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dgphelps

dgphelps' 5 gallon Marineland Portrait pico

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dgphelps

Current FTS - April 6, 2015:

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March 27, 2015:

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After the dust settled - February 25, 2015:

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On Day 1 - February 22, 2015:

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I've decided to move the gorilla crab hitch-hiker and some other "pest" livestock to my 3 gallon pico for my son and upgrade that tank to a new 5 gallon. Maintenance is 100% water changes on a regular basis (every 1-2 weeks) and regular feeding. Dosing with Reef Energy A&B and Phyto-Live on a regular basis along with flurry feeding of DIY food.

 

Livestock:

Green and pink star polyps

Scolymia

Goniopora

Zoanthids

Chaeto

Flourishing pod/rock life

 

Equipment:

Marineland Portrait, 5-Gallon

Hydor Centrifical Pump 260GPH - Original Pico Evolution 1000

Hydor 50W Submersible heater

Par38 21w LED E27 base

 

I get the tank and heater tomorrow and will start the build and kick off the content of this thread.

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Livewreck

That's a great idea. You're a good dad!

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dgphelps

That was more difficult than I thought but it ended up working out in the end. The 5 gallon is TALL! I had to play some creative rock work to get the height I wanted with the stability I needed. The new sand is blowing up a storm but that should settle in a day or two.

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brandon429

Would you track the ammonia readings for us? working on proof of cycle control using pics only, factoring in api .25 constants, we'll take api if that's all we have

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dgphelps

Sadly I only have API.

 

Took a test of ammonia and phosphate just now looks like it is registering some ammonia and some phosphate.

 

I plan on doing another 100% wc on both tanks later today or tomorrow. The other tank registered a touch of nitrates and similar ammonia and phosphate readings. That makes sense given this tank got all fresh water and the 3 gallon got a 75/25 new/old mix. This tank had no noticeable nitrates. Neither had nitrites.

 

Oh and I did swish and rinse the rock like crazy during the setup. I also noticed some melting zoanthid polyps which may account for the ammonia. They were damaged.

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brandon429

excellent

 

there really is no source for ammonia which is why this is neat and predictable, search this and see what you think

 

"api marine always shows .25"

 

 

any chance you could post up a test from your verified non ammonia tank

 

B

 

people invented the term mini cycle, saying that live rock dies when you xfer it, but it doesnt, and these .25 readings are why (at least we are checking that here)

 

for one zoanthid to die and no others, or no micro benthic life on the rock, doesnt add up to free ammonia. a tank of fully closed corals and dead benthic life sure would, its toxic!

 

to deal with the constant .25 readings we can see from search results and possibly this tank, the mini cycle was termed, and there are some that say .25 ammonia isn't harmful, but it is when true. nothing will open in the presence of ammonia being pumped from a source so fast that your known bacteria can only digest it down to .25, this implies the leakage is in the order of 3-5 ppm which would prevent anything in the tank from living.


the open gsp indicated no ammonia btw

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dgphelps

Interesting. I always have to ask a second opinion whether it is more yellow or verging on green. Now I know why. Any I can certainly confirm with the photos nothing looks unhappy. Maybe I will do a feeding and change water in both tanks tomorrow since I have it ready. Instead of just changing water now...

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brandon429

see, those samples look the same to me.

 

excellent excellent lesson in this thread, you trust biology, not api for low level reading. pics will indicate issues we can see and call out if needed. this was a zero ammonia production xfer.

 

the sandbed has no source

 

the rocks were xferred fast, nothing died. but its nearly impossible to get used to calling out a test kit, its literally impossible for most.

 

90% would tell you reasons you have raw ammonia and they'll blame it on dead worms in the rock.

 

are there any dead worms lying about? youd have to have really bad luck for 100% of them to die, but not during your massive water changes of 100% which is the same as this tank move. You just crushed the notion of a mini cycle in this thread, gracias for quick feedback.

