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The not an Evo anymore Redemption Reef - Forgive me Reef Gods for I have sinned

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mipster
19 minutes ago, WV Reefer said:

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

Thanks for the tip! That list was strictly generated from all the things I liked the look of available at a local reef shop, I haven't had time to do the appropriate research on all the various types. In my old reef tank I was A) tooootal noob and B) listening to bad advice but also hadn't had the chance to stray much into SPS before I had to take the tank down to move.

 

With this tank, I want to let things settle and mature before I start going with the corals. We will see how well my will power will hold to that though! 😅

 

I'm trying to figure out my fish plan. I want a pair of clowns and one other teeny fish but I'm having trouble figuring out what I want the little guy to be. Part of my is also thinking I should add the little guy first and then the clowns so the clowns are less likely to gang up on a newer addition. Originally I really wanted a pink streaked wrasse as I've been in love with them since I saw Fitzgerald in @teenyreef's IM10 but it's looking like it's hard to find in Canada. Everyone I've talked to so far has never seen them available but I have more calls and emails to make, I'm not ready to give up hope yet. Other readily available options are yellow watchman gobies, firefish, royal grammas and neon gobies for sure. I talked to one supplier who said they sometimes are able to get tail spot blennies (though hard right now) and I would love one of those with their cute little painted faces.

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prdoring
3 hours ago, WV Reefer said:

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

The Humanity

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mipster
6 hours ago, prdoring said:

Poor coral! That is equally fascinating and difficult to watch lol

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mipster

So the past few days I just had to dose NO3 PO4 - X and KH-Coralline Gro.

 

Today I had to test ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Ammonia read 0.8, up 0.6 from last measure; Nitrite read 0.5, up 0.5 from last measure and finally; Nitrate measured at 30 ppm. Things are on the move but according to the program instructions I should be reading Ammonia - 0 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, and Nitrate 10 ppm so we are for sure off track from the program because of the dry rock. I'm also supposed to be adding a CUC today but there is nothing to clean up so that isn't going to happen either! Then I had to dose the appropriate amount of all 4 additives tonight after all the testing.

 

The further I go along in this program, the more glaringly obvious it becomes that using this program with dry rock is basically pointless despite what I'd been told/read. It is designed to mature a tank that has live rock in it to make it more stable for adding inhabitants sooner. It's an interesting experiment though and hopefully me going through all this just helps other reefers make informed decisions. You'd be better off just starting with something like Dr Tim's and dosing ammonia for a fishless cycle. I'm still going to follow the program but I'm going to add a touch more starter bacteria and dose some ammonia to see if that will bump me along in the process.

 

I'm concerned about my hydor heater keeping things consistent in the tank. Today alone it's gone from 76 - 80F. I'm thinking the internal thermostat isn't very sensative so maybe I'll have better luck getting a heater controller. Do you guys have a favourite? I would LOVE to go full out and get this tank fully rigged on an Apex but too soon and too much money for that at the moment lol I like the idea of this one and being able to check in wirelessly but I can't tell if it's save for a salt aquarium. Do any of you know? Or have any recommendations? https://www.amazon.ca/Inkbird-Aquarium-Temperature-Controller-Thermometer/dp/B07WPC27DK/ref=sr_1_12?keywords=inkbird+aquarium+temperature+controller&qid=1588816700&sr=8-12

 

 

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teenyreef
22 hours ago, mipster said:

Thanks for the tip! That list was strictly generated from all the things I liked the look of available at a local reef shop, I haven't had time to do the appropriate research on all the various types. In my old reef tank I was A) tooootal noob and B) listening to bad advice but also hadn't had the chance to stray much into SPS before I had to take the tank down to move.

 

With this tank, I want to let things settle and mature before I start going with the corals. We will see how well my will power will hold to that though! 😅

 

I'm trying to figure out my fish plan. I want a pair of clowns and one other teeny fish but I'm having trouble figuring out what I want the little guy to be. Part of my is also thinking I should add the little guy first and then the clowns so the clowns are less likely to gang up on a newer addition. Originally I really wanted a pink streaked wrasse as I've been in love with them since I saw Fitzgerald in @teenyreef's IM10 but it's looking like it's hard to find in Canada. Everyone I've talked to so far has never seen them available but I have more calls and emails to make, I'm not ready to give up hope yet. Other readily available options are yellow watchman gobies, firefish, royal grammas and neon gobies for sure. I talked to one supplier who said they sometimes are able to get tail spot blennies (though hard right now) and I would love one of those with their cute little painted faces.

