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EMarie

E's IM 20

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EMarie

I started this build in February of this year (2019). I was on the hunt for a new hobby and I was interested in starting a salt water fish tank... it was kinda down the rabbit hole from there.  I did some research and slowly the vision started to come together.  At first I was looking at buying a used biocube but I didn't really like the look of the hood and the curved corners so I opted for the IM 20. I looked for a while to see if I could find one used but it seems that people who by IM's don't leave the hobby too frequently 😉 so I ended up buying everything new.  This allowed me to customize my set up. I am trying to keep things as simple as possible.  When I started the tank, I was running the IM exactly how it came: filter socks, stock pump, no media with the addition of an Aquatop 100 titanium heater I bought one AI Prime HD with the idea that should I need more light down the road I could buy another. I really like the sleek look of the light on the mount and the ability to program it for different times of the day. I figured I would learn what I needed as I went along and so far that is working well for me. I started with dry rock and live sand as I didn't want any of the potential problems that hitchhikers on live rock could bring. I fast cycled the tank on the recommendation of the LFS guy using bioS and 2 weeks later I added 2 clown fish, BoBo and Crusty.  

 

The filter socks that the IM came with became clogged in a few weeks (after the addition of the clowns) reducing water flow so I knew it was time to think about my filter options. I had done more research and found a youtuber named Susan Nichols who described a simple set up I thought could work for me. So I replaced the socks with some filter material (quilting material I had from filtering my pond) a bag with matrix carbon and phosgard and a piece of polyfilter. This set up is working well with the exception of when the flow was reduced by the filter material compacting causing me to think that there was more evaporation than normal and increase top off causing the salinity to drop. I was glad I figured this out before I added my auto top off (Auto Aqua Smart ATO). The back chambers are still a work in progress for me. As I see the need to add more things I will continue to let the space develop. 

 

I had to change the stock pump because it was way too noisy. I went with a sicce syncra 1.0 and it is virtually silent.  I also added a aqamai wavemaker very early in the set up as I knew I wanted to add corals and I thought I would need some additional flow. I think that the wavemaker has been helpful in keeping the detritus build up low and the algae from really being able to establish anywhere. I am not sure if it has been just luck or all the precautionary measures I have taken, but I haven't had a really bad algae bloom. There was some brownish stuff that grew lightly on the rocks as a few points in time but it never really took off as some people have experienced. I started off the build by buying a high quality RODI unit (not an aquarium brand but a 6 stage unit made by iSpring for human use) that I installed under my kitchen sink added a small tap for easy use. I drink the water too and think it tastes much better than regular tap water.  I also added snails as the tank aged. Today I have 5 Astrea, 2 Nassarius, and 1 Cerith. I regularly blow off the rocks and vacuum the sand and perform a 25% - 4 gallon water changes every week (there is a total of 16 gallons of water in the system due to rock and sand etc).

 

Because I am trying to keep things simple and run this system without any additional equipment, I am cautious about feeding. My clowns get New Life Spectrum pellets everyday and my corals get a small pinch of Reef-Roids 2x per week. 2 weeks ago, I added a yellow clown goby and he gets fresh hatched baby brine shrimp every other day; the clown fish and the corals seems to like the brine shrimp too. I am hoping that the clown goby will start to eat the pellets with the clown fish For now I am avoiding frozen foods but I may give something a try if I think that it will be useful. Hatching the brine shrimp is actually easier than anyone at the fish store would have you believe. I just add a pinch of eggs to a small plastic container filled with some extra saltwater made for my water change, leave them near a window on a small heat mat and 24-48 hours later they are hatched. I use my turkey baster to suck a few up and squirt them into the tank. Unfortunately, initially I was convinced by the guy at the store to buy the silly plastic set up that hooks up to the aerator. Hatch rate using that device was way lower and the whole process was unnecessarily complicated.   

 

Ok Well I will write about the corals in another post. Attached are some low quality photos (taken with a cheap phone) They show a progression of the tank the top photos are the most recent.  

 

 

The tank today... Situated nicely in the dining room.    

IMG_20190520_102223774.jpg

 

Side view

IMG_20190520_123707610.jpg

 

Full tank shot today

IMG_20190520_095837872.jpg

 

Full tank shot a few days ago before I moved a couple of corals

IMG_20190514_184709603.jpg

 

Tank shot before I moved the frog spawn.

