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Justin_Luke

10 Gallons of Simple Science

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Justin_Luke
Hello all! My name is Justin, and I am stepping back into the saltwater hobby. I kept saltwater tanks for a few years before I went to college, but due to moving so much (4 states in the last year alone) I haven't had a tank in four years! Now that I am settled however, I am excited to have the opportunity to have a tank again. 
Before I get into the tank setup, I'll tell you a little about myself. I am 23, and currently living in south Florida. I am currently in a graduate program where I am working on my masters degree in Marine Biology. I work in a lab at the university that specializes in coral toxicology, and I also work at the LFS in town. Needless to say, I am quite immersed in a marine lifestyle ;).
The reason behind the title of this thread is that I wanted to do a build that used reasonable, low cost materials and good methodology to produce a thriving micro reef community. I wanted to show that having a successful reef is not dependent on having the most expensive equipment or tending to your tank 10 hours a day. I hope to prove that with limited equipment and a reasonable amount of care you can have a successful and thriving reef. 
Lastly, I am far from an expert. I have been out of the hobby for a while, and am definitely rusty. I greatly appreciate all advice and tips that may come my way. I am still learning, and will continue to learn. Enough tanking, lets do this. 
 
The Build: 
Equipment: 
Tank - 10 Gallon Aqueon tank 
Lighting - Hipargero Led AquaKnight 
Filtration - Aquaclear 30 HOB filter with filter floss and carbon 
Circulation - Hydor Korallia 240
Heat - DaToo 50W Aquarium Heater 
Temp - Zacro digital thermometer 
Floating Glass cleaner 
Testing: Red sea fish Pharm
 
Current Livestock:
15 lbs dry and live rock (from the ocean)
~10 lbs live sand (from the ocean) 
3 blue leg hermits 
2 astrea snails 
NO aptasia! 
 
Tank Params:
Ammonia - 0.01
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 1 
pH - 8.6
dkh - 8.0
 
The tank has been up for about 10 days now and the levels are great. The nitrates are a little low, but I'll get them up in no time I'm sure :D. I'm running the blues/UV on my lights at 90% and the whites at 30%, although i added more white for the picture. I am having the normal algae that comes with a new tank, but the clean up crew is taking care of it fairly well. I plan to get a trochus or two here pretty soon as well. Future stocking plans include making it a mixed reef with an emphasis on sps. I also plan to have some sort of dragonette or scooter blenny, maybe a tailspot blenny, and perhaps a small nem/clown pair. 
Now for some pictures, let me know what you think!

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WV Reefer
2 minutes ago, Justin_Luke said:
Hello all! My name is Justin, and I am stepping back into the saltwater hobby. I kept saltwater tanks for a few years before I went to college, but due to moving so much (4 states in the last year alone) I haven't had a tank in four years! Now that I am settled however, I am excited to have the opportunity to have a tank again. 
Before I get into the tank setup, I'll tell you a little about myself. I am 23, and currently living in south Florida. I am currently in a graduate program where I am working on my masters degree in Marine Biology. I work in a lab at the university that specializes in coral toxicology, and I also work at the LFS in town. Needless to say, I am quite immersed in a marine lifestyle ;).
The reason behind the title of this thread is that I wanted to do a build that used reasonable, low cost materials and good methodology to produce a thriving micro reef community. I wanted to show that having a successful reef is not dependent on having the most expensive equipment or tending to your tank 10 hours a day. I hope to prove that with limited equipment and a reasonable amount of care you can have a successful and thriving reef. 
Lastly, I am far from an expert. I have been out of the hobby for a while, and am definitely rusty. I greatly appreciate all advice and tips that may come my way. I am still learning, and will continue to learn. Enough tanking, lets do this. 
 
The Build: 
Equipment: 
Tank - 10 Gallon Aqueon tank 
Lighting - Hipargero Led AquaKnight 
Filtration - Aquaclear 30 HOB filter with filter floss and carbon 
Circulation - Hydor Korallia 240
Heat - DaToo 50W Aquarium Heater 
Temp - Zacro digital thermometer 
Floating Glass cleaner 
Testing: Red sea fish Pharm
 
Current Livestock:
15 lbs dry and live rock (from the ocean)
~10 lbs live sand (from the ocean) 
3 blue leg hermits 
2 astrea snails 
NO aptasia! 
 
Tank Params:
Ammonia - 0.01
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 1 
pH - 8.6
dkh - 8.0
 
The tank has been up for about 10 days now and the levels are great. The nitrates are a little low, but I'll get them up in no time I'm sure :D. I'm running the blues/UV on my lights at 90% and the whites at 30%, although i added more white for the picture. I am having the normal algae that comes with a new tank, but the clean up crew is taking care of it fairly well. I plan to get a trochus or two here pretty soon as well. Future stocking plans include making it a mixed reef with an emphasis on sps. I also plan to have some sort of dragonette or scooter blenny, maybe a tailspot blenny, and perhaps a small nem/clown pair. 
Now for some pictures, let me know what you think!

