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the salty puddle

M. Tournesol

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Hi every one,


Long lurker one the forum and newbie in the aquarium hobby, I persuaded myself to start my first aquarium one the salty side of the hobby. I have chosen an ADA 60F for its big foot print for it countenance and its mall size factor. indeed, as I will move in 1 year, the tank needed to be small to be easily moveable .


Here some recent photos of the tank:


1 October 2021



22 August 2021


10 February 2021




This aquarium was born the 29/12/2020 and stocked with 7kg (15.4 lbs) of live rock the next day. The sand (CARIBSEA OCEANDIRECT ORIGINAL GRADE) was added the 6/02/2021 due to the fact that the ADA Garden Mat wasn't in stock for a long time.


Here, one of the first photos of the tank:


The Vision driving this build is a pocciloporidae only tank with a colony of trapezia poccilopora and a shrimp goby pair. The filtration was designed to be natural or "dirty" with only water change and, some time, carbon. It is composed of a canister filter cryptic zone, algae reactor in reverse daylight for PH stability and an inline heater.





  • Cerith sp (x3)
  • Cyprea annulus 
  • Nassarius coronatus
  • Astralium sp

Noteworthy hitchhiker

  • Gonodactylus smithii


  • Koumansetta rainfordi
  • Cryptocentrus cinctus (captive-bred)


  • Pocillopora (x3)
  • Seriatopora (x5)
  • Stylophora (x3)


  • Zoanthus (x2)


  • EHEIL classic 350
  • Tunze algae reactor 3181
  • Nero 3
  • Red Sea ReefWave 25 
  • Hydor In-Line External Heater 200W
  • GNC bluray M


  • ro-di water
  • salt instant ocean
  • aqua medic densimeter
  • aqua medic (broken?) refractometer
  • salifer for NO3, NO2, PO4, CA, MG, KH/ALK, PH, NH3
  • carbon EHEIM AKTIV


  • Easy reef boosternano
  • DIY frozen food
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Going full live rock do give me some joy and some stress. 
I've had some good surprise: 

  • funny algae


  • strange monsters



  • and a wedding dance of Pontomyia natans (####ing sea insect)



and some less good:

  • bryopsi?


  • bubble algae (Boergesenia forbesii and some Valonia macrophy)


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That is indeed the double-edged sword of live rock; you get all of the interesting and widely varied hitchhikers, however, some, arguably most, are considered pests and/or less than ideal additions to a reef aquarium. And these are just the pests that you can see lol. 

That being said, it’s still doable to continue on with your plans, but I think you will need to accept the possibility that some coral/invertebrates that you add might be casualties of any predacious pests. 

Still though, I really love the tank so far and I look forward to seeing how things develop, whatever you decide.

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I can only share your feeling, but I think in the long term and "survivability" of the whole tank, going with live rock is potentially better. Unless you have a very specific idea of what you going to keep in. 


Some pests will die off, other will thrive until you add inhabitants and a new balance appears. I started with live rock and watched a green / purple algae tank for some weeks, along with a few coral pieces. I was worried but also impressed with all the life thriving in the algae (pods mostly). 

After some manual removing the algae never grew as it was, and corals started to grow instead. 


I think this diversity helps with the balance in the end, and prevents some failures you could meet with cleaner "starts". 

Don't take my word for it, I still consider myself a beginner and I only relinquish on my interpretation of things. 

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I think you are off to a great start and lucky you found live rock to start with.. You have to put up with some pests but I am a firm believer the good out weighs the bad in live rock. Plus it is so entertaining compared starting with to dry rock. I like your thread title.

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Thank you all. It's been 2 years since I started locking into reef keeping. The biodiversity aspect and symbiotic relationship are really what did drive me to test it. One of the original plan was to go with a Jaubert plenum (a french forum dedicated to it exist). For size/weight limitation I chose to go for a dirty approach after seeing @WV Reefer reefs.


A little update on the puddle, all seem to be ok. Looking at it is like looking at a piece of wild grass. It's also a paradise for amphipod. I did count 50-60 amphipods just one the front glass.



As you can see in the first picture, my ceriths did naughty think. It is the second time that they did produce egg in the tank. 
here a photo of the egg and another of the three guilty snails(one may be innocent).



My first test for ammonia did return < 0.15ppm of total ammonia (< ~0.0132ppm free ammonia for 8.2 ph and 26 °C), nitrite and nitrate are still super low (respectively below 0.01 and 0.2). I should be ready for the fishes and if think go south, I do have some "ammo stop". The only think that I am missing is frozen food. 


The seller has a mated pair of yasha gobies. With it, I ordered 2 cypraea annulus (ring cowrie), a alpheus randalli, 2 sabelle sp and my first (test) coral (a pink seriatopora hystrix). 

Edited by M. Tournesol
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  • 2 months later...
M. Tournesol

What a day. I ordered a cover Friday, since I will receive my second fish Wednesday, and my goby decided after 2~3 month in the puddle to jump tonight 😱.
He is back in the aquarium since I was in my room when the event append 😅.
If he decides to not jump between now and Tuesday (when I will receive the cover), he will have a new friend.
I will do an update one this tank Monday-Tuesday. Writing is really not my strong suit 😬.

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M. Tournesol

Bad news, the fish must have jump a second-time yesterdays 😕. I did find its poor little corpse today under a furniture 😰

Maybe its pistol shrimp died (it's been 3-4 days since I heard his "click") and the stress was too much for him.

The mantis shrimp seem to still be alive with all my snails... 



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M. Tournesol

The cover for the tank will arrive tomorrow 😑.
The second/now only fish will arrive Wednesday. It's a Court Jester Goby (Koumansetta rainfordi). 

Hope he will live it full lifespan with me 🤞.

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  • 2 months later...
M. Tournesol

It happens 😣.
Just now, most of my corals polyp (pocilloporidae, acropora, and zoanthus) are close 😱. My algae did go sexual this morning.


The solution: an old bag of carbon, an aerator, and prayer 🙏.


If the situation does not better itself in 4-6h, I will prepare a water change.

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  • 2 weeks later...
M. Tournesol

A quick post to brag about having, since ~3 weeks, a thriving Acropora tenuis frag in my  first reef tank 😆.

Thank you live rock 🙏 even if your mantis shrimp gift is still a thorn in my side.



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M. Tournesol

Here is a quick screen capture of a video I made to see if my YWM goby would eat the new DIY frozen food.

You can see, in one picture, my two lovely fishes that I added 3 months ago.

My court jester goby (Koumansetta rainfordi wild-caught ) that eat only live food 😅 and my yellow watchman goby ( Cryptocentrus cinctus captive-bred). Once the mantis shrimp is out of the tank, I will give him a friendly tiger pistol shrimp  (Alpheus bellulus).


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M. Tournesol

Today or tomorrow, I will surely experience my first coral death.



This coral was never happy in my system. My first error was to change it place to a zone where there was a "lot of flow". three weeks later, it has started to RTN.
At this time, I decided to move it to a zone with low flow. For 1 month it was in a state of survival. yesterdays, adding the DIY food + the water change must have been too many changes at one time. the coral is finishing to RTN. I move it again as a last desperate effort as this zone didn't seem to please him very much 😭. Hope the other corals don't see him and think "what a good idea, let also RTN 🎉".



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M. Tournesol

#### this sissy sps coral that does not like "strong" flow. since the first day I have him, he was never happy after a water change and never happy after fish feeding time. I am eager to have a new stone 😆.

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