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Pod Your Reef

20 Gallon Starter


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Current full tank 11/13/15




Current Livestock:


Blue/Green Chromis - 02/19/15

Yellow Clown Goby - 02/26/15

Diamond Goby - 03/07/15

Oss. Clownfish -



Pulsing Xenia

Green Star Polyps




















Hitchhiker stars

GBTA - 05/2015 thru 02/2016, 3 trips into mp10.


Maxima Clam - 9/19/15 thru 11/26/15



I'd like to finally introduce my tank. I've been reading this and many other forums plus youtube like an obsession. This build started in a 33 gallon tote in the garage with a 100w heater, hydor 240gph circulation fan, 24 lbs live rock, and 15lbs Caribsea aragonite. The 20 gallon tall tank bounced around the house to find a suitable location while the "perfect" stand was sought.


Once the cabinet was found, solid wood, and reinforced it was time to move indoors. Quite the adventure to "dig" the sand out of tote. A simple aquascape with 4 rocks on the bottom of the tank and 4 rocks forming arches give the height and depth while allowing nice flow. A 24" fluval marine/reef led sets over a glass top. A aquaclear 50 was modified to a surface skimmer refugium, my first post on this forum.


A couple Microstars were the only hitchhikers to survive an amphipod corpus was found. The tank cycled, 0.0 ammonia, 0.0 nitrites, 10 ppm nitrates. A ball of chaeto was added to the refugium, nitrates read 0.


The diatoms bloomed, the hair algea danced on the rock and I introduced my first saltwater creature. A 2 hour drip acclimation and the little astrea snail took off like rocket destroying all the hair algea in its little path and leaving a trail of poop in its wake.

With a smile like that how can you not like snails.


Other related threads:


Hijacked - IM Nuvo 8



Tank Swap



First fragging experience



BTA v. MP10



Quarantine Tank




Road to recovery - Zoa Pox?


Bristle or Fireworm?


Not Sundial Snail




  • Like 5
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I'm definitely thinking minimum cuc, odds are snail only. I'm a bigger fan of the corals. Really thinking about waiting 2 weeks to see what happens with snail and how of a job it does. Than single Blue/green chromis from about month 2-6. A watchman (sandsifting) gobi about month 4 and possibility a little colony of zoas at that point. With the end game being trading in the chromis for a pair of Os. Clowns. At the year mark add a bubble tip anemome. I like the colony polys.


Still doing reasearch. Everything I read says reasearch is key. And going SLOW! This is round one of reef for me. I've done freshwater live planted and it was great because of patience.

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Tested tonight.

Salinity 1.023

pH 8.4

Ammonia 0.25ppm

Nitrites 0.0ppm

Nitrates 20 ppm


I know the API kit is said to be inaccurate, but I haven't ordered a red sea kit yet. I do keep a log of my aquarium. Date/time, temp, salinity, test results. Observations. I found my refugium light unplugged. I assume I knocked it out this morning. Going to monitor my nitrates over the next few days, I got "warm" mixed water ready for a change if needed. I expected a rise in ammonia after the astrea snail and the poop trail it left behind. I pulled some of it today with a turkey baster. And "blew" some of it I to the water column hoping it'll settle into the sand bed or better yet get into the filter for extraction. Want it to gradually build so my system will overcome the load and balance.

  • Like 1
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Over night the nitrates fell between 10 and 20 ppm. Helps to light your chaeto. And don't drop the test tube on the kitchen floor... it'll break. Not a good way to start Monday morning while packing lunch and making breakfast.

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My first tank was a 20H with a AC70. Good stuff.


You probably don't have any ammonia. Those API ammonia kits never read 0 for saltwater. You have nitrates but no nitrites so you are probably good to go.

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I'm having the dirty thoughts about coral before fish. The more i read the mudder the subject gets. I'm thinking a single chromis (blue/green) or a couple heads of zoas or couple heads of green star polyps or xenias. Still reading and researching.

  • Like 1
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Happy Friday all,

Thursday is my "investment" day. After verifying parameters off to the lfs with the thought of a couple more cuc. My astrea snail did a fantastic job in the week he was working on the tank, but obviously needed help. After looking around and reading I was pretty set on a cerith, astrea, trochus, or nassarius snail. Being I had an astrea already I wanted diversity so I went with a cerith and nassarius. Both seem to be doing well. The cerith was very inactive during acclimation, set it in the tank and moved a little over night but no real adventure. The nassarius was extremely active during acclimation and I thought as soon as he hit the sand bed he'd burrow. Not the case you'd have thought someone was chasing him. Up the glass to the circulation fan. Made a couple laps and back down the glass to the sand where it hung out next to the live rock. I assume it finally burrowed down.

