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schleppey

Sea of D IM 20 Reef

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schleppey

Hello there, Welcome to the Sea of D

 

Yo NanoReef, hope you are all doing well today.  My name is Dominic and my goal is to make this the most stunning nano reef I have ever seen, while documenting from day 1. I am primarily into breeding freshwater caridina shrimp and keeping oddball fish. Fiend for the exotic.

 

Hardware: 

Innovative Marine 20 NUVO Fusion

Sicce 1.0 Return Pump

1 CustomCaddy Media-Basket

Reef Glass Protein Skimmer w/ Tetra 20 pump 

Tunze Osmolator 3152 ATO

Aqueon Heater

Jebao PP-4 Wavemaker 

AI Prime HD with Mount

 

Everything Else:

20 pounds Special Grade Arag-Alive by Caribsea

14.1 pounds of Real Reef Live Rock

Seachem Matrix

Seachem Purigen 

Filter Floss

TwoLittleFishies Nano-Magnet

Generic 20 gallon Amazon stand

Generic Amazon Digital Thermometer

 

LiveStock:

3 Red Hermit Crabs from LFS

 

I will just go down the line and comment on what I need to. I was originally going to go with the IM 10 after being inspired by the thread on here but after a little research I quickly changed my mind. I wanted a respectable light that I could work from my phone. Most options I was looking at gave a 24 inch spectrum which is essentially wasted on the 12 inch IM 10 imo. For an extra 100 dollars I doubled my space and more efficiently utilized my hardware, no brainer there. I forgot that when I upgraded that I can get 2 media baskets so I basically just forgot the other one. I have recently found a new air pump as well I will probably end up using for the skimmer.The tetra can be loud when not wrapped in a shirt which looks like ass. Heaters are pretty meh to me as long as they do not break. There is a adjustment dial that I correspond with the digital thermometer for temperature. It has numbers on the dial but we all know how that goes. As for the PP-4 I have no idea what to mode to put it on. Right now I have it on wave-1 and the dial turned a little under half, it has my water rocking back and forth softly. Please assist me on that front if possible. The other big question mark I have is what to set my AI Prime HD at. I just asked the AI Prime facebook group but if someone out there with this tank help me out that would be king.

 

I saw so many debates on substrate I decided to not beat myself up about it and just get something solid. Hopefully this fits the bill. Luckily my LFS carries Real Reef Live Rock so I got to pick and choose and even set up my scape there. The Matrix is basically just going to fill the empty caddy once I get it and act as additional surface area for the long term. I am a little concerned about when the purigen will go bad and how I will know but that will be in the air whether it returns. I ordered chemipure blue right as amazon ran out so I am still debating whether I should refill that void, let me know if you think it is worth it. I like the tiny scrubber of the two little fishies magnet and the fact that it isn't made out of the same plastic as a 1993 mac like nano-mags really tipped the scale. Also one of these hermits does not look particularly red except for maybe his knees, felt worth noting.

 

As far as future goes I have plans on getting those spinstreams, the new air pump, and another light. When it comes to future livestock I have some ideas but have nothing set in stone so we will just have to see where the road takes us. If you follow along I will be doing my best to keep you entertained and updated through the trials and tribulations of the Sea of D. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 as I didn't get everything cleaned up after such a long day 1.

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Truly day 1`

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schleppey

Setting up a sample scape at the LFS, still feel it in my knees.

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How she turned out

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mr9iron

It looks like a very nice start.  I am curious to see where this tank goes.  Do you have any updates?

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schleppey

Thanks, hopefully I will not disappoint. As for updates I am just chilling letting the tank cycle. I was told by my guy at the LFS to wait a month before a fish and some basic coral. I also have seen mixed standpoints on the internet on adding fish. I am going to play it cool on the coral front and wait it out I think. Other than that I turned the skimmer off to hopefully cycle the tank a little faster and have fed the crabbies twice so far. I just fed them today so I will test the water tomorrow and see how it is progressing. I will definitely update on any additions or changes to the setup, fear not.

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Dreichler

This build looks great!  Really like the aquascape!  A great addition would be to get another Prime.  I started with 1 over my 45 and then bought another, and recently bought a third.  The more the better.  Will be following this thread and here to help whenever you need, just @ me and I'll help as much as I can.  What are your plans as to what kinds of coral you'd like to keep?  I think an upper region of the tank would look good SPS dominated while the middle/lower regions were zoas, acans, clams, scolys, etc.  the list goes on and on!  But hope all goes well from here.  Get some test kits and do testing on water parameters a few times a week to make sure your tank is cycling properly.

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burtbollinger

you'll want a controller for your heater...i like a reefkeeper lite for the task, but an inkbird will work.

 

other than that, decent start.

 

my best advice is be very, very choosy with corals, leave plenty of space and let them grow in...dont add too much green...and avoid the more invasive stuff. (palys especially). 

 

EDIT: other advice...pick up a Hanna alk (dkh) checker when you can.

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Dreichler
5 minutes ago, burtbollinger said:

you'll want a controller for your heater...i like a reefkeeper lite for the task, but an inkbird will work.

