Mon Cala: Our First Foray Into Reef Tanks

Arcite

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I have kept a few freshwater tanks and I fell in love with the Royal Gramma at my local fish store. I did not want to impact the world's reefs in any way as they are already struggling; for that reason, everything in our tank is captive-bred.

Fish



  • Scar: RWU captive-bred Royal Gramma
  • Jack & Sally: Captive-bred Kaudern's Cardinalfish (bonded pair)
  • Tiana & Naveen: Biota Captive-Bred Blue Mandarin (select pair)
  • Donald & Daisy: Asia captive-bred Rolland's Damselfish x2
  • Eve: ORA captive-bred Percula Picasso Clownfish
  • Meeko: ORA Captive-Bred Sharknose Goby
  • Winnie the Pooh: Biota Captive-Bred Hawaiin Yellow Tang
  • Hercules and Megara: Biota aquacultured Pink Square Anthias Pair
We're looking for 3 more Rolland's Damselfish, we have one die in QT and although they're getting along now, I'd rather have an odd number of them.

Quarantine​

  • RWU Captive-bred Yasha Goby
  • ORA Captive-bred Premium Picasso Percula Clownfish (Wall-E the second)
  • Biota Captive-bred Court Jester Goby

Inverts


Display Tank​

  • ORA aquacultured Cerith Snails x54
  • Algae Barn aquacultured Trochus Snails x10 (ordered)
  • Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head: RWU Captive-Bred Blood Red Fire Shrimp (bonded pair)
  • Aliens: ORA captive-bred Peppermint Shrimp x8
  • Stitch: Algae Barn aquacultured Tuxedo Urchin - Blue
  • Lilo: Algae Barn aquacultured Tuxedo Urchin - Red
  • ORA aquacultured Trochus Snails x4 (?)
Coral

Soft​

Zoas​

  • Rastas
  • Gummy Worms
  • Emerald on Fire
  • Bloomers
  • Ketchum
  • Yeller
  • Gatorades
  • Goblins Fire
  • Mohawks
  • Lizard Wizard
  • Rainbow Infusion (in quarantine)
  • Mind Blowing Paly (in quarantine)
  • Pink Constellation (in quarantine)
  • TSA Star Foxx (ordered)
  • WWC Purple Monster (ordered)
  • TSA Mystery Frag (ordered)

Leather​

  • Biota aquacultured Mountain Dew Toadstool
  • Biota aquacultured White Polyp Toadstool

Other​

TSA Pipe Organs (quarantine)

SPS​

Sunfire Monti Cap (quarantine)

Algae


All of the algae is in an in-sump refugium under the tank.
  • Algae Barn Sea Lettuce
  • ORA Cultured Chaetomorpha Algae

Copepods


I dose 60ml of Algae Barn's Phyto daily.
  • Algae Barn 5280 Pods
  • Algae Barn Poseidon's Feast
  • Algae Barn Nano Brine
  • Algae Barn Ecopods

Equipment


Tank​

  • Waterbox Peninsula 6025
  • 80 pounds of CaribSea Arag-Alive Special Grade Sand
  • 90 pounds of CaribSea Life Rock
  • Aqua Illumination Hydra 32 x1
  • EcoTech MP40QD x2
  • Sicce SDC 6.0 Wi-Fi return pump
  • RO/DI water mixed with Fritz Reef Pro Mix Salt
  • Maxspect Gyre XF 350
  • Hydros Wave Engine Pump ETM Wireless Controller

Sump​

  • 2 Ebo Jager Heaters, 150-Watt on an Inkbird ITC-306A
  • XP Aqua Duetto ATO System
  • Reef Octopus S-130 Protein Skimmer
  • SeaChem 250-micron mesh filter sock x2
  • Waterbox 100-micron felt filter sock x2

Refugium​

  • CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral
  • Marine Pure GEMS
  • Fenix Planted+ Clip Light

