Jump to content
mipster

Back in the game - The not an Evo anymore Redemption Reef - A*hole hermit

Recommended Posts

mipster

Well, finally after I had to take my last tank down to move, I'm getting back into the reef game and I am beyond excited!

 

My goal this time around is to make careful, researched decisions rather than just trusting the word of one LFS owner. I had a lot more mistakes that could have been avoided with abit more research. But you live and learn!

 

I got an Evo 13.5 second hand off a local reefer, it's a shame that I pulled the trigger too late for the 365 contest but oh well, I don't need a contest to keep me going with this. 

 

Here's the run down:

 

  • Tank: Evo 13.5 with stock lid while cycling (keep evap down)
  • Lights: Stock while cycling - might see if my old Maxspect Razor 120 W light fixture is still in good shape, it's been in storage for a while though and the lighting tech has advanced alot in 5 years so I might want to look at something new, we'll see though.
  • Return: Stock for now, I want to see how it does/sounds - I'm planning on getting a pair of the VCA random flow generators to replace the stock return nozzles.
  • Filtration: chamber 1 - InTank media basket with just floss on top for now but them chemiclean blue and purigen for the other sections; chamber 2 - TBD, we'll see what I need; chamber 3 - return, heater, ATO
  • ATO: Probably won't need while running the stock lid as I've read evap stays very low but when I ditch the stock lid, I think I'll go with either AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro or the Tunze Nano Osmolator. Tell me, which is your fave?
  • Heater: Hydor 50W
  • Additional flow: I've got an old Hydor Koralia nano 240 from my old build that I can use if I need it
  • Rock: Starting dry this time. I want to see how it goes as I did live rock the first time around and it was COVERED in nuisance algae 
  • Sand: CaribSea Ocean Direct Live 
  • Salt: Red Sea Coral Pro salt Mix
  • Stocking: a pair of clowns, maybe a lil something else like a green banded goby or a pink streaked wrasse. We'll have to see what is available

 

I think that's all the core things... I'm probably forgetting something! 

 

I've leak tested the tank, all good there! Got rid of the black honey comb around the top of the tank, I wanted it clean. Pain to do but worth it in the long run. 

 

Now I'm playing with rock scapes while I'm trying to get the right fitting to hook my RoDi unit to my shower (got the wrong one and with isolation, shipping says what I think will be the right fitting won't arrive until mid May at the earliest.... MUST FIND WATER! lol 

 

Anyways, here are some pictures of the scape I'm thinking of. Send me your feedback, the good and the bad. This is V2. V1 was scrapped when a local reefer looked at the pics and thought there weren't enough hidey holes.

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-24 at 5.41.30 PM.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-24 at 5.41.29 PM (5).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-24 at 5.41.29 PM (4).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-24 at 5.41.29 PM (3).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-24 at 5.41.29 PM (2).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-24 at 5.41.29 PM (1).jpeg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Diamonds x Pearls

Good scape. Good use of triangles. I can almost draw a fibonacci spiral from the top view, and interestingly enough another one in the negative space from the side view. Front view looks like there's some perspective, that's always nice.

 

As for hardware, you seem to be on the right track. If you want coral mixed in there, then definitely can use that Koralia.

 

For water see if you can find a Whole Foods or an organic market that has a RODI water machine. I get my water from there and just mix in IO reef crystals. Before the pandemic, everyone thought I was weird. Now, nobody bats an eye. I tested my local Whole Foods and I got 002ppm on my TDS meter, so not bad for 40 cents/gal.

 

For cycling's sake, what's your plan?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
mipster
2 minutes ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

 

For cycling's sake, what's your plan?

See, I told you there was something I was forgetting!

 

I've gotten the Red Sea Reef Mature Starting Kit. It's new to me so I'm doing as much reading as I can find. It was recommended to me by a bunch of local reefers so I thought I'd give it a go. 

 

The problem with going to wholefoods or such is I don't have a car and I'm not sure I can carry 15 gallons of water on the subway! lol

Share this post


Link to post
Diamonds x Pearls
3 minutes ago, mipster said:

See, I told you there was something I was forgetting!

 

I've gotten the Red Sea Reef Mature Starting Kit. It's new to me so I'm doing as much reading as I can find. It was recommended to me by a bunch of local reefers so I thought I'd give it a go. 

 

The problem with going to wholefoods or such is I don't have a car and I'm not sure I can carry 15 gallons of water on the subway! lol

Sounds like a robust kit just by glancing over it via Google. I'm curious how it will perform for you.

