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  1. ValerieR

    Evo 13.5 Mantis Reef Tank

    I started out with a trip the the LFS to "look". Found Mr Pickles, labeled as a "Green Mantis". Decided after 10+ years away, that I needed another predator tank. Researched, decided on the Evo 13.5 for general ease and compactness. We don't have a lot of space, which is why I didn't have a tank yet. Set up the tank using buried pvc for tunnels and LifeRock Shapes for scaping, added water on April 4th. Cycled with Mr Tim's, "live" sand, and a healthy clump of chaeto from my LFS. Tossed in a sacrificial small pair of threadfin cardinals (cheapest fish at the LFS) for ammonia and backup meal plan. Tested, tested, tested... tank cycled in about a week. Picked up Mr Pickles and 2 huge Turbo Snails which could hopefully withstand some bashing. Got a sand sifting star for detritus. Got an Octospawn (a wall - had looked like a branching initially at the store) and some zoas from the $10 and $20 bin. Mr Pickles eats krill from tongs easily. Cardinals prove harder to feed, mysis in the water column makes a mess. Got the intank chamber for chamber 1. Turned chamber 2 into a fuge. Having issues with wild temperature swings. Octo isn't doing so well. Added a controller. Added an ATO. Added another light. Occasional improvement followed by more decline. Started nightly searches for pests. Mr Pickles is still doing well, holes up in the tubes at night. Research discovered he is likely a she and is a Pseudosquilla Ciliata, a spearer. After two weeks she buried herself in her tubes and won't come out. I think it's time to molt. LFS said they had her at least two months. Have added more corals. Everything is doing well except the octo. I dipped it. I changed the water flow. I tested. Everything looks fine, yet, it declines. I'm beginning to suspect an overzealous Turbo of picking at the lower edges, causing it to retract and stress out. Algae growth is appropriate, chaeto/ grape culerpa in the fuge is growing. Tank is chock full of pods, which may explain why the cardinals never seem hungry. Micro brittle stars that came in the grape culerpa are doing well. I hand sorted and picked them out to put in the display portion. PH as of today (5/8/19) is 8.0, ammonia is 0, nitrate is 0, nitrite is 5.0, salinity is 1.025 and temp ranges 0.5 degrees from 78, usually 78-78.5. I do 1 gallon weekly water changes. We added a purple firefish last weekend to have something that would swim around. The cardinals aren't like Biaggi (sp?) Cardinals like the LFS said, but are schooling and want a group, so they are healthy, but hide a lot. The Firefish promptly tried to hide in Mr Pickles' tubes, but we were able to block them until it found another place in the rock. It wasn't too expensive at $15; I won't put a fish in I'd be devistated to see eaten, but this one is at least interesting to watch for now. I may try to trade the cardinals for almost anything else. Current corals: Octospawn, candycane, red acan, green acan, orange/green zoas, GSP both long and short variety, duncan, small liverock piece with a mushroom, featherdusters, and sponge on it. Considering getting a peppermint shrimp or 1-2 hermits while Mr Pickles is in hiding. Maybe they won't smell "new" my the time she comes out and might survive... briefly.
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