Update pictures​


8/8/21​

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6/23/21​

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5/10/21​

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4/29/21​

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4/21/21​

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4/12/21​

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Arcite

Arcite

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Update - 4/20/21


While on vacation, 15 captive-bred certith snails from Algae Barn arrived, and a friend added them to the display tank (4/16/21). Today our Biota Captive-Bred Blue Mandarin pair and RWU Captive-Bred Blood Red Fire Shrimp (bonded pair) arrived, and all 4 went right into the display tank. I thought about quarantining them, but I was afraid they would starve, and their cost is about the same as everything else in the tank... The Dragonettes are a lot smaller than I thought they would be. We also got some ORA Cultured Chaetomorpha Algae and an ORA Captive-Bred Sharknose Goby. The Goby went into the quarantine tank with the Percula clowns.

IMG_0224(1).JPG IMG_0223(1).JPG IMG_0222.JPG IMG_0220(1).JPG IMG_0219(1).JPG IMG_0232.JPG
 
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Arcite

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Coral order​

I participated in the zoanthids.com anniversary sale and got a bunch of Zoas for the tank. They ship on 4/29.

Rastas​


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Gummy Worms​

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Emerald on Fire & Bloomers​

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Ketchum​

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Yeller​

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Gatorades​

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Goblins Fire​

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Mohawks​

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Lizard Wizard​

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Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting
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Arcite

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Update 4/28/21

The clownfish and damselfish went into the display tank on 4/23/21 after their quarantine ended.

Our toadstools arrived and are sitting in the quarantine tank with the Percula clowns and Sharknose goby. They'll get dipped and moved to the display tank later today. The Yellow Tang arrived this morning and is the other quarantine tank. All of our Zoas should arrive tomorrow afternoon.

We had some issues with a faulty breaker, which left the tank without power two nights in a row. I'm concerned our pod population may have died, so I'm reseeding with Algae Barn 5280 pods.

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Update 4/29/21

The Zoas arrived! The following is a quote from this thread.

I read that I should definitely tank palytoxin seriously, so I wore food-grade, powerless gloves, eye protection, and my COVID mask.

IMG_0470.JPG

I also read that Zoas sometimes ship without water, so they don't need to be acclimated. I moved them from their containers into a dip container and used Seachem Dip for 15 minutes with an airstone.

IMG_0469(1).JPG IMG_0467.JPG

After 15 minutes in the dip, I rinsed them off with the water from the containers and placed them in a 10-gallon quarantine tank with a pair of Percula Clowns and a Sharknose Goby. Originally they were supposed to go into a 29-gallon tank by themselves, but I had to use that tank to medicate some Clowns for another tank and Biota Yellow Tang.
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Next week, I plan to dip them in Two Little Fishies Revive and place them in my display tank on the sand bed. I will then move them higher on the rocks each week to see how they handle the light. I read that this is a good process to find the best spot in the tank for each zoa.
 
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Update 5/2/21

After doing my first water change, I decided to move the Zoas into the display tank. I wasn't sure where they would be most happy, so we set them up where we wanted them and we're watching them to see if they open and stay open throughout the day. Once they all seem happy, I will cut the frag plugs and glue them to the rock.

Any advice on the best way to cut/glue would be appreciated!

Placement​

Ketchum & Lizard Wizard​

IMG_0554(1).JPG

Goblins Fire & Mohawks​

IMG_0555.JPG

Yeller & Rasta​

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Emeralds On Fire & Bloomers​

IMG_0557(1).JPG

Gummy Words & Gatorade​

IMG_0558.JPG
 
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Update 5/8/21

Moving In​

We moved the members of the 10-gallon quarantine tank to Mon Cala. I am a little nervous about having two pairs of clowns in the same tank but so far they seem to get a long. They fought a little to determine the pecking order but everything seems to have calmed down. Meeko, the sharknosed goby, likes following his quarantine mates around the tank.

