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Jon-Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got around to uploading those pictures.

 

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I find seeing it in scale makes me realize how tiny it is haha. The succulents n ext to it are about 5-6 inches tall.

 

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A shot of the new torch, really liking this coral. It has a nice neon green skirt. Also, the rainbow acan is now a centerpiece.

 

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The frogspawn is splitting. His one giant head has now become two. Kind of noticeable in the pic. I noticed his tentacles are not nearly as long.

 

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Mushroom rock.

 

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Slightly candid photo of the rainbow acan.

 

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And finally a full tank shot to end it off.

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very nice tank.  You have a variety of corals in their, but they all seem happy and are very colorful.  I just read your entire journal because this tank is a lot like the tank I am building in the pico contest'

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  • 11 months later...

Is there a mod on that can move this from the Aquarium Journals section to the Pico section please 🙂?

 

Incoming post with some new corlz and pics!

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Whew, I can't believe it has been almost one year since my last post in here. A lot of things have changed in the Pico, but it is still up and running.

 

From September 2019 until March 2020 the tank was not doing well. Many of the corals I purchased kept quickly dying. I successfully killed a Torch, Scolymia, the majority of my Zoas, a chalice, a blasto merletti and a few acans. Needless to say, I was getting pretty frustrated with the tank. On top of that, the majority of my corals were not opening much, and were not looking very good. Unfortunately, this put me in a bit of a slump where I didn't want to take care of the tank as much as I should, and I would go weeks without a water change.

 

Eventually I had to move in March and when I did I had to pack up the aquarium. So to move it I made some fresh saltwater in a 5 gallon bucket and picked the rock structure up and placed it inside. The drive was about a half hour, but it was in the middle of a Canadian winter and by the time the bucket got to my new place the temp dropped to about 72 (down from 80). Luckily everything survived the move and I set it up in my room with a pump, heater and light.

 

I had planned to set the aquairum up as soon as possible, but I wanted to mount my TV first, but I pushed that back and then COVID hit, and I couldn't mount the TV, so the corals stayed in the bucket... for 5 months.

 

During this time I learned a lot about the corals. Because they were in the bucket I had to place to light higher up off the surface of the water, and the corals opened up dramatically more. I had never really considered that my light was too close to the surface so that was lesson #1 learned.

 

The next lesson I learned was that my Aquaclear 70 fuge with chaeto was doing bad things. #1 it was way too much flow. Even with the AC50 Impeller it was still a flow of about 200 GPH throughout the entire tank. If I had SPS this probably would have been amazing, but my LPS hated the flow. When my Scoly and torch died I could tell it was because they had too much flow on them, so not having the filter setup was a blessing in disguise. The second lesson I learned about the AC70 fuge was that the chaeto was sucking up all of my alkalinity (I could see a drop in a full point overnight). After removing the chaeto, my alkalinity stabilized and dropped at a reasonable rate.

 

So, although the aquarium was sitting in a bucket in my room with a mass of wires and tubes and it looks awful it really taught me a lot of lessons. So one week ago I finally got someone to install my TV (I needed a hammer drill to drill into my concrete wall) and decided to setup the tank, but with a few changes.

 

Firstly I decided I didn't need the AC70 fuge. There is almost no bioload (1 scarlet hermit/1 trochus snail) so no need for chaeto. And I wanted less flow, so I just used the stock picotope filter (40GPH) and am running filter floss. I am still using the hydor pump, but I changed its position to better circulate the water, and give me a better view of the corals.

 

Secondly, because there was nothing to clip the Aquaknight LED light to (it was attached to the AC70) I decided it was time to upgrade the lights. For a very long time I have wanted the AI Prime 16 so I picked one up.

 

Made some fresh saltwater and attached all the necessary stuff and finally moved the corals from the bucket back to the aquarium after 4.5 months. The next day I fed the tank some Aminos, reef roids, and lps pellets and I have never seen them happier. All of the corals are full extended, and looking thiccc AF.

 

In celebration of how well the corals are doing I decided to pick up a sunset monitpora frag, blasto merletti, tangerine lepto and two zoanthid frags. It's been about 5 hours since I put them in and everything is open except for one of the zoa frags (typical).

