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CBO's IM Fusion Pro 50 Gallon AIO Lagoon

Calm Blue Ocean

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Last week I started cycling my second ever saltwater aquarium. As the days have gone by I've realized that in spite of many lessons learned over the previous year I still know very little.

What better way to boost my learning potential than to start a build thread on Reef2Reef!

A little history (or maybe a lot of history):

Last June I took my first steps into the saltwater world. I'd had some freshwater fishbowls in the past, my father had kept some small freshwater aquariums, but I think all I really knew was that tap water was bad.

So I filled my first saltwater tank with tap water. Treated of course but still tap water. But I'm getting ahead of myself already.

I admit I had done very little research but even at that it's hard to understand the implications of some things without experiencing it for yourself. Things like "reef ready" didn't mean much and AIO tanks were something completely unfamiliar. So I walked out of the shop with a 46 Bow, a canister filter, an LED light, flow pump, cycled rocks, a bag of sand, and a bag of salt.

It looked like this:

FirstTank.jpeg


A thing of beauty! At least a few days later it was a thing of beauty.

After the initial purchase, I was actually really patient with my tank. I had read as much as I could about cycling and, with API test kits in hand I tested and tested and tested!

July 1 I finally added my first little dudes to the tank. Some cerith snails, astraea snails, trochus snails, and some blue leg hermits. I have never had so much fun watching snails and crabs and I sat in front of the tank for hours every day watching them truck around every surface.

I got diatoms, cloudy water, bryopsis...oh the bryopsis. The CUC were happy to demonstrate that it was not on the menu. I learned about fluconazole. I added UV. I got an RODI system. I upgraded my test kits.

A few weeks later, when things had settled a bit, it was time for fish! A pair of tiny clowns and a pair of tiny gobies. Who knew fish could be so awesome? A few days later I got a pistol shrimp for the gobies and had the thrill of seeing them pair up immediately! And I thought watching the fish was fun!

It was some time after that when I decided to add corals. All softies with a final collection that included small frags of kenya tree, xenia, gsp, and a toadstool. Needless to say, in 46 gallons, this is the whole tank now. I had read the warnings. We are in exponential growth mode now!

Over the year that I've had this tank I have enjoyed it immensely, and fought it frequently.

Every time I cleaned the canister filter I managed to have a wreck. My hardwood floors cried. Had to ditch the canister. With an intense paranoia about anything that took water out of the tank (and potentially to the floor) I went with the Tunze 9004 skimmer and Tunze 3162 filter. So much easier to maintain! And my clowns were overjoyed, choosing the skimmer as their new host.

The glass lid. My nemesis. Sure, evaporation is almost not a thing. But the constant condensation kills the lighting, and I had to cut the glass to fit the Tunze skimmer...did not go well. So now it's a cracked glass lid. The lid is heavy, awkward, and the plastic strip across the back still lets the nerites escape!

The sand...that fine sand. So pretty. So hard to deal with. Dropped a powerhead in it one day. Couldn't see into my tank for a week. No, I had not rinsed the sand first. Lost over an inch of that sugar fine stuff to the syphon while battling cyano and probably another 5 pounds just in routine maintenance. When I had the canister it was always full of sand. It's so pretty and I hate it!

So many experiences, like hair algae that my urchin likes to wear as a hat but not eat, bristle worms the size of great white sharks, spaghetti worm hotel, aiptasia, xenia and kenya tree forests! I still don't know what I'm doing. I really wish I'd made a build thread for this tank. So many mistakes but a lot of make it work moments too.

As the story goes, 5 members of my original CUC turned one yesterday, and right now I'm working on making them, and all my other little guys a better home, minus the uninvited guests!

Introducing my IM Fusion Pro 50 Gallon AIO Lagoon

NewTank.jpg


Similar water volume but a whole new footprint. And best of all, no more clutter!

Things that have changed:

RODI from day one! Our tap water is pretty low TDS but I still always wonder what might have settled into the rocks from the first fill of the old tank.

