20 gallon

Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by Corey Shelk, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Ive made so many threads over the post two weeks that I've lost track of all of my stuff so I'm making this thread to keep as a journal. Hopefully it will help me learn more and help other beginners with mistakes that I will eventually make/have probably already made (I'm going to be completely honest, even though some of my decisions weren't the smartest.) Feel free to tag along for the ride, hopefully this will encourage me to take more pictures and document it more. I have all of my receipts so I can include prices but I'm honestly very scared to see how much I've spent so I'm not going to do it unless anyone specifically requests it :p.

    Here is my first ever thread back in March when I got this idea
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/starting-salt.365377/

    Here it goes to start...
    Fall semester started two weeks ago and I just got my apartment so I immediately started getting ready for my tank. I brought a 20 gallon standard tank and stand for it from home so that I didn't have to buy it.

    8/19/18
    I bought the filter (Fluval Aquaclear 50), I also bought the 4 oz API quick start. I also went to my LFS and bout 20 lbs of live sand, RODI water and salt. I mixed the water to about 1.024, added it to the tank. Then I added the filter to start clearing up the water. I have no pictures because it was so cloudy (I didn't rinse the sand because it was live so that would take away everything that makes it "live".)

    The next day, 8/20/18
    I bought 20 pounds of live rock.
    Here is a thread of the live rock and hitch hikers found on them.
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/a-few-hitchhikers.442451/
    I put rock into the tank although I was unhappy with how it all looked because it looked extremely empty. The first picture is how it looked. Looking back on it I could've done a really cool minimalist scape but it didn't even cross my mind at the time. I realized I forgot a heater so I went to the store and bought the 100 watt Fluval heater and the API 5 in 1 test strips and API Ammonia test strips (it was buy one/get one free so I got them both for the price of one.) I wish I had spent the few extra $$ to get the master kit that everyone talks about.

    Day 3, 8/21/18
    I have a friend in the hobby who mentioned using blue green chromis to help cycle my tank so I picked up 1 small blue green chromis and 3 astrea snails. I sadly have no pictures of the chromis but I have a picture with the snails and the Xenia that came with it.

    Day 4, 8/23/18
    I pound another pound of live rock making it 16 lbs total. I sadly have no pictures (I should've started this thread a while ago to force me to take pictures.

    Day 9, 8/27/18
    The chromis passed. I said in another thread that I returned it to the LFS but I apologized, I was extremely embarrassed because in my 10+ years of fishkeeping ive never had a fish die like that. It would occasionally swim but mostly stuck to the rock work and never ate the pellets I had for it. I left the body in there for the dwarf hermit (it came in on the live rock) to snack on and for the bacteria to have a source of ammonia. I took some water to the LFS to test because they do it for free and use better test kits (if I had known I wouldn't have even bought mine) and I don't remember the specific parameters but ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0, nitrate was I think 10, but it definitely wasn't in any danger zone. I think my problem was I couldn't get it to eat and it was a very small fish so 6 days without eating couldn't be healthy.

    Day 10, 8/28/18
    I picked up 20 saltwater ghost shrimp to make sure my water was safe, I was feeling very discouraged because chromis are supposed to be extremely hardy and I couldn't keep it alive.

    Over the next few days
    The ghost shrimp were thriving, a few were berried. The mushroom corals that came in on the live rock were getting big. The Xenia I had attached to a rock and it had finally opened and was pulsing and looking awesome. The astrea snails were doing great and constantly grazing and my confidence was back up. I was still thinking about what kind of fish I wanted but also messing with the idea of something other than fish...

