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Hey Jackal. Enjoying reading through your build thread so far. I'm about 1 1/2 months behind you with my Biocube LED 16 build! Check mine out if you get a chance. Looking forward to seeing how yours grows!

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2 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Small tubes about 1/4" and the diameter of pencil lead?

 That size sounds about right maybe a little bigger on some.  They looked exactly like these:

image005.jpg

 

The giveaway for me was the "web" that they shoot out to capture food.  Once I figured it was coming from them they were easy to identify. 

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Week 12 Update:

 

Whelp, I've made it 3 months and things are starting to come together.   I've got some new additions that I'm pretty excited about. I picked up a 2 headed Frogspawn frag and 2 separate Green Birdsnest frags.  I wasn't planning on going with SPS in the tank this early but I got all three frags for $20 so I couldn't pass up trying them out.  So, I guess that means I can officially call this tank a "mixed reef" :D

 

The Frogspawn adds some excellent colors and movement to the tank.   I can't wait until they fill up the center of the tank. 

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The birdsnest really are going to test the lighting and the flow of the tank.   It'll be interesting to see if they can survive in my system.   One of the frags has some bleaching on the base,  we'll have to see if that recovers in time.  They do both show good polyp extension so I'm going to assume that they are happy at the moment.  It's hard to tell from pictures online but seeing the tiny polyps in person gives me a new appreciation for SPS corals. 

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Other items to note:

I'm seeing an increase in my microfauna.  I see pods regularly in both my refugium and in the display as well.   

 

I've got a little bit of Diatoms on the sandbed.   I believe it is due to overfeeding so I will cut that back a bit. 

 

The trumpets are still holding steady but haven't made a full recovery yet.  They do look like they are going in the right direction though.

 

Also, my snails have laid eggs on the back wall of the tank.   From what I understand the eggs usually don't survive long enough to hatch, but it's interesting to see their natural behaviors. 

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3 Month FTS (including dirty glass):

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My birdsnests were smaller, maybe that's why thy didn't survive. I'll be jealous and impressed if you keep your stock lights and water clean enough for them to thrive!

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22 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

My birdsnests were smaller, maybe that's why thy didn't survive. I'll be jealous and impressed if you keep your stock lights and water clean enough for them to thrive!

I really don't know how they will do.  The way I see it is they were basically free for what I paid so I'm not out anything if they don't make it.   If they do, then they were on my long-term list anyways.  I just didn't expect to try them this soon. 

 

I find that the challenge and the unknown is part of the fun in this hobby. 

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23 hours ago, Jackal227 said:

I really don't know how they will do.  The way I see it is they were basically free for what I paid so I'm not out anything if they don't make it.   If they do, then they were on my long-term list anyways.  I just didn't expect to try them this soon. 

 

I find that the challenge and the unknown is part of the fun in this hobby. 

How are they doing?

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5 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

How are they doing?

They still look the same as the pictures.  Both are showing good polyp extension.  They've been in the tank now for a week, and glued in place for 3 days. 

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The corals are settling in and here are some updated pictures: 

 

Frogspawn:

It seems to be doing well and is becoming my favorite to watch sway. 

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Birdsnest Frags:

They're still showing good polyp extension.   I noticed that the white tips have started healing, but the white base on the right frag hasn't changed yet. 

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Trumpet Frag:

These guys are finally starting to puff up again.   It looks like they will recover fine. 

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Also to note I'm  been seeing little spirorbid worms (very tiny filter feeders)  all over the refugium glass and now they are starting to show up in the main display.  Also, the snail eggs from last week have disappeared but they've laid a brand new set of them on the back wall again. 

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Filtration Modification:

I made two small changes to the filtration chambers this week. 

 

I've been noticing that the flow from the right chamber into my floss only hits a small part of the filter floss due to the tab up top blocking half the flow.  To alleviate this issue I widened the overflow between the chambers by removing the tab with a utility knife.  This makes the water flow more evenly over my filter floss.  It's hard to see in the picture but now the overflow is straight across.

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The other issue that I've noticed is that the flow through the plastic tray that the filter floss sits in is too slow which causes an air gap between the floss and the water level in the center chamber.  Also because the water wasn't flowing through the tray fast enough it would overflow on top of the wall between the left and center chambers.  I'd rather have the entire flow go through my filter floss, my Chemipure, and my Chaeto.  So to fix this I used a 3/8" drill bit and widened the holes in the tray on top of chamber 2.  This allowed more flow through it and makes sure that all the water is going through my filtration.   It also has eliminated the air gap below the tray. 

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Frag Updates:

I've got some new growths that are exciting.   Both of the birdsnest frags are still showing good polyp extension and they are now growing.   All of the tips have gotten longer and most have split into multiple points.  The bleached base on the right frag has started to regain some color on it.

