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Tony's 10 Gallon Reef Journal


Tony Bologna

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Tony Bologna

Thanks Debbeach your 20l journal has been an inspiration. I could not have started this little reef without the information you and others have shared. I started looking for a local reefing group and joined a couple local Facebook groups. The FB groups are unfortunately dumping grounds for old equipment from what I have seen so far. Thanks again for the inspiration, and advice.

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The same thing happened with one of the Facebook groups I joined. It used to be the largest reefing group in this area but now only has a presence on FB. The good news is when I was looking for a specific coral I posted there and a member read the post and helped me out.

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Tony Bologna

The water is a little cloudy when viewed from the side of the tank today. The astrea snails have turned a massive amount of green film algea into what I can only imagine was an enormous quantity of snail poop. So I guess a bacteria bloom of some kind is a likely outcome. In other news the decline of film algea has given rise to some very fine stringy stuff on the sand bed. I saw the damsel picking at it and I really hope the snails develop a taste for it. In light of the recent algea for snail poo exchange, I did a couple quick tests to see if there was a corresponding spike of any kind. The bacteria bloom apparently has that situation under control. There is no Ammonia and Nitrates remained at less than 2ppm. I also shortened the photo period by 1 hour as there aren't any corals to worry about. The tank looks ok under blue and white lights but turning off the blue reveals all the ugly. There is still a ways to go before I'll feel good about adding that first coral. That gives me plenty of time to locate a good local source.  Happy reefing everybody. Thanks for following along.

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Tony Bologna

I'm still getting accustomed to how big the effect of small changes can be in a small aquarium and just how quickly things can change. I added 2 snails. They consumed all the film algea on the rocks in a couple days and contributed a large amount of waste resulting in an epic cloudy algea bloom.... Which lasted 2 days. The water has been crystal clear since yesterday morning. For better or worse things happen fast in 9 gallons of water. I almost forgot to mention that this little Damselfish is an Algea eating machine. He cleared up every last bit of the stringy stuff on the sandbed with no help from the snails. He's like a mini tang with a nasty attitude.

 

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Tony Bologna

Today was waterchange day. I finally decided to stop wasting money buying the 10 gallon box of instant ocean and purchased the 55 gallon bag instead. I divided the entire bag into zip locks with enough instant ocean for 1.5 gallons of salt water in each. This was a great way to keep a big bag of salt from clumping and really made this waterchange quick and easy. 

Nitrates were just under 2ppm prior to the waterchange. I would be happy if this becomes the norm. The algae situation is well under control. The sand and rocks look great thanks to the astrea snails and the damsel. The back glass is the only place with any algae to speak of. I'm  letting it grow there and hoping the snails will find it. I added a polishing pad to the tidal 55 today. I thought the water was clear before but there was a noticeable improvement within hours. If it doesn't clog before the next waterchange or become a nitrates factory I'll  continue to use it. If things look stable for the next couple weeks I'll add an alkalinity test to the weekly maintenance schedule. 

 

The little aquarium is 2 months old! Once again it is a good time to pause and evaluate. I ended up replacing the stock filter and hood ahead of schedule. This is because I got the loudest quietflow filter ever produced in my starter set. I don't  regret purchasing the starter set or using the stock filter and lightning for a month and a half. However, am happy I upgraded the filter to the tidal55. It is better in every way and absolutely silent. The current Orbit marine light looks great but I can't rate its performance until I have corals. I can say setup was easy and the sun rise, sun set, and moonlight look great. 

 

My advice to other newbies is: take that take it slow advice you see everywhere seriously. I saw algea explode from the new light, nitrates bottom out from the algae growth, 2 newly added astrea Snails devour the elgae explosion, a bacteria bloom, and nitrates return to what looks like the normal level all in one wild week. Things absolutely happen fast in a nano tank.

 

Thanks again for following along. Happy reefing!

 

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On 2/23/2021 at 12:04 AM, Tony Bologna said:

 I really like hermit crabs but think I'd be better off sticking to snails and maybe adding a shrimp of some kind down the road. 

Disclaimer : only Reefing since Jan

 

Why better sticking to snails?  curious?

 

Not advocating one way or the other, but I don't like snails and chose Red Scarlet Hermit for my CUC.  The Hermit Crab is an interesting creatures to observe.  Reminds me of the Predator the way he eats food and has amazing ability to crawl over rocks and anything really.  Occasionally I watch a crab fight which is kindof funny.  Had a dominant crab looking for a fight the other day while another crab just kept crawling away...:ninja:.  Largely though the crab doesn't bother anything, just an omnivore clean up crew that grazes on left over food & algae in my tank.