    Day x, 8/31/18
    After doing some research I decided to check out my LFS and turns out they had one! I bought 4.5 lbs of dry base rock (small pieces for rubble), a clump of chaeto and a Neogonodactylus wennerae mantis shrimp. I also decided to try another coral and picked up a nice sized green star polyp frag. Here is a picture of him in the bag (it's the 3rd picture) I have no pictures of the green star polyps because of Langston, he is my mantis shrimp :). After acclimating them here is the moment you've been waiting for... drum roll please...
    FTS (4th pic)
    As you can see there are lots of hiding places for Langston and looking back on it now (9/11/18) it's crazy because the tank doesn't have any of the holes and burrows it has now. He really has made it his home.

    9/5/18
    Langston started taking out the ghost shrimp (it was expected) but left the astrea snails alone (they are pretty big.) I decided to go to the LFS to see what inverts they have in stock. I ended up picking up 20 more ghost shrimp, they were extremely big and a lot were berried which is great. I also picked up 5 dwarf blue legged hermits, making the total count 6, and an emerald crab. I fully expected Langston to eventually eat them. After acclimation I plopped all of them in and Langston immediately started squaring up with the emerald crab. He hit it once and I could barely follow the strike but I heard the huge clack and the crab scurried away. It's carapace is completely unscathed and they haven't interacted sense and it's been almost a week now. I was able to watch Langston catch one of the big ghost shrimp and it was super crazy to watch because it was so fast.

    9/6/18
    I picked up 3 mollies to acclimate to saltwater to test how Langston does with fish.

    9/8/18 (ish)
    I don't know the exact day but I noticed the green star polyps had all closed up and I was extremely worried about them. I didn't know if it was because the light was just a standard light I had back from my planted tank or maybe the water was bad or something but I decided to wait and see if they would open back up.

    9/10/18
    The green star polyps still hasn't opened back up so I decided to try and see if a water change would help and I went to the LFS to pick up 10 gallons of RODI water for a 50% water change. While there I picked up more salt and another Xenia frag because honestly I love the look of them. I also removed the mollies. Langston completely ignored them even though they would swim across him and all throughout the rock work and open spaces. He also ignores the emerald crab, hermits, and snails. He devours the ghost shrimp though, I think he knows they are easier prey because they don't have hard shells. The mollies are currently acclimating back to freshwater in a 5 gallon bucket and then I will sell them to the LFS for store credit. After the water change all of the corals closed up like they usually do at night so I figured they needed to acclimate because 50% is really big so I shut the lights off. I also switched a little bit of the rock around while the tank was half drained although I was extremely worried because of Langston so I made sure he was on the complete other side of the tank and I always kept an eye on him because I didn't want to get smacked (they are called thumb splitters for a reason.)

    9/11/18
    It's today. I switched a little bit of the rock around because I didn't like how low the scape was and because I plan on getting some clowns soon. Within this week actually. Langston is very docile and I have seen multiple other reports of active open swimmers like damsels and chromis successfully kept with mantis shrimp, but obviously fish such as gobies, etc that perch on the bottom would probably be on the menu eventually. I also want to pick up a little bit more coral and I ordered coralline in a bottle to try it because I'm impatient and don't like the look of the stark white base rock. Pics to come!

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  2. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    First is the FTS. It still ain't where I want it to be but I'm thinking with a few more corals and maybe some taller rock formations it will look better. The next is "coral valley." You can see how fat the mushrooms are and how they are starting to spread. The green star polyps are starting to open up again too, I think it might also be because I moved it off of that purple rock on the right. There is a close up of the Xenia that I got with the snails and another mushroom coral. You can also see one of the hermits chillin on the rock. Next is the Xenia frag I got yesterday, it's up against the glass even though I could've sworn I made sure it wasn't touching glass. I'll love it again soon an astrea snail is on top of that rock. The last pic shows a close up of the area on the right. The area of the left is a huge network of Langston's tunnels but I couldn't get a good picture. I also couldn't get a good picture of the ones underneath and in the purple rock.

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  3. yungreefer2410

    yungreefer2410 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    You're definitely going to need a better and stronger light.

    There are many options now. LED's, T5, Metal Halide.

