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Proteus Reef: 10g SPS Nano Tank [As seen on YouTube!]

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discchord

I've been on the periphery of the hobby for over a year now. As soon as I stumbled into it I was hooked. The combination of science, art, and living pets inspired me deeply. I instantly went from not even knowing about the hobby to suddenly wanting to know everything! To make sure I didn't jump into anything to hastily I gave myself a solid year to seriously contemplate things and do my homework. I mean seriously doing my research, not just masturbating to coral porn. 

 

Build a 10g Nano Reef for JUST $275
Then a few months ago I saw a YouTube video from Marine Depot that was something like, "Build a Nano Reef for just $275." They built a bare-bones system with an IM Fusion 10 that would probably be fine for the easiest softies. I don't care for softies. I know everyone starts with them, but I'm just not even interested in bothering. My favorite corals are Montipora (digitata) and Acropora (vermiculata, tenuis). I like a lot of LPS too. Zoas are the closest thing to soft corals that I have any interest in, but even they would languish under their light.

 

But this Marine Depot build got me thinking about getting off the fence. I loved the form factor of the Nuvo 10, since that would fit perfectly next to my desk. So let's do it right, and start by adding a zero to the budget.

 

Build a 10g Nano Reef for JUST $2,750
I despise conspicuous consumption so please do not take me for some rich kid showing off. I'm a grown man who will make rational investments for personal edification. See that shit? I just used "edification" correctly in a sentence. Grown man!

 

If I want to learn to keep SPS, I need to make the investment in keeping these critters alive and healthy. So forget all that piddly nonsense Marine Depot was trying to sling, here is the package I put together:

haulsmall.thumb.jpg.3dc11cc3939512092571b0defd42a07b.jpg

 

Hardware
Tank: IM Fusion Nano 10
Lighting: Kessil A80 (I was tempted by the Nanobox Lights popular here, but this needs to be a silent build!)
Skimmer: IM Ghost Skimmer
Return: Sicce Syncra Silent
Main Powerheaad: Aqamai KPS
Controller: Neptune Apex 2016

 

Hardware Regrets
The IM SpinStream nozzle was hugely unnecessary in this tank with a powerhead. And ****ING LOUD!

 

Hardware Extravagances
I wrestled for a solid week on whether or not I should get the Apex 2016; or any of the much cheaper options. I think it is over-priced by about $300, and I hate getting bilked. I want to keep this all as stress-free as possible, so I ultimately decided it would be an insurance policy for the tank and a sleep aid for me. The ORP is probably the only thing on here I won't use. I'm comfortable with coding and was instantly coming up with my own schemes in the controller. I also really like the features in the upgraded EB832 powerbar. With such a small water volume I need to know the second something fails. I really want to keep this hobby as stress free as possible.

 

First Month
I'm primarily going to be documenting my experiences on my YouTube channel, but I'll use this thread for supplemental stuff. If you like what you see, please subscribe! I'm nearing 5,000 subs and want to hit that milestone! Let's find out if a newbie can just show up and pull off a SPS Nano Tank if he's done his homework!

 

 

August 2017 Update:

I finally got to add corals to the tank this month! There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but I'm still engaged in the hobby!

 

 

September 2017 Update:

Despite having no fish in my fish tank, I had a very eventful September in reefing! This video also includes reviews for the Aqamai KPS powerhead (an affordable programmable powerhead) as well the Seneye Reef ammonia & pH monitor.

 

 

October 2017 Update:

Things are doing great in the tank this month! No coral deaths! I didn't even lose a single Zoa polyp! My parameters are all stabilizing nicely. In this month's video I complete my review for the Seneye Reef Monitor, and talk about how I supplement with Kalkwasser and Vodka.

 

 

November Update

It's happening! It's all finally coming together for me. I've got the water chemistry stabilized to the point that I think I can start adding Acros to the tank!

 

 

January 2018:

The tank has been going for 6 months, and has managed to keep fish alive for the last 2 of those! I'm now out of the woods yet though and continue to have some challenges keeping the water chemistry stable in this 10 Gallon Nano!