IMG_20190504_090621757.jpg

 

Tank shot with first frags

IMG_20190422_132630596.jpg

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WV Reefer
8 minutes ago, EMarie said:

I started this build in February of this year (2019). I was on the hunt for a new hobby and I was interested in starting a salt water fish tank... it was kinda down the rabbit hole from there.  I did some research and slowly the vision started to come together.  At first I was looking at buying a used biocube but I didn't really like the look of the hood and the curved corners so I opted for the IM 20. I looked for a while to see if I could find one used but it seems that people who by IM's don't leave the hobby too frequently 😉 so I ended up buying everything new.  This allowed me to customize my set up. I am trying to keep things as simple as possible.  When I started the tank, I was running the IM exactly how it came: filter socks, stock pump, no media with the addition of an Aquatop 100 titanium heater I bought one AI Prime HD with the idea that should I need more light down the road I could buy another. I really like the sleek look of the light on the mount and the ability to program it for different times of the day. I figured I would learn what I needed as I went along and so far that is working well for me. I started with dry rock and live sand as I didn't want any of the potential problems that hitchhikers on live rock could bring. I fast cycled the tank on the recommendation of the LFS guy using bioS and 2 weeks later I added 2 clown fish, BoBo and Crusty.  

 

The filter socks that the IM came with became clogged in a few weeks (after the addition of the clowns) reducing water flow so I knew it was time to think about my filter options. I had done more research and found a youtuber named Susan Nichols who described a simple set up I thought could work for me. So I replaced the socks with some filter material (quilting material I had from filtering my pond) a bag with matrix carbon and phosgard and a piece of polyfilter. This set up is working well with the exception of when the flow was reduced by the filter material compacting causing me to think that there was more evaporation than normal and increase top off causing the salinity to drop. I was glad I figured this out before I added my auto top off (Auto Aqua Smart ATO). The back chambers are still a work in progress for me. As I see the need to add more things I will continue to let the space develop. 

 

I had to change the stock pump because it was way too noisy. I went with a sicce syncra 1.0 and it is virtually silent.  I also added a aqamai wavemaker very early in the set up as I knew I wanted to add corals and I thought I would need some additional flow. I think that the wavemaker has been helpful in keeping the detritus build up low and the algae from really being able to establish anywhere. I am not sure if it has been just luck or all the precautionary measures I have taken, but I haven't had a really bad algae bloom. There was some brownish stuff that grew lightly on the rocks as a few points in time but it never really took off as some people have experienced. I started off the build by buying a high quality RODI unit (not an aquarium brand but a 6 stage unit made by iSpring for human use) that I installed under my kitchen sink added a small tap for easy use. I drink the water too and think it tastes much better than regular tap water.  I also added snails as the tank aged. Today I have 5 Astrea, 2 Nassarius, and 1 Cerith. I regularly blow off the rocks and vacuum the sand and perform a 25% - 4 gallon water changes every week (there is a total of 16 gallons of water in the system due to rock and sand etc).

 

Because I am trying to keep things simple and run this system without any additional equipment, I am cautious about feeding. My clowns get New Life Spectrum pellets everyday and my corals get a small pinch of Reef-Roids 2x per week. 2 weeks ago, I added a yellow clown goby and he gets fresh hatched baby brine shrimp every other day; the clown fish and the corals seems to like the brine shrimp too. I am hoping that the clown goby will start to eat the pellets with the clown fish For now I am avoiding frozen foods but I may give something a try if I think that it will be useful. Hatching the brine shrimp is actually easier than anyone at the fish store would have you believe. I just add a pinch of eggs to a small plastic container filled with some extra saltwater made for my water change, leave them near a window on a small heat mat and 24-48 hours later they are hatched. I use my turkey baster to suck a few up and squirt them into the tank. Unfortunately, initially I was convinced by the guy at the store to buy the silly plastic set up that hooks up to the aerator. Hatch rate using that device was way lower and the whole process was unnecessarily complicated.   

 

Ok Well I will write about the corals in another post. Attached are some low quality photos (taken with a cheap phone) They show a progression of the tank the top photos are the most recent.  

 

 

The tank today... Situated nicely in the dining room.    

IMG_20190520_102223774.jpg

 

Side view

IMG_20190520_123707610.jpg

 

Full tank shot today

IMG_20190520_095837872.jpg

 

Full tank shot a few days ago before I moved a couple of corals

IMG_20190514_184709603.jpg

 

Tank shot before I moved the frog spawn.

IMG_20190504_090621757.jpg

 

Tank shot with first frags

IMG_20190422_132630596.jpg

 

Welcome to NR! 

 

Your tank looks nice so far. 😊

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EMarie

Ok, Update. On father's day I added a lovely rainbow bubble tip anemone from a guy on craigslist. It is doing amazing. It stung a couple of corals before settling down. You will see the ghost like goni center right side. It didn't come out for a few days but it is starting to colour up again.

 

 

IMG_20190711_120958989.jpg

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EMarie

I have noticed that when I feed any coral food or frozen food for the goby, a brown diatom like algae forms on the glass and rocks. I am going to try adding some matrix to the back and some pods to the same chamber to see if I can reduce this occurrence.  

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