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The Ugliest 20G High - Black Friday Corals!

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"No equipment in the display tank" purists look away - this 20 gallon high has no sump and no back chambers.


I started my reef keeping journey almost 3 years ago in grad school with the Fluval Spec V. It went well for the first ~year and a half or more, and then hair algae started taking over when I went home for Christmas, leading into my thesis/final semester. It never really recovered from that, I'd try but I kept falling behind on water changes, the ATO would get clogged with algae and not work right, the back chamber intake would get clogged and the back water levels would drop, the corals were snuffed out by the algae... it was on every surface, you could barely see into the tank from the glass. It wasn't a great time for me beyond the tank which made maintaining and actually fixing things a seemingly-insurmountable task. I didn't wind up getting a job in California so I packed up the tank, my clownfish, and my haired-over rocks and headed home.


Now in a better place and with a job, I've upgraded to a 20g H. I turned the tank light off months and months ago to get the algae dying, took hydrogen peroxide and scrubbed all the rocks clean, cleaned up the powerhead and ATO, and took charge of the situation again. My parents had a 20g H in their garage (we got a 60g freshwater tank in 2000 and when they retired and moved away they bought the 20g for the last two fish from the 60g, who must have been over 8 years old by that point. The good old boys passed on probably a year and a half ago and the tank sat proven-seaworthy and empty, waiting for me to get my own place and do something with it) which I took and hit up BRS for some new toys for the larger tank.


Getting the tank actually up was... an experience. I was 8 when the 60g went up and I think a 5.5g is a bit of a different experience to something you need multiple buckets or a trash bin to deal with. But it's up and doing well and my old clown loves it! It's less than a foot from my desk in my bf and mine's apartment so it's very close to me and easy to see.



  • Hydor Koralia 240 Powerhead
  • Tunze Osmolator Nano 3152
  • Coral Compulsion PAR38 TruColor LED
  • (the above are from the original Spec V)
  • Aqueon 20G High Rimmed
  • Finnex HPG-100W Heater
  • BRS Mini Reactor (Running Carbon+GFO)
  • Cobalt Aquatics MJ 1200 Pump
  • BRS Netting Lid
  • BRS 75GPD RO/DI Filter
  • Aqueon 50W Preset Heater
  • Hanna pH Checker



  • NLS .5mm Pellets
  • Elive Algae Blasts



  • Female Orange Ocellaris Clown
  • Male Black Ocellaris Clown
  • Lawnmower Blenny
  • 1 Asterina Starfish that has survived 2 moves up the entire west coast
  • Bristleworms
  • Pink RFA



  • Bargain Bin Teal Mushroom
  • Convict, Pimple, and Crimson Tide Discosomas
  • Metallic Green Rhodactis
  • Neon Green and Blue Ricordea Florida
  • Blizzard Bizzaro Cyphastrea
  • Purple and Green Blasto
  • Pastel Rainbow, Dragon Eye, and Eagle Eye Zoas
  • Red Scoly





Don't @ me about how wretched the Mini Reactor pump and return tube look LOL. Ignore the ghostlike reflection of me. Next to the tank is my computer desk, where the architect lamp for the CC LED sits.



Of course setting up a new tank can't go easily!