I really miss Fitzgerald, he was a great nano fish. I've been thinking about getting another one when I set up the 20g tank. I had a couple tail spot blennies but they never lived for more than a year or two in the 10g. I've heard that's fairly common.

11 minutes ago, mipster said:

So the past few days I just had to dose NO3 PO4 - X and KH-Coralline Gro.

 

Today I had to test ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Ammonia read 0.8, up 0.6 from last measure; Nitrite read 0.5, up 0.5 from last measure and finally; Nitrate measured at 30 ppm. Things are on the move but according to the program instructions I should be reading Ammonia - 0 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, and Nitrate 10 ppm so we are for sure off track from the program because of the dry rock. I'm also supposed to be adding a CUC today but there is nothing to clean up so that isn't going to happen either! Then I had to dose the appropriate amount of all 4 additives tonight after all the testing.

 

The further I go along in this program, the more glaringly obvious it becomes that using this program with dry rock is basically pointless despite what I'd been told/read. It is designed to mature a tank that has live rock in it to make it more stable for adding inhabitants sooner. It's an interesting experiment though and hopefully me going through all this just helps other reefers make informed decisions. You'd be better off just starting with something like Dr Tim's and dosing ammonia for a fishless cycle. I'm still going to follow the program but I'm going to add a touch more starter bacteria and dose some ammonia to see if that will bump me along in the process.

 

I'm concerned about my hydor heater keeping things consistent in the tank. Today alone it's gone from 76 - 80F. I'm thinking the internal thermostat isn't very sensative so maybe I'll have better luck getting a heater controller. Do you guys have a favourite? I would LOVE to go full out and get this tank fully rigged on an Apex but too soon and too much money for that at the moment lol I like the idea of this one and being able to check in wirelessly but I can't tell if it's save for a salt aquarium. Do any of you know? Or have any recommendations? https://www.amazon.ca/Inkbird-Aquarium-Temperature-Controller-Thermometer/dp/B07WPC27DK/ref=sr_1_12?keywords=inkbird+aquarium+temperature+controller&qid=1588816700&sr=8-12

 

 

I like the finnex heaters that come with a separate temperature setting dial/LED display. I've used half a dozen of them over the years. I have run into issues with some of them not being calibrated properly. In other words, you set it for 78 but when you check the temperature it's actually 80. But regardless of calibration, they all hold the temperature within a degree of whatever they start with. So in the example I gave, I would just set it to 76, verify that it's really 78 with another temperature sensor, and then leave it alone.

 

I have the luxury of having an Apex, so I use that Apex sensor to turn the heater on and off just as a double check. But I also manually check the temperature with two other separate cheap digital thermometers every few months, just to verify that everything is calibrated and running right.

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mipster
10 minutes ago, teenyreef said:

I really miss Fitzgerald, he was a great nano fish.

 

I like the finnex heaters that come with a separate temperature setting dial/LED display. 

Looks like pink streaked wrasses are EXTREMELY rare in Canada from all I've talked to, even when the world isn't locked down in self isolation. I still have hope but it will likely be a very very long time. I'm also considering a Royal Gramma, I had one in my old tank and he was a stunning little guy but so shy so I'd probably want to add him first to give him the chance to get some confidence before adding in a clown pair. But we shall see. I still have a ways to go with cycling and I want things to be nice and stable before I add anything.

 

Is this the finnex heater you're talking about? https://www.reefsupplies.ca/online-store/Finnex-50W-heater-with-electronic-temp-control-and-Guard.html

 

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teenyreef
1 hour ago, mipster said:

Looks like pink streaked wrasses are EXTREMELY rare in Canada from all I've talked to, even when the world isn't locked down in self isolation. I still have hope but it will likely be a very very long time. I'm also considering a Royal Gramma, I had one in my old tank and he was a stunning little guy but so shy so I'd probably want to add him first to give him the chance to get some confidence before adding in a clown pair. But we shall see. I still have a ways to go with cycling and I want things to be nice and stable before I add anything.

 

Is this the finnex heater you're talking about? https://www.reefsupplies.ca/online-store/Finnex-50W-heater-with-electronic-temp-control-and-Guard.html

 

Yeah, they're not common even in the US so I can imagine the difficulty in Canada especially when we're in lockdown. 

 

That's looks pretty close to the heater I use. Mine didn't come with a guard, and the listing doesn't show a picture of the heater without the guard. But searching for that model number shows a box with a picture of the heater without the guard, and it looks like a titanium model, which is what I have. 

 

I've never worried about a guard since the heater goes in the sump or back chamber.

