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Islandoftiki

Islandoftiki's Hawaiian Tidepool Tank!

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Islandoftiki

Ok gang, I'm back!

 

Islandoftiki is back in the game.  It's been six years, but I'm always amazed at how many people still know me and have been touched by the weird and unusual tanks I kept.  I've always tried to make my tanks something different and unusual and outside the box from what you would normally expect.  I've also done my best to make my contributions educational and entertaining.

 

So, where have I been for the past couple of years?  Well, Hawaii of course!  Specifically The Big Island of Hawaii.  Why haven't I put a tank together until now?  Aquariums really aren't a thing here.  I guess with easy access to the ocean for snorkeling and scuba diving, it's not a very popular hobby.  Most of the aquarium interest here is freshwater, which I tried with a couple of Betta tanks, but that really didn't hold my interest, and as the two rescue Bettas I had passed away, I just couldn't get interested in keeping the freshwater tanks going.  Our ONLY local fish store is Petco and they're useless.

 

So, as most of you know, I'm a huge mantis shrimp nerd.  That's my passion.  And, about a year and a half ago (maybe 2 years?) I got my Scuba certification.  My fiance, Pamela and I are now avid Scuba divers.  I usually get to dive once a week.  She often dives multiple times a week.  We are both members of the Aquatic Life Divers dive club, so we get to dive quite regularly.  So, a couple weeks ago, I was diving and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something dart into a hole in the rocks.  What was it?  My mind already knew.  I made a bee line for the hole that this thing zipped into and I sat there and watched.  And there it was.  An O. brevirostris mantis shrimp sitting there looking at me.  Tiny little guy, about the size of my pinkie finger in diameter. Pamela noticed my interest in something and I motioned her to come look.  She did the shoulder shrug to signify "What are you trying to show me?", and I replied with a boxing motion with my fists.  She instantly knew what I meant and was rewarded with a visit from the mantis shrimp coming back out to the entrance of the den.  Short story  long, I got completely energized to get a saltwater tank up and running again with the intent of eventually finding and collecting a native Hawaiian O. brevirostris mantis shrimp, or an octopus, or something exceedingly cool.  Really, the mantis shrimp is my main goal.

 

So I started ordering equipment bits, pieces to get one of my 5 gallon Fluval Spec tanks ready to convert to a saltwater tank!  There's a lot to share about the build up to this point, but I'm going to have to get there as I have time.  Things are very busy around here.  Here are some photos of where I'm at now.  By the end of tomorrow, the tank should be wet and starting to cycle.

 

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Fortunately, I brought all of my gear from the mainland when we moved here, and it's been sitting in boxes for the past 6 years, but with any luck, it's all going to be in working condition.

 

Here's the basic rundown of what this tank build is going to be:

 

Tank:  5 gallon Fluval Spec

Return Pump:  Mini-Jet 606 (This is literally the pump from the old Pest Tank)

Lighting:  Current USA Orbit Marine LED

Chiller (This is very necessary here in Hawaii):  Chill Solutions CSXC-1

Heater:  None... this is Hawaii, folks.

Substrate:  Aragonite that I brought from the mainland

Rock:  From my old tanks that I kept on the mainland

Media Basket:  InTank media basket

Powerhead:  MP-10 from my old 30 gallon mantis shrimp tank

 

That's the main stuff.

 

I'm planning to run natural sea water in this tank since we're 5 minutes from the ocean.

 

I'm going to do some weird things like collecting plankton and putting it in the tank to see what happens.

 

All stony corals are illegal to keep here, so it's going to be soft coral tank, and I'm going to have to do some searching for them since they aren't terribly common.

 

Inhabitants will initially be all tidepool critters, which may include Zebra blennies, tidepool gobies, crabs, hermit crabs, macro algae, cleaner shrimp of some sort, and who knows what else I'll find.

 

Anyhow, stay tuned.  I'll try to bring you all up to speed on how I got to this point and updates on how the build is progressing.

 

There is so much to tell you all about my this crazy Hawaiian adventure, so I hope you all tune in for updates, dive videos, tank updates and other fun stuff that you won't see anywhere else!

 

 

Cheers my friends and welcome to a fun and entertaining diversion from the norm!

 

Aloha,

 

John, AKA, Islandoftiki

 

 

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sotsreef

very cool, kind of a flex with that natural sea water haha! goodluck with build!

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debbeach13

Welcome back. This tank sounds like a fun adventure. Following to see just what livestock you collect. Good luck.

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums

Does anyone remember this song, "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailin' man, the Skipper brave and sure, five passengers set sail..."

 

Well, I assume you all know it's the beginning theme song of Gilligan's Island.

 

Islandoftiki, you are back, you were lost at sea and you finally have resurfaced!¬† ūüôā

 

I feel all newbies as well as veteran's such as I, are in for a wealth of reefing informative tour, especially that you are diving off the coast of Hawaii.  I have been fortunate to have snorkeled and dove off the Hawaiian Island, those waters are amazing in beauty alone!

 

With that, I am glued to your thread and will be following along!  Welcome back Skipper!

 

 

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Islandoftiki

Aloha gang!

 

I'm just working on assembling some bits of the tank and getting our vacation rental ready for the next guests, so I thought I'd share my  fiancé's Instagram page where she posts lots of diving videos from The Big Island.  You don't want to see my videos, I'm terrible at underwater photography/video.  Hers are great.

 

https://www.instagram.com/pamelawonderwoman/

 

I'll post some updates on the tank this evening, which will be very late for most of you due to the time change, so expect some updates tomorrow!