 

This thread is helpful, and now part of those same api search returns mentioned above and for the very same reasons

 

:)

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brandon429

this is very helpful. im actively linking this thread to other forums where we study, and heftily debate:

 

cycling biology

 

is api right

 

can pictures be used to diagnose anything in reefing

 

what you can do to get, and avoid mini cycles

 

can you predict all aspects of ammonia generation in pico reefing

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dgphelps

Here is a quick tap water (our tap water in the SF Bay Area is very good) test. The opacity is different, the tank water was more opaque but the tap is clearer. That said this looks greener to me. To be truly consistent though I will run one from tank, one from ro/di, and one with fresh salt water mix from ro/di and instant ocean to 1.025 tomorrow and take a photo of the three.

 

Seems clear given how everything is open, even the newer zoanthids that hadn't opened yet. Also noticed lots of collinista snails and a decent sized stomatella happily grazing when I got home.

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brandon429

thanks for your contributions, your pic and documentation quality is well done. this specifically helps others do quick cycle tanks

 

all my tanks are done as yours is, only it involves the trip home from lfs to my tank for the same outcome. not only can you switch rocks among a new and old tank with no cycle, but you can easily bring home cured lr from the pet store and never have a cycle, every time. moving old live sand among tanks can cause a cycle, its the first thing I looked for here in your new 5

 

cycles appear specifically when details show they will, and they dont otherwise, as long as we can account for all higher organisms. a dead wrasse in anyones rock sure might leak a decent .5 but as you can see with nanos and pico reefs, we can control the variables well and do something reliable.

 

 

There is a time where API is helpful, not during cycling. there are many reports of good tests, but there are enough bad ones to constitute the search terms we see, and this thread here. enough to warrant the use of pics and live rock historical details instead. api is useful for indicating fish death or something really big, its not as helpful for low level readings, color interpretation issues are likely at play.

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dgphelps

I also have API tests for high pH, phosphate, nitrite, and nitrate. Given the plan of 100% water changes on a regular basis are there any other tests I should be wary of? I don't plan to need to do many tests once things are on a regular maintenance schedule. Phosphate I was thinking would be useful to see if I need to run anything to clear it out, pH as well?

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brandon429

I truly do not own any test kit other than a swingarm hydro and a thermometer on the end of a stick, I wouldn't know if my own params were bad but judging just off coral health polyp reproduction, veracity of benthic life and coralline all water params are better than the best tests on earth could indicate. If I owned a large reef that couldn't rip start over each week, I'd value these tests

 

Phosphate

Nitrate

Calcium

Mg

Alk

 

Out of principle id never own an ammonia test kit because I spent a decade claiming pics are good enough :)

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dgphelps

Works for me, I hate tests. And I like to look to see if things are happy, active, and growing.

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dgphelps

Several of the zoanthids polyps aren't doing well. Looks like several were damaged when fragged, or during the tank moving. The pods and worms are busy eating the most damaged/decaying ones. Nice to see clean up in progress! Pretty sure I got all the nudibranchs moved to the pest tank and/or taken care of during the quick dip.

 

I'm hoping the healthy polyps do well and grow quickly, I am really liking the colors so far.

 

Going to check in a few hours after lights out to see what's on the night shift. ;)

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brandon429

I'm in the market for led soon im among the last power compact users lol you seem to have a great led balance

 

I'm considering coral compulsion par 38

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dgphelps

I just got my new led today more watts for this taller tank http://www.ebay.com/itm/181593782595?_trksid=p2060778.m2749.l2649&var=480551633045&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

 

The previous one was this http://www.ebay.com/itm/131207506984?_trksid=p2060778.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT and it will go over the 3 gallon.

 

Honestly, so far so good, and much cheaper than the coral compulsions. I bought pendant cords with plugs and when they arrive I will hang them over the tanks and adjust to focus the most light into the tank. The new light really brought up a nice light level from the top to the sandbed. Definitely better for this tall tank than the smaller bulb. I may end up getting another for the small tank at some point too, hard to have too much light.

