lmfbs' Waterbox 130.4

lmfbs

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I'm returning to the hobby and have purchased a second-hand Waterbox 130.4, which I'm picking up this weekend.

Return pump: Neptunian Cube DC-6000 (6000lph) (came with tank)
Heaters: 2x 200w Eheim Jager (will this be enough? I also have a brand new 100w Eheim Jager, and my house stays at 18-21c all year round)
Skimmer: Aqua Excel AE-601 (came with tank)
Powerheads: initially I have 1 Nanostream 6045 and 2 sun sun JVP-101s from an old tank, and I've got to decide what I want. I kind of like the idea of a proper wavemaker, but I was thinking maybe 2 Nero 5s and keeping the Nanostream for some extra flow - very keen for suggestions. I feel a bit morally opposed to the price of MP-40s, if I'm honest - they're NZ$890 which is around USD$550 and that just feels a bit outrageous.

It will likely be a few weeks before I get whatever I end up with, because there's not a lot of stock in the country and overseas shipping takes a couple of weeks at least.
Filter: Klir Di-4
Sand: Seachem Meridian, 2.5cm sandbed


Livestock - very keen for feedback!
I'm thinking:
  • a small school of anthias or fire fish
  • a lawnmower blenny
  • some sort of sandsifting goby (maybe a diamond goby?)
  • maybe a pair of percs
  • a leopard wrasse
  • maybe some other type of wrasse
  • eventually, a pair of mandarins
  • a cleaner shrimp
  • some turbo snails

Corals:
I'm thinking this will be an LPS tank with a zoa/shroom garden, at least for the first year/18m. I just love the willy-wonka look. I know for sure I want some hammers because I love them. Eventually I'd like some SPS, but we'll see.

Progress so far:​

  • I've set up the RODI and started making some water.
  • I've got more than enough dry rock, and I'll be making an aquascape during the week.
  • I've started washing the sand
  • We live in an apartment, and instead of having the tank on the carpet, we've pulled up the carpet and put down the flooring. We're thinking of getting a drain installed so I can do waterchanges right down the drain. I'm keen to automate as much about waterchanges as possible. Some progress pics:
20230414_230327.jpg

Poor dog had to be tethered while we were cutting the carpet
20230414_232811 (1).jpg

Laying out the tile, + helper dog

Green tape marks the tank
20230417_223155.jpg


20230417_223302.jpg

All sealed.
  • We're getting 4 extra power-points wired up over the next few days
  • I'm thinking of plumbing in a 3 or 4 way manifold right away for some reactors or something eventually
  • I plan to have an external ATO, and turn the ATO area in the sump into a refugium. No one in NZ is breeding or selling pods, so if I want a few pod-feeders, I'll need a specific wee area to breed them. I'm considering setting up a specific pod tank.
  • I need to figure out a way for the cats to get up onto the bookcase - they use that as a way to get into a mezzanine floor we've built for them
My next update should be some aquascaping pics, hopefully!
 
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lmfbs

lmfbs

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Today I got a new RCD installed on the circuit the tank will be on, and 4 more powerpoints, 2 on each side of the tank. There are also 2 behind where the tank will be.

I soaked some of the retired rock I got from another reefer just in salt water, and tested it over a couple of days. Ammonia 0.25, phosphates 0 or slightly over 0. Some people here convinced me to do a bleach soak, so I've dumped the rock in some tapwater/bleach, and I'll leave it there for 24 hrs then start the rinsing process. It's been about an hour since I put it in and it's already all perfectly white.

In the meantime, I want to think about stocking and the aquascape.

In terms of stocking, I initially posted:

Livestock - very keen for feedback!
I'm thinking:
  • a small school of anthias or fire fish
  • a lawnmower blenny
  • some sort of sandsifting goby (maybe a diamond goby?)
  • maybe a pair of percs
  • a leopard wrasse
  • maybe some other type of wrasse
  • eventually, a pair of mandarins
  • a cleaner shrimp
  • some turbo snails

I'm thinking a school of chromis might be really nice - I've heard anthia's can get a bit stroppy and it can be best to introduce them all at once to avoid that. They're expensive here - sometimes you can get them as cheap as $110 or so, but often they're around $160 each, and I think it would be almost impossible to get more than 2 or 3 at a time, with potentially months between them depending on when shipments come in. I've not actually seen more than 1 at a time for sale here. Maybe a small group of banggai cardinals?