    Even something cheaper like this would do great for your tank. A mantis shrimp is a very interesting addition. I'm curious why you wanted one? Often, they are in species-specific tanks or confined to a sump.
     
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  4. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Yeah I started looking at better lights. I wanted one because they are so unique. Ever since I got him I've added a snap or two to my snap story to educate my friends and they love it. I wanted to use him to shed light on how interesting aquatic life is and it was successful. People asked me every day how he was doing and for more information about him and I don't do it add it to it anymore but people still contact me for updates and facts about him. Basically I just wanted to show some love to an animal that's widely misunderstood and usually seen as a pest.
     
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  5. sam.veilleux30

    sam.veilleux30 Active Member

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    Welcome to the hobby!
    Nothing like starting your first setup, some advice when you get a better light source: be sure to place potentially rampant corals (xenia, zoantid and montipora to name a few) where you will be able to control easily their size.
    When things start to grow this "problem" might come sooner than expected.
     
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  6. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    I got some more inhabitants! I got a ocellaris clownfish and 6 lined wrasse. They are temp acclimating rn so I got pics of teen in the bag. I also got a polyp, I believe it's a button polyp colony with two hitchhikers that are a different species of polyps. They are temp acclimating in a bag also and are closed so I will get a pic of them eventually when they open up

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  7. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    I also got some new lights and I'm wondering if they are good enough by themselves or if I should run them with my current lights. Also are they strong enough to penetrate through the glass cover or do I need an open cover or a different cover for my tank
    *edit* disregard this post. I'm posting in the lighting thread

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  8. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Acclimation is done. I temp acclimated then for 20 minutes and then every five minutes I added a few mL of water from my tank into the bag for 2 hours and 45 minutes ish. They've been in the tank for about 15 minutes. The clown is out and about already, I think I want to get it a buddy, but a smaller one so that they can possibly pair. I haven't decided. The wrasse is hiding in the rock underneath some green turf algae, I'm kind of worried if the wrasse with always be around the rock because there is more of a chance that Langston will get it. The polyps are just now starting to open up. The green star polyps look a lot better in the new light, especially with the blues on. I put them in the back to create a little bit more depth and for them to hopefully spread up the back wall. Here is a FTS, a pic of the wrasse in the rock, and the polyps starting to open back up. I also haven't seen Langston since yesterday morning, I hope he is ok :/

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  9. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Oh yeah and that stripof shadow is because of the glass cover's rubber hinge. I new to figure out a way to eliminate the shadow
     
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  10. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Everyone is doing great! Both the wrasse and the clown were out and about. However I was extremely nervous about the wrasse because it loved to be around the rockwork and loved spending its time swimming through the same holes that Langston used to go through, his new home is on the left side of the tank, the holes the wrasse were going through are on the right. That made me extremely uncomfortable because it seemed like just a matter of time before Langston goes checking through his old home and happens to catch the wrasse in a little hole. I caught the wrasse and he is now in a bag with tiny holes in it in the tank to allow water exchange. I'm going to return him tomorrow and get a smaller clown and maybe a firefish. I wish I could trust Langston because the wrasse is gorgeous and I love how it swims through the holes in the rock, but it's not worth the risk. Langston is relatively docile but if he runs into the wrasse I definitely think he will lash out, he is still a mantis shrimp (that's why I said 'relatively' docile.)
     
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  11. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I think you may have to up your filtration a bit eventually. Most people use a sump, it allows for more filter media, more water in the tank (your parameters will be more stable), and room for a refugium (which I think is a very important part of a reef). Maybe consider switching out your chaeto with Caulerpa Prolifera, its controllable and has an awesome look. Also manually remove that green algae in the picture with the mushroom corals, thats a bad algae. Also if I were you I might try an easy lps on top of that white rock, maybe frogspawn? The tank looks awesome though, I really like the layout, you've done great with the small space too.
     
