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tlombardo

Tony's Tonga Tank - Update

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Mr. Microscope

If the polyps are constantly moving around (preferably in all directions), then flow is adequate. Polyp retraction is an indicator that the coral is not happy. This can be for many reasons including flow.

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BeardedReeferLLC

I don't understand sps all that well either, But I've seen enough starter threads to know that sps usually don't do all that well in the beginning months in a new tank regardless of parameters (0-8months). There will always be times in a newbies first few months where water quality and what not will go sideways and the sps will not last. Not until you really get a grasp on your systems needs and quarks sps will be a waste of money until then. This hobby isn't for people that rush and to get TOTM overnight.

 

But good luck with your SPS n00b.

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reefernanoman

Sps a a pain but I think it is possible to get them to survive in a new system. Saltcube (outside the fact he's a beginner) what reasons are there that, as long as the cycle is complete, he cannot add them as first additions?

I don't mean to be rude, but what did you say? Sorry.

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tlombardo

If the polyps are constantly moving around (preferably in all directions), then flow is adequate. Polyp retraction is an indicator that the coral is not happy. This can be for many reasons including flow.

Thanks I seem to be getting more polyp extension from the acro now that I moved it to the middle of my sand bed (from where they were in the corner before) where there is more light and probably more flow. The birds nest was fully extended in both but seems to be getting more movement there as well.

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Sunar357

Acros can be a pain in the tail on any age tank. Montis, in my experience, are pretty hardy though and should be fine. Never owned a birdsnest.

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tlombardo

Well I will be as on top of this tank as possible then. All of this talk has made me extra paranoid haha. I check the water level in the back compartment constantly and every time the ato turns on I watch the tube to make sure it is actually pumping ha. It is good and bad that my tank sits right next to my computer at home because I can easily observe it but I find myself constantly checking and re checking things.

 

Right now the things I am staying on top of are:

 

watching the ato like a hawk because it doesn't have my full confidence yet

weekly water changes

turkey baster to the rocks occasionally

a light stirring of small portions of sand occasionally

testing for alk and mag starting later today (and calcium Wednesday when my new kit arrives since I can't find the one I had already)

replacing filter floss whenever it starts to look too dark or flow through it slows ( I err on the side of replacing too often right now probably)

cleaning of the media in the fuge column

 

besides that I just check temp frequently but my RKL is set to hold it at 79.5 and it does a good job at that. Except when my house got down to 68 yesterday the heater had trouble keeping up and it dropped to 79.3 for a little while I was gone. I just turned the heater up a bit and that got the tank back to 79.5 just fine.

 

Let me know if there is anything I am missing. Or if there is any easily over-looked mistake that you or someone else has made in the past that I might want to watch out for. I have read a bunch obviously but people tend not to write about their mistakes and more info is always better.

 

Thanks,

Tony

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tlombardo

Well I thought I would check in for a progress report. The sps are still doing fine as the tank has been pretty stable. I did actually lose the ricordea though :closedeyes:. Found an aiptasia on the rock it was on and broke it apart to remove that section as I couldnt just get to the aiptasia. The mushroom ended up detaching and it didn't make it through the reattachment process. There was a second diatom bloom that hit fairly hard and clouded up the water slightly but that is dying down now.

 

I haven't picked up any other corals yet as I just haven't had time but right now I am wondering where to place the monti cap. I am considering flow and light but also which will be shaded below it. any suggestions? thinking of 2/3s of the way up on the left side of the left structure. or most of the way up on the inside right of the right structure. Let me know!

 

Tony

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tlombardo

Time for another update. It's been over a month since the cycle and things still seem to be happy. There is some definite growth on the birdsnest which is easy to notice because each of the two branches now has two or three bumps poking out. The acro has probably grown some too but it is probably less and is harder to discern because it was already very bumpy. The other day I picked up some more zoas, a branching hammer, and a mushroom.

