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Astro

Astro

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Hello friends! It has been sometime since my past post in my build thread; I was busy at first and too lazy, but then it turned into being overwhelmed with things to update with lol. Nevertheless, approaching my one year in the hobby (end of the month) I figured it would be best to do it soon! Soooo I went through the million photos of my reef and got the essentials for you all B-)

Recap:​

My last update was January 7th, where I had a handful of corals, fish, and was feeling pretty good about it all. I beat the ugly phase, was sitting at 0 nitrates/phosphates for what seemed like half a year, and beat dinos almost instantly with a sterilizer.

Missed updates:​

Since then, I had ran into many more issues, including dead fish and corals :( as well as the addition of many more fish and corals!

Here is an updated livestock list:
Fish:
  • Copperband Butterfly
  • 2 clown fish (bullet hole)
  • 5 blue/green chromis
  • Yellow wrasse
  • Six line wrasse
  • Mandarin goby
  • Watchman goby
  • One spot foxface
  • Royal gramma basslet

CUC/Inverts:
  • Forest fire or rainbow BTA?
  • Pistol shrimp
  • Tuxedo Sea urchin
  • 1 Conch snail
  • ~5 astrea snails
  • ~15 trochus snail
  • ~8 nassarius
  • ~3 Mexican turbo snails
  • 3 ring cowrie snails
  • 1 Strawberry Top Hat snail
  • 3 hermit crabs

Corals:
  • Gold hammer coral
  • Leather coral
  • Two chalice corals
  • Green bubble coral
  • Two green monti caps
  • ~8 zoanthids
  • One favia
  • Two mushrooms
  • GSP rock
  • And 16 acros/sps including
    • green slimer
    • ultimate bonsai
    • frog skin
    • pacman; and
    • two other deep sea ones
    • sunset mili
    • rr lady in pink

Losses:
  • My pipe fish jumped out through the lid one night :(
  • I bought and sold a purple tang and scopas tang due to picking on copperband
  • I had lost my first copperband fish
  • I lost one, and almost both of my favias
  • My anemone split 6x, sold 3, lost 1, currently have 2
  • many SPS corals :(
  • half a dozen snails
  • Sold my devils hand coral
  • Sold my clown goby due to snacking on polyps :(
  • Sold my pink bubble coral

Started dosing:​

I very much jumped the gun on getting into SPS without dosing; I think I lost a handful of frags to a variety of reasons such as over feeding, under feeding, not dosing, change in light schedules, slacking on water changes, etc. But one of the biggest game changers was a regular dosing/testing schedule. I think it appears to be a huge barrier for new reefers due to the cost of pumps like GHL and profilux, and it wasn't until meeting other reefers who told me how crazy it is to buy a $400 doser that has only 2-heads, and so I eventually caved and got two cheap ($80/ea) kamoer x1 pro's. Now I am almost constantly at 8.5-9.0 alk and ca/mg are consistent. I use aquaforest salt and currently use ATI 2-part essentials pro dosing
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(Also got an inkbird thermometer controller both for heating and cooling - Calgary just hit something like 2 weeks of 35c outside for the first time in probably ever and my tank got upto 85f !!! )
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New wave-makers:
Looking back, I kind of regret this. I had two reefwave 25's and having my desk to the right of my tank, I didn't like the obstructed view, and since many reefers have those MP10's on the back, I wanted the same look. So I got two Nero AI 5's and sold one of my reefwaves. However I don't quite like the flow of these nero's, and a good reefing friend of mine advised two gyro's for such short tanks. In the future I hope to get a second reefwave again and maybe use the neros elsewhere or lower down for moving detritus.
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Changed light schedule:
While a lot of my acros were dying, I had originally thought it was due to too intense of light, so lowered my reefLeds a bit; not sure if this was truly the issue, but I think maybe one day I'll slowly bump them up again.
Currently running 80% blue, 20% white from 8:00am-8pm with ~30 min sunrise/sunsets.

