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IfYouAskNicely

Hello! So, I've been interested in biology in general from a pretty young age, I've had and still have various freshwater tanks since before middle school or so, and I'm going into my senior year of college now in San Diego(pretty moderate climate). A half a year ago or so I got the saltwater bug, and have been lurking on a bunch of forums and such learning about corals specifically. The final straw was when my boss, who has a 300 gallon reef tank at my work, told me that he would give me frags for free from pretty much any coral in his tank. So, I decided to make a reef tank, with the goal in mind that I'm a broke ass college student and so I'm going to spend as little money as possible. I've read all over the place about how the bigger the saltwater the tank, the easier it is to maintain, but that's obviously not 100% true as evidenced by everyone's experiences here.

I decided to go for a challenge for my first saltwater tank by using a 2.5 gallon vase, and Maritza the Vase Reef was some of my primary inspiration.  The only equipment running in it are an airline and a heater(and a battery powered thermometer to check the heaters not fritzing), as well as the light which is a I think 10watt compact flourescent 50/50 bulb. My phone's super crappy right now, so I'm going to try and borrow someone else's for a little and then I will upload pictures.

It has been running for probably four months or so now. The first month was rough but I attribute that to the fact that I used an old heater, it malfunctioned and basically turned everything to soup. Since then though I've been steadily adding more and more corals, sometimes 3 a week, sometimes I won't add any for a month. The only not coral livestock I put in there that didn't come with the live rock is a small hermit crab and a bumpy red crab I took from the tidepools(sshhhhhhh). The only coral deaths I've had have been mushrooms which weren't able to attach high enough and were pulled into the bumpy crabs lair and eaten, and a small stock of pulsing Xenia which shriveled up over the course of a month or so. All the corals I have now are growing or at least static in their growth and don't seem unhealthy. I've heard that pulsing Xenia actually like slightly higher nitrate and phosphate levels, and so that's why I think they died, because my maintenance consists of weekly 90-100% water changes/glass scrubbing as well as taking the main rock out and scrubbing algae and detritus off with a toothbrush. I do the huge water changes because the tank is so small, and I also put quite a bit of reef roids into the tank the day before I clean it and change the water. 

Another thing which is fairly unconventional, but I haven't tested my water in any way since starting the tank. I rely on the fact that I buy premixed water from a reputable store and change basically all my water out with fresh water with the right parameters. Yes I still top off with RO/DI water from evaporation, I just keep the water level consistent though instead of using a refractometer. Only reason I don't test is because I'm on a tight budget. I have a feather worm in there and I've heard that they are VERY sensitive to water conditions and so I just make sure he's doing good and all is well.

I'll try and upload pictures later today!

 

 

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RIP Sebastian

Sounds like you've done your research. Interested to see what you've got!

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IfYouAskNicely

Pictures!

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Full Tank shot, it's much taller than it is wide, but the bubbles go all the way from the bottom on the left side to the top, creating a good flow.

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My green star polyps, with some hard corals in the background, a lavender mushroom on the bottom, and a toadstool between the mushroom and GSP. For some reason my toadstool polyps never really extend quite fully, even though they seem to be growing. 20170530_145929.thumb.jpg.bc049243aad20a48ba14af85e80332a6.jpg

I use a small underwater battery powered thermometer. So far temperature has stayed relatively consistent, from 77-79 or so. Except when I do the weekly cleaning, then I'll see it drop to as low as 74 when I have the heater off for a while. The corals don't seem to care too much, they spend a lot of that time in the air anyways.

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A better view of the lavender coral, it just split a few days ago :).

More in next post.

 

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IfYouAskNicely

How would I upload more pictures? it says 6MB upload limit. Do I have to wait a while or something?

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IfYouAskNicely

20170530_145951.thumb.jpg.685ef8bc8d8a3dbdd810d750e0f16410.jpg

The shelf area, hosting multiple corals and the tube worm, with the crabs lair underneath. 

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Daisy polyps that I got the other day and are still acclimating. A toadstool that I've had longer than almost anything else in here which I thought for sure was a goner but attached itself to this spot and has been recovering. Still doesn't extend it's polyps all the way though, like the other one. Also a hammer coral and trumpet coral.

 

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A gorgonian which is attaching itself to the glass by it's tip. Also a kenya tree in the bottom right and a potato chip coral top right.

 

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IfYouAskNicely

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Another blurry picture :/ But I have a rock that I've gotten some caulerpa to grow into, I trim an old blade or two every week for nutrient export.20170530_150119.thumb.jpg.4a4a6e2ee50c1ff73468a91a55973ca1.jpg

Forgot the name of the fuzzy little hard coral in the front! I got it a few days ago though, seems to be doing good.20170530_150307.thumb.jpg.67534bcd53bd6fa678dbe70b764551cd.jpg

A better view of the crabs "lair". It's actually 2 stories, ha! 

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IfYouAskNicely

 

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A better view of the shelf area. The crab seems to be pretty territorial of anything under it so that's the limit of where I'll place corals, the light doesn't reach that far too well anyways.

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Another FTS from a different angle. Shows the colors pretty nicely though.

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S'more gorgonians and another coral I forgot the name of, with some chaeto in in the top right. 

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Last but not least, my feather/tube worm that came for free with the rock I bought that near mushroom on. My little test kit :)

 

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IfYouAskNicely

Here's a GIF of the tank I took. 

 

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