 

Those are doing well with the exception of the mushroom. I am now the official killer of mushrooms. To be fair, the small rock that this one came on also had aiptasia on it, and it did not make it through the reattachment process. I am going to have to re-evaluate things as I don't enjoy killing coral :closedeyes: . The first step in this process was me buying a QT setup. A local was selling their large system off and I picked up a 10 gal tank, 50w heater, simple LED light, and a small filter for 30 bucks. I think this will allow me to deal with incoming corals including those that have pests in a less radical way in the future.

 

I never took any great pics of the hammer and zoas but I'll do a photo dump of everything so you can see the new stuff and see some growth. Unfortunately this won't be for a while as I am going on vacation until next Sunday. Since the lights, heater, and ato have been consistent so far I am hoping that I can come home to a nice happy tank. I did everything needed to get the tank set up for me to leave it for a while (ato reservoir floss switch etc). I'll have roommates dosing when needed and monitoring the tank for disaster control. They don't know anything so I just gave them a short list of things to check on.

 

That's it for now and hopefully I'll have a good update for everyone when I get back.

 

Tony

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tlombardo

Well it's been quite a while since I have updated my build thread so here goes. The tank has been running for several months now and things have been fairly smooth. With the exception of a roommate accidentally dislodging the ATO tube while I was on vacation it has been catastrophe free. I have slowly accumulated a variety of coral from the LFS, locals, and online resulting where I am now. Besides the ricordea losses I mentioned before I lost some of the sps from the ato incident mentioned before. I still have two birdsnest in there including the original one. Besides that I have two different plugs with ricordea on them, a rock with mushrooms, one type of zoa on two diff plugs(and another on a different one), a branching hammer, gold torch(came like this with one head), orange frogspawn, and 5 small acan frags.

 

I never attached anything to the rock work because i wanted to wait until I had most of my coral to determine where I wanted things. recently I decided I wanted to get rid of the rock piece on the right side to go for a more minimal look (and avoid having to buy more coral or wait longer for things to grow to cover the rocks haha). I'm not sure what else I want to get before I just let it all grow but suggestions are encouraged! Also as I will be mounting things soon advice there is welcome also.

 

 

Here it is in its current state(with a sneaky bangaii cardinalfish acting all :ninja:)

 

IMAG0202.jpg

 

 

Tony

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Mr. Microscope

Nice looking livestock! Just be careful not to put that torch too close to anything including the other euphyllia. Looking great! I'm sure that cardinal is very happy with all the places to hide.

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tlombardo

Thanks! I will have to factor that in when deciding where everything goes. the cardinal does seem to enjoy the rockwork but is also not really that shy anymore. Most of the time he's out and about. Might need something more than just the glue i have to stick the bases of the euphyllia to the rock.

 

PS your tank makes me want a nem although I think i will have to wait a while until i upgrade or something. Yours looks great!

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TwiceBanned

I see you're in atlanta. What LFS do you like around here? Good luck with the weather over the next few days. I'm really hoping I keep power way up here on the north side.

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Legendary Corals

Well it's been quite a while since I have updated my build thread so here goes. The tank has been running for several months now and things have been fairly smooth. With the exception of a roommate accidentally dislodging the ATO tube while I was on vacation it has been catastrophe free. I have slowly accumulated a variety of coral from the LFS, locals, and online resulting where I am now. Besides the ricordea losses I mentioned before I lost some of the sps from the ato incident mentioned before. I still have two birdsnest in there including the original one. Besides that I have two different plugs with ricordea on them, a rock with mushrooms, one type of zoa on two diff plugs(and another on a different one), a branching hammer, gold torch(came like this with one head), orange frogspawn, and 5 small acan frags.

 

I never attached anything to the rock work because i wanted to wait until I had most of my coral to determine where I wanted things. recently I decided I wanted to get rid of the rock piece on the right side to go for a more minimal look (and avoid having to buy more coral or wait longer for things to grow to cover the rocks haha). I'm not sure what else I want to get before I just let it all grow but suggestions are encouraged! Also as I will be mounting things soon advice there is welcome also.

