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My first piece of the ocean! - JBJ RF-45

RiversideReefer

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Hey guys I'm brand new into the world of reef tanks. I am a few days in so I'll post what I've done so far... Here begins my journey.

Quick background information, I bought the JBJ RF-45 w/ matching stand from somebody selling it on offerup. Along with the tank I was given some used crushed coral for bedding, aqamai wave maker, duetto ato, eheim heater, and some other misc. items like food, hoses, buckets etc.

3/25/2020 - INITIAL SET UP

Set up my tank in an area void of direct sunlight. Went to the local fish store and purchased 40lbs of Caribsea dry rock, Redsea ReefLED 90 (w/ mounting arm), Redsea Reef Mature starter kit, water testing kit, and brought back with me about 40 gallons of salt water. I plan on doing my own mix eventually down the road, but for now I want to keep it simple and not over complicate the process. Both return pumps are running, as well as the wavemaker (wavemaker seems a bit weak for this size tank... might need to upgrade in the future). Heater is on and set to 79F. Waiting a day for water to clear and temperature to be correct.

Here are a few pictures
Tank set up - 1st-day
Dry rock I went with - dry-rock
Additional items I purchased - additional-items-bought
Water filling process - filling-up
Tank as of 3/25/2020 - cool-picture

Also forgot to add, I cleaned the **** out of the new tank and scrubbed it clean of all the build up. I also spent time cleaning the crushed coral of all its nastiness. There was alot of green/brown stuff coming out of the crushed corals... is this from excessive feeding? fish waste not being cleaned properly? or did I just wash away all the beneficial bacteria? Either way, I wanted to start with a clean slate.

3/26/2020 - DAY 1 OF NITROGEN CYCLE

I had planned on using the Redsea Reef Mature starter kit, however according to the instructions I need to use it with a protein skimmer. I don't plan on buying one for sometime so I will be returning this product. I went out and bought ammonia from Ace Hardware. Doing a quick search led me to a post on fishlore (I had not came across reef2reef at this time), where it was suggested to use 1ml of ammonia per 5 gallon of water. I estimate there to be about 37 gallons of saltwater (accounting for rock, sand equipment etc), therefore I added 7ml of ammonia to start. I also plan on cycling with the LED light off, since I've read that the light will promote algae growth.

Tank as of 3/26/2020 - as-of-3-26-2020

3/27/2020 - DAY 2 OF NITROGEN CYCLE

Tested for ph, ammonia and nitrite today. ph reads at 8.2, ammonia slightly above 2 ppm, nitrite at 0.

Going to let it sit for another day to see if ammonia drops and hope to see some increase in nitrite. I am now following the nitrogen cycle procedure found here - https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/cycling-an-aquarium.306554/

I can't stop looking at what fishes/corals to buy... I've decided I'm going to start with 2 clown fish, and after about a month or so I will introduce a clean up crew. From there maybe another fish every month or so... Any recommendations as far as fishes/corals for first time reefer?
 
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NS Mike D

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awesome, not only new tank but starting a thread for guidance along the way. Of course, we love pics of the progress.


In an overly simplified comment, take your time with the lights out to develop a solid bacteria film on the rocks. Then add just enough light to form the coraline (the hard purple crust) algae on the rocks. This take a long time.

In addition to handling NH3, the bacteria film and the coraline will help to keep the nuisance algae/bacteria from taking hold on the rockwork and provide a good surface for coral adhesion and encrusting.

welcome
 
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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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awesome, not only new tank but starting a thread for guidance along the way. Of course, we love pics of the progress.


In an overly simplified comment, take your time with the lights out to develop a solid bacteria film on the rocks. Then add just enough light to form the coraline (the hard purple crust) algae on the rocks. This take a long time.

In addition to handling NH3, the bacteria film and the coraline will help to keep the nuisance algae/bacteria from taking hold on the rockwork and provide a good surface for coral adhesion and encrusting.

welcome
appreciate the information! will start looking into coraline formation. So would you recommend that during the time coraline is being formed, introduce fish only and no corals until then?

Very nice set up and welcome to R2R!
thank you!!

Welcome! You'll be addicted in no time. lol
thank you!!
 
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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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3/28/2020 - DAY 3 OF NITROGEN CYCLE

Tested the water for ammonia again today and it still indicates over 2 ppm. Will continue daily testing. In the mean time I rearranged the rocks on the top a little bit. This is how it looks now.

3-28-2020.JPG
 
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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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3/30/2020 - DAY 5 OF NITROGEN CYCLE

I understand the name of the game is patience when it comes to reef tanks, but I read beneficial bacteria additives like Dr. Tim's One and Only and Bio-Spira help speed up the nitrogen cycle process. I added a bottle of Bio-Spira yesterday (3/29/2020) around 10PM. Checked for ammonia this morning after letting it sit for 12 hours. Ammonia still shows over 2ppm. Will be a few days before I post another update.