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mipster

How badly do you think I would be pushing my Evo if I did a pair of Blue Neon Gobies and a Pair of Ocellaris Clowns (not added at the same time, Gobies first and then clowns and of course, not till the cycling was done). I feel like the Goby would want a friend. The Neon Gobies are readily available locally so I'm thinking of giving them a try since I had a Royal Gramma in my old tank and I would like something different.

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mipster

Hmm actually, the more I read, the more it seems getting a single Neon goby might be better since they are difficult to tell the gender unless you can find a mated pair... but if I could find a mated pair... maybe then? But then there is still the question on 4 fish for this tank or not.... Plus the Powder Blue tang I plan to add of course 😛

 

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mipster

So today I got some Dr. Tim's Ammonia to dose the tank. I had previously added a little fish food I had laying around but it just wasn't cutting it for getting things going. 

 

I'm also really questioning why I would use the NO3 PO4 - x from the red sea mature program when I need to be able to measure with a test kit that the ammonia going into the tank is being processed, turned into Nitrites followed by Nitrates... I can't properly do that if I'm using a product designed to remove Nitrates and Phosphates can I?

 

And why would I use a program to help support coralline growth when I have no coralline in the tank... The only thing in this system I should probably be using at this point in my tank should be the bacto start.

 

*Sigh, It seems that I've wasted time and money with this particular system the more I really think it through and understand what is going on with a dry rock system. It just doesn't work as intended when you use dry rock. I'm sure the results would be much different if I had started with live rock as intended. I think I'm just going to add more bacteria starter as when following the instructions, I've only added a teeny tiny bit, keep the ammonia dosing and testing and see how it comes along. I can save the other products for when they become useful and relevant for my tank.

 

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mipster

Got some new toys for the tank today!

 

1698034441_WhatsAppImage2020-05-08at12_46_37PM.thumb.jpeg.e118ea6492ace962a2fb1d2a7642b089.jpeg\\

 

826594075_WhatsAppImage2020-05-08at12_46.37PM(1).thumb.jpeg.671ab792d86e58b9631d682471351ab1.jpeg

 

Both were a piece of cake to install. I have a 5 gallon food grade jug that I cut a hole in the top of to snake the tube and power wire through snuggly. I also have the syphon break installed just on the underside of the cap so that I don't have to worry about any leaks or dripping 🙂

 

562986145_WhatsAppImage2020-05-08at12_46.37PM(2).thumb.jpeg.c198ee324c8a389a8b507a1606ca665d.jpeg

 

The one problem with the ATO return is there is no cut out in the stock top and I currently don't have anything I can use to cut a notch in. I might see if someone I know has a dremel I can borrow. I don't mind it being open for now though now that I have my ATO set up. It's crazy how tiny this thing is! Too cool. 

 

1667864453_WhatsAppImage2020-05-08at12_46.37PM(3).thumb.jpeg.b250d1e4020ac5baec5e30ba4ab5aab1.jpeg

 

I have to deal with all this soon though 😰This is VEEERY far from the clean look I want lol But I think I need to finalize my lighting plan before really finalizing my cable management. I use a Geeni wifi power bar which lets me turn things off and on from my phone super easily so I don't have to worry about reaching into the corner of doom beside the couch to unplug anything when I need to turn off pumps, etc. I can even set timers and schedules which is terrific. Super affordable vital piece of equipment I think. 

 

One thing that will be very important is getting a screen lid. I LOVE the Clearview lids but I'd really like to see if I can find a Canadian doing something similar. I like you Americans but in times like these, I'd like to be able to support my neighbours as much as possible. We'll have to see what is out there and what the options are. It might even just being for now getting the IM kit from my local LFS to support them. I would also like to get a custom cut piece of black acrylic to fit over the back section. But that is something for a later day.

 

I dosed some ammonia last night and added some more nitrifying bacteria this morning. I'll do a parameter test tonight to see where things are at.

 

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mipster

Do you guys think if I upgraded the return pump to the Sicce Syncra Silent 1.0 (251gph, 5ft head), that with the RFG's I installed today would give me enough flow to avoid having to add in my little Hydro powerhead to the display? I will eventually want to add some generally easier SPS corals.

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karisma

Did you end up getting the heater control thing? I love it. Never seen one before....

 

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Ratvan
On 5/8/2020 at 5:12 AM, mipster said:

So today I got some Dr. Tim's Ammonia to dose the tank. I had previously added a little fish food I had laying around but it just wasn't cutting it for getting things going. 

 

I'm also really questioning why I would use the NO3 PO4 - x from the red sea mature program when I need to be able to measure with a test kit that the ammonia going into the tank is being processed, turned into Nitrites followed by Nitrates... I can't properly do that if I'm using a product designed to remove Nitrates and Phosphates can I?

