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ReachTheSky

Fluval Spec III (2.6g) Reef - Ideas/Advice

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ReachTheSky

Wife got me a Fluval Spec III 2.6g aquarium and I want to make a nano-reef. This wont be my first foray into nano-reefing. I had good success a few years ago with a 12" cube but had to take that down earlier than I liked due to life issues.

 

Small 1" sandbed and a few pounds of dry rock is the idea in the display. NO FISH! I plan on keeping a few softies, LPS and maybe inverts (i.e. sexy shrimp). SPS would be nice too, if possible.

 

Equipment wise, here's what I had in mind:

 

  • I plan on replacing that foam and biomax stuff with the InTank Media Basket designed specifically for this tank. Might use chaeto/carbon/liverock in the chambers from top to bottom.
  • Included pump is super weak (~60gph). I'd like to replace that with something more powerful, like the Sicce Syncra 1.0 at 250gph. Tank has a return pipe which I'm thinking I could finish off a Y-splitter to direct flow in different directions. Real estate is very limited so I'm hoping I can avoid having to install powerheads in there.
  • The included light is obviously not ideal and needs to be replaced. I'm looking at either the Kessil A80, Fluval Marine Nano or the AI Prime HD as replacements. Fluval is priced nicely and includes mounts and a controller but it seems to be the weakest light by far. The Kessil is far more powerful but it's not controllable which is annoying. The Prime is even stronger and has awesome features but I'm worried it might be overkill for a 2.6g. What would you do?

 

Just spit-balling at the moment. Would love to hear any advice or experiences.

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A.m.P

Could save a few bucks with one of the NiCrew Hyper-reef 30w's, I've liked mine. They make a controller for it, but I just put it on a timer. Alternatively people have decent success with PAR 38's like the ABI Tuna Blue, some actually have had solid results with weaker lights too, but I'm blanking on their names at the moment (bigger name alternatives would be HiParGero -reliability?- or Lumini Pixie?).
The Sicce pumps are awesome value.

Corals are doable, you could treat it like a reef-jar and just do once a week or twice a month 50%+ waterchanges, you'd likely not have to worry about alk even with larger sps colonies doing things that way. Otherwise softies won't need the kind of flow you're looking at with 50-100x turnover on that pump (Sicce synca nano is a bit more appropriate, even then it may be too much).
Invert only is awesome, but there are fish which would work in a tank that small if you end up preferring it.

I use egg crate light diffuser to make rear-chamber stuff, but intank does a great job.

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ReachTheSky

Really like those NiCrew fixtures. That's definitely a front runner. Thanks!

 

If 250gph is too much, I could step down to the 185gph model of the same pump. Ideally, I want to avoid powerheads altogether.

 

I don't want to load the tank up with SPS colonies. Fragging and dosing isn't something I want to do on the regular, but I'd like to toss in a Montipora or the like and watch it grow. Large water changes to keep Ca/Alk/Mg up and Nitrates down is the maintenance plan.

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Clown79

If you get a sicce, the nice thing is they are quiet and most are adjustable flow. Another thing you could consider is adding an rfg nozzle with the upgraded pump.

 

The rfg's are amazing and provide a great amount of random flow. Even better no moving parts that can break or make noise.

 

Light wise, Ai's are amazing but i think over kill on a 2.6g 

 

Hiparagero has a good reputation.

 

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ReachTheSky

RFG nozzles look like a fantastic idea. Definitely sticking one or two of those in there.

 

Hiparagero is massive - almost bigger than the tank. Neither that or NiCrew fixtures are really controllable though. Aside from AI and Fluval, are there any other options that provide good control of the brightness/spectrum in one package?

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Clown79
13 minutes ago, ReachTheSky said:

RFG nozzles look like a fantastic idea. Definitely sticking one or two of those in there.

 

Hiparagero is massive - almost bigger than the tank. Neither that or NiCrew fixtures are really controllable though. Aside from AI and Fluval, are there any other options that provide good control of the brightness/spectrum in one package?

1 rfg will be plenty in that size of tank. 

 

This light might be a great option

https://www.amazon.com/NICREW-Aquarium-Dimmable-Controller-Saltwater/dp/B089ZW8C2Y/ref=mp_s_a_1_12?dchild=1&keywords=reef+led&qid=1624252058&sr=8-12

 

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ReachTheSky

Ordered the stuff yesterday. Settled on the Kessil A80 after all. The NiCrew fixtures were a strong contender but after considering noise factors (this is on my work-from-home desk) I decided to go with a fanless solution. Speaking of NiCrew, I did get their preset 50w heater. Good price, size and people seem happy with them.

