First Salt Water - Fluval Flex 32.5

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Sink_or_Swim

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Thanks. I actually never used the stock pump in the tank. I use it for mixing water and water changes. I could tell when I first looked at it that it was going to cause problems. I’ve had issues with aquarium kit pumps in the past, it’s the first thing I swap out.
before you get the white fluval consider the grim and algae that will buildup on the white background. It’s plastic, you won’t be able to get it clean. The tank will always look grimy. Just something to consider.
You have a really good point there on the white - I decided against it and went ahead and ordered the black marine version. :) I figured a pump helps with mixing water and I'd have to get another anyway, so instead of getting a cheapy, I'll probably go ahead and do what you did and use the existing for that and buy a better one for the tank itself. Now going to be searching for the most quiet one I can find within budget (hahaha... "budget"). What pump did you end up going with and do you like it?
 
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mforde

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You have a really good point there on the white - I decided against it and went ahead and ordered the black marine version. :) I figured a pump helps with mixing water and I'd have to get another anyway, so instead of getting a cheapy, I'll probably go ahead and do what you did and use the existing for that and buy a better one for the tank itself. Now going to be searching for the most quiet one I can find within budget (hahaha... "budget"). What pump did you end up going with and do you like it?
Sicce silent 1.5
 
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mforde

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Quick update:
I added the eshoppes nano skimmer - it fits pretty good, was a little difficult to get the height right but I had no idea how it was suppose to function properly seeing as I have never had a skimmer before. I know now it was breaking in. A lot of people comment about breaking in time but they never explain what that process looks like. Anyway after a couple of days it settled down and micro bubbles cleared and it works fine.
I also created the little refugium in one of the back filter compartments, using the media basket, chaeto and a nano light that is magnetically attached on the back glass. I keep the light on over night. I haven’t checked if the chaeto has grown much (it’s been almost a week) will update shortly.
I also added a 2nd Fluval light. I considered an AI Prime - as a lot of people said their much better and I’m not saying they aren’t. It’s just I considered the cost of one more fluval, opposed to 2 AI’s the mounts and a custom tank cover and it wasn’t worth it. Here are some updated pics:
 

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mforde

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GHA has gone away for the most part. I used vibrant and brushed it off with a toothbrush. It hasn’t come back. Unfortunately the vibrant killed the chaeto but I replaced it.
For the aptasia I ended up pulling the whole rock out that it was on and replaced it. I haven’t seen any more.
At the moment I’m dealing with small bubbles all over a few of the rock surfaces that come when the lights are at peak. Not sure what it is, it comes and goes.
 
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GHA has gone away for the most part. I used vibrant and brushed it off with a toothbrush. It hasn’t come back. Unfortunately the vibrant killed the chaeto but I replaced it.
For the aptasia I ended up pulling the whole rock out that it was on and replaced it. I haven’t seen any more.
At the moment I’m dealing with small bubbles all over a few of the rock surfaces that come when the lights are at peak. Not sure what it is, it comes and goes.
Glad to hear gha is gone for the most part. If you are still having issues after the vibrant treatment you can try reef flux.
Sounds like maybe you have dinoflagellate if coming and going with light.
Also keep on the look out for aptasia that has spread to other areas. I usually zap them with kalkwasser mixed with either tank or RO water.Mixed very thick but still fluid enough to squirt out of a plastic syringe. Slowly administering it to the mouth of the aptasia and then i pretty much cover the area of it with the kalk mixture.
Some use peppermint shrimp or berghia nudibranch to get rid of them.
 
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mforde

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So its been about 4 months now and things have been up and down. Firstly, I replaced the lights and went with 2 AI Primes. What a difference, I should of just done that from the beginning.

Recently I had a frogspawn die, and then I replaced it in the same location and the new coral started to die too! I figured there is no way it could of been a coincidence but even so it was weird. So I gave away my emerald crab (which I suspected took a chunk out of the frogspawn) and pulled that whole rock out incase there was something living in the rock that killed them. I replaced the rock with a caribsea nano arch I had left over.