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and a picture of my dog... just because

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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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Hi, could you clear something up?

You mentioned you purchased ammonia from ace hardware?

Did you purchase live sand and then rinsed that out in tap water?
I didn't buy the sand new - it was given to me by the previous owner of the the tank. I did wash it with tap water, however I let it dry before putting it in. Please don't tell me I've messed something up lol.

and yes I purchased the ammonia from ace hardware.

edit* just to be more clear about the sand - it was used in the previous owners tank. It was given to me in a 5 gallon bucket with some of the old salt water in there. When I cleaned it alot of brown stuff came out - don't know if this is fish crap or its all the beneficial bacteria I washed out... However I did want to start with a clean slate.
 
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Copingwithpods

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No you didn't mess anything up, only thing I would have done differently would have been to rinse the sand off with rodi before going in the tank to get rid of any trace heavy metals that could have been left behind by tap water. I don't trust my tap water (I live in LA) but other people seam to have cleaner water than here.

As for the ace ammonia I've never heard about it. What is the bottle called?
 
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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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No you didn't mess anything up, only thing I would have done differently would have been to rinse the sand off with rodi before going in the tank to get rid of any trace heavy metals that could have been left behind by tap water. I don't trust my tap water (I live in LA) but other people seam to have cleaner water than here.

As for the ace ammonia I've never heard about it. What is the bottle called?
I thought about any mineral deposits as well.. I asked the owner of my LFS and he said it should be ok, which is the only reason I just dumped it in there with the salt water I purchased. I will be sure to rinse with RO/DI water in the future.

Here is the ammonia. The bottle is literally branded Ace Hardware Ammonia - has 10% ammonium hydroxide which after a quick google search shows its just ammonia in water. There are alot of success stories on google with using this brand of ammonia to cycle a tank.

IMG_7292.JPG
 
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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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3/31/2020 - DAY 6 OF NITROGEN CYCLE - FIRST TIME AMMONIA IS AT 0PPM!

Today is the day I've been waiting for!! It's been 36 hours since I last tested for ammonia and poured in a bottle of Bio-Spira. Today ammonia tested at zero! I haven't bothered with testing for nitrite and nitrate yet. I dosed the tank with ammonia to bring it up to 2ppm again. Hopefully in another 24 hours there will be zero ammonia, at which point I'll go ahead and test the water for nitrite and nitrate.

Ammonia at 0ppm

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After dosing with 3.5ml of ammonia to bring ammonia back up to 2ppm.

IMG_7297.JPG
 
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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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4/01/2020 - DAY 7 OF NITROGEN CYCLE

Yesterday I dosed the tank to another 2ppm of ammonia. This morning tested ammonia at 0, nitrite at 1ppm, and nitrate at 50ppm. Will test water parameters again tomorrow. Once ammonia and nitrite are at 0, I will do a water change to lower nitrate and introduce 2 clowns to the tank!!
 
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RiversideReefer

RiversideReefer

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4/05/2020 - DAY 11 - FIRST FISH!

At this time tank is completely cycled... however I seem to be having problems keeping nitrate in the lows... after a 20 gallon water change I was able to bring it down to about 30. Doing some quick reading I've found nitrate will not affect the fish unless its in high concentration, so I went out and bought some fish! I wanted clowns but the LFS did not have, and I wanted to stock the tank to keep the nitrogen cycle going right away. I decided on 3 blue-green chromis, and they are active, aggressively eating, and overall seem happy. Will let them be in there for a few weeks before I introduce some clean up crews.

IMG_7319.JPG
 
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RiversideReefer

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4/07/2020 - DAY 13 - RED FIRE SHRIMP, 3 BLUE HERMITS, 3 NASSARIUS SNAILS!

Put some more live stock in the tank today. I promised to take it slow but I ended up buying a red fire shrimp, 3 blue hermit, and 3 nassarius snails. Starting today I will wait about a month before I add anything else...

I hope the shrimp finds a place that's in view from the front of the tank instead of chillin in the back...

IMG_7330.JPG
 
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RiversideReefer

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4/09/2020 - DAY 15 - UGLY PHASE IS STARTING

It's 15 days in and I'm starting to see some brown algae (diatoms?) growing. I assume this is going to be the beginning of my ugly phase. Not sure what to expect, just gonna ride it out and see what happens.

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here are a few shots of my tank as it sits now.. and a few of my shrimp who found a nice cave to call home.

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RiversideReefer

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4/16/2020 - DAY 22

Got some InTank Media Baskets, chemipure blue, seachem matrix, and some filter floss. The filter floss is awesome... the water trickling noise is now gone and tank is just about dead silent. Will i notice a difference with the chemipure and matrix? I'm thinking no, but i'm sure the benefits are there... alot of people seem to swear by them. Currently going through a diatom phase... i got the lights dim and will be leaving it this way for sometime.

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