 

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Christopher Marks

Welcome to the community @discchord! You have a great setup for your first nano reef aquarium, clearly you have planned out your build quite well! Awesome documentation so far, it's cool to see your aquascaping process. Looking forward to seeing your progress towards an SPS dominant nano reef!

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discchord

Thanks, @Christopher Marks! I've been lurking here long enough, it was time to join!

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discchord

The Duncan is loving my tank! He's already sprouting 5 new heads! 

 

Quick everybody, do the Duncan Dance!

 

DuncanDance.thumb.gif.54b9ade57e79ce3fa7c5e35e73d1e664.gif

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Tamberav

People grow heavy SPS and acros in basic nano and pico systems so I'm sure you could do it for $275. Water changes replace the fancy equipment. 

 

Its still nice to have apex's and MP10's though :)

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WV Reefer
3 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

People grow heavy SPS and acros in basic nano and pico systems so I'm sure you could do it for $275. Water changes replace the fancy equipment. 

 

Its still nice to have apex's and MP10's though :)

Word up. 

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discchord
18 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

People grow heavy SPS and acros in basic nano and pico systems so I'm sure you could do it for $275. Water changes replace the fancy equipment. 

 

Its still nice to have apex's and MP10's though :)

I hope I don't come across as implying that everyone necessarily needs all this extra shit. My tone, and approach, are a response to everyone that says newbies should stick to 120 gallon tanks and soft corals.

 

I don't mean to offend the many people who are successful with their SPS Nanos. I am tired of hearing everyone telling newbies to start with some ####ing ugly softies though.

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Lula_Mae

Neat concept!  I like softies and LPS cuz I am lazy/busy at times and water changes don't always happen lol.  But I do think it's theoretically possible to succeed with more difficult livestock if you move slowly and carefully and have done your research.

 

Firefish is super cute!

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Tamberav
5 hours ago, discchord said:

I hope I don't come across as implying that everyone necessarily needs all this extra shit. My tone, and approach, are a response to everyone that says newbies should stick to 120 gallon tanks and soft corals.

 

I don't mean to offend the many people who are successful with their SPS Nanos. I am tired of hearing everyone telling newbies to start with some ####ing ugly softies though.

 

Ah, gotcha. Well I do not visit other forums so I guess everyone here tells noobies to start with nano's cuz its nano-reef :P. I feel like in this day and age no one really pushes the large tanks and softies thing anymore. Our salt mixes, hardware, lights, sources for critters, ect have come a long way.

 

And no worries, I am not offended. I was just thinking someone convinced you to spend a bunch of money for acro's.

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discchord

August Update

I finally got to add corals to the tank this month! There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but I'm still engaged in the hobby!

 

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JR!

so excited to see how this goes. ill be following along. hope my im10 goes as good as yours :D

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Tamberav

Nice video! I agree with your plan to wait to add more fish. Tanks just take awhile to stabilize, dry rock longer. I believe 6 weeks is exactly what I waited before I added my first fish when I used dry rock. 

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Lula_Mae

Finally got to watch this, sorry about your losses.  They were all gorgeous fish!  Hopefully you can figure out why the digi is unhappy.  I just bought my first SPS, a purple digi.  I doubt I'll ever be heavy into SPS but a few here and there are nice.

 

Re: the duncan from LiveAquaria--unfortunately different spectrum lighting can make things look different, and even cause color shifts in corals.  Legendary Corals sometimes has a midnight blue-black duncan and another that's a soft lavender purple, I think they call it snowy duncan or something.  I was very happy with my order from them and definitely recommend them for high-end zoas and LPS, and they have a small selection of SPS as well. :)

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discchord
17 hours ago, JR! said:

so excited to see how this goes. ill be following along. hope my im10 goes as good as yours :D

Thanks! I credit the rockscape for making the tank look good right now. It took all afternoon and into the night to chisel and epoxy the rocks the way they are now, but it was worth it!

 

16 hours ago, Tamberav said:

Nice video! I agree with your plan to wait to add more fish. Tanks just take awhile to stabilize, dry rock longer. I believe 6 weeks is exactly what I waited before I added my first fish when I used dry rock. 

This is my sincere hope. I seriously do not want to kill any more fish. 