  • The original 20G H in my parents' garage. It held fish for a year or more, so it was confirmed to not leak or have weak seams. I bought the stand, heater and reactor with this tank in mind -if I'd wanted to buy a new tank I would've gone for a 20G Long or if I had more money one of the nicer AIOs with back chambers. Well, my mom goes out to bring it in and clean it up and what does she discover? An inch-long chip off the seam! It wasn't all the way through but it was a good-sized chunk of glass. My dad, the one responsible for busting it, said "just use it anyway, I'm sure it'll be fine." Thanks dad but my leasing office wouldn't be thrilled if that seam blew. It probably would have been smart to double check the tank was fine before buying stuff for it, knowing my dad and his manhandling. Off to Petco for the dollar a gallon sale...
  • Once there the struggle was on to find a tank that didn't have a scratch, and we were locked into a 10G or 20G H due to the stand. Some of their tanks looked like another one had bashed the side of them completely from the scratches, and my boyfriend was eyeing the smaller 10G quite heavily.
  • Filling a 5.5G with a Home Depot 5G bucket is easy! One bucket for the ATO reservoir and one for filtering new saltwater into, and a big glass measuring cup to baste the dirty water into. Filling a 20G with 3 buckets total is not. And in a small apartment there isn't room for a large Brute trash bin or more buckets. The 75 GPD flow rate on the filter was also just fine for a 5.5G tank but it took me hours to get all the water filtered to completely fill a new tank. There's nothing quite like the filled-for-the-first-time bubbles on a new tank, though. 
  • Setting the reactor up. I know how to set my powerheads, ATOs, and heaters up. But the reactor (coming from HOB or back chamber filters) was a new animal. BRS has good instructions... if you know what all the pieces are called lol. The pump itself could have used a labeled diagram of what all the pieces are. If you've never used push connect tubing before, you may not know exactly how firmly you need to click the tubes and valves into place... until you turn on the pump to test and the reactor's connection points shoot water out all over :sideeyes: After some Googling and video watching I figured out wat do and got it tightened... only to discover I wasn't quite strong enough to turn the reactor lid tightly closed so it didn't leak. That's what boyfriends are for :wink: 
  • How rigid the tubes are also took me by surprise - the reactor will only sit at some specific angles. On the plus side, the return tube is so stiff it just drapes into the tank and doesn't budge! Plans to secure it are in the works. The intake tube is also at a really ugly angle in the tank. Oh well.
  • Rimmed tanks are not super fun if your ATO float has to be in the main tank. I don't know if it's super safe to have the magnet at an angle (since the rim is wider than the glass slightly) so I have the ATO magnet right below the rim, squarely on the glass. Which also means the tank level has to be ~an inch below the rim for the float valve to work properly. Oh well.
  • The black clownfish had... a very unpleasant experience. My female has lived alone for almost 2 years so I got the smallest black Ocellaris the LFS had, who was just kinda schooling with the other black clowns. She took an interest in him and did the expected charging without actually attacking him and the seizure quiver so I figured, okay good, she's agreeable to a companion. She's actually been sort of skittish when I do water changes so I figured she wouldn't be aggressive, plus she was going into a new tank, disrupting any 'territory.' BF and I went out after several hours of things going well and when we got back from the movie the new guy was hiding sideways under a rock, deathly pale and beat up. Three hours and things went downhill. He was missing several chunks off his tail/lower fins though the lady clown had no battle wounds. I saw her grab him and throw him around the water the one time he did venture out. It was too late to return him that day and I considered jankily setting up the 5.5G with the filter pump and a heater and non-filtered water, just to keep him away from her until I got off work the next day. She didn't seem to be able to get to him when he hid under rocks though. I realized he had pretty much ignored her - he never responded to her sideways quivers or attacked her back. So my assumption is she got confused why he wasn't doing anything and thought he was another female or something and beat him up. I told her she'd never get a boyfriend acting that way. When I got back from work he was still pale and struggling but out in a corner and she wasn't attacking him anymore. He finally figured out how to show his submission lol cause I've seen him quiver to her since then. Now he is colored up and always out and about. His tail fin needs to regrow but she hasn't attacked him since. I was very concerned for him since he seemed a little too oblivious for his own good but he is just fine now!
  • This dang blenny... thought the fish was dead 95% of the time because he hid under a rock. Until I turned the blues back on and now he's out swimming and perching all the time. Way less spooked by 'anything moving an inch in the distance,' too.
  • Obviously the original tank being overrun by hair algae was a big struggle. My hopes are with the mini reactor and really rigidly sticking to my water changes once a week I can avoid the problem coming back - scrubbing rocks with hydrogen peroxide is not particularly fun lol.
  • 20G High's are SO TALL. Ugh. I can't reach the bottom at all when it's filled (and not even filled to the rim!) without water flooding my gloves. So, get longer arms, longer gloves... get a longer 20 gallon honestly lol. Only good thing about the High is the stand's footprint is a bit more compact for a small apartment - and finding the space to store all of the tank's supplies is not super fun in a studio!
  • The stand is several inches off the wall but still had a kinda nasty tilt forward when filled, even though the tank was skewed to the back of the stand as recommended. I got a thin wedge board from Home Depot (for free! so kind of them!!) to slide under the stand and now it's pretty close to not tilted... maybe a little adjustment with the board is needed, but it's much less "wtf why is the water so slanted" than before!


