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Scotty Amen

Scotty Amen's Evo 13.5: 1st Saltwater Journal

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Scotty Amen

My wife and I have been doing freshwater for a few years and were always afraid of saltwater because "That's way too much work" or "It's so difficult"

 

But then I watched a Big Al's video on it and it encouraged me to try one.

 

This thread can be my journal to keep track of  progress, and hopefully to look back later and see how far it's come!

 

The first few posts will have to be historical, since I really started up the tank January 17 (41 days ago).

 

I got the Fluval Sea Evo 13.5G because there were so many videos showing that specific tank's setup / progress that I could use as follow-alongs, and because there are so many accessories and upgrades for it.  

 

The plan is a nice little CUC, i.e, a few snails, later a shrimp, and then 2 little clowns down the road, and maaaybe some easy, hardy corals. We'll see.

 

The fun so far:

 

1/17/2019    Setup tank, leak test, drain & dry, test equipment

1/18/2019    Add sand (Caribsea Aragalive Fiji Pink), saltwater (RODI from the store + Instant Ocean), rock (Caribsea Liferock)

1/19/2019    Add some freshwater fish food to start things going. Got a Magnum refractometer + calibration solution
1/21/2019    Add more fish food & some Fluval bio Enhancer
1/24/2019    Dose Dr. Tim's Ammonia
1/25/2019    First measurable ammonia (0.5)
1/26/2019    Ammonia measures at 4ppm, first nitrites measured
1/27/2019    Add ammonia ,bio, food
1/31/2019    Intank chamber 2 media basket, toss the sponge.
2/2/2019    First diatoms appear, yay little brown critters!

 

Early February: Nitrites continue to increase and eventually start seeing nitrates 

 

2/16/2019    50% Water Change to see Nitrates go from 40ppm down to 10

2/17/2019     Seeing pale green algae on tops of rocks, nearest the light. More signs of life!

2/21/2019    Reliably seeing any ammonia added gone in less than 24 hours, nitrites stay near zero and nitrates are reliably appearing. I think the tank is cycled.

2/25/2019    Ordered a Hydor Koralia Evolution Nano 425 Powerhead & some Seachem Matrix BioMedia

** Edit - replaced with a Hydor 240  on March 1. **

 

That brings us up to yesterday:

2/26/2019    Starting to shop around for a couple of Trochus snails to slowly start up the CUC. Snails are cheap but shipping is pricey, so looking locally.

 

Frankly, fish probably won't be in the tank before mid-April, because I've got a weeklong trip and don't want to leave them unattended for 5 days.  

 

Shoutout thanks to steelhealr, Clown79, the site owners/mods, and the rest of ya for the massive amount I've learned on this forum in such a short time.

 

More to come ... comments welcome. 

Salt Tank 1 - Feb 27 2019.JPG

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Christopher Marks

Welcome to the community @Scotty Amen! You're off to a great start, now that you've made it through the cycle the fun begins! That's a good idea to wait on the clownfish until after your trip, less to worry about. In the meantime though, I'd encourage you to research some hardy soft corals that you might like to add, they're not as difficult as you might think!

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Daniel91

+1 what Christopher said.

 

Also, in regards to snails - I would recommend checking out reefcleaners.org

While shipping is gonna be more than the actual snails, you can get a full on CUC for a cheaper total price than driving around and paying $1-$3/snail locally.

Note: They will not have trochus nor astrea (two of the most popular)

 

Depending on stocking goals, the Hydor 425 may provide too much flow. I am rocking the strock pump and a 240 powerhead, which allows me to keep everything without blowing the flesh of lps or making the softies fly around.

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Scotty Amen

Thanks guys

Daniel, I debated on the 425 vs. the 240, they're the same price. I may need to go with the lower flow one.

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Daniel91

Yeah, Eheim do the same for their heaters - 125 watt is same price as 50watt.

 

You could test it out but I know that a couple individuals ended up exchanging theirs due to the excessive flow - again depends on your stocking goals

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Deejax

I second the reefcleaners recommendation I've always had good luck with them in the past. You can do priority shipping instead of overnight on a lot of their inverts. Great start I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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Scotty Amen

Thanks guys really appreciate it. I've got reefcleaners bookmarked. I didn't want to put a full CUC in the tank all at once because I am worried about having enough for them all to eat. 