 

other than that, decent start.

 

my best advice is be very, very choosy with corals, leave plenty of space and let them grow in...dont add too much green...and avoid the more invasive stuff. (palys especially). 

 

EDIT: other advice...pick up a Hanna alk (dkh) checker when you can.

This is good advice.  If you want your tank to look balanced and colorful, don't buy more than 1 or 2 green pieces.  Adding onto the corals to avoid would be pulsing Xenia because of their ability to takeover just about anywhere.  Green Star Polyps unless you isolate them on an island.  And don't put your corals in places they necessarily "look good there".  Place them where they should be depending on what lighting and flow they prefer.  By this is mean don't put an acro in the sand where there's no flow just because it looks good.  Keep it where it prefers to be, up with high lighting and high flow.  

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schleppey

@Dreichler Wow thank you for the support. I just went and copied your AI settings and put everything at half until I have some coral in here. Weirdly enough you basically hit it right on the head with what I want for my corals. I was thinking zoas in the front right area, acans on far right or far left, and eventually sps dominated top area.  That is as far as I have gotten but I am pretty set on those 3. I have recently decided against the pulsing xenia after I discovered it spreads itself in a bad way. I am in the air on clown fish but initially that is where the xenia came in. Without that I don't know what other corals they could host with my current plans. Thanks for the tips.

 

Additionally I am planning on a wave of upgrades before the year is up and heater is priority number 1 on the list. I will get a controller but have to figure some things out first. The Hanna alk tester is on the list.

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Dreichler
7 hours ago, schleppey said:

@Dreichler Wow thank you for the support. I just went and copied your AI settings and put everything at half until I have some coral in here. Weirdly enough you basically hit it right on the head with what I want for my corals. I was thinking zoas in the front right area, acans on far right or far left, and eventually sps dominated top area.  That is as far as I have gotten but I am pretty set on those 3. I have recently decided against the pulsing xenia after I discovered it spreads itself in a bad way. I am in the air on clown fish but initially that is where the xenia came in. Without that I don't know what other corals they could host with my current plans. Thanks for the tips.

 

Additionally I am planning on a wave of upgrades before the year is up and heater is priority number 1 on the list. I will get a controller but have to figure some things out first. The Hanna alk tester is on the list.

Sounds good!  If you want clown to host to something, I would first recommend getting a clown(s) that is wild caught.  They host anemones and other corals like toadstools, frogspawns, torches, and just about anything else they feel safe around.  Mainly an anemone though like a bubble tip anemone.  The only reason i would say stay away from all of that is because anemones can be very annoying and they prefer a system that is about 6-9 months established.  So by that time you probably have all the corals in the spots you want, but the anemone is going to move all around them trying to find a spot it likes, killing whats in its way.  

 

Another piece of advice is to only buy corals that you really like and you don't really see anywhere else.  I say this because i just recently went through a full 100% escaping of my tank mainly because i had no more room for all the new, expensive, nice corals i was buying.  My real estate was filled with my old colonies of corals that i had for years that i thought were super nice back then but not as nice as what i wanted to replace them with.  So i sold all my livestock top to bottom except for a few centerpieces, and started over.  It was a massive process and i would try to avoid something like that in every way.  In the end i was beyond happy with the result because now i have the perfect tank for what i was aiming for.

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schleppey

@Dreichler All of that makes sense a lot of sense to me. I will likely avoid clowns for the time being at least. I have no interest in an anemone.  Also I wouldn't wish a big tank breakdown on my worst enemy. Those can just be the worst. I'm generally overly choosy by nature so I believe will do well in coral selection. I do want this to be my personal masterpiece so it may take a little time to find all the right pieces, which I've accepted.

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schleppey

Finally got some worthwhile updates. Tank is cycled finally, it has been for almost a week now but I figured I would let it go a little. I got a great deal on some very useful hardware I needed from someone on this forum, so that was nice. I bought the following for 50 bucks, inTank floss holder, inTank refugium basket, JBJ NanoGlo refugium light, and a timer for the light. I was very hyped about that. On amazon I bought an Inkbird heater/cooler controller as well as an insanely quiet air pump for my skimmer, replacing my tetra 20 on top of t-shirt setup. I currently have the Inkbird set at 77 with 1 degree of flexibility, and the refugium light timer running opposite of my light for ph stability. I set all of this hardware up two days ago and so far so good.

 

Now for the fun news, a saltwater only LFS just opened up 2 miles away from me. I previously had to drive at least 25 minutes to a store depending on traffic and they were kind of meh. This store however is the tits. The place is super clean and organized as well as having great pricing. I did intend on walking out of here with some test coral to see how everything was going and boy was I surprised. I walk up to the $10 frag tub and mention I might start a zoa garden and the owner asked to see a pic of my tank(for fun). After I showed him, he pointed out a rasta zoa asking if I like it, and literally bagged it for free. I then chose an acan from the $10 tub and mentioned one of his favia frags in there. I kid you not he says he doesn't know if he is comfortable selling this and bags up ANOTHER free frag for yours truly. I really wanted to support the store at this point so I also grabbed the small container of New Life Spectrum. I walked out of there with three frags and the food for 16 dollars. Its even better when you get home, acclimate, put in place and they all survive. 