IMG_5945.JPG

IMG_5946.JPG

IMG_5958.JPG

 

Looks like you are off to a good start. 😊

 

All of my reefs are ran in a bare bones, keep it simple style. 

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Justin_Luke
11 minutes ago, WV Reefer said:

 

Looks like you are off to a good start. 😊

 

All of my reefs are ran in a bare bones, keep it simple style. 

Thanks! Its my favorite way to do things 😁

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SeaFurn

I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was young. Still kicking myself for not pursuing it. Oh well. 

 

Tank looks good and simple! 

I think that’s a 30w light. Do you think it’s got enough PAR if your emphasis is on SPS in your soon to be mixed reef?

I’ll be following along to see how it works! 

 

 

 

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Justin_Luke
10 hours ago, SeaFurn said:

I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was young. Still kicking myself for not pursuing it. Oh well. 

You know I get that response alot, its not an easy field to be in thats for sure

 

10 hours ago, SeaFurn said:

Tank looks good and simple! 

I think that’s a 30w light. Do you think it’s got enough PAR if your emphasis is on SPS in your soon to be mixed reef?

I’ll be following along to see how it works! 

And yeah its 30W. I think it will be plenty, as I'm not even running it at 70% right now, but time will tell. I know alot of other people have had good results with it. 

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IHaveADegreeInMarineBioBut
11 hours ago, SeaFurn said:

I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was young. Still kicking myself for not pursuing it. Oh well. 

you'll learn more through this site than in the classroom. 

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SeaFurn
On 2/15/2019 at 9:06 AM, IHaveADegreeInMarineBioBut said:

you'll learn more through this site than in the classroom. 

I really have learned a lot from all the great people on this site when I stop and think about it.  I like all the pics of tanks/reefs on Instagram but there's no substitute for coming here and reading about people's experiences and what they have done to be successful or guidance from others about their issues.        

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falcooo

Good luck with the new setup! Where in South Florida are you? I'm in Tampa Bay, always good to know local reefers to swap frags with.

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Justin_Luke
10 hours ago, falcooo said:

Good luck with the new setup! Where in South Florida are you? I'm in Tampa Bay, always good to know local reefers to swap frags with.

I live in Davie. And yes i would agree! I would love to find a local aquarium community too

 

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Justin_Luke
Time for an update!
Parameters:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite <.05
Nitrate 4
pH: 8.2
kH: 17 Dkh or 6.07 meq/L ( Too high I know, I plan to do a 20% WC this weekend)
 
I have also added some more livestock to the tank this week. On Tuesday I picked up a small nem and clown pair. The anemone is about the size of a racquetball and the ocellaris clown is equally small. The wholesaler that i got the anemone from said it was a pink bubble tip, but I'm not so sure, i think it looks more like a long tentacle. What does it look like to you guys? Either way its doing great in the tank and opening up nicely. The clown hasn't figured out how to host it yet, but im sure it will with time. Other than that not too much else is new with the tank. I added some extra shell for the hermits because I saw them stealing each others shells. Coral will come eventually, as soon as the budget allows. That is one thing about being broke while setting up a tank, it forces you to take things very slow haha. Here are some pictures!
 

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Justin_Luke

Sorry for not posting an update for a while, grad school has been kicking my butt haha. Quite a bit has happened since I last posted. I have added alot of coral to the tank. Its mostly free stuff that I have picked up from the lfs where I work (job perks 😁), but I have paid for a couple of the nicer pieces 😉. So far I have added a couple variety of birds nest, a rainbow acro milli, "the thing" green acro, a red monti that i believe is encrusting???, superman porites (love this piece), gsp, hammer, reverse frogspawn, and firework clove polyps (forgot to get a pic of those). All pieces are doing well with good polyp extension and observable growth. The exception to this is the green birds nest on the floating island. I salvaged a couple frags off a dying colony and its probably not going to make it, but we'll see. The anemone is continuing to do well, it moves around from time to time and i try to just let it be. I brought back the ocellaris clown to the shop and swapped it out for a red sea clarki (named Cal) and i love him!! He has a great personality and hosts the nem, but only at night. The levels are great, I test with salifert once a week. However, my nitrates are too low, 0 in fact. To help this I have some CoralAmino from brightwell aquatics on the way! 

Also, does anyone know what kind of anemone I have? (the long tentacle one, not the red rock flower) Its all the same color, including the foot. It came into the shop as a pink bubble tip, but its definitely not that. 

Let me know what you think!

 

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banasophia

I like it! Excited to follow along. 

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WV Reefer
23 minutes ago, Justin_Luke said:

Sorry for not posting an update for a while, grad school has been kicking my butt haha. Quite a bit has happened since I last posted. I have added alot of coral to the tank. Its mostly free stuff that I have picked up from the lfs where I work (job perks 😁), but I have paid for a couple of the nicer pieces 😉. So far I have added a couple variety of birds nest, a rainbow acro milli, "the thing" green acro, a red monti that i believe is encrusting???, superman porites (love this piece), gsp, hammer, reverse frogspawn, and firework clove polyps (forgot to get a pic of those). All pieces are doing well with good polyp extension and observable growth. The exception to this is the green birds nest on the floating island. I salvaged a couple frags off a dying colony and its probably not going to make it, but we'll see. The anemone is continuing to do well, it moves around from time to time and i try to just let it be. I brought back the ocellaris clown to the shop and swapped it out for a red sea clarki (named Cal) and i love him!! He has a great personality and hosts the nem, but only at night. The levels are great, I test with salifert once a week. However, my nitrates are too low, 0 in fact. To help this I have some CoralAmino from brightwell aquatics on the way! 

