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DGibster

DGibster's Waterbox 10g

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DGibster

Latest FTS 1/9/2021

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Guess what arrived today? 

 

Spoiler

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So, first reef tank! After much hemming and hawing over what tank to get, I finally settled on a Waterbox 10 gallon cube, though I am already wishing I had ordered the 20 gallon 😅 (it would have fit with some minor expansion to the current stand, but oh well). 

 

Current equipment:

  • Light: Lumini Pixie 30
  • Flow: AI Nero 3
  • Filtration: Integrated rear sump with filter sock, rough sponge, plastic bioballs, and activated carbon; will probably stuff some live rock back there as well
  • JBJ Nano ATO
  • Eheim Jager 50W heater

 

Coral:

  • Duncan
  • Red Green Candy Cane
  • Kenya Tree
  • 2x Zoanthid frags
  • Acan
  • Blastomusa
  • Neon green tipped Hammer

 

CUC:

  • 1x Trochus Snail
  • 1x Nassarius Snail
  • 1x Red Tip Hermit Crab

 

Fish:

  • Tailspot Blenny

 

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Plans:

 

The #1 priority for this tank is grow healthy, colorful, vibrant coral. I know softies are normally the recommended corals for newbies, and they are what I will put in first, but I would really like to transition this tank to primarily LPS as soon as I can. I'll start off by getting wet/live rock from my LFS and I'll buy wet sand tomorrow (Caribsea special grade live sand). In theory, this combined with a dosing of Microbacter7, should mean my tank has a good start with regards to bacterial population and should be almost completely cycled. I am planning on adding some hardy softy corals by the end of the week as I have been told that a tank does not need to be cycled to add coral (I know folks at the Pico reef side do coral in no cycle and uncycled show tanks are common at shows) but I know that still might be a controversial decision. The general plan is to add in most of my corals first and then slowly add a couple fish. I'll add some CUC at the first sign of algae.

 

Planned Coral:

  • Zoa Garden
  • A leather or two
  • A couple mushrooms at the base of the hardscape
  • Would like a centerpiece solitary LPS like a Scoly or Acanthophylia if I can afford one
  • Euphylia, particularly torches, would add some nice movement
  • Duncans and Candy Canes seem to be the definitive beginner's LPS and will probably be some of the first corals that I add after the softies
  • Acans would also be nice
  • A small green star polyp island if I can fit one
  • Would really like a small elegance, if it will fit with everything else

 

Photo with a rough sketch of my plan (forgive the shitty handwriting):

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CUC plans:

  • A couple of each Nassarius, Cerith, and Trochus snails
  • A hermit crab or two if they get along with the snails (will add extra shells to deter aggression)
  • Shrimp of some kind (looking for suggestions)

 

Fish Plans:

  • In the vein of BRS recommendations, I would like some herbivorous utilitarian fish to help the CUC
  • Tailspot Blenny; I have been told that they graze on hair algae
  • Hector's Goby; again, I have been told that they pick at algae
  • Possum Wrasse; not necessarily utilitarian but a nice centerpiece fish to round things off once the tank matured

 

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Will hopefully make an update later today about the hardscape.

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DGibster

Made an aquascape which I am fairly happy about. Thoughts?

 

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DGibster

First corals added today! Started off with a Kenya Tree, a Zoanthid, a Duncan, and Candy Cane. Will put them on the hardscape in a few days after acclimation. 

 

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TatorTaco

I really like your design for coral placement.  Good luck!

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DGibster
On 12/16/2020 at 5:14 AM, TatorTaco said:

I really like your design for coral placement.  Good luck!

Thank you! Though I am already having second thoughts and am thinking of adding an arch to connect the two islands. Not sure though.

 

I want to maximize my coral placement options and adding an arch would certainly fill in more unusable space but it would kind of torpedo the zoa island garden idea. I want to keep the zoas contained so they don’t overgrow anything. 
 

I don’t really know, I am having commitment issues. I haven’t even glued any of the rocks together.

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Bella Smith

Great! I really like your design. Good luck!

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DGibster

Today was a big day for the reef. I added another zoa frag and an Acan frag. Also added a Trochus and a Nassarius snail as I started getting some brown stuff growing everywhere so I figured I could add some CUC now. Got some Benereef coral food at the recommendation of a fellow reefer at the store; will hopefully start feeding corals within the next week. 

 

Side-note: I keep hearing mixed things about whether to wait on certain things. I've had several people encourage me get get my first fish because I stocked my tank with live rock and also dose Microbacter7. And I have had others say wait at least a month. I dunno what to think, no one can agree on anything in this hobby.

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DGibster

FTS update with the new corals and the brown stuff. Would like an ID if anyone is up to it. My research indicates diatoms, which seem to be normal for new tanks. Not really worried and my trochus snail is now hard at work cleaning the hardscape (after I moved him to the food, see if you can find where he is in the photo) while my nassarius has overturned a few patches of sand.