 

And why would I use a program to help support coralline growth when I have no coralline in the tank... The only thing in this system I should probably be using at this point in my tank should be the bacto start.

 

*Sigh, It seems that I've wasted time and money with this particular system the more I really think it through and understand what is going on with a dry rock system. It just doesn't work as intended when you use dry rock. I'm sure the results would be much different if I had started with live rock as intended. I think I'm just going to add more bacteria starter as when following the instructions, I've only added a teeny tiny bit, keep the ammonia dosing and testing and see how it comes along. I can save the other products for when they become useful and relevant for my tank.

 

You know this reminds me of the time I was adding Alk to my system thinking it was coralline spores.... nope was a buffer to aid existing growth. That sucked. I have done much the same, put it in the fish drawer until it is needed.

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mipster

Things have been puttering along nicely. I measured my parameters back on the 10th and my ammonia was 3 ppm, Nitrite was 1 ppm and Nitrate was 40 ppm. Today, Ammonia was at Zero (YAY!), Nitrite up to 2 ppm and Nitrate up to 60 ppm. I'm going to give it another few days, measure and see what we're at. 

 

I have been using the Aquarium Note app to track my parameters. I've been really happy with is. I can track parameters easily, see them in a graph, I can log activities such as new fish and coral additions (once I can finally get around to doing that), add corresponding photos. It's a great free app for people who don't have something like an Apex for these things.

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mipster

OOOo I did something VERY bad for my credit card but AWESOME for the tank.

 

Let's play a little guessing game, what did I buy?!

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mipster

I've been really re-thinking my fish plan. I originally wanted a pair of clowns but now I'm thinking just getting one clown and two other smaller fish. I've read a lot of people saying that by keeping just one clown, it in general stays smaller without a pair which might be better for it in my Evo long term. Have any of you experienced that? I'm leaning towards one clown (which pattern, that'll be tough- there are like a million now), a royal gramma and a blue neon goby I think... This will likely change 4 more times... or not. 

 

I'm having sooooo much fun researching things that are still very far down the road like dosing solutions. I think for the size of my tank and the limited space I have to work with, I really like the idea of running a single dosing pump with Tropic Marin All For Reef. I've seen it getting so many positive reviews and in a 350 sf total apartment, storage is limited so I have to be smart and careful with it. I also like the idea of only one single dosing line going into the AIO section of my Evo to help keep things as tidy as possible.

 

The worst part of cycling is the waiting. My Ammonia dropped to zero but Nitrites are darker then what the red sea test kit reads. I'm going to give it a touch more time and if it doesn't start dropping, I'll do a WC because I've read from our pal Dr Tim that if Ammonia or Nitrites reach above 5 ppm, it stalls the process. Since I can't tell how much further above 2ppm I am currently, I'm willing to bet we're getting near 5 ppm Nitrites. 

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mipster

Should I take out this rock? I'm thinking I should leave more room for vertical growth since I'll be putting branching SPS up here.

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-17 at 8.34.30 PM.jpeg

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WV Reefer
57 minutes ago, mipster said:

Should I take out this rock? I'm thinking I should leave more room for vertical growth since I'll be putting branching SPS up here.

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-17 at 8.34.30 PM.jpeg

Yeah, I think I would...... it’s a little high

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Derekd

Hey there, like your tank so far, we actually have similar scapes. I started up a EVO as well this year. Decided to do a lot of the things that have been stuck in my head over the years from past experiences and tanks. This mainly involves the Bio and mechanical filtration of the tank in the rear chambers.

 

 

I'd suggest not over thinking the cycle, trust me I over think everything with this tank. The first day I threw a frozen mysis cube in, soaked the rubble in my second chamber in nitrifying bacteria and let the tank run fish-less for a week while ghost feeding 1-3 pellets of coral frenzy a day. Once the bacteria could deal with that load of feeding and not show ammonia spikes I placed my single clown in. This happened in just about 2 weeks. Once the clown was added I continued to dose nitrifying bacteria for a week to allow the colonies to reach the needed population to deal with the clowns ammonia generation. After clown addition and my nitrates rose up to 20 again over a couple weeks I soaked my rubble in my second chamber with denitrifying bacteria, and began conservative dosing of AF Pro-Bio F to feed and maintain their colonies.  My nitrate ppm stays between 1-10ppm depending on my dosing of carbon, generally every few days, and I feed profusely with coral frenzy like a teaspoon a day. It feeds more than the fish so it helps keep the other aspects of my tank alive. I also set up a fuge on opposite schedule of the display with chaeto/grac/ulva in second chamber.

