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My Coastal Inspired 55G long - Softies, Sponges, Macros and Worms


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Aug 12, 2018
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This is my thread that has been running since it started roughly in August this year on another Forum, but as it has so much growing to do I thought I would do one here too. I'll copy and paste the main updates from the other thread and start updates here.

12 May 2020
lloooo everybody,
Welcome to my new tank thread.
Okay so I might not have the tank yet and it might still be a month away buttt I have paid a deposit for my fresh new tank...

The Specs:
Size? 140*40*45cm (L*W*H)
Glass? Optiwhite front and sides, vinyl black background.
Cabinet? Dark wooden Scandinavian.
Price? Painful.

The Premise
However I do have a lot of plans already.
I do have one big inspiration for this tank, so congratulations's Esox, you've made it.
This is going to be essentially a "dirty" but clean tank - I'm not gonna have masses of equipment or filtration for pristine water. I'm also going to be feeding heavily and frequently while hopefully having natural methods to deal with the organics through biodiversity in the tank - Algae's, Bacteria, Copepod's, Stars, Snails, Crabs etc.

A diverse tank that can handle a high Bioload, is also less likely to crash when something dies or goes wrong...right?
I'm going to try get a good variety of micro life in the tank, and also dose (through a dosing machine as I'm not gonna be here most of the time lol) Easybooster phyto as that stuff seems cheap at only around 3-4 quid a month.
Another KEY premise to the tank is that only stuff I want in the tank is gonna be there - call me paranoid but I'm having no bad pests in this tank. Dead Sand Dead Rock, bacteria in a bottle - frags RO dipped and H202'd, all fish quarantined etc.
(The only thing I'm not sure about is CUC and Macro algae's - that's a WIP regarding quarantine).
I'm not going to be here enough to deal with a bubble algae getting out of control, or some pest Bobbit worm kicking about and eating my orchids.

Everything I'm using is going to be washed with Citric Acid or RO and then left out in the sun.
Don't worry, I'm not a hopeless idealist and I am assuming some pests will get in eventually, but well lets just try hold off for as long as I can now.

The Equipment
The only equipment and media I'm planning is a DIY Nitrate reactor running Seachem Denitrate, a DIY filter with Seachem Purigen, floss and carbon, 2 heaters, a surface skimmer and ... that's it? Edit: That's not it I also have two wavemakers
I will be following Esox's dosing guide for my elements, as well as dosing Phyto.

That's only the stuff in the tank, the other stuff is:
3 Mars Aqua LED's, a Reefloat ATU, 2 External Temperature Controllers, and a WiFi Doser and 2 Autofeeders.

The Livestock
This tank is going to be heavily Zoa, Gorgonians (looking forward to some more colourful ones now that I'm doing Phyto), Macro Algae's and then a mixture of other softies and LPS.

So what's going in?
Basic CUC: Asterinas, Collonista Snails, Stomatellas, Dove Snails, Bristleworms, Micro Brittle Stars, Ceriths, Trochus, Mexican Turbo, Nassarius, Orange lip conch, couple bags of copepods, Tisbe pods if i can find them, Amphipods and there's probably stuff I'm forgetting.

Macro Algae's: Solieria, Crypto, Codium, Gracillaria, Ochtodes and whatever Esox will ship me (xo)

Corals: Basic softies like Zoas, Shrooms but also if I can find any interesting non-photosynthetic Gorgonians I will jump right on them.

Fish: Well I have two clowns, two orchids and a Springers Damsel. I'm going to be keeping up with the tank bred only and hopefully ordering from Biota and ORA from the good old USA. Hopefully to get my hands on a Yellow Watchman, Court Jester Goby, Coral Beauty and a neon Goby. Although I think I still have space for some more right?

So where its at?
Tank should be arriving in 4 weeks time.
Got rocks soaking in RO at the moment - yet to be 'scaped.
Some Caribsea Sand on the way - some nice sugar sized white oolite for a nice Maldives kinda feel (I'm hoping)

I seem to have a soft spot for invasive species - so I'm imagining the left 1/3rd of the tank to be a series of 5-10 small separate islands with these species - Shrooms, GSP, Zoas, Xenia, certain Zoas etc. The right hand side will be the typical rockwork, ideally a couple plateaus, caves and a large overhang as well.

17 May 2020
Okay, so an update for my tank that's not even here yet. I've not though more deeply about the quarantine procedures I'll take for each of my current livestock..
I'm going to have 3 separate transition tanks:
Fish and Corals: 100L tub with heater, some LR, and flow.
Macro Algae's - Heater and flow.
Clean up Crew - Heater, bit of filter sponge that was in the old tank, and flow.

