Family IM Nuvo 20 - First foray into salt

over0066

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Hello all,

After a 15 year hiatus from the hobby, the seed I planted with my children finally sprouted! My 10 yo daughter asked to get an aquarium for the house, and since I didn't need much of a push, we jumped in! Since I have never done a saltwater tank, this will be a totally new experience. I have been close many times (had a 58g all set up at one point), but I didn't want to tear it down after a year as our family started to grow. Anyway, enough of the background, lets jump in!

Equipment:
I found a craigslist special which included:
IM Nuvo Fusion 20 on a computer stand
media caddy x1 and two well used IM socks
Sicce Syncra 1.0 return
AI PrimeHD
Jebao RW-4 Wavemaker
AutoAqua ATO
Eheim feeder
Red Sea Marine test kit
Coralife salt bucket
Some books to add to my collection
heater
original return pump

Additions to get started:
I already have an RO/DI from our drinking water system and from when I was prepping before. Needed new filters and now can produce TDS 0 water. Garbage cans and auto shut off valve
Refractometer
2nd IM Media Caddy (I tossed the socks since they were in rough shape)
BRS titanium heater with Inkbird controller

Light schedule - Initially using the exact same schedule the LFS uses. There does not seem to be any consistency in how people set theirs up. Probably the most frustrating part so far. Any good resources you can direct me to? I have been reading many posts, but haven't found anything to use as a foundation to make any informed decisions going forward.

After 15 years of reading forums, I have sufficiently confused myself with too much info before having any first hand practical knowledge. With that in mind, I decided to follow the LFS owners advice (since he has been in business for 15+ years and is on the BRS LFS recommended list I am hoping it will go well).

First live inhabitants:
12 pounds of live rock from circulating bins and a 3 pound seeder piece of live rock from one of the LFS display tanks.
17ish pounds of caribsea reef live sand. (I will get better at taking pics)

Day 1 Aquascaped.jpg

Day 1

Day 2:
Water parameters:
pH 8.o,
ammonia 0,
nitrite 0
nitrate 5 (LFS result was 0)
temp 77.5-78 according to inkbird
salinity 1.025
ALK LFS result was "good" can't remember the number given
Ca LFS result 360 (Red Sea Foundation test kit on the way and Hanna Alk meter)

Dosed 5ml Ca and added Bio Spira just before adding the following:

My wife and two daughters picked out the first purposeful inhabitants. An ocellaris clownfish and a onyx percula. My kids named them Leah and Marty, repectively : ) The LFS owner also said we would have success if we put in a soft coral as well, so we picked one out of his frag tank. I don't remember what he said it is, but from looking it up I think it is a neon green hairy mushroom. On day 3 we fed the coral brine shrimp. He closed up around the food and ate it! I never saw a coral eat before, pretty fun experience with the kids. I also learned a half cube of brine shrimp was waaay too much food. Little Marty (percula) was quick to eat leftovers, but Leah (ocellaris) was a bit pickier. Day 4 we gave some flake food. Again learned that the little we gave was way too much. Both fish seemed to eat, Leah still a bit more hesitant than Marty.

Day 2 Fish and First coral.jpg

Day 2


Day 5:
Water parameters:
pH 8.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10 (not sure how much to trust this. Previously a discrepency with the LFS on day 2. Is this accureate because the tank is already cycled due to live rock? or is this an errant result and I am still waiting for an ammonia spike?)
Temp 77.8

Results of overfeeding twice are apparent with the beginning of the brown algae. Knew it was coming, but not sure what to do with it yet. Clean up crew is obviously in our future. Suggestions of what and when are appreciated! Skipped feeding today. You can see the two main hitchikers in the "seeder" live rock in the coral close up below. A brittle star is to the left of the coral (many, many others around). The other is what I believe to be a variety of Aiptasia which I know can be horrible. Hope this variety is not. There are two below the coral and one just above it (with a few others present which cannot be seen). Anything else you guys see? I know there are many things we could have done better already, but I got sick of reading so many opinions of what to do that I decided to jump in to get some experience. Any input, good and bad is welcome. I have warned my wife and kids we will have many bumps in the road, but I hope that will make it a good learning experience and be part of the fun.




