First Reef Tank: 15 gallon column

kaylajoy

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Current state:

Started cycling last week with a bottle of Dr Tim's One and Only starter bacteria and the same ammonia.

I am only testing ammonia so far which hasn't seemed to move from around 1.0 yet. Not in a rush though.

Salinity is at 1.025 and temperature is 82 degrees, but this is subject to change depending on what I stock.

Stocking ideas:

I'd like to do an "invertebrate kingdom" of sorts. Soft corals, macro algae, feather dusters, lots of mysid shrimp, those mini star fish from IPSF. If you have any ideas on things that would be good for such a setup I'd be happy to hear, because I'd like at least one large invertebrate as a centerpiece.

Maybe 1 little goby or something would be nice.

Equipment:

New JBJ 15 Gallon AIO
Nicrew HyperReef 50 watt LED
Eheim Jager 50 watt
RFG Nozzle
Red Sea Coral Pro Salt
No brand thermostat
Sheet of ABS plastic for the bottom

The rest of the back compartment just has stock equipment with some extra ceramic filter media in a bag.

And am honorary mention for the Tunze Nano ATO with a pump that just broke because I ran it dry.

I promise the rock work is more stable than it looks.

Obligatory beginning questions:

That's the only way I can attach the RFG nozzle for now. I should try to make it shorter before I stock the tank right?

Anything else I need to do besides wait?

IMG_20210222_170414.jpg IMG_20210222_170425.jpg
 
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Peace River

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It looks like you are off to a good start - as you suggested, patience is helpful! I definitely agree with the ATO - a little evaporation in a small tank can cause swings in your parameters. The RFG appears to be more of an aesthetic issue, because functionally the flow will bounce off the glass and still provide reasonable flow to the tank. Good luck!
 

Zotch

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What are the dimensions of the glass portion of the tank only.

Not including the back compartments.

Thanks
 
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D1LBERT

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Looks great!!

I watched a couple videos on the new JBJ nanos. They look pretty sleek with the stand!!

The waiting game is the hardest part, but gives you an opportunity to think about and research your livestock?

Have you got any ideas of what your going to keep?

The 50w Nicrew looks good! I went with the 100w because of the depth of my tank, but the spectrum is pretty consistent between them. I am currently running mine at 80/40 actinic and really like the look. I'm considering getting a par meter to see how these stack up against the premium brands and the claims by Nicrew.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Cheers,
 
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kaylajoy

kaylajoy

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Looks great!!

I watched a couple videos on the new JBJ nanos. They look pretty sleek with the stand!!

The waiting game is the hardest part, but gives you an opportunity to think about and research your livestock?

Have you got any ideas of what your going to keep?

I'm thinking about a decorator arrow crab species tank now. But 15 gallons with all the rock seems a bit small. Not too big on fish anyways so if all else fails it will be a neat shrimp tank.

The 50w Nicrew looks good! I went with the 100w because of the depth of my tank, but the spectrum is pretty consistent between them. I am currently running mine at 80/40 actinic and really like the look. I'm considering getting a par meter to see how these stack up against the premium brands and the claims by Nicrew.

Nice, I'm running mine at 60% on both channels to start. I'll see if I should bump it up soon.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Cheers,
 
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kaylajoy

kaylajoy

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My cycle finished, so I started adding some macros. This is a lot more codium than I expected for $5 (there's more pieces in the back). The red is coralline algae. Have some red gracilaria and a different species of codium coming in later this week. Adding 4 drops of chaetogro every day. Going to need to pick up some more test kits this weekend...

IMG_20210310_170434.jpg
 
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kaylajoy

kaylajoy

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Well, I was hoping if I just shoved a bunch of macros in after the cycle I wouldnt deal with any algae outbreaks, but I started getting brown algae all over the macros. It isn't too bad though and snails have already saved a few pieces. Just did a good cleaning and stopped adding the chaetogro for now.

The stomatella snails are cute. They came covered in purple coralline that blends in with the bits in the tank. The middle picture is what all the macros looked like before I added the snails.

IMG_20210317_120903.jpg IMG_20210317_155417.jpg IMG_20210317_155432.jpg
 
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Subsea

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Current state:

Started cycling last week with a bottle of Dr Tim's One and Only starter bacteria and the same ammonia.

I am only testing ammonia so far which hasn't seemed to move from around 1.0 yet. Not in a rush though.

Salinity is at 1.025 and temperature is 82 degrees, but this is subject to change depending on what I stock.

Stocking ideas:

I'd like to do an "invertebrate kingdom" of sorts. Soft corals, macro algae, feather dusters, lots of mysid shrimp, those mini star fish from IPSF. If you have any ideas on things that would be good for such a setup I'd be happy to hear, because I'd like at least one large invertebrate as a centerpiece.

Maybe 1 little goby or something would be nice.

Equipment:

New JBJ 15 Gallon AIO
Nicrew HyperReef 50 watt LED
Eheim Jager 50 watt
RFG Nozzle
Red Sea Coral Pro Salt
No brand thermostat
Sheet of ABS plastic for the bottom

The rest of the back compartment just has stock equipment with some extra ceramic filter media in a bag.

