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My Nuvo 10 AIO

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Hi everyone!


Decided to start a journal of my Nuvo 10..  I started the tank on April 11, 2020  and it has the following equipment


  • Mighty Jet 326
  • AI 16HD
  • AI Fixed Arm
  • IM Media Rack
  • IM Spin Stream
  • IM Micro Mag Glass Cleaner
  • Mesh Cover
  • IM 5 gallon HYdrofill ATO Container
  • Auto Aqua Smart Micro ATO
  • Digital Thermometer


Same day  I went to the LFS and purchased:


  • A heater
  • "live rock" well Rock they were curing in tanks
  • Black live sand
  • Fritz Turbo 900 
  • API Marine test kit
  • Matrix Bio Media


and off I went to start cycling the tank.


I setup my media rack with floss on top and a bag of Matrix on the bottom, I put my sand in,  did a first attempt to aqua scape, added water, setup the heater to 78 degrees, which turned to be a hassle because the heater is not digital and after trial and error I manage to set it so it would stick to 78 degrees.   Lesson learned don't buy a heater blindly.  Search online and read reviews..  The heater that I bought at the LFS is a junk. Same day I ordered a Cobalt 50W heater.   Oh and I forgot,  I also added half a bottle of fritz turbo 900 and did a baseline test of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and started a log. Of course everything was 0 and PG was 8.  At least I think it was 8 because I have a really hard time between some of the colors of the API test kit.  After I use up the reagents I am switching to salifert. Oh bTW.  The spin stream is super noisy, I couldn't take it after a while and ended up buying this cool Random flow nozzle and the adapter for it.  You need an adapter to make it fit in the nuvo 10. I  called IM to discuss the noise and also  google it and people say that you have to wait for it to break in.  I don't know, I waited a few days and it is still annoying so I took it off.


Next day I tested the water again and everything was still zero.....  And well even though Fritz turbo 900 hard great reviews I knew that I had forgotten something very important.  Ammonia!!  So I went on a hunt around the LFSs and no one had it.  So I ordered Dr Tims Ammonia and read about his fishless cycling and it made me wonder why the LFS didn't tell me hey you need ammonia.  Anyway,  I dosed what I thought was the right amount  and  I did a test and hey what do you know now the test kit said I had ammonia!!  Now we really were on our way! Little did I know that I had put too much.  I learned that although my tank is 10 gallons after sand a rock it is a lot less. The colors of the API test kit at high levels of ammonia and nitrites look the same to me.


Fritz Turbo 900 is an amazing product I had Nitries the next day but Turbo 900 worked so well that my Nitrates were off the chars..  Super deep purple.  I went to the lFS and had the confirm my suspicions...  and they did.  My nitrites were 5ppm or more and everything that I had read said that if you have more than 5ppm your nitrite portion of the cycle would stall and you bacteria could die.   So I  went home and did 50% water change to get the nitrates down. I did another test and they were still showing as 5ppm.  I then did another water change and finally they went down to .5.  I then added the rest of the bottle of Fritz Turbo 900 and let the tank be.


After a few days everything was looking great and I thought my tank was cycling really fast, I was reading nitrates and my nitrites were going down now they were at .25 and the day after that they went to 0.   I was like wow this happened fast!!  Let me test my cycle! *face palm*  I added ammonia again and it was like deja vu....  Ammonia went down fast and then again we were at 5ppm+ of nitrites. I did a big water change and they went down to 1ppm.  I decided to try to get more bio filter in the tank..  I went to the LFS and bought Another bag of Matrix which I put in the middle chamber and two small pieces of rock.  Then I added a bottle of Dr Tims one and only and as per his recommendation on the how to cycle a tank presentation ( Presentation) I raised the temperature of my tank to 84 degrees but I did not lower my salinity as he recommends.  I think these two things pushed the cycle over the edge and the tank cycled 2 days after.  I re-tested my cycle but this time I put less ammonia and brought the ammonia up to 1ppm.  The tank ate it up in 12 hours, Nitrites spiked up but by morning they were 0.  I did one more test to be sure and again in 24 hours ammonia and nitrites were both gone.  Hallelujah my tank is cycled.


Now what I asked myself!?!?!?!?


I went to the LFS and decided to have them test my water and discuss a plan of action with them.  I decided to start with some fish.  Ended up getting a


  • Royal Gramma
  • Sailfin Blenny 


and  frozen food for them.  The LFS sold me frozen mysis but later that day I learned that the blenny is an herbivore.  Note to self.. Research fish before buying and don't assume that what the LFS tells you is always right.  Do your own research. I went back and bought some herbivore fish food.


I took them home did a 50% water change and lowered the temperature to 78 degrees, Changed half  of the floss and shook the bag of Matrix in the dirty water tank to clean it up a little then put it back in the rack.   I then drip acclimated the fish and there they went!!! Then I panicked.  The Gramma just went to the bank of the tank and hid behind a rock.  I couldn't see him very well so I assumed the worst.  OMG I did something wrong and I just killed this fish.   The blenny just went into a little hole and stared at me judgingly.  I could hear him saying "HA, you screwed up!"


I moved the rock were the gramma was hiding and moved so at least I knew he wasn't dead.  I turned off all the lights and walked away.  I wanted to leave them alone and let the acclimate to their new home and prayed that they would make it through the night.