 

I feel the pain. The initial fill up was expensive. I had to buy totes and all. Q_Q You could somehow find gallon bottles of distilled water. I heard it is good in a pinch. I know you could get filtered seawater delivered to you from Petco. You could try that.

Share this post


Link to post
mipster
2 minutes ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

 I know you could get filtered seawater delivered to you from Petco. 

I'm Canadian, Petco doesn't exist up here! And all the stores have a 2 bottle limit on distilled water and still lacking the car. One of the local LFS sells water in 5 gallon jugs and they are offering order online and curb side pick up. I might go up there and uber home. I just want to get this think wet and working! 

Share this post


Link to post
Diamonds x Pearls
1 hour ago, mipster said:

I'm Canadian, Petco doesn't exist up here! And all the stores have a 2 bottle limit on distilled water and still lacking the car. One of the local LFS sells water in 5 gallon jugs and they are offering order online and curb side pick up. I might go up there and uber home. I just want to get this think wet and working! 

Sounds like the LFS is your best bet!

Share this post


Link to post
mipster
23 hours ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

Sounds like the LFS is your best bet!

Yup, that is looking like the case! I might see if I can get things organized to go tomorrow. I would really like to get this tank wet and salty!!

Share this post


Link to post
mipster

Well my gem of a friend reached out saying she was doing a Covid supply run tomorrow and asked if I needed anything. I asked how she felt about going to my LSF 15 minutes away and she was game! I am getting my emergency "I can't wait any longer for the RO fixture I need to be delivered" water! We are going to get this tank wet tomorrow!!!!!!!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
mipster

Here we go! Have a harrowing journey into the wild and dangerous outside world, I have water and this tank is finally wet! I've got the classic cloudy tank but that makes me crazy happy lol 

 

Now to read, re-read and read (again) some more the instructions for the Red Sea Reef Mature Starter Kit to make sure I've got the doses and steps correct. I think I understand it but as I said, no sudden moves and no stupid decisions.

 

 

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-26 at 7.38.55 PM (1).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-26 at 7.38.55 PM.jpeg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
mipster

Ok so today was Day 2 of the Red Sea Reef Mature Starter Kit. Day 1 of the program was just checking temp and salinity.

 

Day 2 you first check temp and salinity. Salinity was spot on 1.025 SG, Temp was high 81.1. I have a feeling the heater I got with the tank is either malfunctioning or the return pump throws in a lot of heat. I've turned off the heater entirely and we'll see where the temp ends up. I have a spare I can put in when I figure out the temp on just the return pump.

 

Next you need to test pH and KH. pH came out 8.2, beauty! KH came out 6.1. With that number I had to calculate the correct dosage of the KH Coraline Gro buffer, in my case I added 10.5 ml for 12 gallons of water. I've got to recalculate all the measurements for the program. The instructions are all for 25 gallon water volume. 

 

Next I added 9.6 ml of Nitro Bac, 4.8 ml of Bacto-start and 1.44 ml of NO3 PO4 - X.

 

Looking over the instructions, there are a few things that they say to do that I'm going to  try a little differently. Firstly, the instructions say you need to run a skimmer. I'm not going to as I don't want one on this system at all if I can avoid it and from speaking to others who have used this program on smaller tanks, it didn't seem to be necessary.

 

Secondly, it says to run the lights for a 10 hour light cycle but that just seems like it's asking for algae. I've also been curious to apply these tips from the BRS TV 5 minute start guide about keeping the lights off for the first few months to avoid the ugly phase. I can't do the part where he suggests adding certain algae eating tangs cause tangs + evo 13.5 is definitely a no go. I could be making a wrong choice with this particular program but it can't hurt, if anything, it just means it takes longer but that was always going to be the case as the instructions say use live rock and I'm using dry.

 

What do you guys think? Am I making a bad move? Hope not but I'd love feedback! Anyone out there who as used this program, what did you find?

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
mipster

Day three of the Red Sea Reef Mature kit is making me realize there is going to be a whole lot of testing over the next month or so lol. For those of you considering this program, be ready for that, maybe invest in hanna checkers to avoid all the drop and shake, drop and shake of other test kits.

 

So today first you have to check temp and salinity. I've swapped out the defective heater for the other one and temp is now at 79.6 F, salinity steady at 1.025 sg.