 

On a recommendation from work I stopped by Blue Seas Aquariums in Sunrise FL.  Clean store, friendly people, they specialize in frags but had a small selection of fish and invertebrates. My co-worker said their stock is usually healthy so I got 2 Trochus and 2 Nassarius from them. Cute little critters.

 

I did not quarantine them. They are the first animals to go into the tank, not counting diatoms.

 

Since it's a new tank I was a little worried about the Nassarius having enough junk in the sand to eat. I dropped in a couple shrimp pellets and it was so neat to see one of them rise from the grave like a zombie and go after it.

 

The Trochus have found the algae and have been chowing down.

 

1615213635_1Nassariusand2Trochus.thumb.JPG.63581269753ca94a5d7736f14c4f4625.JPG

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Scotty Amen

For data logging, I created a little form over at forms.google.com that lists the parameters I frequently test for. 

 

I made the answers easy to input by making them a dropdown list.


1209555538_GoogleForm.JPG.fddf9e64533d3575d7fef2417697d8b9.JPG

 

Then you click "Send form" and choose "via link" and save the URL for future reference.

 

You can access that link from any device, to fill out the form.  

 

I access that link from my phone or tablet and input my test results as I do a water test. This way I do not have to open a spreadsheet and type in numbers as I go.

 

Google forms puts your data into an online spreadsheet, with a new line for every form submission.  Obviously you can use this data to generate charts any which way you like.

 

847753170_SpreadsheetandGraph.thumb.JPG.e282b3afc3bf6f853aa7e4c442e508e5.JPG

 

So that's a nice way to simplify data logging during testing and to automatically generate logs and charts. 

 

If you've never played around with Google Forms, they're super cool.

 

Scotty Amen

 

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Scotty Amen

Ordered a Hydor Koralia 240 to replace the 425, I agree with you folks the 425 would probably be too much.

I"ll save the 425, may need it some day. They're only $25.

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Daniel91
2 minutes ago, Scotty Amen said:

Ordered a Hydor Koralia 240 to replace the 425, I agree with you folks the 425 would probably be too much.

I"ll save the 425, may need it some day. They're only $25.

If you end up doing your own salt, you can use it to mix.

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Scotty Amen
On 3/1/2019 at 1:58 PM, Daniel91 said:

f you end up doing your own salt, you can use it to mix.

Heh, thanks Daniel! I thought of that too, as soon as I set it aside it in my bucket. :) 

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Scotty Amen

Newly arrived friends for the tank.

I ordered a little blue-legged hermit crab from reefcleaners.org, and some medium and large shells for him to move into later.

They threw in an unexpected little Nassarius as a pal for him.

Both are about 1 cm in length.

 

John at Reef Cleaners was a pleasure to work with. Shipping was prompt and the little guys were packaged very safely.

Turns out he's only a short drive up the road from me. :) 

 

341150265_babynassariusandblueleggedhermitcrab.thumb.JPG.95ef81fafa55412b1967c5939642f407.JPG

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Scotty Amen

5 more blue-legged hermit crabs and 1 little emerald crab, from Blue Seas Aquariums in Sunrise, FL. 

Very nice folks there!

 

 

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Scotty Amen

3/25 update,

Not much happening other than algae is growing and the critters are eating it.

One of my blue leg hermit crabs relocated into a bigger shell, which is super-cool.

The emerald crab munches on the algae all day and all night.  So do the blue legs.

 

For fun, every 3 or 4 days I drop in a few dried shrimp pellets that is really intended for our freshwater tank, just to see the Nassarius rise from the dead and devour it. (The emerald loves it too).

 

Other than that, nothing going.  Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates get up to about 20 by the end of the week and then a 20% water change brings it back down to 2 or so.

 

Sorry there's not much to report. Corals and Fishies will start getting added after the family vacation in April.

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asting
On 3/25/2019 at 10:13 AM, Scotty Amen said:

3/25 update,

Not much happening other than algae is growing and the critters are eating it.

One of my blue leg hermit crabs relocated into a bigger shell, which is super-cool.

The emerald crab munches on the algae all day and all night.  So do the blue legs.

 

For fun, every 3 or 4 days I drop in a few dried shrimp pellets that is really intended for our freshwater tank, just to see the Nassarius rise from the dead and devour it. (The emerald loves it too).