Moving out​

I also moved Sally to the quarantine tank after a freshwater dip. I think she had some sort of parasites. She is looking a lot better now and will come back to Mon Cala when the Yellow Tang finishes its QT.

Coral​

I ordered glue and clippers for the coral. I'll be placing the Zoas in their "final" spots as soon as they arrive.

Media​

Meeko​

His color is much better since these were taken.

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Wall-E & Eve​

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5/15/21 Update

Eve, the Percula female, has been nipping the fins of Kronk (the Ocellaris male), so I moved the Percula pair to the 10-gallon quarantine tank. I was hoping the two pairs would get along but I guess not... Any advice to get them to ignore each other?

I also glued the Zoas frag plugs into the rock as they all seemed to be happy in their current locations.
 
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5/18/21 Update

Last night Winnie the Pooh, our Biota captive-bred yellow tang, went into Mon Cala from QT. Sally is going to stay in QT for now as she had some bloating again. I'm going to treat her with Fritz ParaCleanse because it should clear out her insides.

Later today, I'm going to do the great clown swap. My clowns for another tank are moving from the 29-gallon tank to the 10-gallon tank. The Percula from the 10-gallon tank are going back into Mon Cala and the black Ocellaris from Mon Cala are moving into the 29-gallon with Sally. We decided the orange of the Percula would look best if we can only have one clown pair in the display tank. The black Ocellaris are going with Sally because the antibiotics from ParaCleanse should help Kronk's tail heal. And my Zombie Ocellaris are just along for the ride until I get a permanent tank for them.

Here are some photos to track the growth of the fish and corral.

Coral​

Zoas​

IMG_0773(1).JPG IMG_0769(1).JPG IMG_0768(1).JPG

Toadstools​

IMG_0770(1).JPG IMG_0767.JPG

Animals​

Winnie the Pooh​

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Cerith Snail​

I saw this one overnight. It was one of the first snails we put into the tank.
IMG_0711.JPG
 
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5/24/21

A few days ago (5/21/21), I replaced one of the Nero 3s with an MP40. The end goal is to have 2 MP40s and a gyre pump, but for now (with just Zoas and 2 toadstools) this setup should be fine. Last night (5/23/21) Sally went back into the display tank because she is looking much better after her treatments. She instantly swam back to Jack to be with him, and he chased her away... I'm hoping they reconcile and stay bonded because I'd like to breed them in the future.

Here is a Peppermint Shrimp eating Pooh's snack ;Playful

IMG_0776.JPG
 
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6/23/21

It's been awhile since the last update. We bought some coral at Aquashella (for multiple tanks) along with a second MP40. I have to send the MP40 in for a warranty RMA already because it is so loud I can hear it while wearing my noise cancelling headphones in the next room. The white toadstool has been close for 2 weeks now, so I moved it to a new location. I also noticed that one of the frag plugs had a mushroom or some other coral on it and it was killing the Emeralds on Fire. I removed it but killed all of the polyps but one... I hope it pulls through. We also found an aphasia on some clove polyps my fiancée purchased for her clown tank... always quarantine!

I also ordered more snails and some urchin from Algae Barn :)

Photos​

FTS​

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Coral​

Toadstools​

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Zoas​

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Quarantine​

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Fish​

Mr. Potato Head​

(Yes, I realize he isn't a fish...)
IMG_1186.JPG

Sally​

IMG_1187.JPG
 
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6/29/21

Our Urchin arrived! I haven't gotten any great pictures of them yet, but I'll upload them when they arrive.

7/14/21

Kind of a general update, we went on vacation and our filter socks clogged. Luckily the sump has a design so that the water just flows over them, but the extra nutrients in the tank have caused a hair algae bloom... I'm doing weekly water changes until I get everything back in balance. It doesn't help that the chaeto in the refugium died as well. I plan to order more macroalgae soon.
 

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Looking good and keep it up!
 
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7/25/21

We lost Wall-E :/ I found him on dead on the floor. I reached out to Top Lids to get a custom-designed lid to prevent this from happening again.

