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Growing Pains from a First Reef Build - 55g

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Blutspitze

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I had a couple questions on your move, maybe I should just reread the section that again but I don't think you had this information.

1. How long did you have your fish in buckets?
2. What size buckets did you have, and how many fish in each?
I didn't mention it specifically, no, and happy to elaborate.

All the buckets were 5 gallon food grade (BPA-free) from a couple different hardware stores. I think I ended up using 7 total for the rock, sand, fish, and coral combined. I only had one fish in any bucket, and at most with some of the small rubble or coral skeletons, since I didn't want to risk the rock crushing the fish. The goby was in with some sand.

All total, they were in the buckets for about an hour and a half to two hours. Thankfully the movers were pretty quick about getting things inside so we could start to reset everything quickly. Basically the big rule was the tank had to be last out of the old place, first into the new, and the inhabitants moved separately.
 
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New&no clue

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Thanks for the info. I'm not moving but I am upgrading my tank and of course my new tank has to go in place of my old tank so I have to take the old tank down, and then put the new tank up. I'm of course worried that something will go wrong when setting up the new tank so I was wondering how long the fish could be in a bucket. I only have 3 currently in the DT and then a medium size CUC.

Did you have aerator on everything; rock, sand, and fish, or just your fish?
 
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Thanks for the info. I'm not moving but I am upgrading my tank and of course my new tank has to go in place of my old tank so I have to take the old tank down, and then put the new tank up. I'm of course worried that something will go wrong when setting up the new tank so I was wondering how long the fish could be in a bucket. I only have 3 currently in the DT and then a medium size CUC.

Did you have aerator on everything; rock, sand, and fish, or just your fish?
Really, especially since you aren't moving, you'd probably be better off with a holding tank - basically just get a big trash can, heater, and a good sized aerator. You can move rock, sand, water, CUC, everything into the can while you set up the new tank. It'd be tougher in the sense that the holding tank wouldn't be mobile after you fill it, but everything except coral could survive pretty easily for a couple days if needed, and you'd have everything in one container rather than several.

For my buckets, the fish and most of the rock and sand had portable aerators. Some of the sand and smaller rocks didn't. Similarly to leaving a store, everything should be OK in buckets for a couple hours even without aeration, with aeration the lack of heat may become an issue.
 

New&no clue

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I am replacing my sand as I'm not a fan of how coarse it is. I also don't have corals yet so I don't have to worry about those. I am worried about having the rock and fish together mostly because I am worried about getting the fish out of the bucket without hurting them.

I was going to wait to do all of this until my new rock cured, that is currently in a brute can. Maybe once done I could just add my current rock to that can. Then get another large brute can for my three fish and CUC. I can add my heater and aerator from my current tank in.
 
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I am replacing my sand as I'm not a fan of how coarse it is. I also don't have corals yet so I don't have to worry about those. I am worried about having the rock and fish together mostly because I am worried about getting the fish out of the bucket without hurting them.

I was going to wait to do all of this until my new rock cured, that is currently in a brute can. Maybe once done I could just add my current rock to that can. Then get another large brute can for my three fish and CUC. I can add my heater and aerator from my current tank in.
For the rock/fish mix in the buckets, the easiest thing to do is get the rocks out first, then the fish. that way they won't be injured. So long as the rocks are the first thing in and out, and aren't disturbed, they shouldn't move around and hurt the fish. Worst comes to worse you can put the rock in a separate container, as you mentioned. That'd likely be the best bet, especially in the relatively short term.
 
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QT, Phyto, and MORE!!!

QT Fishies!


Fun and pretty big update this time around, lots of stuff going on. As I mentioned before, I had another thread about my issues with QT and DT fish adding, where the consensus went to the problem of salinity changing between the fish store and my tank(s). As such, I spent the last couple weeks resetting my QT - using water from my DT, RO, ceramic balls from my sump, and some filter sheets. I got 3 chromis (tentatively named Hopes, Dreams, and Aspirations, because triplicates), started it last weekend (8/10) and we're going strong!

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Day after the reset (8/11) and they're out of the corner, mostly hanging around the heater.
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Still looking good today (8/17)!

They're eating my regular frozen mysis very well, and I've been doing daily water changes of about a half gallon to a) reduce nutrients, and b) raise the salinity. Initial salinity was around 1.012, and I've been adding water at ~double the salinity of my DT (~1.045) to raise it slowly but surely. I'll keep them in QT for at least another week or so, then move them to the acclimation box in the DT.

Phyto/Pods

My phyto culture system is working BEAUTIFULLY. My 100 mL inoculation/200 mL fertilizer was a great mix.
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One week of growth looks good all around. Plenty to store.

I ended up with enough phyto that I upgraded my fridge storage jars to quart size, still using a pint to have as a smaller holding container to avoid contamination catastrophe.

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So green.

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Let there be PHYTO!!!!

Most excitingly, I started up some pods in one of the re-cultures. I got a fresh bottle of tiggers from the LFS, and mixed up a jar of 100 mL inoculate, 100 mL fertilizer, and 100 mL of pod fluid. My hope is that I'll be able to pour off the water as the phyto is used up and add new inoculate from the fridge, but it depends on how/if the pods eat and breed well. There's no rock or the like to hide in and the lights are always on, but I'm hoping they like it.
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It's hard to see, but there are some pods in the jar.

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Ditto as above. I put the pod jar right at the front of the cabinet so I can monitor it more easily, but the bubbles are quite slow.

Fuge rebuild

With the excess pods, I'll be putting them back in the fuge along with some chaeto that I picked up today, as well. I scrubbed the fuge clean of nasty algae and tossed in the chaeto. The other pods'll go in there and I'll be dosing phyto pretty heavily.

