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SaltyTanks

SaltyTank's 40G Mixed Reef

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SaltyTanks

Hello & welcome to my new reef journal!  I’m a SoCal nano-reef enthusiast that’s been in the hobby 4 years, and I’m finally committing myself to starting this journal – mostly for my benefit, not yours😊 No seriously though, I need help holding my bad habits in check and hoping you will all help me achieve my goal.

 

My goal is that 1 year from now my 40-gallon mixed-reef tank will be a living masterpiece, and so appealing to me that I will have no impulses to stick my hands in the water to move/add anything.  That said, here’s some more background and visionary objectives:

 

SETUP:

Tank:  40-Gallon Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion  (24” x 20” x 19”)

Lighting:  Radion XR15w Gen-4

Circulation: (1) IM stock return pump w/2 spin stream nozzles; and (2) Icecap 1k Gyre

Heater:  None (controlled room temp)

Cooling:  Desktop fan controlled by Inkbird thermostat/temp controller

Mechanical Filtration:  (1) Aquamaxx HOB 1.5 skimmer; (2) filter floss

Bio Filtration:  (1) RealReef dry rock; (2) Caribsea sand; (3) CerMedia Marinepure biofilter balls

Chemi Filtration:  RedSea carbon

Top Off:  Tunze Osmolator 3155

Dosing:  manually, Brightwell Reef Code A + B & magnesium

 

BACKGROUND:

I’m a middle aged father whom loves to drink red wine while staring up-close at my fish tank excessively.  I grew up by the ocean and first fell in love with tropical fish & corals when I got scuba certified in Indonesia circa 2000.  Since then I’ve done many dives around the world and find myself more interested in biodiverse macro reef-scapes than shipwrecks and cageless bull shark feedings.  Also, I’m a photo enthusiast and art aficionado, which I aim to incorporate into my reef keeping.  My wife gifted me my first tank about 4 years ago (a 6-gallon JBJ AOI), and pretty sure it’s her biggest regret of our long-standing relationship.  I'm now about 1 year into the current setup.  

 

VISION:

If I were shrunk down to be a little 2 inch scuba diver and my wife threw me into my tank, I want to be surrounded by colors, contrasts, textures, movement, and dimension.  I’ll want to swim down, up, around, through, under, and over copious amounts of corals, and be accompanied by a few fish friends that will join me without fearing they’ll bully or eat me.

 

OBJECTIVES:

Over the next 12 months, I’ll try to post progress updates every 1-2 weeks.  Additionally, I’ll try to engage you all into helping me fill in the holes with new coral suggestions.  Since I like to go to the local LFS’s frequently, maybe together we can make this an interactive team effort - although, let me try not to get ahead of myself here.  So for now I’ll share some relevant pics and focus on following through with a 2nd post sometime soon.

 

P.S. I have a lot of bad habits to work on...

- hands in the tank frequently

- impatiently making changes, expecting expedited results

- providing poor instructions for friends to care for tank while on vacation

- overfeeding and then underfeeding

- vindictively taking vengeance on hungry hermits that snatch food from feeding acans

 

2008910189_reeftank2.thumb.JPG.4f8227797a416a308b3b54ce048f2fb8.JPG

reef tank 1.JPG

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SaltyTanks

Here's my 1st tank from a while back, a 6-gallon JBJ.  I've since learned how to keep coraline algae off the back.

6-gallon JBJ.JPG

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billygoat

Hi and welcome! :welcome:

 

This is quite a beautiful aquarium you've got going on! Glad to see the 40g Nuvo Fusion getting some attention. I feel like almost everybody goes for the Nuvo 20, 25 Lagoon, or 30 peninsula. 😁 With a year already clocked on this system it's easy to see that you've gotten into a really nice groove. I'm looking forward to watching things fill in and grow even more!

 

The 6g JBJ looks like it was amazing too! Personally I think it looked great with the coralline all over the back wall. Look how thick it is in that picture! That's nuts.

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SaltyTanks
20 hours ago, billygoat said:

Hi and welcome! :welcome:

 

This is quite a beautiful aquarium you've got going on! Glad to see the 40g Nuvo Fusion getting some attention. I feel like almost everybody goes for the Nuvo 20, 25 Lagoon, or 30 peninsula. 😁 With a year already clocked on this system it's easy to see that you've gotten into a really nice groove. I'm looking forward to watching things fill in and grow even more!

 

The 6g JBJ looks like it was amazing too! Personally I think it looked great with the coralline all over the back wall. Look how thick it is in that picture! That's nuts.

Thank you very much, BillyGoat!  Going to do my best to show the world that the 40G IM Nuvo Fusion is the best of the bunch:)  

 

Seeing that you're an algae enthusiast, do you have any recommendations for ornamental macroalgae that would look good filling in a bare spot (without risk of a full tank outbreak)?  Any experience with red grape macroalgae?  Very interested in placing some in the mix.

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billygoat
1 hour ago, SaltyTanks said:

 

Seeing that you're an algae enthusiast, do you have any recommendations for ornamental macroalgae that would look good filling in a bare spot (without risk of a full tank outbreak)?  Any experience with red grape macroalgae?  Very interested in placing some in the mix.

