15 Gallon Nano - Waterbox Peninsula All in One (AIO) - Skip Cycle - Mixed Reef

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Note: This first post is constantly updated. The last update was on March 22, 2024

Current Equipment List
Aquarium:
Waterbox 15 Peninsula AIO
Lights: AI Prime 16 HD with Arm
Return Pump: Jebao DCS 1200 DC Pump
Screen Lid: Waterbox
Heater: Aquatop 100w Titanium Heater with Controller
Wavemaker: Jebao SLW 3
Filter Media: Activated carbon (Aquaforest), bio balls (Waterbox), filter floss (instead of filter socks).
Doser: Kamoer Single Head WiFi Dosing Pump X1 Pro V2 (Dosing only Tropic Marin All For Reef or AFR)
ATO: Kamoer New ATO One 2 SE

Current Coral List
Montipora
Monticap
Chalice
CyphastreaFavia
Zoas
Clove Polyps
Hammers
Florida Ricordea
Trachyphyllia
Acans (Regular + Ultra)
Bubble Coral
Australian Branching Duncan
Candy Cane Coral
Alveopora
Leptoseris
Elk Horm Montipora
Green Birdsnest
Red Montipora Digitata
Green Scoly
War Paint Scoly
Yellow Tipped Octospawn
Orange Tentacle Plate Coral
Stellar Stylophora
Blue Raven Blastomussa
Red Blastomussa
Montipora Spongodes
Purple Candelabra Gorgonian (Free DOA replacement)

Current Invert & Fish List
1x Banded Brittle Star
1x Strawberry Conch
1x Hawaiian Feather Duster
2x Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
2x Clownfish
1x Pink Streaked Wrasse

Losses to Date
  • 2x Blood Red Fire Shrimp
    First one died December 12, 2023 a week after it was placed in the tank, it was being bullied by the other blood red fire shrimp. They were put in the tank at the same time from the same LFS.

    Second one died December 13, 2023, the next day. It was alive in the morning when I left for work and didn't find his body until later in the evening.

    These shrimp deaths are still a mystery to me. Currently my theory is that they were attached by predatory hitchhiking worms in the tank from liverock.

  • 1x Purple Candalabra Gorgonian
    Dead on Arrival (DOA) from online order on November 30, 2023

  • Red Dragon Acropora (freebie)
    Bleached the next day after receiving (Jan 26, 2024). I think it was due to dipping in Coral Rx and too much stress during acclimation (moved it around, temperature, salinity, lighting, water changes etc. all at once).

  • 1x White Feather Duster - moved it beside the rock where the predatory worm was and it was eaten.

  • 1x Purple Blastomussa - kept it in too high flow and high light area and tissue started receding. During the short period I had dinos and a bad case of cyano, it proceeded to lose more tissue.
Introduction
Hi Everyone, after a 2-year break from reefing (life happened - a new job, got married, had a baby), I'm back! Here is a link to my previous tank (RedSea Reefer 170), which I took down. This is technically my third time setting up a reef tank, my first time around was when I was starting university around 15 years ago. I really wanted to give this another shot and combine all of the knowledge and experience I've gained over the years. This time around, I'm doing a much smaller tank - a 15-gallon All-in-One from Waterbox.

Aquarium & Reefing Philosophy
Here are my aquarium/reefing 'philosophies' that I want to stick to when it comes to this tank:

1) Going small(er): Overall easier to manage (smaller water changes, smaller equipment etc.) and everything costs less, you become much more selective as to what you put into the tank, and it fills out more quickly as corals grow (which I think is very satisfying).

2) Skip Cycle: Used all very mature live rock that has Coraline on it and various other signs of life. I feel strongly that this approach will prevent me from having to go through all the issues that come with new rock that I've experienced previously (uglies - algae, cyano, dinos, etc.). You can find my rationale and thoughts throughout this thread.

3) Minimal hands in the tank: Will try to not be so reactive to every little thing that happens in the tank. Spend more time observing and just giving the animals more time to adjust.

4) Minimal Dosing, Additives, Chemicals and not Overfeeding: Will try to let regular water changes be the main source of replenishment of nutrients and let nature take its course on issues that arise. Will also feed fish and corals less to try to keep water parameters in check.

5) Strict Maintenance & Monitoring Routine: Will do weekly 20% water changes + filter sock/floss cleaning or changes. Will do daily manual water top-offs and regular testing of water parameters.

6) Easy to keep Corals, Fish, and Inverts: Will only keep 'easy' or 'intermediate' corals and hardy fish and inverts to simplify things.

7) Minimize hi-tech / auto equipment: Will try to use simple equipment that is still good quality. For example, no auto-top off, no Neptune, no auto dosing, etc.

Photos below were taken 48 hours after the tank was set up!
Screenshot 2023-11-25 at 4.57.38 PM.png Screenshot 2023-11-25 at 5.01.45 PM.png Screenshot 2023-11-25 at 5.01.33 PM.png IMG_7079.jpeg
 

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Macbalacano

Macbalacano

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November 21
Went to LFS and bought 19 lbs. of live rock. About 15 lbs. of that rock was covered in coraline and very visibly had sponges, tube worms, starfish, leather coral, etc. on it.

