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codacodi

Lil Reef 14G

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codacodi

After a long hiatus, I am finally restarting my nano reef journey. Started the project in the summer and then life happened. So it was all just sitting in my office space at my apartment. But while I was on a month long work exchange to Colorado, I visited the Denver aquarium. A great little aquarium. I couldn't wait to get back and continue work on the aquarium. This was always going to be a budget build setup with most things either built from scratch or bought used from CL/Local community.

 

Stay tuned...

 

Equipment:

Tank:           Aqueon 14G Cube ($19 + $30) as DIY AIO [Happy to share details for those interested]

Lights:        AI Prime HD ($90)

Stand:         DIY ($40)

Pump:         Sicce Syncra 1.5 ($45) [The Kedsum was a bit of a monster, would punch a hole through the glass] Kedsum 550GPH ($24) [Might switch it out for something else down the road]

Flow:           Jebao SW-4 ($55)

Heater:       Fluval E100 ($45)

RODI:          Aquaticlife RODI 4-stage ($57) [Also got a used one with the lights for $10, but needed replacements so new made sense]

Skimmer:    AquaticLife Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115 ($35) [No plans to start out using this, but picked it up on close-out; can always sell]

Salt:            Instant Ocean Reef Crystals ($39)

Tests:          TDS ($14) + Refractometer ($18) + Hanna Alk. & Phosperous URL ($40) +TBD [Water testing; have freshwater API kit for cycling; looking to pickup used Hanna for Alk., Phos., Rea Sea etc.]

Rocks:         Dry LFS ($20)

Sand:           Cardbsea Agra-live ($15)

Misc.:          Glue + Paint + Hardware + Bulkheads ($50)

Media:        Fluval bio ceramic ($9) + Carbon (free) [Need to learn more on the carbon and understand adsorption profiles]

 

Current Running Total:    $665

 

Would love feedback from the more experienced members of this awesome forum!

Edited by codacodi
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codacodi

So this is what I am thinking for the aquascape. Goal of this setup is for it to leave me enough room for cleaning, flow, but also interesting arrangements. I tried to look at the aquascape options under lights. Goal is to understand and create a few low and high light spots, and also nooks for fish to chill.

Would love to hear feedback!!

 

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Edited by codacodi
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codacodi

Does anyone have advice on live stock? I want to start simple and easy. 2 fish max. Soft corals and maybe an easy LPS. CUC.

 

I am leaning towards a zoa garden, mushroom rock, and something else.

 

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kimdawg

I love a clownfish but there are so many choices. Look in the beginner section and there is a post by Igreen that gives suggestions by tank size.  Choose a few of your favorites and people that have that fish can give you advice.  I like your rock work just make sure you can clean the glass on the side of the tank.  I am having that problem in my tank right now and need to rescape to clean it better.

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codacodi

Thanks @kimdawg. Yeah I think I need to leave more space around the rocks. Might need to downsize the two rock structure on the right of the tank and put something smaller. Goal is certainly to make sure maintenance is easy not just for me but for my partner for when I am away. On the topic of arrangement, I am still unsure about sand bed, its depth, or if I should add one at all or go bare bottom. Any thoughts?

 

Seen Igreen's guide and been researching different fish.

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kimdawg

I have a very light covering of sand in my contest tank.  I have gone bare bottom in a couple of tanks also.  I like both looks but this time I wanted inverts that like a sand bed.  Some of my RFA stay on the sand bed so that was my reason for a sand bed.  Look at a bunch of the past tank of the month and see which way appeals to you.  The choice of tank bottom will also help you narrow down you fish choices.

Hopefully some others will comment soon and be more experienced and will give you their ideas.  At this point research and asking questions is the way to go.

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codacodi

I have seen the BRS videos on this topic and read some more. Seems like the community is divided,. My goal is to keep maintenance as easy as possible and I dig both looks. That said, I will go with 1 in to 1.5 in of a sand bed. I like the idea of sand critters. 

 

I am almost ready to start cycling. I feel so nervous and excited at the same time.  

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codacodi

Here is the AIO sump arrangement. Thought someone might find it useful in the future.

 

 

 

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DevilDuck

Any concern that some chaeto may be sucked into the return pump with it being that close to it?

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codacodi

Good point. I was going to think of a 'cage' contraption that allows for flow but not the algae getting out. I could also move it to the second chamber and move the heater over to the return. This is good thing to consider and I had not thought of it.

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codacodi

Potential fish list:

  1. Yellow watchman gobby
  2. Firefish
  3. Royal Gramma

Ok let me have it, what do you think?

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codacodi

Ladies and gentlemen, we have moisture!

 

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codacodi

14 days after moisture, we have Nitrites... plenty of Nitrites! Redosed ammonia to 3PPM. A bit nervous about next week or two as there is travel but hoping we get through this with the biofiltwr intact. Will drop a small cooked shrimp for a steady bacteria buffet.