Lessons Learned

The Spec V's ~2.5 years of existence definitely taught me some valuable lessons.

  • I think a ~5G tank is fine for a lone juvenile clown but I definitely believe my lady in orange, closing in on two, is happier with 4x as much space. She and her new man zoom all over the tank - maybe they're looking for somewhere to host because she did sort of 'host' in macroalgae then the masses of hair algae (lol...) but they are very active! The little perching gobies are a much better fit. I also think her dietary needs were much higher than the 1-2 pellets a day my original Neon goby ate which contributed to the hair algae spike.
  • Fish that don't eat pellets or wafers are very hard to feed if you go away. Not sure how you'd feed them frozen for a week without some super fancy chiller/dispenser system that idk if it even exists BUT I surely don't have the money for it! Captive-bred gobies/clowns who beeline for pellets are my friends.
  • Don't mess around with that ATO pump... I put in some Kalk or something when I went away over one Christmas to the ATO water and it like killed the pump. I also got snowed in returning one Christmas and the reservoir bucket ran dry and killed the pump. The pump has been very fussy about what angle it's at versus the water and died. Moral of the story, always leave plenty of water in that bucket if you are going away and don't try putting additives in it for the first time when you're leaving...
  • Dip all your corals always!!! I've seen so many angry little pests zooming off the frags into the dip water. Go buy yourself some Coral Rx or whatever dip you want and dip every piece that comes into your possession. The only actual pests I got were aiptasia and hair algae, never zoa eating nudis or anything.
  • Dooooon't buy all the designer corals... yes they were very pretty but half the time those SPS in your tank and lights won't color up at all the same. I had some success growing SPS in the Spec V but any time the ATO wonked out a bit or the salinity got messy it was meltdown time. In fact, go buy all the bargain bin mushrooms and 'weed' softies if you are new. That's my plan now LOL - nonstop mushrooms taking over the place. Can't wait to get another hairy shroom, I had the most success with that guy splitting over and over before. Case in point, the most expensive coral I bought. I actually had pretty good success with this SPS growing in my tank, it was happy until I failed in handling the hair algae in a timely manner, but... picture on the left/top is what I ordered (it was WYSIWYG), picture on the right/bottom is how it colored up:
  • IMG_7410_edited_zpshu4ywdtm.jpg%26hash=0T185Ihk.jpg&key=d30cfa095d39015b9ade7820
  • Take it slower with the corals. I wanted to have a pretty tank like everyone else with a diverse array of frags growing happily into colonies, and for a time I did have that, things were going well, and then the problems struck, corals I got weren't happy/died off, etc., I bought too many, I kept buying saying 'this is fine I have it under control' when I totally did not. I gotta say FOWLR is way easier lol, but looking over and seeing those pops of colors from the corals under the blues is something special.
  • Turbo snails are cool and you can see them chomping their algae trails all over the glass but they are really clumsy around your frags...
  • Probably want to have a breeder box or divider on hand for introducing a juvenile clown to an older female - though in my case, as long as I was watching she never attacked the newcomer. It was only after I went out hours later that she shredded his tailfin. Was concerned he wouldn't make it through the night after that but luckily he is just fine now! It also caught me off-guard it seemed like the problem was more his lack of a response to her at all, versus her rejecting him, because she was doing her female/dominant motions and he was just like "oh cool heater over here."
  • Don't let algae grow all over the heater, I'm not sure exactly when or why it failed but when I tried to use it to heat the filtered water for moving the rocks up in it never turned on. Also pay attention to your heater... lol. This Finnex heater has a red LED display which I like because it's always on so if the red glow is MIA I can tell at a glance something's gone wrong.