 

Next I had to test for pH and KH. pH is up a bit to 8.3 and KH up to 8 dkh but I am NOT to dose more of the KH - Coralline Gro today.

 

Then I had to test for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. According to the instructions, the readings should be: Ammonia 1 ppm, Nitrite 0.1 ppm, and Nitrate 10-15 ppm.

 

My readings came in at Ammonia 0 ppm, Nitrite 0.1 ppm and Nitrate 20 ppm. I have a feeling my results differing has to do with starting with dry rock instead of live as the instructions state.

 

Then I needed to dose Nitro Bac and NO3 PO4 - X as the final step for today.

 

I'm wondering if I should add an ammonia source to the tank.. I haven't been able to get much information online able using this system with dry rock. I do have shrimp I can toss in. Anyone out there have an opinion?

Share this post


Link to post
mipster

Quiet day for the Red Sea Reef Mature system, just one dose of NO3 PO4 - X, no measuring any parameters! 

 

WHY IS CYCLING SUCH TORTURE!?!?!?!?!

Share this post


Link to post
mipster

Day 5 is another easy day, just dosing NO3 PO4 - X.

 

I'm working on deciding my ATO solution. I'm leaning towards the AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro to save space in the return section on my filtration section. The one thing I don't like about it is how you secure the return line to the tank. I want to figure out a way to have the return be nice and clean like the IM HydroFill ATO Return bracket but from what I can tell, the Auto Aqua tubing is wider then the 1/4" barb fitting on the HydroFill return bracket so I can't just get the bracket.

 

Do any of you out there using the AutoAqua know if I can fit the tube on a 1/4" barb fitting? Or have any brilliant ideas of how I could make something using other plumbing fixtures to make something that would look nice and tidy?

 

HELP REEF WORLD!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
teenyreef

Hey there, nice start! I like the scape and fibonacci sequence stuff. :biggrin:

 

I'll be following your journey with the Red Sea system with interest. Starting with dry rock always makes things different, and I'm interested to see if changing things up with no light and no skimmer makes any difference.

 

Regarding the ATO, I have the same one in my 30g. Are you asking if the fill tube would fit onto a 1/4" barb fitting? I think it would...going to measure the tube now...

Share this post


Link to post
teenyreef

Here's a picture of the tube size:

20200501_234012.jpg

 

The kit comes with a black rubber holder for the tube, which is held in place with a magnet on the dry side.

Hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
mipster
1 hour ago, teenyreef said:

Hey there, nice start! I like the scape and fibonacci sequence stuff. :biggrin:

 

I'll be following your journey with the Red Sea system with interest. Starting with dry rock always makes things different, and I'm interested to see if changing things up with no light and no skimmer makes any difference.

 

Regarding the ATO, I have the same one in my 30g. Are you asking if the fill tube would fit onto a 1/4" barb fitting? I think it would...going to measure the tube now...

TEENY'S ON MY THREAD!! Some reef fan girling going on up here in Canada right now lol I feel very proud about my scape considering the fibonacci sequence aspect of it was not deliberate lol

 

Thanks for taking that photo! It really helps! 

 

I put in an order with Fragbox Corals here in Toronto for the Auto Aqua ATO and a pair of VCA random flow generators. I'll play with options for a clean hook up for the ATO return line later.

 

One thing I've been wondering with the Red Sea program, it really seems designed to mature a system with live bacteria the more I read. I did use live sand but I'm wondering if I should maybe add some bacteria like Dr Tims but then I wonder how much of that is me really wanting to speed up the cycle 😅I know, every single reefer's problem. But then i also want to avoid tweeking the program more then I have already so it can be an example for future reefers since I couldn't find the answers to the questions I had.

 

Today way day 6 of the program. I had to measure temp and salinity, both still on track.

 

Then I had to test pH and KH. pH measured at 8.2 today and KH was 8. I had to calculate how much KH - Coralline Gro to dose to get KH up to 8.4. I needed to add 3.12 ml according to the bottle. Then I am supposed to take this amount and divide it by 4 to get the daily dose rate however, the last time I needed to calculate KH, it was 8 and it's the same today so none has actually been used because I have NOTHING in the tank at the moment that would be using it. This shows one set back for this program for anyone using dry rock. Maybe I'll see if I can get some coralline scrapings from a local reefer. I have a very good local facebook reefing group, I should be able to find some fairly easily. 

 

The instructions also say I should be doing a water change tomorrow but based on the readings in my tank, the cycle has barely had the chance to start the cycle, I shouldn't be doing a water change yet I don't think. We'll see what the numbers are when I do tomorrow's testing.