 

Here's the final parts list:

image.png.38bd3e0c4ebcd0b065f87dbda9b1656a.png

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Clown79
1 hour ago, ReachTheSky said:

Ordered the stuff yesterday. Settled on the Kessil A80 after all. The NiCrew fixtures were a strong contender but after considering noise factors (this is on my work-from-home desk) I decided to go with a fanless solution. Speaking of NiCrew, I did get their preset 50w heater. Good price, size and people seem happy with them.

 

Here's the final parts list:

image.png.38bd3e0c4ebcd0b065f87dbda9b1656a.png

I would be very careful with a preset heater. You can't control the temp settings at all, so keep an eye on it

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ReachTheSky

I will. Ordered a couple of thermometers (Aquaneat Digital and JW Submersible) to keep an eye on it during the cycle. If it's a dud, I'll replace it with something better. Had pretty good luck with drop & forget heaters so far, hoping this one is the same.

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ReachTheSky

Hmm... small issue came up. The gooseneck does not fit in the pre-existing mounting bracket. I'm not liking how high up it is regardless.

 

Plan B is to attach it to the backside of the glass with a strong adhesive or doubletape. I will reinforce it by stringing it up around the bracket. The filtration panels are attached to it from the inside so don't expect it'll be under pressure. Light assembly is not particularly heavy (1.46 lbs total), nor will be it be moving around. Thoughts?

 

Example:
image.thumb.png.50aa5ec5ffd1a0ca1cffbfc7121c9769.png

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A.m.P

I tape allot of stuff, but I never trust it by itself. Maybe attach it with double-sided and then tape over the back of the inner bracket with packing tape, then once more around the gooseneck near the top. But I'm paranoid when it comes to electronics.

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ReachTheSky
10 minutes ago, A.m.P said:

I tape allot of stuff, but I never trust it by itself. Maybe attach it with double-sided and then tape over the back of the inner bracket with packing tape, then once more around the gooseneck near the top. But I'm paranoid when it comes to electronics.

I'm going to use the Gorilla Heavy Duty mounting tape and tie it around the bracket for good measure. This stuff is absolutely insane. I used it a while back to stick a large USB hub to the wall. Few years later I went to take it off and it would not budge. Ended up literally ripping the layers of paint right off the wall.

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Clown79

The light should sit 8 - 12" above water, this provides the best light spread and prevents issues with corals.

 

The lower the light sits, the more shadowing you will have and more temp issues can arrise.

 

I personally don't trust tape especially with electronics near water.

 

Salt creep,spray, and moisture may interfere with the tapes longevity/strength.

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ReachTheSky
16 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

The light should sit 8 - 12" above water, this provides the best light spread and prevents issues with corals.

 

The lower the light sits, the more shadowing you will have and more temp issues can arrise.

Kessil recommends 4" above the water line for the A80 to provide adequate coverage in a 14" x 14" area. I could hang it higher but the tank is so small, most of the light ends up bleeding around it which is a waste and an eyesore.

 

image.png.1ede6de0fcf6c1e34522b22e3a8611cf.png

 

It's only 15w so I'm not worried about it raising water temp.

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A.m.P

Yeah, the A80 has been called into question more than once, at least in terms of PAR output.

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ReachTheSky

The A80 is not a strong light and (according to Kessil's docs) is intended to be very close to the water. I think people hang it up too high and/or expect too much.

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Chaozu

update?

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ReachTheSky

Tank is doing good so far. Cycled successfully with Dr. Tim's - took roughly a month.

 

Stocked it with a Frogspawn and Cleaner Shrimp first (wife named the shrimp Ceviche). They did well! Every two weeks, I visit the LFS for saltwater and get a new inhabitant or two.

 

I feed small amounts of frozen Mysis every 2-3 days. Nitrates stay below 10ppm and phosphates run in the 0.03ppm range. It loses about an ounce of water per day to evaporation, which I manually top off. Salinity stays pretty solid at 35ppt.

 

So far I have two Frogspawns, an Acan, a nice Ricordia and Chalice. The live ones are the Cleaner Shrimp and a lazy Hermit Crab.

 

The 3-stage filter from InTank is working well in chamber one. I have filter floss on level 1, Chemipure in level 2 and a nearly a full box of MarinePure Gems on level 3. After going through all that, the water goes into chamber two and back into the tank. It skims the surface VERY well. Always crystal clear up top.

 

Nearly two months in and everything seems good. Shrimp is quite lively and playful. Corals are bright and colorful. Had some trouble with the Frogspawn stressing out but I'm figuring things out with some help and still dialing in the flow/light just right.