Day 5.jpg
Day 5 coral.jpg
 
RAP Orlando

lapin

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Howdy and welcome
Nice tank
I would try to kill off the aiptasia as soon as you can.
 

Dark_Knightt

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I see you have lots of aiptaisia, I would suggest getting a peppermint shrimp, or using lemon juice and squirting a small bit of it with a syringe or smth like that into the polyp, kills it right off. Do only one a day, because lemon juice is very acidic and could alter your pH. Best of luck! Tank looks great!
 

sunken3

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i would pull that middle rock out altogether and take the one coral off to keep.. that aiptasia will be the bane of your existence. I can't believe your LFS gave/sold you that.
 
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over0066

over0066

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After feeding my coral with brine shrimp, I did give the aaptasia a little lemon juice. It seemed to dislike it very much. Planning to recheck pH later today to see if it changed. I think a peppermint shrimp is needed. Now that I have seeded the rest of the tank with the aaptasia, would taking the rock out make that much difference? My daughters definitely don't like that plan and would rather go the shrimp route.
 

Dark_Knightt

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i would pull that middle rock out altogether and take the one coral off to keep.. that aiptasia will be the bane of your existence. I can't believe your LFS gave/sold you that.
That is true, removing the rock altogether would save you some time lol.
 

Dark_Knightt

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After feeding my coral with brine shrimp, I did give the aaptasia a little lemon juice. It seemed to dislike it very much. Planning to recheck pH later today to see if it changed. I think a peppermint shrimp is needed. Now that I have seeded the rest of the tank with the aaptasia, would taking the rock out make that much difference? My daughters definitely don't like that plan and would rather go the shrimp route.
The peppermint shrimps are usually a hit or miss; some will eat it or not, but usually once they are fully grown. Wait until you remove the rock, wait a day to see if the aiptaisia you sprayed with lemon juice today comes back; if it returns, remove the rock. If not, maybe get rid of one a day with lemon juice.
 
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over0066

over0066

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Update:

Removed the main rock with aiptasia and the rock to the right from the original photos above since it had one small aiptasia growing on it. Got some live rock from a fellow reefers sump as he was downsizing. Re scaped the tank to the best of my knowledge and wedged in the lone coral I have. Green Hairy Mushroom? Will use a bit of thick super glue to stabilize the rock since there are many small pieces stacked together.

Any thoughts to this point? I am ordering some F aiptasia with the assumption it will pop up. First water change coming up tomorrow, so will mix my first saltwater batch today using the coralife salt that came with the tank.

I don't like the shimmer/disco ball effect so I ordered a 3dreefing.com diffuser.

Day 7.jpg
 
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over0066

over0066

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Went back to the LFS with the aiptasia infested rock 2 days ago. He was willing to work with me and give me credit, but also talked about live rock sometimes having hitchhikers. Then I showed him the picture from above with the close up coral showing all the aiptasia. He said, "Wow, I wouldn't buy that rock either!"

While there, I got a cleanup crew (3 redlegged hermits, 1 astrea, 1 mexican turbo, and 1 margarita snail) peppermint shrimp (just in case), and two zoas. It is tough not to add a bunch of coral to the tank right now, but I have to keep telling myself, "it isn't even two weeks old."

I still have lots of questions:

Any suggestions for the "next" coral? I would like to move away from the things taht can take over the tank. I also love the look of open brain type corals such as lobophylia.

Up next, first water change. Salt has been mixing overnight. Should I check water parameters before and after? What do others do?

Also, after putting in the peppermint shrimp, I have barely seen him. Is that typical?

Lastly, I am using David Saxby's light program with addition of 2% UV RY B for moonlighting and running the acclimation cycle which will be done in a few weeks. Any reason not to go this route?

Pic updates Day 10:


Day 10.jpg Day 10 Zoa 2.jpg Day 10 Zoa 1.jpg Day 10 Shroomie.jpg Day 10 Marty.jpg Day 10 Leah.jpg
 
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over0066

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Update:
Parameters look good. Currently working on water mixing station and will post pics when I am done.

