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mcashatt01

After year's of lurking, I finally started my first saltwater aquarium yesterday. Posting here for advice and support along the way.

 

Build List

IM Nuvo Fusion 10 gallon

Red Sea Reefled 50

MightyJet 320gph stock return pump 

EHEIM JAGER TRUTEMP 50 WATT

JBJ Nano ATO

Carib Sea Alive Special grade sand approx 8 lbs

Caribsea Dry Rock approx 9 lbs - cured at the LFS

API Saltwater Master Test Kit

Hanna Salinity Tester

Red Sea Coral Pro water from LFS

Great Value Distilled Water for top offs

 

Stuff I have but haven't added yet

AI Nero 3 power head - installed 5/16/21 but has been mostly off. It's just too much for what I want to do. Probably removing the next time my hands enter the tank.

 

Livestock 

Ocelaris Clown x2 - 5/16/21 - Vanelope & Ralph

Halloween Hermit Crab - 5/16/21 - Tron

Hi Fin Red Banded Goby - 6/12/21 - Jimmy

Randall's Pistol Shrimp - 6/12/21 - Clark

Turbo Snail - 6/12/21 - Bill

 

 

Livestock that came on Live Rock

Multiple brittle stars

Feather Dusters

Pistol shrimp(s)

Snail - cerith, freebie with KP Aquatics live rock

 

Coral

Pulsing Xenia - 5/16/21

Green Star Polyps - 5/16/21

Hammer Euphyllia x2 - 5/28/21

Toadstool - 5/28/21

Ricordea Florida - 5/28/21

Platygyra - 5/28/21

Mixed Zoanthid Colonies x3 - 6/3/21

Candy Cane Coral - 6/12/21

 

I'm planning to install the ATO after work today. Was planning to do a fishless cycle using Fritz Turbo Start and liquid ammonia but my LFS is out of ammonia and encouraging me to do a fish in cycle with baby ocelaris clown. I will say, I trust my LFS as it's tanks, corals and fish are immaculate. What do you guys think? I already know it's a very divided subject. 

 

Also, I feel like my sand bed may be a little thick, should I remove some sand? See 2nd pic.

 

Finally, I'm one armed at the moment due to an accident but had intended on doing a nicer rockscape. Do you think this single rock will inhibit me in anyway with future coral placement?

 

Thanks for any and all advice in advance. The one thing I'm TRYING to remember is, nothing good happens fast.

 

6/12/21

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6/3/21

New Zoanthid Colonies

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6/2/21

Hammers really opening up

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5/16/21

Added two juvenile ocelaris clowns, GSP and Pulsing Xenia

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5/14/21

Live Rock from KP Aquatics is settling in.

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4/30/21

First day

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dwdenny

Looking nice a clean. I like the open look. I have that same ATO and it works great. I would leave the sand does look to thick. As far as rock I like more but that is me. Your the one that has to look at it, so as long as you like it your good. You could epoxy some smaller pieces on the left and right to give you more places to mount frags. For the cycle the API test kits great but for accuracy I think I would get something better when you start adding corals. I use the Hanna Phosphorous checker and salifert test kits for Nitrate, Magnesium, Alk, and Calcium. Only time I test ammonia is when something looks off pretty much the same for Nitrates.  

Oh and welcome to Nano-Reef

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debbeach13

Welcome to NR. Your off to a great start. I think the sand and rock look fine. It is all about what you like. I am not a fan of using a fish to cycle a tank but that is how it used to be done and people still do it. If the store doesn't have an ammonia source and you don't want to order or line you could put a whole shrimp from the grocery store in there and let it decay for 5 to 7 days. 

I would probably get a small piece of live rock from the store and wait it out like old school. But that could mean 4 weeks to 6 weeks. Good luck with your set up.

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mcashatt01

Oh, I forgot to mention the Caribsea Life Rock I got had been curing in a trashcan for over a month. Hopefully it's got some BB on it already. I'm torn on a fish in cycle also because that's what I did with my FW Nano and it was a busy endeavor for the 3 weeks or so. That said, 3 days after I dumped a bottle of BB in it the cycle was complete. 