 

Cheers!

 

Islandoftiki

 

 

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Islandoftiki

Alright, so here's going to be one of the bigger challenges.  Making the plumbing for the chiller as inconspicuous as possible.  I'm open to any thoughts and suggestions!

 

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Not sure if these tanks are drillable, but that would be an option.  I have a second 5 gallon spec tank to experiment with.

 

For the moment, this is good enough to get the tank cycling and going.  Definitely needs improvement.

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Islandoftiki

And speaking of saltwater tanks, we're in the arduous process of building a saltwater pool.  We're really not loving our contractor at this point.  We're considering kicking him to the curb and hiring someone else to finish it.

 

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums
Quote

John, I like the angle of the picture it gives me a good idea how you can route the chiller hoses.  You might not need to drill on them, the JBJ installation kit is cheap and gives you two U shaped barb connectors, they are not 90 degrees so you keep your flow restrictions down to a minimal due to friction. I will upload my photo of mine in the back to give you an idea.  

Also there is a way to look at the glass without having to cut into it whether or not it is drillable.  I will find the link and post.  

 

 

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums
4 minutes ago, Islandoftiki said:

And speaking of saltwater tanks, we're in the arduous process of building a saltwater pool.  We're really not loving our contractor at this point.  We're considering kicking him to the curb and hiring someone else to finish it.

 

499147861_2021-02-2110_47_04.thumb.jpg.60378ef7b3813b8e4ad3622a045c58ed.jpg

Wow, I would be just happy that it is salt water, makes for my open water classes to take place there and not have to do a weight check at the beach. LOL  switching weights due to freshwater vs saltwater.... lol

 

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums

The JBJ installation kit is cheap, $20.99 and you get good quality 1/2 inch ID hose 12 feet with two J tubes.

 

Look at the low profile on my 12 gallon and I didn't have to drill.

 

 

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums

Best of all we have the same chill solutions chiller and the hose fits like a glove.

20210221_161414~2.jpg

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Islandoftiki
5 minutes ago, Micro-Reefs Aquariums said:

Best of all we have the same chill solutions chiller and the hose fits like a glove.

This is the answer.  Sweet!

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Islandoftiki

Here we go.  I just went down to Kawaihae harbor to the stairs which is on the ocean side of the harbor where the water is clean.  I picked up a 5 gallon bucket of salt water.

 

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And the tank is starting to fill!  We're wet folks!

 

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Islandoftiki

Just making sure this still works.  And if you were wondering what the salinity of the ocean is water here, it's somewhat unsurprising.

 

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums

Dude, your backyard is hilarious!  I love it!  How does the LFS stay open for business, LMAO...

 

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Islandoftiki
Just now, Micro-Reefs Aquariums said:

Dude, your backyard is hilarious!  I love it!  How does the LFS stay open for business, LMAO...

 

 

The answer is that they don't.  We have no LFS.  Unless you count Petco.

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums

P.S

I think I saw a fin out by the dock, you don't want to do this in the night... LOL

 

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Islandoftiki
2 minutes ago, Micro-Reefs Aquariums said:

P.S

I think I saw a fin out by the dock, you don't want to do this in the night... LOL

 

The black tip reef shark nursery is just around the corner from this location.

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Islandoftiki

We're fully wet and no leaks in the chiller plumbing.

 

 

So, here's a pro tip for anyone cycling their tank with ammonia.  These little Seachem Ammonia alerts are really handy for watching your cycle progress without having to test daily.  I think they're kinda useless otherwise, but they work good for this purpose.    I'll start adding the ammonia after the water clears.  I'll slowly add until the indicator turns purple.  .6 ppm.  Then it's the waiting game.

 

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums

You are going to get some awesome flow with that MP10 colliding with the return pump.  What is your return pump GPH and Watts?

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Islandoftiki
1 minute ago, Micro-Reefs Aquariums said:

You are going to get some awesome flow with that MP10 colliding with the return pump.  What is your return pump GPH and Watts?

 The Mini Jet 606 pump is rated at 82-153 gph.  This one is modified with a fully open intake so that it would fit in the back chamber of the fluval spec.  

 

You can see the mod here:

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And I just fired up the MP10, it still works!

 

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And I just got the chiller up and running.

 

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Micro-Reefs Aquariums

That is just awesome you chilled that really quickly to 78.6 degrees, what is it set to 78F?

 

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jarviz

Doesn't it still get a little chilly in the winter at night tho? like high 60's or low 70s? and with a such a small tank, isn't it possible for the water temp to dip? or does it always stay super warm in the house? 

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Islandoftiki
29 minutes ago, jarviz said:

Doesn't it still get a little chilly in the winter at night tho? like high 60's or low 70s? and with a such a small tank, isn't it possible for the water temp to dip? or does it always stay super warm in the house? 

Yes, outside, 65 to 67 degrees in the morning.  But this tank is in our main building (pod style house) and the air conditioning is set to 80 degrees.  At night, the A/C turns off, and it pretty much holds temperature through the night.  It won't get below 78 degrees ambient. 

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Islandoftiki

Ok, I think this is about as dark as the ammonia alert gets.  I've added about 1.5 ml to 2.0 ml at this point, so I think we'll roll with this for a couple days and maybe re-up it a couple times over the next week or two. In the meantime, I need to figure out where from and how I'm going to collect my stock.  We'll be talking to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to make sure we keep it legal.

 

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