 

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Daniel92481

Definitely diatoms. Your clean up crew will get it. Looking good.👍🏼

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DGibster

Visited family for a couple days and entrusted aquarium care, just topping up water, to one of my roommates. Came back today and EVERYTHING IS WHITE AND CLEAN. No more diatoms I guess, Mr. Trochus snail ate them all it seems and did a thorough job of it. He also cleaned the glass, I can see the trail of where he "vacuumed" and he was nothing if not methodical. 

 

So yeah, Trochus snails, best $2.50 I ever spent. 10/10 Who needs Tangs. 

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DGibster

Busy couple days for the tank. Did my second water change for the tank as it enters week #3 yesterday. Also added a bright green tipped hammer and a frag of razzberry/neon green blastos. Half of the hammer frag was covered in coraline algae so, with any luck, it will hopefully spread. Put Tailspot Blennies on back order at my LFS, ideally I'll have my first fish in the tank in a few weeks. I got some Dr. Tim's from a LFS back at home, put about half the bottle in and am planning on putting in the rest when I get my first fish. I also asked him to keep an eye out for a warpaint scoly, though I am little nervous about adding such an expensive coral. I probably won't add/buy it for a couple months. 

 

Today I set up the ATO that I got for Christmas, tested my Alk and Nitrates, and did my first coral feeding. dKH read ~12, fairly healthy according to my understanding, and my Nitrates read less than 5 ppm. I'll test again in a couple days to see if the feeding raises it significantly. The first feeding of the tank had a couple hiccups but altogether went well. I used a feeding syringe to spot feed every coral and most showed some response. The ones that didn't were my rainbow zoas, and blastos. The hammer had some initial reaction but the food that settle on it was immediately carried away once I turned the pumps back on after five minutes. 

 

I am a little worried that I am taking things too quickly, I know nothing good happens fast in a reef tank; but I am hopeful that my frequent water changes and live rock will give the tank the stability that it needs. This first tank as definitely been a good learning experience; there are so many things that all the YouTube videos in the world won't tell you, just small techniques and lessons that no one talks about, and its been good to discover those. 

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DGibster

Everyone meet Trajan the Tailspot Blenny!

 

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I had been asking my LFS about Tailspots for a couple weeks but it didn't sound like they would have any in anytime soon. So color me surprised when I came in to get water and they had one in their display tanks sitting on the counter. Buying him was one of the fastest purchases I have made. Also got a small hermit crab which I have named Trouble, for all the trouble he's going to cause when he inevitably kills one of my snails. The Tailspot has been doing real well since I added him. He immediately found a few caves and crevasses and started picking at the live rock, a good start as a volunteer member of the CUC (not the main reason I got him but it helps).  Right now he's annoying my acan and pecking at the glass.

 

Looking forward to adding some more snails and a cleaner shrimp at some point in the near future, especially as I've noticed a bit more algae growth. Pods of some sort have appeared on the glass and a couple more feather dusters have started to come out. Things are really starting to come alive now. 

 

Updated FTS

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DGibster

Day 3 with the new fish. He's been fairly shy whenever I'm around or doing anything with the tank but it's getting better. Yesterday I tried feeding him some frozen mysis but he didn't eat any of it, seemed to be too scared. I was a bit worried I got a picky eater. Did a bit of reading, found out that some people keep their blennies on an herbivore diet. So today I mixed in a bit of crushed algae wafer. He went after the algae bits and also ate some of the mysis. I think I found a blend that he's happy with, which feels good. I was worried the little guy would starve since I don't have much algae growing in the tank. 

 

I am also fiddling around with my phone's timelapse option for coral feeding. Will try and post the results of that at some point.  

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Sealybomb

Enjoyed reading this 👍 you are 2 weeks ahead of me but I still only have wet rock ☹️ I have been cycling using red sea reef mature (60L Fluval tank) and only just now seeing the slightest drop in ammonia.... I may even be imagining that!! But I started with dry rock and it’s taking it’s sweet time!! 
I have a bottle of dr Tim’s one and only arriving tomorrow. How did you get on with it? I have ordered me 2 small clowns and hoping I can get them in the next week or so.

 

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rough eye

i've read people have had success feeding tail spots the Hikari marine S pellets. my clown loves them - more so than mysis or brine shrimp - go figure.

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DGibster
1 hour ago, Sealybomb said:

Enjoyed reading this 👍 you are 2 weeks ahead of me but I still only have wet rock ☹️ I have been cycling using red sea reef mature (60L Fluval tank) and only just now seeing the slightest drop in ammonia.... I may even be imagining that!! But I started with dry rock and it’s taking it’s sweet time!! 
I have a bottle of dr Tim’s one and only arriving tomorrow. How did you get on with it? I have ordered me 2 small clowns and hoping I can get them in the next week or so.