Dry rocks - I recognize the benefit of live rock and cycled rock but I found out from my first tank that I'm just still too much of a noob to know how to deal with pests. I know better than to think I can ever avoid all pests but to start knowing it's clean I can feel a bit more in control of what's going on, and least for today.

Larger substrate! - CaribSea Special Grade. And I rinsed the heck out of it! 21 buckets of rinse water! The picture above is day one. Night and day from the old tank.

The AIO aquarium, of course! So many things, but one of the biggest has been the shallow form. I can easily reach any part of the display. No more searching for unusually long scrapers. Pleasant to view from the top and both sides. I'm just crazy about the shape of this tank.

Equipment so far (not all installed yet)

IM Fusion Pro 50 Gallon AIO Lagoon w/ stand
2 x AI Prime 16
Tunze 3155 Osmolator
IM MiniMax Reactor
IM NuvoSkim DC Skimmer
IM AquaShield UV Sterilizer
IM ATO Reservoir 5 gallon
BRS titanium heater 200w
Inkbird C929-A Smart WiFi Controller
Vortech MP40QD
Instant Ocean Salt
CaribSea Special Grade Dry Sand
Reef Saver and Reef Saver Foundation Rocks
Fritz TurboStart 900
Algae Barn Nitrocycle

Tank was filled June 22. Rocks and sand all heavily rinsed. I put a filter sock on each overflow and let the few fines that were left in the substrate filter out for a couple days.

Bacteria added June 25 and the first ammonia dose. At this point I started following the schedule on Dr Tim's site for testing and re-dosing ammonia. I also elevated the temperature in the tank to encourage the bacteria to do their thing!

We are currently at Day 8 of the cycle. Last ammonia dose was on Day 6. I could share pictures of the previous test results but really the relevant one is today:

Day8.jpg


The API "what is this color" minigame! Honestly this game makes me crazy but I never did get better tests for ammonia and nitrite.

So that's where we're at! I've got a million thoughts and concerns about all of my equipment and how it works and goes together, but maybe I post for another day. So far so good!
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

andrewey

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What a fun read! As you've seen, your second tank is always much easier than your first. Your aquascape looks great and you're off to a great start with your cycle! It will be exciting to watch this tank come together!

Feel free to post your concerns- I'm sure the community would love to weigh in and help you out :)
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

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What a fun read! As you've seen, your second tank is always much easier than your first. Your aquascape looks great and you're off to a great start with your cycle! It will be exciting to watch this tank come together!

Feel free to post your concerns- I'm sure the community would love to weigh in and help you out :)
Thank you! Looking back I can't believe how many adventures I've already had. The old tank is just starting to develop coralline so I know it will be a long road to get back to where I was but the path seems much clearer. I wish I'd found this hobby a long time ago.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

Calm Blue Ocean

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Welcome to the Lagoon 50 club. There’s several on here so you’ll have plenty of places to go for ideas and help. Tank looks great. I’ll be following along.
Thanks! I just checked out your build and it looks fantastic and I will be following along. It's really great to see what other people are doing with the same tank.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

Calm Blue Ocean

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I believe we are at Day 10 today.

Day10.jpg


API "what is this color" game strikes again, but I think the bacteria seem well on their way to functioning nicely so a few small projects today.

1) Started dropping the temperature down to normal
2) Started increasing salinity to normal
3) Dropped the skimmer in. Figure it's due for a test run, and can't hurt to let it start developing a bit of biofilm to help the break in.
4) Put a silicone mat into the bottom of the ATO container. That Tunze ATO pump resonated with the glass container and just SANG every time it came on. I had temporarily silenced it by sitting it on top of a filter sponge but a more permanent solution was needed. So far so good!
5) Added a bag of MarinePure Gems. More surfaces for the bacteria to colonize!

Had one small challenge today. When I went to test the skimmer I discovered that I have several pieces of equipment that take up an unfortunate amount of space on the power strip, blocking multiple outlets. Definitely not going to be able to plug everything in like this. We'll need 9 outlets if everything is running, plus one for my water change pump. Just when I think I've finished ordering stuff!
 

