First Saltwater Tank 29 gallons

CrimsonTide

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Hello I started my adventure into saltwater on January 1st this year. I was given a 29 gallon tank for Christmas from a family member who breeds fish. My lovely younger sister who has heard me talk about wanting a saltwater reef for awhile bought me a Tidal 55 HOB filter and a HOB protein skimmer (With her first big girl job money). I ordered a heater, 2 wavemakers, thermometer, refractometer, test kits a LED light for corals when ready and decided it was time for a trip to the local fish store. I bought 23lbs of carib sea life rock some shaped and some not. I grabbed 20lbs of fiji pink live sand. I decided to grab a bottle of Dr. Tim's one and only and Ammonia for a fishless cycle. On the way out I grabbed 25 gallons of saltwater and 5 gallons of RODI for top offs.

I scaped the tank with the rock then added the live sand and water. Setup the filter heater and 1 wavemaker. Then I added One and Only and Dr. Tim's Ammonia up to 4ppm as suggested and my journey began.

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January 1st
Ammonia 4ppm
Nitrite 0pmm
Ph 8.2

January 2nd
Ammomia 3-4ppm
Nitrite 0ppm

January 3rd
Ammonia 2ppm+
Nitrite .5ppm

January 4th
Ammonia 1ppm
Nitrite 2ppm

January 5th (My Birthday)
Ammonia .5ppm
Nitrite 4ppm

January 6th
Ammonia .25ppm
Nitrite 4ppm

January 7th (2gallon water change was worried about nitrite being closer to the high end wanted it to drop a little)
Ammomia .25ppm
Nitrite 4ppm

January 8th (added 20 drops of ammonia to get to 1ppm)
Ammonia 1ppm
Nitrite 4ppm

January 9th (added some Bio-Spira bacteria bc nitrite just seemed stuck)
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 4ppm+
PH 8.0-8.2

January 10th (added half dose of ammonia 40 drops)
Ammonia 2ppm
Nitrite 4ppm+ (no movement over 10days downward)

January 11th
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 4ppm+ (this is frustrating)
Beginning to see what looks like diatoms on the sand a little I turned my lights of from their cycle and went dark

January 12th went out of town needed a day break from staring at water who doesn't?

January 13th (reluctantly test again expecting the same results)
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0PPM! (Its happened finally!)
Nitrate 40ppm

January 14th took the day off from the tank we both needed a break

January 15th (added 20 drops of ammonia to 1ppm)
Ammonia 1ppm
Nitrite 0ppm

January 16th
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 40ppm
Added my skimmer I had been avoiding breaking in (Soooo MANY microbubbles in the tank)

January 17th
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 40ppm

January 18th (5gallon water change to lower nitrates a little)
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 30ppm (tested several hours later after waterchange)

Plans in the next couple of days to do a larger at least 50% waterchange and hopefully to get my first fish into the tank! Looking at adding 2 clowns maybe a regular ocellaris clown and a black and white? We will see what the store has! They also have some designer and a couple Maroons but I definitely don't think I want maroons have heard they're mean.

I bought some screen material and frames to make a lid for my 29 gallon with extra corner pieces to make a cutout for my filter and skimmer. Hoping that maybe I can put a small wrasse as one of my tank mates in the tank one day.

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So this is where I am now in my tank build and cycle. I am planning to do corals when ready. I will being doing softies and easy things. Corals fascinate me. The fish do as well but corals are so interesting.

Oh and what looked like Diatoms starting to grow did go away after about 4 days without any lights. I am sure they will come back again as I have turned the lights back on and programmed them.

Thank you to anyone who reads this. I will update as I add critters and fish. I know that was probably a long intro but with so many people posting about cycling issues and things I figured I would post everything to help someone out there understand it a little bit more. Thanks for reading and happy reefing!
 
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CrimsonTide

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Update just did a large waterchange and added a black and white ocellaris clown and a regular ocellaris clown got them at the LFS. Had to pluck them out of an anemone felt bad but the anemone couldn't come home with me just yet. They are young. I had to turn off my wavemaker because they just seemed to not be able to swim with that much current going.

20210119_184123.jpg

The black ones middle stripe doesn't go all the way down. He's a pretty cool fellow. The Regular was the most orange one they had and also looked the strongest out of the bunch. He put up a fight trying to get him out of the frag tank.

Should I look for an even less powerful wavemaker? I think this one pumps about 480gph or should I just let them get used to the environment and eventually try to turn it back on?
 
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CrimsonTide

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If the clowns are struggling with the current, I don't see why not. Try looking into a wave maker that you can control the flow of. Or try different placements of the wave maker.

Thanks ill try it in another space tomorrow. Theyre moving all over right now but what feels like not much flow to me is probably a hurricane to them.
 
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CrimsonTide

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Work slow. Let them adjust and try not to stress them out too much. Your HOB filter may be enough flow for now

Thanks. That was kinda my thought. The Tidal 55 has a lot of flow and their is also a skimmer running pushing water out so there is plenty of movement im sure.
 