Future Plans

  • Considering getting a HOB refugium - I know for the tank volume/size the fuge would be it wouldn't do a ton but growing some macroalgae and pods back there is kinda appealing, or doing one chamber of filter media and one growing the algae. This would also allow me to have that surface disruption from the HOB and point my powerhead further down if any low-flow/dead areas appear in the tank - right now it's rippling the surface.
  • Currently have a big chunk of Marco reef rock curing. I got a much larger piece of live rock to add when I upsized since the old pieces were a bit small for a 20G and this dry rock.
  • Clean up crew? I don't have a sandbed and I have the lawnmower blenny (and the bristleworms lol) so I am not 100% sure what CUC I would benefit from the most. The tank doesn't grow algae with the light off and since it only just came back on I'll have to see what crops up. I do have a coupon for some hermit/Astraea snail deals at a LFS...
  • Fire Shrimp - I absolutely love these shrimp, they are so gorgeous, but the one I had before would not eat unless I basted food directly to it... what a goon. So I would want one a bit more... self-directed in scavenging/finding pellets. I'll go there after the holidays.
  • More RFAs - I probably should've waited a bit on the one I got but I have always wanted a pink RFA and it was on sale... my rock is almost 3 years old and this is the same salt I've been using so it's not like the tank is brand spankin' new. Keeping my eye on the nem though.
  • More mushrooms - I was doing good with these. You can see the spreading hairy shroom in the above pic in the old tank. I had success here, and at this point, I'd welcome mushrooms taking over my rocks like weeds lol. Once the tank has been 'doin good' for a few months I intend to place another order with Cultivated Reef, I love their selection of St Thomas/Rics/all the other shrooms - especially that pink hairy shroom! The bargain bin chum I have is open and seemingly settling in. No shame in shrooming out this time around.
  • Blastos in the distant future - again before the hair algae situation went downhill the blastos I had were doing pretty good, duplicating, and I really enjoy how they look, even the 'cheap' common colors. I had way better outcomes with them than favia or Acans for whatever reason.
  • Duncans and Euphyllia - I love the movement these guys give but was hesitant to get any of the aggressive stingers in a 5.5G. With more room I think I can get a couple hammers - but again, not rushing this.
  • Probably want to pick up the Hanna checkers for Phosphate, Nitrate, and so forth at some point - I like their pH checker.
  • If I got a fourth fish I'd want a firefish, absolutely love them, too, especially the Helfrichi. I'd rather only have three fish than push it getting a fourth and causing problems, though. The female clown will swim up to the blenny but they otherwise usually ignore each other and I've never seem them fight. Or another goby - not one who needs sand obviously but another Neon maybe?
  • I really like the movement of really fuzzy SPS with long polyps but I am not sure if they would be super agreeable in a shroom-dominated tank. Maybe someday I'll explore them again, like I said above I did get good growth on some of them when I was keeping my salinity/params/algae in check.
  • Sometime in the far future I do intend to set the 5.5G back up as a macroalgae/tiny goby school tank with pods galore.


Picture Dump

Did I tl;dr with the above? Well, here, have some pictures - additional future plan: gel filters for my phone's camera so I can actually take decent ones with the LED on lol.




Fun game to play: find which rock the blenny is sitting on in any picture he actually came out of his rocks to pose for.