 

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  • 2 months later...

I have a very similar set up but I’ve been having some issues, I run the aqua knight and chaeto and it’s a 4.1g lifegard aquarium, my nitrates are at zero due the chaeto, I run mostly blues for 10 hours but after some research I am going to reduce it to about 7 hours and run 5 hours on full and 2 hours on mostly blues but my light fixture stands about 3-4 inches above the surface and I want to increase that but I can’t seem to figure out how to get more height since it’s a small aquarium and the rims are so close, any ideas? I’m wondering if you could give me your opinion on continuing to run the chaeto since my nutrients are so low and dosing just makes it inconsistent, my aquarium had been running for about 7 months so what should I do about that and I didn’t know it affected the alkalinity and my aquarium has a couple sps which are doing just fine but are a bit brown which is why I’ll be adjusting the color spectrum on the lights. Help? What should I do?

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Hey @raul lopez I the chaeto is a double edged sword in a pico. On the one hand it keeps nutrients super low so it is great for an SPS system, or if you have a heavy stock of fish (or any poopers). But, if you are looking to keep LPS or some corals that prefer a bit dirtier water then the chaeto is going to suck up those nutrients.


Do you have a mixed reef (SPS/LPS/Softies)? Do you have fish/inverts? What are your parameters (dKH/Calc/Mag/Nitrates)? What is the dKH of your salt and what are you using? What are you running the blues and whites at? I set my whites to either 1 or 2 when I had it, and my blues were at about 6 or 7.

 

Personally, the decision to remove the chaeto from my Pico was the best decision I made. All of my corals puffed up, and my alkalinity didn't drop as quickly. You could try taking the chaeto out and putting it in a bucket of saltwater (trust me, it will survive lol) and just see how your tank handles the lack of chaeto. This was basically what I did, and I noticed a difference within a week. If you think things are getting worse, or your levels are not changing then you can always add it back, or get a new ball (pretty cheap $).

 

Secondly, I own a dosing pump and had one hooked up dosing just alkalinity (baking soda and water) for about a month, and it made my corals worse. I learned not to chase the numbers and to just let things happen on their own so I disconnected it and I now have a $400 paperweight lol.

 

I'm not saying for sure that the chaeto was affecting the dKH of my aquairum, but I noticed that when I took it out my alkalinity didn't drop nearly as fast.

 

The problem with the aquaknight is real. The only option that I thought of that could work to increase the height of it would be to get a piece of wood or some other sturdy material and mount it somewhere (to the stand or wall) and mount the light to it like you would clip it to the rim of your tank. If your corals are happy then I would say don't change it, the SPS will love it, but if you notice them shying away then I would say maybe try mounting it a little higher and see how it goes. If you mount it higher you could turn up some of the whites as well to achieve a better color balance, rather than a heavy blue.

 

Personally I replaced the aquaknight for the very reasons that you are talking about with the AI Prime 16HD and I haven't looked back. Maximum controllability, adjustable height, sleek design, and I can put a shroud over it to further disperse the intensity. My corals have never looked better, and as many people will tell you, a good light is probably the best investment for an reef aquarium.

 

Hopefully I answered some of your questions, but maybe there are some other members who can chime in as well!

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while I don’t really test calcium and magnesium I don’t really think it’s a problem since I do weekly water changes so I would imagine them to be relatively consistent. I use fritz salt, my nitrate levels are and I haven’t tested kh in a while but when I was testing it it was pretty consistent and at a good level which means my ph is pretty consistent and I test that a bit more often  and it’s always at 8-8.1. yes I do run a mixed reef and have zoas, gsp, a monti digi, two monti caps, acans, and I had a torch coral but it died, I’ve noticed that my corals have been getting worst and worst the longer I’ve had my aquarium which would explain why I should take the charro out since that’s the only thing increasing.

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@raul lopez I mean my whites were on on level 1-2 (1 being dim and 10 being the brightest) and blue at 6-7/10. And ya, if you are doing weekly WCs then I would say you're levels could be good, but how much of a water change are you doing? I was doing about 80% water changes while I was building the maturity of my tank. But even now I have gone back to 100% weekly water changes as I have such a heavy stock.