I'm really keen for some ideas about other fish - they can be quite hard to find specific things here, and our 'list' is much more limited compared to the US.
 

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It looks like we have similar tank builds! I picked up my Waterbox 130.4 second hand in August of last year I believe. Following to see how you progress.

Your fish stocking list sounds very similar to what I have today. I tried to go for mostly smaller fish to make the tank and coral look bigger. Here's what I have so far
  • 2 hector gobies
  • 2 percs
  • 5 dispar anthias (I'm not 100% sure 3 of them are dispar but they all get along)
  • 1 sunburst anthias (this was an impulse buy but I love him)
  • melanarus wrasse (transfer from previous tank)
  • carpenter's flasher wrasse
  • one spot foxface (transfer from previous tank)
  • possum wrasse
  • tailspot blenny
  • 2 bar gobies
  • 3 yellow striped cardinal fish
At the moment it's looking crowded in my tank just. I'm considering rehoming the bar gobies and cardinal fish. I would like to add a leopard and yellow tail tamarin wrasse possibly in the near future.

I don't like diamond gobies. I tried them before but they make such a mess and the tank is literally always cloudy looking. The one I had before even buried an expensive mushroom which I later lost.
 
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lmfbs

lmfbs

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It looks like we have similar tank builds! I picked up my Waterbox 130.4 second hand in August of last year I believe. Following to see how you progress.

Your fish stocking list sounds very similar to what I have today. I tried to go for mostly smaller fish to make the tank and coral look bigger. Here's what I have so far
  • 2 hector gobies
  • 2 percs
  • 5 dispar anthias (I'm not 100% sure 3 of them are dispar but they all get along)
  • 1 sunburst anthias (this was an impulse buy but I love him)
  • melanarus wrasse (transfer from previous tank)
  • carpenter's flasher wrasse
  • one spot foxface (transfer from previous tank)
  • possum wrasse
  • tailspot blenny
  • 2 bar gobies
  • 3 yellow striped cardinal fish
At the moment it's looking crowded in my tank just. I'm considering rehoming the bar gobies and cardinal fish. I would like to add a leopard and yellow tail tamarin wrasse possibly in the near future.

I don't like diamond gobies. I tried them before but they make such a mess and the tank is literally always cloudy looking. The one I had before even buried an expensive mushroom which I later lost.
What a great list! How do you deal with keeping your sand clean? In NZ getting a diverse CUC can be really tricky, and we don't get all the fish people overseas get so there's a bit of a limitation!
 

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What a great list! How do you deal with keeping your sand clean? In NZ getting a diverse CUC can be really tricky, and we don't get all the fish people overseas get so there's a bit of a limitation!
I have 2 conch snails but honestly they don't do a lot. The melanarus also sleeps in the sand so that helps turn certain areas over. I just vacuum the sand once a month to really clean the sand. So far no problems. :)

The rest of my CUC are a bunch of trochus snails.
 
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lmfbs

lmfbs

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The final scape!

20230422_200824.jpg


20230422_200835.jpg
20230422_200842.jpg



Sand is in too.

I've just added an ammonia source (Dr Tim's) and will be adding MicroBacter Start XLM later on.

I also won some auctions for some zoas, which a friend is looking after until the tank is ready.

Initially, my partner was against clowns, but spend some time at a friend place watching their clowns and nos has decided they're dopey and fun, so clowns it is!
 
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lmfbs

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When I first started reefing more than 10 years ago, cycling was so mysterious and we were very suspicious about bacteria in a bottle and all that jazz. It was a months long endeavor before you'd put livestock in your tank if you were doing a fishless cycle.

This time, I used dry rock, and Microbacter StartXLM and the tank is basically cycled 5 days later. It's happily eating ammonia, still some nitrite (but it's salty, so we don't care), and nitrates are building. Currently sitting at about 10. Absolutely wild to me.

Anyway, this means I'm going to add some GSP (on a rock, isolated and carefully watched so it doesn't spread everywhere) today.
 