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I may have deliberately failed to mention the other newest resident of my 20h, which I'm thinking about naming the "regret tank". A single blue/green chromis is also inhabiting my tank. Hopefully for next couple months, it's a nice looking active spaz fish. I'm not planning any addition for the next week. But the following week I'm think about a xenia and gsp coral. My lfs has a nice colony of both which he's willing to frag for me and attach to a Half dollar size rock to hopefully contain these corals


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All seems right... the chromis was feed ground "fish crack" a couple 3 times today with a great appetite. The nassarius snail took on 1/4 of the protein fish crack flake. Burrowed. And is cruising my algea rocks. The cerith has disappeared behind the LR. And Hank, the astrea snail, has moved to the middle of the tank and us destroying hair algea leaving poop everywhere! Hank is a PIG

Crazy cerith... disappears for hours and the next time you look up it's center on the rock you last saw it on... I feel blind. Last time I looked for it was an hour ago and no where to be found

  • Like 1
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Everyone seems happy the nassarius will escape it's sand burrow and "eat hair algea"? I'm assuming it's catching the small amounts of food the chromis is missing. The cerith is on the move. Sandbed to rock, it's currently hiding but I'm not worried. And good old Hank, has pretty much cleared out the highest rock. I'm hoping he'll start moving down and finish up the clean up.

I failed to check parameters before the Sunday water change, but Monday 24 hours after the change the ammonia was up to 0.5 ppm. Again still with api. But everything else looked 0.0. Tonight I only checked ammonia and it read 0.0. I'm hoping to get on the brs group buy and get some red sea kits coming.

I MISSED HANK'S JUMP! Between the rocks there is a gap. And it's amazing to watch the little snail "bridge" the gap. He's moving downhill. Good thing. I thought I was going to need to bring weedeater in to knock down some algea

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It's another investment day. But only $17 today. The regret tank is finally a reef tank. I got a feather duster shell, with 3 "branches" of pulsing xenias, a blue pimple mushroom, another astrea snail and I couldn't get away from the yellow clown goby. So we're in the drip acclimation stage.


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Everything seems to be settling in nicely. The xenias are open and pulsing not fully extended but look good. The mushroom isn't really thrilled about being tied to a rock. But it's opening and looks awesome under my leds. Better than they did under the metal halide at the LFS. The yellow clown goby has quite the personality, the "natural" environment is similar to the cord and adjustment know of my heater. So he lays there or as pictured close by. He's "perched" on the wall just below the waterlevel. Scared me at first. But he's fine just hanging out...


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Never go to the LFS... you'll come home with an impulse buy. But the zoa colony I said was going to be mine finally came home with me. I only went to get some rubble rock for my mushroom... it wasn't happy about being tied down so I added a glass with rubble rock and will let it attach where it wants

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New frag tray. Pretty exciting. Egg crate and suction cups. Technically, egg crate is ceiling panel for fluorescent lightning. Lowes didn't carry it but home depot did, it's available in a 4 ft x 2 ft and cost $15. Dollar store suction cup package... pretty inexpensive. Id be more than willing to make you one for cost plus shipping. So I'd assume depending on size under $10 you could have one in you mailbox

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Little irritated, with my YCG, I went out and got him some cyclopeze and myris shrimp. Not interested. The chromis and nassarius snail were grateful. Thursday is investment day so I can acclimate Thursday night and get Friday Saturday and Sunday to observe. Then I'm gone for 4 days which my amazing girl takes over resoonsibility. Thursday night before the trip to the LFS and Sunday are parameter check days, sunday is also clesning day and Tuesday is top off day. Routine is key.

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YCG picked at some ground pellets, but I'm confident he spit them back out. I ground up the cyclopeze and myris shrimp and will try a little later. Did a quick clean up. The tank was already 1 gallon low after acclimations. So I topped off the 1 gallon with saltwater because the parameters looked fine. The hydor 240 is clean again

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I'm confident YCG ate this evening. The temp "spiked" today at 80degrees. I have some concerns because the house/room has southern exposure and outside temp was 57 degrees today. I might be saving my $40 weekly allowance for a chiller. The temp is dropping again. But a 2 degree swing could be problem matic. My cerith snail headed to the top of the glass And the pulsing xenias look horrible, but it appears one stalk split.

I'm not convinced but I may have gotten 2 little feather duster hitchhikers or they're more xenias growning. And possibly something else. It's a black and white striped "arm/tenticle/worm" little bit fuzzy...

I believe my mushroom has attached but it'll stay until Thursday now.

I'm thinking about setting up a 5 gallon in the cabinet. I'll fit lengthwise. And use it as a QT tank. Goodwill special and use a 50/50 incandescent. For rumble rock. Maybe grow some pods. Use about 15# live sand. And move the ac 50 down there and get an ac110 for the "display" tank.

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