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lizzyann

Lizzyann's IM 20 Peninsula - A Mediocre Anniversary

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lizzyann

Equipment:

Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion 20 Peninsula

2 AI Prime HD lights

Cobalt Neo-therm 100 watt heater

IM CustomCaddy w/ filter floss & chemipure blue

Sicce Syncra 1.0 pump

Aqamai KPS

AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro

Eshopps Nano Skimmer

 

Livestock:

Snail, worm, and hermit CUC

Watchman Goby

Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse

Pom Pom Crab

Emerald Crab

Zoas

Assorted mushrooms

Cyphastrea

Leptastrea

Acan Lords

Aussie Duncan

Pagoda Cup

Sun Coral

Grube's Gorgonian

Mint Pavona

Pink Birdsnest

Forest Fire Digitata

Green Slimer

Yellow Fiji Leather

Montipora capricornis

Pipe Organ

 

1" of Arag-Alive! Fiji Pink sand

6lbs of live rock from LFS

 

3/16/2019

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And my original IM10 that started me off on this adventure:

 

2/20/2019

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1/9/2019

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11/28/2018

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9/15/2018

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8/24/2018

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7/11/2018:

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6/11/2018:

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5/19/2018:

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4/19/2018:

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First FTS:

MVIMG_20180402_131628_exported_2989670133208788569.jpg

 

 

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pappadumplingz

Redoing the thread?

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lizzyann

Woohoo! I set my tank up and started cycling on 3/27/2018. Got a chunk of shrimp in there and first tested my water 3 days ago. Ammonia was at 2ppm, nitrite .5ppm, and nitrate 10ppm. Current parameters are ammonia .3ppm, nitrite 2-5ppm, and nitrates around 50ppm so things seem to be moving right along. 

 

I set up my light today and it's on a lower power David Saxby preset schedule that I found here https://www.theaquariumsolution.com/light-presets-hd-ai-led-aquarium-lighting. I was fairly overwhelmed trying to decide what lighting schedule to go with but figured it doesn't matter too much for now (correct me if I'm wrong!). 

 

I don't have too many specific stocking plans so far but would like to eventually have a fun variety of corals and invertebrates and maaaybe a fish or two. I plan on taking it slow. Only thing I've seen that I feel like I HAVE to have is a precious little pom pom crab, hah. I fell in love with a pink bird's nest coral at the LFS but I realize that will be a ways down the road. Probably going to start with some of the classic beginner corals since this is my first SW tank. I would also love to have a crocea clam one day, but no idea if that will work with my tank set up as it grows and matures. I always feel a little guilty keeping fish in a tank this small, but it sounds like there's a couple options that will be plenty happy on their own in a small home, so we'll see. Currently SO FREAKING EXCITED to just get a clean up crew in there, but will try to be patient and wait for some algae to show up first. 

 

This site has been invaluable so far and I'm so glad to have found it. I'm starting this journal primarily to just keep track of things for myself, but would love (and I'm sure will NEED) to hear critiques, concerns, suggestions, and encouragement from all you experienced folks out there! :D

 

 

1 hour ago, pappadumplingz said:

Redoing the thread?

What do you mean? Did I accidentally double post or something?

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pappadumplingz

oh woops, must be a different person my bad..

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--chris--

Looking good!  You really lucked out with that piece of rock, the way it is shaped.  

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lizzyann
14 minutes ago, --chris-- said:

Looking good!  You really lucked out with that piece of rock, the way it is shaped.  

Thanks, I thought so too! Couldn't believe I found such an interesting arch, with at leeaast 3 little caves, all in a single piece the perfect size for my tank! Just needed to bump it up on two base rocks for a bit more height. I was slightly concerned about there being a lot of vertical/wall space and not enough horizontal/shelf space for attaching corals but I'm thinking (hoping?) it shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as I very strategically plan where to put the corals.

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Segalplayer

Scape is sick!

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--chris--

Placement will take some thought but that's all. Nothing to tricky!

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lizzyann

Tested again today and I'm at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and about 40 nitrate. Yay! Should I go ahead and do a water change, or is it a waste until I'm closer to adding my first livestock? There's still a good chunk of shrimp in there and I'm guessing I should just leave it to keep feeding bacteria? I've been testing with my freshwater API kit, which sounds like it's the same as saltwater as long as you compare to an actual saltwater color chart, but plan on getting a better quality test kit here pretty soon.

 

I think I've got a livestock plan!! 