Went home and put live rock in a bucket of saltwater from LFS + a pump + heater.

Ended up just getting 20 lbs. of Caribsea live sand. Washed it thoroughly for about 3 hours until the water was running clear.

November 22
Tank arrived

Set up the tank and once it reached temperature, dropped in all the live rock. I only put about 15 lbs. of sand in the tank.

Drip acclimated a banded serpent starfish (about the size of my hand) that was a hitchhiker.

November 23
Shipment of corals arrives in the afternoon - a total of 15 frags and 1 trachy. Pictures below. These corals include: Montipora, Chalice, Cyphastrea, Monticap, Favia, Zoas, Hammers, Ricordia, and rainbow Trachy.

I floated the bags for 30 mins, then drip-acclimated them for 1 hour.

November 24 & 25
No activity, just moved the trachy and some frags around. Minor adjustment to directional flow in the tank.

What's Next?
Second shipment of corals are arriving in a week along with my test kits. Will test water parameters then and also do a water change.

Tank was set-up and corals put in 24 hours later. Everything looks amazing, all corals are open and fluffy and I am very happy with the progress so far.
 
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November 26 & 27 Updates

Noticed a little bit of red cyano on rocks. Turkey basted them off.

November 28 Updates

Noticed this evening that cyano on rocks didn't reappear. However, I now have some diatoms on the sandbed.

Tested Nitrates for the first time using a new Salifert test kit. Looks like ~5ppm.

Bought a new frogspawn (funny I thought it was a hammer in the store). Floated it for 15 minutes for temperature and just dropped it in after.
 

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Gumbies R Us

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November 26 & 27 Updates

Noticed a little bit of red cyano on rocks. Turkey basted them off.

November 28 Updates

Noticed this evening that cyano on rocks didn't reappear. However, I now have some diatoms on the sandbed.

Tested Nitrates for the first time using a new Salifert test kit. Looks like ~5ppm.

Bought a new frogspawn (funny I thought it was a hammer in the store). Floated it for 15 minutes for temperature and just dropped it in after.
Coral look great!
 
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November 29 Updates

Noticed a polyclad worm on the trachy. Realized that I did not dip any of the frags that came in. Ordered Coral Rx and will dip everything once it arrives.

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November 30 Updates

Online Order from Candy Corals arrived. 22 Frags + 1 Feather Duster + lots of dry goods. Great deals to be had due to Black Friday.

I still didn't have any coral dip and due to the amount of frags, I just floated them for about 20 minutes and put them in one by one. All the corals were in great shape except for the Purple Candalabra Gorgonian.

I had an excellent experience with Candy Corals and would highly recommend them to anyone in Canada. See my review here: https://maps.app.goo.gl/vLrpCBjWjJ92JuwF9

I also took this opportunity to do a 30% water change, which was the first one I've done. The tank has been running just a little over a week.

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December 1 Updates

Pictures of everything opened up. All corals look healthy and happy.

First time testing the water parameters and here are the results:
Salinity: 1.026
Magnesium: 1470
Nitrates: 2-2.5
Calcium: 500+
Alkalinity: 159
Phosphate: 0.16

The diatoms and cyano have gone away but there is a small amount of algae in the tank.

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December 3 Updates

1)
Dipped all corals in Coral Rx Dip for about 10 minutes. Rinsed them in tank water for about 15 minutes.

Cleaned each frag and took most of the frags off the plug. Noticed that there were 2 polyclad worms that came off the Trachy. Accidentally broke one head of an Acan.

2) Put everything back in the tank and did a 10% water change. Cleaned the glass and turkey-basted the rocks.

3) Watched BRS videos to figure out the settings on my light - AI Prime 16 HD. Ended up with these settings below based on size/dimensions of my tank, mounting height of about 8.5 inches, and the types of corals that I have (predominantly LPS).

Currently have the acclimation settings on set at 30 days starting at 30% intensity.

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4) Made a simple table to help me with coral placement. Ran out of time today, but will start putting the corals on the rocks over the next couple of days.

Screenshot 2023-12-04 at 12.59.04 AM.png


5) Added a Hygger Mini Wavemaker HG-951. About $100 CAD, and fairly simple and easy to use. Put it on the back wall and very happy with it currently running on lowest random setting.
 
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Just got this as a gift for my own 15 gallon nano, and it's great to hear that you're happy with it so far. Can't quite see in the December 2 picture, but out of curiosity, where on the back wall did you place it?

It’s quite good! The only thing I’m debating is if it is too much flow for my tank. The lowest setting it can go is 40%. And I just started running it on random mode. Watching the corals and I am a little worried that it might be too much flow long term. May end up ordering a Jebao SLW 5 or SLW 10 on Amazon and comparing them.

Here is a picture - I put it in the back middle, closer to the top.

IMG_7219.jpeg
 
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December 5 Update

Finally had time to arrange the corals on my rockwork.

