RETIRED: An Old Hand in a New World - IM 14G Peninsula Nano-Reef

mvbrandt

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This tank is in final spindown in favor of a CADE 1500 (see build thread)

A little background on "me" ...
20 years ago, I worked in Hawaii as a dolphin trainer and studied Marine/Aquarium science via the University of Hawaii-Manoa's Marine Option Program. One thing led to another, and after graduating with my full degree from UVA, I worked in aquarium consulting for a number of years, installing and managing reefs from 0.5 to 30,000 gallons. About the time I got out of that line of work, I stopped reefkeeping, and *BOY HAS THE TECHNOLOGY AND HOBBY CHANGED!* I feel like less of a rookie again by the day, but far from the expert I once [thought I] was.

Quarantine and a change in careers from US Government Contracting exec to run Games Workshop's technology and global events organizations (another lifetime hobby) left me with a 5 week work gap and the gumption to get back into reefing with a desktop nano.

Research, Round 1 - Gear & the Future is Awesome
Upon beginning my research, BOY HOW MUCH HAS CHANGED. LEDs, for starters, really weren't a feasible option at all when I was in the hobby. It was PCs for low light softies, or MH/T5 for the serious stuff, and I was pretty stoked to be able to try my hand at SPS in such a small tank, something I wouldn't have considered in the past. Additionally, the availability of gear and ready-made tanks at this size is a huge difference from the past. A combination of old understanding and confidence, better tech, and more readily available micro and macrofauna diversity seeding also has my tank advancing a lot faster than anticipated. I decided to go with a tank super heavy on corals and microfauna, super light (b/c it's a 14 after all) on larger fauna like fish and large crustaceans.

Gear
Innovative Marine 14 Gallon Peninsula
. I ditched the filter sock and put in the 3 chamber filter tower for the inflow. Within that, I use the 4-ball IM filter balls (Which I love, having tried them and some of the better cut-it-yourself flosses out there), carbon and GFO changed out once a month or so, and the larger middle compartment is a mini-fuge with chaeto (pulling new growth every week or so) that's been heavily seeded with pods and rotifers, and is lit 24/7 by a chaetomax fuge light.

For flow, I've got the stock MightyJet (which is great) running the system, an AQAMAI contributing a lot of irregular flow, and a spare 75gph cutting across the head of the return nozzle to ensure some really good turbulence in the tank. It's a pretty high flow tank TBQH, but I've intentionally baked in a couple of lower flow areas to give myself flex on what can go where.

I've had some people say they don't like the protein skimmer IM makes for this tank, but I'd call them crazy. The nutrient export is efficient, I don't mind that it's a bit "wet," and I rate it as being a key part of why my levels and nutrient management have been stellar so far. There's also some input on a protein skimmer being overkill for a tank this size, but ... well, also disagree I guess. I'm definitely in the camp that I prefer to be the sole controller of what nutrients are delivered to the system.

Kessil A160WE Tuna Blue. So I've never used LEDs before in a reef aquarium, simply because they weren't a real option when I was in the hobby previously. I'm super pleased with this guy. The light is only 6" off the surface, with the SPS only 4" down, and they all seem to be crushing it so far in terms of coloration, polyp extension, and visible immediate growth. The nature of the light means good lighting gets to most of the tank, but it was pretty easy to create indirect and shaded areas as well for some of the lower light corals I've got in there.

I'm also running the tank with an automatic top off ... but again, this wasn't really a thing for me, so I'm oddly enough using it manually, swung down into an RO/DI reservoir beneath my work desk.

Once everything was set up gear-wise and as I waited about a week in total for the rig to arrive, I got into ...

Research, Round 2 - Live Rock and Microfauna Seeding
Well, live rock was the only way back when I was in the hobby originally. That ... clearly ... has changed. I ended up, after a lot of hemming and hawing about ordering a TON of rock (relative to tank size) from one of the more reputable Florida-based companies, deciding to just go to a LFS, "Quantum Reefs" in Springfield, VA. There are two stores in the Springfield area - Quantum Reefs and Supreme Reefs. I've done a lot of online ordering in part b/c I didn't know they were there, but have also patronized both. The guy who runs Quantum Reefs is extremely personable and was a big help in keeping my old confidence up getting back into this; I think if he'd been more aloof, arrogant, or condescending to an old hand, I'd have been more hesitant about getting back in as aggressively as I ultimately have. Huge kudos to that shop. Supreme Reefs, meantime, has some really strong coral stocks - in particular, my "favorite" coral so far is a simple hyper-neon-orange (look, none of the crazy designer names existed back in the day, ok?) zoanthid colony that's grown from 2 medium polyps and a couple of new sprouts at time of purchase to 16 large polyps and rapid expansion in only 6 weeks. I'm stunned by them. So, maybe a lil less personal at Supreme Reefs than Quantum, but the livestock caliber was out of sight. Both stores get my two thumbs up.

