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Hi folks! I am here to share my nano with you. I've been in and around aquariums for much of my life (mostly as an admirer of other people's systems), but this is the first tank I've ever set up and managed entirely by myself, so I am still very much an amateur. In early November of 2018 I started lurking on nano-reef and a few other forums, and soon got the itch to start a tank of my own. After doing a lot of research I decided to set up a small system to display some of the species that I remember from my childhood in the Caribbean. I resolved that if I could keep the system going with no major disasters for a period of 90 days, I would go ahead and start a journal to share it with you guys. And so here we are - my first fill was three months ago today! So, here it is! Most recent FTS is at top; the FTS included with my original post is underneath. 4/3/2019 3/15/2019 My goal from the beginning was to create a simple and easy-to-maintain ecosystem that features species from Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. I wanted to run it as "natural" as possible, with as little equipment as I could get away with. So far I think I've done a pretty good job of meeting those goals. Here are the specs: Tank: 18g Cobalt C-Vue AIO aquarium (with stand) Lighting: Kessil A80 Tuna Blue w/Kessil X Spectral Controller Heater: Cobalt Neo-Therm 75w Circulation: Cobalt Mini MJ606 return pump (~160gph) and EcoTech Marine VorTech MP10 wavemaker Mechanical filtration: pair of stock filter socks ATO: Tunze Nano 3152 Refugium: InTank 'fuge basket with Chaetomorpha sp., lit by a GEM5 LED grow strip from Santa Monica Filtration Nothing fancy here, that's for sure! Maintenance is very simple as well; I haven't been dosing anything, and I do a 15% (~2 gal) water change once a week. As for stocking, I started off with 10 lbs. of uncured live rock straight out of the Gulf of Mexico (gulfliverock.com) and 20 lbs. of CaribSea West Caribbean Reef live sand. December 2018 I am very wary of overstocking, so I have tried to keep things as simple as possible. My stocking was very gradual; I didn't even add fish until the tank was about two and a half months old. Here's what I've got in there right now: (This stocklist will be updated periodically to reflect the tank's current inhabitants) Motile inverts: Dwarf and Florida Cerith, Planaxis, Virgin Nerite, and Nassarius snails Caribbean porcelain crab Chocolate brittle star (color morph of the red brittle star, Ophiocoma wendtii) Limpets (hitchhikers) Other inverts: Caribbean mushrooms (Discosoma carlgreni and D. neglecta) Ricordea florida Purple plume gorgonian (Muriceopsis flavida) Zoanthids Stony corals (Stephanocoenia intersepta and Phyllangia americana) Various hitchhikers (colonial tunicates, encrusting sponges, micro feather dusters, tiny brittle stars, bristle worms, Aiptasia, etc.) Fish: Masked gobies (Coryphopterus personatus) (2) Macroalgae: Botryocladia sp. (hitchhiker) Galaxaura rugosa Gracilaria hayi Halimeda sp. Penicillus dumetosus Rhipocephalus phoenix Udotea flabellum All very simple and easy-to-maintain inverts and fish, as you can see. I can't even really call it a reef, since the only few corals I have are nearshore Caribbean species that came in on my live rock! Here are a few more photos. I apologize once again for the low quality >< View from the left-hand side: One of my forbidden Caribbean SPS corals 😉 I am fairly sure this one is the Blushing Star Coral, Stephanocoenia intersepta. The lovely red macro at the top is Galaxaura rugosa. Purple plume gorgonians (Muriceopsis flavida). I chose this species because it is hardy and quite rigid, as there is not a lot of space for more whiplike gorgs to blow around in my tank. I originally only wanted one, but the "medium" specimen I ordered from kpaquatics.com ended up being more than nine inches tall, so I had to cut it into three pieces to fit it into my tank. So now I have three of them! ^^ Zoanthids and some of my plain-old turquoise ricordea, with a masked goby in the background. A monster Aiptasia anemone is visible on the right as well. Above the blue zoanthid on the central rock you can see another of my SPS corals. I am not sure about the ID on that one as it is still quite small; it may be a young colony of Oculina. (Edit 4/6/19: This is not actually Oculina but rather the Hidden Cup Coral, Phyllangia americana.) Here is one of my favorites: a giant fish-eating mushroom (Discosoma neglecta). When fully expanded it is more than three inches across, and I hear they get much bigger! I am not sure about the ID on the pretty red macro on the left; it started growing spontaneously on the substrate. It has soft feathery branches and seems to prefer fairly strong light and water movement. So far I have had no major disasters (knocking on all available wood), but small setbacks have certainly occurred. My tank has almost every type of aquatic pest you can imagine, including hair algae, cyanobacteria, bryopsis, Aiptasia, bubble algae, Dictyota, and more! So far none of these things have reached plague proportions, largely thanks to Cerith snails and diligent manual removal, and most of the nuisance algae is now in decline. Cyanobacteria growing on the substrate and glass continues to be a problem, but I think it is only a matter of time before that one gets beat as well. I also have had some problems keeping crustaceans alive in my system, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I've tried a number of times to keep peppermint shrimp as a control for my Aiptasia, but they always seem to lose equilibrium and randomly die after only a few days in the tank. Even hardy hermit crabs don't last very long, with most of them slowing down gradually as time goes by, until they simply stop moving and die. A few have even exited their shells and wandered around naked for awhile before kicking the bucket. I'm a bit perplexed by this weird behavior, especially since everything else in the tank seems to be doing pretty well, but I have a few theories; perhaps there is a problem with heavy metals entering the tank somehow (copper, lead, etc.), or maybe some kind of allelopathic voodoo released by the soft corals or red macros is at work. I added some carbon this morning, so I will run the tank on that for a week or so and then perhaps try adding another shrimp. Anyway, It's definitely been a learning process, but that's about what I've got right now! Thank you very much for visiting my journal, and thanks to each and every one of you for creating this wonderful community. This is my first post, but believe me when I say that I have already learned a whole heck of a lot from you guys. I look forward to being a part of the community! (And also to getting a better camera!) Cheers!