TheWB

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Thanks! I just checked out your build and it looks fantastic and I will be following along. It's really great to see what other people are doing with the same tank.
Hey, thanks for the compliment. I always feel like my thread is an example of what not to do :)
it’s great that you’re following along, feel free to chime in anytime. It’s always better when people comment.
I'm going to be watching your build with particular interest in how the two primes do for coverage and for how the skimmer performs. I was running an older ghost skimmer that didn’t do very well and the aquamaxx I replaced it with is inconsistent as well. My Radion is a proven light but I need another one which will create mounting problems. Primes have a slimmer mounting option and they look easier to program. I haven’t been a huge fan of ecotech’s web interface.
I have gems and some Seachem matrix in media bags tucked into the empty spaces on each side of the middle chamber underneath the Other chambers. Was going for more of an anaerobic zone beck there.
Did you see how I solved my power outlet situation? With a little modification the aps stand can be set up so you can mount a lot of things on either side Including an extra DJ switch in my case.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

Calm Blue Ocean

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Hey, thanks for the compliment. I always feel like my thread is an example of what not to do :)
it’s great that you’re following along, feel free to chime in anytime. It’s always better when people comment.
I'm going to be watching your build with particular interest in how the two primes do for coverage and for how the skimmer performs. I was running an older ghost skimmer that didn’t do very well and the aquamaxx I replaced it with is inconsistent as well. My Radion is a proven light but I need another one which will create mounting problems. Primes have a slimmer mounting option and they look easier to program. I haven’t been a huge fan of ecotech’s web interface.
I have gems and some Seachem matrix in media bags tucked into the empty spaces on each side of the middle chamber underneath the Other chambers. Was going for more of an anaerobic zone beck there.
Did you see how I solved my power outlet situation? With a little modification the aps stand can be set up so you can mount a lot of things on either side Including an extra DJ switch in my case.
I'm still debating how I'd like to mount the Primes. They made the flex mount base a little wider (about 2 3/8") with the most recent generation which on one hand is nice because it's much more stable, but on the other hand will definitely take some extra real estate in the new tank. I might consider switching to the fixed arm mount or I've seen some really nice examples where people have placed a shelf over the tank and used a hanging mount. It would give a lot more flexibility for placement. For now the lights are on my old tank so I haven't had a chance to test.

The NuvoSkim definitely has a bit of a motor hum compared to my Tunze 9004. The NuvoSkim does seem to produce some nice fine foam so I'll be anxious to see what it can actually pull out of the water. No signs of microbubbles escaping the chamber so that's a huge plus. Hopefully that continues once it actually has a job to do. Microbubbles have been a continuing problem with the Tunze. I am going to do some research to see if anyone has found a solution to the hum. Better silencer? Maybe once it's actually skimming the bubbling sounds will drown it out (my Tunze sounds like frying bacon).

I saw the sludge issues you were having in those zones under the chambers. Those areas were one of my only concerns about going with this tank. I'll be curious to see how your solution works. I had thought about fitting course filter sponges to the openings but I'm sure there is some unforeseen downside to that.

The APS stand has been a breath of fresh air after my old Aqueon stand. I already feel more organized. I'd like to install a small LED light.

I'm currently using an ADJ power strip on the old tank and it's really nice to have the individual switches. When I spot feed in the evening it's just flip, flip flip, flip. Nice lights on the switches to show clearly what's on and off. I'll probably swap it in once this one becomes the primary tank. With the old stand it was so hard to mount anything that I finally got a desktop rack to mount the power strip. Gives me nice access to the switches but takes up a lot of space. Your mounting solution is much more efficient.

