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Bloodhouse First SW

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bloodhouse

Livestock:

1x Orchid dottyback
1x Ocellaris clown

1x Black ocellaris clown
1x Skunk cleaner shrimp
2x Nassarius snails
1x Nerite snail
2x Blue legged hermits

1x Red legged hermit

1x Banded trochus snail

1x Babylonian snail

 

Coral:

1x BamBam zoanthid

1x Nuclear green palythoas

1x Pink montipora

1x Purple tip hammer

 

Update pictures:

Day 70. (3/29/2019)

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Day 46. (3/5/2019)

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Day 30. (2/17/2019)
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Day 2.

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Day 1.
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Hey NR,

My experience in fish husbandry is extremely limited, but I tend to get obsessive about new things and dump a lot of hours into researching. I have a 5G Betta tank with a Crowntail, Nirite snail, and some ghost shrimp that has been going strong for about a year. My uncle had a 180G tank that stretched across his Baltimore City apartment when I was little, and I always wanted to have something of my own. Nano tanks really appeal to me. They're like single Minecraft blocks of reef. Something about that is just really cool to me.  I live in Northern Virginia, US. and I'm starting my first reef tank.

Anyway, I Have been reading up for about 3-4 months now and I finally made some purchases along with acquiring odds and ends testing materials (refractometer, master testing kit, etc).


New Tank. Who dis?

Fluval Sea Evo 12

InTank Media Basket Ch1 (Filter floss, Stock Evo bio balls, Chemi-pure Blue)

EHEIM Jager 50w heater (it's a little too big for Ch3 but just barely fits)

Inkbird Itc-308 thermometer

Tunze Osmolator Nano 3152 ATO

CaribSea Fiji Pink Arag-Alive! Live Sand (~15lbs)

BRS Reef Safe Dry Live Rock (~13lbs)
 

Cycling.

I'm cycling with bio-spira and some of my betta pellet food for ammonia (might pick up fish flakes today). I told my LFS I was about to start cycling and figured I'd be back in a month to talk about livestock, The clerk told me "2 weeks cycling at MAX. Do not wait longer or you'll kill all your bacteria and have to restart cycling". I went in again to purchase 15G of their tank water to save some money and the clerk said "come back in 2 days, we'll test your water and get you some fish in there." They also told me their purple painted dry live rock had "dormant coraline algae that is activated in salt water". So needless to say I probably won't be taking their advice moving forward. They gave me a piece of their purple painted rock so I could test to see if I'd get coraline from it, but I'm not holding my breath. I read that you can cycle with just fish flakes or fish food decaying, let me know if this is a bad idea though.
 

Future Critters.

This part I've gone back and forth quite a bit. I'd really like to get either a royal gramma or an orchid dottyback because the purple just pops so much on those guys. My 4 yr. old wants "a nemo fish" and my GF want's me to get a black and white clown. I could grab two clowns 1 black, 1 orange and be pretty happy i think. Orange is my favorite color so I wouldn't be mad at it, i just really liked the color of the orchid dottyback. I also really liked green banded goby, but I'm worried about having to feed them twice a day, which is why i was steering away from watchman or diamond goby too. Def not gonna go more than 3 fish, might be happy with 2 and some corals. I'm not a clown hater but I feel like everyone has them (probably with good reason) and I'd like some variety. My LFS has like 100 yellowtail blue damsels which are pretty but probably not right for this size tank. I also want a shrimp, probably coral banded because i like the long arms, they look goofy AF.


The flatter rock on the left hand side i'd like to make a coral bed.  If there's a fish that likes to swim above low "ground cover" coral beds that would be cool, still need to do more research on corals. Most of my reading has been on starting a tank and general care instructions.


CUC, I'll probably get 2 trochus, 2 cerith, 2 nassarius, and maybe 3 blue foot hermits. I need to do more research on clean up crews before I can make a move on this. Any advice is appreciated. Some people are saying 1 per gallon but 12-13 snails/crabs seems like a lot for this little tank. Maybe they mean by gallon of water, which would be like 10.

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Christopher Marks

Welcome to the community @bloodhouse! 👋

 

Congrats on your new nano reef system, you're off to a great start. I think using Bio-Spira will be fine to begin your cycle, and honestly, just the Caribsea arag-alive live sand alone would have been enough to establish your ecosystem and start a small cycle. Adding a tiny bit if your betta pellet food for ammonia will work great too, you don't need to add much, just a little bit one time will do.

 

I think you got the right impression at the store on what do when you're given bad or questionable advice, it's always best to research and verify on your own before making purchase and additions. In this hobby there can be a few different ways to a successful result, but you have to choose the path that best suits your own aquarium's situation, as well as your lifestyle.