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mcashatt01
1 hour ago, dwdenny said:

Looking nice a clean. I like the open look. I have that same ATO and it works great. I would leave the sand does look to thick. As far as rock I like more but that is me. Your the one that has to look at it, so as long as you like it your good. You could epoxy some smaller pieces on the left and right to give you more places to mount frags. For the cycle the API test kits great but for accuracy I think I would get something better when you start adding corals. I use the Hanna Phosphorous checker and salifert test kits for Nitrate, Magnesium, Alk, and Calcium. Only time I test ammonia is when something looks off pretty much the same for Nitrates.  

Oh and welcome to Nano-Reef

Thank you! I'll go ahead and order the Hanna checkers today. Glad to hear you like the ATO, I really wanted the xp aqua but it was sold out. I do love how small the pump is.

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dwdenny
21 minutes ago, mcashatt01 said:

Oh, I forgot to mention the Caribsea Life Rock I got had been curing in a trashcan for over a month. Hopefully it's got some BB on it already. I'm torn on a fish in cycle also because that's what I did with my FW Nano and it was a busy endeavor for the 3 weeks or so. That said, 3 days after I dumped a bottle of BB in it the cycle was complete. 

I started with the stax rocks like the idea but for small tank they are not the best. Went to the same rocks you have in my 4g. I used a raw shrimp method in mine and cycled my tank in 8 days all dry rock and sand. Now I am fighting keeping nitrates and phosphates up. They will bottom out. Been feeding reef roids once a week (extremely small amount in a paste to the Acan) seems to help a little bit not much. Guess I am going to have to dose something. 

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mcashatt01

Got the ATO installed today. I need to drill a hole in the top of my reservoir(cereal container) to clean it up but that will need to wait until I've got use of both arms. I plan to hide this behind the curtain as well. I chose the third chamber for the sensor which seems to be working well. 

 

Also, in leau of a shrimp I tossed in some freeze dried blood worms as a source of ammonia and added 50 ml's of API Quick Start BB. The bottle calls for 20 ml's but MORE is better, right? I still plan to pick up Fritz Turbo Start but had the API on hand which was still in date and assumed it couldn't hurt. Please let me know if this was a bad idea.

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mcashatt01

Is this going to be overkill? I already have to keep the MightyJet return pump on a low setting to prevent water from exiting the tank😳

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mcashatt01

Got this email last night from KP Aquatics and ordered 9 lbs! Guess I'll be pulling the CaribSea Liferock once it arrives. Putting all things on hold until it arrives but will continue to monitor water chemistry. 

Screenshot_20210501-093705_Gmail.jpg

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mcashatt01

Live Rock arrived today from KP Aquatics! Holy cow, very pleased with my order. Aquascape needs some work but couldn't be more thrilled with what I received. I plan to give a more thorough review later this evening.

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dwdenny

Looks good.

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TatorTaco

I'd love to read your thoughts on the rockwork - especially what critters you find with them. 

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mcashatt01
5 hours ago, TatorTaco said:

I'd love to read your thoughts on the rockwork - especially what critters you find with them. 

Being a Newby to saltwater I'm positive I've missed some things but this is what I've noticed so far.

 

3 star fish - two small 50 cent piece size with striped legs and 1 large bristle starfish about 6 inches in diameter. 

1 pistol shrimp 

2 small crabs 🦀

6 or more feather dusters

1 hermit but I don't think he's going to make it.

Several sponges

 

I'm so glad I ordered this rock!

 

 

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mcashatt01

Once I got home from the airport with the rock I unpacked the bag from its container and placed it in my kitchen sink which I had filled with 90 degree tap water to slowly bring up the temperature. I kept the water on and let it overflow to the other sink compartment and monitored temperature in the bag until it was 80 degrees. As an afterthought, I added 1ml of prime  directly to the bag to neutralize any ammonia and began organizing the rock to get an idea of what type of aquascape I would do. Once somewhat satisfied I transferred the rock to a 5 gallon bucket and rinsed with premixed saltwater from my lfs. Probably could have done a better job at this step. Finally I placed the rock in the tank and aquascaped the best I could. Thankfully I left the bag in the sink while doing this because once I went back to the bag I discovered some critters. I quickly recued these guys and placed them in the tank. I hope it didn't shock them too much but I panicked. You can see the list of things discovered in my reply above. I also dosed my main tank with another 1ml of prime and splash of API Quick Start for good measure. 

