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SassyPistol

My first contest tank for the 365 Day AIO Reef Challenge - 5.5 gallon SPS Dominant

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SassyPistol

Hello everyone,

 

Thanks to a couple of things that happened to me recently, I decided to enter the challenge for the very first time. 

 

My 15 gallon column reef recently crashed due to a combination of 2 part over-dose and heater malfunction. I was trying keep a mixed nano reef despite not having planned for it nor having proper equipment. It was not a fun time to see most of the corals bleached over night and animals lying at the bottom of the tank lifelessly.

 

Just as I thought I was going to take it easy from the hobby for a while, my friend showed me this challenge. 

 

Although part of me is still afraid of making mistakes that would end up killing my tank again, I decided that I need to get up right where I fell. I need an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and this challenge is it. I am entering the challenge with a SPS dominant pico tank, and my ultimate goal is to learn how to keep it alive and happy, for at least 365 days. 

 

We will see how it goes, I guess. Here is the picture of the dry tank with my favorite food condiment inside.

 

 

 

86738669_193435468540387_42712187038334976_n.jpg

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Adwyth

Looks like a fun little tank idea! Is that a matten filter wall I see? I look forward to seeing this develope. Glad you decided to get back on the horse!

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SassyPistol
4 minutes ago, Adwyth said:

Looks like a fun little tank idea! Is that a matten filter wall I see? I look forward to seeing this develope. Glad you decided to get back on the horse!

Yes it is! The insert wall is basically black sponge filter media pad I got from Amazon. It is not powered by an air pump though, I am using an internal filter I already have instead. It is completely removable and I plan on cleaning it out with every water changes. 

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This guy is extra salty

Nice setup

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Adwyth

Very cool idea. I had thought about something like that, as I have used them in some FW fry tanks. But I wasn’t sure how it would work with salt water. I hope it gives you great results!

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SassyPistol
1 minute ago, Adwyth said:

Very cool idea. I had thought about something like that, as I have used them in some FW fry tanks. But I wasn’t sure how it would work with salt water. I hope it gives you great results!

Yeah I used it in freshwater for shrimps before. Excited to see how it would work out!

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devaji108

I think we are all excited to see how this works out for you.

after learning about this ( again) I thought about it for a few days. 

 

good luck! you got this...

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seabass

I love the simplicity of the matter filter wall.

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GraniteReefer

If it’s removable you probably will be running bare bottom right?

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debbeach13

So glad you decided to give it another try. There are many members here that will help you with any questions you have along the way. Welcome to NR and to the contest. I will be following your progress. I did not even know about those filter until a couple weeks ago. I have never kept a shrimp tank. Good luck with your tank.

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Ratvan

HMF and SPS?

Following along

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SassyPistol
10 hours ago, GraniteReefer said:

If it’s removable you probably will be running bare bottom right?

Yes. The tank is also sitting maybe 6 to 10 inches from the ground, the last thing  I want is to gravel vac it. 

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kimberbee

Could you let us know what tank this is? 

 

Can't wait to see how this matten filter works out for you!! 

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debbeach13

Hi are you still in?

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SassyPistol
On 3/8/2020 at 12:53 PM, debbeach13 said:

Hi are you still in?

Yes! I have been waiting for my LFS to get a specific salt that I want to use for this build for a couple weeks now... finally gave up and decided to get it from somewhere else. Hopefully I will be able to do a proper update when the stuff comes in a couple days. 

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SassyPistol
On 2/22/2020 at 5:46 PM, kimberbee said:

Could you let us know what tank this is? 

 

Can't wait to see how this matten filter works out for you!! 

It's just an Aqueon 5 gallon tank with a piece of matte filter foam on the side, kind of a DIY AIO I suppose. And me too! I have been waiting for the salt I planned to use to come, but I guess I was too patient with it....

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SassyPistol

Sorry about the lack of updates guys! Not much had happened really because I have been patiently waiting for specific items to come through my LFS. I wanted to have a perfect start but... I am also dying to see life in it. So the plan now is to get those stuff from a different source, hopefully in the next couple days. In the meantime, here is a picture of what the tank looks like ATM. 

IMG_20200312_182717.jpg

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SassyPistol

The tank is finally wet and on the way to be cycled. (day 2 trace ammonia and nitrite, 5ppm nitrate)

 

A circulation pump with a rotating deflector has been added to the right hand side of the tank. Not completely sold on the position of it and the rock work, but I will sit on it for a few days to see how I feel then. 

 

Can't wait for it to cycle so I can start adding animals!!!

 

Here is a list of equipment and supplies used for the build so far:

-ABI 12w Tuna Blue LED PAR38 bulb (coral reef optimized Spectrum)

-Aqueon 5.5 gallon tank

-Aqueon Versa-Top glass lid 

-Aquaneat Reticulated Open Cell Foam Sponge Filter

-Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Power Filter AT10

-A little 15w heater that I got ages ago

-A floating thermometer 

-Hydor circulation pump rated 180gph

-Hydor rotating water deflector

-Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt

-Brightwell MicroBacter StartXLM

-Random dry rock from LFS

IMG_20200320_182807.jpg

IMG_20200320_191133.jpg

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Adwyth

Looking great! I’m really digging the rock layout!

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SassyPistol

Some updates for the tank: I've been trying to cycle the tank for almost a month now and I feel like it's not really going in the direction of being cycled. I understand cycling in SW aquariums can take longer compared to their freshwater counterparts, and most tanks are still considered young even 3 to 5 months after setting up. So maybe I just need to wait longer?? Below is the summary of the cycle and waste levels tested in the past month, using API test kit.