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I moved the chaeto after this pic to the bottom right corner. Across from the powerhead so it'll get good flow.

The road to the Mandarin goby continues!!!
 
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Blutspitze

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Lot of progress with the phyto crop ! I think the pods in the fuge will thrive with the chaeto you added. Can you see pods running in DT at night?
Thanks! I'm glad it's all working with the phyto growth. I only just added the chaeto and pods to the sump yesterday and last night, respectively (8/17), so I can't see anything in DT. This is the 4th or 5th time I've tried to seed pods, and the first time I can go heavy on the phyto feeding, so hoping it'll work.
 
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Growth Updates and Moving Inhabitants

Have some good news and bad news from this week; regardless got a lot done, though! Quick summary:
  1. Chromis are in the DT acclimation box (WOOOO)
  2. Chaeto seems to be growing well, but no pods seen in DT or sump
  3. Phyto growing strong, but pod experiment failed :(
  4. Upgraded the cabinet lights
First, after 2 weeks in QT, with gradual salinity increases to better acclimate them, all 3 chromis are now in the DT acclimation box (with acclimation lighting) - eating really well and still active. They'll stay in the box probably another day or so, then get released, but maintain the acclimation lights.
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Sandy photobomb!
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Hello fishies!

Second, good chaeto growth is happening in the sump. Seems like the powerhead is working well to keep nasties off of the chaeto itself. No sign of pods anywhere in the DT system yet, so.... not sure what's going on there.

20190824_171135.jpg

Nice big clump. Didn't remove any this time around, but likely will next week.

Third, pod experiment in the phyto culture system seems to have failed. Got a brownish yellow color to it, and I haven't seen any alive in a couple days. I'm leaving the jar out, with no agitation, light, heat, etc., via advice from phytoplankton culture forums here. Most likely will have to completely restart, though. Additionally, only keeping 2 jars running now, since 5 is making a LOT.

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Bet you can't guess which one had the pods :p . Yes, the far right.... :(

Fourth, I got around to upgrading the lighting in my controller cabinet and sump area from the previous soft white to daylight LEDs. Not a huge deal, but particularly helpful for looking at the testing coloration when I do them.

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Previous lighting (soft white)
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Upgraded - longer strips on both, plus brighter in general. Very helpful for working in the cabinets.
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Closeups on the two sections with the new lights. Very fun.

Excited to see the chromis swimming around and I'll probably try again for the pod culture later, as well. I'll have to try to figure out what's going on.
 
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Fish out, storm prep, and more

Another pretty busy week this week. Biggest by far gonna be the release of the chromis from the acclimation box and getting ready for the coming of hurricane Dorian. Fun times.

Chromis are doing OK. I let them out Monday evening, and unfortunately I lost one :( . It was staying on the sandbed for the most part, but ate on Tuesday. Not sure exactly what happened, but have to assume that it passed away.

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Just after they were released, all three were hanging out together nicely, but soon enough one started to head off on it's own.

For the coming storm, particularly after Irma, I wanted to be as ready as possible. I have the bubblers that I'd used previously as well as for my move, but now that I've got corals, I really needed lights. So happened that I managed to get a 6 kW generator secondhand along with a bunch of gas canisters. The generator would just be for the tank and maybe the fridge, not AC or the like. In addition, I put water in ziploc bags to put into the tank if it heats up due to a power loss. Thankfully it shouldn't be an issue with the current storm predictions, but better safe.

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2 bubblers and generator ready to rock! I have more bubblers, but just as examples.

On some happier, more miscellaneous stuff, I got to take advantage of the new cabinet lighting for my testing, the phyto and chaeto are growing well, and the pod experiment.... is still a failure.

20190831_073226.jpg

The brighter lights help a LOT with the colormetric readings. I was really nervous about running this week's tests, since I've been feeding the tank my homegrown phyto, I thought that it might spike my nutrients due to the fertilizer. Glad that it didn't :D.

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Chaeto blob is overtaking the sump, but most importantly virtually no random nuisance algae growth.

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WOOOOOO phyto still going pretty well. As mentioned earlier I'm sticking with only 2 jars since it's easier to maintain.

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"pod jar" doesn't really have any results, unfortunately. I have to retry, but not 100% sure what needs to change. Most likely more specific phyto cultures, though they're a bit pricy.




We gotta end on something fun, though!! Here's a new FTS!
20190831_121044.jpg

Hooray!
 
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I really like this thread. It’s extremely well organized and I like that you are sharing the good AND the bad. It has the potential to help a lot of people (myself included).
Yea definitely entertaining and good to learn new stuff.
Thanks very much to both of you :D . Hope that some of the stuff I went through can help even a bit!
 
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Great update.

I am sorry for your Chromis loss, unfortunately they attack each other all the time.

The FTS look very nice, starting is always very excitement.
Thanks very much. I was hoping that they wouldn't insist on going Highlander on each other, but seems that they have. Early this week I noticed that another one was gone :( . The remaining one seems healthy, though, and I haven't seen anyone bothering each other lately.

I may focus a bit more on getting some corals now, especially since my pod stuff doesn't seem to be cooperating very well.
 

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Thanks very much. I was hoping that they wouldn't insist on going Highlander on each other, but seems that they have. Early this week I noticed that another one was gone :( . The remaining one seems healthy, though, and I haven't seen anyone bothering each other lately.

I may focus a bit more on getting some corals now, especially since my pod stuff doesn't seem to be cooperating very well.
Highlander... lol
Very good analogy, unfortunately chromis always go highlander as they grow.
 
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