The next day I tested my water and things were still looking good..  0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and 10ppm of Nitrates.  The blenny is still there staring judgingly at me and the gramma was no where to be seen.  I had to turn off the pumps because I needed to adjust the return nozzle and to my surprise the gramma comes out of hiding and starts swimming around the tank.  That made me very happy but at the same time concerned.  I realized that when I turn the pump on he hides I turn the off he comes out.  I googled this and other people report the same behaviour with them.  He obviously doesn't like the flow...  I am a little concerned because this is going to be a high flow tank . I hope he gets used to it.  They tell me they are cave dwelling fish so the behaviour is expected.


 Now came the next stressful thing for me.  Feeding time..  How much do I feed these two little guys?  am I going to end up over feeding and throw the tank chemistry off?!?!?  So I took a few sliver of the frozen mysis shrimp and the spirulina, defrosted it in tank water, turned my pumps off  and put some of the food in the water.  SUCCESS! The both ate but I still don't know if I am feeding too much or too little.  


Because of this I decided to get a clean up crew.  I got:


2 Chestnut Turbo snails

2 Astreas


I drip acclimated them  and in they went.  They are faster than I thought..  The zoom around the tank.  They have been great.  They cleaned all the brown on the rock.


I also noticed these little white dots all over the tank.  I thought they were algae growing on the glass but then I saw them move around.  I think this means I have PODS!!!!! 


Next day I tested again and to my surprised everything was still 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites.. My PH is low though around 7.4 and 8.  i think it is because i haven't turned on my lights yet.   I am kinda following the BRS/WWC method and they say to keep the lights off for a while to avoid algae. I think I am going to turn them on this Tuesday  May 5th 2020.   I have to see if I just turn them on for 12 hours with a acclimation cycle at 10% power increasing it by 10% per week or if I just go full power but do a shorter photo period increasing it every week.  Suggestions are welcomed!


Today I am going to do my first real water change so that I start doing them every sunday.  I have also been dosing Microbacter 7.  So far the tank has been sta



I am not sure where I will go with this tank.  I think I want one more fish, maybe a few rock anemones and some lps, one sps and some polyps...  I want to make it really colorful.  I started reading about dosing and what other do out there to feed their tanks and will emulate them.  when the time comes I will post my plan.  Right now I am just waiting and deciding what the next fish will be.


And I have this crazy idea of doing a reversed refugium.  Meaning that the tank feeds a sump that is higher then it and the gravity returns the water back to the tank.   If tgis works I will have increased the water volume of the tank by almost double.  Later today I will post some updated pictures.











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First week after cycling. The royal gramma is doing well and doesn't hide all the time anymore and the sailfin blenny is still judging me. 🙂   I did some testing today and got 0 ammonia but nitrites were not 0.. 🤔  they were between .25 and 0..   Nitrates were 20.  So could be that the tank is catching up now that I am feeding?  Anyway today I am doing a water change as part of my weekly maintenance.  I am going to change some of the floss too. Salt is mixing now.


Also the parts for the reverse sump started to come in..  I am second guessing my choice of overflow...  I may have to re-think it..  I got the X Aqua in/out overflow  but the drain hole is 1.5" and the tubing is HUGE.  I may be better off getting a different overflow using PVC...  I have to think about this.. a 1.5" hose going into the back chamber will look really weird...





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Yesterday I did a 2 gallon water change on the tank but I think going forward I will just do 1.5 gallons.   Going to do them every Sunday. Everyone is doing OK!  My nitrites went back down to zero overnight so I think I went through a mini cycle.  My nitrates are down to 5ppm.  My PH is low though.. 7.9  I hope that when I turn on the lights it helps to bring it up.


I am rethinking the plumbing of the reverse fuge.  I think I am going to use a half inch bulkhead up and a 3/4 down with a ball valve. I would love to return directly into the display area of the tank but I have a screen cover and a tube going in there would look ugly.  So I think I am going to have to go into the back chamber.  I am also going to use silicone tubing first to see how this works.. I may change to PVC later if all goes well.   I also can't decide if I want to split the Mighty Jet's return to pump water to the sump and the tank  or just put another pump in the middle chamber. Decisions decisions...


Also decided on the next additions to the 10..  A rock anemone and some sexy shrimp.   I do want one more fish but that will be later and I am not sure what I want yet.  This will be the final additions for a while.  Going to wait for coraline to start growing before adding any corals.   I want to have 1 SPS, a few LPS and some pretty polyps.  Most likely will start with the polyps first when the time comes then LPS and then the 1 SPS on the highest rock.


Oh! and lights go on tomorrow for the first time and it is the last day of the "heavy" dose of microbacter 7.


I have to see how I time the lights.  I have the schedule that I want to follow.  I think David's has an interesting approach, but I don't know if I should have the 12 hour cycle and use the AIs acclimation feature and start with 20% increments let's say every 2 weeks until I get to 100% 🤷🏽‍♂️  I have to google a good article on how to start the lights in the tank.





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Ok.. So I scrapped the idea of the reverse flow.  I don't know how I can do it safely without overflowing the back chamber... I will leave it alone.


Tested the tank again.  Everything looks good today


Ammonia 0

Nitrites 0

Nitrates 5


and then we have PH...  7.9  I need to get this up.  I read a post that said that the Tropic Marine salt has this problem because they assume that people use reactors so they lower the alkalinity on purpose 🤷🏽‍♂️...  So we will see I am turning the lights on today and will measure my PH at night to see if it goes up.  


Based on recommendations by others members I ended up with this schedule with a 60 day acclimation period on the AI Prime 16 HD.  I might tinker with a little more and do the peak and valley thing..








I also cleaned the glass.  I have been running with lights off so I didn't notice how dirty it was inside.  


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