 

Like I said, I would really suggest raising the light to about 8-10 inches off the water, and try removing the chaeto for a week or two and just see what happens. You can always reset it if it seems to be making things worse, but you will never know if it works unless you try! I can say that it worked for me.

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I did a 85% water change today which is what I usually do and I also removed the chaeto and placed it in a bucket with a heater a power head and a light which I will be putting a bit of phytoplankton every few days to keep the pods alive but I switched my aquarium light to my previous one which was a lomini asta 20 and even though it’s a bit weaker I’m going to give it a try since it has a goose neck, which now the light is standing about 7 inches above the surface which is the furthest it can reach but I’m going to be running all the channels at 70 percent for about 7 hours and mostly blues for about 2 hours.

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@raul lopez I think that sounds like a good plan! I just checked out the light and it seems more than adequate for a Pico and your stock! And hopefully the changes you made work! I would start your channels on the lower side and work your way up as you just changed your light entirely. Maybe gradually build up to the 70%.

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Yes I completely agree and here’s a picture of how my aquarium was doing at the 5 month mark for your enjoyment 😅😂this was when I first added the Aqua knight and since then I removed the chaeto from the back and removed one of power heads and have added many more corals but they’ve started to look sad over the past 2 months which is why I’m switching back 337BE969-D773-4D56-938B-9B8681C9F4F7.thumb.jpeg.e7185f9b1c860519b7dcddfbd5a9dc60.jpeg

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Day 706

10/19/2020

 

Parameters:

Temp - 80F
Salinity - 1.024
NO3 - 25
PO4 - 0.05
dKH - 7.1
Ca - 425

 

Some big things happenings in my little pico since my last post!

 

First and foremost I would like to thank the community and Christopher Marks for spotlighting my tank for the month of September! It made me a very proud coral dad, and I have really enjoyed learning about the hobby from this forum for a long time. If you want to check out the spotlight it's here.

 

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After writing the spotlight I decided that I needed a little something extra in the tank. I have had the system setup for almost two years and never had a fish or some kind of exciting invert so I grabbed a Sexy Shrimp, whom I have named JT. At first I think he was picking at some corals, so I realized I would have to up my feedings to nip that and since that he has stopped bothering the corals (as much). I will say I do love his gyrations, and he makes a great Instagram star. He has taken host in the Frogspawn and that's where he spends most of his time. If he isn't there he will hang out at the large hammer coral as well.

 

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After having bought a shrimp and tested the waters of having some personality in the aquarium I decided that I wanted to get a fish, and so I grabbed a neon goby just a few days ago. He likes to hide in the bottom middle of the tank and perch on the rocks down there. I will catch him, from time to time, peeking at me. So far he has been eating and producing some waste which brings me to my next point.

 

I now have some elevated levels of NO3 in the tank (25ppm pre Water Change), so I have had to step up to weekly water changes so far. The corals are also decimating my alkalinity (7.1 dKH pre-WC) because of the heavy stock (I think I'm at about 26 coral species in the pico now). It may be more frequent than once a week, but I will be monitoring No3 and dKH closely over the next week. Phosphates and Calcium are quite fine. The parameters I listed at the beginning are 8 days after a 100% water change and some heavy feedings and I have since done an 80% WC.

 

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Some new corals that I have purchased since my last post are a pink goniapora, green candy cane coral, red people eater palythoa, two hammers (green tip and pink tip) and some zoas. The goni is easily one of my new favorite corals. The metallic pink and flowing tentacles are quite a sight, though I am worried as I have heard they tend to melt after the 6 month mark. Hoping that regular feedings of R.O.E and Reef-Roids can help. I also have them placed just under the direct flow of the powerhead.

 

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The mushrooms are beginning to multiply like crazy and I eventually have to do something about them. I was hoping the candy cane would sting them and cut them back a bit, but who knows. I will probably have to remove, or trim them back manually soon. If anyone is in the Toronto area and wants some free Orange/Blue frags let me know!

