Aqua Mans journey

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Aqua Man

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Grew up having fresh water tanks. Almost always had at least 1 fresh once I had my own place. Was always drawn to the salt section at pet shops. So when my wife and I found and bought our forever home I knew it was finally time to dart one.
My first reef tank was born in 2016.
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Very basic setup. HOB filter, powerhead and heater. Rock from petco. lots of rock! Thought I needed that much. Not exactly sure how many pounds. Light originally was a T12 from an old fresh tank. Then upgraded right away to T5HO 4 bulb that I got at a plant shop.
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Petco is the closest shop and we have other pets so we go there often. So at the time most livestock was coming from there. Starting with easy stuff that hopefully I wouldn’t kill.
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First fish was a blue Damsel. Accidentally killed it. Next was a pair of Clowns and then later added a Neon dottyback. They seemed to get along for the most part.

Almost forgot! Lol tank is a 20gal tall. Thanks for looking I’ll post some progress pics later.
 
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Aqua Man

Aqua Man

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*EDIT* This tank was started in 2014

Even the Petco is 30 min drive. Next closest shop is 40 min away and they have similar stock to petco. Except with more hitchhikersI did eventually start to travel further to find better corals.

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since we would go to petco often I would notice corals that were not selling for one reason or another. Like the Chili coral, at the store it looked like a red blob. They sold it to me for cheap since no one was going to buy it anyway. The chili lasted about a year in my tank. Started to run a cleaner system and it slowly went away. This tank has always been an experiment. My first tank, so I tried to learn and observe as much of everything as I could. See what I could get to grow for me.
 
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Aqua Man

Aqua Man

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Tank was progressing nicely. I was getting more confident as things would live and grow. Zoas spread. Every surface was getting coralline.
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Soft coral, check! Wonder how LPS coral will do? Time for a road trip!!
 
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Nitrate has always been on the high side. So I decided to get rid of the sand and some of the rocks. Was really hard to clean the sand. First 6 months or so I don’t really remember vacuuming it. Took sand out in sections and re did the rock scape some.
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Aqua Man

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The above Full tank shot was around the end of 2016. All sand now gone. Thought a skimmer was needed, that’s the thing hanging on the left side in the back. Sort of worked.
Around this time tank had an over feeding accident. Totally my fault. Up to now never really had any uglies.
Even after large water changes, the damage I think was already done.Turf Algae, cyano and bubble algae started to get a good grip. Nitrate really high. Even after back to back 50% water change the nitrates still in the red. Slowly started to loose corals.
Thinking back, it could of been coral warfare. Did a few more weekly water changes of 5 gallons. Scrape the algae, get out the red slime on everything. It would all grow back between water changes.
water changes, I thought, were doing nothing so I stopped for awhile. No pictures during this time. Tank was not in a good place. Lost almost all my coral. Everything was covered in green or red. Cyano even grew on my bare bottom glass!
Wasn’t totally giving up, still topped off my tank every day and turned the lights off. Slowly, very slowly I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
 
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I have a lot of respect for the reefers who have big tanks. Not a huge deal for me to do a 50% water change. Needing to change 50-60 gallons to fix an issue!

Tried Chemiclean a few times with 3 day blackouts. Didn’t seem to affect the algae at all. The Cyano would die but would just come right back. Water chemistry was probably just way out of synch. Even though the No water changes at first seemed to not help it allowed the agae and cyano to compete for nutrients. After a few months of no to very little water changes tank was a very sad sight.

Time for a rip clean. Sand was already gone. Pulled all the rocks and scrubbed them and cleaned in new water. Scrubbed glass of algae and cyano. 50% water change. Week later did another 50% water change. Continued every week with 4 gallon water changes, turkey baster the rocks and scrubbing with a toothbrush and suction hose combo. Few more months of this and now the cyano is gone and the algae is not as bad. Nitrates are still high. Have never checked phosphate.
Down to just one fish and one cerith snail at this point. Only 2 corals survived. Finger leather and a mushroom colony. Added a large Turbo and a couple blue legs to help me out with the algae. Also a tiny Kenya tree and pulsing xenia. My canary in the coal mine.
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finger leather that survives despite me.
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ulgy but way better than it was!!
 
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Thanks for following along, any tips or replies are welcome!

So that’s pretty much my journey up till now. Tank is now 6 yrs old as of January 2020.
Replaced my T5 bulbs, running 2 ATI blue plus and 2 ATI coral plus. Purchased a Hanna for phosphorus, ultra low. Still getting that down. My phosphorus may be too low. All the coral added in the last few months are doing ok. Zoas mostly, are growing new polyps.
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Vemitid snails are making my back glass look like a clear night, all the stars are out!
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time for a good scrubbing. Bottom glass is starting to grow some green turf also. I really miss the coralline.
 
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Thank you
2 Turbos, 2 Blue leg and 1 Red leg hermit. A Cerith snail that is 5 yrs old. Recently added a Pencil urchin. Never had an urchin before, always wanted one.
 
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Psamacora looks like it is starting to encrust a bit.
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This is my first encrusting coral so I’m not sure. It’s probably Cyano!
 
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I mentioned that I purchased a Hanna ULR for phosphorus. Been doing some testing.
4/4/20 .015ppm
4/5 .009
4/20 .000
4/22 .012
5/2 .015
5/10 .000

It seems that my tank is lacking in P and has too much N. Since I have plenty of N, feeding is not going to help. Probably gonna order some stuff to dose for P.

The algae I have is a turf algae and I have almost toppled my rock scape tugging on it. A toothbrush barely dents it. Really hard to get a hold of. i have taken my rocks out and scrubbed them and swished them in clean water. Done this twice in the last few months. Algae just grows back. LFS says I probably have Cladaphora and recommended the urchin.
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it looks better than it did! There was also a bundle of bubble algae crowding the leather coral. Bubble algae at least didn’t grow back. Lol

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Made a new discovery the other day. Appears I have colonial hydroids popping up in a couple places.
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only thing I can think of is I had a colony of mushrooms cut awhile back and the eggs/spores must of been in there.
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Today test .003 ppm P
I have been doing water changes weekly. I skipped a week last week to see if I could get above zero. Seems to have helped.
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Favia is growing! Some new additions also
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AquaCave

How difficult is it REALLY to keep Acropora corals?

  • 1 - easy to keep

    Votes: 17 3.7%
  • 2

    Votes: 6 1.3%
  • 3

    Votes: 13 2.9%
  • 4

    Votes: 10 2.2%
  • 5 - average

    Votes: 114 25.1%
  • 6

    Votes: 44 9.7%
  • 7

    Votes: 120 26.4%
  • 8

    Votes: 67 14.8%
  • 9

    Votes: 17 3.7%
  • 10 - difficult to keep

    Votes: 46 10.1%
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