Snail only CUC for now

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

Pom Pom Crab

Randall/Candy Cane/Red Banded Pistol Shrimp

Goby - looking at Orange Stripe Prawn Goby, Yasha, High Fin Red Banded, Yellow Watchman, or Pinkbar Goby - What are yall's favorites??

Possum Wrasse (only if I've really got a handle on things and think the tank can take the bioload)

 

Don't worry, not planning on adding this all at once!

 

Still totally undecided on my first corals. I want something simple and easy, but still something I really love so I know I'll be more invested. 

 

I figured I would wait to get some diatoms and algae built up before adding the CUC but I'm wondering how long algae will take to appear? Should I speed it up with my lighting somehow, just wait it out, or go ahead and add a CUC so I've got something cute to look at and just hand feed them?

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sugar

Do a small water change, or a couple small water changes over the next few weeks while you plan.  Drop those nitrates down and I'd say you're ready for your first inhabitants.  It looks like you have done your research and are off to a great start!  I love these little IM 10g tanks.  If I ever have to downsize from my IM 25g I'll be looking at one.

 

Algae will come.  Don't worry.  You're right -- you don't want to add too much at once for several reasons!  You don't want to overload your biological filter since it's still developing, and you don't want to add too many snails as they will run out of food (algae) and starve.  In my tank I have 3 trochus snails, 2 spiny astreas, a cerith and two nassarius.  I have hundreds if not thousands of collonista snails that came as hitchikers, so I would not get any more snails!!!  I would start with one or two and add more as needed.  I actually encouraged a TOUCH of algae growth because I like to have something for the CUC to work on and the angelfish to pick at.  Anyway, now I'm rambling...

 

Diatoms will show up soon, if they haven't already.  Green algae should start soon after!  You will see brown/green film covering the sand, rocks and glass which is a good indication things are moving along.  Depending on your rock, other things may sprout up.  

 

Oh, and for corals... I started with very "easy mode" beginner corals, such as almost any softie, namely: toadstool leather, mushrooms, kenya tree, GSP, and even clove polyps (for me) are easy.  I have all of these and love them.  They grow fast, add color, movement and are easy to keep.  Careful on the GSP and understand it'll spread fast!!  I found finger leather/devil's hand leather corals to be trickier, in my experience.  Zoas are a classic choice but they CAN be difficult!  A good choice for pops of color and in general are easy.  They will certainly tell you if something is wrong, though.  If you do internet searches, you will find a lot of this info is repeated a lot... pretty standard beginner stuff.  I was there not long ago.

 

If you want to move up in difficulty after you've become comfortable with the above, try some LPS!  I have a duncan, several hammer euphyllias, a torch, trumpet/candy cane coral.  From there you can dabble in SPS.  I told myself I would never try SPS because it's too difficult... now I have a purple monti cap, birdsnest, and some monti digitata.  About to try a purple styo, can't wait!

 

That got long!  Sorry!  Start easy, and go slow, and enjoy the process.  Setting up is one of the best parts!!  I will be following along :happy:

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lizzyann

I ended up having to go out of town and came back to a tank full of diatoms, green algae, and copepods :lol:. I did a 10%-15% water change yesterday and today ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, but nitrate is still around 20-30. I went ahead and ordered a snail pack (5 dwarf ceriths, 2 nassarius vibex, 4 florida ceriths, 3 small nerites) from reef cleaners that will be here Thursday or Friday. I feel like that's probably too many to start with but it was the 5.5g pack so I just went with it. Hopefully I can get the nitrates down a lot by then with another little water change or two and replacing my filter floss. 

 

My local reef club's big expo is this weekend and I'm hoping to go at least look around. If I put all those snails in on Thursday or Friday, and assuming I get the nitrates out, is Saturday too early to add a single coral or skunk cleaner shrimp? What is considered slow really? Hah. Just want to do whatever is best for my tank! I know I'll want to buy all the pretty things if there's some really good deals or something so want to make sure I set clear limits for myself, haha!

 

Annnd here's my friend the wire ferret that looks over the tank while I'm away:

00000PORTRAIT_00000_BURST20180409231745327.thumb.jpg.cf74e9bcc5fe467b834b7391a149677b.jpg

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falcooo

Hey. Looking forward to seeing this tank progress. I’m about 6 weeks into a very similar setup.

 

How high is the intensity on your prime? I started to notice green algae spreading extremely fast, so dialed down the intensity from around 30% to 5% and stopped the algae from going everywhere.

