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5g Zoa Playground (Formerly AIO Challenge Tank) - Tank Crash and Closing Shop 😢

ECLS Reefer

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

End of the month (ish) so thought I’d post a small update and some pictures. I still test all three tanks weekly and have noticed with the addition of little Harvey, and removal of chemical media bags, the phosphates have been hitting 0.6 or higher (the Hanna checker tops out at 0.6 so who knows). The corals in that tank don’t seem to care, though the Rastas and BEBs haven’t grown as much as I’d like, perhaps because of that. The only thing I use in that tank daily is a piece of filter floss and the aeration from the air stone in the AIO chamber, which has seemed to work better for water clarity if not purity. So all that being said, I ended up deciding to try dosing NoPox again. And man, that stuff worked FAST. Within one week the nitrates bottomed out to zero and phosphates to 0.1. This was a bit rapid for me, so I backed off for a few days only to see the levels spike again. I’ve been feeding little Harvey pellets soaked in selcon every day, so back to the daily NoPox dosing I went. 


With carbon dosing being the end all be all for this tank now, I decided to bite the bullet and try All For Reef, which *should* make dosing weekly part 2 and NoPox obsolete, and fix the problem with chronically low magnesium levels. Excited to try this, if @Cannedfish’s tank is any indication of AFR can do for a tank. Will be starting this next week when it arrives via very economical free shipping, barring anymore Icepocalypses in Houston. 


Oh and, taking the advice from my bad influencer (Cannedfish), I ordered four new zoas for this tank for better photo opportunities and sprucing up the zoa garden: 


Rainbow incinerators

Pink Zippers

Bam Bams

Utter chaos


Couldn’t find any zombies at the moment that weren’t exorbitantly over priced, but I’ll be looking. This little tank is going to be a zoa carpet, wall to wall!




Wee Harvey










Zoa patch, always colorful and uplifting

















Random bad neighbor doings - GSP surrounded a zoa polyp and encrusted into a tube, which the zoa lives in.




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20 minutes ago, ef4life said:

That darn gsp!!! 😅

It’s sneaky. But the zoa seems happy- it opens and closes normally with the lights and the GSP seems satisfied with just forming a tube around it, so I just watch in fascination. 

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Great pics, Holly. Your photography skills are incredible (and admirable!). 🙂


Also, I can relate to the whole GSP-growing-on-the-zoa thing. I have a small mini colony of orange zoas and there's also a small patch of metallic GSP that's been trying to take over it for weeks. Keep uprooting and removing the GSP, but it keeps growing back like some sort of radioactive weed. The zoas don't seem to mind though! 

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8 hours ago, Snow_Phoenix said:

Great pics, Holly. Your photography skills are incredible (and admirable!). 🙂


Also, I can relate to the whole GSP-growing-on-the-zoa thing. I have a small mini colony of orange zoas and there's also a small patch of metallic GSP that's been trying to take over it for weeks. Keep uprooting and removing the GSP, but it keeps growing back like some sort of radioactive weed. The zoas don't seem to mind though! 

Thanks Snow! 

Yeah I kinda love that it’s done something neat like this, so I’ve left it alone. I don’t think it’s going to kill the zoa since it made it a tube to live in. Nature at its most interesting.

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  • ECLS Reefer changed the title to 5g Zoa Playground (Formerly AIO Challenge Tank) - April Update
ECLS Reefer

Well, the whole AIO Challenge is over and as of now I plan on keeping this little tank as is. It's still doing well, with the zoas all growing well and even the orange/gold leptastrea starting to graft out on the barnacle. The Blue Eyed Blondies are starting to graft onto the glass as planned, and I hope in the future that the Rastas, Utter Chaos and Rainbow Incinerators will do the same. The three fish in the tank are all still getting along, though I have been thinking hard of moving the target mandarin to the big tank. I'm not ready to move the little clown out. He needs to put on even more weight to contend with the gang trio in the big tank, and he's still so small and cute. I can't even think of moving him to the Evo- Billy and Dilly would have at him within seconds. So fattening up is a must.


