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nmotz

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After several years out of the hobby, including an ill-fated attempt to start a nano tank, I’m finally back in business with a juvenile Peacock mantis that I found at my LFS. His name is Orion and he’s 3.5 inches long.

Here’s the setup details, pics as soon as I have time:
-20 gallon long tank VERY minimally aquascaped
-about 1/2 inch mixture of reef sand & Aragonite
-IM wavelink pump, ~1000GPH on surge mode
-undersized Aqueon heater always on at 78F
-1.5” diameter PVC burrow to be upgraded to 2” PVC shortly
-cheap LED lamp
-Auto aqua smart ATO lite
-Fluval 207 canister filter running carbon and about 20 marinepure biospheres
-Red gracillaria macro (Fern caulerpa will also be added)
-Livestock: just the mantis!
-Salinity 1.025
-Nitrates: less than 5ppm

This will be a simple tank and will more closely resemble a refugium as it matures. I plan on adding a couple photosynthetic Gorgonians and maybe a Pulsing Xenia. But the concept is about openness and good water quality while minimizing maintenance requirements. I intend to add an in-line UV sterilizer specially made for the Fluval series canister filter.

Right now I feed live (and sometimes frozen) Coquina clams which I personally collect on the beach. Also live brine shrimp and a live crab about 1x/week. I have an order of snails and hermits on the way to mow down the inevitable “new tank diatoms” but they will likely be consumed as well.

So far activity is decent for a new Peacock. He molted the night before I picked him up from the LFS so I was pretty worried he wouldn’t make it. I dosed Seachem Prime daily for the first couple weeks just to be sure. I also struggled to get the Gracillaria established so I had a high nitrate (up to 40ppm) problem initially.

I’ll add a few more posts as I have time, thanks for reading!
 
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nmotz

nmotz

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Some pictures from tonight a bit heavy on the blues. My solitary AI Prime does a 1:30h ramp up/down and I have it set to 14500K at 35% strength. It’s not exactly the Kelvin temperature or it’s natural habitat, but not terribly off.

The burrow was not always so concealed but Orion built around the entrances a great deal. Piling sand and rock all over so you can’t even make out the other entrance.

I’ve had some difficulties with cloudy water and I think it’s a bacterial bloom. Eventually I’ll hook up an in-line UV sterilizer and take care of it. But I’m running filter floss in the canister filter too.

A word on the canister filter decision - I understand not everyone would do that, but I’m trying to show a different way to run a Peacock tank. I cleaned it the other day - coffee brown water after I rung out those sponges!

Gracillaria still pulling out nitrates, currently sitting around 2-3ppm.
 

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nmotz

nmotz

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A word on LED lighting for a peacock tank…..while it is true you can run LED lights I would certainly not recommend it. As soon as funds become available I’m going to try to find a small cheap fluorescent lamp to put over this aquarium because he just doesnt enjoy the uber intense light. Orion was a bit more active before I set up my AI Prime and now he mostly sits in his burrow. I think he will adjust eventually like my old mantis shrimp Neptune did, but it does take a while and it’s clear they’re just not into full spectrum lighting. It isn’t the worst decision to make for a peacock tank, I just believe that to get the very best experience you have to go with fairly dull lights.

Removing strong lighting, however, will introduce some challenges because I want to grow macroalgae to absorb nitrates in this tank. Without strong lights, I can’t do that so it’ll be a challenge to find a light that can continue to grow some Graclliaria without bothering Orion.

And growing macro has been extremely successful for me so far. Before I added the gracillaria I had an outbreak of diatoms, but that was completely eliminated and the gracillaria is now growing well, nitrates at around zero ppm even though i’m using a canister filter. An order of dwarf ceriths didn’t hurt with the diatoms either.
 
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nmotz

nmotz

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Updates! Felt his burrow was too small to allow for a proper molt. They have to be able to jackknife and turn inside the pipe when they molt. I also added some macroalgae and a photosynthetic gorgonian. I coated the pipe with epoxy and gravel and also superglued some pieces of shell and rock around both entrances.

The little guy is developing a light case of shell rot but he’s getting closer to a molt within the next month and should be ok. I’m going to dim the lights a bit and increase feedings to 2x/day.
 

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