Removed more frags from frag plugs where it looked like it wouldn't damage the coral.

Used a Dremel tool with a diamond cutting wheel (used for ceramics) to cut frag stems from remaining frags that I could not separate from the coral. I tried using a different Dremel cutting wheel and it did not work - definitely need the diamond cutting wheel to cut frag plugs / stems.

Pictures below show the end result. Not all corals are open and fluffy yet, so hoping by tomorrow they're all back to normal.

I ordered a Jebao SLW 10 and it should be arriving on the weekend. After running the Hygger Mini Wavemaker HG-951 on the back wall on various settings, I've concluded it is just way too much flow for my 15 Gallon tank, even at its lowest setting (which is 40%, you can't set it any lower). I have unplugged it for now.

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December 6 Updates

All corals seem to be very happy and are all open and fluffy. I have continued to keep the Hygger wave maker off as it is very evident that it is too strong even on the lowest setting based on how the corals look now that it is off.

December 7 Updates

Pulled the trigger and bought two regular Clowns and two Blood Red Fire Shrimps. Dripped and float acclimated them for about an hour until temp and salinity matched. Clowns ended up eating just before I went to bed and they all seemed to have settled in nicely.

Tested Phosphates and it was 0.23 ppm

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December 8 & 9 Updates
- Started running a nano-size bag of Chemi-Pure Elite to slowly bring down phosphates
- Tried mixing cube of frozen brine shrimp with Rodi to feed to clowns. They did not like it. So I will just continue using tank water next time, like previously.
- Clowns no longer like their pellets. The pellets still seem to be too big for them.

December 10 Updates
- Phosphate: 0.09

December 12 Updates
- First shrimp death, suspected that the other shrimp was bullying it and that it was stressed.
- Phosphate: 0.11

December 13 Updates
- Second shrimp death, now suspecting that it is a predatorial worm in the tank. Set Moonlight set to 100% overnight from now on to try to prevent worms from coming out as they are light-sensitive. Worried that they will attack other tank inhabitants. I plan on setting up worm traps soon.
- I saw a very large bristle worm, smaller ones, and other worms that look different. I currently suspect one of them may be an Oenone Fulgida as the carcass of one of the shrimps was covered in a ball of mucus.
- Added 5 cerith snails

December 14 Updates
- Water change
- Phosphate: 0.17 (took this right after feeding frozen food, so that may be why)
- Moved Scoly because it was constantly being bothered by worms and banded brittle starfish. Noticed that the Scoly has minor tissue loss and can see a little bit of its skeleton. Moved it to the other back corner of the tank where hopefully it'll be happier and fully heal.
- Moved candy cane coral as it was receiving too much flow in its current spot and could see polyps pushing up against skeleton.
- I tried feeding clowns spirulina-filled mysis shrimp a couple of times, but they do not seem to like it. May still be too big for them.
 
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December 18 Update

Luckily was able to finally remove the one very large bristleworm from my tank using tweezers. Still see some other smaller ones, that are still quite large. Waiting on bristleworm trap to come in the mail.

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December 19 Update

Moved some of the rocks and corals around. Now that I've had a chance to observe them for a couple of weeks, I've noticed some of them don't like where they are based on flow and proximity to neighbours. I also wanted to make room at the front of the tank for a future clam. Played around with different placements, but ultimately landed on the one in pics below.

Saw bristle starfish fully out later that evening. Cool sight to see!

Screenshot 2023-12-20 at 3.50.53 PM.png
December 20 Update

Almost everything is open and fluffy again after being moved around.

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Coral Observations/Issues:
- One Acan colony not fluffing back up even though it hasn't been moved. Will monitor.
- Green Scoly - finally saw it put out its feeder tentacles after lights went out. Still has a couple of spots where skeleton looks exposed but appears to be healing.
- One Hammer has not been as fluffy the past week, finally saw that it was in the process of splitting and there now looks to be two heads instead of just one.
- Candy Cane Coral still experiencing too much flow. May move it again. Still waiting on the smaller Jebao SLW 5 to arrive.
- Alveopora polyps still not extending out as much as they used to. Will monitor.
 
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December 20 - 28 Updates

- Finally received new Jebao SLW 3. Switched out the current Jebao SLW 10. Running Jebao SLW 3 on random ('else') mode and corals look happy.
- Been seeing a couple of Aiptasia pop up, currently using F Aiptasia to get rid of them.
- Moved a couple of corals around for better placement
- Phosphates have been holding steady between 0.09 - 0.10 ppm.
- Nitrates have been holding steady between 2-5 ppm
- Seeing some growth on encrusting and branching corals
- Latest tank shots below

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Set it and forget it: Do you change your aquascape as your corals grow?

  • I regularly change something in my aquascape.

    Votes: 14 9.3%
  • I occasionally change something in my aquascape.

    Votes: 43 28.7%
  • I rarely change something in my aquascape.

    Votes: 71 47.3%
  • I never change something in my aquascape.

    Votes: 19 12.7%
  • Other.

    Votes: 3 2.0%
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