Fluval Flex 9G

rdirtytwo

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Hey everyone!
I started my journey with reef keeping and cycled my first saltwater tank approximately one year ago. In hindsight, I probably should have started this thread then, but it's not too late to start now.

Like most people who have this tank, it began as a planted freshwater setup with cherry shrimp and co2 injection. I also had a 40B that I broke down the same time I converted this Flex 9 to saltwater. IMG_20211105_010624.jpg IMG_20211111_102001.jpg IMG_20211111_101311.jpg IMG_20211108_131522.jpg IMG_20211017_144445.jpg
IMG_20211105_223152.jpg

Anyway, back to why we are here today.

I thought I would post every single thing that has happened with the tank over the past year but it would be a bombardment of information and photos. I'll post highlights and discuss important changes (good and bad) that I've experienced and learned from.

Background information and current equipment:
•10lbs of CaribSea AragAlive Live Sand (I forgot which bag, probably fiji pink)
•Seeded with 3lbs live base rock from established tank.
•Set up with 5-8lbs CaribSea dry rock. (I've probably added another 5lbs in the last few months).
•IceCap K1 Neo Protein Skimmer
•IceCap Nano Co2 Scrubber
•AquaNeat 160gph return pump
•XKSJ 530gph nano wavemaker
•Coralife 5w UV sterilizer
•Aquaclear 70 HOB refugium conversion (overkill and unnecessary, too much flow even with AC50 impeller)
•Hipargero A029 2nd Gen 30W LEDs
When I first got these lights, I had no idea whether it would be good or not. I had it blasting my tank (rookie mistake) and I dealt with hair algae and bleaching corals during the early months. For my tank dimensions (14x13x13) it works great. For larger tanks, you'd have to crank up the whites to get the par you need(which can make it or break it if you want a heavy blue spectrum with high par), and raise it high to get the spread you need. I'll be honest and say I haven't used a real par meter, but I've used Photone and PPFD to get a ballpark reading at the waterline. I've calibrated my settings to a full spectrum light bar that I have a par chart for, so they should be kind of close (I hope).
•Dosing 1.5ml All-For-Reef currently
•Vinegar carbon dosing 3ml daily
•Alternating frozen mysis, reef prime cubes, pellets 3x weekly, reef roids once per week.
•1.5g water change every Sunday
•Fzone ATO

April 2023 I completed a fishless cycle using ammonia and beneficial bacteria.
PXL_20230512_180716668.MP.jpg

June 2023 I don't know what I'm doing.
I bought some frags from a local reefer over a couple of weeks. I have all but 1 coral from this photo. One is still recovering from my mess ups, which we will get into shortly.
PXL_20230621_204910897.jpg

Cont.
 
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rdirtytwo

rdirtytwo

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I had my first real issue with cyanobacteria in Aug 2023. It turns out I had low flow and dead spots relying on the return pump at 90gph (lol my freshwater days made me think it was too much). I used chemiclean and upgraded my return pump to a 260gph return pump, but it was clogging at the lowest setting and too fast at one click up.

I'm currently using an Aquaneat 160gph from Amazon and it's perfect for my needs at the moment. I'm also using a ZKSJ 530gph nano wavemaker from Amazon. It's difficult to find unobtrusive equipment that fits in the 2" AIO chambers and I don't like having too many things in the display either. I don't have much footprint to give up on this tank.

As im sure you all can see now there's a reoccurring theme of being budget friendly. I didn't want to get in over my head with expensive equipment and end up failing or giving up.

The next issue I dealt with was dinos because my nutrients bottomed out and using ChemiPure Elite amplified that. I haven't used gfo since September and found I didn't need it in the first place. I began dosing nitrates and phosphates to keep them detectable with my Salifert kits. I don't need to dose those currently. Speaking of parameters, I've never said what I did and do now.

I've been using IO Reef Crystals since setup. My alkalinity at the beginning was 11dkh but I've been steady at 8.5-9.0dkh for the past 4 months.
CA: 420
Mag:1400
Salinity: 1.025 Now

Between Oct 2023- Nov 2023 I discovered my refractometer was out of calibration. Even though I followed the instructions to use R/O, I was off by +/-0.008.. I lost my pair of clowns, some corals, inverts, and I didn't even know why. It set me back in progress but most of my corals recovered or are recovering.
 
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rdirtytwo

rdirtytwo

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Struggle period
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rdirtytwo

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Current state.
 

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Managing real reef risks: Do you pay attention to the dangers in your tank?

  • I pay a lot of attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 91 43.5%
  • I pay a bit of attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 71 34.0%
  • I pay minimal attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 33 15.8%
  • I pay no attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 12 5.7%
  • Other.

    Votes: 2 1.0%
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