Funny, for the old tank I could not really see the benefit of an Apex but the more I fiddle with this AIO the more I see the benefits. Even just little things like being able to program a feed mode that will shut off the ATO when I turn off the return, and then wait a bit to reactivate it (when the return is off the ATO high water alarm goes off and I'd really prefer to not mount the high water alarm any higher than it is, and then after starting up it primes the pump for 15 seconds, potentially adding unneeded fresh water to the tank). I've been looking at some of the Kasa smart power strips and the AutoAqua smart security sensors but something tells me it's one of those things where I could drop a lot of dollars on all of those and realize I should have just put that money toward an Apex because they still aren't doing what I want.
 

TheWB

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I'm still debating how I'd like to mount the Primes. They made the flex mount base a little wider (about 2 3/8") with the most recent generation which on one hand is nice because it's much more stable, but on the other hand will definitely take some extra real estate in the new tank. I might consider switching to the fixed arm mount or I've seen some really nice examples where people have placed a shelf over the tank and used a hanging mount. It would give a lot more flexibility for placement. For now the lights are on my old tank so I haven't had a chance to test.

The NuvoSkim definitely has a bit of a motor hum compared to my Tunze 9004. The NuvoSkim does seem to produce some nice fine foam so I'll be anxious to see what it can actually pull out of the water. No signs of microbubbles escaping the chamber so that's a huge plus. Hopefully that continues once it actually has a job to do. Microbubbles have been a continuing problem with the Tunze. I am going to do some research to see if anyone has found a solution to the hum. Better silencer? Maybe once it's actually skimming the bubbling sounds will drown it out (my Tunze sounds like frying bacon).

I saw the sludge issues you were having in those zones under the chambers. Those areas were one of my only concerns about going with this tank. I'll be curious to see how your solution works. I had thought about fitting course filter sponges to the openings but I'm sure there is some unforeseen downside to that.

The APS stand has been a breath of fresh air after my old Aqueon stand. I already feel more organized. I'd like to install a small LED light.

I'm currently using an ADJ power strip on the old tank and it's really nice to have the individual switches. When I spot feed in the evening it's just flip, flip flip, flip. Nice lights on the switches to show clearly what's on and off. I'll probably swap it in once this one becomes the primary tank. With the old stand it was so hard to mount anything that I finally got a desktop rack to mount the power strip. Gives me nice access to the switches but takes up a lot of space. Your mounting solution is much more efficient.

Funny, for the old tank I could not really see the benefit of an Apex but the more I fiddle with this AIO the more I see the benefits. Even just little things like being able to program a feed mode that will shut off the ATO when I turn off the return, and then wait a bit to reactivate it (when the return is off the ATO high water alarm goes off and I'd really prefer to not mount the high water alarm any higher than it is, and then after starting up it primes the pump for 15 seconds, potentially adding unneeded fresh water to the tank). I've been looking at some of the Kasa smart power strips and the AutoAqua smart security sensors but something tells me it's one of those things where I could drop a lot of dollars on all of those and realize I should have just put that money toward an Apex because they still aren't doing what I want.
I think the benefit of the flexible mounting arms is that they don’t have to be perfectly aligned with where the light gets mounted over the tank. I’ve seen pics of the primes mounted beneath shelves as well and that looks like a good option too.
Your the first person I’ve come across whose mentioned noise as an issue with the Tunze skimmer. I never considered getting one because it won’t for in the second chamber.
I cleaned all that sludge out once but it might still be a problem. I had to remove some felt that was under the matt beneath my tank and that felt made the tank easy to move. Maintenance was easier. Now that it’s much harder to move the tank I can’t see back there. It could be all filthy again and I just haven’t been able to see it.
Dj strips are great for extra plugs and individual on/off. My solution to hang it looks ugly but it’s practical and I can reach all the switches.
I’m happy I have an Apex but I don’t use it like I could be. I have not yet tried to figure out how to properly program a feed or maintenance mode. I mostly just turn things on and off from my phone when it’s time for maintenance or a water change. I use the feed mode in my CurrentUSA loop controller since the return and the wave makers all run on that platform. I will say the thing I like most about the Apex is the monitoring capabilities. Once the salinity and ph probes are properly dialed in they work pretty well. I have not had near the issues with the probes as I see a lot of others complaining about. I do hope to use the Apex for a more controlled water change setup at some point but I’ll still probably activate the pumps myself through the software interface rather than have it be truly automated. All in all an Apex isn’t necessary but I’m glad I have one.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