 

I did my first water change after the nitrates reached above 20ppm with "0" ammonia and nitrite, if my nitrite actually had actually climbed higher than about 2 ppm I would've done a water change, but it never showed a reading on my tests. I consider total ammonia under or at 1ppm to be safe. But I'm a chemist, so I don't care to follow certain guidelines of the hobby. 1ppm total ammonia at a pH of 8.1 and temp of 25C is 0.08 mg/L or 0.08 ppm, well below the toxic level of above 0.5 ppm.

To reiterate, in terms of fish safety, keep in mind that the ammonia you are reading is total ammonia and not the actual toxic ammonia which is temperature and pH dependent. Toxic ammonia is generally a tenth of the total ammonia reading above a pH of 8 and will rise in percentage as temp and pH rises. There is a formula for this you can find.

 

Somewhat similar situation with nitrite, but as you are reading from Dr Tim. too high of either of them will slow their rates of nitrification.
 

I'd personally take that rock out if you plan to put coral there and have the light hitting there. My scape doesn't go higher than half of the water level, mainly because I have branching sps.

 

I have one clown, thought about two, but I've always been more about coral so I'm sticking with one as he likes the little cave I made him.
I will be putting another fish in there soon, but it has been out of stock at most places for a while.

 

Also for the cords and arrangement, i'd use some zip ties and zip tie mounts to clean that up and maybe coil all the cords up nice and create a drip loop before coming down to your power brick. You could mount the drip loop using the adhesive ziptie mounts to the back of the stand and even mount the power brick up there with strong adhesive strips or velcro tape.

 

I do the same thing you're doing with the app but with excel, its pretty cool being able to see the day by day changes and it helps you notice trends, one thing that apex will very much help you do, and I suspect that's what you bought haha.

In case you ask which tests i am using,

I've actually developed my own standardization curves for the colourmetric consumer tests (API,Salifert, ect). I used a Spectronic 20D+ to read them which you can get for about 100 dollars on ebay in working order. Its so much more consistent than reading these things with your eyes.
I actually have hanna checkers which i used to use on older tanks, but I'm now just using the reagents and reading the test in my Spec 20D+, and I use the API test for nitrate as it cheap and the method is sensitive under 1 ppm even though the color card it comes with has its first gradation a 5ppm, the machine can detect the creation of the Azo dye much better than us.

This isn't something most people can just pickup and do unfortunately as you need to accurately make standard solutions, but it can be done if you have an appropriate scale and pipettes, or just make your solutions of such a volume that you wont need to measure your standards at the milligram weight and use a consumer scale.

 

Interested to see how this works out! I love my EVO, with the lighting mod i just did to it, its even better. (Stock fluval +2 IC ORBIT 18")

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mipster
2 hours ago, WV Reefer said:

Yeah, I think I would...... it’s a little high

 

2 hours ago, Derekd said:

I'd personally take that rock out if you plan to put coral there and have the light hitting there. My scape doesn't go higher than half of the water level, mainly because I have branching sps.

 

 

Ya I agree on that rock. I tried to pop it out but that epoxy holds pretty tight even though I just used one little bit lol. I'm going to have to take the rock out and use a little hammer and chisel action to get it done. No rush though. 

 

2 hours ago, Derekd said:

This mainly involves the Bio and mechanical filtration of the tank in the rear chambers.

What have you got running in the filtration section on your evo?

 

2 hours ago, Derekd said:

one thing that apex will very much help you do, and I suspect that's what you bought haha.

Hmmmm Apex you say? I don't know.... 🤷‍♀️

 

2 hours ago, Derekd said:

In case you ask which tests i am using, I've actually developed my own standardization curves for the colourmetric consumer tests

Ya that's definitely not something I'll ever even try to attempt! But that is super interesting that you're able to do that for you tank. Takes reef testing to a whole other level.

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mipster

HELP! Is this normal? My DI resin is almost totally done. I've made maybe 25 gallons total so far. 

 

I screw my unit into the shower when I need to make water. When I'm done, it stays in a bucket in the closet. I cannot permanently plumb an RODI unit in my very small apartment unfortunately. 

 

It's a 50 GPD RO buddie unit I bought on Amazon. I followed all the set up instructions meticulously, flushing everything when necessary.

 

 

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-21 at 11.00.51 PM.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-21 at 11.00.51 PM (1).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-21 at 11.00.50 PM.jpeg

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DreC80

It can be normal depending on your tap water TDS.  Also depends on how well your RO membrane works.  Have you tested the TDS of your tap water?

 

Water pressure going through the RO membrane is also important.  Any idea what the recommended pressure is for your membrane?

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