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  12. hockeyhead019

    hockeyhead019 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Another thing to keep an eye on is your water levels. I've learned the hard way on my 20g tank that because it's such a small water volume evaporation can lead to a strong salinity swing which can upset various inhabitants. Other than that the tank looks great and it looks like you're on a good path!
     
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  13. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Yeah I was hoping the emerald crab would snack on it but so far hasn't. And yep I'm looking for something to put on the top of the white rock and I was actually looking into forgspawn because I heard it's not uncommon for clowns to host. Thank you for the compliment! I've been slowly working on the layout over the past monthish. I'm think about a 10 gallon dump honestly, and I could put Langston in There too. I just don't know how I would do it and I do like the look of the algae that you mentioned.
     
  14. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Yeah I was really worried about evaporation but it hasn't been too bad right now because the glass cover covers almost everything. So I don't have to fill up too often.
     
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  15. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    I returned the 6-lined wrasse today. I'm upset about 2 things: 1. I loved the look of the little guy and I definitely want one for a future tank and 2. Even though it had been less than 24 hours and I had the receipt the store wouldn't accept a return, I only got store credit for it which was 50% of what I got it for so I'm ticked off about that. I picked up another little clown though so hopefully they will pair up, if the bigger one is too aggressive I'll separate them and rearrange some rocks and try again. I also picked up some frozen food for them. Here are some pics of the little guy in his bag and the frozen food.

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  16. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    You don’t want the clowns hosting the frogspawn, that usually just kills it. A 10 gallon sump would be great. Why is Langston moving to sump?
     
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  17. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    He
    isn't yet, it's just an idea because it would open up my stocking a tad but I love having him in my DT. What can clowns host that would fit inside my 20 gallon? Anemones get too big for it
     
  18. ArowanaLover1902

    ArowanaLover1902 Valuable Member SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Anemones are what clownfish host, and yes, they do get a bit too big/are too aggresive for your tank. I’ve heard some say they sometimes host maxi-mini anemones (which you could keep) but it’s rare. When they host coral, not that rare (torch coral, frogspawn, etc) they usually kill the coral, coral isn’t used to that and doesn’t like it. If you are looking for a cool symbiosis and even paired symbiosis try two watchman goby babies (they will change gender so you will have a pair) and a pistol shrimp, in a tank that size it shouldn’t be hard to them to find each other. You’d need a large refugium if you want him to be down there. Where are you located? If you’re anywhere near me I can help you build one, if not, I can send you a design for a sump for you to build yourself.
     
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  19. Corey Shelk

    Corey Shelk Active Member

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    Hmm I definitely don't want them killing the coral. I'm in central Florida, are you around here? And yeah I was really interested in yellow watchman gobies and pistol shrimp but Langston won out over them :) If I build a nice sump that has enough room for him I could do it
     
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  20. Ghost463

    Ghost463 Member

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    6 line wrasses should be 1 per tank. At least as per my pet store folks. And some pretty in-depth reaserch.
    Ill just spill some of the easy stuff. Perhaps some of it may help.
    Dont worry much about the chromis. Being new and a new tank setup to many variables are possible. Many can not be seen and require preventions.

    Wrasse are beautys but unless a proven couple should be housed 1 per tank.
    Saphire Damsels.. Aggressive.. Very begginer/Hardy and cheap but not a great community fish.
    Skunk clowns are always an option! They can co-exist with your current clown!.
    Pajama cardinals!! Awesome almost no impact.
    Four line damsles. Black and white! This has been a great addition!.
    I would also look into maybe..
    Scorpion blenny.
    They stay small but need an established aquarium.

    I am going on because many of these are common fish. And it seems ur local petshop is unreasonable. Some are less responible as sellers. Most good petstores will work somthing out. Infact mine often says if something does not work out bring it back.
    I made a few mistakes to!! Hope this helps in some way!.
    The tank looks great and that clown seems happy!! Always good news!
     
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