 

At lease now I can make my own water! It turns out the original adapter that I first got that didn't work where I planned to use it works at the end of the hand held hose in my shower so this is what water making looks like in my apartment lol 

 

 

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-30 at 8.50.19 PM.jpeg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
mipster

Day 7 of the program - I'm supposed to do a 5% water change but I'm going to hold off. I have a feeling not a lot has really happened.

 

First I had to check temp and salinity, both are on point. Then I had to test ammonia and Nitrite. Ammonia measured at 0.2 ppm and Nitrite measured at 0 ppm. Maybe I should get some ammonia to dose with to help things along? Any thoughts N-R world?

 

After the testing, I had to dose the correct amount of Bacto-Start, Nitro Bac, NO3 PO4-X and KH-Coralline Gro.

 

The worst part of this cycle is my local reefing group on Facebook keep posting AMAZING coral frag deals AND I AM MISSING THEM 😭

 

Lets play with stocking dreams...

 

For sure a pair of clowns - which colour morph will be tricky. I love the classic but a local breeder on my fbook group has practically everything under the sun, I really like the Mochas too.

I also want another little fun guy. Any recommendations? I've loved pink streaked wrasses ever since I saw one for the first time in Teeny's IM 10. Not sure how hard they would be to find up here in the Great White North though.

 

For corals:

  • I love Duncans so those are a must
  • I've always wanted sun corals. I know they are trickier to keep and require direct feeding but with such a small tank, it shouldn't be too much trouble. I've seen people cut the bottom of a bottle to keep over critters away while the sun coral gets the food it needs
  • A nice variety of Acans
  • Frogspawn and hammers
  • Maybe some Ricordea Mushrooms
  • Some cute Zoas of course 
  • Stellata
  • Branching hydnophora
  • forest fire digi
  • blue torte
  • plating monipora of some colour 
  • turquoise birdsnest
  • .... and probably a whole lot more... which is a problem with a 13.5 gallon tank and no room for an upgrade (I live in a 350 Sq Ft bachelor apartment people, space is veeeeery limited lol

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
prdoring

I am currently doing a dr tims and ammonia fishless cycle.  I keep my ammonia around 2-4 ppm and I was seeing movement in nitrites within a few days.  I know there are many ways to do things, but from researching fishless cycles, I have seen people say that below 2ppm ammonia it is tough to get a new bacteria colony started.  See graphs:

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
mipster
1 hour ago, prdoring said:

I am currently doing a dr tims and ammonia fishless cycle.  I keep my ammonia around 2-4 ppm and I was seeing movement in nitrites within a few days.  I know there are many ways to do things, but from researching fishless cycles, I have seen people say that below 2ppm ammonia it is tough to get a new bacteria colony started.  See graphs:

 

 

 

I was starting to get the feeling that this was part of the issue with trying to use the Red Sea system on dry rock. It takes into account that there is already life and bacteria going on on live rock which is so not the case here and I'm dosing to encourage coralline algae but I don't have any yet because I can't add any corals with frag plugs covered in the stuff to get me started. I'm thinking the Red Sea system just isn't meant for dry rock. Yes, eventually my tank will cycle while on this system but not without modification and extra steps that are not talked about in the instructions.

 

I've ordered some ammonia to dose with to help get things moving along, it should get here on Friday. I might try to grab some coralline scrapings from a local reef to get that started as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
prdoring

Yeah my issue is lack of coraline.  Im sure some will come in on my CUC when I add them.

Share this post


Link to post
Diamonds x Pearls

I'm alive. I just have been weary working in the midst of the pandemic -__-"

 

So I used dry rock as well, but it was the stuff painted purple with supposedly bacterial spores. I think it's totally snake oil so I used the raw fish and bacteria bottle method. It was pretty much set and forget. I also timed my cycling in a way that I would be out of town and the tank would cycle as it goes. More details can be read in my journal.

The Ryukyu Shallows - Aquarium Journals - Nano-Reef Community

 

From what I've seen and heard from the Evo13.5 the lighting may not be enough to spur growth in the SPS corals you mentioned. Then again, sometimes rampant growth can be bear a big burden for some people. I have a slightly underpowered light for my system, but I don't mind the slow growth that's coming out of my LPS. To give you an idea my Current USA is an 8k LED.