Nothing when they get added to the transition tank.
When adding to the new tank; they'll have a freshwater and Myzaxin dip and then straight into the tank.

These will all have a 1:1 RO:H2O2 dip for 4 minutes when going into the tub. They'll be kept separate physically from the LR in the tub.
Once give them a H2O2:RO dip again once once they go to the new tank and a close inspection. If they fail the close inspection I'll put them in the tub and deal with them later.

Macro Algae's
These I've not come across much information. They will have a CoralRx Dip and RO dip, as well as a close inspection on the way from the old tank to their transition tank. The tank will be monitored closesly for anything undesirable. If not, then on the way to the new tank I'll do another RO and CoralRx Dip and put them in the new tank after another close inspection.

Clean up Crew
Right so these will be collected from a couple weeks before as there's so many that could be hiding - this includes stuff like bristleworms, brittle stars, Asterina's, etc. Stuff like those mentioned will just get a shake in saltwater and then go straight to the transition tank. Stuff with a shell will get a swab with H2O2 on their shell. Yep I'm going to spend my summer rubbing H2O2 on snail shells. Thank god for a lockdown...
Anyway, after inspecting them for any algae on their shells, and probably giving the shells another swab with H202 and then they can go in the tank.

I DONT WANT NO INVASIVE ALGAAAEEEES. Hopefully this reduces my chances..

The Start-up
I've also been thinking about how to minimise algae and the cycling stage. So Dry Rock, Dry Sand, etc. I'll be using ATM Colony cause I will have to. Ill be adding all the CuC and corals at the start. I've also been thinking about what microfauna to add. I'm going to start culturing Tiger pods outside this week, and will add as much as I can as soon as the tanks ready. I'll also be getting some Tisbe pods (70$ shipping is painful for some pods...) and culture them in preparation too. Also whatever else I can get pods wise. Rotifers and Mysis too but I'm not sure how they survive in a tank even with Phyto.
I'll be dosing EasyBooster Phytoplankton as soon as I can too - to get all microlife populations up to help stabilise the tank and eat the algae.

Shopping List
Bacon Boxes, water pumps and pipe fittings are bought for the DIY filters.
New heaters purchased, and heater guards. Magnets to glue to replace the suction cups.
Need a new Mars Aqua LED and will see what comes up second hand. Also looking to get some UV LED Diodes to replace some of the Royal blues for a better colour spectrum.
A new tank cover although I suspect this will be cheap clear plastic I can find in B&Q.
Pretty happy with the wavemaker's, ATU and Doser I've got ATM so not looking like there's much more equipment to purchase, more just living stuff now.

May 21 2020

Some very early scapes
Any thoughts very welcome

May 21 2020

Attempt #2
Doesn’t look like it but the middle white rock is floating. Think am preferring this

5 June 2020
Okay well it’s amazing (IMO) what a couple extra rocks can do:
Now have what I think are muchhhhh better improvements and have to decide between these two: personally I’m preferring two

25 June 2020
All I can say is the tanks looking YUM
Gotta wait until the 30th to fill though :(
Before and after:

And the equipment side:
2 heaters, ATU, a fast flow filter for carbon, floss and pie oven, a slow flow filter for seachem denitrate and siporax.
Will try get something to cover it but it’s not too obvious from the front.

6 July 2020

ight soooo all fish, corals and some snails in, some more stuff sitting in a quarantine tank. No idea how you quarantine clean up crew and corals so theyre just being kept an eye on to so nothing visible is able to get in.

Moving fish was stressfull... 10 minutes after acclimation they were all on their sides, gasping for breath. No idea but im assuming it was Ammonia or Oxygen, so some prime and an air stone in and they have been fine since.
Some corals really struggled being in the tubs for 3-4 weeks ( opposed to the 3-4 days I planned.
Rocks are still pure white so pics are hard to get without the rocks super bright or the rest super dark... Anyway, its been a somewhat smooth transition and it all looks like its going well (ish?) Asked waterworld to get me 4 fish so hopefully they open my message soon :thumbsup:

Gorgonian damage :( Hoping those few polyps will grow over the old skeleton

22 August 2020

Every tank gets the Uglies so it’s only fair to show em.
Battling Dinos, bit of cyano and the standard algae’s but not too stressing. Started dosing EasyBooster photo 2ml a day, adding Copepoda from a a tub outside every couple of days, dusting the rocks and using carbon and floss and hopefully it should be getting rid of the dinos naturally soon. Might get some Microbacter7 to add bacterial competition, and got Tisbe pods, limpets and PNS bacteria on the way from the US of A.
Added some corals... bit of a mistake as the dinos are getting to them :(
Although this Undosed, in ATU’d, cheap Chinese LED lit tank has not killed an acro yet and it’s been in about a week and a bit???


