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sngallagher

26g Bow Front Reef (First Reef!)

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sngallagher

 Hi Everyone! Really excited to start this writeup and document the journey of my first saltwater extravaganza. The dream of having my own reef has long been with me, but I always found a reason to put off starting one. It was the usual reasons: Too expensive, Not settled yet, Maybe I should wait and get a bigger tank, Not enough time, etc (I'm sure you guys know the deal). Fast forward through some awkward and weird times, past college and into the working years, and I finally ran out of excuses - so here we are!

 

I draw most of my knowledge from the freshwater world as I kept a few different fresh tanks through my teenage years and had great success with planted tanks and a variety of fish. My only experience in the salt world was a short, summer job working for an LFS building custom tanks and stands. When I wasn't sweating to death building tanks, I soaked up as much knowledge as possible. Most of that has been lost since then and I am learning as I go through forums, books, and the not so occasional mistake. But hey - that just makes it more interesting!

 

On to the fun part! The tank was setup on August 17, 2018, making it about one month old now. The cycle was incredibly quick on this tank (just under 2 weeks). Not sure if it was the live rock and live sand combo or beginner's luck.On my own skepticism, I verified the water quality  with my LFS prior to adding the livestock. Everything has been doing great so far and my two clowns seem very happy. The corals are growing pretty quickly and showing fantastic color. The clowns are fed one third of a cube of frozen spirulina brine shrimp (Hikari brand) and considering adding in a second/third food source to mix things up. I also started dosing RedSea's Reef Energy A+B product recently to help promote growth/coloration. Results of this are TBD, but I'm looking forward to seeing the outcome!

 

Equipment

Tank - 26g Aqueon Bowfront

Light - Aqua Illumination Hydra 26 HD (Modified David Saxby Settings)

Heater - Fluval 150 Watt

Filter - AquaClear 50 (Sponge, Floss, Bio Pellets)

          - AquaClear 70 (Sponge, ChemiPure Elite, (Soon to be a HOB Fuge for Chaeto..))

Flow - Hydor 1350 (2)

Rock -  ~20 lbs Live Rock from LFS

Substrate - 40 lbs CaribSea Arag Alive Fiji Pink

 

Livestock

2 Fancy Ocellaris Clownfish

Cryptic Six-Line Wrasse

Gold Maxima Clam

Fire Shrimp

 

Softies

- Interstellar Mushroom

- Ricordea Yuma

- Green Ricordea

- Sonic the Hedgehog Galaxea

 

Zoanthids

 

- Bam-Bams
- Blue Hornets
- Bob Marleys
- Bowtie Blasters
- Crybabies
- Daisy Cutters
- Fangbangers
- Gobstoppers
- Hawaiian Ding Dangs
- Lunar Eclipse
- Magicians
- Rainbow Infusions
- Rastas
- Scrambled Eggs
- Spiderman
- Utter Chaos

- A few others I'm forgetting

 

LPS

- Atomic Torch

- Purple Tip Hammer

- Gold Tip Hammer

- Branching Duncan

- Green/Red Aussie Big Polyp Blasto

- Kryptonite Candy Coral

- Acans (3 rainbows and 2 no name)

 

SPS

- Jason Fox Jack-o-Lantern Leptosiris

 

Thanks for reading! Going to update this periodically to track the tank as it matures. Look forward to chatting and hearing any ideas/recommendations you may have!

 

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Edited by sngallagher
Update Coral List :)
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sngallagher

A few more pictures of the corals thus far

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MVIMG_20180914_165556.jpg

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sngallagher

A somewhat past due update as the tank is maturing into its second month. Having an issue with brown algae (not sure exactly the kind or how to combat). My initial thought is I was simply feeding too heavily. Water parameters are all great and showing no signs of deterioration. Still using API test kits though so need to consider upgrading for at least the reef specific kits. Add ed some new corals (and finally added the others to the rockscape) and added in a few new tank mates. Unfortunately, one of those adds was a Fire Shrimp that just died last night 😞  He was in the tank for 3 days but was acting strange from the time I picked him up from my LFS. The other new add was a cryptic six line wrasse who is doing great. Will update the coral list and livestock list as I go.

 

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ronaldl75

Tank looks great!  I recommend getting a phosphate reactor.

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sngallagher
15 hours ago, ronaldl75 said:

Tank looks great!  I recommend getting a phosphate reactor.

Thank you! I was considering going with the BRS mini reactor. Just need to figure out how I want to plumb/install it with minimum footprint on the tank... Also hoping this diatom bloom is just par for the course and fades out soon! Until then just doing 20% water changes twice a week.