 

Thanks for the kind words! I added about half of a four ounce bottle of Dr. Tims when I got it, which was about 3 weeks or so in. I was going to add the rest for when I added my first fish but the tank seems to be doing fine without it. It might not have done much but I do hope it introduced some biodiversity in the micro fauna. Probably going to save the rest for my next tank. Cycling with dry rock is very different from starting with live rock. Personally I would find a way to seed the tank somehow. See if you can find someone with a well established tank and try and get a bit of their biological filtration; some of their live rock would be even better (personally I am planning on keeping a chunk of live rock in my sump just for this purpose). Sand beds also help a bunch from what I understand. A lot of sand comes wet and "live" allegedly, though I've never seen anyone test the claims about it "insta cylcling" tanks (though I am sure it wouldn't be hard to do). 

 

1 hour ago, rough eye said:

i've read people have had success feeding tail spots the Hikari marine S pellets. my clown loves them - more so than mysis or brine shrimp - go figure.

Noted. I'd like look into some pellet foods as it would make it much easier to feed the tank and adjust portions. Right now its guess work as to how much frozen mysis I shave off. He seems to prefer the algae wafer chunks and semi hesitantly goes after the mysis. 

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jarviz

how do you like the P30 light? I just got mine today and finally the instructions to a Tee and can't get the channels to operate correctly at all. 

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Daniel92481

The TDO chroma boost pellets are apparently an exceptionally good food to feed for all kinds of fish. I have been using this one I received as a sample. It is the small pellet size. BRS just did a video on them about a week ago. Check it out! 

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DGibster
8 minutes ago, jarviz said:

how do you like the P30 light? I just got mine today and finally the instructions to a Tee and can't get the channels to operate correctly at all. 

It is finnicky. It does have plenty of light to grow corals but the controls behind it are subpar to say the least. I found a general light setting which I was happy with and have not touched it since. I've read conflicting things about which channel is which so I just aimed to set everything to 60% which seems to be keeping the corals happy. Make sure the remote is pointed at the big brick that is the light's controller. Even so, button presses still only work half the time. 

 

TL;DR: You get what you pay for in that it works but next time I think I'll pay for something with a bit more control. 

1 minute ago, Daniel92481 said:

The TDO chroma boost pellets are apparently an exceptionally good food to feed for all kinds of fish. I have been using this one I received as a sample. It is the small pellet size. BRS just did a video on them about a week ago. Check it out! 

Will do.

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jarviz
1 hour ago, DGibster said:

It is finnicky. It does have plenty of light to grow corals but the controls behind it are subpar to say the least. I found a general light setting which I was happy with and have not touched it since. I've read conflicting things about which channel is which so I just aimed to set everything to 60% which seems to be keeping the corals happy. Make sure the remote is pointed at the big brick that is the light's controller. Even so, button presses still only work half the time. 

 

TL;DR: You get what you pay for in that it works but next time I think I'll pay for something with a bit more control. 

 

Yea this is the exact problem i'm having with it right now. when you say 60%, is that the white or blue light? 

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DGibster
15 minutes ago, jarviz said:

Yea this is the exact problem i'm having with it right now. when you say 60%, is that the white or blue light? 

Just 60% on all channels which results in a nice bluish daylight. Might bump things up to 80% at some point.

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DGibster

Been looking to increase my CUC but I'm having issues finding what I want. All my online resources point to Trochus, Cerith, and Nassarius snails as the best snail cleanup trio, but none of my LFS carry Trochus or Cerith snails. I was able to get one Trochus early on but they haven't gotten any since. I'd like to bump up my CUC to two Trochus and a few Cerith but I might need to look into other options. 

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Daniel92481

Mexican turbo snails are great

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DGibster

CUC are the least of my worries now. My Blenny just died today 😞

 

It happened in a fairly short timeframe. I came home from work, fed him some mysis and sat at my computer next to the tank. He started pecking at the algae near the power head, which had me worried but he seemed to be able to handle himself. I then left to go get food. 
 

When I came back, just over a half hour later, the tank looked empty. I was concerned and immediately thought he may have jumped (I don’t have a lid yet). There was no sign of a carpet surfing blenny so I used a turkey baster to blow down the hardscape in case he was hiding deep inside the rocks. No luck. Eventually I decided to take apart the hardscape. I found him underneath the tall island overhang, being munched on by my nassarius snail (which I hadn’t seen in over two weeks and figured had probably starved). 
 

It’s hard to say what happened but my suspicions lie on the power head and him getting to close. His body was a bit bent and mangled but I don’t know how much of that was because of the snail. I didn’t find him stuck to the power head so I’m hesitant to declare that as the cause. I do have my power head on variable flow though so that could be why it didn’t stick. I don’t know what else could have killed him, unless I’ve got a killer snail. It could have been water params, but all the corals are healthy and  the Duncan and Hammer were fully extended, if there’s something wrong I can usually point to them not being happy as an indicator. Still I’ll take my water in to be tested tomorrow. 
 

I’m still shocked how quickly it happened. I’m not sure what’s next for the tank. It really feels empty without him in it. I feel like crap for not installing the fish guard that comes with the pump because it restricts the power head direction. I’m not sure how long to wait before getting another fish. It seems

my poor luck with freshwater fish has followed me over to my saltwater attempts, despite my best efforts with research. I’m tempted to just get a clown as my next fish. I would like another Tailspot at some point, I’m just not sure when.

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