Lastly my suspicions about the Montipora were right and it lost almost all of its color and seemed to be losing polyps. I've learned that my lighting is set too low for SPS and I'm not going to try any more and just stick to LPS and softies (if I can fit anymore in the aquarium).

 

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  • 2 months later...

Day 788

01/09/2021

 

Parameters: After 10 days no water change.

NO3 - 10
dKH - 7.1

 

Not a whole lot has been happening in the tank which I suppose is a good thing. One thing of note is that my Sexy Shrimp has died (RIP JT 😭). Not really sure what happened to him, but I didn't find his little corpse anywhere in the tank, and I did a full tear down and cleaning. Maybe he died in a crevice, or was eaten by one of the corals? Another snail also committed suicide on my powerhead 😪. I think he got his mouth stuck in the intake as when I found him he was stuck to it. After I pulled him off he was in the tank for a bit and moving, but he never recovered and I had to pull him.

 

I think I've gotten the feeding down of the tank. I mostly just feed R.O.E. now as my Neon Goby devours it pretty fast. I feed the tank once every two days, and will throw a mysis shrimp and Reef-Roids mixture in every once in a while. I've also been religiously replacing my floss every 3-4 days (it now gets changed on Wednesday and Sunday). In the past when I wasn't feeding my tank every second day I would change my floss every week, or every second week and after tracking my nitrates over the past few weeks with the fish I've noticed the floss plays a big roll in nutrient export. After 10 days of feeding and changing the floss my nitrates were only at 10, which was a pretty good number to be at with having a fish in a pico.

 

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The mushroom infestation got out of control for a bit, but I've just realized I will need to continuously trim them back. They killed a single head on each of the frogspawn, acan and trumpet in the tank. I've been trying to cut their caps off and super glue over their base, but there is just so many! One has even attached itself to the trumpet coral. I was low-key hoping the trumpet coral would kill the mushroom, but it seems like they are too potent.

 

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The small hammer I purchased has been extending pretty well, and has a slight orange tinge to it. One of it's heads has also split which is pretty cool.

 

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The Pink Goni has extended and grown quite a few more heads. For a coral that has, in the past, been notorious for being a hard coral to keep it has been doing surprisingly well. I try to give it a little food every time I feed my Goby.

 

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The Neon Goby was pretty scared when I first got him, but now he always wants to seen whenever I come to the tank. He can usually be found perching on the orange mushroom which leads to some tunnels in the live rock that he sleeps in at night,. The Goby adds so much personality to the tank, I don't know how I went so long without a fish in here.

 

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Lately all of my zoanthids have been opening up as well. This is a coral I have had some trouble with in the past, but I think the increased feedings are helping. With this top down shot I can really see how little real-estate I have left in this tank. Almost every surface of rock in direct contact with the light is covered with a coral.

 

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Other changes of note are that the Tangerine Lepto has been slowly growing out, despite it being entirely shaded. Also, the giant green-tip hammer has been demolishing my duncan coral every day. It has carved out a good bit of space for itself where the Duncans tentacles used to be, but surprisingly the Duncan is still thriving where it is not being touched.

 

Really thinking about getting an Indo Gold Torch, but I'm a little traumatized after the last one I had went so badly. I've also been thinking about an elegance for the cave in the middle, but I think it would be hard to find one small enough. Right now I'm just trying to maintain what I've got, but I could be swayed by some big item.

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4 hours ago, Jon-Paul said:

Day 788

01/09/2021

 

Parameters: After 10 days no water change.

NO3 - 10
dKH - 7.1

 

Not a whole lot has been happening in the tank which I suppose is a good thing. One thing of note is that my Sexy Shrimp has died (RIP JT 😭). Not really sure what happened to him, but I didn't find his little corpse anywhere in the tank, and I did a full tear down and cleaning. Maybe he died in a crevice, or was eaten by one of the corals? Another snail also committed suicide on my powerhead 😪. I think he got his mouth stuck in the intake as when I found him he was stuck to it. After I pulled him off he was in the tank for a bit and moving, but he never recovered and I had to pull him.