 

I do have to scrape algae off my walls, I guess that's a downside of no Snails.

 

I've got 3 RSH in a 10 gallon ( Added 3rd when I though a Crab died, but it was just a molt and ended up with 3 crabs ).  

 

I'd like to add a shrimp at some point, and have no idea as to how the two will get along.  

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Tony Bologna
5 hours ago, Jakesaw said:

Disclaimer : only Reefing since Jan

 

Why better sticking to snails?  curious?

Thanks for checking out my Journal Jakesaw. I chose to use snails and exclude hermit crabs because I wanted to add animals that would do exactly what I wanted done when I needed it done. Hermits are more of an entertaining generalist in my opinion. Hermits can also be aggressive  towards snails and smaller hermits. My plan is to only have a few inverts in this tank and  I just didn't  want to chance a hermit going rouge and killing off essential parts of the crew. I have nothing against  hermit crabs. They just don't fit my philosophy for this build. Maybe down the road? Who knows?

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Tony Bologna

Today was water change day. Prechange nitrates were less than 2ppm. Rocks and sand are looking good. The cleanup crew(still 4 cerith snails, 2 astrea snails, and 1 big nessarius snail)is keeping up. The full tank shots and all testing look pretty consistent over the past 3 weeks.  I honestly believe this system is stable enough to add a coral or two and see how it goes.

There is another LFS I haven't visited yet and I think I'll check them out this weekend. If they don't have anything nice I'll have to order online. Thanks for following along.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Tony Bologna

Today was waterchange day. Everything is the same as last week. I did not make it to the LFS over the weekend so still no coral. All livestock is doing well. That is all for this week. Thanks for following  along. I hope the next update is more interesting. 

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Murphs_Reef

In terms of cuc, snails out rank anything else in my view. Though I do have shrimp, emerald crabs and hermits they don't do a massive amount. Bristle worms are also valued members of the cuc! 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Tony Bologna

Sorry its been a little while since my last update. Life gets crazy....

Thanks tassos. I appreciate it. I'll keep up with the waterchanges don't worry.

I can't agree with you more Myrphych. I have a total of 7 snails (4 cerith 2 astrea and 1 nessarius) in my tank and they are doing a great job. Rocks glass and all in tank equipment are kept pretty clean with little help from me.

 

The nano tank is all grown up to nano reef.

I visited reef gurus in Greenville SC and found a couple reasonably priced mushrooms and a single shot of coral rx for 48 bucks. The ricordea is splitting and the other has a baby on the plug with it. They look a little pissed off right now after being dipped. There was a bit of a red flat worm problem, but they are opening up. 

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Very nice! Just remember that mushrooms can move around similar to anemones, so just keep that in mind if one up and disappears suddenly lol

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Tony Bologna

Thanks Zer0. I had to move the discosoma to the other side of the tank it was not loving the flow right in front of the powerhead. I put it near the ricordea and It opened right up and the baby is slowly creeping off the plug onto the rock already. 

Thanks for the timely advice and for following along.

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Tony Bologna

I didn't  realize pods could survive being dipped. I don't  see any Flat worms but I definitely have some kind of pods swimming around. Flash, the damselfish, is having a great time chasing them down and devouring them. They must be delicious. 

Both of the new corals opened right up this morning and appear  to be doing well.

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4 minutes ago, Tony Bologna said:

Just a quick question. Is this normal? I've never seen a bubble like this before.

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Almost looks like a bounce bubble, but I actually had something super similar happen to a new leptoseris I got. Bubbles, pretty clear like yours appeared for a couple days after arrival and then went away. Maybe keep an eye on it to be safe, not too sure what that is

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What dip are you using? With the exception of some of the harsh dips like Bayer, dips are meant more or less to irritate any pests causing them to flee from the frag, rather than outright kill them. Truth is, there will always be something that survives a dip lol, and pods are pretty hardy. 

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Tony Bologna

Thanks Zer0. I'm using Coral RX. I thought the flatworms were dead they might not have been. I've been out of the loop for 10 years and don't know much about coral dipping. This was my first experience with it. I'm just happy to have some pods. Starting with dry rock and sand resulted in a very sterile and slightly boring system lacking in biodiversity.

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