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On 28 April, I added 4 trochus snails, a small bit of GSP and an acan a friend was going to throw away because it's ugly. They were right, it's very ugly, but it's still doing well (honestly I'm not really clear on how they should look). I accidently glued the GSP upside down (polyps on the glue side) but in true GSP form, it has not stopped it from anything. It took a couple of days for all of the polyps that weren't covered in superglue to come out, but they're out now, and looking more and more green every day.

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1.../AF1QipOp7wNDk7ZLx2itHT7X9EOawe7LvJQCvTLO4t3S
20230502_165801.jpg 20230502_165808.jpg 20230502_165830.jpg

Yesterday (4/5/23 here), I added 2 true percs. They were shipped 21 hours to me, and arrived nicely coloured up and very active. 1 bag had a slow leak, but lots of water still in it.

I floated, then acclimatised by taking out 1/2 of the water in the bags, adding that volume of tank water, and doing that 4 more times over the next 1/2hr. I kept the lights off for about 6 hours, but when the lights went on last night they were super active. The male has eaten a little bit, the female is very bad at finding food. I'm worried about overfeeding.

20230504_110134.jpg


I'm starting to get a biofilm over everything so I'm less concerned about the snails starving to death.

I'm starting to properly consider a stocking list, and I'm really keen for feedback:

I'm thinking of a mostly softie/LPS tank with zoas, torches, hammers, acans etc. Maybe after a year or so, I'll move to a full mixed reef with some SPS (but unlikely ever to be SPS dominant).

The caveat on this list is I live in NZ, so some stock that's super accessible and cheap overseas isn't available here or is super expensive. As a vibe on cost, a cleaner shimp is around NZ$200 (~USD$130), I paid NZ$180 for my clown pair (captive bred, USD$115), and lawnmower blennies are ~NZ$150 (USD$95). We pay roughly NZ$20 for a single trochus snail. The cost isn't determinative for me thankfully, but it definitely impacts on how quickly I could stock a tank, and even if I had unlimited money, there often just isn't stock to purchase because it's coming in from quarantine or whatever.

Here are my 'must haves' (i.e I would be pretty sad not to get one):
  • a pair of clowns (true percs), already in the tank
  • a lawnmower blenny because they are grumpy and I love them
  • mandarin dragonet (obviously later when I have a good pod population - you can't purchase pods here)
  • some sort of sandsifting gizmo - diamond goby?
Fish I really like:
  • Firefish
  • Bangaii Cardinals
  • Smaller fish that will hang out together
  • Butterfly fish
  • 1 or 2 big boy fish like tangs
  • Interesting fish that have business to attend to
Fish I hate/don't understand:
  • pajama cardinals. The name is the best part.
20230502_165806.jpg 20230502_165830.jpg
 
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lmfbs

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It's been a wee while since I updated, and here's what's happened:

I got some zoas
20230604_162140.jpg
20230604_162121.jpg
20230520_184303.jpg


I got a neon cleaner goby. He's comically small, and super brave and very fast
20230523_170015.jpg


I got some torches, a frogspawn and a hammer


I got a lawnmower blenny, a Lubbock's fairy wrasse and a diamond watchman goby.
The goby has been missing since the second day he went in the tank almost a month ago.
20230713_174733.jpg



The cleaner goby (named Mako) has started regularly cleaning Goby, the lawnmower blenny. It's super cute.
20230714_190125.jpg


I got a green monti frag. I'm worried he's dying because the edge is more white than it was when I got it and the blenny constantly sits on it.

I'm trying to grow GSP on the back wall, but Goblin, the fairy wrasse, is AGRESSIVE in trying to get behind it and peel it off the wall.
I'm determined to win.

I was given a dying acan and a dying walling hammer to try to heal them up. It's going really well.

20230630_152326.jpg
20230629_203115.jpg


I'm struggling with not having the sand blow everywhere. It's usually fine for 2 - 3 days, then I end up with bald spots. Not enough sand?

I'm also struggling with keeping my alkalinity up. The tank is growing coralline really fast, and eating a lot of alk a day. I just purchased a doser which I'm hoping to set up tomorrow.
 

