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da1001

Dark's Algae Filled WaterBox 20

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Ecospire

I'm getting back into the hobby after a five year hiatus and I'm looking at a very similar hardware selection as yours.  Tagging along for your journey.  The ugly phase is just like the awkward teenage years - it's just part of it!  Take pictures and post what you can.  It is always fun to see progress!

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da1001

 

11 hours ago, Ecospire said:

I'm getting back into the hobby after a five year hiatus and I'm looking at a very similar hardware selection as yours.  Tagging along for your journey.  The ugly phase is just like the awkward teenage years - it's just part of it!  Take pictures and post what you can.  It is always fun to see progress!

I can certainly do that once the light comes on.

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da1001

FTS, my acans and zoas then a pic of the RFA that has kinda wwedged himself up against my rockwork.  I think he will venture out someday once he gets used to the lighting, at the LFS he and his brothers were stuck in a little plastic crate on the side of the tank a good distance from direct lighting so he is probably needing to acclimate a bit still.

 

Sorry the pics are so blown out, I used the cell phone instead of digging out the fancy camera, way too busy right now for that but hopefully soon.  Edit: cant remember if I posted about it or not, but I got one of those BRS DIY net top kits and made it for the tank, came out looking ok considering how bad I am at DIY.

 

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Ecospire

Looking good!  I ended up pulling the trigger earlier and ordered the 20 cube, stand, and AI Prime.  Who knows when it’ll make it here, but looking forward to it. I’ll be checking for more updates on your build!

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da1001

Algae everywhere, but here's a pic of my zoa and acan area with the new FRA in the background, an FTS and a pic of the shrimp.  The shrimp likes to go over and jump on the RFA and close it up, annoying little bastard.

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da1001

Changed my light to the BRS AB+ spectrum for this light, the stylaphora was not happy but I am hoping it turns around as everything else seems to like it.  Now for the scare.

 

Had just looked the tank over after getting off work and headed out to grab some dinner in town, I had gotten a BRS shipment in, new media, some Red Sea AB+ coral food I think its called and another bucket of salt.  Replaced the media and headed out.  Came back and my ATO was a gallon low, and my tank had nearly overflowed.  I think the ATO might have kicked into emergency shut off or I would have been mopping the floors, it only dropped the salinity to 1.025 so everything looks ok but still scared the crap out of me.  My best guess is the media bad fell down and blocked the water flow below the baffles which lowered the water enough in the back to continually kick off the ATO until I got home.  

 

I will do more research in the morning once I have calmed down, I went ahead and cleaned the sensor eye tonight just in case and I am leaving it off for now so that the evaporation will bring my salinity back up in the meantime.  When I was originally parting the build out, inTank had sold out of their full media baskets so I went with their filter floss only basket.  I think I have myself a new order coming up to remedy potential media bag complications down the line.

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da1001

Got some Cyano, just dumped in an order of snails from reefcleaners, bumped up the powerhead to max and switching to once a week water changes instead of bimonthly changes.  If that doesnt work I will get another powerhead for the other side of the tank but I am hoping these changes kick it.  I am not a fan of using chemicals for algae, I hear Chemiclean works but I have no experience with it.

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da1001

Pic from 30 mins after water change, blasting the rockwork and sucking up as much cyano as possible off the sand has it looking much nicer for the moment.  I also brought the lighting intensity down just a tad so it hopefully doesnt come back quite as quick.

 

Edit: stylo and monti didnt make it

 

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da1001

I bought another powerhead, but gave up and had to order Chemiclean.  That stuff works super good though.  Grabbed an Eshopps nano skimmer for the back that is still breaking in so the micro bubbles are crazy inside the tank but I also picked up a stylo that seems to actually like my tank this time, it stays open all day.

 

EDIT: Don't be like me and wonder why the skimmer is throwing so many bubbles, only to find that they put a peel off protective piece of plastic on top of the collection cup that blocks the air holes.  Soon as I took it off it went almost dead silent, stopped shooting bubbles and is merrily bubbling away inside the tube finally, I had to raise it a bit so I can aim for a darker skim when it eventually starts flowing into the collection cup.

 

 

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da1001

Update: Got a water change done, everything seems happy except the echinata.  Found some bubble algae on a few frag plugs, I think I trimmed it off with bone snippers but we shall see, I was trimming and gluing everything into its final spots today so I will have to wait and see if it comes back or not on any of the bits of frag plug I couldn't get loose.

 

Picked up a bangaii cardinalfish, he seems to enjoy surfing the currents in the tank, eating and at the front of the tank already after maybe a day?  That makes 3 fish total, I don't think it's a heavy bioload considering all their sizes right now, but the skimmer should help a bit in that regard.

 

The frogspawn looked weird for a few weeks but I just realized it was growing a second head on it.  The Zoas are popping out new heads, Acans are getting fat and happy, the rock anemone is the size of my palm and seems to be flattening out a bit on the sand bed finally so its looking good.  The stylophora still seems to be ok, not like the last one that didn't even want to extend its polyps.

 

Got no complaints so far now that its up and running but dang if my LFS didn't almost convince me to grab a Ruby Red Dragonet or a Blue Mandarin that they had.  Their logic was that they had a brine shrimp hatchery I could feed it with instead of having to order pods constantly, anyone try that method instead?  Seems a lot cheaper than pods but I don't know if it is dietarily sufficient for a dragonet or not.

 

Considering moving some furniture around in my bedroom and slowly parting together a 40 breeder to double my water volume, bigger tank syndrome has hit me pretty hard recently.