Re-did cabinet:
I added in an ikea cabinet when I first set up my tank, but was honestly displeased with it. It was impossible to reach behind it from the front, I felt the storage was kind of useless, and keeping things like vibrant or bio-s in there, made me forget to dose them. I ended up stripping it out, and cutting a piece of wood with 2" holes for a control board. I had planned on adding magnetic cabinet mounts to keep it in place, but due to it being the perfect size, it actually squeezes in just enough to hold itself in place.
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Changed sterilizer:
I was originally recommended a sterilizer to help battle the specific type of dinos I had in my tank, and it worked almost instantly. However the sterilizer I had gotten is actually quite trash (coralife turbo twist 3x ); within a couple months the inside of it was rusted an insane amount, and my ICP test had high levels of medals like tin. I did some looking and settled on the barb x barb AquaUV 15W sterilizer; I plumbed it in the return line, and has been working flawlessly. It was a bit more expensive but for the quality, its a simple decision.
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Added Clarisea:
With covid it was easy to be home all day and work on the tank, but working in office / studying on campus, I come home almost always exhausted and neglected my filter socks and other maintenance. I finally caved on this VERY EXPENSIVE piece of plastic and added the SK-3000 Clarisea to my sump. So far it's been pretty good, doesn't smell at all, and is actually kind of neat! However I did almost break my back removing the glass/socks for it to be added in.
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New Aquascape:
I was running into issues with my aquascape taking up too much floor real-estate; I couldn't keep corals on the sand and a lot of the sides were already too close to the glass for scraping. However it wasn't until my anemone split and moved off it's rock onto the top rock that I realized I need to separate them entirely if I want to grow out my SPS collection and keep the anemone.
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Now:​

And yeah, that's basically the bulk of my updates I've been slacking on haha. As you can probably tell, I'm still making some beginner mistakes and trying my best to learn from them so that my tank can thrive! I still think I'll shoot for a mixed reef tank, but just with a lot more SPS dominating the scape!

I've kind of maxed out my fish real estate, but I think I'll be open to adding a male Spotted mandarin fish, and perhaps either a black, yellowtail, or ornate leopard wrasse.

I want to basically cover the lower part with zoas, or other lps, and hopefully get a torch, some more chalices, favia, and mushrooms. I want to just keep adding contrasting colours of acros throughout the rest of the tank. I think for now I'll keep the anemone on the far right side, and am looking to get rid of that zoanthid rock and make more room for the GSP rock and maybe either a clam or scolys.

I will also be looking to move in April, so for now I'm ensuring all rocks are able to be separated with ease and transported. I'll only be moving from my rental house right now (I'm a student so rent near the campus) to an apartment closer to downtown (got to make sure it's alright to keep my tank there though lol). But nevertheless, if anyone has any advice on moving I'd really appreciate it.

Additionally, I've been having crazy high phosphates (0.5!!!) which I'm working to reduce. It's weird since for the majority of this tanks life I've been at 0 phosphates/nitrates, but these past two months I've been having wild phosphates and nitrates. I'm not sure if it's specifically due to having a lot more fish and corals, or whether my nutrient export is not as optimal. I added the clarisea to help out with this, as well as got the python vacuum to tumble my substrate during water changes. I worry it could also be that my aquascape covers a lot of substrate that gets next to no flow. I went from feeding 4 cubes and 2 pinches of pellets a day down to 3 cubes only, and cut off adding AB+, reefroids, and acropower until I figure it out. However it's insane, because I have hit the max phosphate reading on my low-phos hanna tester, but there is almost no algae. The only algae is growing on my zoanthid rock, and only about 1.5" in diameter of it. I had tried setting up a refugium in my sump but took it down due to having no nutrients and the chaeto looked to be dying. I recently added and keep a bag of rowaphos in my sump, but hasn't been doing much so far. Even my bi-weekly 15G water changes dont seem to be making a significant dent in it either.
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Well, that about wraps it up friends :) Thanks for following, encouraging, and helping me out along the way! If anyone has any comments, questions, advice, or tips, please post below! :D

And lastly, here are some photos:
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What my favia used to look like lol:
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This hermit crab has 'prestiged' 4x since I got him 10 months ago
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My first anemone splitting:
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Rare pic of my pistol shrimp:
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And lastly, my king:
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Last edited:
BRS
OP
Astro

Astro

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I added Chaeto yesterday and left refugium light on from afternoon until just this morning, and already .6 to .3 phosphate. Could be mix of rowaphos (moved from sitting in a bag in my sump, to stretching the bag out and laying it over top of the sponge in my sump), or chaeto is just actually insanely effective. Will keep monitoring to ensure it doesn't tank my phosphate too quickly though, since that's an alarming jump.
 
OP
Astro

Astro

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@Astro I’m going to try to remember to read the really long post at the top of this page tonight. I would really like to see a full tank shot (FTS).
Hahaha sorry it was so long XD hadn't updated in a while and was procrastinating hard lol
 
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