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Justin_Luke

10 Gallons of Simple Science

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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!

 

IMG_6075.JPG

IMG_6076.JPG

IMG_6077.JPG

IMG_6079.JPG

IMG_6080.JPG

IMG_6081.JPG

IMG_6082.JPG

 

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

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

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1 hour ago, 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? 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:

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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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