 

3/18, filled the tank and added Brightwell MicroBacter Start XLM.

 

3/20, Ammonia: trace

         Nitrite: trace

         Nitrate: 5 ppm

         Note: Added more MicroBacter per instructions on the bottle, also added some Benepet powder to feed the bacteria.

 

3/26, Ammonia: 0.5 ppm

         Nitrite: 0.25 ppm

         Nitrate: 20 ppm

         Noted: Thought the tank is going to be cycled soon so I did a 50% water change and added some more bacteria...(in hindsight maybe this was not necessary? could this end up prolonging the cycle instead??) 

 

3/27, Ammonia: 0.25 ppm

         Nitrite: trace

         Nitrate: 5 ppm

         Note: Added a trochus snail (about 1" in length) from LFS to take care of the dust algae that was starting to grow on the rock. (While a 5 gallon is a pretty small tank, I didn't think a single trochus snail would add too much bio-load to the system, especially without feeding it specifically....)

 

3/29, Ammonia: 0.25 ppm

         Nitrite: 0.25 ppm

         Nitrate: 10 ppm

         Note: Didn't add any more bacteria per instruction.

 

4/5, Ammonia: trace

       Nitrite: 2~5 ppm ( the purple color was pretty indistinguishable between these two)

       Nitrate: 40 ppm

       Note: The tank looked like it's almost there, though the nitrite level was a bit concerning. A major brown dusting algae bloom also took place, so I did about 70% change in order to bring the nitrite down and clean some algae off the rock and glass.

 

4/9, Ammonia: trace

       Nitrite: trace

       Nitrate: 5 ppm

       Note: Dosed with some bacteria, per bottle's instruction. So close! Also the water started to turn a little green, so I've left the light off ever since. (I don't think having the light off would impact the cycle much, but I could be wrong...)

 

4/10, Ammonia: trace

         Nitrite: 0.25 ppm

         Nitrate: 5~10 ppm

         Note: No dose, per instruction. (at this point I was so sure that the next time I test the tank it would be ready... well....)

 

4/16, Ammonia: 0.5 ppm

         Nitrite: 2.0 ppm

         Nitrate 30 ppm

         Note: And this is where we are today. WHAT IN THE WORLD. Where is all that waste coming from? I didn't add any more food since 3/20. The tank has gone through 2 major changes in the past month, but it still keeps coming back to high nitrite levels and ammonia would not go to zero. So this tells me that somewhere in the tank, there is stuff rotting and releasing ammonia consistently. (from the Benepet that I put in almost a month ago though??) The glass and the rock looks pretty clean right now so maybe it's stuck in the matten filter. I think I will do another change tomorrow and take everything out to rinse in the dirty tank water. 

 

Will update again if I have more information.

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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debbeach13

Is the matten filter permanently attached or can you rinse that out in old tank water? 

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devaji108

I have  never used the mico Bactor product....but most bottled Bac. will have you dose an ammonia source after adding it to get it up to around  2ppm. that fuels the cycel process.

what does the bottle say to do?  

 

also keep in mind the API ammonia test kit does not go below .25. when  cycling my tank it was like what the heck why cant I get be to 0...some looking around  I was like oh that sucks, but OK.    

 

I like to "test" the cycle by adding pure ammonia to 2ppm and if the tank can cycle it in 24hr then tank is cycled. 

I wonder if by not having a high ammonia source the bac. starved and dies off? or just taking longer and is some what dormant?

 

like I said I have not used this one but most tend to work the same tho.

 

 

 

 

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SassyPistol
17 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Is the matten filter permanently attached or can you rinse that out in old tank water? 

It's removable. I rinsed it out today in dirty tank water. 

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SassyPistol
12 hours ago, devaji108 said:

I have  never used the mico Bactor product....but most bottled Bac. will have you dose an ammonia source after adding it to get it up to around  2ppm. that fuels the cycel process.

what does the bottle say to do?  

 

also keep in mind the API ammonia test kit does not go below .25. when  cycling my tank it was like what the heck why cant I get be to 0...some looking around  I was like oh that sucks, but OK.    

 

I like to "test" the cycle by adding pure ammonia to 2ppm and if the tank can cycle it in 24hr then tank is cycled. 

I wonder if by not having a high ammonia source the bac. starved and dies off? or just taking longer and is some what dormant?

 

like I said I have not used this one but most tend to work the same tho.

 

 

 

 

The seeding instructions did say to add one or two hardy fish. I added Benepet powder for ammonia source instead. Judging by how much nitrite and nitrate I consistently have in the tank, I feel the bacteria dye off should be minimal. Or that they reproduce really fast after a disturbance. In any case, I can see not having a constant source of ammonia could make the cycle longer. 

 

That's interesting to know that API ammonia sw test is not always accurate. I might use the red sea kit at my LFS to do a test. The next time I get a chance to go there that is. 

 

The bottle also said to add lower dose bacteria when either Ammonia or Nitrite is above 0.2ppm, which I followed. Though if the test is not accurate then that could also be my problem. I also add more bacteria back after each massive water change. Not sure if these would have any influence at all but we will see. 

 

I did do another 70% today and rinsed the matten filter, will test the water tomorrow and see where the tank is at. Fortunate of me to have a little more time than usual recently. 

 

 

 

 

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debbeach13

Good morning. How is it going? I hope you are well. Very interested in a tank update if you have time.

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