Hey everyone! The time has finally come (some peer pressure was involved haha) and I'm ready to show off my tank! I upgraded recently from a Cadlights 8G to a Cobalt C-Vue 26g, transferring everything to the bigger tank. This is my first biotope however I'm pretty proud of how it's coming along. I've seen a lot of Caribbean biotopes lately and noticed a lot of interest in them. I'd like to clarify though I have had a Caribbean biotope in my home since late 2017! 🙂 Here is a FTS of my old 8G (since has been transferred and taken down): 8G - FTS March 2018: Now here are pictures of my current 26G tank: 26G - FTS April 2019: 26G - Left Side: 26G - Right Side: Bonus macro shot of my Jawfish and neon Ricordea: -EQUIPMENT- Tank: AIO Cobalt C-Vue 26G Custom black stand Lighting/Heating: Single AI Prime HD Cobalt 75W Heater Inkbird ITC-306T temp controller Filtration: Intank Media Basket with filter floss, Chemipure Blue and Purigen Cobalt filter sock DIY Chaeto Reactor Flow/ATO: Icecap Gyre 1k Cobalt pump AquaSmart Micro ATO -LIVESTOCK- Fish: Chalk Bass - Serranus Tortugarum Yellowhead Jawfish - Opistognathus aurifrons Neon Goby x2 (Non-mated pair) - Elacatinus oceanops Inverts: Blue Leg Hermit x5 - Clibanarius tricolor Porcelain Crab x2 - Petrolisthes galathinus One lone Cerith Snail - Cerithiidae Corals: Gorgonian x6 (when viewing left to right): Yellow Sea Feather - Pseudopterogorgia sp Purple Brush Gorgonian - Muriceopsis flavida Knobby Sea Rod - Eunicea sp Rusty Gorgonian - Muricea elongate Yellow Sea Whip - Pterogorgia citrina Purple Sea Feather - Pseudopterogorgia sp Rock Flower Anemone Florida Ricordea x4 Various Caribbean Zoanthid species x4. Caulerpa in the display and Chaeto in my reactor. Big shout out to KPaquatics.com for always being top notch on livestock and being patient with my questions. I apologize for the bad photos I just got a reef phone filter lens and am still playing around with it. I will keep posting photos here as I have much more planned for the future!
The custom container pico contest has me excited so I thought I would start a tank journal! This tank has been running since December of 2016. Here's a brief rundown of what's going on in here: Equipment: Marineland Contour 3 gallon aquarium Neotherm 25 watt heater Stock pump replaced with Aquatop NP-302 Stock lighting replaced with NanoBox Mini Tide +M Chemipure blue nano and filter floss in the (modified) media caddy Livestock: Halimeda Galaxaura Botryocladia Hypnea pannosa Gracillaria hayi Fat-head "dendro" Tiny pink "dendro" Branching orange "dendro" Phyllangia Americana Manicina aureolata Leptoseris (orange and brown) Echinophyllia (teal with pink) Echinophyllia (grey/purple with green) Lime green and purple Favia "Honeysuckle" Lithophyllon "Freak hair" Lithophyllon "Blue fire" Psammacora "Emerald rim" Psammacora Blue/purple Rhodactus Metallic green Rhodactus Green star polyps Pom pom Xenia Galaxea "Spiderman" Stylocoenellia "Desert Oasis" Cyphastrea Stomatella snails Collonista snails Asterina starfish 1 Astrea snail 1 nassarius snail Picture is pretty accurate, for a potato camera. The stylo on the right is more pink, the mushrooms on the bottom are more blue-ish, and the favia is more of a yellow-green, but this is pretty close! I like picos for keeping NPS. You can see the orange branching "sun coral" and the pink dude I am working on rehabbing before I mount to the rockwork. I just feed and then do at least a 10% water change. Right now I'm feeding those two outside the tank in a bowl but in a few more months I hope to get them on the rocks.
I am a FL native and moved to Boston for school so naturally it made sense to start a FL tank I am a big fan of jawfish so decided to get this tank going for them -- initially I was going to do a pair of blue spots but decided against it as I can't keep them alive for more than a year. Here I go with pearlies!! I had a make shift lid for a few weeks while I waited for my artfully acrylics lid which just came and is great, I highly recommend them! I managed to get the feeding door to work for my mangrove. Here is the tank with my new lid Next up is cleaning off the shelves above it and re-arrange the wires. I have a novo 10 below and would love to connect them but can't decide if I want to risk using an HOB overflow -- thoughts? More pictures to come.