some point and the spin streams will probably win haha but I will hold off on that for now.

 

I just bought a small group of dead barnacles that I may include in the scape.I thought it could be interesting and may help with fish sleeping/hiding spots if my minimal scape doesn't have enough.

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tlombardo

Well, about 7 boxes and 100000 packing peanuts later I now have all of my stuff! I went to the LFS yesterday to pick up the water I needed and a piece of live rock to seed the dry rock to complete the setup. I was up late last night breaking and gluing rocks, hanging the light, and doing everything else needed to start up. I took some pics along the way and there will be more to come once the sand cloud clears (if it ever does).

 

The glorious moment after I finished picking up 500 packing peanuts that got on the floor when I pulled this out of the larger box it came in:

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/random/aquarium/IMG_20130805_212655_208.jpg.html'>IMG_20130805_212655_208.jpg

 

A box full of rocks and various equipment:(ooohhhh, ahhhhh)

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/random/aquarium/IMG_20130805_214828_594.jpg.html'>IMG_20130805_214828_594.jpg

 

My reefbreeders value LED before hanging:

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/random/aquarium/IMG_20130806_211440_834.jpg.html'>IMG_20130806_211440_834.jpg

 

Dry tank:

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/random/aquarium/IMG_20130805_215608_210.jpg.html'>IMG_20130805_215608_210.jpg

 

The rockscape that I created before placing in the tank(will give opinions on this after)

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/random/aquarium/IMG_20130808_242603_033.jpg.html'>IMG_20130808_242603_033.jpg

 

So now that I showed you a bunch of poor quality cell phone pics I'm gonna ramble a little more/ask questions.

 

1. Before placing my scape into the tank I realized it is pretty tall. I put it in anyways and I was right, it ends right at the surface of the water. I don't know if I like this and may pull it out tonight to chip away an inch or so of the top piece. How do you feel about this?

 

2. All of the rock shown in the scape is dry. I replaced the small piece under the arch with live rock to seed the tank. How soon should this take affect - when should I add my ammonia source?

 

3. I'm just running filter floss right now to remove some of the finer substrate and help with settling of sand. I won't start complaining about the cloud until at least two days :P . If there is anything else I should do let me know.

 

4. For those who have the value LED fixture: what do you run your dimmers at and what are you keeping under them? I have mine on but very low right now for the cycle I hope that is fine.

 

5. If I think of anything else I will ninja edit this :ninja:

 

Thanks for reading my wall of pics/text there will hopefully be more later

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Snow_Phoenix

Tuxedo urchins are reef safe as well. I have one in my tank, and so far it does a great job of cleaning my glass and rocks from algae. But it'll also snack on coralline algae as well, so if you're attached to your 'purple' rocks, don't get one.

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tlombardo

Hello everyone I just thought I would give a little status update. I took my first real FTS a few days ago with my completed rock scape which I am finally happy with after much reworking. Right now there is a baseball sized piece of LR for seeding I just took it out for the FTS. I added ammonia so the tank hit 4 a few days ago and it has declined a little bit as nitrites and nitrates have started to go up. I hope I didn't do this to early

 

as of 8/10/2013

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/IMG_20130811_201401_330.jpg.html'>IMG_20130811_201401_330.jpg

 

 

I have some more sand that I cam considering adding as my sandbed is only about an inch at the moment is this a good idea? I know I need more for sand dwellers I'm just not sure if I want that or not.

 

I'm just waiting and watching the parameters. I'm also waiting for some algae when should I expect that?

 

Thanks everyone

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tlombardo

Well there isn't too much going on with the tank right now as it is still cycling but I did find a pretty exciting hitch hiker. Besides the bristle worm or 2 I have seen I noticed some other tentacles poking out of my LR the other day and when shining a flashlight on my tank after the lights had been off for a while I discovered this guy

 

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/IMG_20130820_191625_367.jpg.html'>IMG_20130820_191625_367.jpg

 

Besides that there is nothing new. The tank cycled through some ammonia but isn't moving through the second spike very quickly so I still have some time to wait.

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ps2cho

I am running my RB value fixture at 25% W 35% B with a frogspawn and zoa colony and they look happy. I will ramp it up slowly over the next few weeks and see how they do. I just want to make sure they are settled in fully before I basically overclock them ha.

 

Did you glue the rock together and if so, what did you use?

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tlombardo

Yeah that's what I have heard people running them at in the beginning but I never really hear of people putting them much past 50-60% ever.