 

LRM_20210911_174505.thumb.jpg.739f820b5f58a7f0f31d05499998d6f7.jpgLRM_20210831_113730.thumb.jpg.fc5ad46f2b64af3cd32052eafc7ea854.jpg

 

LRM_20210831_113238.thumb.jpg.ab67087c7ecd21a57d83eee115729d16.jpgLRM_20210831_113541.thumb.jpg.f98fedcaf38a1acd61caa2071aafd034.jpgLRM_20210911_174350.thumb.jpg.4519673cf55a7b0a7c1f83b784964f55.jpgLRM_20210911_174452.thumb.jpg.8cbdb5e6827038c51f7097102828aab4.jpg

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ReachTheSky

Got another Acan and Ricordia. Also threw in a couple of Trochus snails to clean up the rocks. So far so good.

 

Alk drops about 0.4 dKH per day at this point. I imagine it'll go even higher as my collection grows and the coraline starts taking over. I've been keeping nutrients up with bi-weekly 50% water changes. I'm planning on increasing that to weekly. The water I use is from my LFS (Red Sea Salt) which comes with ~8 dKH but I fear that might not be enough.

 

I thought about dosing 2-part but I'm afraid it might precipitate out due to lack of flow or possibly even burn the corals. Could I use 2-part to boost the water in the jug before doing the change? I also considered adding a bit of Kalk powder to the RO/DI water I top off daily. Would pH swings be a concern since I do it manually?

 

How would you guys go about stabilizing this?

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Clown79
1 hour ago, ReachTheSky said:

Got another Acan and Ricordia. Also threw in a couple of Trochus snails to clean up the rocks. So far so good.

 

Alk drops about 0.4 dKH per day at this point. I imagine it'll go even higher as my collection grows and the coraline starts taking over. I've been keeping nutrients up with bi-weekly 50% water changes. I'm planning on increasing that to weekly. The water I use is from my LFS (Red Sea Salt) which comes with ~8 dKH but I fear that might not be enough.

 

I thought about dosing 2-part but I'm afraid it might precipitate out due to lack of flow or possibly even burn the corals. Could I use 2-part to boost the water in the jug before doing the change? I also considered adding a bit of Kalk powder to the RO/DI water I top off daily. Would pH swings be a concern since I do it manually?

 

How would you guys go about stabilizing this?

0.4 doesn't seem that much.

 

What the alk start at from waterchange day to the next waterchange?

 

What are your phos/nitrate levels at.

 

2 part should be dosed according to need. 

 

You need to dose it in a high flow area. I always did it right in front of my powerhead.

 

With esv bionic theres no need to wait hrs in between  alk and ca. Once alk has disipated then you can dose the ca.

 

If you don't want to dose it that way, then you can in the back chamber but then you need to space out alk and ca with a couple of hrs

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ReachTheSky

Phosphate and Nitrate are at <5 ppm and 0.03 ppm respectively.

Alk was 6.8 yesterday after a water change and tested at 6.4 today.

 

Problem with dosing it in front of the powerhead is it'll disperse right on top of the corals. This thing is tiny! The back chamber does go into a filter floss but I'm afraid the flow there wouldn't be strong enough to disperse it before it precipitates and gets caught.

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Jaren45

I don't know how much of an issue dumping buffer into the display is, I did it for 6 months right into my nanos display before I bought a dosing pump.

 

At the very least you could just pour it into the back chamber where it has time to disperse in the higher flow before touching coral. I imagine you would need mere milliliters for that tank so precipitates shouldn't be an issue

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Clown79
12 minutes ago, Jaren45 said:

I don't know how much of an issue dumping buffer into the display is, I did it for 6 months right into my nanos display before I bought a dosing pump.

 

At the very least you could just pour it into the back chamber where it has time to disperse in the higher flow before touching coral. I imagine you would need mere milliliters for that tank so precipitates shouldn't be an issue

I never had an issue either. Dosed right in my tank im front of powerhead. It disperses quickly in front of a powerhead.

 

Its also designed to go through sumps and return chambers

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ReachTheSky

Okay, B-Ionic it is!

 

Ordered the small bottles. Should last roughly 37 years.

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ReachTheSky

Boosted the Calcium and Alkalinity to 440ppm and 8.4dkh respectively. Spread it out over a few days of course. I'll try to keep them here since it's inline with what the LFS' water measures out to.

 

It disperses well in the back chamber. Everything seemed fine after dosing, no drama. I think the Frogspawn coloration is already improving but that might be just me.

 

I did get some new corals too.

LRM_20210919_140150.thumb.jpg.a2923d3bc9847c4ad65c9b6c0f4523c7.jpgLRM_20210919_140109.thumb.jpg.25223548a852dcca40f4297304a52de1.jpg

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