 

Let me know how badly I screwed this up.

 

This evening I checked for ammonia and got .25ppm. I plan to check all parameters again everyday, change water etc until the curing is complete. 

 

Please let me know if I'm missing anything.

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mcashatt01

Rock is coming along nicely. I don't know if it's my light settings or camera but seems to be coloring up. Maybe I'm just losing it from staring at it for a week.

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Yeah, it's probably my light settings🙄

 

What's this?

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LazyFish

Hard to tell sponge? Very small Colonial tunicates or a shroom of some kind would be my guesses can you get a close up is it soft or hard dose it react?

 

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mcashatt01
On 5/14/2021 at 10:03 PM, LazyFish said:

Hard to tell sponge? Very small Colonial tunicates or a shroom of some kind would be my guesses can you get a close up is it soft or hard dose it react?

 

Unfortunately,  I can't find it now. I changed my scape and for the life of me can't figure out where it is.

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mcashatt01

20210518_091627_compress12.thumb.jpg.339a05d42cfe0f9341345f91b51023ed.jpg

 

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Added some live stock this Sunday, two ocelaris clowns, gsp and xenia. I know I'm super boring but they are cute.

 

On the cycling front all parameters are still holding steady. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates, 8 ph.

 

Red Sea Coral Pro Test Kit should arrive Thursday.

 

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LazyFish

Gsp and xenia have a tendency to take over. Maby that's what you want it to do? If you want other fast growing types some shrooms especialy the red ones grow like crazy or some fast growing type of pally like gold dust/fools gold or a pink encrusting gorg could work with them. You said you have crabs in the live rock? Were you able to Id them some types get large and are preditory.

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mcashatt01
15 minutes ago, LazyFish said:

Gsp and xenia have a tendency to take over. Maby that's what you want it to do? If you want other fast growing types some shrooms especialy the red ones grow like crazy or some fast growing type of pally like gold dust/fools gold or a pink encrusting gorg could work with them. You said you have crabs in the live rock? Were you able to Id them some types get large and are preditory.

I was definitely attracted to the fast growing aspect and had read that it could be a pain long term. Honestly, it was a bit of an impulse buy. My mindset was purchase these, don't glue them and make sure my system could support the easiest corals before purchasing more.  I assumed I could put these on there own island and manage them easily long term with pruning. I still haven't got a perfect vision for what I want the tank to be but since it's my first I want it to be fairly low maintenance. I certainly appreciate all the suggestions and will definitely be checking them out. I'm really loving some of the Florida ricordea I've been seeing and would love some frogspawn in hopes it may host my clowns. Open to any all feedback in this.

 

As for the crabs, HA! I was so excited unpacking the rock and focusing on keeping everything alive I did not take pics of the critters and am still learning id's. It was tiny and nearly transparent.  Judging by other posts I'm expecting the worst😬 I know I'm going to regret not sorting out some of the critters but they're also what make things so interesting. PS I also spotted a tiny new starfish on my glass today around 1 cm. Cute little guy, unlike the brittle's.

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tassos

Looking really nice! You did good with that rock and the aquascape.

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mcashatt01
6 minutes ago, tassos said:

Looking really nice! You did good with that rock and the aquascape.

Thanks @tassos! Now if I could just figure out the right lighting for photos. The best ones were settings I saved over😑

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LazyFish

Clowns host in long polyp toadstools too easier and faster growing than a frogspawn.

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mcashatt01
3 minutes ago, LazyFish said:

Clowns host in long polyp toadstools too easier and faster growing than a frogspawn.

Awesome! Checking those out now.

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LazyFish

Heres an old one of mine in my old 10g they love the toadstool. The ones in my other tank were hosting a trachyphillia  But they require a bit more care. Hard to see but it's got a neon green cap pink stalk and polyp stalks with creme tips. They come in many shades of green pink yellow tan and brown. 

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