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bloodhouse

Ya thanks @Christopher Marks. One question, not sure if you are familiar with the "master testing kit" when I'm doing my water tests I use the fresh water version because that's what i have. The ammonia test is def murky compared to freshwater, and it's hard to tell if it's yellow or green. I'm pretty sure my water didn't have any ammonia in it to start, but it still kind of looked a tiny bit green.

Have you used the fresh water testing kits on saltwater? i assumed there wouldn't be much of a difference. Let me know your thoughts, I just want to baseline my testing kit.

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bloodhouse

@Christopher Marks answered my own question, not sure why i didn't just google it first.

 

 

ammoniacolor2.jpg

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Christopher Marks

Good find @bloodhouse, some hobbyists changing over from freshwater don't realize their ammonia test kits will still work fine but the color card is different. An easy mistake to make! 👍

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bloodhouse

Day 4.

Water test shows 0 for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate.
I started seeing seeing little translucent blobs around my betta pellets. I'm assuming that's bacteria!


IMG_20190122_081143.thumb.jpg.569870a3847901a4a1052fa37e40f2a6.jpg

 

Tossed the purple painted rock from the LFS, added a green and purple "live rock" from a Petco in Charles Town, Wv.  It was about an hour from my house, but I was in the area and needed to pick up an algae magnet scrubber. The fish person at that particular Petco seemed a lot more knowledgeable. Strongly urged me to cycle for a couple weeks at least to make sure levels were stable. Showed me a bunch of the critters they had stocked and told me they would order, explain, and give advice on anything i needed. She said they operate a little different than the other the stores closer to my house. Def felt like i could nerd out a little bit with all the stuff I've been reading and learning the past few months. 

 

Maybe it's coraline, maybe it's paint, but it looked a lot more realistic than the purple concrete so tossed it in!

 

IMG_20190121_204036.thumb.jpg.f262f7bb7f9cc646c6a656facd566004.jpg

 

Seeing some of the different fish in person helped me visualize the sizing of some of these fish. I also got to see an Orchid Dottyback again and I just love that little fish. That purple just pops. I'm kind of leaning yellowtail damsel and purple dottyback. A lot of what I've read is that damsels are too big, so I'll have to keep thinking about that.

 

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Daniel91

Cool! Following along.

I like that you don’t want clown fish - I love the little things and have two but they are the norm.

 

You can get a nice variety of fish in your tank!

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bloodhouse
1 hour ago, Daniel91 said:

Cool! Following along.

I like that you don’t want clown fish - I love the little things and have two but they are the norm.

 

You can get a nice variety of fish in your tank!

Yah orange is my favorite color, and my daughter and gf want clowns, but "Fluval Evo Two clowns" is becoming a starter reef cliche. That said, I'm sure there's good reason.

 

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bloodhouse

Day 5.

Salinity 1.023

Ammonia 0ppm

Nitrite 0ppm

Nitrate 0ppm

 

No signs of algae. Betta pellets are dissolving  and are just  tiny blobs of pink with a translucent bubble around them.

 

Might get some crabs this weekend. Probably wait on snails until I see some kind of algae.

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FISHnChix

Welcome to the salty side. Imo you need to add more of an ammonia source to start your cycle. You haven't seen any traces of ammonia , nitrite,  and haven't been left with nitrate so I dont think you have started cycling.  Looks like you used almost all dry rock so I would look into using dr Tim's ammonia rather than adding shrimp or fish food this way you know exactly how much nh3 your adding and dont pollute the tank with extra nutrients that could lead to alage problems.. oh and to the lfs that said 2 weeks max for a cycle or your bacteria would die lol that's simply not true. No all of your bacteria wont die after 4 weeks and there is never a max time on how long a cycle takes , there are to many factors to say hey do this this long and your cycle will be complete.  With rock and live sand I would say 4 weeks (my best guess 😁) would be close to a minimum time frame for cycling if you added nh3 the first day.

 

 

Happy reefing!😎

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bloodhouse

@Weikel yep sounds about right. I'll check back in with you guys next week. I might get Dr Tim's, I might just throw more fish food in there.

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Daniel91

Put a pause on the fish food if you are going with Tim’s ammonium.

 

Thing is you cannot control how much ammonia fishfood will give you but you can with ammonium.

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bloodhouse

Hoohoo! I have 5ppm nitrates. Just tested again when I got home fom work. Winner winner. I think i might have been mistaken about the zero nitrates this morning. I'll let you know what's she's at tomorrow morning.

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bloodhouse
2 hours ago, Daniel91 said:

Put a pause on the fish food if you are going with Tim’s ammonium.

 

Thing is you cannot control how much ammonia fishfood will give you but you can with ammonium.

What's the importance of controlling the ammonia? Is that so you know how much waste your tank can burn a day?

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Daniel91
5 minutes ago, bloodhouse said:

What's the importance of controlling the ammonia? Is that so you know how much waste your tank can burn a day?

If you can control your ammonia source, there’s a good chance you can manage your cycle. 