Thanks for reading and checking out my second expedition into reefing. I feel very good about finally getting my orange clown into a larger tank, she's been a trooper in the smaller tank since Feb 2017 when she was a wee lass (smaller than the juvenile is now I'd say) but she races all over the place with more space (and a working heater again). Updates will probably be slow if I am behaving myself and not rushing coral purchases LOL but I'll try to pic dump of shroom/RFA growth and the fish out and about.

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Very nice! My first saltwater tank was a 20T and had a lot of equipment in the display too so I don't think your 20 is ugly. I did find that adding a background helped clean it up a bit and they can be picked up for cheap at most big box pet stores. I did run a refugium on mine and it seemed to help. What I did was modify an Aquaclear 50 (the 70/110 will work too and has more room) by taking out the media basket and cutting it along the fold seams then using aquarium epoxy to secure it in place behind the exit ramp. you may have to measure it, but it may be able to hold your heater in the AC 70 as well. I hope this helps and Im really looking forward to seeing your aquarium progress!


Here's the last FTS of my 20T

old 20.jpg

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Nice start! Bulk reef supply might have a 90 degree elbow for your reactor or maybe the hardware store. 

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On 11/18/2018 at 5:57 PM, btmedic04 said:

Very nice! My first saltwater tank was a 20T and had a lot of equipment in the display too so I don't think your 20 is ugly. I did find that adding a background helped clean it up a bit and they can be picked up for cheap at most big box pet stores. I did run a refugium on mine and it seemed to help. What I did was modify an Aquaclear 50 (the 70/110 will work too and has more room) by taking out the media basket and cutting it along the fold seams then using aquarium epoxy to secure it in place behind the exit ramp. you may have to measure it, but it may be able to hold your heater in the AC 70 as well. I hope this helps and Im really looking forward to seeing your aquarium progress!


Here's the last FTS of my 20T

Modifying an Aquaclear to be a refugium was one of the things I was considering - seems cheaper than a designated fuge if not a bit less glamorous. The background suggestion is also good, might cut down on any stray natural light causing algae too (who am I kidding I live in Seattle, we don't get sunlight).


Love that big shroom on the left in your tank - looks like the same Hydor powerhead I have, too. I think clowns are a great fit for tanks of this dimension because they aren't fussed about having long perching surfaces - my 2 cents from my few weeks of having them in the 20, anyway lol.


Looks like you have a protein skimmer in the back corner too? Did you find it helpful or necessary? I've looked into the benefits of getting a nano skimmer but I'm not sure how much of an impact it will have. Might aerate the lower reaches of the tank better maybe?

On 11/19/2018 at 1:09 AM, Tamberav said:

Nice start! Bulk reef supply might have a 90 degree elbow for your reactor or maybe the hardware store. 

Ahhh excellent suggestion - they do and I have one ordered! Thank you this is going to look so much better haha.


Thanks for stopping in you two and for the advice!!


Tank Update


Baby's first weekend alone - went to visit my parents for Thanksgiving so the tank had to operate on its own for a few days. Always nerve-wracking for me to leave and think about the seams bursting or a tube coming loose or the heater shorting out etc etc.. or the ATO going wonky like has happened to me. I didn't set up the feeder as I was only gone 3 actual days I couldn't feed them (fed the day I left and got back) and figured it'd be less hassle to have the fish a bit hungry than potentially dumping pellets all over the tank.


Returned to things going swimmingly - only change was the anemone moved to be on top of the rock instead of the side, but it's right next to where it was on the side so I assume it's pleased. I can also see my coraline algae starting to come back on my Fiji rock - the hydrogen peroxide bleached (killed?) it but the dark purple is returning. Which I am really happy about because it means things are going well - that and the anemone/shroom being open all the time. The shroom has developed some tiny bright blue spots - hard to photograph but very striking in person! I'm getting a gel filter for Christmas to hopefully improve my tank photos.


