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jesseatam

Jesse's 30 gallon reef - Reefapolooza pick ups

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This is the start of my long overdue tank thread, below is the summary of my tank so far as of starting this thread. My goal for this tank is to just experiment and get my feet wet in the hobby.

 

Hi, I'm Jesse I'm a high school student who's loved fish ever since I first saw my uncles 90 gallon saltwater tank. Ever since then I've always said to myself one day I'm going to have one of those too and finally many years later in February I had gotten everything together that I needed for my own very reef after tons of research and saving up. Slowly but surely the tank cycled, I added a clean up crew and  then got my first fish on March 29th, a royal gramma named George. I took it slow from there, if I had learned from all my research it was that having patience is one of the most important parts of this hobby. Then almost a month later I got my first coral, a zoa frag and a pair of wyoming white ocellaris clowns who I named Casper and Pearl. Then in June I ordered another zoa frag and a geometric pygmy hawkfish (Eugene)  off of divers den, this fish never ended up taking prepared foods. Sadly then a few days before my birthday George went carpet surfing and I found him the next morning. I was completely heartbroken but lesson learned, always have a top. I then went to reefapolooza for my birthday and came home with two  euphyllia frags and an RFA. It was then on the 4th of July I decided to take a trip to petco just to see what they had in stock and they had one of my favorites, a kamohara blenny. However, before I could pull the trigger on the blenny something caught my eye in the tank below. There was a small orchid dottyback who was getting beat up on by some neon dottybacks. I couldn't bear to leave this fish and impulsively bought it and brought it home. I was worried the dotty would pick on Eugene but in fact it was the other way around, as soon as the dottyback was added Eugene immediately took a shot at him but after that  I never witnessed any other aggression between them. I ended up affectionatly coining the dottyback "Fred the Fridmani"  after his species latin name. Fred seemed as healthy as a horse he ate like a champ and was very personable and bold, he helped soften the blow of loosing George as he occupied a similar role in the tank, even taking over George's old burrow. I noticed however Fred's fin were always tattered, I didn't think it could be the clowns doing this since they would sometimes swim together with Fred and only bickered among themselves which only left only one culprit in my mind, Eugene. I was never able to catch any aggression in the act as they always seemed to tolerate each other while the lights were on. Eventually the bullying began to take a noticeable toll on Fred, his fins got worse and he began to flash. I didn't think too much of the flashing at first as my gramma used to do it occasionally and he was as healthy as ever. However, then Fred began to get the trademark white spots of ich. I didn't have the capabilities to set up a quarantine so I decided to order some polyp lab medic but by that time Eugene had already passed away. Then about halfway through treatment Fred passed then followed by Pearl and Casper a few days later. Now here I am today, of course I've also been through and still am still going through all of the beginner cyano and algae problems as well but I figured my  tragic fish journey would make for a more interesting read.

 

Now onto the details about the tank itself

 

Tank - Its a standard rimmed 30 gallon, the dimensions are 36 1/4 x 12 5/8 x 16 3/4 

Rock - 30 lbs of ARC Reef live rock

Sand - CaribSea Ocean Direct original grade sand 

Filtration - An Aquaclear 70 hob filter running floss and carbon and a Reef Octopus classic 100 hob skimmer (it overflowed so i took it off and I've haven't gotten to cleaning it and hooking it back up again)

Flow - 2x Hydor Koralia 425s with smart wave controller

Heater - Eheim Jager 150w heater

Lighting - Current Orbit 36w 36-48" LED

 

I think that's all of my equipment now onto current and former livestock

 

Current Fish/Inverts in Display

- Snails

- Porcelian Crab (Leroy)

-Blackline Blenny (Simon)

- Links Goby (Rex)

- Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Jacques)

- 2x Scarlet Hermit Crabs (Eduardo & Ricardo)

- 3x Emerald Crabs

 

QT Inhabitants 

- Mocha DaVinci Clown

- Mocha Misbar Clown

 

Coral/Anemones

- Zoanthids

- Frogspawn/Octospawn

- Rockflower Anemone

-Candy Cane

-Branching GSP

-Unidentified Hitchhiker

 

Now that I've finally gotten around to starting this thread hopefully I keep it updated :lol:

 

FTS (8/16/2017)

 

FTS and other pics (6/10/2018)

 

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hmm anyone know why I'm having trouble embedding the Instagram link? Says it cant be embedded since there's no image at the URL

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Hmm the link you posted comes up as 'page not found.'  Is your insta private?

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30 minutes ago, Lula_Mae said:

Hmm the link you posted comes up as 'page not found.'  Is your insta private?

oh it is! thanks I never would've thought of that :lol:

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3 hours ago, jesseatam said:

oh it is! thanks I never would've thought of that :lol:

It's happened a few times to members here lol.

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You may have to repost the link as the pic still doesn't show up for me.

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7 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

You may have to repost the link as the pic still doesn't show up for me.