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CrimsonTide

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I am just randomly craving 29 gallon build threads right now ( I know, kind of strange but whatever ) so following!

Go buy you a tank at petco I think they have their $1 a gallon sale this month. So $29 tank. Start you a new 29gallon. Its what all the cool people are doing.
 

SaltwtrNewb

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Go buy you a tank at petco I think they have their $1 a gallon sale this month. So $29 tank. Start you a new 29gallon. Its what all the cool people are doing.
I just blew $200 on a 22 gallon long ( rimless, low iron ) and a whole lot more on lights, filters, lids ext. so I think I better get that up and running before I go for another tank, but the dimensions of the 29 gallon do just look so cool, someday... ( only if they come in rimless though! )
 
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CrimsonTide

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My 1st tank was a petsmart aqueoun 36bowfront! Welcome to saltwater aquarium world!
-d

Thanks! Awesome! My first fish adventure was digging a fish pond by hand bc I had to have Koi. AND now I do! theyre about 18yrs old and still kicking. I really just couldn't stop thinking about a saltwater reef so I had to make that eventually happen. Its pandemic! Perfect time to really spend getting into this craft and being able to focus on trying to do things rightist? Lol
 

1guydude

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Just dont skimp on the equipment and time spent. Take your time like people say and the fruits of your labor will pay off. You will have living art in your house! Lol
D
 
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CrimsonTide

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Just dont skimp on the equipment and time spent. Take your time like people say and the fruits of your labor will pay off. You will have living art in your house! Lol
D

If one thing I've noticed after studying up on saltwater for months and months is you get out of this hobby what you put in. If you try hard and do everything to set yourself up and stay on it you seem to do fine. You might have hiccups but you'll do fine. If you don't do waterchanges or ever test your tank pay it little to no attention besides a feeding you will get the results that come with that kind of husbandry.

I liked the living art comment. I have a lot of art in my house I've collected traveling and realized that may be the reason fish, coral, and plants fascinate me!
 
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CrimsonTide

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So my dudes have spent the last 4 days essentially only eating one pellet two or 3 times a day. Which was significantly worrying until this afternoon when they both ate 3 or 4 pellets each. I was surprised and gave them more a they ate a little more. So I'm hoping they finally feel comfortable and are beginning to eat normal. I'll try to feed them again before their lights go completely off.

I guess sometime in the next couple of days I need to go get a couple of snails and maybe a hermit or two to eat some of the pellets they miss. I'm obviously not trying to give them more than they can eat but the first 3 days they barely touched anything that went in. Which means you put 7 pellets in and they eat 2 you have 5 at the bottom of your tank. I dont want to have to keep putting my giant arm in there to suck out pellets and weird them out.

I dont have a lot of algae built up in the tank yet so I guess what's the best cleanup crew for sifting sand and eating leftover pellets? Nass Snails? Couple red leg Hermits? I will add more of everything over time but that is what I need my janitorial staff to do at this time. So any recommendations?
 

SaltwtrNewb

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So my dudes have spent the last 4 days essentially only eating one pellet two or 3 times a day. Which was significantly worrying until this afternoon when they both ate 3 or 4 pellets each. I was surprised and gave them more a they ate a little more. So I'm hoping they finally feel comfortable and are beginning to eat normal. I'll try to feed them again before their lights go completely off.

I guess sometime in the next couple of days I need to go get a couple of snails and maybe a hermit or two to eat some of the pellets they miss. I'm obviously not trying to give them more than they can eat but the first 3 days they barely touched anything that went in. Which means you put 7 pellets in and they eat 2 you have 5 at the bottom of your tank. I dont want to have to keep putting my giant arm in there to suck out pellets and weird them out.

I dont have a lot of algae built up in the tank yet so I guess what's the best cleanup crew for sifting sand and eating leftover pellets? Nass Snails? Couple red leg Hermits? I will add more of everything over time but that is what I need my janitorial staff to do at this time. So any recommendations?
I will say red legs are great for me, as I only keep hardy coral ( they can sometimes bother coral ) and are much bigger hence more efficient at algae control, but a few more blue legs probably would have had the same effect.

As for sand sifting and snails I honestly don’t have any, but I am not any master of cucs
 
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CrimsonTide

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I will say red legs are great for me, as I only keep hardy coral ( the can sometime bother coral ) and are much bigger hence more efficient at algae control, but a few more blue legs probably would have had the sam effect.

mad for sand sifting and snails I honestly don’t have any, but I am not any master of cucs

Yeah I'm not putting things in there for cleanup until their needed then I'm feeding them instead of them working. Haha I was thinking like 2 or 3 nass snails to move sand and eat some pellets and if I needed the red or blue crabs grab 1 or 2. But not sure if they crabs are needed yet if the nass snails will eat the food as well
 
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