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Your the first person I’ve come across whose mentioned noise as an issue with the Tunze skimmer. I never considered getting one because it won’t for in the second chamber.
I would have probably stuck with the Tunze if it had fit in the second chamber like the NuvoSkim. The noise from the Tunze is really just foam noise, the motor is dead silent. Sometimes if the tank has been stirred up it can get a little wild west but mostly it doesn't bother me. The NuvoSkim sound might take some time to learn to tune out. Both the MightyJet return pump and the MP40 are super quiet so I hear every hum and and trickle from other components.

The NuvoSkim does have me a bit perplexed at the moment.

First: Most of the hum seems to be from the air intake rather than the motor. The silencer has two intake openings instead of just one like the Tunze. If I put my thumb over one, the sound drops significantly and I don't notice any difference in the foam generation. Googling around I stumbled across a replacement silencer for ReefOctopus skimmers of a similar design and curiously enough, a removeable cap for one of the intakes! So perhaps this is a thing? Want more air, leave both open, want less sound, cover one? :confused:

Second: The body of the skimmer is not symmetrical. At the bottom of the body there is a hole on one side and a grate on the other. This would make me think there is at the very least an optimal chamber for installation (left or right). I'm sure it works in either but why not do it the best way while the only thing I'd need to move is the heater? Odd thing to be in a knot over I suppose. Initially it seemed obvious that I should align the grate with the incoming water but looking at the motor I'm now certain it's the opposite. No, I'm making that part up. I'm certain of nothing.

Salinity up to 1.024 today. Slow and steady using saltwater top offs.

Having some issues calibrating the Ink Bird. I might just give up on the calibration and just set the temperature to where it gives me the reading I want on my Hanna.

I need to pick up some parts for my RODI holding tank. The drain has been leaking in spite of multiple patch attempts. Time to stop pasting it together and start over with some fresh fittings. And this is one part of why I didn't go with a traditional sump. I do not get along well with plumbing!
 
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TheWB

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I would have probably stuck with the Tunze if it had fit in the second chamber like the NuvoSkim. The noise from the Tunze is really just foam noise, the motor is dead silent. Sometimes if the tank has been stirred up it can get a little wild west but mostly it doesn't bother me. The NuvoSkim sound might take some time to learn to tune out. Both the MightyJet return pump and the MP40 are super quiet so I hear every hum and and trickle from other components.

The NuvoSkim does have me a bit perplexed at the moment.

First: Most of the hum seems to be from the air intake rather than the motor. The silencer has two intake openings instead of just one like the Tunze. If I put my thumb over one, the sound drops significantly and I don't notice any difference in the foam generation. Googling around I stumbled across a replacement silencer for ReefOctopus skimmers of a similar design and curiously enough, a removeable cap for one of the intakes! So perhaps this is a thing? Want more air, leave both open, want less sound, cover one? :confused:

Second: The body of the skimmer is not symmetrical. At the bottom of the body there is a hole on one side and a grate on the other. This would make me think there is at the very least an optimal chamber for installation (left or right). I'm sure it works in either but why not do it the best way while the only thing I'd need to move is the heater? Odd thing to be in a knot over I suppose. Initially it seemed obvious that I should align the grate with the incoming water but looking at the motor I'm now certain it's the opposite. No, I'm making that part up. I'm certain of nothing.

Salinity up to 1.024 today. Slow and steady using saltwater top offs.

Having some issues calibrating the Ink Bird. I might just give up on the calibration and just set the temperature to where it gives me the reading I want on my Hanna.