 

 

Here it is in its current state(with a sneaky bangaii cardinalfish acting all :ninja:)

 

IMAG0202.jpg

 

 

Tony

Great looking scape! I like how you glued the smaller pieces together to make one big tonga rock show piece. The idea never even crossed my mind... Very innovative (pun not intended from the tank. :D )

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tlombardo

I see you're in atlanta. What LFS do you like around here? Good luck with the weather over the next few days. I'm really hoping I keep power way up here on the north side.

I am closest to the fish store so that is my default for getting water since i dont have my own rodi.That's where i got the orange frogspawn just a few days ago. besides that I have been to pure reef and nemo aquarium (the one by stone mountain). one of the birdsnest is from pure reef and to gold torch is from nemo. They are all pretty similarly priced in my opinion and you usually get a better deal buying from a local who has trimmed frags which is where i got a good bit of my livestock.

 

Yeah i hadn't really heard of the possible outages until today so am hoping for the same here. If not I will be scrambling tomorrow.

 

 

Great looking scape! I like how you glued the smaller pieces together to make one big tonga rock show piece. The idea never even crossed my mind... Very innovative (pun not intended from the tank. :D )

 

Ha thanks! it's tough to get too complex of shapes in one piece and I saw something similar elsewhere that inspired it. can't wait for the rocks to color up a bit so the glue doesnt show as much.

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Mr. Microscope

The cardinal does seem to enjoy the rockwork but is also not really that shy anymore. Most of the time he's out and about.

That's why. It's kinda a funny thing that when fish have lots of places to hide, they're more likely to swim out in the open. I guess it's because they know they have a safe place to go if need be.

Might need something more than just the glue i have to stick the bases of the euphyllia to the rock.

I swear by this stuff:

http://premiumaquatics.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PA&Product_Code=ROWA-EP-G&Category_Code=

 

and here's how to use it.

coral > super glue > 2 part epoxy (nice sized ball depending on how large the coral is) > superglue > rock

 

Apply the glue/epoxy sandwich to the coral, then gently, but firmly push it one your display rock.

 

One thing I really like about the DD putty is that it doesn't have a smell like some other epoxies. My wife can't stand the smell of that stuff that comes as one stick and has a core.

PS your tank makes me want a nem although I think i will have to wait a while until i upgrade or something. Yours looks great!

Thanks! They're really neat animals. I'd definitely wait for your upgrade though. They can be unpredictable.

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hey

That's why. It's kinda a funny thing that when fish have lots of places to hide, they're more likely to swim out in the open. I guess it's because they know they have a safe place to go if need be.

I swear by this stuff:

http://premiumaquatics.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PA&Product_Code=ROWA-EP-G&Category_Code=

 

and here's how to use it.

coral > super glue > 2 part epoxy (nice sized ball depending on how large the coral is) > superglue > rock

 

Apply the glue/epoxy sandwich to the coral, then gently, but firmly push it one your display rock.

 

One thing I really like about the DD putty is that it doesn't have a smell like some other epoxies. My wife can't stand the smell of that stuff that comes as one stick and has a core.

Thanks! They're really neat animals. I'd definitely wait for your upgrade though. They can be unpredictable.

 

lol I really love JB waterweld. It does have a smell but i feel like its performance makes up for it. I use the same epoxy superglue sammich technique but I can get JB from lowes whereas I would end up payin for shipping for the other.

 

Only other issue I can think of is that if you don't use gloves you will have white blotches on your hands for days unless you exfoliate like a champ. Does that epoxy cause any crazy skimmer issues? JB does that aswell which is a bit irritating.

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CustomAquariumBx

Looks great!! The jb waterweld works wonders! Used it to hold my rockscape together!

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Mr. Microscope

Only other issue I can think of is that if you don't use gloves you will have white blotches on your hands for days unless you exfoliate like a champ. Does that epoxy cause any crazy skimmer issues? JB does that aswell which is a bit irritating.

No skimmer issues, and no hand issues. The only downfall with DD is that if you play with it under water, it will cloud a little.
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tlombardo

Thanks for the input everyone! I used whatever tube epoxy I found at the LFS to put this scape together but I will explore my options now since I used it all up.