Got a new bucket of salt and new RO/DI filter material on the way - the tap water here has just devoured the color changing resin, I assume there's a lot more sketchy stuff in the water here than LA which surprises me because that Cali water tasted waaay worse lol. The faucet adapter refuses to stay on the kitchen sink now (not sure if something is stripped or what) so it's now on the bathroom sink which is inconvenient to place the filter near and pretty shallow so the adapter hangs down a lot... but whatever works.


I am heavily eyeing some post Black Friday sales before the discounts vanish.. looking at you Legendary Corals and Cultivated Reef. I probably shouldn't but the resurgence of coraline has me optimistic. Need to get my mushroom collection going! Gonna add the other rock that was curing next water change.


The fish are doing well - I see a little algae growing on the back glass, we'll see if the blenny takes care of it. If not I'll scrub it.


Top-down no-blues FTS attached, shroom doesn't look like much in the room lighting but the gang's all here and the nem's new position is easily visible. All 3 fish at the back of the tank. It's going well so far!!


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Yeah, that mushroom used to get huge too! like dang near the size of my palm when fully extended. 


That skimmer was a hydor slim skim nano. It did pull light brown skimmate out of the water and clear up the oil slick look on the surface of the water but looking back, I don't think it was necessary.


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New corals!


Couple updates on the tank:

There is definitely algae growing, it looks kinda like diatoms which I didn't have the first time around iirc - maybe from the new rock. There shouldn't have been much of a cycle since most of the live rock was 2 years old. Also looks a little fuzzy but it's very patchy, like it grows in a small dot. I hope it isn't the return of hair algae but it's more fuzzy than the long strands I had before. The blenny is out chomping down and has a very fat gut but I intend to get some CUC this weekend when we are out running errands.

Changing the reactor media is... an experience. I get in concept how to do it but tightening and untightening the reactor and making sure the lid is tight so it won't leak or spit water at me and just generally dealing with the drips from the output tube etc etc... ahhhh not my favorite thing LOL.

Clown original-flavor has been chasing/nipping at the young man's underside a lot lately. He doesn't seem that bothered by it like he did his first day and I've never seen him hiding but it does worry me a bit she keeps going after him. She doesn't stop him from eating when I feed them, though, and his fins are regrowing nicely so he is otherwise in good health. She also has started sleeping on the bottom corner of the tank kinda sideways which always makes me go 😕 when I get up for work and can't see her/can only find her in a corner. But I know it's #justclownthings as long as she's actively swimming around when awake (which she is).

I fed the anemone and like, whenever I see anemones/LPS eat with their creepy lil mouths I just wonder why I have allowed such witchcraft into my living space LOL. It looks so weird to see them pulling a pellet into that gaping maw. I've read maybe I want a different pellet than the NLS sinking pellets I feed the clowns for corals but I do like that the pellets sink - I had the issue when I fed my old shrimp dried brine/mysis shrimp they would float to the top - which makes it a lot easier to baste the pellet right onto the anemone without the pellet going anywhere - or getting nabbed by the clowns lol.

The blue-green mushroom seems happy - it spreads out very wide during the day. I've wondered if maybe it's not getting quite enough light because it sometimes looks kinda trumpety-upturned so I moved the rock it's on closer to 'under the light.' It has very bright blue dots all over it too! Which are really cool but hard to get on camera. If I had a macro lens... :naughtydance: I'll have to try taking pics with my bf's iPhone and see how they come out.

Whichever carrier shipped my new salt from BRS bashed it and broke the salt bucket and tore the bag inside! I didn't open it to check immediately and waited until my weekly water change when I ran out of the old salt... and was like why is there salt in the box... it's supposed to be in a bucket... well, cause the bucket was completely demolished and there were several holes in the bag. Yipes. Luckily I hadn't thrown out the old bucket so I dumped the salt into there. Not really what you wanna see when you're in the middle of a change!


