Jump to content
pmang6

Finally Reefing! - Standard 10g (Carribean Inspired) - Gorgs, Rics, Macros and more!

Recommended Posts

 

Hello everyone, here to share my first reef build and learn as much as I can. I've wanted to set up a reef for years, but the general "saltwater is hard" stigma kept me away from reefs for a long time. That and the fact that I wasn't old enough to have a job to pay for all this stuff. At this point, I have a good bit of planted freshwater aquarium experience under my belt and I feel like I'm ready to take on saltwater. The limiting factor for this build will be money, I'm starting college tomorrow, so I wont have as much time to work. Anyways, enough personal drama, heres the specs so far:

 

 

 

Equipment:

Aqueon 10 gallon

Aquaclear 20 with basket mod, floss, and some ceramic media (I have chemipure blue ready to add once im done cycling.)

100w preset tetra heater (probably worth upgrading at some point)

Glass lid (I have concerns about light penetration with this)

 

In the tank:

A 20$ chunk of petco live rock that probably weighs 3-4lbs

8lbs of base rock

10lbs aragonite dry sand

 

Currently just letting the tank cycle on its own, havent even bought a saltwater test kit yet. Im happy to hear any advice at this point. Current Fts:20180820_152414.thumb.jpg.c089ba53b589f65a338271f75442e08b.jpg

 

Coming soon:

Koralia 240

Hipargero 30w led (This video convinced me this light is worth a try)

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
15 minutes ago, pmang6 said:

 

Hello everyone, here to share my first reef build and learn as much as I can. I've wanted to set up a reef for years, but the general "saltwater is hard" stigma kept me away from reefs for a long time.

 

First, this is common.  To be honest there are a lot of people who like to think what they do is rocket science, even when it is not 🙂

 

Second. that looks like a nice little light.  Definitely a lot of bang for the buck.  

Share this post


Link to post

Welcome!

 

As a side note, you do not need to introduce light prior to cycling completion, so that gives you a little time to save and buy whichever light you go with.

Share this post


Link to post

 

59 minutes ago, Daniel91 said:

Welcome!

 

As a side note, you do not need to introduce light prior to cycling completion, so that gives you a little time to save and buy whichever light you go with.

Yep, gonna wait a couple more weeks to light it in an attempt to avoid some of the early algae blooms. I was considering a par38 bulb as well.

1 hour ago, specore said:

First, this is common.  To be honest there are a lot of people who like to think what they do is rocket science, even when it is not 🙂

 

Second. that looks like a nice little light.  Definitely a lot of bang for the buck.  

Yea after i spent a while with freshwater tanks i realized that the life itself is whats doing all the heavy lifting in any aquarium. Watching videos of beautiful tanks running with nothing but a powerhead and a heater is what really pushed me over the edge. 

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, specore said:

First, this is common.  To be honest there are a lot of people who like to think what they do is rocket science, even when it is not 🙂

 

Second. that looks like a nice little light.  Definitely a lot of bang for the buck.  

Actually owned that light on a 10 gallon setup just like yours. It’s a pretty good light, just hard to control.

Share this post


Link to post
9 hours ago, KW NANOREEF said:

Actually owned that light on a 10 gallon setup just like yours. It’s a pretty good light, just hard to control.

Good to hear. Im pretty set on it at this point. Seems to be powerful enough to play with almost anything. This tank will be mostly soft stuff at first so i will have it cranked way down.

Share this post


Link to post

Update: I rescaped the tank completely after deciding i want more open space down low for mushrooms and zoas. I would have a picture for you, but the crumbly base rock totally clouded out the tank, will that be an issue? The rock was excessively crumbly and the tank currently looks like milk. Should scaped first, rookie mistake. Im also totally unhappy with the current scape, it was a bad idea to buy such a large piece for the only live rock, now im trying to figure out how to incorporate it, dont think i could break it, its very solid... Any suggestions or general tips on layout? I want to have multiple levels so i can try corals at different light intensities individually. Also, thinking ahead, how do people generally attach frags to their rock? I suppose i need to drill some holes?