Yeah I had reposted the link right after I turned it off private, I just did it again so now I think it finally works 😂

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2 hours ago, jesseatam said:

Yeah I had reposted the link right after I turned it off private, I just did it again so now I think it finally works 😂

It does!  Tank looks great! :lol:

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1 hour ago, Lula_Mae said:

It does!  Tank looks great! :lol:

Thanks! I'm really happy with its progress so far (besides the ich outbreak of course) I actually started with a lot of nutrient issues which leds to lots of algae but with normal weekly wc's, a robust cuc, and protein skimming everything seems to have balanced itself out and I just mostly have some hitchhiker macro growing in places which I actually kind of like. Now that I don't have the skimmer running however I'm curious to see what happens. Also need to find a good spot for the gold octo, it fell off its plug so I've been trying to find a good place in the rock work for it but it doesn't seem happy anywhere yet. Same with the pink/purple one, I moved it from its original spot to an area with higher direct flow and it stopped extending as much. I moved it back so hopefully it returns from its former glory 😁

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I messed around with turning down the blues when taking pics and I think they came out better, I think the first one looks the best out of the three right? Anyway I'm not sure of the names of these guys, I bought the green ones off divers den as "Ultra Zoanthus" but from what I've seen to me they look a bit like what are called "Dragon eye" zoas. The pink ones i bought unnamed and have no clue at all what they could be even if there's a name for them but they absolutely GLOW under actinics,  I wish I could capture it well on camera. The pink zoas also were my first ever coral :D

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General Updates:

Corals seems to be doing alright, the zoas are doing their thing, the rock flower anemone is well... rock solid :lol: the only concerning thing is that my euphyllia are just bleh. They're not extending nearly as much as they used to, the only thing I can think of that could be causing them issues is my salt mix. I've used the red sea coral pro salt since I started my tank and I've had both of the frags since June which makes me wonder why they only seem to be reacting negatively now. Side note my water has also been quite cloudy lately and I'm not sure why, maybe it's due the absence of a skimmer? I'm not sure but it doesn't really bother me much.

 

The main two inhabitants now, Pedro (blue leg hermit) and Larry (fire shrimp) are doing well. These guys make quite the dynamic duo, it's funny to watch them interact when food is in the tank. With the absence of fish in the tank recently Larry has become increasing bold, I can understand why some people don't like shrimp. I could definitely see him trampling lots of coral if the tank was fully stocked and he always seems to have an insatiable appetite. I'm not really quite sure how much I'm supposed to be actually feeding but he appears healthy regardless and has molted multiple times. I've grown quite fond of Larry as well as he has tons of personality. Also in the absence of fish the micro fauna population appears to have boomed, there's a notable increase in pods especially. There's a TON of worms in this tank also, particularly spaghetti worms and I actually spotted a super tiny eunice worm. I haven't spotted the larger eunice in a while but I assume it's still lurking somewhere. I've also had a crusade against a possibly harmful crab, there's a thread about it in the ID section. Finally I caught my first glimpse of at least one of the hitch hiker pistol shrimps which is super exciting!!! Sadly I only got a single low quality pic of his claw so far but i'll keep trying to get better ones. I love the sound of the snaps pistol shrimp make. The one I saw was quite small and when I saw him snap at some debris the sound was pretty quiet which makes me believe there might be another bigger one somewhere as there are some pretty loud snaps that come from the tank that can be heard from my bedroom which is next door.

 

Genreal thoughts:

I've thought a lot about the direction I want to take this tank and I'm honestly not sure what I want to do. Ever since I started this tank it's always screamed carribean biotope to me and it actually kind of unintentionally started out as that before I added my first coral and the clowns. I always kind of felt going that way would be limiting however in what I could stock with. I know this isn't really true but if I wanted to go this way at this point it would mean I'd have to rehome possibly all my coral and Larry the fire shrimp which I don't know if I would want to do. I've also considered depending if the euphyllia bounce back or not is making this just a full softy tank. Finally I could continue with what I was originally doing and just stock with whatever catches catches my eye and is at least somewhat simple to keep. If anyone reading this has any interesting ideas for this tank please post them :)

 

For fish stocking plans I want to try not to get any fish I've already had since as someone starting out new with saltwater I want to get experience with as many different fish as possible but depending on what direction I go I may just end up getting another pair of clowns, there's just something about them :wub: 

 

Now for just some other general fish ideas.

-Radial Filefish: I was thinking either a single one or a pair if I decide to go the soft coral tank route and move my zoas and use the  rock they're on as a xenia island for the filefish.

-Group of sankeyi dottybacks: I've read that these live in colonies in the wild and I've always thought it'd be an interesting species tank but I'm not sure if I could do this in a 30 gallon.

-Springers dottyback or elongate dottyback

-Black cap basslet or chalk bass

-Banggai cardinal or some other species: My only concern would be these not taking pellets.

-Damsel: I was thinking a more peaceful species like springers, however I've seen some species that are captive bred like azure and talbots which have caught my attention. I always would rather a captive bred fish vs wild caught

-any type of assessor 

-some type of blenny

I'm really open to keeping any fish really as long as I would be able to get them onto pellets as that's what i primarily feed.