 

28 minutes ago, Lula_Mae said:

Finally got to watch this, sorry about your losses.  They were all gorgeous fish!  Hopefully you can figure out why the digi is unhappy.  I just bought my first SPS, a purple digi.  I doubt I'll ever be heavy into SPS but a few here and there are nice.

 

Re: the duncan from LiveAquaria--unfortunately different spectrum lighting can make things look different, and even cause color shifts in corals.  Legendary Corals sometimes has a midnight blue-black duncan and another that's a soft lavender purple, I think they call it snowy duncan or something.  I was very happy with my order from them and definitely recommend them for high-end zoas and LPS, and they have a small selection of SPS as well. :)

I get the role of lighting in affecting appearance, and problems with shipping causing them to shed their zooxanthellae, but LiveAquaria's picture and description don't even remotely match what I got.  http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+321+3181&pcatid=3181

 

I don't mean to disparage them, because they did refund the money without me even asking, but damn I wish I got the cool purple-blue one they're showing there!

 

I will keep an eye open for something on LC. I found some other stock corals that look nice too! Thanks for the recommendation!

 

 

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Lula_Mae
1 minute ago, discchord said:

Thanks! I credit the rockscape for making the tank look good right now. It took all afternoon and into the night to chisel and epoxy the rocks the way they are now, but it was worth it!

 

This is my sincere hope. I seriously do not want to kill any more fish. 

 

I get the role of lighting in affecting appearance, and problems with shipping causing them to shed their zooxanthellae, but LiveAquaria's picture and description don't even remotely match what I got.  http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+321+3181&pcatid=3181

 

I don't mean to disparage them, because they did refund the money without me even asking, but damn I wish I got the cool purple-blue one they're showing there!

 

I will keep an eye open for something on LC. I found some other stock corals that look nice too! Thanks for the recommendation!

 

 

Ooh, yeah, that definitely doesn't look like what you got.  I see why you were so disappointed!  I shop with LA a lot simply because of their 2-week guarantee, and I've had to use it lol.  They've been good about refunding stuff.  I think you may have more success with their Diver's Den as far as finding corals that look like the pic.  I have a gorgeous blasto from them that survived the weekend in a UPS truck when UPS screwed up!

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discchord
Just now, Lula_Mae said:

I think you may have more success with their Diver's Den as far as finding corals that look like the pic.  I have a gorgeous blasto from them that survived the weekend in a UPS truck when UPS screwed up!

Woah! That is a serious UPS screw up... poor Blasto! Glad he made it. 

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Lula_Mae
3 hours ago, discchord said:

Woah! That is a serious UPS screw up... poor Blasto! Glad he made it. 

Yeah it was ridiculous, if they'd told me they couldn't deliver it I could've gone to pick it up.  Everything miraculously survived except the reason I placed the order, a gorgeous pastel pink-streaked wrasse. :tears:

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discchord

Coralline finally showed up in the tank! The tank is almost 2 months old and then out of nowhere this week has seen a huge spread of green coralline all over my rocks.

 

20170906-TDTsmall.thumb.jpg.20dc18bb230974b5a4a9bc9677aa3aad.jpg

 

I've seen a lot of people say that this will eventually convert to purple... I hope that is soon because it doesn't look good under blue.  It's just another shade of brown. Like a brown stain on the rock. Still, a good sign of the tank maturing!

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discchord

September 2017 Update

I'm back! Let's take a look at how the corals are doing! In this month's video I also review the Aqamai KPS powerhead and the Seneye Reef monitor.

 

 

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discchord

October 2017 Update:

Things are doing great in the tank this month! No coral deaths! I didn't even lose a single Zoa polyp! My parameters are all stabilizing nicely. In this month's video I complete my review for the Seneye Reef Monitor, and talk about how I supplement with Kalkwasser and Vodka.

 

 

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discchord

November Update

It's happening! It's all finally coming together for me. I've got the water chemistry stabilized to the point that I think I can start adding Acros to the tank!

 

 

 

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discchord

January 2018:

The tank has been going for 6 months, and has managed to keep fish alive for the last 2 of those! I'm now out of the woods yet though and continue to have some challenges keeping the water chemistry stable in this 10 Gallon Nano!

 

 

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RustyRocket

Whatever happened to this tank, any more updates? Thinking about doing something overkill like this too. 

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