I've been having a really hard time balancing alkalinity and keeping it stable, I don't know what it is but I dose to get the alk to 9dkh, test and all good. Then next day its dropped 1.5dkh which seems like way too much. I've tried dosing pumps, slowly dosing, 1ml 24x per day etc. and the alk still drops 1-1.5dkh per day. Its precipitating out but I cant get it fixed. I think I am going to switch to all-for-reef and see if that will stabilizes things.

Couple of comments up you can see I ran into dino's. Pics attached. I tried a few mild fixes but kept coming back and it was all over the place, my sand was gross. I got dino x, turned the lights off for 2 days, removed all the algae I could, temp up to 81 deg. and have just put in the second dose last night. The tank looks way better and all life is fine so far. We'll see how it goes. I've attached some pics of my progress.

All of this has been so up and down and its constantly on my mind. Yet I can not help myself to think about setting up my next tank. Its really true that you can read all you want on reefing but until you actually try to do it you will never fully understand!
 

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mforde

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6 Month Update:

The last few months I have had some struggles. The dinos came back in full force but I managed to fight them off eventually. Through that process all the coralline algae turned white, I lost the few corals I had and it seemed like this tank was doomed. It was almost like the water was completely sterile, there was absolutely no odor to the tank which was weird and nothing would grow. The whole thing was very eerie. It was my fault I had huge alk spikes, temperature changes and I was messing around with the lighting almost on a daily bases. The fish were fine through the process. I did a major water change of about 25 gal and cleaned the pump (they were caked with what looked like concrete), skimmer and back camber. I replaced the thermometer which was reading 4 deg lower that it should of. I also combed the sand and pulled out all the clumps. Things immediately improved, and it didn't take long for the aquarium smell to come back. I also noticed a little algae growing and an aiptasia which believe it or not was reassuring - it meant there was life again!

I have added a few new coral frags and they seem okay except for the frog spawn and acan. Both have pulled in their polyps and I can see skeleton - I suspect they were getting too much light. I moved them and they haven't gotten any worse so I'm hoping if I leave them alone they will recover. Maybe it was too much flow, who knows?

I made a lot of mistakes in the first 5 months of this tank and it was frustrating at times. Mostly I over complicated things and was impatient. Lighting, flow, dosing were all "issues" and the more I tried to correct the more damage it did. I am doing my best now to leave the tank alone, dose low, don't open the lighting app and do water changes. Ill see how it goes and hopefully I will see some growth and happy fish.

In case your interested I tested some parameters last night:
Alk 8.46 dKH
Cal 470ppm
Mag 1360
Nitrate 3ppm
Phosphate .043ppm
Temp 79.5
Salinity 1.026
 
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mforde

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1 Year Update:
I just wanted to update because I've just about hit the 1 year mark with this tank. Its been quite a learning experience.
It seems like over the last couple of months things have settled into a good rhythm and all the corals look happy and are growing slowly. I've recently added some new frags and accidently broke some while I was cleaning here and there.
Unfortunately you'll notice from the picture that there aren't any fish. I lost all my fish in a matter of less than a week. I noticed one looked sick and was acting weird, it died that night, and one or two fish would die everyday after that. I was very upset and I figure it was marine velvet after doing some research on the symptoms. Needless to say I am going without fish for a while.

I don't expect to post anything while things just grow (knocking on wood), so happy reefing and thanks for everyone's help along the way!
Tank Nov 21, 2022.jpg
 
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1 Year Update:
I just wanted to update because I've just about hit the 1 year mark with this tank. Its been quite a learning experience.
It seems like over the last couple of months things have settled into a good rhythm and all the corals look happy and are growing slowly. I've recently added some new frags and accidently broke some while I was cleaning here and there.
Unfortunately you'll notice from the picture that there aren't any fish. I lost all my fish in a matter of less than a week. I noticed one looked sick and was acting weird, it died that night, and one or two fish would die everyday after that. I was very upset and I figure it was marine velvet after doing some research on the symptoms. Needless to say I am going without fish for a while.

I don't expect to post anything while things just grow (knocking on wood), so happy reefing and thanks for everyone's help along the way!
Tank Nov 21, 2022.jpg
Darn that's a bummer about the fish. :( You can add some cool inverts while you're letting the tank go fallow - that would at least give ya something to watch. :)
 
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