Share this post


Link to post

Should not be too bad of an issue as long as you give it time to settle without stirring it all again. I also just glue the plugs directly to the rockscape, some people drill holes (usually done before you put the rock in) some people glue. I prefer to glue the frag to a new puck, then to epoxy, then put a little glue on the epoxy and stick it on the rock. Also with a small nano tank I don't think you will get big noticeable par differences, it would be cool to have a couple different levels for corals, but I don't think the par will change to drastically from top to bottom enough to make a huge difference. Just put harder corals up top in more flow and light and have the bottom have less flow. Corals adapt pretty good to whatever light you put them in (in my experience) iv blasted my corals with lots of light, and little light, and lots of flow, and little flow. All trying to test out what they like, and I have found them to enjoy most of everything I have tried. Until you get into harder SPS corals I don't think lighting is a massive ordeal, focus on flow and just have some substantial light for them.

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, Dakoda said:

Should not be too bad of an issue as long as you give it time to settle without stirring it all again. I also just glue the plugs directly to the rockscape, some people drill holes (usually done before you put the rock in) some people glue. I prefer to glue the frag to a new puck, then to epoxy, then put a little glue on the epoxy and stick it on the rock. Also with a small nano tank I don't think you will get big noticeable par differences, it would be cool to have a couple different levels for corals, but I don't think the par will change to drastically from top to bottom enough to make a huge difference. Just put harder corals up top in more flow and light and have the bottom have less flow. Corals adapt pretty good to whatever light you put them in (in my experience) iv blasted my corals with lots of light, and little light, and lots of flow, and little flow. All trying to test out what they like, and I have found them to enjoy most of everything I have tried. Until you get into harder SPS corals I don't think lighting is a massive ordeal, focus on flow and just have some substantial light for them.

Yea, the more i read, the more i realize screamingly high light is not necessarily the best thing for most corals. 

 

I rescaped again. Still dont like it, but i may just roll with it for the sake of simplicity. Ive taken rocks in and out enough to drop the water level by half an inch, so i figure i should probably give it a rest for now.  Tank in milk mode once again, Ill have a picture in the morning. Starting to think i shouldve just left it as it was at first haha. Im considering breaking the rocks down even more and making it a shallow, garden type scape. You might have noticed the profile pic I made 7 years ago; my dream tank is a wide, shallow lagoon containing nothing but a field of rubble covered in  various ricordeas, mushrooms and zoas, to give everyone an idea of what direction i want to go in.

Share this post


Link to post

I think im set on the scape. IT doesnt really look particularly good, but it isnt offensively hideous either. Kinda just a rubble pile with a rock leaned up against it. This is the fifth iteration of the scape and the only one I dont hate so far aside from the original so this is it for now. Excuse the crappy phone pics, ill bust out the dslr when i have something worth the time to show you all.

 

 

20180822_203445.thumb.jpg.d37e888366a24f7cdee25e8a7932fc4a.jpg

(I intend for the back wall to be covered in coraline.)

 

Another question, I heard that there is no difference between API's fresh and saltwater test kits, does anyone know if this is true? I used my freshwater kit and the nitrate/nitrite tests worked perfectly fine, but the ammonia test seemed to turn milky and do strange things. It still came out to a plausible color so im not sure... Here are the readings either way:

Ammonia: 2-3ppm (live rock dieoff? I havent added anything to the tank but a tiny pinch of pellet food on day one...)

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: ~15ppm

 

Strange that im showing nitrate and ammonia but no nitrite...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Thought id share some pics of my freshwater tanks because why not. My maintenance schedule is... relaxed, you might say, so excuse all the messy bits.

 

First up, my 20g long Amazon blackwater biotope. Home to 9 Nannostomus Beckfordi (Beckford's pencilfish) and 4 Corydoras Julii (Cory Catfish)

 

 

20180823_092016.thumb.jpg.ace033fd3ea2746c025ef17d0bce0c5e.jpg

 

Yes, the water is supposed to look like that.