 

I did glue a lot of the rock together whereever you can see the "coralline" color stuff that is epoxy. I got a stick from the LFS here and honestly don't remember what brand it was from a quick google search it looks like is was aquastik. It works decently well but isn't going to just stick everything together. I tried to make my whole left side one piece the first time around (which was like 6 pieces) and when I took it out to change it some parts came off. It works well as intended though and once it is in the tank I don't have any worries about it holding together. I would imagine there may be products that work better but this was my first experience with epoxy so I wouldn't know

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rdck99

Do you have your Aquaticlife Mini Skimmer 115 installed yet? I'd imagine not, but I'll be curious to see how you like...the IM skimmer has been a little turd.

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tlombardo

Actually I tried to put it in the other day just for fun and it doesn't fit by like .1 inch :unsure:

 

I think I read somewhere a while back someone recommending it for the IM16 and just went with it without checking the dimensions so this one is going up on the classifieds soon. I'm in the market for a new one and trying to figure out if the reef octopus ns80 fits. I have heard about peoples problems with the IM Skimmer but sometimes it just takes a while to break in I think.

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rdck99

I'm damn near month 3 and it's yet to "break-in" fully...I hear the Tunze 9002 (with a few mods) or the AquaC Remora HOB are nice ones.

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tlombardo

Ok 3 months is a lot longer than the week or two periods I was reading about ha. I will look into those I just can't ignore that price tag on the reef octopus if it does indeed fit

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Apexdv

Nice setup - I'll be following along to watch the growth and progression of your reef. I noticed on your profile you're in Atlanta - before Seattle I was there, 5-years to the day (Midtown). If you're ever curious about certain corals, fish, etc and happen to be downtown near the GA Aquarium then pop on in and grab one of their biologists as they always seem eager to help out. One even gave me a private tour of the place - the catwalk over the large display tank (those whale sharks were awesome!) and even into their QT area. Again ... looking forward to watching the nano grow! :)

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tlombardo

Nice setup - I'll be following along to watch the growth and progression of your reef. I noticed on your profile you're in Atlanta - before Seattle I was there, 5-years to the day (Midtown). If you're ever curious about certain corals, fish, etc and happen to be downtown near the GA Aquarium then pop on in and grab one of their biologists as they always seem eager to help out. One even gave me a private tour of the place - the catwalk over the large display tank (those whale sharks were awesome!) and even into their QT area. Again ... looking forward to watching the nano grow! :)

 

That's great I was actually at the aquarium a few weeks ago but I didn't get the VIP tour! I've been following your build thread and love the attention to detail and aesthetics you've got going on so far it all looks very smooth so keep it up! your Meester Shreemp has solidified my intentions of adding one of my own as soon as the tank is ready :rolleyes:

 

In other tank news that I forgot to mention before: I was looking for a controller for my tank as the timer I have right now only fits my lights and with my frequent short travels I want to be able to turn off the pumps while an auto feeder turns on. Also my house AC doesn't really know what it's doing so I think connecting my heater to the controller with a temp probe should help. Anyways I was looking for an RKL with extra PC4 but ended up buying an RKL, RKE, 2XPC4, temp probe, PH probe, SL1, a bus hub, and all the cables for like 50 dollars more than I was expecting to pay for the RKL, temp probe, and 2XPC4 :happydance:

 

That should be shipping today now I just have to decide what to use and what to sell! I still haven't looked into the differences between lite and elite but I'm pretty sure lite does everything I want in a controller (and I could probably sell the elite for more). I am definitely keeping both PC4s and the temp probe. Once I get that I will be able to set it up and finally put all the cords in their final location rather than all over my tank like they are right now :closedeyes:

 

I also finally sold the extra two lights that came with the tank which made it well worth buying the fullyequipped version for 350 rather than just the tank for 250. The aquarium world has been good to me recently... now it just needs to finish cycling.

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Apexdv

Very nice - I still haven't decided between the Apex, RK or Reef Angel so be sure to let us know what you think of it.

 

PS - tip: get a RODI unit when you can. Overall, it's far less expensive than purchasing the water and gives you access to H2O anytime you need it. Just connected mine today and love it.

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rdck99

You'll like the RKL and gear. The setup is a bit tricky - you'll definitely want to check out the extended manual available on their website, but once it's setup, everything works like a charm and in my opinion, definitely worth the money saved over the Apex.

 

Even for our small 16g tanks, I recently decided it was worth it to buy a RO/DI system (should arrive tomorrow), after I tested the RO/DI from two LFS...one measured 20+ TDS, the other 100+!!! No thank you...I'll make my own.