Onto the new goodies... so much for 'alright I'm gonna take it really slow, months at a time, nothing fancy' LOL. The resurgence of coraline algae and the anemone not crawling under a rock and dying instantly this time have me too hyphy for my own good. I am a true fool for sales and did wind up taking advantage of (post?) Black Friday sales.


Can I just say the acclimation process takes so much longer than you want even when you streamline it if you have work to get back to? Floating bags for half an hour to get the temp up, dipping them for 5-10 min, then rinsing the dip off and getting them in, heck even cutting them all loose from their bags takes time. Normally I have horrible sleep anxiety the night before a delivery and wake up all the time paranoid I'll miss the door, but at my new apartment the small FedEx packages just go to the mail room, not our apartments, and are signed for by the leasing office if needed. So it's like, I can just go to work and walk 5min back when I get the text they've arrived. It's fun to track the corals as they head out for their overnight adventure.


Legendary Corals Order

I hemmed and hawwed on whether to go with LC or Cultivated Reef this time around - this order was a treat from my boyfriend so I had a limited number of corals he was buying - choosing which ones of 'my favorites I want them aaaaall' to strip down to 5 or 6 is hard LOL - so I decided I would pick up a rainbow of St Thomas and Rics from CR in a couple months. I had my LC cart all picked out, just waiting for the bf to buy, and my favorite one went out of stock... just a fuzzy mushroom with pink tips. My old brown/green hairy was my best grower in the 5.5g. Devastating blow! So did the purple Ric I wanted to buy - actually whoever bought those 2, and I assume it's one person because they went OOS around the same time, seemed to have bought a LOT of the shrooms I was considering or had in my cart originally! So whoever you are out there, fellow discounted mushroom fan, you have good taste, but also curse you.


Wound up getting 2 Rics, 2 Discosoma, 1 Rhodactis, 1 Zoa and 1 Cyphastrea. The latter is a new endeavor for me but it seems like a potential good fit for my tank - more color in lower light, low-medium flow, fast grower. Can I just say I love the $10 and under corals now? I spy the "oh it's only $5" and I'm all over it haha. I fawned over the baby Jawbreakers and a magenta/blue bounce shroom as well ($350!!!) but the bf's job is to keep my coral addiction in line and stop me from spending hundreds on a singular coral... even though the bounce was one of the prettiest corals I've ever seen :bowdown:


The packing slip was wet when the box arrived which always makes you worry until you get to the coral bags and can confirm nothing burst open. They all survived shipping and though I had to leave instantly after getting everything into the tank (RIP my lunch break) the Discosoma were already opening up. 


Salt Critters Order

I had only ordered from SC once before, which included the anemone who crawled under a rock and died (thing was HUGE too, that's probably what led to my hair algae issues honestly lol), but I got an email they had free shipping at $99... with an order already coming today, I could get behind that, especially when I saw their 50% off red Scoly. I've wanted one since I found out about them - easy to see why, eh? Big, bold, beautiful, bright. I grabbed a Blasto and a peasant Zoa (ahh the sub-$10 'this type grows like a weed, get it away already' blessing) with Dragon Eye and Eagle Eye polyps along with the Scoly. I mulled over the $1-10 frags a lot before deciding on one that had two types growing.


I was most nervous about the Scoly since it's expensive and not something I have tried before but it arrived with some feeder tentacles out from being in the dark and partially inflated. Of course it deflated after the dip but I came home to it pretty poofy! It's in the corner right next to me and definitely stands out. I'll have to feed it on water change day along with the nem. The light's off for the night and it started sending feeders out the moment the light shut off, looking over it has a bunch out now which I take to be a good sign. The Blasto fell against the glass so I need to shift it but it and the Zoas all were open when I got off work as well.