 

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EDIT:

Future folk, this is the excellent and very detailed guide I have always followed when doing a fishless cycle. Give it a read once, even if you know what you want to do. HTH: https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f15/the-almost-complete-guide-and-faq-to-fishless-cycling-148283.html

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Death Dwarf

I like your fish selection- no issues there.  I'd maybe look at getting a different type of goby (perhaps a goby & pistol shrimp pair when your tank matures more) since the gramma is already half yellow.  Your aquascape looks nice!  Just keep in mind that big branchy corals (SPS, leathers, frogspawn and torches) will take up a lot of room, so be mindful of those when placing them.  Don't place a tall growing coral on top of your tallest pillar, for instance, or else it'll eventually grow to the surface.

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codacodi
5 hours ago, Death Dwarf said:

I like your fish selection- no issues there.  I'd maybe look at getting a different type of goby (perhaps a goby & pistol shrimp pair when your tank matures more) since the gramma is already half yellow.  Your aquascape looks nice!  Just keep in mind that big branchy corals (SPS, leathers, frogspawn and torches) will take up a lot of room, so be mindful of those when placing them.  Don't place a tall growing coral on top of your tallest pillar, for instance, or else it'll eventually grow to the surface.

Thank you. Yeah, will definitely be minsdful of coral size. I think I could have made the left one a bit smaller.

 

I am not so sure about the Gramma. Hearing mixed reviews. I'll start with a firefish and go from there. My lfs also suggested a Yasha shrimp gobby instead of a YWG. I am looking for super simple fish in the begining. Any other ideas? 🙂

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Death Dwarf
12 minutes ago, codacodi said:

Thank you. Yeah, will definitely be minsdful of coral size. I think I could have made the left one a bit smaller.

 

I am not so sure about the Gramma. Hearing mixed reviews. I'll start with a firefish and go from there. My lfs also suggested a Yasha shrimp gobby instead of a YWG. I am looking for super simple fish in the begining. Any other ideas? 🙂

Royal grammas are an easy win imo.  They're a bit shy at first, but super easy once they settle in; slightly territorial but not actually aggressive.  A clown pair would work in a 14 gal.  A damsel (of the more peaceful types, like sapphire/springers and starcki damsels) and a clown could work.  A fire fish could work too, I've just never had much luck with them.  They're super super passive.

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codacodi
Posted (edited)

Question: Do I need to set up a QT? I am going to keep max of 3 fish at any time and seems like trying to maintain a separate QT is a bit too much? All of the conventional wisdom points to having a QT but often it appears these folks also have other bigger tanks...

 

Future folk, got some really good discussion to my question here:

 

Edited by codacodi

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codacodi

hmm. I could potentially have a stalled cycle. Nitrites >5PPM, Nitrates high too. Ammonia gets killed overnight. Keeping an eye on whats going on... maybe the bacteria needs a little more time.

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codacodi

NITRITES 0 PPM!

 

Exactly a month after starting the cycle, I have 0 ppm nitrites. Another data point for me, for myself, to reinforce the fact that a clean fishless cycle will work exactly as prescribed if followed with patience.

 

Dosed ammonia up to 2 ppm as a preliminary check. If that passes the 24 hours test, a 80% water change is next followed by another 2 ppm dose as a final check. Lights have been off the entire time.

Time to shop for some fish. 🙂

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codacodi

FIRST FISH DAY!!!

 

 

 

So I have added my first fish to the tank. Found a cute little purple Firefish at my LFS. I talked to the owner about quarantine and he talked me through his tanks. The fish seemed healthy and I saw them feed it.

 

As soon as I added it, it went into hiding into the bottom of my big rock. haha. I know this is to be expected. But hoping it comes out in a week or two once it feels acclimatized to it new home. I think I am going to add a clown and let that be for sometime. My hard limit is 3 fish.

 

I wonder if I can add coral? Like some zoas and mushrooms?

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DNR88

If you can add a fish, than you're also good to go with some (easy) corals. Most of the zoa's are pretty hardy.

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codacodi
1 hour ago, DNR88 said:

If you can add a fish, than you're also good to go with some (easy) corals. Most of the zoa's are pretty hardy.

Yeah thats what I was thinking. Waiting on a couple of things to come in before I get the zoa's.

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Death Dwarf

I'd feel better waiting for the rocks to mature a bit first.  Everything looks pretty bare right now

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kimdawg

I like your fish selection, just wait a few weeks between each addition.  You can add zoanthids or other easy coral now.  I think it adds a lot of color quickly.

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codacodi
12 hours ago, Death Dwarf said:

I'd feel better waiting for the rocks to mature a bit first.  Everything looks pretty bare right now

Yeah, it does doesn't it? Anyone follow the BRS no lights on method for a month or two? Also, should I dose a Coraline in bottle?

 

12 hours ago, kimdawg said:

I like your fish selection, just wait a few weeks between each addition.  You can add zoanthids or other easy coral now.  I think it adds a lot of color quickly.

A little color would look nice. But I am wondering if I should wait a tiny bit longer before I turn the lights on.

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