8/8/21

Changes to the tank​

During the water change I did today, we took out all of the rock on the "island" at the end of the peninsula and replaced it with a DIY tree make from LifeRock. I'm pretty happy with how it came out and it looks like we have room for more rock around the base. We also moved the Anthias from QT into the tank hoping the changes would curb Donald's aggression... It didn't, but I think they'll hold their own against him.

New orders​

We participated in TSA's life sale and ordered some fish from live aquaria!
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Picture updates​

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8/11/21

Our LiveAquria fish arrived and have gone into quarantine. I dipped the coral that was in QT in Revive and moved it into the sand of Mon Cala and I'll slowly move them towards their final home. I put sand in the QT tank for the Yasha Goby but she seems to only want to live in the corner... The Court Jester Goby has also been hiding a lot.

I decided to move Eve into QT with the new ORA Premium Picasso Percula. I'm hoping that will force the new clown to become a male and that they'll pair. The first day was nerve wracking as Eve relentlessly charged the new clown, but she never bit or actually attacked it. They seem to be getting along now.

Picasso Clownfish​

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Court Jester Goby​

IMG_1643.JPG IMG_1652.JPG

Yasha Goby​

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8/18/21


Our 10 trochus snails from Algae Barn arrived, we got a bonus cerith snail in the container as well. I acclimated them like I had with all the other snails and put them in the display tank (after investigating some red spikes on one of them).

8/20/21


Either the majority of the trochus snails died since I put them in the tank (or were DOA); or Mrs. Potato Head got a murderous streak. While walking by the tank I witnessed her turn over one of the shells and start ripping the snail to shreds and eating it. I believe it was already dead because a peppermint shrimp was doing roughly the same thing to another. Just in case I moved a few that I thought were alive into the coral tree. As far as I know, only 2 remain alive. This was pretty depressing since I waited awhile for these snails to come back in stock and they weren't cheap...

8/23/21


I have had nothing but issues with my Coral View Hydros Wave Engine. The first one arrived with firmware that was so out of date that it couldn't connect to the Wi-Fi and I had to send it back to get a new one (You can read about this issue on someone else's forum post here.) After receiving the new one, adding my Gyre to it, and setting a schedule; the device fails to enter EcoTech pairing mode. Here are some direct quotes from the ticket:

Support: "Please send me your email address assigned to the hydros app."
Me: *provides email address*
Support: "Do you still need our help with the WE?"
Me: "Yes? Providing you with my email address hasn't fixed the problem..."
Support: "Sorry, I can not pair the ecotech pumps from my end. Can you take the 6 screws out. The PC board will come with the top, look at the back side of the PC board and see if there is an Coral Vddddddddddddue ETM"
So now after attaching the controller to my tank with 3M strips, I have to remove it and take it apart. I'm starting to think I should've just went with an APEX...
 
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PICK the Most Tested & Least Tested Parameters of your Tank (Pick 2)

  • Calcium (most)

    Votes: 41 6.5%
  • Alkalinity (most)

    Votes: 440 70.1%
  • Magnesium (most)

    Votes: 5 0.8%
  • Phosphate (most)

    Votes: 50 8.0%
  • PH (most)

    Votes: 64 10.2%
  • Nitrate (most)

    Votes: 60 9.6%
  • Nitrite (most)

    Votes: 3 0.5%
  • Ammonia (most)

    Votes: 14 2.2%
  • (least) Calcium

    Votes: 8 1.3%
  • (least) Alkalinity

    Votes: 4 0.6%
  • (least) Magnesium

    Votes: 52 8.3%
  • (least) Phosphate

    Votes: 10 1.6%
  • (least) PH

    Votes: 32 5.1%
  • (least) Nitrate

    Votes: 12 1.9%
  • (least) Nitrite

    Votes: 188 29.9%
  • (least) Ammonia

    Votes: 243 38.7%
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