Also got a proper cuc in place and some fun guys too which brings the stocking tooooo:

2 Clowns
A springers blue damsel
An orchid dottyback
3 red leg hermits
1 large Mexican turbo
2 smaller Mexican turbo (different species I think)
5 Astra’s
5 trochus
10 Ceriths
5 tectus turbans
1 strawberry conch
2 cleaner shrimps
5 nassarius snails
Large feather worm
Percelain anemone crab (favourite)
2-3 million dinoflagellates
Emerald crab
Doves snails
Micro brittle stars
Bristleworms yada yada

29 August 2020

Well, managed to eliminate 98% of the dinos, and a quick scrub of the glass has gotten the tank looking not awful for a month old tank:

Do have a little red Cyano. Hoping it dies out before I need to take action but I'm prepared if it gets excessive.

I've got a further idea what I am looking for in the tank: Macro algaes, Gorgonians, feather dusters, Sponges and inverts primarily. I was debating adding a central rock tower for height then decided on height through the use of gorgonians and tall flowing Macro algaes.

Wee feather dusters happy:

And think I will get a BTA anemone for Eddie, the porcelain crab:

Got two bits of Macro algae from the Esox:

Now... heres a gorgonian skeleton off ebay, and the little purple bits some GSP mat. Hopefully The GSP will spread over the skeleton, giving a nice, bright green gorgonian-esk coral. It should also help to detract from all the equipment behind it.

19th September 2020
Wee update of the title to follow the future 'plans' of how I want the tank to turn out... something like a combination of these:

So to help me on my way - got 9 Macro Cuttings arriving next week, hopefully 3 gorg frags and also £120 worth of copepods :scratchhead:

In the meantime, I treated eddie to a home finally and got a wee BTA, and placed orders for 4 new fish - a yellow watchman, 2 bangaii cardinals and another orchid dottyback. Will update when they're all here!

24 September 2020
Right so cheeky little hauls from eBay, @GavinC and LiveAlgae

Of course they look so bright and colourful outside the tank and in the tank they’re barely noticeable ... getting rid of the hazey water is on the list

Anyway here are the new stuff:

Little Edward woth his nem (who’s more happy cause I just switched up the low a bit)

I’m really struggling with flow in this tank. I want it nice and slow flow all round the whole tank
I got an SOW-8 but it felt too strong and narrow. Got an CP-25 but that’s wayyyyy to strong. And woth both of these I felt i created a pretty one direction and consistent flow round the whole tank.
So think I’m gonna go for a third attempt - a Nero clone aka the jebao SLW and get the smallest version the 10 and set it on random flow. This’ll be the main stream hopefully nice and broad. I’ll then probably get a fluval U4, place it horizontally on the other end and set it to the spray bar setting for some light consistent tank wide flow from the other end. And I’ll put floss and carbon on there.
Reverted back to the old nitrate reactor design as I guess the original just really is better sometimes.

16 October 2020
Woooo made it past the slime - stage. Think I may even be getting towards the end of the uglies.
However that means I’ve got an INSANE amount of organically floating about meaning yellow, cloudy water.

The new arrivals have done really well - based out a lot

Bonus: they’ve finally found each other:

Got a few things being picked up Saturday hopefully including a Pink Nepthea which I’m pretty excited for.
At the moment though, it’s carbon, floss and water changes by the bucketload

17 October 2020

Also The pink nepthea already become a favourite...

Last edited:


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Aug 27, 2016
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Jackson Hole, WY
nice this tank is right up am ally. I love macros and gorgs too. i had a 2oL macro tank a few years ago it did great until it got covered in a red "cotton candy" algae.
macro tanks are a challenge for sure as you need N&P but not to much...like all things in life its a balance.

a UV will make quick work of the green water. carbon should do it to.

How vigilant are you when it comes to the TDS of your RODI water?

  • It is VERY important to me

    Votes: 303 64.1%
  • It is somewhat important to me

    Votes: 134 28.3%
  • It is NOT important to me

    Votes: 26 5.5%
  • Other (please explain in thread)

    Votes: 10 2.1%

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