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  1. ChristopherDido

    STL Reef Odyssey

    Ok so after lots and lots of thinking... We decided we are changing tanks from our JBJ NanoCube 28. I got tired of the bright white lights off the NanoCube and wanted more of a blue color light, like the Kessil gives off. So I setup the Nuvo 20, that was at the school, in our living room. So I will be "breaking down" the NanoCube and it will be given a rebirth in my classroom in the fall for our club. I plan on keeping all the rock that is in here live and cleaning up the tank for the new school year and putting it on a smaller stand so the kids can reach it. Here is my Journal for the new tank. Equipment: Tank - IM Nuvo Fusion 20 Pump - MJ-1200 (Pulled the Stock) Light - Kessil a160we (Bought from here, DIY Mounted with Spectral Controller) Heater - Finnex HMA 100W Heater ATO - Want to use the AutoAqua Smart ATO (Not the Micro) but it did not seem to work with the black glass on the back (Anyone else have problems with this?), so right now I have a Tunze ATO (can’t remember exact model.) Filtration: Rock - 20Lbs Dry Rock (I think BRS - Sold at Local LFS, was gonna be for a Lagoon 25 that never happened) Substrate - Ocean’s Direct Caribbean Live Sand IM Media Basket(want to upgrade to inTank) with their Mechanical Sponges, had good experience with them in the classroom, may switch over if I get InTank baskets Filter Sock - Nothing in it at the moment, just there to catch debris Goals for this tank: Over the last year and 4 months I have maintained a 28 gallon NanoCube with pretty good success, there were a few things that I wish I would have known when getting into the hobby. For one how much I hated putting my arms way down into a deep-ish tank when doing maintenance. Two how much it costs for Chemi-pure elite every 3 weeks. I also hope to keep a much more engaging Journal that folks can follow along with us. So I kept both of these things in mind when setting up this setup, I made sure that maintenance of the tank will be very easy, ie. ample room to work in the tank and around the rocks to stir up the sandbed and keep that clean. Secondly the goal for this tank will be to run very little in terms of chemical filtration. I wish when i set up my first tank that I understood more about “refugiums” and MacroAlgae, so I specifically am planning on incorporating some form of refugium in the back chambers and a couple display macros that will help with sucking up excess nutrients. Ideally with a child on the way, this tank will take minimal maintenance time - 30-60 minutes a week not counting running an algae magnet over the glass every day or so. Another thing with this tank that I am excited about is controlling exactly what goes into it, the 28gallon I bought from an LFS fully setup (I am sure now that I overpaid lol.) So with this one I am going Dry Rock with a couple rubble pieces from my Pico to help seed the tank. I originally bought the dry rocks that I did with a scape in mind for a Nuvo 25 Lagoon tank that we thought we were getting, that didn’t happen. When I bought the rocks I immediately began “curing” them in a 10 gallon tank with saltwater and an AC70 with just a sponge in it. I did this because I had read that dry rocks tend to “leech” phosphates and from what I can tell it’s because they were not cleaned very well based on anecdotal evidence. They have sat in there since April with water circulating and being topped off every few days, about once every week or two I would take a turkey baster and blast the rocks to get as much dust out of them as I could. Towards the middle of May I put a couple pieces of rubble Rock from my pico in there and then week before Memorial Day I put a bottle of Bio-Spira in the tank… This is where I may have made my first mistake, after dropping in the bottle on a Wednesday, my wife decided we were gonna take a last minute vacation for Memorial Day before the baby comes, so i was not able to test levels during this time. When I came back my Ammonia was reading “Zero”, Nitrite was “Zero” and Nitrate was between 60-80. I did a 50% Water Change and dropped in some more Bio-Spira then left for almost a week to help my best friend move from Chicago to Burlington, VT. When I came back the tank was measuring 60 Nitrate and No Ammonia or Nitrite, so based on all that I have gathered about the cycle of a reef tank, my cycle was finished. This past Friday June 8th I finally got the stand together and bought the upgraded pump. On Saturday I got the sand and water and proceeded to fill the tank up. Again still no Ammonia or Nitrites showing, Nitrates were measuring in at 10-15. After all of this I just decided to set the timer up on the Kessil and find a schedule and put some macro algae in there. After a couple of days of the Macro doing fine I added a small frag of Frogspawn to test the waters. Everything seems to be happy! Planned Livestock: Planning on Moving over our fish from the 28 2X Clownfish (Standard Occelaris and Darwin) 1X Pajama Cardinal New Additions: Possibly a Tailspot Blenny or Goby/Shrimp Combination Planned Inverts: Cleaner Skunk Shrimp (Already have in my 28Gallon) Rock Flower Anemones - Planning to have a “Garden” of them off the Left Side of the Aquascape Snails - Will have an Assortment of Trochus, Nassarius, Turbo, Fighting Conch and Astreas (Don’t think I will do Hermits this time around) Possibly a small urchin down the line Softy Corals: Assorted Zoas - Goal is to cover the “arch” with them as they grow out. Ricordeas - Planning to move over my Blue, Orange and Green Florida Ricordeas and maybe add a few more to create a “Ric Garden” on the Bottom Right of the rockwork (there is sorta a cavish area there) LPS Corals: Hammers - I have two currently in the 28 that I plan on Moving over, will be placing these up on the rocks above the “Ric Garden” along with…. Frogspawn - I have currently in the Nuvo as a “water-testing” coral (they should be fine next to the hammers, based on information that I have read) Probable additions: I will most likely try my hand with Acans again, I like the looks of them but I think the lights in the JBJ NanoCube were just too much for them. Hopefully this time I can keep them, planning to keep them on the substrate most likely under the “arch” Candy Canes - Thinking I will move over the Candy Cane Coral that I have in the 28, but only if I can figure out how to successfully kill the vermitid snails that are coming out it is in many different places lol - Not sure where I will place them yet probably above the RFAs once they settle in. SPS: Really I’m not the biggest fan of them, plus I know our Family Lifestyle does not bode well for the demands of most SPS, but I have a Birdsnest that has done phenomenal for us in the 28gallon and I plan I keeping that as well. FTS 8-21-18: FTS 7-13-18: Picture of the Rockscape with ideas of where I plan to place corals: Picture of the Rockscape without the colored circles 🙂 Here's a quick pic of the two tanks next to each other. I have put a lot of thoughts into my fish so far in the tank and I would ideally like to add one more so I will put a couple of options down below and maybe you all can give me some opinions on adding those. I have also put a lot of thought into the corals that I like and would want, I am thinking I may also add some Dendros down the line or if you think there is anything else I should look at adding please let me know. Let me know what you think and if I am missing any key information here for being successful? Or just your thoughts on my plans! Thanks!
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