Gumbies R Us

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It's been a wee while since I updated, and here's what's happened:

I got some zoas
20230604_162140.jpg
20230604_162121.jpg
20230520_184303.jpg


I got a neon cleaner goby. He's comically small, and super brave and very fast
20230523_170015.jpg


I got some torches, a frogspawn and a hammer


I got a lawnmower blenny, a Lubbock's fairy wrasse and a diamond watchman goby.
The goby has been missing since the second day he went in the tank almost a month ago.
20230713_174733.jpg



The cleaner goby (named Mako) has started regularly cleaning Goby, the lawnmower blenny. It's super cute.
20230714_190125.jpg


I got a green monti frag. I'm worried he's dying because the edge is more white than it was when I got it and the blenny constantly sits on it.

I'm trying to grow GSP on the back wall, but Goblin, the fairy wrasse, is AGRESSIVE in trying to get behind it and peel it off the wall.
I'm determined to win.

I was given a dying acan and a dying walling hammer to try to heal them up. It's going really well.

20230630_152326.jpg
20230629_203115.jpg


I'm struggling with not having the sand blow everywhere. It's usually fine for 2 - 3 days, then I end up with bald spots. Not enough sand?

I'm also struggling with keeping my alkalinity up. The tank is growing coralline really fast, and eating a lot of alk a day. I just purchased a doser which I'm hoping to set up tomorrow.
Love the zoas you got!
 
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It's been a long time and a bit disheartening at times, but I'm back and trying to commit to keeping updates going.

Sad lifestock news
I added some more livestock in August/September. A yellow eye kole tang, a leopard wrasse, and 2 banded brittle stars. They're all healthy and happy. A few weeks later, I ended up getting some euphyllia from another reefer who was mid-crash. If I had thought about it for more time, I might have said no - but I got them, and over the next 2 months or so, all of my LPS ended up with brown jelly and died, despite all my efforts to save them. I suspect my kH wasn't as stable as it could have been, and they were probably a bit susceptible.

Many of my zoas have been lost too.

My neon cleaner goby disappeared back in September. Not sure why, he was happy and healthy then gone the next day without a trace.

The lawnmower blenny seemed to eat well, but eventually wasted away in October-ish. The diamond watchman also disappeared. I felt really crap about it.

Moving on sadly
I've been doing the bare minimum on the tank except focusing on keeping parameters good. Fortnightly - 3 weekly 30% water changes, more regular kH testing, then I started dosing kH. My nitrates have been climbing to the high 40s, so I've also started carbon dosing to bring them back down, and that's been quite successful. I'm aiming for keeping them around 10 - 20.

I have HEAPS of coralline, so something's working!

I got a kH keeper plus and after some annoying struggles with calibrating it, it's working pretty well. I'm hoping keeping my kH nice and stable will help.

Things are looking up
Somewhere along the way (August? September?) I added 2 peppermint shrimp to keep aiptasia at bay. 1 immediately got lost, and I thought someone had eaten him. About 3 weeks ago I found him, fat and healthy, in my sump. He's now back in the display and is living with the other peppermint shrimp. They've done a great job on the little ones, and big ones I manually kill with lemon juice.

I have a small amount of bubble algae which I'm manually removing, and where I can remove rocks, I'm going to do an H2O2 2min dip to kill it. I also have a bit of GHA (including on this (I think) acan which I was sure was dead). I'm thinking of trying to paint on H2O2 to kill it without touching the actual coral. It's almost impossible to pull off manually because it's all in the skeleton.

This week for the first time in months, I decided I was bold enough to try some new livestock. I rehomed a watchman goby this weekend and while he's only coming out in the morning and late at night at the moment, he's eating well and seems to be doing well. I've also ordered 5 saltwater mollies, and picked up a couple of zoa frags over the weekend.

Long update, but she's back, baby!
 

Gumbies R Us

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It's been a long time and a bit disheartening at times, but I'm back and trying to commit to keeping updates going.