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Also the Frogspawn frag is doing well.  One of the heads is showing two mouths now and is beginning to split.  So, soon it looks like I will have 3 heads :D.

y4mE5W-MXfoErEWmdRBgF9qq80GHTFYTluBvftWV

 

I did a deep cleaning of my refugium this week.  I haven't really done anything to it since it started.    The algae was covering the glass right where the light is mounted and was probably stunting the growth of the Chaeto.  I scraped the glass and back wall and siphoned out as much as I could.  Trimmed about a baseball size clump of Chaeto and removed it.  The pods continue to grow wild.  I am thinking that I may add a couple snails to the refugium to keep the glass clean in the future. 

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4 Months In, Tank Update:

 

Well, I feel like I've passed my first milestone and am happy to report that somehow I've managed not to kill everything yet. :huh:

 

So onto the new additions.   This week I've added a new fish and two new frags to the tank.   These additions are all about contrasting colors.   I wanted to get some items to break up all the greens in the tank. 

 

The 3rd fish in the tank is a Royal Gramma.  It's a beautiful fish and the purple and yellow colors add a nice contrast to the black and orange on the Clownfish.   The Gramma was hiding in a cave for the first night,  but now is swimming freely around the tank.  It even hangs out with the clowns at times.   So far everyone is getting along. 

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The new corals that I added to the tank are another Zoa frag and an Acan frag.  The Zoas have dark red skirts that I think will contrast nicely with the previous green skirted Zoas.  The Acans are also a reddish orange color to contrast with the Frogspawn.  They both are open and looking healthy so far.

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For the existing corals in the tank they are growing well.  The Trumpets get fluffier each day.  The Birdsnests continue to sprout new tips.  The Frogspawn head has almost completely split off.  It gets further apart each day. 

 

Some observations following the modifications to the filtration chamber:   I've noticed that my filter floss now seems to brown more evenly with the increased flow over it.  Also the air gap that used to occur under the floss is now gone quieting the back chamber. 

 

I've also found that when cleaning the front glass that it can be hard with the curved surface.   I'm having better luck using side to side motions on the front glass instead of an up and down motion.  I've also found that for thicker algae on the glass, I can use my hand and the scrubbing side of the magnet cleaner to clean it better than the magnet does.  I get a little wet but it's quicker and does a better job. 

 

Seeing everything together I'm really liking the addition of new colors to the tank.   Now I gotta find some blue corals to further enhance the view.  I look forward to seeing how everything grows in.

 

Here's the 4 months in FTS:

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Royal grammar are great fish I think you'll be very happy with yours. Just a heads up though they can be territorial, mine was pretty pushy with my clowns in my 30 gallon. He never actually made contact but would charge them with an open mouth, he was added before them though so that could be why. Also they can be jumpers, that's how I lost my George but that shouldn't be an issue for you since you have a cover.

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4 hours ago, jesseatam said:

Royal grammar are great fish I think you'll be very happy with yours. Just a heads up though they can be territorial, mine was pretty pushy with my clowns in my 30 gallon. He never actually made contact but would charge them with an open mouth, he was added before them though so that could be why. Also they can be jumpers, that's how I lost my George but that shouldn't be an issue for you since you have a cover.

I've been watching and there hasn't been any aggression yet, but time will tell.  The Gramma mainly hangs out near the bottom of the tank while the Clowns mainly hang out near the top which I think helps. 

 

I also find it interesting (and creepy) that the Gramma seems to watch me and will turn to face whichever side of the room that I'm on. 

 

It also likes to wedge itself into the smallest crevices in the rocks when it's hiding.  Sometimes the holes are no larger than it's body.  I'm surprised that it can get out sometimes. 

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Great start!! Have you started testing cal and alk yet? Monitor Alk when you start dosing 2 part.  

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I love the rock set up, that must've took awhile. Lol.

 

I'm curious, how well has your chaeto growth been using the 2nd biocube chamber? I can't decide whether or not it's worth the trouble of adding a overflow & sump to my tank right now

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9 hours ago, Jackal227 said:

I've been watching and there hasn't been any aggression yet, but time will tell.  The Gramma mainly hangs out near the bottom of the tank while the Clowns mainly hang out near the top which I think helps. 

 

I also find it interesting (and creepy) that the Gramma seems to watch me and will turn to face whichever side of the room that I'm on. 

 

It also likes to wedge itself into the smallest crevices in the rocks when it's hiding.  Sometimes the holes are no larger than it's body.  I'm surprised that it can get out sometimes. 

He'll begin to explore more as he gets more established, took mine a month or two before he began to ultize the entire space of the tank.

 

Mine did the same too, he seemed to be very aware of everyone and everything that happened outside the tank. After a while he would even come up to me whenever I put my face to the glass.

 

Mine excavated a burrow for himself,  he was able to move quite a large amount of sand. Luckily I didn't have any corals near his area otherwise they would've been buried.

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10 hours ago, MockandRoll said:

Great start!! Have you started testing cal and alk yet? Monitor Alk when you start dosing 2 part.  

Honestly, I've only been testing amonia, PH, nitrite, and nitrate.  I've been relying on regular water changes to replenish calcium, alk, and magnesium.  I've been using reef crystals from the start so the levels were somewhat elevated.  

