28 Gallon Newbie Tank

Landers

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Hello everyone! I should have started this build thread months ago but better late than never. So I got into the hobby through my parents. When I was little they kept lionfish, puffers, angels, and snowflake eels. I never remember them having any coral, though. When I was 11 they gave me a 28 gallon Marineland bowfront for Christmas. Probably the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. My parents made the mistake of suggesting seahorses for my tank. I’m upset that my parents didn’t do a little more research before suggesting animals because, of course, none of the seahorses lasted long. I had the tank up for while, but animals just seemed to always die off. I think it was for a number of reasons but for one I don’t remember us doing very many water changes. After the last animal died from one batch of livestock, I left the tank empty and eventually it was taken down. Fast forward to January 10th of this year. My family had just moved from Texas to South Carolina over the summer. The tank was just sitting empty in my room and school was out (I’m in high school) so I had time to get it going again. This time I was determined to get it right. No more listening to my parents’ tank suggestions (sorry Mom) and no more going into anything without lots of research. At first I wanted to try seahorses again, but eventually I decided against it. After thinking about keeping saltwater tanks, I realized that it was something I had the potential to really enjoy for a long time and I wanted to start getting as much experience as I could as early as possible... and what gets you more experience in saltwater than coral right? I had always been intimidated by coral because all I knew about them was that they needed “special care,” but I was ready for a challenge. Over the next seven months, yes SEVEN, I gathered all the equipment I needed and did a TON of research (thank you BRS!). Finally, on November 7th, I got my first corals. I am a huge softie fan (but not just because I’m a beginner:)), so I got a toadstool, a devils hand, and a nephthea. I also have a pajama cardinal, a hermit crab, three nassarius snails, and a feather duster(hitchhiker). Since I’m a high schooler, my budget is not huge so I haven’t been buying only top of the line equipment but I still did a lot of research to make sure the equipment I was getting would do its job.

Equipment:
(I have no space for a sump:()
  • Aqueon HOB filter
  • BRS heater with an InkBird controller
  • AquaticLife HOB protein skimmer
  • Tunze powerhead(that I just took out because it’s never on; my filter creates plenty of flow)
  • Hipargero LED light
  • Tunze ATO
And what everyone has been waiting for...
IMG_4381.jpeg


I painted the back over the Thanksgiving break and I’m in the process of creating a bowfront lid. I’ve bought everything I need at Lowes and started putting the back frame together but I haven’t attempted the curve yet (yikes). The picture shows some white light but actually right now I only have on blues because (as you can probably tell) I’ve been having lots of algae growth here and there on the rocks. I’ve done a 20 gallon water change and three days of light out since the picture. We’ll see if I can’t get my phosphates down to “acceptable levels.” Last time I checked (Monday) they were at 0.11. I got a BRS 7 stage RODI unit as an early Christmas present so that should help (I was using distilled). Thanks for reading!

And a little side note- I’m getting a Jellyfish Art tank for Christmas but I haven’t decided if I should make another build thread for that or not.
 
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Landers

Landers

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Ok it’s about time I post my first update! Today I picked up a yellow rose goby and candy cane pistol shrimp pair and a firefish. I also finally finished the screen I was making except I do want to paint it black at some point. I think I could be done stocking fish wise because I’m not a fan of crowded tanks but I’d love opinions on if my current three fish are enough or if there are any other good fish additions I could make.
 

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Jimbo7

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Looking good so far! I also started my first tank when I was in high school and the best advice I can give is to take your time and respect the natural course. Its very easy to get swept up and want to continue to push forward to see achievement, but the best rewards come with time. I definitely went too fast and unfortunately I reap the consequences with losing a lot of livestock and battling the algae/diatom/cyano outbreak that followed.

In a 28 gallon you could probably have another couple of fish if you wanted if they were a small swimming fish like a pair of clown or something similar. I think what you have though is a really good start for an interesting mix of fish though. With burrowing fish/shrimp, you'll just want to be sure your rockwork is solid and won't topple over since they have a knack for getting under and disrupting the foundation of things you thought were steady.
 
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I’ve also decided to include my jellyfish tank on this build thread. It’s a JellyfishArt Jelly Cyclinder Nano, which is 2 gallons. I know, I know not the best size for a beginner but I plan on testing the water every day or at least every other day. It’s currently cycling with some raw shrimp. I started the cycle Monday so it should have about a week or two left. I plan on feeding a mixture of dry food and baby brine shrimp that I’ll be hatching. I got in the hatchery a few days ago.
 

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Landers

Landers

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Looking good so far! I also started my first tank when I was in high school and the best advice I can give is to take your time and respect the natural course. Its very easy to get swept up and want to continue to push forward to see achievement, but the best rewards come with time. I definitely went too fast and unfortunately I reap the consequences with losing a lot of livestock and battling the algae/diatom/cyano outbreak that followed.

In a 28 gallon you could probably have another couple of fish if you wanted if they were a small swimming fish like a pair of clown or something similar. I think what you have though is a really good start for an interesting mix of fish though. With burrowing fish/shrimp, you'll just want to be sure your rockwork is solid and won't topple over since they have a knack for getting under and disrupting the foundation of things you thought were steady.
Thanks! Yea I’m definitely feeling the algae battle right now. I’m a little nervous about clownfish because I’ve heard they can become bullies but I know that also depends on the type of clown. Thanks for the suggestion! And I did push my rocks down so that they were touching the bottom of my tank instead of just sitting on the sand.
 

Jimbo7

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Yeah I would definitely let the tank settle for awhile (months!) and let it come to an equilibrium and you'll find that algae battle become easier and easier.

Clowns can definitely be jerks and territorial which is why a lot of reefers will add them last once everyone else has had time to claim their own territory.

Unfortunately I have no experience with Jellyfish to help you on that quest. I know they are very unique in their care though but it sounds like you're doing your research before getting into things. Best of luck!
 
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Just finished acclimating and put them all in. Thankfully I was able to guide the pistol to my pre-dug hole. The pistol and firefish are out of sight now but I was able to get a picture of the yellow rose.
2CB1B2E1-C42F-4BFC-A6CB-7020BEC83392.jpeg
Also I forgot to include a picture of my screen in my first post today so here it is. My blood sweat and tears:
BB9DB58A-C28E-40B0-B2D4-7FB59A1F629D.jpeg

I used this guide- https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/top-screen-73-gallon-bowfront.24559/
Working around the HOB equipment was fun
 
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I guess I’ll do a little update. I got good news and bad news. Bad news is my firefish died mysteriously on Monday after doing seemingly great Sunday and even Monday morning. I suspected my pistol after I discovered that he had moved rocks over to where the firefish had been hiding and was found dead, but after posting about it and doing some research sounds like that probably wasn’t the case. Good news is it happened within 48 hours of me buying him so I will be able to get a replacement.
 
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