Thing I hate the most about the 20G High is probably (certainly) that my gloves don't let me reach the bottom without taking on water. So without a water change if I want to place a frag or move it I have to get a glovefull of salt. :rant:So rearranging these guys so they are upright or if they don't seem to like the lighting will not be fun.


I came home to all 10 pieces open and I am so happy - nothing quite like a tank with corals. So much color, different places of intrigue to look at, it just looks lively! Will keep my eye on them all to see if someone seems unhappy. I think the green Ric is not a huge fan of its current spot and some of them are on their sides so I need to fix that, but otherwise, just going to remain vigilant. 


Show off time!


The new 'shrooms. I am gonna assume the bargain bin shroom is also a Discosoma, because it looks similar to that kinda burgundy one, and it lacks the floofy whatevers of the Rhodactis. Just a common neon-metallic green Rhodactis down in front, a combo frag with those 2 Pinstripe (Convict maybe?) Discos and the 1 Pimple (maybe?) Disco, and behind them, a Crimson Tide Disco. Can't see much of it from this angle but quite a looker!


Not my best photographic work, but the Zoas. Pastel Rainbow and Dragon Eye - the Eagle Eye polyps are on the underside so you can't see them top-down yet. And there's the Crimson Tide Disco unfortunately right below where the LED glares on the surface so it doesn't show up well.


The nem and the Blizzard Bizzaro Cyphastrea. Supposed to be a lighter blue than the normal Bizzaro though here it looks supremely periwinkle from the LED. In person I would say it is more of a light blue with yellow rings and pink centers... whatever the technical names are haha.


Not a great picture for the stuff shadowed by the top-down angle BUT look at that neon green Ric glow! It looks much less bubbly than the blue one next to it, though, which is why I think maybe that slight height/inch inward difference are not making it happy? And the Blasto is above the blue Ric. Think the Nem pops here too.


Good view of the Scoly and blue Ric. I love the little flashes of green/blue on the Scoly around the sea of red. Such a looker... though I know the folks with $500 Scolys with 50 different colors are out there all smug haha. One thing I love about the Discos is when the lights go off, under natural light, they all have really visible robin's egg blue elements. Well maybe the Crimson one doesn't but the other three do. Appreciate a coral who looks good with the lights off!


Overall I would say the LC frags are pretty true to picture, the blue Ric is maybe less... dynamic shades of blue? than the pic but the other shrooms are very accurate, plus you have to account for differences in your tank's lights vs theirs. The only one I would say is not as close is the Zoa, and I have found this true of multiple I've ordered from them, the like, level of detail in the pictures on their website in the Zoas and the stark differences in color (flashes of pink against green and orange etc) just don't manifest irl - either on my cam or to my eyes. But I don't think this is exclusive to LC's photos of Zoas, I think a lot just appear (or are edited) different in photos across retailers. The SC Zoas I would say are pretty darn close to their images but they are also, simpler I guess, morphs, so I think it is harder to trump them up as like a galactic swirl of coraly color when they're really just kinda like 3 different rings. I very much appreciate how SC takes their photos in 2 different lighting situations so you can see what the frag looks like under their blues and under natural light - I think their 3 frags are pretty darn close to the photos.


I am pleased with both orders! I think the pieces are colorful and hope they remain happy and spread like weeds. Off to buy the $125 pink and yellow Elegance that was at the LFS last time I went next - I kid (hopefully...)! But wow that thing was gorgeous. I need to find some very low-light corals to put on the far side of the tank, something that wants indirect light and probably high flow. Don't care if it's a weed or not, not like SPS are gonna grow when the far rock is shadowed by the tall middle rock! Realistically I need to let these guys settle in and take root before buying another batch of corals, we'll see if I can keep myself honest. The absence of sales now will probably help LOL.


Really looks like a reef tank-proper again! Now to let them grow in... I intend to get some more RFAs for the rock the current nem is on at some point or other, as long as this one stays healthy, more are an option. Next on the agenda: CUC. Thanks for reading!

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