I need to pick up some parts for my RODI holding tank. The drain has been leaking in spite of multiple patch attempts. Time to stop pasting it together and start over with some fresh fittings. And this is one part of why I didn't go with a traditional sump. I do not get along well with plumbing!
I think all of the nano and AIO sized skimmers have issues of one kind or another. I have not looked closely at the nuvoskim to see if it is the same but the thing I disliked most about the ghost skimmer was how the pump sits in the bottom of the body surrounded by the plastic housing. If you unplug the airline to remove the pump for maintenance I don’t know how you’d ever get it connected again. Mine needed to be cleaned but once I couldn’t figure out how to get it back together again I gave up on it. I hope the nuvoskim is easier to deal with. It looks like basically the same body though.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

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I think all of the nano and AIO sized skimmers have issues of one kind or another. I have not looked closely at the nuvoskim to see if it is the same but the thing I disliked most about the ghost skimmer was how the pump sits in the bottom of the body surrounded by the plastic housing. If you unplug the airline to remove the pump for maintenance I don’t know how you’d ever get it connected again. Mine needed to be cleaned but once I couldn’t figure out how to get it back together again I gave up on it. I hope the nuvoskim is easier to deal with. It looks like basically the same body though.
Looking at the manual for the Ghost they really do look very similar. Basically the same body with a few modifications. The Tunze skimmer comes completely apart but can be a bit of a puzzle to put back together. Thank goodness for YouTube.

On the good news front with the NuvoSkim, I contacted IM to ask if there was an optimal choice between left and right for installation and they got back to me right away. They said they are totally equal and to install on whichever side most suits my build. As for the hum they said it should diminish as it breaks in but we'll keep an eye on it.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

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Starting to give some thought to stocking the new tank.

Old tank inhabitants:
Fish:
2 x Mocha Ocellaris Clownfish
2 x Yellow Watchman Gobies
1 x Tiger Pistol Shrimp
2 x Peppermint Shrimp
CUC:
1 x Mexican Turbo Snail
1 x Blue Tuxedo Urchin
1 x Tiger Sand Conch
3 x Blue Leg Hermit Crabs
2 x Trochus Snails
8 x Nerite Snails
9 x Nassarius Vibex Snails
? x Cerith and dwarf Cerith Snails
Corals:
Kenya Tree
Pulsing Xenia
Branching Green Star Polyps
Toadstool

There are also currently 2 small wrasses in quarantine, hopefully to be the first additions to the new tank when everything is ready. After them I will likely move the clowns just because I expect them to be more easily caught. The gobies and shrimp will require a complete tear down of the tank.

It's certainly going to be a while before the new tank can support my sizeable CUC. The Turbo is happy to be supplemented with nori and will park on a sheet all day. The conch will also snack on nori. Similarly the crabs are easily supplemented and will eat fish food and algae pellets. I mostly worry about the urchin because he hates anything that isn't a rock or a hat. Last time I tried to give him nori he took part of it as a hat and moved as fast as his tube feet would take him away from the rest of it. Something tells me I'll be maintaining 46 gallons for a bunch of snails for a while.

The next question is about coral. If I can, I think I'd like to rehome the existing corals and start again. My Xenia is out of control. The Kenya tree is truly indestructible and grows anywhere it wants. Cut off one head and two more take it's place. Pretty sure.

Xenia.jpg


This Xenia is easily 10" wide and 10" long. I haven't seen the rock it's on in quite some time. It started from a tiny frag just 8 or 9 month ago. There is no way I can put this monster in the new tank. I wish I had more confidence in my ability to control Xenia. I really do like it. But really, I have scrubbed rocks where it has spread off it's island and the polyps always come back. What a beast.

I'm hoping to try my hand at some LPS and easier SPS corals this time. Still lots of time to plan for new corals though.

I'm wondering if it might be feasible to set up my 10 gallon quarantine tank with a big chunk of my nastiest live rock to keep the excess CUC going while the new tank establishes? Maintaining a full tank for an urchin and some snails seems nuts. Probably end up with all the algae dying off and they'd still starve.

Patience I guess!
 