Added pulsing xenia, acan, and Royal Gramma 6 days ago. Yesterday found the Gramma dead. Was hiding 99% of the time beforehand. Did eat a little brine shrimp, but didn't seem to settle. Kids were pretty disappointed. Not sure if we should replace it with another or not. Seems some people have bad luck with Grammas, not sure why.

Trying to figure out a good feeding schedule.
My current food shelf: Polyp Booster, Reef Roids, Reef Chili, Reef Energy Plus, Flake Food and Frozen Brine shrimp. Thinking about getting some type of pellet (like TDO). The zoas and xenia seemed to look happier, more extended the day after using the booster and roids. Today will try the chili or the energy plus.

Not sure if it is a great idea, but I can't pass up the WWC live sale starting tomorrow. I will try to be smart, whatever that means. Anything I should avoid in the sale? or certain species I should lean toward? I would like to get more LPS. I intend to avoid SPS unless a birds nest is available.

RIP little man
PXL_20210215_020501024.jpg
PXL_20210218_184507086.MP.jpg

PXL_20210218_184535965.MP.jpg
 
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over0066

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Help Needed!

Just finished the WWC Live Sale and will need to place my new babies. Problem is, I don't know about the current flow and placement with what I have. Please give me any suggestions you may have with flow, current corals (two zoas, one orange colored acan, xenia, and green hairy mushroom), and, especially, new coral placement.


WWC Sale Feb2021.jpg
 

commanderwho

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You added the gramma too soon. Patience is needed. I would wait another month before adding a gramma and let the tank catch up. Also when I zoomed in closely at your gramma I saw two white dots? Not sure if that’s ich on it. If it is your tank is now contaminated. Pay close attention to your clowns for any white spots in the near future.
 
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over0066

over0066

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Yep, you are right. I now question the health of the gramma to begin with. I am not sure I could for sure say he had spots since I only saw him moving quickly a few seconds at a time. However, about 2 days after the gramma died the smaller clown didn't quite look right. After another day he began to show small white fuzz, not necessarily spots like I would expect from ich. I brought him to the LFS as he always has a hyposaline copper quarantine tank at the ready. This was the day before my corals came from WWC. Yesterday I went and looked at my clown at the LFS. He is still eating and the white stuff is gone. Scales still look like they are healing and he is looking better overall. Meanwhile, the day I got my corals, I noticed lots of white mucousy stuff and many black spots on one of my zoas I got about two weeks ago. I started a thread about it here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/zoa-in-trouble.807748/#post-8636088

Marty the onyx clownfish before going into quarantine.
PXL_20210224_185434126.jpg
 
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commanderwho

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Yep, you are right. I now question the health of the gramma to begin with. I am not sure I could for sure say he had spots since I only saw him moving quickly a few seconds at a time. However, about 2 days after the gramma died the smaller clown didn't quite look right. After another day he began to show small white fuzz, not necessarily spots like I would expect from ich. I brought him to the LFS as he always has a hyposaline copper quarantine tank at the ready. This was the day before my corals came from WWC. Yesterday I went and looked at my clown at the LFS. He is still eating and the white stuff is gone. Scales still look like they are healing and he is looking better overall. Meanwhile, the day I got my corals, I noticed lots of white mucousy stuff and many black spots on one of my zoas I got about two weeks ago. I started a thread about it here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/zoa-in-trouble.807748/#post-8636088

Marty the onyx clownfish before going into quarantine.
PXL_20210224_185434126.jpg
Glad your clown is doing better! But now if you put him back into your tank please keep a close eye on him.
yea, once one parasites gets into your display you’ll end up seeing others.
for me I got ich on my royal gramma but my clowns got Brooklynella. My tank was doing great till I added the gramma 3 months later but a week later I added a banggai cardinal since I was rushing. SaltwAter needs more time in between fish adding compared to freshwater.
so now I’m doing 76 day fallow to hopefully kill all parasites in my tank and qt my fish next time.
I got 2 more months to go!
but I think clownfish and royal gramma is a great combo to have in a tank. Hopefully you get all your tank conditions good too!
 
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What have you found to be the best things/methods to beat hair algae? (choose all that apply)

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  • Lawn Mower Blenny (or other fish)

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  • Rock Scrubbing

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