Sad lifestock news
I added some more livestock in August/September. A yellow eye kole tang, a leopard wrasse, and 2 banded brittle stars. They're all healthy and happy. A few weeks later, I ended up getting some euphyllia from another reefer who was mid-crash. If I had thought about it for more time, I might have said no - but I got them, and over the next 2 months or so, all of my LPS ended up with brown jelly and died, despite all my efforts to save them. I suspect my kH wasn't as stable as it could have been, and they were probably a bit susceptible.

Many of my zoas have been lost too.

My neon cleaner goby disappeared back in September. Not sure why, he was happy and healthy then gone the next day without a trace.

The lawnmower blenny seemed to eat well, but eventually wasted away in October-ish. The diamond watchman also disappeared. I felt really crap about it.

Moving on sadly
I've been doing the bare minimum on the tank except focusing on keeping parameters good. Fortnightly - 3 weekly 30% water changes, more regular kH testing, then I started dosing kH. My nitrates have been climbing to the high 40s, so I've also started carbon dosing to bring them back down, and that's been quite successful. I'm aiming for keeping them around 10 - 20.

I have HEAPS of coralline, so something's working!

I got a kH keeper plus and after some annoying struggles with calibrating it, it's working pretty well. I'm hoping keeping my kH nice and stable will help.

Things are looking up
Somewhere along the way (August? September?) I added 2 peppermint shrimp to keep aiptasia at bay. 1 immediately got lost, and I thought someone had eaten him. About 3 weeks ago I found him, fat and healthy, in my sump. He's now back in the display and is living with the other peppermint shrimp. They've done a great job on the little ones, and big ones I manually kill with lemon juice.

I have a small amount of bubble algae which I'm manually removing, and where I can remove rocks, I'm going to do an H2O2 2min dip to kill it. I also have a bit of GHA (including on this (I think) acan which I was sure was dead). I'm thinking of trying to paint on H2O2 to kill it without touching the actual coral. It's almost impossible to pull off manually because it's all in the skeleton.

This week for the first time in months, I decided I was bold enough to try some new livestock. I rehomed a watchman goby this weekend and while he's only coming out in the morning and late at night at the moment, he's eating well and seems to be doing well. I've also ordered 5 saltwater mollies, and picked up a couple of zoa frags over the weekend.

Long update, but she's back, baby!
Sorry about your losses!
 
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lmfbs

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Sorry about your losses!
I'm really gutted. Like most people, I take the responsibility of having these pets so seriously and I feel awful if there was anything I did to contribute to their loss. Honestly, I'm not sure there was a whole lot (and the corals were almost definitely some disease from the other reefer's tank) but still - it sucks.

I'm pleased I'm feeling comfortable enough to get back into it properly.

I've said this on a few other places here, but the reason I left the hobby in the first place was there was a lightning strike on my house which caused 2 heaters to lock on somehow, and it killed almost all the livestock.

That's part of the reason I got built in RCDs and will never run a tank without a temp controller and back up way of remotely testing temp again. It was absolutely awful - killed fish I had had for 7+ years, and it's part of the reason why I'm so sensitive to livestock loss now, I think. But I love having reefs, and I don't want that fear to stop me!
 
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A bit of an update!

My zoas are starting to look good again, and my nitrates are generally quite well under control. The kH keeper plus and doser has been great to try to keep my kH pretty stable. I'm thinking about adding some new LPS, but still pondering at this stage.

I got a yellow watchman goby from a buddy who had to rehome it because it was being bullied in his tank. So far, he's doing great, but only comes out at night. I've seen lots of people suggest they come out more often when they're paired with a shrimp. We can't get pistols here - are there other shrimps they can pair with? We get peps, coral banded and cleaner shrimp here and I currently have 4 peppermints (2 in the tank, 2 in QT).

I also got 5 saltwater mollies in QT, 3 girls and 2 boys. 1 of the girls (at least) is very pregnant, and I'm considering keeping her in OT when I move the others into the tank. Maybe that'll mess up their group though? I haven't treated them for anything, and I'm wondering whether I should preemtively treat them (for what? With what?). They all seem healthy and happy.
 

How much do you care about having a display FREE of wires, pumps and equipment?

  • Want it squeaky clean! Wires be danged!

    Votes: 124 42.2%
  • A few things are ok with me!

    Votes: 144 49.0%
  • No care at all! Bring it on!

    Votes: 26 8.8%
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