Just because your tank can convert pellets to nitrates does not mean your cycle is complete or ready for a prober bioload.

It’s definitely a step in the right direction but you want to ensure your biofilter can probably handle/convert ammonia in a timely manner. If I remember correctly, Tim’s fishless cycle may state that 2ppm fully converted to Nitrates in 24 hours is a cycled tank. 

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FISHnChix
1 hour ago, bloodhouse said:

What's the importance of controlling the ammonia? Is that so you know how much waste your tank can burn a day?

Yea its impossible to say when your tank has enough bacteria to handle a bio load. Typically we go with dr tim if you can cycle 2ppm in a day then you should be good for a fish . Now that usually means 1 fish. You get the fish and then your bio filter adapts accordingly to the new bioload  and so on.. could your tanks bacteria handle two fish at once?? Who knows maybe maybe not. This is why we go slow lol . Plus that stupid saying nothing good happens fast in reefing .. well its true albeit annoying as a MFer. 😉

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bloodhouse

Thanks guys. I'll think about the Tim's stuff. Time now for this tank to marinate.

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bloodhouse

Day 8.

Ammonia 0ppm

Nitrite 0ppm

Nitrate still between 0 and 5ppm in color.

 

Threw some more Betta pellets in there yesterday.

 

Decided 100% on an orchid dottyback. They're just a really pretty fish and with the rock work I have there's tons of little caves and holes for it to hide. Now I'm wondering what to pair it with. From what I've read they're shy and not very aggressive. Yellow tail damsel would be nice because the difference in color. Also looking at firefish or a black clown. If the orchid hides a lot in the rock I want a fish that's more outgoing to pair it with. I might also want to go with another carnivore based diet fish for simplicity of feeding. I don't know if that's a factor worth considering though.

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bloodhouse

Day 10.

Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate between 0 and 5ppm

I think the yellow of the Nitrate test is getting a bit darker but it's not by a ton.

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bloodhouse

Day 11.

Are these diatoms? Dark tan spots. Some parts have small bubbles.

 

Lemme know, thanks!

 

 

 

 

PhotoEditor_20190129_165759301.jpg

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bloodhouse

Day 13.

Gonna get some crabs and snails either tonight or tomororw. I'm assuming these are diatoms and that it's a good sign.

 

This mornings water test showed about the same as every other day. 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, slightly tinted Nitrates. I compared it to the clean salt water I have in my buckets and it's def got some Nitrates.

 

Next move, 50% water change then toss in the crabs. I'll drip acclimate everything. I picked up some clear tubing and a valve. I'll post some pictures when that happens.

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bloodhouse

Day 13 pt2.

Crabs! Picked up 4 hermits and a Trochus snail. Scratch that 3 hermits, a Trocus snail, and a Nerite? snail... Def was expecting 4 crabs, but 3 crabs and 2 snail will have to do.

 

2x blue leg hermit

1x red leg hermit

1x Nerite snail (I think)

1xBanded Trochus snail

 

Is that a Nerite? I haven't seen that kind of shell pattern on a Nerite before.

 

 

 

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Christopher Marks
On 1/29/2019 at 3:01 PM, bloodhouse said:

Day 11.

Are these diatoms? Dark tan spots. Some parts have small bubbles.

Lemme know, thanks!

PhotoEditor_20190129_165759301.jpg

Definitely diatoms, normal and expected in a new system 🙂 

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bloodhouse

Day 15.

Added a jebao rw4 to the tank. It sounds a bit like a cellphone vibrating so I'm not sure if I have it in a bad place or maybe I can turn it down a little. The sand bed has shifted a bit from the increased flow and me messing with the settings on the power head controller.

 

Ammonia looks good, Nitrite looked to be slightly elevated maybe to the second color block last night. I tested again this morning and it looked to be 0ppm again. Either there was a tiny increase or I was just tired and the lighting made it look a shade darker.

 

Diatoms are making a lot of bubbles on the rocks. Crabs seem to be eating the diatoms though. The Nirite snail I keep finding upside-down with sand in it's face. I flip him back over and put him on the rock and he starts crawling around again. I also threw some shells for the hermit crabs. The red leg one keeps bluffing on different shells. He crawls around the tank almost frantically inspecting and turning the shells over. Then he tries to climb in and doesn't like it so he goes back to his original shell. Kinda funny to watch.

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bloodhouse

Day 17.

New shell who dis? Crab finally picked a new shell. Wonder if he's gonna keep it this time? After turning my pumps/powerheads back on when I was done feeding what I thought was the littlest crab blew into the powerhead and was quickly obliterated. Turns out it was just molted shell. That scared me quite a bit. Thought maybe the powerhead was turned up too high.

 

Everything looks good today.

 

IMG_20190204_083234.thumb.jpg.f17a3dc692b95561d8d3ad98c2eacfb5.jpg

 

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