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lizzyann

Hi! I'll keep an eye on yours too! I love your rockscape! Feel like I need to get a little more rocks in mine for ultimate coral placement...

 

I think I've got it set pretty high at the moment. I'm using the David Saxby preset, which supposedly is perfect, but I'm guessing it's probably too much light for a brand new tank. I need to research that more. I might just see what happens with the clean up crew then dial it down a bit if it looks like they're not keeping up with the algae. Here's what my schedule looks like: 

 

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falcooo

Schedule looks pretty cool! I’m running some variation of the AB+ settings. In your acclimation setting you can dial down the intensity and keep the same schedule. So you can ramp it up gradually over time as you go from an empty tank, to slightly stocked with softies, to full blown mixed reef....at least that’s my plan. Fingers crossed.

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1891Bro
33 minutes ago, lizzyann said:

Hi! I'll keep an eye on yours too! I love your rockscape! Feel like I need to get a little more rocks in mine for ultimate coral placement...

 

I think I've got it set pretty high at the moment. I'm using the David Saxby preset, which supposedly is perfect, but I'm guessing it's probably too much light for a brand new tank. I need to research that more. I might just see what happens with the clean up crew then dial it down a bit if it looks like they're not keeping up with the algae. Here's what my schedule looks like: 

 

Screenshot_20180410-002638.thumb.png.db92d1a0e825ac757b63963c511a65b1.png

 

No need to run the light at all at this point. Great start. 

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teenyreef

Great start! I love the rock with the natural arch. I agree with @1891Bro, the light doesn't matter much when you are cycling, it just encourages algae growth. You don't have to leave it off, but it doesn't have to be super bright like you'll need once you have corals.

 

I think your stocking plan looks great. The only thing to watch out for is the skunk cleaner shrimp. They get pretty big - I have one in my 40g tank and it would probably be overpowering in my 10g. Most shrimp and crabs will steal food from your corals when you're trying to target feed them, and the bigger they are, the worse the problem is.

 

I would advise waiting a week or so after you add the snails before adding anything else. Some of them may die, causing an ammonia spike, and at a minimum their poop will cause your bioload to go up. You might get away with it, but if you want to play it safe, then just wait a little while.

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1891Bro
2 hours ago, teenyreef said:

Great start! I love the rock with the natural arch. I agree with @1891Bro, the light doesn't matter much when you are cycling, it just encourages algae growth. You don't have to leave it off, but it doesn't have to be super bright like you'll need once you have corals.

 

I think your stocking plan looks great. The only thing to watch out for is the skunk cleaner shrimp. They get pretty big - I have one in my 40g tank and it would probably be overpowering in my 10g. Most shrimp and crabs will steal food from your corals when you're trying to target feed them, and the bigger they are, the worse the problem is.

 

I would advise waiting a week or so after you add the snails before adding anything else. Some of them may die, causing an ammonia spike, and at a minimum their poop will cause your bioload to go up. You might get away with it, but if you want to play it safe, then just wait a little while.

Gotta second that about the shrimp. I had one in my first tank and was just an absolute nuisance. Literally digging inside the coral to get just eaten food out. Call me whatever but, I flushed the bastard. Only shrimp I deal with now are on my plate and preferably deep fried. 

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teenyreef
1 hour ago, 1891Bro said:

Gotta second that about the shrimp. I had one in my first tank and was just an absolute nuisance. Literally digging inside the coral to get just eaten food out. Call me whatever but, I flushed the bastard. Only shrimp I deal with now are on my plate and preferably deep fried. 

Mine is OK as long as I squirt a little food out for him so he's distracted. It helps that he's in a 40g tank. There'd be no way to keep him out of the corals in my 10g tank.

 

On the other hand, he's a really cool shrimp and will come walk around on my hand when it's in the tank. Which means I'd feel really guilty if I had to flush him  :lol:

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lizzyann

Thanks for the shrimp info! I hadn't read about them being a nuisance like that yet, so that's great to know. I wasn't as set on that as some of the other critters/corals, so I'll probably leave it out. My bf (who this tank is teeeechnically for, HAH) really likes the possum wrasse so anything to cut down the bioload to be able to get a second fish, the better. I'm set on the goby/shrimp pair and we're both in love with the pom pom crab, so those take precedent, hehe.

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falcooo

Goby & Shrimp combo...great idea!

