New JBJ Pico Reef Build

TPSexton

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Hello, I’m new to the forum, but I’ve been following along for a long time now. I’ve had a fluval evo setup for around 4 years now and I’ve loved it. It was my first reef so I didn’t go too crazy with it. All it has is some zoa’s and softies with a single clown and watchman goby. But, I’ve had the urge because of space reasons, to start another small tank. I have a small 6 gallon JBJ reef AIO I bought a long time ago but I only kept freshwater fish and plants in, then I just had to put it away once I focused on saltwater. So after keeping an eye out for local deals, today I found a par38 bulb and gooseneck at my local hardware store on sale for only 9 dollars. It has impressed me so far with many different natural colors and dimmable options. After I picked up the light I took a trip to my pet shop and I was talking to the owner for a while and he offered me a couple pieces of live rock, a few pounds of live sand, and some RO water from their main display tanks for just 10 bucks. So feeling like a kid at a candy store I rushed home and through all of it together. I’m running the stock pump because it was way too strong for my plants and betta, so it was just put away as well unused and seems to be working fine. I researched the pump and it says it flows at 166gph. I used the API test kit to measure the parameters and this is what it came out to.
Ph-8.3
Nitrate-Undetected
Nitrite-Undetected
Ammonia-Undetected
Salinity-1.024
The only problems now is I have some questions about the cycle.
I am using established live rock and sand, with RO water, so if there is a cycle, how long will it take and what should I expect with algae blooms?
I know it is a small tank, so I’m not opposed to fish, but my main focus is coral/inverts. So maybe a small clown goby as far as bioload purposes?
Also, I am going on vacation(perfect timing) in a little less than two weeks. So what do you guys think my plans going forward should be for this tank?
But I wanted some more opinions in advance and I don’t think I can beat a small pico setup for just 19 bucks.
Thanks in advance and here are some pics.
F1F9A811-8A1D-4982-BF8C-F017AE825FFA.jpeg
2260E379-FCE4-4A06-A2E6-221D5D16BDA7.jpeg
image.jpg
image.jpg
 
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TPSexton

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Update on tank:
In a little under two days, I have been trying my best to read out the API test kit, but after testing around a half hour ago, the ammonia and nitrite have dropped, and my nitrates are jumping.
Ph-8.2-8.4
Ammonia-Undetected
Nitrite-Undetected
Nitrate-10-20
What should my next plans be?
I’m guessing a big water change?
 

freezie

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Update on tank:
In a little under two days, I have been trying my best to read out the API test kit, but after testing around a half hour ago, the ammonia and nitrite have dropped, and my nitrates are jumping.
Ph-8.2-8.4
Ammonia-Undetected
Nitrite-Undetected
Nitrate-10-20
What should my next plans be?
I’m guessing a big water change?
Feed the tank with a little fish food and see if the ammonia goes back up after a couple hours. If it stays at 0 then you’re good to go. Water change and you’re ready for a fish or some hardy corals. Enjoy!
 
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freezie

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Hello, I’m new to the forum, but I’ve been following along for a long time now. I’ve had a fluval evo setup for around 4 years now and I’ve loved it. It was my first reef so I didn’t go too crazy with it. All it has is some zoa’s and softies with a single clown and watchman goby. But, I’ve had the urge because of space reasons, to start another small tank. I have a small 6 gallon JBJ reef AIO I bought a long time ago but I only kept freshwater fish and plants in, then I just had to put it away once I focused on saltwater. So after keeping an eye out for local deals, today I found a par38 bulb and gooseneck at my local hardware store on sale for only 9 dollars. It has impressed me so far with many different natural colors and dimmable options. After I picked up the light I took a trip to my pet shop and I was talking to the owner for a while and he offered me a couple pieces of live rock, a few pounds of live sand, and some RO water from their main display tanks for just 10 bucks. So feeling like a kid at a candy store I rushed home and through all of it together. I’m running the stock pump because it was way too strong for my plants and betta, so it was just put away as well unused and seems to be working fine. I researched the pump and it says it flows at 166gph. I used the API test kit to measure the parameters and this is what it came out to.
Ph-8.3
Nitrate-Undetected
Nitrite-Undetected
Ammonia-Undetected
Salinity-1.024
The only problems now is I have some questions about the cycle.
I am using established live rock and sand, with RO water, so if there is a cycle, how long will it take and what should I expect with algae blooms?
I know it is a small tank, so I’m not opposed to fish, but my main focus is coral/inverts. So maybe a small clown goby as far as bioload purposes?
Also, I am going on vacation(perfect timing) in a little less than two weeks. So what do you guys think my plans going forward should be for this tank?
But I wanted some more opinions in advance and I don’t think I can beat a small pico setup for just 19 bucks.
Thanks in advance and here are some pics.
F1F9A811-8A1D-4982-BF8C-F017AE825FFA.jpeg
2260E379-FCE4-4A06-A2E6-221D5D16BDA7.jpeg
image.jpg
image.jpg
Looks good. You should expect to grow through a bit of the ugly stages, even if these are established rock and sand. First there will be a bit of die off from the rock and sand (normal) which may spark some algae growth. Diatoms are also possible. If your nutrients get too high expect green hair algae or Cyanobacteria. If your nutrients get too low (0 nitrates and/or 0 phosphates) then dinoflagellates are possible. What a lot of people choose to do is feed the tank, keep adding bacteria (microbacter 7 for example) and keep the lights off while you do this for a couple weeks. The more established the bacteria become in the tank, the less chance you have of fluctuations and/or cyano or dinos outcompeting them. I’m also a big fan of clean up crew that stirs sand. Sorry if I’m telling you what you already know. I’m not sure if I’m stating the obvious being that you’ve had a reef tank in the past.
 
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TPSexton

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Thanks a ton!
I haven’t been able to check the thread because I’ve been busy with getting ready for vacation and finishing sports and school as I’m still in high school. I kept with your advice and some of my past experiences and everything seems to be going well right now. Parameters have stayed as expected and are currently looking well right now. I went out a few days ago to my lfs and picked up some hermits, nassarius and turbo snails, and did a water change. I’m starting to see some small amounts of greenish algae. I’ve stayed slightly feeding and everything is going well as of now. I’m leaving for vacation unfortunately tomorrow, but I have someone who has some reef knowledge and has watched my feed in the past coming over to check out this tank and my old fluval. I have a very small amount of frozen mysis layer out to feed, and I instructed him to keep the lights on a very low blue while the algae runs it’s course. Once I get back I am expecting to take a trip to my lfs/order some more inverts, and some corals, and maybe a small pico hardy fish. Thanks for the response and I’ll keep the thread updated with further questions/progress.
 
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TPSexton

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I have a quick question that seems to be asked a lot. I am on vacation right now and I am looking into ordering some corals for when I get back, and there are so many options and ranges. Which do you guys think will be the best option for some cheaper hardier corals? I’m looking into Aquasd, WWC, and TopShelf but I can’t really decide. It will also be a bonus for them to have glue/reef food.
 

tanstrobels

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Adding on to this don't over do it with the water changes either (like I did). I have a 15 gallon and was performing 25% water changes every week attempting to avoid nuisance algae. Long story short I bottomed out my nutrients and am battling chrysophytes now. Gotta find that balance!
 
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TPSexton

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The tank is still up and running, but I have not yet added any corals to it because I am still trying to balance out nitrates and beneficial bacteria in the early stages of the tank. The light and flow look good and my blenny i am quarantining looks healthy along with my cuc. I am planning on mostly lps, with a few softy and sps colonies but as of now have had no luck finding them either.
 

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Welcome and congrats on the new tank!
 

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