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Starting to give some thought to stocking the new tank.

Old tank inhabitants:
Fish:
2 x Mocha Ocellaris Clownfish
2 x Yellow Watchman Gobies
1 x Tiger Pistol Shrimp
2 x Peppermint Shrimp
CUC:
1 x Mexican Turbo Snail
1 x Blue Tuxedo Urchin
1 x Tiger Sand Conch
3 x Blue Leg Hermit Crabs
2 x Trochus Snails
8 x Nerite Snails
9 x Nassarius Vibex Snails
? x Cerith and dwarf Cerith Snails
Corals:
Kenya Tree
Pulsing Xenia
Branching Green Star Polyps
Toadstool

There are also currently 2 small wrasses in quarantine, hopefully to be the first additions to the new tank when everything is ready. After them I will likely move the clowns just because I expect them to be more easily caught. The gobies and shrimp will require a complete tear down of the tank.

It's certainly going to be a while before the new tank can support my sizeable CUC. The Turbo is happy to be supplemented with nori and will park on a sheet all day. The conch will also snack on nori. Similarly the crabs are easily supplemented and will eat fish food and algae pellets. I mostly worry about the urchin because he hates anything that isn't a rock or a hat. Last time I tried to give him nori he took part of it as a hat and moved as fast as his tube feet would take him away from the rest of it. Something tells me I'll be maintaining 46 gallons for a bunch of snails for a while.

The next question is about coral. If I can, I think I'd like to rehome the existing corals and start again. My Xenia is out of control. The Kenya tree is truly indestructible and grows anywhere it wants. Cut off one head and two more take it's place. Pretty sure.

Xenia.jpg


This Xenia is easily 10" wide and 10" long. I haven't seen the rock it's on in quite some time. It started from a tiny frag just 8 or 9 month ago. There is no way I can put this monster in the new tank. I wish I had more confidence in my ability to control Xenia. I really do like it. But really, I have scrubbed rocks where it has spread off it's island and the polyps always come back. What a beast.

I'm hoping to try my hand at some LPS and easier SPS corals this time. Still lots of time to plan for new corals though.

I'm wondering if it might be feasible to set up my 10 gallon quarantine tank with a big chunk of my nastiest live rock to keep the excess CUC going while the new tank establishes? Maintaining a full tank for an urchin and some snails seems nuts. Probably end up with all the algae dying off and they'd still starve.

Patience I guess!
The 10 gallon seems like a better idea than keeping the 46 going just for the cuc. Toss that xenia rock in there for filtration. Cheap light and an hob filter and your all set.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

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The 10 gallon seems like a better idea than keeping the 46 going just for the cuc. Toss that xenia rock in there for filtration. Cheap light and an hob filter and your all set.
I often wonder if that Xenia has been a big part of keeping my parameters in check! And I agree, it's really the most sane answer. Just a straight tank transfer once all the fish are in the new tank, with some sand and whatever rock fits. Snails don't need swimming room.

Here's the entrance to the goby and pistol shrimp complex (little dude has tunnels under everything). None of those Kenya trees were put there by me :eek: What's there is already bigger than the original frag and it's the opposite end of the tank from the main Kenya tree forest! The back side has more wild Kenya trees and more sneaky Xenia. I have seen the pistol shrimp gather dropped branches from the Kenya tree and place them very purposefully around the entrance. I thin them occasionally (many are just attached to shells in his collection) but admit I don't totally mind the aesthetic. That shrimp is not a bad designer!

Cave.jpg
 
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TheWB

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I often wonder if that Xenia has been a big part of keeping my parameters in check! And I agree, it's really the most sane answer. Just a straight tank transfer once all the fish are in the new tank, with some sand and whatever rock fits. Snails don't need swimming room.

