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Rebooting an IM Fusion 10g

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Hello R2R! It’s been a few years since I’ve had a tank setup, and after recently moving, and now being quarantined for who knows how long, it seemed like a great time to get the Fusion out of storage and clean her up and get back into it. In the past aside from the 10g, I also had a 20g Fusion, 8g Nuvo, and a 12g Nano-Cube.

I’ve kept most of the equipment I’ve gathered over time, and plan to keep this a lower maintenance build. Mainly softies and LPS, a pair of onyx clowns and maybe a third small fish, depending on how the clowns go. I’m treating the tank as kind of a fresh start, and plan to take things slowly, as I’ve seen in the past what can happen if I rush things. I’m going to fish-less cycle with Brightwell’s Microbacter Start XLM and QuikCycl.

Here’s what I got so far;
  • Innovative Marine 10g Fusion
  • Upgraded SICCE .5 return pump
  • AI Prime w/ Fixed Mount
  • IM Custom Caddy
  • IM Desktop Media Reactor
  • MAME Skimmer
  • EcoTech MP10
  • Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Lite w/ Temp & pH probes

  • 10lbs CaribSea Fiji-Pink sand
  • ~7lbs CaribSea Life Rock
  • Red Sea Salt blue bucket
  • RO Buddie to make RO/Di water
  • Red Sea Marine Care test kit

I have a 50w heater, but I think I need to replace it. I had the tank running a leak test and just making sure equipment still worked, the heater set to 79º, and the ReefKeeper and an analog thermometer reading about 85º.

Im also aware that the ReefKeeper is obsolete, and want to explore other controller options. The nice thing is that the light is done from my phone, and the MP10 has it’s own setup. I want to look into creating a reef-pi, as aside from loving saltwater aquariums, I’m a huge nerd and have a surplus of Raspberry Pi’s just hanging around. In fact one has a camera setup pointed at the tank, which I’m hoping to setup as a streaming server down the road.

So all in all, right now I’m waiting on an order from @MarineDepot to ship. The tank is empty after running water for 24 hours, and has the dry rock sitting in it. And I’m cleaning the last bit of equipment. I’m super excited to get my hands wet again, the last two years were spent in an apartment that had a no pet policy, including something as simple as a 5g tank for a betta fish, where now I’m in a condo, and just recently adopted a puppy as well.
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OP
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Well, I decided to get started today anyway. I had setup my RO Buddie and mixed water late last night and didn’t want to let it sit for awhile. I bonded the rocks with Seachem CoralCrete, added the sand and the water. I let the water settle for a bit but it was still pretty cloudy when I turned on the pump. Just letting it run overnight with a filter pad to clean the water. I’m hoping the box comes tomorrow so I can start the cycle. I’ve never done a fish less cycle with additives so I’m curious as to how it‘ll turn out.

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OP
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Alright! Today is the day! Got my box from @MarineDepot, and the water cleared up overnight. I tested pH at 8.0, and salinity at 34ppt.

I dosed 1.5mL of QuikCycl and 12mL of MicroBacter StartXLM, and measured ammonia at 2ppm.

From my understanding of the instructions, I simply continue to test ammonia and nitrite for the next week. On day 4 and day 6, if my ammonia is .25ppm or higher I add more of the StartXLM. Then on day 7, if ammonia and nitrite are both 0, I measure nitrate, and if it’s .25ppm or higher, then the cycle is complete. If anyone has input on this, I just want to make sure I’m doing this correctly.

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OP
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So far everything is going smooth. On Saturday and Sunday, my ammonia tested at 1.2, and nitrites at .05-.1. Today my Ammonia tested between 0.8 and 1.2, and my nitrites tested between 0.2 and 0.5. I will add a second dose of the MicroBacter XLM today as well.

My one thought while this is happening, is, is my sand bed too deep? I used a 10lb bag, but I realized that the foundation of my rock work takes up a good portion of the bottom of the tank, leaving me with an inch to two inches of sand bed.
 
OP
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Testing is still going smoothly. Yesterday Nitrite was 0.5 and Ammonia was still 0.8-1.2.

Today Nitrite tested at 0.5-1, ammonia down to 0.2-0.4. I also tested Nitrate, which came in at 2. I again added another dose of the MicroBacter.

Starting to look at what to order for a clean up crew. I was thinking 3 or 4 Astraea snails, two Nassarius snails, and two blue leg hermits. Does this seem enough or too much for such a small tank?
 
OP
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Day 9 of the cycle. Going a bit longer than advertised, I guess it depends on rock and sand as well. Ammonia has been on steady decline, today testing between 0 and 0.2. Nitrite has been steady around 0.5, and Nitrate has climbed to 10.