 

I think I've gotten the feeding down of the tank. I mostly just feed R.O.E. now as my Neon Goby devours it pretty fast. I feed the tank once every two days, and will throw a mysis shrimp and Reef-Roids mixture in every once in a while. I've also been religiously replacing my floss every 3-4 days (it now gets changed on Wednesday and Sunday). In the past when I wasn't feeding my tank every second day I would change my floss every week, or every second week and after tracking my nitrates over the past few weeks with the fish I've noticed the floss plays a big roll in nutrient export. After 10 days of feeding and changing the floss my nitrates were only at 10, which was a pretty good number to be at with having a fish in a pico.

 

IMG_3411.thumb.JPG.285242c1c4550c1ea025c49d161ad6f1.JPG

 

The mushroom infestation got out of control for a bit, but I've just realized I will need to continuously trim them back. They killed a single head on each of the frogspawn, acan and trumpet in the tank. I've been trying to cut their caps off and super glue over their base, but there is just so many! One has even attached itself to the trumpet coral. I was low-key hoping the trumpet coral would kill the mushroom, but it seems like they are too potent.

 

IMG_3436.thumb.JPG.e45231a768dccbfca73e1d0aa691fd48.JPG

 

The small hammer I purchased has been extending pretty well, and has a slight orange tinge to it. One of it's heads has also split which is pretty cool.

 

IMG_3430.thumb.JPG.b8223dd48a28d37ac3064021228d605f.JPG

 

The Pink Goni has extended and grown quite a few more heads. For a coral that has, in the past, been notorious for being a hard coral to keep it has been doing surprisingly well. I try to give it a little food every time I feed my Goby.

 

IMG_3421.thumb.JPG.195d2886cf664863eea02a51309e8e3a.JPG

 

The Neon Goby was pretty scared when I first got him, but now he always wants to seen whenever I come to the tank. He can usually be found perching on the orange mushroom which leads to some tunnels in the live rock that he sleeps in at night,. The Goby adds so much personality to the tank, I don't know how I went so long without a fish in here.

 

IMG_3406.thumb.JPG.b390b19300c33917a884f4993b688562.JPG

 

Lately all of my zoanthids have been opening up as well. This is a coral I have had some trouble with in the past, but I think the increased feedings are helping. With this top down shot I can really see how little real-estate I have left in this tank. Almost every surface of rock in direct contact with the light is covered with a coral.

 

IMG_3408.thumb.JPG.8e4015d67d2820d828a77fca5f7b04bb.JPG

 

Other changes of note are that the Tangerine Lepto has been slowly growing out, despite it being entirely shaded. Also, the giant green-tip hammer has been demolishing my duncan coral every day. It has carved out a good bit of space for itself where the Duncans tentacles used to be, but surprisingly the Duncan is still thriving where it is not being touched.

 

Really thinking about getting an Indo Gold Torch, but I'm a little traumatized after the last one I had went so badly. I've also been thinking about an elegance for the cave in the middle, but I think it would be hard to find one small enough. Right now I'm just trying to maintain what I've got, but I could be swayed by some big item.

Awesome pico! Everything looks really really good. Curious how you take your photos? I’ve just started getting an idea of how to shoot tank pics but not even close to being in the same ballpark as you. Amazing pico and photos.

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4 hours ago, Jungle_v_i_p said:

Awesome pico! Everything looks really really good. Curious how you take your photos? I’ve just started getting an idea of how to shoot tank pics but not even close to being in the same ballpark as you. Amazing pico and photos.

@Jungle_v_i_p Thanks! I have the AI Prime which allows me to control all the different color channels of the light, so I try and bring the whites up a bit from what I normally have my light set at. I use an iPhone 11 Pro for my camera, and sometimes I will put a pair of light brown tinted sunglasses over my lens to block some of the blue, and make the fluorescence pop a bit. I'm thinking about getting one of those orange gel filter lens caps for an iphone, as it is kind of awkward to hold the glasses in place and try and snap a shot 😂

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23 hours ago, Jon-Paul said:

@Jungle_v_i_p Thanks! I have the AI Prime which allows me to control all the different color channels of the light, so I try and bring the whites up a bit from what I normally have my light set at. I use an iPhone 11 Pro for my camera, and sometimes I will put a pair of light brown tinted sunglasses over my lens to block some of the blue, and make the fluorescence pop a bit. I'm thinking about getting one of those orange gel filter lens caps for an iphone, as it is kind of awkward to hold the glasses in place and try and snap a shot 😂

Funny I have the same phone and try to do the same exact thing lol. Holding sunglasses and trying to take shots is def a struggle. I have the hipargero on my 10 gallon but don’t like counting to adjust. Guess I’ll have to get a the prime so I can take better photos lol

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  • 1 year later...

Day 1408

09/21/2022

 

Parameters:

  • Temp - 78F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • PH - 8.2

IMG_5908.thumb.JPEG.1ac47569906e8aa1cd1198e590e1002d.JPEG

 

It has been a hot minute since I've posted an update to this, but I can say the tank is in autopilot mode now for sure. Had some bumps along the way but all in all it has been pretty smooth sailing the past two years-ish.

 

The tank is coming up to its 4 year anniversary mark, and of course some of my hardware has started to go. I can say that the Hydor circulation pumps I have been buying are trash, but I can't find anything better than them for this size aquarium. Currently I am using a 100 GPH version of their pump and it is more than ample for my LPS/softies that I have in there.

 

I took the AC70 refugium down long ago because the chaeto was stripping all the nutrients from the water rather quickly. The pico filter that came with the aquarium was great (albeit quite loud at times for my bedroom) but eventually it also died. Luckily I saw that coming a while ago and picked up an Aquatop Forza PFE-1 HOB and it is decently quiet. It does 45 GPH and I run some higher grade filter floss that I change every 3-4 days depending on how heavy I feed.

 

The sensor for my ATO also busted, but luckily I got a replacement rather than having to buy a whole new ATO. Also, my Cobalt heater got stuck in a high temp position, so I subbed it out for the backup that I had bought and was using to make my saltwater with. I also changed my temp to 78F and the corals seem to have welcomed the change.

 

The AI Prime 16HD has been working great and the corals seem to be loving it... especially the mushrooms. They have become a bit of a pestilence in the aquarium and have been the cause of death of many of the corals (they've taken out utter chaos/other zoas/candy cane/two heads of my frogspawn/part of the duncan/some other stuff). If I could go back in time I would have never put them in tank. They do look pretty cool, but very annoying to have to actively kill them every month.

 

For the past two years I've been doing water changes when it looks like it needs it. Change about 7-8L at a time. I wasn't target feeding the corals much before, but since my newest addition I have been feeding every day pretty much. Speaking of which.

 

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His name is Cheeto (Red Headed Goby) and he's about an inch. Playful little personality when he sees me come to the tank. Dances on the corals and glass in anticipation for food. Been feeding him Cyclo-pods daily, and adding some Mysis every other day. I think he likes the Mysis more, but also way more waste in the tank. Definitely adds some more life to the tank, and some welcome fish poop for the corals.

 

I did recently test my water after having the fish for about two and a half weeks and my Nitrates were reading almost 0. Which is strange considering how much I was feeding. I DID use an expired test kit, so I think I will invest in a Hanna Checker next time I'm at my LFS. Corals are happy so I'm not really chasing numbers.

 

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Some recent coral additions have been an aleveopora, pink blastomussa, leptastrea.

 

My original scarlet hermit crab died after 3 long years, so I got another one. And I have been going through snails at random times. One I killed because I accidentally scraped with a razor while cleaning the glass, another two crawled out. I think I'm on my fourth trouchus now and I'm hoping this one lasts.

 

I contacted a company to get a quote on a glass/acrylic top for the aquarium because I have a fear of Cheeto jumping out, and they quoted me at $300 USD without any customization, so for now it will continue to be a convertible.

 

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Wow. Your tank is really awesome. Sounds like you have had a lot of curveballs thrown your way with equipment failure and such, but managed to always stay a step ahead. Those mushrooms look amazing in there! Look into Kraken lids if you haven’t already. Awesome company.

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