 

Other than that, nothing going.  Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates get up to about 20 by the end of the week and then a 20% water change brings it back down to 2 or so.

 

Sorry there's not much to report. Corals and Fishies will start getting added after the family vacation in April.

A water change should only be able to reduce pro-rata. A 20% water change should be equal to .8*ppm before water change plus .2*0 (assuming no nitrates in new water). 

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Scotty Amen

Time for an update. After many weeks of just hosting a small cleanup crew, and after the family trip up north completed, I was ready for fishies.

 

With the tank about 90 days old (and ammonia, nitrite and nitrate at zero with 8.2 pH) I ordered a bonded pair of juvenile snowflake clownfish from liveaquaria.com. 

 

They arrived very quickly (they were in transit less than 24 hours).  Extremely well packed and labeled, etc.

Unfortunately, the little one didn't make it, he was DOA.  LiveAquaria was very kind when I called (offering condolences etc.) and told me how to file a claim online, which I did.  More than half the purchase price was refunded to my account within a couple hours, and they also followed up with instructions on how to order a replacement of the exact species, if I still wanted a pair.  They also indicated that the new one should bond to the first one because they would be shipping a smaller one again to replace the smaller one that expired.  I went ahead and ordered a replacement snowflake, and opted for the 'premium' which is just a little more interesting pattern than the basic snowflake clownfish (I know you know this already, but maybe someone reading it doesn't know it.)

 

The larger of the pair was in excellent health and seemed to take to the tank nicely. He swam a bit frantically for the first hour or so but settled in and was quiet for the night, sleeping in a little burrow in the sand that he made.

 

The replacement arrived, again very quickly.  When I put him in the tank he swam immediately over to the first fish and they swam around together the rest of the evening. 

The next day there was a little bit of pecking from the larger one, I understand he has to establish himself as the boss since he'll be the one turning female when it's time.

By evening they both slept in the same area of the tank together.  They were acting fine when I went to work today.

 

Thanks for reading, here are the little guys:

 

 

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Scotty Amen

Yesterday I bought two small zoas for the tank. I had my wife pick out the color combos. Thanks again Blue Seas Aquariums in Sunrise, FL.

Here's a photo when they were still getting used to their new home, before they had a chance to open up again. 

Hopefully these guys become a nice, spread out covering.  I also entered them in the photo of the month contest, since it's about Zoas this month. :) 

 

757007811_FirstZoasMay2019.thumb.JPG.5c9ecda66f5bf984a958700afe929163.JPG

 

Thanks for following along!

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Scotty Amen

Both zoa colonies are sprouting new little polyps.

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kimdawg

You are off to a great start, nice additions.

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Ratvan

Following along, thank you for throwing up that data logging service I will look more into that. Tank is coming along nicely

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Garf

Wow, you have really been patient stocking your tank. Kudos, following along to support and be supported myself. It is tough to resist adding a lot of new shiny things to a tank, but I realize this is the best way to go. This is my 4th nano tank, and it is nice to finally have the knowledge, experience, technology and means to do it right. 

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Scotty Amen
On 5/11/2019 at 9:57 AM, Garf said:

Wow, you have really been patient stocking your tank ... It is tough to resist adding a lot of new shiny things to a tank, but I realize this is the best way to go.

Slow and steady!

 

Yesterday I picked up a small frag of a Zoa that the shop called "Yellow brick road" ... I am starting to think maybe it will remain just a Clownfish-and-Zoa tank.  I like these cute little corals. I can picture them spreading out nicely in this little tank.

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Scotty Amen

I had to get some of that putty / epoxy to hold those frags down on the rock.  Stupid hermit crabs kept knocking them over.

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Scotty Amen

Slow and steady.  I'm up to 3 separate zoanthids and I added a cleaner shrimp.  Other than that all quiet.

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Scotty Amen

1" Yellow Clown Goby last week.  He's getting used to the place, still a little shy.  Very cute.

 

Yesterday, refreshed the cleanup crew with an order to Reef Cleaners, which is nearby me.

Put in a red leg hermit, 3 Astraia snails and about 5 tiny blue leg crabs.
And many many miniature cerinth snails, like 3 milimeters each, 

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