 

I'm afraid my zoanthids are melting, I basted and a lot of the base basically flew away. Not really prepared to dip for bacterial infection, don't have any lugals on hand. Looks like only two frags are affected, and only in this tank. Sucky part is they are the two nicest colors. Gah!

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dgphelps

Brandon, do you think several dead zoanthid polyps and possibly a dead stomatella would be enough for an ammonia spike? I noticed a stomatella stuck on its back in a place on the sandbed I cannot reach and worry that with the handful of dead polyps might cause some issues.

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brandon429

it is ok to plan for the worst and change water. its fun to try and make calls/predictions but if doubt change it out, cpr for sure! Any percentage water change is just fine insurance.

 

Sometimes I'll walk by my tank and decide it needs back to back flushing changes just so it doesn't get old too fast heh

 

its also fair reefing to have a little prime water treatment for rare occasions, harmless to add a little, and if there is any ammonia itll zap it

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dgphelps

I put off the change today and it's too late now anyhow. I'll do it tomorrow and the ammonia tests I promised. Things in the tank look fine though the corals are all closed up for the night as usual. The dusters, collonista snails, worms, pods etc are all out doing their thing.

 

Fun fact, my 3 gallon pest tank contains roughly 2 gallons after displacement of sand and rock, this tank is precisely 3 gallons when I siphon out the water. So 1 five gallon bucket of fresh salt water is all I need to cover both tanks! There is some that remains in the tank and the back 'sump' of course so I would guess if I got every drop out it would actually be closer to 3.25 or 3.5 gallons.

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dgphelps

Brandon, the results are in and as you expected:

 

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brandon429

you know whats funny, those look pretty close to yellow/zero to me not too green the typical .25 but what a fun venture it is to see these in high res thats rare documentation for the thread, very helpful to link to others as they do skip cycles and new tank setups etc. very fun watching this tank unfold

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dgphelps

Full water change today. I also took the opportunity to scrape any dead looking zoanthid flesh off in the hopes it doesn't impact the polyps that look nice still and then rinsed the heck out of them in the old tank water bucket. Fingers crossed. When I added in the fresh water I basically dumped it down onto the rocks and sandbed - ended up flushing out the stomatella that was stuck on its back and now it is happily climbing the rocks. Whew.

 

I lied earlier, it actually takes about 4 gallons for this tank - I guess I didn't empty it as much as I thought. I had to mix up an extra gallon so I guess I will be carrying two buckets to get new RO/DI water when I change both tanks. Too bad.

 

Now I can start the fun task of regular maintenance, feeding, and watching to see how things do over the next month. After that, it will be time to think about stocking options for more corals!

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dgphelps

Water changes are magic. The last one I did when I set the tank up I noticed several crazy green worm-like things in the water column. I looked them up and essentially concluded they were eunicid epitokes (bristle worm spawning bits). Today, after the water change I noticed a gelatinous mass on the end of the largest live rock feather duster worm. Looked that up and it's a bunch of eggs. There are several of this same looking duster, so I am hoping some males can complete the process and I start to get more of them on the rocks in a few weeks time.

 

I haven't seen any micro brittle stars (my favorite of clean up crew) since moving the rocks and am not sure which tank they ended up in. I had only seen two previously so I hope they didn't stay in the pest tank and get eaten by the crab. I wish I could easily grab some of these from a fellow reefer. Those and astrea starfish, haven't seen any in either tank. I'm all about ways to increase helpful diversity and encourage spawning for all the planktonic goodness it brings naturally.

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brandon429

I like those little asterinas they live about 4 or so yrs in my system then die out. ill go by the lfs and get em to scrape the refugium walls for me lol and they never hurt my zoanthids either. they are simply mini awesome in my tank.

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