 

Then there is the Fluval Spec V. This was my first successful attempt at a planted tank. It houses 2 female Tateurndina ocellicauda (Peacock Gudgeons) and 3 Caridina multidentata (Amano Shrimp). This tank will likely become a reef at some point in the near future.

 

 

20180823_093917.thumb.jpg.c78ba44eb6142b42a425d1b3dae528d2.jpg

 

The Ladies:

20180823_094051_001.thumb.jpg.ff804b2b0369369ef08f093374105d31.jpg

 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

Little update for anyone thats watching:

 

I wanted to post some of the inspiration for this tank, Ive always thought the Macroalgae tanks here on NR were some of the most vibrant and visually interesting reefs around. The ones that incorporated mangroves and a shallow, patch reef style aquascape reminiscent of the Caribbean really tickled my fancy. Mangrove shorelines were the backdrop for my early childhood and I still find this kind of habitat fascinating, so id love to incorporate some mangroves in my tank. If i had to label what my vision for this tank is id say something along the lines of carribean/florida patch reef (+mangroves!). Id like to keep a variety of gorgonians and sponges at some point, but im told its better to let the tank mature a bit before adding most species, so I'll likely start with macro algae and some softies (Ive always wanted a nice little ricordea garden.) The concept of handling nutrient export with live plants is a familiar concept to me, as this is the name of the game in my fw planted experience. Heres some pictures and links to better illustrate my ideas:

 

Patch-scene2.JPG.7e855a1c240b9ab5e1f9056c95772f48.JPGlong-view-underwater.jpg.507916f10ffa27749aac2e356a670c06.jpg207035853_floridareef.jpg.918fd6b647796873bf3aab260b9bf852.jpg

 

 

So yea, hopefully that explains my intentions for this tank. As for the tanks current status: 

 

I think im on about the 10th rescape at this point. I would say "Im gonna leave it now" but thats what i said the last 10 times so my word is about as good as dirt in that regard. The inspiration behind the scape as it sits is a rock ledge, the ones where you find all the lobsters in the keys:

maxresdefault.thumb.jpg.84cc4cdb1f6d15b5a981aca45b4eca1b.jpg

 

Protip for any other beginners reading: Dont buy big chunks of live rock for a small tank unless you have a specific placement planned out for that rock. Trying to work in a 10"x4" log of a rock in an 18"x12" tank doesnt make for the most pleasing aquascape. Also, if you are going to break up some pieces to get smaller chunks, only break the worst looking rocks and only break down one rock at a time so you dont look down and realize you just turned 20$ of base rock into 5$ of rubble. Look, Im learning already!

 

Current params:

NH3: 0-.25ppm

NO2:~.25ppm

NO3: 20ppm

 

Nitrates Have come down compared to a couple days ago... weird. I expected to see the ammonia and nitrite drop, but if anything I wouldve expected a rise in nitrates to go along with it. Has anyone experienced this during a cycle? Is it possible that denitrifying bacteria have already developed and are converting the nitrates into N2 gas? What else could explain a significant drop in nitrates during the cycle? Also, some qustions for anyone familiar with macroalgae: I should be fine to add it before the official (0/0/>20) end of the cycle, right? Anyone have experience with Gulf Coast Ecosystems (live-plants.com)? Everything I can find on them is positive, so I think that is where I will be getting my first batch of livestock. 

 

20180830_205310.thumb.jpg.887b001788cd94ff3317a2b5517bebd9.jpg

 

It looks slightly better in person, I swear...

 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Update: Cycle complete!

