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Ever since I was about 15 years old, I've always been interested in salt water aquariums but I've never had the ability to own a large tank. And owning a large tank when you may move in a year or so is not something I want to deal with. I've own some small freshwater aquariums and stuff (I liked planted tanks), but I've never thought about salt water stuff being possible and anytime I thought maybe I could make a small tank, I'd see people saying "a small tank is impossible, it will always crash soon and quickly" in other forums, so I dismissed the thought. Then about a few months ago I found some with a pico aquarium and then found this forum and saw that a lot of reef newbies have had success with their pico reefs, so I just read stuff for a few months, then I bit the bullet a few days ago. I started my first pico jar now. Even a pico was expensive! Much more than fresh water since I needed better lighting, refractometer, higher quality water etc, but when this is successful, it'll be worth it! I'll list what I bought for this below: Equipment Prices in Canadian dollars Anchor Hocking Jar - $20 Red Sea Coral Pro salt - $45 Caribsea Livesand - $10 Caribsea Liferock - $30 Tetra Betta heater - $15 Brandless digital thermometer - $10 Brandless water pump - $10 Asta Mini Nano light - $60 I'm using distilled water bought from a local store. December 15th I added live sand, mixed water with Red Sea Coral Pro salt to measure 1.026 on the refractometer. Some stuff didn't arrive in the mail on Friday like I was expecting, so I didn't have my heater and a couple other items. So basically I just let the sand settle now. I realized I had some of Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride, so I added enough to bring Ammonia to about 2 ppm. I put my small pump in and let the water circulate a bit and left it alone. December 16th I tested parameters today: Ammonia - 2 ppm Nitrate - 5 ppm Nitrites - 0 ppm Sp. Gravity - 1.026 I went to the LFS and bought some Caribsea Liferock after seeing the price of their Liverock and the size of it. A piece of rock is not worth $75 to me, I'd rather wait a bit longer. The Caribsea Liferock looked nice (oooo purple heh) and it wasn't too bad, plus with its marketing of "dormant bacteria", I figured I'd try it even if it's BS at least it looks nice. I got home and added the Caribsea Liferock. December 17th I received my heater in the mail today, so I added it to the tank. Temperature of the water is about 26.5C or about 79-80F. I got some Seachem Stability today since I was curious if it would work. I checked my tank parameters again today just to see where it was at before I added the Stability: Ammonia - 2 ppm Nitrate - 5 ppm Nitrites - 0.25 ppm Sp. Gravity - 1.026 Interestingly enough 24 hours after adding the Caribsea Liferock, I am reading some Nitrites, this was faster than I was expecting. Maybe the rock has something in it, or who knows. I added a cap-sized dose of Stability to the tank. Picture is a bit hazy since I kicked up the sand a few hours ago cleaning the glass because I'm too stupid to realize the streak on the glass was on the outside, not on the inside. I have my light, I just haven't put it on the tank yet since there is nothing to benefit from it yet. I'm gonna make an ATO or buy one within a few days once I have everything set up. It doesn't lose water very quickly since the lid stays on mostly, so I'm not worried at this point since I have nothing living inside (besides maybe bacteria). Overall, my plans for the tank are to have a few cool beginner reefs and a couple inverts. If those survive for a couple days, I'm probably going to put a few tangs in because they look nice. By the way, the red LED on the right side by the thermometer is just the heater's LED. It looks like there is a lot of sand but there isn't, the bottom of the jar isn't completely flat. The glass of the jar makes the rock look huge but it's actually pretty small in real life. Just watching this now makes me want a bigger tank, hahaha. If anyone sees any problems with what I am doing, please let me know and my tang comment was a joke, I am going to add things slowly and this will be a reef and invert tank only.
After starting a new job around October last year I decided to start a new tank with the goals of 1. Being easy to set up. 2. Ease of maintenance. Limited time during the summer and late fall mean little time for enjoyment and even less for tinkering and water changes. 3. Simple and stable. Keeping energy thing in one place with all equipment together and preferably in in the tank. 4. Nice outside appearance with a solid lid and minimal outside the tank. 5. Potential for upgrade later on. After researching looking at my lfs and browsing the forums I settled on the fluval evo 13.5. In the 3 months since I started the cycle and the 2ish months since I got my clownfish I've been very happy with it. Nice dimensions, decent flow with the stock pump, lights strong enough for the corals I'm currently interested in, and I don't think I'll ever have a tank without a lid again. I'm starting this journal to document how far I can go with just the stock equipment. Not to say I won't upgrade down the line but for now I'm just enjoying the simple tank. Start up in later December.