Otherwise, not much to say here. I tried the All For Reef and noticed that the calcium started to bottom out, while the alk shot up to almost 11. So rather than keep using that daily, I went back to NoPox for nutrient control, and Reef Complete by Seachem for calcium boluses, while using the AFR every three days or so to keep the alk stable. I've let it drop back to about 9 now, as stuff looked rather stressed with it so high. I've started using phosguard and carbon again due to the high nutrient levels with three fish and so many "dirty" corals. Coupled with the filter floss, this has been keeping the water extra clear and the nutrients within reason. It's finally back to phosphates of 0.2 rather than 0.6, and the nitrates always hang out at about 1-5. Which is phenomenal considering there's three fish in there that eat every other day and how filthy the sand bed gets. I did a water change just last week and it came out doo doo brown 😳🤢. I guess the corals love that but it's probably not the best thing for everybody over all.










Orange bam bams





I believe these are Fire and Ice zoas





Blue green zoas





Fire and Ice





Orange bam bams macro












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ECLS Reefer
3 minutes ago, ef4life said:

Excellent. That leptastrea photo is killer

Thanks! The angle of that rounded corner of tank always frustrates me trying to get that one particular coral. I hope it spreads all over the barnacle so someday there’s a lot more of it to photo.

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ECLS Reefer
4 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Great photo's. I love Skeeter looking down.

He’s a fat little dude but he is pretty camera shy. Usually he turns his back to me or hides in the barnacle. Blennies have the best little personalities! 

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  • 2 months later...
ECLS Reefer

Oh goodness I haven’t updated this thread since April! Really the tank looks disheveled these days thanks to Harvey the little baby mocha storm clown. He tries to host everything in there, and the palys tend to heavily dislike that. I’m rather in a dilemma about him at the moment, because he’s fattened up and looks very good, and gets along so well with Skeeter and Target. But, he can’t stay in this tank much longer, and the goal was always to get him to the 120g. Only problem with that is, he’s still a baby sized clown. And I wouldn’t feel comfortable adding him to the clown harem in the 120g without a second clown for him to pair with for his safety and the others. So, what to do with little Harvey? Let him fatten up a tad bit more in there where he’s happy? Move him to the sump and get him a friend, where they can both fatten up? Put a large breeder box in the 120 and put him and a friend in it? Not sure what the best option is. 


The only other option is to move Billy and Dilly from the Evo to the 120 and Harvey and a friend to the Evo, but Billy and Dilly would make being caught a disaster in there and I feel like there’s no way that reef won’t get torn up trying to catch them. They’d be fine in the 120, and most likely become the dominant pair of the harem since they’re the biggest clowns I have, but again. Not enthused about tearing up the Evo to get them. So. What to do with little Harvey.


While thinking about that, here’s some pictures



Little Harvey















Utter chaos zoas


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  • ECLS Reefer changed the title to 5g Zoa Playground (Formerly AIO Challenge Tank) - June Update
ECLS Reefer

So, three years into this hobby I have learned that sometimes, no matter how hard you work or narrowly you manage a tank, crap still can happen to make it crash. The little 5g crashed Saturday for no reason I can see, other than being mad possibly from me catching Harvey Friday. That took some effort and disturbed the palys/zoas quite a bit, and maybe caused them to react by poisoning the tank a bit. I changed the water because it was due anyway Saturday, but noticed when I woke up that the water was somewhat cloudy. And little Skeeter was missing. Skeeter never reappeared 😞. Yesterday the water was slightly cloudy again and Target went missing. Unfortunately she was later located, having passed. The inverts are all fine, so whatever happened spared them, and the corals, but I decided to take this opportunity to break the tank down. With work picking back up and some changes in mine and my husband’s jobs, time has become more of a premium and running three tanks was more tedious. I have moved out the nicer zoas and the leptastrea to the big tank, and have sold the two big rocks covered with assorted corals along with the little pistol shrimp so someone with room can enjoy them. I unfortunately don’t have the room for the two bigger rocks, and with tiger pistols in the other two tanks, the little candy cane pistol wouldn’t last long.


So, that’s that I guess. Some good things come out of some bad things. It was a week of rather sad endings for me both personally and reef keeping wise. But I’ll say this little tank was fun while it lasted, and I thank @Christopher Marks for starting the little AIO competition last year during Covidpocalypse. It was nice to have something to focus on while the world crashed down around everyone’s ears. I’ll be closing out this thread and you can follow my Evo and 120g threads in the future!! 


Thanks for the memories!

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  • ECLS Reefer changed the title to 5g Zoa Playground (Formerly AIO Challenge Tank) - Tank Crash and Closing Shop 😢

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