Also, does anyone know what kind of anemone I have? (the long tentacle one, not the red rock flower) Its all the same color, including the foot. It came into the shop as a pink bubble tip, but its definitely not that. 

Let me know what you think!

 

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That hammer is nice! Love that last pic with the clownfish. 😊

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Dally

Looking good! Simple reefing is where it's at. Set it & let nature run its course.

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KISReef
On 3/24/2019 at 6:58 PM, Justin_Luke said:

Also, does anyone know what kind of anemone I have?

Why don't you show it to one of your professors at school?  :slap: Kind of like show and tell? :haha: That's what "I'd do" if I was in "graduate school studying in the field of Marine Biology". 😬:eek:

 

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Justin_Luke
18 hours ago, KISReef said:

Why don't you show it to one of your professors at school? Kind of like show and tell? That's what I'd do if I was in "graduate school studying in the field of Marine Biology".

 

I like your simple concepts. I wouldn't put too much of a biological loan in a 10 gallon. I see way too many issues with over crowding in this hobby (words of warning). :slap:

 

Good luck with your build. I would highly recommend picking up these two books; "The Nano-Reef Handbook" and "Natural Reef Aquariums". :smilie:

My professors deal with Atlantic corals. Most of the corals and invertebrates in this hobby come from Pacific waters (Australia, Hawaii, and Indonesia) 

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KISReef
On 3/25/2019 at 4:05 PM, Justin_Luke said:

My professors deal with Atlantic corals. Most of the corals and invertebrates in this hobby come from Pacific waters (Australia, Hawaii, and Indonesia) 

:eek: Looks like someone needs to think outside of the box a little? :rolleyes:

 

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Dantrasy

Did you figure out why Kh jumped up so much? if anything it should have dropped during the cycle. Did you change salt or dose bi carb or something. 

 

Enjoying your thread 😊

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Justin_Luke
2 hours ago, Dantrasy said:

Did you figure out why Kh jumped up so much? if anything it should have dropped during the cycle. Did you change salt or dose bi carb or something. 

 

Enjoying your thread 😊

I changed water too frequently using a high alk salt (Fritz reef pro red). Now I just change out two gallons a week and use Fritz reef pro with regular alk levels. 

And thanks! Happy to have you following along. Hopefully i can start posting more often 

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Justin_Luke

Current Parameters: 

Salinity: 1.025

Temp: 78.6 F

NO3: 2ppm (trying to get higher)

Alk: 9.3

Cal: 420

 

Hello all! The tank has been let up for a little over a month and a half now, and its doing well. I am really starting to notice growth in the corals, which is always exciting. My pink birds nest is doing especially well and has a ton of tine new branches forming (see pic).Due to the low nitrates in the system I have started dosing aminos daily using Brightwell Aquatics CoralAmino. Its too early to see any definite results, but the corals are definitely growing 😊. For future stocking I have my eye on some frags of strawberry shorcake acro, bonsai acro, and JF Slowburner monti at the shop that I'll probably buy soon. I definitely have a weakness for sps... but everyone has their issues I guess 😁. Additionally very soon I will be adding a small forktail blenny from Biota. He is already paid for and at the shop, but i am having a tight fighting screen lid made for my tank before I add him. The only other thing that has changed since my last post is I added a small circulation pump that I'm really happy with. The thing is tiny! (almost a 1 inch square) and its 80gph, which is perfect for the additional flow i needed for the tank. it was $8 on amazon and so far its very very quiet. Enjoy a few pictures (if you can, I really need to upgrade from my iphone 5s...)

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dferrari13

Cool tank!  ....I'm thinking of doing the same bare bones style tank in my basement....maybe about 40 gallon with HOBs....I'll be following

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Justin_Luke
4 minutes ago, dferrari13 said:

Cool tank!  ....I'm thinking of doing the same bare bones style tank in my basement....maybe about 40 gallon with HOBs....I'll be following

Thanks! Its alot of fun and much easier on the wallet 😉 The only thing i would like to eventually upgrade is the light, but for now it will work.

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Justin_Luke

Posting a short update for today, hopefully I will have more time soon to get into some more details. For now things are going well. Most things are growing pretty well and I have been adding some new pieces here and there. I'm looking into more options to increase the flow in my tank because my euphyllia aren't looking super happy. I'm not sure  what pump/powerhead  I'm going to go with yet and I would be open to any suggestions you all might have. I also had a screen top made because I plan on adding a small forktail blenny soon! For now, here are a couple photos for you to enjoy 😉 

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