ANYWAY ... so Quantum Reefs had a bunch of year+ in-tank cycled and "made live" CaribSea branching and arching rock for sale, and I went with that. I'm super glad that I did. One thing that took me going through 4 different test kits from various suppliers from API and Salifert to confirm is my tank basically cycled instantly. As I settled it in, I was testing twice to three times daily, and other than a little bit of ammonia in the early going, this was a piece of cake. I used Aragalive sand, about 20 pounds, and have slowly added to the overall rock formation via frag rocks (Also CaribSea) as I've gotten new corals that were more problematic to get into the positions I wanted them in via just their plugs.

One downside to this was PH. The CaribSea stuff was so structurally sound, arching, and porous that I was able to create a really healthy rock formation with enough room for future SPS growth that I really didn't have nearly as many pounds of rock as I would have in the past, and I just *feel* like it took the tank a little longer to stabilize its pH (with some help from Seachem 8.3) than I remember being the case.

Anyway, so live rock in, gear present and accounted for. I ran into my first small problem (#1) at this stage in time. After a fair bit of research, I'd procured a Cobalt Aquatics neotherm heater at a pretty hefty price that I thought was really going to work wonders. It failed within a couple days of adding my CUC, which was super disappointing. Fortunately, I'd ordered a simple Hygger heater for water change reservoirs and was able to swap that sucker in. It's been rocksteady every since. For whatever reason, the combination of the light and ambient house temperature's kept the tank at around 80 degrees anyway, so it isn't putting a lot of lift in, and I'm happier with that temperature traditionally than I am with the 76-78 range. I'm assuming physics and science haven't changed as much as technology has.

So here we had it, a cloudy start to a new tank:
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Impatience, Diligence, and Luck
So, despite my background doing largescale aquarium installs, or perhaps because of it, I just didn't feel like being especially patient this time around. I used the premixed salt boxes to load the tank, and went hard into the paint starting with a clean-up crew, heavy copepod and phyto seeding via Algae Barn and others, Rotifers, and various seeding cultures from IPSF. I didn't do this in week one, but after about 2 weeks I was loaded up on that front, checking all levels multiple times a day. As mentioned earlier, pH took a while to get right, and we also had Phosphates early on.

I was ready for the challenges, I suppose, and between regular testing, being stuck working right next to the tank here in quarantine, and readiness to pull the trigger on pump-fed water changes at the drop of a hat, things settled down very quickly.

Problem 2 - Like any new tank, there was bound to be something, and for me it was a week or two of hefty diatom blooms. I was worried it was "something else" for a while, as there was a surprising amount of bubble capture in the diatoms, but all worked out. At about the start of Week 4, I also added in a couple of hefty Trochus snails, which I was *super leery about* due to their occasional quick collapses and tendency to bulldoze new frags. Which they repeatedly have. But I kinda love the buggers, and they were helpful in clearing out the algal bloom.

I've also left the back sides and rear of the tank as "homes" for algae to stabilize, while cleaning the vast majority of the glass if needed. This has provided a solid home for a pretty wide variety of benthic organisms (I seeded w/ both purple helix and pink fusion, algaebarn pods, rotifers, ipsf stuff, plus an IPSF trio of seed plates, but not sure those would have taken hold by now).