 

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lizzyann

Clean up crew arrived today! Definitely too many snails, but I couldn't not put them in the tank! Maybe they won't all make it anyway? Or I can give a couple away?

 

Going to keep doing lots of water changes to lower nitrates, they were around 10-20 last I checked. I ran out of LFS (that's too far to go to any ol' evening) saltwater so I've been mixing my own with IO Reef Crystals from the pet store and distilled water from Kroger.

 

Definitely turned off the light as recommended because algae was getting out of control. Hopefully the snails will be enough to take care of it?

 

I finally found a hitchhiker! An asterina? I'll cross my fingers for a good one!MVIMG_20180412_015751.thumb.jpg.aea50cf798df131f145f2aae454a03db.jpg

 

Working on some long term coral placement designs at the moment and am looking forward to getting critiques on that. How much planning ahead do yall tend to do with corals? I'm afraid everything's just going to die on my first go, or nothing is going to go according to plan anyway, so maybe it's not worth making extensive lists and drawings. It's fun though and definitely working to temper my antsy-ness to get STUFF IN THE TANK :naughtydance:!!!

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lizzyann

MVIMG_20180419_114756.thumb.jpg.fb6dec7f4a54da2567e8bc973d9e03b5.jpg

 

Ugh. Up to my eyeballs in algae. Clean up crew has been in for a week, but they're no match. Even with the light off the algae was getting slowly worse. After a few days the snails seemed to be doing pretty well and parameters were good, so I went ahead and got my first coral from the LFS, who encouraged me to go with some zoas. Once I put them in I turned the light back on (in acclimation mode) and the algae grew even faster. Phosphates have gone down to barely anything, and nitrates are getting lower and lower too. My Chemipure Blue came in the mail so that is in, but I only added one packet. Should I put in a second? Here's all my parameters using Salifert kits:

 

Specific Gravity: 1.023 (trying to slowly raise this for a better coral salinity, I messed up one of my first water changes and the ATO diluted it)

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 6

Phosphate: 0-.03 (down from .05-.15 a couple days ago)

Calcium: 210 (I know this is a little low, it was at 550 a couple days ago though)

KH: 8.7

Magnesium: 1330

pH: 8.5

 

MVIMG_20180419_125404.thumb.jpg.0096b77c5ad856aab813f262a61b7a14.jpg

 

The zoas seem to be doing really well, they opened up within a couple hours of me adding them to the tank and seem happy, but I'm afraid this algae is going to choke them out before too long. I haven't fed anyone yet, was just kinda waiting to make sure everything was stable, and didn't want to feed the algae, but probably should since I don't think there's much detritus for the non-algae eating snails. 

 

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So, what do I do about the algae? Why is there this much? Any chance of it going away on it's own since this is a new tank still stabilizing and blah blah blah? I've read that sometimes live rock can have a ton of phosphates in the rock, and that algae can be "holding" the phosphates so that the reading is much less than what is actually in the tank. Is this possible? Should I get a turbo snail or some other more aggressive algae eater and just keep doing normal water changes and try to pick it off here and there (really difficult! so slippery!)? Should I take the rock out and scrub it off? Since it's still a new tank and it won't be a big deal to go through a mini cycle, should I be drastic and acid wash some of my rock or something? I've read about plenty of different ways to get rid of algae, just not sure if being a new, baby tank changes things. Everyone says some algae is normal in the beginning but this seems like way more algae than usual, so I'd love some advice on which direction it'd be smartest to go in. 

 

MVIMG_20180419_111620.thumb.jpg.dd2664ecc2a9bd1379f7bb9f5d68570f.jpg

 

Still tons of pods and now I'm seeing a ton of what seems like some kind of hydroids. It sounds like they'll go away after awhile so I shouldn't worry about them.

 

Anyway, would love some input/advice/encouragement to take the next steps on the algae control and moving my tank forward.

 

Edit: Also took the powerhead out as I was using it for mixing water and decided not to put it back in and just get a more appropriate one. Could this affect algae growth?

 

 

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coryscritch

Are you using ro/di water?

is your tank close to a natural light source? 

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coryscritch

Turn off your pumps/filters. Go in with some tweezers and manually remove the algae. Your cc may be able to contain it then 

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lizzyann
3 minutes ago, coryscritch said:

Are you using ro/di water?

is your tank close to a natural light source? 

I'm using distilled water (that tested 0 for phosphates) and instant ocean reef crystals, started off with LFS water though.

 

And yea, I was about to do a water change so I'll work on manually removing some before that, thanks!

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