 

I'll try to get some more pics up soon, its just that the cloudy water doesn't make for the most flattering pictures :unsure:

 

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I JUST FOUND THE SMALLEST BABY CERITH SNAIL I'VE EVER SEEN I'M SO EXCITED. Yes it's the tiny out of focus speck on the glass 😂

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I already have some older babies that are pretty decently sized currently  but now since I don't have the skimmer running I expect to see wayyyy more little babies appear.

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Update!

Finally have the quarantine tank wet and salty. I bought some bacteria in a bottle so I'm gonna put that in there and let it cycle not sure what to use as an ammonia source though, would some pellets work fine for that? I would put some established media from the display in the filter to get that instant cycle but I'm worried about the ich getting into the qt from it. Now that I have a qt however that means I can finally really decide what I want fish wise and take action (after the cycle of course). The display hasn't fully gone through the fallow period yet however, and should 99.99% safe come late October.

 

Now just me rambling :

I think my favorite part of this hobby so far has to either be all the research when it comes to planning livestock for your tank or watching the unique behaviors each animal has, its crazy how much you can learn by just watching all the life in your tank. For instance there's these two reticulated brittle stars in my tank, one is a very light almost white tan and the other is a dark brown/green. The lighter one always sticks its legs out across the sandbed looking for food while the darker one only sticks it's legs out of holes in the rock. It seems like they're  are aware of what color they are and stick to a background which they blend in the most with which I found super facinating even though it may just seem like "duh, common sense". What's also interesting is that these brittle stars live with a hitchhiker pistol shrimp that's in the system, I'm not sure if this a symbiotic relationship or just happenstance however. Even if it is a type of symbiosis I'm not sure whether it would classify as mutualism or commensalism. The benefits for the starfish could be shelter and protection but I'm not sure what the benefits for the shrimp would be, maybe the starfish share whatever food they find with it? I'm not sure but I love this kind of hypothesizing and could talk about this all day. Anyway I'm just rambling at this point so I'll cut it here. I felt like I was overdue for an update, I've just been busy with senior year starting and practices etc.

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Qt is almost-ish done cycling, ammonia is around 1ppm, nitrites 0, and nitrates .25ppm  but watching this bare tank is killing me. However, this means I really need to start deciding what type fish I want. I'm heavily considering something like a talbots damsel just because I'm unsure of what the stability of the qt is going to be like and I know a damsel would be able to handle it,  I like the looks of the talbots and according to my research they're one of the more tame species. I also might get another basslet like a black cap or chalk bass since I loved george my gramma so much, also considering another pair of clowns, a yellow head jawfish maybe because I saw one and fell in love :wub: my only worry is that my display isn't completely covered, and finally maybe one of those biota coral beauties if they pop up again on divers den since I've read the "bonsai" variety stay smaller and are more suitable for smaller tanks. I just need some more fish ideas because I really have no clue what I want and am constantly changing my mind.

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No more ammonia in the QT!!! I'm still going to leave it alone for the week and then do a 10 or 20% water change next weekend and call it good and ready.

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So I may or may not have just picked up a talbots damsel post SAT...

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So i snapped a few pics of this guy, he's sooo cute :wub: He just has a bit of his blemish on his tail that you can see in some of the photos which is a bit concerning.

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You can actually see the blemish on his tail better in this blurry photo

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Update: he's already eaten some pellets :D

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33 minutes ago, jesseatam said:

So i snapped a few pics of this guy, he's sooo cute :wub: He just has a bit of his blemish on his tail that you can see in some of the photos which is a bit concerning.

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You can actually see the blemish on his tail better in this blurry photo

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Update: he's already eaten some pellets :D

Cuuuuute! :wub:

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Alright I have no self control, saw baby black and white occellaris clowns for sale and I couldn't not get one, I also grabbed a nice looking candy cane frag. If the talbots even dares to look at this baby clown the wrong way he's gone, this little clown is too precious and I already love it :wub:

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1 hour ago, jesseatam said:

Alright I have no self control, saw baby black and white occellaris clowns for sale and I couldn't not get one, I also grabbed a nice looking candy cane frag. If the talbots even dares to look at this baby clown the wrong way he's gone, this little clown is too precious and I already love it :wub:

Pics! :lol:

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1 hour ago, Lula_Mae said:

Pics! :lol:

I got you, I forgot how hard it was to take pics of these guys with all their constant swimming!

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Ft. Mr Talbot's lurking and watching from squidwards window and the new frag under actinics with pedro hanging in the back :D

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Mini update: the Talbot's isn't looking too good and is refusing food but at least the clown is. I've decided to dose some prazi pro in hopes that might help with what's affecting the Talbot's. Also I've named the both of them, the Talbot's is Alfie and the baby clown will be known as Oreo until i get another for it to pair with and see who becomes the dominant female :D.

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