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Euphylin me
16 minutes ago, sngallagher said:

Thank you! I was considering going with the BRS mini reactor. Just need to figure out how I want to plumb/install it with minimum footprint on the tank... Also hoping this diatom bloom is just par for the course and fades out soon! Until then just doing 20% water changes twice a week.

i would recommend getting a few snails to help with diatoms. nerite cerith and astreas

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sngallagher
35 minutes ago, Euphylin me said:

i would recommend getting a few snails to help with diatoms. nerite cerith and astreas

That is definitely one area I'm severely lacking in is a clean up crew. Might pick some more snails up at the LFS tonight when I'm grabbing my second jug of water for the week 🙄 Any thoughts on how many snails I should shoot for? Maybe two of each for now..? 

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Euphylin me
Just now, sngallagher said:

That is definitely one area I'm severely lacking in is a clean up crew. Might pick some more snails up at the LFS tonight when I'm grabbing my second jug of water for the week 🙄 Any thoughts on how many snails I should shoot for? Maybe two of each for now..? 

yes! i know some people say to keep a fully stocked clean up crew. i would never do that as your snail's life expectancy wont be very long. 2 of each sounds perfect to me. then, when you get more stocked you can add a few more. tank looks great btw! cant wait to see it all grown in!

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dpoltsdsu

Looking good, I like your coral choices to start!

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Firefish15

Looks nice! Sorry about the shrimp though! :mellow:

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sngallagher
On 9/27/2018 at 2:03 PM, dpoltsdsu said:

Looking good, I like your coral choices to start!

Thank you!

23 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

Looks nice! Sorry about the shrimp though! :mellow:

Yeah I'm a little bummed about that guy being gone. I want to get another because he was really fun to watch and the bright red color looked awesome in the tank. Just not sure if it was my tank or the shrimp.. So I might hold off for a bit on replacing him.

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sngallagher

Update time! Almost on a perfect one month schedule ha. Anyway still loving this hobby. I really enjoy full immersion learning and this experience has been nothing short of that. Recently starting dosing the tank to keep up with coral demands. Using the Red Sea Foundation 3 part liquids to keep params in line and feeding with PolyLabs Reef-Roids twice a week. Coral growth has been great and really looking forward to adding more pieces. My LFS is starting to get more corals in slowly after a bit of a drought and I'm finding local frag swap events to be the best sources of unique pieces. Literal treasure hunts for me. 

 

Amongst all the good there has to be something to keep it interesting - algae. I keep having this brown algae growth that I can't seem to get under control. Some of it initially was diatoms, but now that the tank is maturing I think I have something new. Difficult to identify as I'm a rookie and I think it might a few different kinds.. However, my rock work, sand and glass all have a brown "short hair" looking algae on them BUT I test for Nitrates and Phos with the Red Sea kit and I never get a reading. I brush most it off the rocks with a toothbrush and try to pull it out of the sand (sometimes I stir the sand bed just to get it to go away..I know this is frowned upon by some..). Any suggestions on how to get rid of this stuff?? Its truly infuriating.

 

Progress Pics:

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sngallagher

So - Its been a while since my last update (only a little behind..). I must say I really do love this hobby. However, I do wish I could eliminate all of this nuisance algae.. lol. Also recently "adulted" and bought a house which meant moving the tank. Thankfully it was a short move and all went smoothly!

 

Managed to pick up a ton of new frags (see updated list in first post) from some local hobbyists and an awesome frag swap event. Made a frag rack and moved most of the pieces up there to grow out a little before I start trying to place stuff (..not my strong suit)

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sngallagher

Slightly behind on updates. Decided my love of zoas is real and its starting to show. Really enjoy growing and fragging them...might turn that into a hobbyist side gig at some point or at least that is the dream. Tank has come a LONG ways. Starting to really find confidence in my understanding of tank maintenance/husbandry/chemistry etc. Anyway here is two new shots of the tank one FTS and one of my zoa garden that is coming together nicely.MVIMG_20190114_165243.thumb.jpg.3ed76ae15d7391210edaadfc0dc18ad5.jpg

 

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sngallagher

IMG_20190903_210743.thumb.jpg.13805b424b082add5f43965e34b215c9.jpgJust a quick FTS as it's been months since my last post. The tank is now over a year old and I continue learning a ton. Unfortunately learned some lessons the hard way including it's always best to control all aspects of the tank especially your water. After a few bad batches of salt and RODI from my LFS, I bought my own RODI unit and now mix my own salt. The changes since the switch have been incredible with better growth and stability. Not the best picture as I'm still fighting some algae but that always seems an ongoing battle in nanos... Happy reefing!

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Wonderboy

Wow awesome setup! Glad that move had gone smoothly - you have collected a bunch of awesome color varieties! Happy birthday to your reef! Tagging along and hoping to see more soon!  (I can be patient though)  lol

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