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da1001

I just realized it's been 2 weeks since my last update, time flies when you are working your a** off.

 

Let's see.  I am working through some film algae issues, I will switch from Chemipure Blue to Chemipure Elite to see if the GFO fixes it.  If not, well I will have to play the waiting game I guess, I just realized the tank is a little over a week from only being 4 months old, it feels much longer thanks to the times.

 

I have a single piece of bubble algae on my bright orange acan.  I haven't decided if I want to try to trim it off or leave it be, stay tuned for that.  About to do another weekly 15% water change to keep everything reasonably in check.  Nitrates usually hover between 5-12 according to my NYOS test kit.  Phosphate is a bit high, its 0.2 if I remember right?  I will check again in a bit after the water change.  

 

The Eshopps skimmer is being a PITA to dial in, I keep getting nearly nothing from it even after a full week of skimming.  I know my water isn't that clean and I can see the inner tube of the collection cup is dirty as hell so I am fighting with it. 

 

I have purple coralline algae growing on the top of my oldest powerhead and I think I might see some of it on the rockwork now too so I am hopeful I have nice purple rocks in the next 6 months to a year.  

 

I picked up a Bangaii Cardinal I am naming PJ, I also grabbed a frag of Hollywood Stunner Chalice to try out as well as some Bam Bam Zoas.  Everything looks nice other than the Echinata still trying to decide if it wants to grow or recede.  I think that will be it for the fish, but I have another 2-3 decent spots for corals still so I will continue visiting the LFS every other week looking for cool new stuff.

 

And now I will shut up and give you the eye candy you want.

 

Now 

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da1001

Here's the last few and an FTS.  You can see the second head that has grown onto the torch.  I keep going back and forth but I think its a torch, it doesn't act like a frogspawn.  And of course my big RFA, I love that thing.

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da1001

Woke up to my skimmer making a grinding noise about 5 am, an hour before the alarm was even supposed to go off.  Turned it off and dug it out after I got a shower in, I couldnt figure out what was wrong with it and messing with it didnt fix it so I decided to toss it.  I never was able to tune it in how I like, I wanted dry, dark skimmate but all I was ever able to get was tea-colored wet skim and even getting that I had to push it so far into the water that the bottom of the collection cup was a good quarter inch into the water.  IDK, maybe I got a lemon?  

 

Seeing cyano, hair algae and film algae now.  Frankly I am tired of it and just going to wait it out instead of try to fix it this time.  Do my weekly 15% water changes like normal, feed sparingly like I am doing now and just wait it out, its barely over 4 months old so this is to be expected, but still annoying.

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da1001

Still dealing with small amounts of cyano, hair and film algae but the biggest issue I have had recently is the bubble algae that made it in on a frag and started taking over all the empty rock space, I am guessing a couple hundred in there now.  I have some vibrant in the mail to try, but if that doesn't work I guess I can always try tossing in an emerald crab but I have had less than happy emerald crab experience in the past so I am trying to prevent that if possible. 

 

My cardinalfish disappeared one day.  I had forgotten to put my lid back on after a morning feeding, so I am assuming he jumped and got eaten by the cat while I was at work.  I checked within 20 feet of the tank  on all sides and never found a body but I also didn't find any half digested body in the litterbox either so who really knows what happened?

 

Continuing the weekly 20% water changes, in the hopes the algae will continue to decrease.

 

Picked up an orange yuma and a toadstool leather for my Christmas gift, but I need to dip one of my zoa frags, it has these weird miniature mushrooms growing out from between the heads that might be some sort of nuisance sponge I am thinking.

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da1001

Figured I would update this, had the tank up and running about 10 months now.  Been doing the 15-20% water changes every week but the cyano is still hanging on pretty tenaciously.  My hammer died when I tried the vibrant so I ended up putting in an emerald crab and it has been handling the bubble algae somewhat so I am happy about that.  The other day I had my smaller clownfish disappear on me, the lid was on so all I can think of is maybe it died somehow and the other tank inhabitants ate it entirely in less than 12 hours?  Didn't think that would be possible but who knows.

 

Decided I am going to take the corals and the last clownfish and upgrade to a 40 breeder, managed to get the tank in the most recent Petco dollar for gallon sale but it is going to be a few more months before I have all the parts gathered and I think this time I will try the BRS 4 month cycle on it instead of beneficial bacteria to jump start the cycle, so no retiring the thread just yet!

 

  

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UGA

Did you ever get the skimmer working? I had a similar issue with mine and I finally called eshopps and spoke to an extremely nice woman named Sandy. She shipped me a replacement pump and all I had to do was pay for shipping to send the non-functioning pump back to them. So far the new pump fixed the issue. Worth a try if you’re still having issues. 

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da1001

I did try to contact them about it and did not have such a similar experience, I was effectively told it wasn't their problem so I gave up and tossed it hoping water changes would be enough @UGA

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UGA

Oh wow, that’s unfortunate. I am sorry you had a bad experience with them.

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da1001

I'm not blaming the company or anything, I think I just got with a less than happy worker.  Hindsight is always 20/20, I never even thought of asking for a new pump I was just trying to reach out to them to see what ideas they had to make it run better and if anything I described sounded broken to them, I could have come off as asking for a whole new one without meaning to.  I should have kept it nonetheless until I was a little less frustrated but reading all the comments about just doing water changes instead swayed me too much.  Would I still like to try one again someday?  Sure, but now is not the time for it while paying off a vacation, a small loan, getting aquarium parts, etc lol.  

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