 

I realize that as I continue to add corals that the testing will become more important and eventually dosing will probably be necessary.   These test kits are something that I plan on getting soon.  I've already looked into the red sea ones for calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. 

 

10 hours ago, ReefingRelapse said:

I love the rock set up, that must've took awhile. Lol.

 

I'm curious, how well has your chaeto growth been using the 2nd biocube chamber? I can't decide whether or not it's worth the trouble of adding a overflow & sump to my tank right now

The rock did take some time with a hammer and chisel to shape. 

 

The Chaeto has grown consistently but I wouldn't say it's been a fast growth.  I believe that it is due to having low nutrients in my system.   I barely get any reading from my nitrate tests.   It's an api test so it's hard to read below 10 nitrates, but based on color I would say my nitrates are never above 2-3.   I've harvested a baseball size clump and just let the rest grow.  This is how it currently looks, and you can compare to the original pic earlier in the thread: 

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1 hour ago, jesseatam said:

He'll begin to explore more as he gets more established, took mine a month or two before he began to ultize the entire space of the tank.

 

Mine did the same too, he seemed to be very aware of everyone and everything that happened outside the tank. After a while he would even come up to me whenever I put my face to the glass.

 

Mine excavated a burrow for himself,  he was able to move quite a large amount of sand. Luckily I didn't have any corals near his area otherwise they would've been buried.

I'm sad to report that I found the Gramma laying on the sandbed this morning.  I'm really not sure what happened.   It was swimming freely yesterday and eating well, then hid in the rocks last night, then found dead this morning. 

 

Looking at the body I don't see any white spot or anything visibly off that I can tell.  The Nassarius Snails already ate his tail, but the rest of the body was in tact.  Maybe an internal parasite?  I've done a lot of research on aquariums but diseases and parasites are something that I haven't looked into deeply.   I'll have to do some research to see if I can figure out if I missed something. 

 

It should also be noted that the night before this happened we did have a power outage for about 4 hours.   I don't know if this may have impacted the death as well.  I have planned to get a battery backup in the future to help prevent future issues due to power. 

 

Due to the sudden loss I'll hold off on adding any new livestock to the tank for a while and monitor the Clownfish. 

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Sorry to hear. Lost two clowns day two of having them.

 

Even the most conservative acclimation process might not work with some fish. Stress is stress.

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Aw I'm sorry. The power outage could be the cause, did your clowns seem stressed at all? Internal parasites are pretty common so it's good to have some meds for that on hand. I know it's not always possible but I'd reccomend getting a qt set up if you can, it makes it way easier to observe and treat fish if they have something.

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23 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Sorry to hear. Lost two clowns day two of having them.

 

Even the most conservative acclimation process might not work with some fish. Stress is stress.

I think stress may have been a factor.   I can't find anything else that was off.

19 hours ago, jesseatam said:

Aw I'm sorry. The power outage could be the cause, did your clowns seem stressed at all? Internal parasites are pretty common so it's good to have some meds for that on hand. I know it's not always possible but I'd reccomend getting a qt set up if you can, it makes it way easier to observe and treat fish if they have something.

So far the clowns have been acting normal.   I will continue to monitor them. 

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On 10/9/2017 at 7:10 PM, Cpl_Wiggles said:

I lost my first pair of clowns while trying to acclimate. Was really bummed. Just make sure your water parameters are good to go to give them the best chance to not get stressed.

I notice you say your water temps are at 74/75, that's pretty cold for clowns, it should be 78F minimum. The average temps of a coral reef is 82F.

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On 1/15/2018 at 12:39 PM, Jackal227 said:

4 Months In, Tank Update:

 

The 3rd fish in the tank is a Royal Gramma.  It's a beautiful fish and the purple and yellow colors add a nice contrast to the black and orange on the Clownfish.   The Gramma was hiding in a cave for the first night,  but now is swimming freely around the tank.  It even hangs out with the clowns at times.   So far everyone is getting along. 

Your Royal Gramma is a beauty! I was thinking of getting one and I also have 2 clowns. How is he/she competing for food with the clowns? Clowns are little piggies when it comes to feeding time.

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1 hour ago, Aquacrazed said:

Your Royal Gramma is a beauty! I was thinking of getting one and I also have 2 clowns. How is he/she competing for food with the clowns? Clowns are little piggies when it comes to feeding time.

 The Clowns generally stayed towards the top of the tank and the gramma tended to stay near the bottom.  I feed PE Pellets so the clowns would eat the floating ones and the gramma would eat the ones that sank. 

 

As it got used to the feeding, the gramma would come up higher each day.  I suspect that it would've eventually came to the surface with the clowns. 

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2 hours ago, Aquacrazed said:

I notice you say your water temps are at 74/75, that's pretty cold for clowns, it should be 78F minimum. The average temps of a coral reef is 82F.

At that time temp was 82. Tank sits at 79-80 now with the increased flow.

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