 

20180902_183847.thumb.jpg.160f8c00a9d9eea285e144d1a69fb25a.jpg

 

20180902_185104.thumb.jpg.9c063dfffa5f12ec1b6ca26c11c09b1f.jpg

 

 

Light and first livestock will be ordered on tuesday. I will probably stop playing with the rocks once I start stocking this thing. Anyone have any tips or good sources for photosynthetic gorgonians? There are a few available on Gulf Coast Ecosystems, but if anyone has a better vendor id love to see it. (heard about kpaquatics/sealifeinc. Im going to wait until i go to my dad's in south florida so i can pick some stuff up from them in person and save the shipping) You may have noticed that I added the pump from my fluval spec v as a makeshift powerhead. It pumps out an absolutely torrential 83gph, but I think it fits quite well. I'm going to move it back over by the filter though, try to keep all the equipment into its own area. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Good to see someone in a similar phase as I am! Are you in a college dorm room now? If so, what are you planning for the tank during breaks?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
21 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

Good to see someone in a similar phase as I am! Are you in a college dorm room now? If so, what are you planning for the tank during breaks?

Not in a dorm, but I am away for 3-4 days at a time pretty frequently. I think I want to invest in an ATO. Seems like it will make things a lot more stable all around.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

ATO is essential for stability if you are not going to be there daily for topoffs. All really convenient even if you are around.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

21 minutes ago, Firefish15 said:

Good to know. Might have to look at getting one myself.

 

Seems like a good idea, especially if you are running your tank without a top. Thats part of the reason I want an ATO; the glass top is a bit unsightly, and Im sure it messes with the light over time.

4 hours ago, Pjanssen said:

ATO is essential for stability if you are not going to be there daily for topoffs. All really convenient even if you are around.

Yea, Im beginning to realize that, its difficult to monitor the exact water level on a rimmed tank like this. Im torn between the 134$ smart micro ato, the 100$ tunze osmolator nano and a 60$ unit from Autotopoff.com+20$ pump. By the way, Your IM14 is literally my goals for this tank. I wish I wouldve waited to start with real florida live rock, but Im heading down to lake worth next week to dogsit for my dad, and I plan on picking up a bunch of stuff from kpaquatics on the way out. Im going to see If i can nab some good crusty rubble from them. If you have any tips pertaining to florida/Caribbean tanks, I'm all ears.

 

1 month update with pics incoming.

Share this post


Link to post

KP Aquatics is great. You can always add a piece of live rock to your tank if you have a way of keeping it alive during transport. There is always all kinds of life on it, some you may not want but will have to learn to deal with. Currently I'm trying to get rid of a couple of fireworms. I'd stick with photosynthetic gorgs, as nps need a lot of feeding. Ricordea are a great way to add color. I chose to only have one RFA because I don't want to deal with babies. Macro algae will help with nutrient export, but I had a hard time keeping most of them. I suspect my mithrax crab munched on them. 

I use the Smart Nano ATO top off system and am very happy with it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

You're off to a nice start! I've gotten some lovely gorgs from GCE. I definitely would stick to photosynthetic ones. They are a good source for macros too, with generous portions. The tank you have planned sounds lovely. 

 

Your peacock gudgeons are adorable! They're a fish I've had an interest in for a long time. I'd recommend keeping their tank going for now rather than converting to a reef because the 10g will quickly become a money sink and in college you don't need too many of those lol. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Lula_Mae said:

You're off to a nice start! I've gotten some lovely gorgs from GCE. I definitely would stick to photosynthetic ones. They are a good source for macros too, with generous portions. The tank you have planned sounds lovely. 

Yep, Gulf Coast ecosystems is a great resource. I would probably use them over KP for Macros

Share this post


Link to post

This looks to be a fun interesting tank.  I think you are off to a very good start.

Share this post


Link to post

by the way (i always comment on this stuff) i have the aquaknight light that you are looking into and although i cant speak for the longevity of the light (ive had it for 3 months) i can say that all of my corals are loving it so far and i have some decent growth thus far. In the past month i have 3-4 new bamm bamm polyps. my trumpets doubled from 4 to 8. and one of my frogspawn has developed a new head. i do really like the light.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

×