I’ve been adding additional doses of MicroBacter as instructed each day. And I got my camera out of storage so I’ll hopefully get some better photos than from my phone.

I just need to learn how to edit photos.
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OP
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I got an in-line TDS meter, and added it to my RO system. I split my line before it goes to the DI chamber so that I can run off the TDS creep. So I have that line as well as the line from the DI chamber now plumbed into a single line and that’s where the meter reads from. So I can know when the TDS creep is flushed and to switch the DI chamber. Without DI my system produces 9 TDS, with DI it’s 0. It’s a mess right now and I plan to trim the lines and somewhat make it a bit more organized.
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In other news, my ammonia tested 0 today! Nitrite down to 0.1. Nitrate at 5, so either it went down or I misread it previously.
 
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Alright, cycle finished today. Both Ammonia and Nitrite tested at 0, Nitrate is still at 5. I did a 25% water change, and will continue to monitor for the next week. I placed my cuc order with ReefCleaners, super excited to have snagged some Trochus he actually had available. And I also placed an order for two small C-Quest Onyx clowns from a LFS, which should be about a week to two, which includes a QT period at the store.
 
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It was hard to capture a good photo, but diatoms are starting to build on the sand. CuC should be here in a day or two. I also picked up a single Versa from my LFS, and a container of powder Carbocalcium. I figure since my tank will be slightly stocked to start with, I can get away with single dosing, and since Versa’s are all but near not available, figured I’d get it while I could.
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OP
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Welp, really glad I tried to first test the Versa with RO water, and not installed in its permanent location above other wires. I guess mine is from the first run where they had the leaking issue, because sure enough my connection is leaking away. I emailed EcoTech last night, hopefully I’ll get a response today.
 
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Busy last two days. I got my order from @reefcleaners yesterday, and today my two clowns came in. Everything has acclimated well, however as clowns typically do, they’re stressing me out by swimming so close to the MP10.

I have a few hardware related questions. It seems every time I change the carbon in the IM media reactor, it produces a crazy amount of micro bubbles and takes awhile to dissipate, is this expected? I’m using Seachem carbon, and rinse it clean each time before I put it back in.

I’m also looking for a DIY sort of dosing container. I was looking for a 1L glass container, with a lid that I could drill for the tubing, so if anyone has any recommendations for that.

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The clowns seem to be doing well. They’re eating PE pellets and I started feeding LRS Reef Frenzy today, got the nano size to ensure small enough pieces for them.

I also picked up a nice 3.5 headed Aussie Gold Hammer from a LFS today. Acclimated well and opened up within a few hours. Still working on editing photos.
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I also made some filtration changes. I removed the media reactor and filter sock I had in, and put a media basket in chamber 1 with filter floss and chemi-pure blue nano, and installed my MAME skimmer in chamber 2. I’m working on finding an adjustable air pump, as I feel that’ll give me more control than the adjuster that came with the skimmer.

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OP
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So I woke up today, and the tank seemed cloudy. I made sure there wasn't anything on the glass, and I can account for all the major CuC, so I don't think anything died. I tested the water, Ammonia, Nitrates, and Phosphates are all 0.

I've been running two of the nano bags of Chemi-Pure Blue, but I also tossed in a small bag of carbon to see if it helps. Any suggestions on how to figure out what caused it?
 
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Tahoe61

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Coming along very nicely. Nice choice of clowns.
 

Tahoe61

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So I woke up today, and the tank seemed cloudy. I made sure there wasn't anything on the glass, and I can account for all the major CuC, so I don't think anything died. I tested the water, Ammonia, Nitrates, and Phosphates are all 0.

I've been running two of the nano bags of Chemi-Pure Blue, but I also tossed in a small bag of carbon to see if it helps. Any suggestions on how to figure out what caused it?
My tank clouds up from time to time. I chalk it up to over feeding, and dirty socks or filtration material. Typically some fresh charcoal and a clean sock clears up the water in an hour or two. If not I run the UV made for IM systems for a day or two.
 
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So it’s been a busy month, specifically with work, so I haven’t had much time to the tank aside from weekly water changes. I picked up a small yellow clown goby, but after a few days it went into the rock work and I haven’t seen it since, so I fear the worst for it.

My rock has a vermetid snail problem, and I’m about to begin the process of upgrading the tank. I picked up a 34G Seapora tank, and am currently in the process of gathering all the other items I need. I’ll be starting a new build thread with a load of questions as it’ll be my first plumbed tank.
 
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