 

Coralline will eventually show up. It wasn't until last month I got my first new colonies of it. I did import some from the CUC I bought from work and the rubble scavenged from other places. However it didn't really spread and get to other parts of the aquarium until basically now. Again, check out my photos from my journal to see the coralline algae progression.

 

Share this post


Link to post
mipster
2 hours ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

I'm alive. I just have been weary working in the midst of the pandemic -__-"

 

From what I've seen and heard from the Evo13.5 the lighting may not be enough to spur growth in the SPS corals you mentioned. Then again, sometimes rampant growth can be bear a big burden for some people. I have a slightly underpowered light for my system, but I don't mind the slow growth that's coming out of my LPS. To give you an idea my Current USA is an 8k LED.

 

Yay to being alive! 

 

I won't be using the stock lights once the tank is mature enough for SPS, I'm just keeping it during the cycle since the lid cuts down to evap and I'm not using the lights right now anyways. For lighting, I'm going to see if my old Maxspect Razor unit is still up to snuff and if not, I'll get probably an AI prime (though still researching options). Though the more I read about my old unit... the more I just want to get something new.... but money.... but better lights with more controllability and fun features... but money...

 

Pretty sure that's always the battle people run into in this hobby lol

Share this post


Link to post
Diamonds x Pearls
6 hours ago, mipster said:

Yay to being alive! 

 

I won't be using the stock lights once the tank is mature enough for SPS, I'm just keeping it during the cycle since the lid cuts down to evap and I'm not using the lights right now anyways. For lighting, I'm going to see if my old Maxspect Razor unit is still up to snuff and if not, I'll get probably an AI prime (though still researching options). Though the more I read about my old unit... the more I just want to get something new.... but money.... but better lights with more controllability and fun features... but money...

 

Pretty sure that's always the battle people run into in this hobby lol

that is the struggle haha.

 

i mean the cool bit of LEDs is that programming ability. but hey if the old maxspects work i'd just run those for simplicity's sake.

Share this post


Link to post
mipster
2 hours ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

 

i mean the cool bit of LEDs is that programming ability. but hey if the old maxspects work i'd just run those for simplicity's sake.

The old Maxspect I can program a ramp up and down cycle on two channels but they've also been in a storage locker for a little over 5 years now so we'll have to see what sort of shape they're in. I've put off going down into the dungeon of doom - also known as the locker room in the basement of my building. Maybe that will be my mission tomorrow... maybe not. It's terrifying down there lol. I would ALMOST buy a new light to avoid going down there 😅

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
WV Reefer
On 5/3/2020 at 12:26 AM, mipster said:

Day 7 of the program - I'm supposed to do a 5% water change but I'm going to hold off. I have a feeling not a lot has really happened.

 

First I had to check temp and salinity, both are on point. Then I had to test ammonia and Nitrite. Ammonia measured at 0.2 ppm and Nitrite measured at 0 ppm. Maybe I should get some ammonia to dose with to help things along? Any thoughts N-R world?

 

After the testing, I had to dose the correct amount of Bacto-Start, Nitro Bac, NO3 PO4-X and KH-Coralline Gro.

 

The worst part of this cycle is my local reefing group on Facebook keep posting AMAZING coral frag deals AND I AM MISSING THEM 😭

 

Lets play with stocking dreams...

 

For sure a pair of clowns - which colour morph will be tricky. I love the classic but a local breeder on my fbook group has practically everything under the sun, I really like the Mochas too.

I also want another little fun guy. Any recommendations? I've loved pink streaked wrasses ever since I saw one for the first time in Teeny's IM 10. Not sure how hard they would be to find up here in the Great White North though.

 

For corals:

  • I love Duncans so those are a must
  • I've always wanted sun corals. I know they are trickier to keep and require direct feeding but with such a small tank, it shouldn't be too much trouble. I've seen people cut the bottom of a bottle to keep over critters away while the sun coral gets the food it needs
  • A nice variety of Acans
  • Frogspawn and hammers
  • Maybe some Ricordea Mushrooms
  • Some cute Zoas of course 
  • Stellata
  • Branching hydnophora
  • forest fire digi
  • blue torte
  • plating monipora of some colour 
  • turquoise birdsnest
  • .... and probably a whole lot more... which is a problem with a 13.5 gallon tank and no room for an upgrade (I live in a 350 Sq Ft bachelor apartment people, space is veeeeery limited lol

 

I would scratch off the Hydnophora...... it’s very aggressive for such a small tank. The rest of the list looks pretty good. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

×
×
  • Create New...