 

The cardinal did tend to hide and only barely come out for food for a few weeks. but now he splits his time between among the rocks and out in the open. He also used to stop eating when the turkey baster entered the tank now he knows it means food which makes things easier!

 

Now I just have to figure out my skimming situation. Currently have the IM skimmer becuase it fits in the fuge compartment but it is too loud for me to sleep with it on and still microbubbles a ton after having it for a while. I am fine with only skimming during the day except I haven't found a solution for the ato adding in a little extra fresh when it turns on. and the microbubbles bother me so I only run it after feedings for a few hours usually because thats when it seems to do its best work. I will be looking around for solutions but if you have any let me know.

 

 

Tony

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RK_tek

The tonga branches resemble mangrove roots which I really like.

 

And I use JB water weld too bc I am at lowes or HD about 3x a week and it's cheap

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tlombardo

The tonga branches resemble mangrove roots which I really like.

 

And I use JB water weld too bc I am at lowes or HD about 3x a week and it's cheap

 

Thanks that was the look I was going for with this. Now I just have to mount some of the corals up there.

 

Also it seems like I might have made it through this storm. The news says a lot of people lost power but I'm still good here and hope that we are through the worst of it. Either way at the very least I will be ordering a battery pump to have just in case in the future.

 

Tony

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RK_tek

Glad you made it through the storm. A friend of mine is in school there and at the first hint of another storm he headed home. I had my battery backup ready to keep pumps running, but I have no way of controlling temps.

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tlombardo

I just graduated last May and besides one other time I haven't seen anything like it here in the last 5 years. I've never lost power in that time so I didn't even think to have that sort of stuff on hand. Definitely got lucky this time and am going to invest at least a little to be on the safer side. Battery pumps seem pretty nice for the money do you know of any heating options? or is that too energy demanding to accomplish without a generator?

 

Tony

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tlombardo

Well I have a battery pump and epoxy in the mail now so I will be more prepared for outages and able to finally attach some coral this week. I went with the stuff i had used before because its simple and has worked for me before with the scaping. And the stuff you recommended Mr. Microscope didn't have amazon prime free two day shipping and who can resist that :P

 

In the meantime here is a picture of the porcelain crab (which I forgot to mention in my update) chilling on the torch. Sorry for the cell phone pics being taken at the moment. I have a dslr but last time I read a lot about everything i needed to do for white balance, aperture, etc. and played around for like 2 hours and all i got was purplish pics instead of blue pics. Maybe i will give it a shot again soon.

 

IMAG0211.jpg

 

Edit: Also one of my roommates asked if I am gonna get anything else that moves(not corals) and it got me thinking. I haven't thought much about another fish and personally this hobby is more about coral for me so fish(and adding more fish) add some value but are almost more of a liability haha. Considering a cleaner shrimp though because when it does come to "things that move" I like inverts a lot.

 

Tony

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tlombardo

I have an update and an important question!

 

I mounted the 3 euphyllia and am wondering about the flow. Now that they are mounted I had to move the power head to the other side because the hammer wasn't getting any flow with the power head right beside it. It works better on the right but the level of movement is still less than i have had the past few months with them on the sand bed. I moved the power head last night after lights out and came home to all of them more fully extended than usual. Are they more comfortable? or extending because of a lack of flow? Video linked below let me know since I have no experience here. I don't think I can get better distributed flow from what I have in there right now so if this is not enough I either have to upgrade the power head or the pump in the back chamber. Really considering an mp10 if that is the case because the footprint of the current power head is larger than I care for.

 

 

Also as you can see there have been additions. I went to the LFS recently because I decided I wanted a cleaner shrimp and the little guy is doing well so far. I also picked up a few pieces of SPS up since they were on sale and I want to see how they do since the 2 birds nests have done well so far. Lastly I got a sun coral that you can see hiding on the left because I have liked these for a long time. I already target feed my acans and am hoping to train the sun coral to open in the evening for feedings eventually so I can enjoy after work.

 

Let me know what you think about the flow as I need to get my hands wet now moving the frag rack

 

Thanks!

Tony

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