Sure! My go-to for macro recommendations is Gracilaria hayi, which is known by various trade names such as "flame algae," "dragon's breath," etc. It's a very hardy and adaptable red macro with a beautiful, bushy, flat-branching growth pattern. It is slightly calcified so it's a fairly slow grower. Red grape (Botryocladia sp.) would be another good choice. It tends to have a more vertical and less bushy growth pattern, and grows quite fast for a red macro - faster than G. hayi for sure. It's still quite manageable though and is unlikely to overrun your tank. Note that red grape algae is fleshy and therefore palatable to a variety of herbivores (emerald crabs, large hermits, sally lightfoot crabs, herbivorous fishes such as tangs, etc.), so keep that in mind if you are planning on adding some.

 

Laurencia poitei is another reasonable choice for red macros. It's fleshy like red grape but has a more bushy shape. It requires rather strong flow to thrive though, and sometimes its color can be less impressive; I had a clump that was a dull brownish red. It's very appealing to herbivores as well.

 

Galaxaura rugosa is an absolutely beautiful red macro if cared for properly, but it grows very slowly and requires perfect lighting and flow conditions to keep its compact clumping shape. With the wrong light or flow it will become gangly and unattractive. It also is a magnet for epiphytes.

 

Honestly there are a ton of choices, but those are a few that jump to mind! If it doesn't necessarily have to be a red macro the list gets a lot bigger too. 😁 Hope that helps!

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SaltyTanks
27 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Sure! My go-to for macro recommendations is Gracilaria hayi, which is known by various trade names such as "flame algae," "dragon's breath," etc. It's a very hardy and adaptable red macro with a beautiful, bushy, flat-branching growth pattern. It is slightly calcified so it's a fairly slow grower. Red grape (Botryocladia sp.) would be another good choice. It tends to have a more vertical and less bushy growth pattern, and grows quite fast for a red macro - faster than G. hayi for sure. It's still quite manageable though and is unlikely to overrun your tank. Note that red grape algae is fleshy and therefore palatable to a variety of herbivores (emerald crabs, large hermits, sally lightfoot crabs, herbivorous fishes such as tangs, etc.), so keep that in mind if you are planning on adding some.

This is great intel, thanks!  Dragon's breath and red grape look and sound very appealing.  Are you aware if either type are capable of chemical warfare against neighboring corals?  I expect a need to pay close attention managing overgrowth with routine pruning, but would be nice to know that these could be a good tight filler option if no warfare.  Tucking some dragon's breath alongside/behind the green duncan & space invader pectinia maybe?

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billygoat
8 hours ago, SaltyTanks said:

This is great intel, thanks!  Dragon's breath and red grape look and sound very appealing.  Are you aware if either type are capable of chemical warfare against neighboring corals?  I expect a need to pay close attention managing overgrowth with routine pruning, but would be nice to know that these could be a good tight filler option if no warfare.  Tucking some dragon's breath alongside/behind the green duncan & space invader pectinia maybe?

Many red algae produce secondary metabolites that deter epiphytes from growing on them, but I wouldn't really call this chemical warfare. As long as the corals and algae are not directly touching I think they will probably be fine. If they do end up touching, it's likely the algae that will lose out on the trade, especially with these particular species. Corals and algae don't get along well in general since they both compete for precious space on the reef and therefore have adaptations to go after each other, so if in direct contact there is likely to be some combat going on there. But in my experience they can be quite close as long as they're not overgrowing or shadowing each other.

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kimdawg

Hi!  :welcome:

You have a great start already.  I love the negative space you have created.  Do you have some frags mounted on the tank back wall?  You don't notice the rock work but you eye is drawn to the coral.  It almost looks like it is floating.  I have the hands in the tank problem as well.  I am constantly changing stuff around in my janky tank.  I think if you are choosy and only take corals you really like and let them grow without moving constantly the tank will look better in the end.

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SaltyTanks
On 10/4/2019 at 11:59 PM, kimdawg said:

Hi!  :welcome:

You have a great start already.  I love the negative space you have created.  Do you have some frags mounted on the tank back wall?  You don't notice the rock work but you eye is drawn to the coral.  It almost looks like it is floating.  I have the hands in the tank problem as well.  I am constantly changing stuff around in my janky tank.  I think if you are choosy and only take corals you really like and let them grow without moving constantly the tank will look better in the end.

Thanks so much, kimdawg, for the warm welcome & positive encouragement!  I appreciate you noticing the negative space, as that's an element that I've really tried to incorporate and will try to maintain over the next year.  I've kept the back wall bare with some room for routine cleaning.  The frags on top are just part of a tall pillars of dry rock, and appear floating because of the overhang shadows that I like to accentuate.  Here's a pic showing the side view of the taller pillar and back clearance.  Definitely some real estate to fill-in!

reef tank side view.JPG

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kimdawg
10 hours ago, SaltyTanks said:

Thanks so much, kimdawg, for the warm welcome & positive encouragement!  I appreciate you noticing the negative space, as that's an element that I've really tried to incorporate and will try to maintain over the next year.  I've kept the back wall bare with some room for routine cleaning.  The frags on top are just part of a tall pillars of dry rock, and appear floating because of the overhang shadows that I like to accentuate.  Here's a pic showing the side view of the taller pillar and back clearance.  Definitely some real estate to fill-in!

reef tank side view.JPG

I like the shadow effect that you created.  It really makes that top appear to be floating above the rock work.  I will be following your tank to see how it develops.

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