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tlombardo

Hmm yeah my water is like 50 cents per gallon is that what you pay? The same reason an rodi would be good makes it bad. My landlord pays my water bill and although that would be great Idk how happy he would be to learn what I was doing and how it wastes water too ha. I'm excited for the rkl I will definitely check out the manual online thanks for letting me know about it.

 

On another note I just got back from dinner/drinks and shined a light on my tank to reveal a 3+ inch bristle worm crawling around. It was pretty creepy/cool. At least to the amateur reefer ha.

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rdck99

Hmm yeah my water is like 50 cents per gallon is that what you pay? The same reason an rodi would be good makes it bad. My landlord pays my water bill and although that would be great Idk how happy he would be to learn what I was doing and how it wastes water too ha. I'm excited for the rkl I will definitely check out the manual online thanks for letting me know about it.

 

On another note I just got back from dinner/drinks and shined a light on my tank to reveal a 3+ inch bristle worm crawling around. It was pretty creepy/cool. At least to the amateur reefer ha.

I've been paying $0.50/gallon for RO/DI and mixing my own saltwater. The premixed saltwater at the LFS goes for $1.00/gallon.

 

Very cool. The bristle worms that hitched in on my LR were definitely the most interesting hitchhikers I encountered. I've now got more than 10, with stretching 6+ inches! I've began plucking a few from the tank here and there to keep the population in check.

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tlombardo

Well unfortunately it seems I picked up quite a bit of bryopsis from the live rock I am seeding with... Thanks LFS. Since I was just completing the cycle and didn't have anything in here yet I am leaning towards draining it and doing whatever I have to to annihilate the bryopsis before starting over. I'm not yet sure what this is but am hoping there is something that I can soak it in for a few days that will do the trick. I won't be acting on this until tomorrow night so I will be figuring out the best solution until then.

 

If it doesn't seem like I can guarantee complete eradication I might, just might, order new dry rock and just start from absolutely nothing (after cleaning the tank). I would rather not do this as I put in a lot of work on my rock scape but would rather not be fighting/ worrying about this problem for months or years while this tank is running.

 

Edit: did some searching and it seems like bleach soaking will be the start. I may also do a bit of muriatic acid after that then maybe seed with dr tims one and only since I can't trust LR anymore.

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Mr. Microscope

Following! Any updates?

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tlombardo

Yep! I actually just updated my OP to reflect recent changes. Just to recap here: I recently decided to start over with new rock due to the infestation during my first cycle from LFS seed rock. I ordered a bunch of BRS dry tonga rock which should hopefully ship out this week. I actually ordered on Wednesday and specified for thin branches (becuase their normal branches are several inches thick which wouldnt work for my vision), and they were kind enough to ask me if I wanted to wait until a shipment today to get the right rock for me rather than just send out what they had. I will be washing with acid and lanthanum chloride to protect against phosphate leaching then I will start on the scape.

 

My vision for the scape is a mangrove root sort of look except using tonga rock branches. I will be using a bunch of epoxy to put together all the pieces from BRS in this way. I hope that this will give me a lot of opportunities to place coral and a great environment for fish swimming.

 

I am open to suggestions on corals (credit to Mr. Microscope for getting me into euphyllia), and fish that would enjoy swimming through the branches. I will be posting pics as soon as the box shows up at my door.

 

Tony

 

Edit: I figured I would throw in an image. The scape should look somewhat like this but different in the way that it will be rocks not roots grown together

 

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/awlomba/media/mangrove.jpg.html'>mangrove.jpg

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jedimasterben

Just keep in mind that branching Tonga rock is extremely poor with regards to biofiltration. It is ultra dense and non-porous.

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tlombardo

Just keep in mind that branching Tonga rock is extremely poor with regards to biofiltration. It is ultra dense and non-porous.

 

I have been thinking of putting some of the extra reefcleaners base rock I have towards the back/under the branches of the tank where you wont be able to see it for that very reason. It is also looking like if I want a skimmer in this tank I need to get two pumps and put it in the middle compartment which leaves me with an extra fuge column. I could fill that up with some of the biological filtration products like seachem matrix or something. Those are my initial plans is there anything else you can think of?

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tlombardo

Thought I would give a quick update:

 

BRS shipped off the tonga branch after waiting to get the right sizes for me and it should be here Thursday! I am planning on using acid then lanthanum chloride just to make sure there is no phosphate leaching since it is dry rock. Unless someone tells me: "there is absolutely 100% no way ever that this tonga branch would do that." then I wouldn't do it.

 

I cleaned out the old setup and it is ready for a fresh start

DSC_0205.jpg

 

anxiously awaiting Thursday to see what BRS sent me.

 

Tony

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