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Well everyone, David here. (aka) @Intriguing Inverts I figured I would start some documentation on my journey in the reefing community starting from just a novice working at my LFS to what I’d like to believe is a self sustaining and accomplished reefer. Im now nearing 8 months into this reefing hobby and still loving every minute of it, I was fortunate enough to find out in 2018 I had a new LFS open up literally 2 blocks from my home in St. Louis, and without that happening I would never be as far as I am today. Last year walking into the door of my LFS Art of Aquaria, I never realized I would not only be making an amazing friendship with its owner Jacob Bugger but also be stepping into a totally different career path then what I had been accustomed to before. Well a year and a half later and I honestly don’t think I could be more happy with my transition from a Culinary Team Leader and Chef to Store Manager at a Saltwater and Freshwater Fish Store. Things definitely took some time getting used to but after making the shift I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not only have I been able to make some really cool friendships and acquire my own 12 gallon long reef tank donated to me by Jacob, but I’ve also been able to help Art of Aquaria become a staple in the Tower Grove South neighborhood here in St. Louis, MO. Its great not only seeing a small business grow, but also being a part of it along the way. Never in a Million years would I have thought my Hometown cross street MorganFord which used to be just bars, would now be a quarter mile strip of so many pop up ventures and endeavors, well as of July 2017 by far my favorite aspiration for this community was sprung, opening a beautiful store front for a wide array of saltwater and freshwater fish. So please if you’re in the Metropolitan St. Louis Area and you’re like me and love all things aquatic, come stop in sometime and say Hello. 😄 Alright everyone now that the introduction is out of the way let’s actually document some Progress! In January of this year I took home a beautiful Mr Aqua 12 Gallon long reef tank, equipped with a Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus light and began the saltwater cycling process. I sourced most of the rock from the previous setup at the store and also got some live rock encrusted in coralline algae to kickstart the cycling process. However at this point I still had no idea what I was going to use for a filter or if I was going to sump it, I didn’t even have any flow in the tank I was using 2 ReptiFlo 200 circulation pumps. Lets fast forward a little bit to when I started trying to figure what I wanted to actually put in this beauty of a tank. First addition to the 12 Gallon was a Pom Pom crab, love these guys such big character for such a little crab. Then I decided one invert wasn’t enough for me and I decided to go with the Hosting Glass Venus Anemone Shrimp and a Mini Max Carpet anemone, well obviously the tank in these early stages wasn’t forgiving at all to the anemone and the shrimp slowly lost his home as the Mini-Max slowly sunk into the most established part of the tank it could find, which was a hole about the size of a frag plug. 😩 Got another Anemone Shrimp and figured I would try my luck with RFA’s because I heard they wouldn’t move as much and they can also host Anemone Shrimp. Well I woke up the next morning to my Anemone Shrimp who had eaten the tentacles off of one of my RFA’s 😡 Well at this point I had given up on the Anemone Shrimp and moved onto the belief that a Sexy Shrimp 12 Gallon mixed reef would be a good idea... Boy was I wrong, man can those guys do some serious damage to SPS corals. I purchased 4 of these cool looking shrimp thinking they would make an excellent addition to my tank, and I was hoping they would just hang out on the RFA’s and Mini-Max Anemone, living the good life while they got target fed cyclopods, mysis, and frozen rotifers but they slowly made their way to my Seriatopora Birdsnest, and it was demolished in a days time. At this point I was fuming and trying to remain calm because it seemed every avenue I turned trying to house these little critters and make them comfortable in a natural environment I was getting some kind of negative impact to my corals or nems ! 👎 So I figured hey I’m just gonna make this the best looking mixed reef I can and whoever wants to peacefully live here is more than welcome to so my search for the perfect cohabitants continues. But hey let’s talk about some Coral, “Have we still not covered the Coral?” That’s the funnest part of the tank, well at least I think so, I know some may differ because of their sheer love for fish and I totally respect it, but man do I love some eye popping Coral, it just really adds that depth and real layer to a tank, like man that’s thriving! There was no way with the tank I was given I wasn’t going to have one of those thriving reefs I had seen on YouTube and from all the customers showing me pictures on their phones of their amazing reef tanks. They were so colorful and had so much going on I had to delve deeper into this after all, I had a great baseline understanding of how things worked and what they needed to grow just listening and learning at the shop day to day. So what was gonna hold me back from one of these thriving reefs? Nothing I said, absolutely nothing! I love a great challenge and if this was going to challenge me to become not only a better reefer but a more patient person along the way, then I was gonna give it all I got. So I got started on stocking my mixed reef with an assortment of stuff. I started off with easier to care for things like Ricordea Florida and Leptoseris, they did good but with a under prepared and ill equipped novice things went south. Like I said I was not equipped for the task at hand and eventually due to neglect and sheer lack of care a few of my first pieces died under the hands of a beginner. Well I eventually started getting myself ready for what I knew was going to be a daunting and long road of trial and error, I made sure to go out and get a refractometer, I was making sure to stay on top of water changes and manually topping off, I was persistently looking up different tips and tricks to see some success out of this hobby and after months of what seemed like back and forth reading on probably many of the same articles and subjects I think I have finally dialed in my 12 gallon long reef for the long road of success! Most recently I have updated my lighting system I now currently have 2 Ai Prime HD’s over the nano reef and everything seems to be doing great! I really love the control the AI Primes deliver I’m still able to keep my candy blue reef tank and have great growth at the same time. Lets get down to some Tanks Specs and my routine maintenance, finally! 👏🏻 12 Gallon Long Nano Reef: The Mixed Reef (35.4" x 8.3" x 9.4") •Setup: January, 7th 2019 •Lighting:Previously the Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus ran on just whites and blues, now I have 2 AI Prime HD’s and here is my preset. •Filtration:AquaClear 30 with MarinePure Biobrick, Seachem Matrix Carbon, Phosguard. •Flow: Jebao OW-10, could really use another one •Dosing: Im currently dosing Aquavitro’s 8.4 for Alk and Aquavitros Calcification for Calcium every three days, and I also broadcast and target feed their Reef Fuel once a week. •Testing: Right now I am currently testing Alkalinity twice a week and Calcium once a week with Hanna’s Digital Checkers, I honestly don’t know if I would enjoy testing as much as I do without them, I’m hoping to get the Phosphate checker as-well but for now nothing has been negatively effected with consistent feedings and running the Phosguard. I want to give some shoutouts to some really great customers and friends who have helped me along the way, I don’t think you guys realize how appreciated you are, I’ve probably asked you similar questions a million times over and it’s only made me a better reef keeper thank you both so much! 🙌🏻 @inland_reef @This guy is extra salty
what do you think would have the strength and space to house two 12/22g long? one above the other? I don't have the $$$ for anything to be custom built, and being in a small (800sqft) apartment, don't have the space, let alone the know-how, to make anything myself. but, I have 2nd hand shops, CL and Kijiji.