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Well, it's a little late to start a build thread now seeing as the tank is mostly put together, if anything I suppose this will be more of a "polishing up" stocking and grow-out... thing... I do have some pictures I've taken of the process though and some little stories about how one thing or another got thrown together, but at this point I like the scape and stock enough I wanted to share it. Hope you enjoy! About 8 months ago I bumped into the opportunity to purchase a used Nuvo Atoll and AI prime light for $150 and I just couldn't say no. I'd been really wanting to get back into the hobby after moving off the big island of hawaii for ongoing health-reasons after a bout of myocarditis. It came in pretty scratched but I polished it up within an inch of the factory using the three-step Novus polish kit and some microfiber towels. Unfortunately I no longer really have any before and after pictures of the 6 or so hour process of getting everything nice a bright again, but I definitely learned I never want to deal with an acrylic tank again. I can't believe how easily these tanks scratch and how deeply at that... Next up was grabbing some rocks, I didn't want to deal with all the pests and unknowns which can hitchhike on live rock so I went with dry, instead figuring I would cycle the tank using ammonia, bottled Tim's, and some time. I couldn't really think of a fantastic scape Idea and had too many plans laid out, so I just ended up walking out of the LFS with a 30lb or so pile of Dry rock. I figured I could do some kind of really vertical scape to take advantage of the cylinder-shape of the tank, and I grabbed enough flat pieces that I felt like I could easily make a cove or island layout if I wanted to down-the-road. I replaced the stock pump with a Sicc nano 120 gph and bought a Sicc Voyager 240 for circulation alongside Brightwell N03 cubes, about "50 gallons worth" of Matrix and No3-out media, some chemi-pure blue nano satchels, phosguard, carbon, and egg-crate to hold it all in the AIO section. Underneath the overflow is filter-floss, carbon/phosguard, and then a chemipure satchel, to the right of it in the section which gets essentially no-flow is the NO3 seachem media, then in the large-middle section is half-a container of the brightwell NO3Out media and the Seachem Matrix. I also fashioned a little DIY lid out of Lowes scrap acrylic to keep evaporation down, though I really should have used some rods to keep it from warping, I still can't say I'm unhappy with the results. Bought a continuous power-supply UAC, which doubles as a backup for the nebulizer-compressor... And a Finnex 100W heater. Next-up the protoscaping while the tank cycled, I really wanted to try to maximize the amount of space I had for corals and livestock, while working with keeping a kind of full-tank-gyre action going. I was never really happy with the initial-concepts but couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to do, shy of keeping things bare-bottom, either. I managed to skip any huge algae or cyano breakouts and ended up with a 0-ammonia 10-nitrate tank within two moths, though I did get a few diatom blooms they always cleared up as fast as they came on. (That said I still get the occasional bloom after playing with my rockwork >_>) After two months wet, and about 1 month of feeding an empty tank, I decided to test the waters with a small clean-up crew, four nerite snails and a dwarf cerith. I never really took any pictures of them, but my wife and I both love watching the nerites zip all over the tank despite supposedly being "nocturnal", and have enjoyed trying to figure out where on earth the cerith is hiding during the day. Shortly thereafter we decided to grab a maxima from a local LFS, at the time it looked almost opal-white and was barely two or three inches across. I placed it towards the top of my rockwork and woke up the next morning to find that the little bugger had jumped into a hole and quite-firmly attached itself, prompting a "quick" re-working of the tank. Unfortunately working in the tank and scaping is much less pleasant than I had expected, certainly nowhere near as enjoyable as it used to be for me. Because of my various conditions I've lost most of my postural muscles over-time and have swinging electrolyte-imbalances which can cause shaking, spasms, and pain at just about any angle or weight. Needless to say working in the tank can at times be incredibly frustrating and physically-unpleasant, that said I still love aquascaping dearly and will probably end up with a planted bookshelf-tank or jar in the future. A shot of the clam and a Photo-bombing pair of nerites a few weeks-in. About a month later I decided it was time to start adding some corals when I chanced upon a bunch of indo euphyllia about to run out its' timer on Ebay, I picked up an unknown piece which I think is Baliensis, a bi-color frogspawn, and a yellow-ish hammer; plus a Florida-ricordea, chalice, and blasto-merletti colony for about $15 a piece after-shipping. Here's a grumpy shot of everyone after shipping, dipping, and dropping into the tank: And everyone a few days later: After an ongoing, impressively-successful, feeding regimen of sera-marin-granules (once a week) and 1/4 the recommended dose of RedSea AB I decided to order some plastic-coated neodimium magnets to replace the frag plugs, with the plan of epoxying and gluing their pairs into the rockwork, this way I can remove, swap, and frag the colonies without tearing apart my scape or worrying about much of anything. Unfortunately I think I went overkill on their strength as I can pretty much pick my rocks up by the corals XD Shot of the Maxima and Pink-green chalice after about a month settling-in and my dialing in the two-part dosing to keep alk and cal stable. The longer I had the scape up the more I realized the flow levels just weren't working out for the euphyllia or the chalice. The water coming off the voyager was getting deflected down directly onto the colonies and buffeting them, so I bought a timer to turn the powerhead off a few times a day as a temporary-solution until I felt ready to begin more re-scaping. After a week or so I decided breaking up the rock the Maxima was attached to was a great starting place as its' size and awkward shape left itself and the entire scape unsteady and prone to constantly coming apart while I tried to work with the coral. A few days ago my wife fell in love with this dark black-purple and rich-green anchor coral we found at a LFS, it reminds me of a truffula tree or some goofy fairytale-plant. Which leads me to the current iteration of the scape, overnight the new anchor coral decided to go cliff-diving and fell off its' plug entirely, to fish it out I pretty much had to tear apart the whole tank. With that said it did give me the opportunity and excuse I needed to completely-redesign my rockwork into something that would work better for my animals and for me. Four hours and a very sore back/core later and we have this beautiful little lagoon/cove which keeps the euphyllia sheltered from harsh flow and light, keeps the clam high-and center toward the Prime-puck, and the chalice in highish-flow and medium-ish light. The plan from here is to get a Lobo/Favia/Acan colony for the center and some bubblegum Digitata for the back-right of the wall (to be suspended by magnets) and decide on a small fish which won't harass the clam (No clown gobies, no damsels, I've heard clownfish can be mean...) maybe an assessor? I would love to try a yellow-stripe clingfish, but I know you're not supposed to keep pipefish with clams and am not sure if there's a similar rule. On top of that they're very difficult to keep and, while I would be willing to make it a little-feeding dish and shelter and go the extra-mile, even those who seem to do everything right tend to have their fish die within 3 years... Since there's no real information about their actual lifespan in the wild, I don't know how comfortable I am with the idea of potentially doing that to an animal when other species seem to adapt or even thrive in captivity by contrast. Anyway, that's pretty much the whole process of setting up this 13g nano, it has been a really long time since I've been able to play around with this hobby and honestly this tank has been jumping back into the deep-end for me. I'd love to hear any suggestions on livestock, but I want to keep it light and 10% every-other week or even monthly water-changes in the realm of possibility because of my condition (I test every three days to make sure nitrates are undetectable). Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I've loved browsing around the community and admiring all of your tanks and projects, hope you have a great day!
I have a Montipora Setosa that was doing great, and recently some of my LPS were closing up and so I did some water test, and my nitrates or outrageous along with my ammonia, I have been doing water changes every three days until they go down, doing water test later tonight and will post results of those, but could it be nitrates and ammonia, and/or lighting. I have two compact T5s 50/50 10k daylight/actinic. Thanks for any info you can give.