 

Yesterday, after seeing my corals all survived and are not showing signs of stress I returned to the store. My intention was to see if he could order me a fish I was looking for, and to get some macro-algae for my new fuge setup(that I forgot the day before). I asked him if he could order a Helfrichi Firefish for me, expecting to pay the usual $80-$100. He said that he could get me on for $35!! I was like yo I have never seen them below 80 anywhere ever. He said that they are only 10 bucks more than the standard firefish from the wholesaler and that most fish stores must just be hoeing people (my words not his). Whether I will actually get one for that price is still in the air I guess but I am definitely getting one in on his next order he said. Price seems to good to be true if you ask me, but he was talking about the right fish and everything, I made sure of it. We were also looking at some of his $20-$30 frags and I saw a Zoa I liked and he gave it to me for $10. I also was given a softball of chaetomorpha from his fuge for free. Everything is settled in now and I could not be more happy with my reef tank situation for the time being to be honest. I also have some live copepods on the way. Here is some pictures

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schleppey

I Isolated the favia so it will not sting anything else. The second head of the Rasta Zoa is on the back side.

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schleppey

Obviously this guy is tucked in a little in this picture but I really like the blue. Also the color of the Zoa is a neon-"coral" color for lack of a better term lol. That pink-orange coral color in highlighter form is what first popped into my head, that one has 5 polyps right now.

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schleppey

Now onto the hardship, random microbubbles coming from my return pump. I have 100% determined that is the source and have yet to solve the issue. It is honestly pretty minor but I would like to get it back to almost none like before. I see them coming out of the nozzle, fairly randomly in spurts. They spurt out for under a second but that is enough to add some to my display. I do not think there are any bubbles getting to my pump compartment, and do not know where the air is coming from. Please help me on this as it is kind of driving me crazy, mainly because they just showed up. Other than that feel free to let me know how I can format this journal better. I would like to have my current FTS be the top picture on the journal at all times, I just don't know how people do that. I'm going to the Aquatic Experience next weekend so I doubt I will come home empty handed. Expect next update around then

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schleppey

It has been too long, but this update should make up for it. I have added some fish and corals to the sea. Also I got some inspiration from the the Aquatic Experience. Anyway I will run you through it in order of events.

 

The last weekend in October I went a little nutty on the coral. My new LFS is so tempting being only 2 miles away so I end up there quite a bit. I grabbed; Armor of God Zoa, Bam Bam Zoa, orange/lavendar Zoa, purple/green Zoa, full yellow Zoa, Pink Elephant Paly, Blue and Red Rhodactis Mushroom, Red and Blue St. Thomas Mushroom, purple/orange Acan, mystery Acan Echinata, Purple Tip Montipora Digitata, pink/purple Chalice. The only coral of those not doing great is the St. Thomas Mushroom. It is not getting any worse but it is not getting any better. Still working on placement for that guy.

 

On November 3rd my pair of Biota Captive Bred Mandarin Dragonettes came in. I use the same food that they are fed at Biota and they were eating frozen the first day as expected. I take 1 cube of Ocean Nutrition cyclops and 1 cube of V20 cyclops and mix them. Then soak the feeding in Selcon for 5 minutes and squirt on the rocks near them and where I want them to be. Twice a day I do this and in between feeding I do see some pod scavenging. They are a tiny little couple now and show promising behavior. I am not one to pick favorites but these little ones are amazing. 

 

The next day at the Aquatic Experience in Chicago, my brother and I had a pretty enjoyable time. He set up his first reef tank recently and grabbed some corals that he got some good deals on. I am harboring them for the time being. I grabbed 3 frags from the show that really caught my eye. I got a small Aussie Gold Torch, a small cluster of Rainbow Acans, and single head of an Ultra Rainbow Acan. The two rainbow acans do not look much alike and are one of my favorite corals so I was A-OK with my purchases.

 

Today I revisited my LFS as I knew my parcel would be ready to go. I had them order in a Helfrichi Firefish and he even offered to qt it for 10 days. Sunday was day 10 and I picked up my new pal. I also had them order a Blue Banded Coral Shrimp and grabbed him today as well. The firefish is stunning, I particularly enjoy the fade of color from purple to white. I also grabbed some most "easy" SPS to test my waters and they seem to be doing well. I grabbed a Green Hydnophora, a Green Psammorcora, and a Purple Montipora Cap. Monti Caps are my all time favorite coral.

 

Everything on the left side of my tank is likely to move or still even on the plug. Dont judge!

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schleppey

I am holding that green zoa patch temporarily for my brother. Everything else you see is staying in some way.

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schleppey

LFS is making an order from ORA so I will likely grab a few corals from them. Specifically looking for some more monti caps. Other than that future plans have not changed. Let me know if you want to see some more pictures of anything.

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Zuma

Any updates on this tank?  Great start.

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