Here's the entrance to the goby and pistol shrimp complex (little dude has tunnels under everything). None of those Kenya trees were put there by me :eek: What's there is already bigger than the original frag and it's the opposite end of the tank from the main Kenya tree forest! The back side has more wild Kenya trees and more sneaky Xenia. I have seen the pistol shrimp gather dropped branches from the Kenya tree and place them very purposefully around the entrance. I thin them occasionally (many are just attached to shells in his collection) but admit I don't totally mind the aesthetic. That shrimp is not a bad designer!

Cave.jpg
A softy tank can be cool but they do tend to get out of control easily.
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

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Small update, I added my first life forms yesterday! 'Pods! It feels good to be feeding some critters that I can actually see, even if they are super tiny. Hopefully being the only guys in the tank they will have a chance to establish themselves before the wrasses move in. Next up, "clean the cleaners" so I can move my first snail in from the old tank to get working on the film that's developed on the glass. It's starting to get exciting!
 
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Today marks four weeks cycling.

The 'pods added a week ago are looking good.

I gave one of my original trochus snails from my other tank a couple of good scrubs a few days ago and he's now running cleanup in the tank. I hope there is enough food for him in there but he seems active. Funny that he seems to be living by the light schedule on the other tank with no regard to the light situation in his new home. Lights start coming up on the other tank and he finds some good trochus parking and naps for the day, and as soon as the moonlights come on the other tank he starts exploring. I hope I've picked a good first snail. We've always called this guy "Typhoid Mary" since he's always had a solid array of sponges, spirorbid worms, and algae on his shell. At the least I figure this is a good test of my cleaning method. Or maybe I've brought in my first bit of "biodiversity".

Looking at pictures of the old tank during a similar time period they look dramatically different! By three weeks I had an impressive layer of diatoms on both rocks and sand, the first strands of bryopsis showing, and plenty of work for a full cleanup crew of trochus snails, astraea snails, blue leg hermits and ceriths. Aside from some white film on the glass, this new tank still looks pristine at four weeks!

Differences? The old tank started with cycled rock from the LFS, tap water, unrinsed dry sand, and a regular lighting schedule. The new tank was all dry rock, RODI, thoroughly rinsed sand, and is still just ambient light. I'm curious to see if I get some sort of explosion when I finally turn on the lights but as always, patience!
 

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Today marks four weeks cycling.

The 'pods added a week ago are looking good.

I gave one of my original trochus snails from my other tank a couple of good scrubs a few days ago and he's now running cleanup in the tank. I hope there is enough food for him in there but he seems active. Funny that he seems to be living by the light schedule on the other tank with no regard to the light situation in his new home. Lights start coming up on the other tank and he finds some good trochus parking and naps for the day, and as soon as the moonlights come on the other tank he starts exploring. I hope I've picked a good first snail. We've always called this guy "Typhoid Mary" since he's always had a solid array of sponges, spirorbid worms, and algae on his shell. At the least I figure this is a good test of my cleaning method. Or maybe I've brought in my first bit of "biodiversity".

Looking at pictures of the old tank during a similar time period they look dramatically different! By three weeks I had an impressive layer of diatoms on both rocks and sand, the first strands of bryopsis showing, and plenty of work for a full cleanup crew of trochus snails, astraea snails, blue leg hermits and ceriths. Aside from some white film on the glass, this new tank still looks pristine at four weeks!

Differences? The old tank started with cycled rock from the LFS, tap water, unrinsed dry sand, and a regular lighting schedule. The new tank was all dry rock, RODI, thoroughly rinsed sand, and is still just ambient light. I'm curious to see if I get some sort of explosion when I finally turn on the lights but as always, patience!
I did a 4 month cycle with dry rock and still got the uglies. Some of it was my mistakes but I think it’s inevitable when you start with dry rock, it’s just a matter or when.
 

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Nice looking tank and build. My nuvoskim (desktop size for my 25) is a beast and is very quiet. It did make some noise at first though. I cut two small pieces of foam filter sponge and wedged one in on either side of the tiny pump that is in the skimmer at the bottom. My noise appeared to be the pump vibrating on the plastic. Now all I hear is the sound of muffled foam - but I usually don't even notice that unless I listen for it.
 

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