And am honorary mention for the Tunze Nano ATO with a pump that just broke because I ran it dry.

I promise the rock work is more stable than it looks.

Obligatory beginning questions:

That's the only way I can attach the RFG nozzle for now. I should try to make it shorter before I stock the tank right?

Anything else I need to do besides wait?

IMG_20210222_170414.jpg IMG_20210222_170425.jpg
Why bare bottom?

Most of your livestock requires MULM of some sort to feed on. Bioplankton requires MULM to reproduce and feed invertebrates.

Diatom phase during tank cycles uses up silicates to be consumed by herbivores. Not much silicate in other macros, so discontinuing ChaetoGrow would not effect grow of diatoms. If you encourage Chaeto with major and minor elements your desirable macro will be enabled to out compete the undesirable macro like dino.

*ChaetoGrow does not contain major nutrients of
N, P, K

Consumers & competitors work for the long haul, but I operate a nutrient rich tank with many invertebrate. However, my tank is 25 years mature.

image.jpg
 
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kaylajoy

kaylajoy

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Why bare bottom?

Good info. I went with bare bottom honestly because I wanted to make maintanence simple as possible. But I've been vacuuming lately anyways. I have a bag of aragonite I could easily rinse and add.

If I'm understanding you correctly, I actually want to keep the snail poop etc. That's been collecting on the bottom?
 

Subsea

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Like I said, I run a high nutrient system in which excess nutrients are used in my algae refugium: 70G on top with a reverse flow undergravel filter and 30G EcoSystem mud/algae filter.

[I'd like to do an "invertebrate kingdom" of sorts. Soft corals, macro algae, feather dusters, lots of mysid shrimp, those mini star fish from IPSF. If you have any ideas on things that would be good for such a setup I'd be happy to hear, because I'd like at least one large invertebrate as a centerpiece.]

If an inveterate kingdom is your desire, substrate would assist with a home for detrivores as processes of detritus, organic & inorganic nutrient, into food webs as live food for hungry mouths. I have used both IPSF and Gulf Live Rock.

As a general rule, starting with dry sand & rock will extend the uglies of a new tank cycle. Using diver collected sand & rock stabilizes tank much sooner. Substrate will require maintenanc: light gravel vac during partial water change. I like 1” depth. Grain size is important in substrate. Too course allows penetration by detritus and is not suited for worms. CaribSea Special Reef Grade at 0.1mm - 1.0mm is best.
 
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Subsea

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This approach is aimed at longevity & stability of system.

[I think one of the most important, and least understood or mentioned things in a reef tank is "mulm". That stuff that grows in the dark portions of a tank if it is set up long enough. "Mulm" is a combination of algae, sponges, bacteria, pods, worms, detritus, poop and any thing else that can be propagated or grown in the dark. I realize most people would immediately get out the sponge, razor blade or grenade to remove it but there is a word I like to use to describe those people. That word is "wrong". Mulm is a natural product that you will find in the sea all over the world. Our tanks run on bacteria, algae and a food chain. Bacteria and a food chain are dependent on having a place to reproduce. Mulm is the perfect place. Rocks and glass are flat surfaces that are only two dimensional. Mulm makes these places three dimensional allowing much more space for bacteria and microscopic organisms to grow and do the macarana. (Then love to dance) Pods, which are needed for any small fish also need to eat and their numbers are directly related to how much food they can get their hands on (or whatever pods use to eat with) The more food, the more pods, the more pods, the easier to keep smaller fish. Larger fish such as copperbands and angels also eat pods.
Many people try to keep fish such as pipefish, mandarins or other dragonettes in a sterile tank and while feeding them a couple of times a day with tiger pods or some other expensive food. Those types of fish will not live for long in such a tank and they certainly won't spawn which I consider the "only" criteria to determine the state of health for any paired fish.
Mulm (after a while, maybe a few years) should grow on the back and sides of glass as well as under rocks.
Here in this picture of my clingfish, the mulm appears green. It is really brownish and that fish is on the side of my tank. I brightened up the picture and turned it sideways because it was in the dark and the fish was hard to see.
There is a thick layer of it on the back of my tank where my mandarins and pipefish like to hunt. My long spined urchin also grazes there most of the time as there is not much algae in my tank for him to eat. He is many years old as are the mandarins and pipefish and they are dependent on this food source.
A sterile tank IMO is the biggest problem we have keeping certain fish healthy.
Sterile is good in an operating room but very bad in a tank.]
 

Subsea

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@kaylajoy
I should caution you on oxygen and gas exchange. It is critical when lights go out to maintain oxygen levels in your tank. When lights go out, instead of absorbing co2 and giving off oxygen, both corals & macros will give off co2 and absorb oxygen. Bacteria consume oxygen 24/7, so when lights are off, oxygen is a critical issue. Even though I don’t advocate using protein skimmers for nutrient export, they are excellent for gas exchange. At the minimum, include an air stone in a back chamber and provide robust circulation at surface of display.p
 
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