New Lessons About Hitchhikers
As mentioned, my research taught me there's a lot more fear than there used to be about negative hitchhikers in live rock and other formats. This has totally infected me, reading dozens of horror threads and panicked aquarists. Back in the day, we kind just assumed the risk. Either way, the amount of time I've spent digging deeply into ID threads for each new appearance has kept me on my toes. I have a few digitate hydroids (I'm not sure that's right, but that's what the people call 'em), but they've kept in check and aren't harming anything. Other than that, everything else has been the "good kind." Munnid isopods, a growing population of amphipods that I didn't intentionally seed (of course) but which I will probably pick up some kind of pygmy wrasse or alternative for at some point (HEY GUYS - HERE'S MY FIRST REQUEST FOR ADVICE - I'M REALLY TORN BETWEEN A 1-1.5" YELLOW CORIS WRASSE, TANAKA'S PYGMY WRASSE, OR ... WHAT?) I'm confident the pod population in the mini-fuge and overflow is established enough not to worry, and I'm perfectly fine with ordering replacement live pod jars every few weeks from Algaebarn, etc., but I want a fish that will work with what I currently have, not mess up my corals, but devastate the amphipod population. As you'll find reading further down, I've got the start to a Zoa garden pretty well on its way, and really just don't want to even go near the age-old argument about whether Amphipods will screw with Zoas. I'd rather get my microfauna work done by something other than Amphipods.

In any event, this has been fun. Got a bunch of what you'd expect going on in the tank, from dozens of tiny feather dusters to the aforementioned munnids, amphipods, and a wide variety of copepods, and everything in between (spaghetti worms, etc).

Stocking the Tank - What's In It So Far (6/23/2020 ... probably put any new updates "in thread")
Fish.
My wife naturally wanted "Nemo." I'm not sure I would have gone with clowns otherwise. I have a pair of aquacultured Ocellaris - a black storm and a fancy / standard. Pretty sure they've already formed a pair, but they're fine together. They've also settled on one corner of the tank as their host, and the larger one (presumably female, I don't pretend to be an expert on precisely which size or level of maturity a clown needs to reach for that to settle in) brings me endless joy assaulting the living crap out of my hand during tankwork already. They are from Sustainable Aquatics' strains of clownfish and a really interesting observation was that I'd ordered food at first (Ocean Nutrition primarily) I was used to using in the past, pellets and flake of a variety of sources, and could not get them to eat it at all - only spit it out. Problem #3 - finnicky captive bred Ocellaris ... what the heck?!?!?! So, my first inclination was to order the dry SA Hatchery Diet pellets directly, since they tout themselves as a full lifecycle well-rounded food and it's what they raise all their clownfish on. I figured, they were made by these guys, this is probably what they're used to eating, right? Well, right. They eat the **** out of it and are fat, happy, and crushing it. I supplement with some Hikari frozens that I soak in vitamins, but very sparingly - remember what I said about predilections for nutrient control. The clowns both go cherry picking copepods off the glass in their "corner" when they feel like snacking, and both are showing growth with good body shape. I feed very sparingly, and let them take care of needing more with their body language / behavior and foraging for copepods. If they clear all the pods off their corner that populated the glass the night before by evening of the next day, I give them a little tiny bit extra before the Kessil automates off. This is rare, so they generally eat very little.

Crustaceans. I have a secret - I'm obsessed with Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp. L. Amboinensis is hands down my favorite aquarium resident. I wasn't really going to get one, but my LFS had a beautiful one in a display tank that he bemoaned he'd happily sell but he could never catch. To prove the point, he gently put the net into the tank and the thing swam right into it. So. Yeah. He's cooking with gas in the tank, is a hoot for friends in my "quarantine bubble" to hang with, and remains one of my favorite species for home aquaria, closest thing to a pet there really is. Aside from him, I have a full on clean-up crew sized to the aquarium from ReefCleaners, and I supplemented with the aforementioned turbos/trochus, a couple extra scarlet hermits (b/c I think they're cool}), and a couple extra nassarius to help clean up spare reef roids. The Mythrax crab that came w/ the Reefcleaners order was the biggest and most perplexing pain in my butt until I got the cleaner. I literally watched him put himself up against newly cemented frags, brace himself on nearby rock, and shove himself into them until they rocked loose, on multiple occasions. Most bizarre and apparently deliberate behavior I've ever seen in a reef tank inhabitant. As soon as the cleaner shrimp came into the tank, however, he became frankly cryptic and innocuous. He also simultaneously lost all fear of me. This may seem contradictory, but I guess the best way to say it is previously he was always out and about and messing with corals until he saw me. Now if he's out and about, it's rare, but when he sees me or even has my hand right near him, he couldn't care less. I find this change in behavior really fascinating.

More Fish? Generally, I wouldn't recommend most people add a third fish to this size aquarium (and that's not all the bioload), but I've been able to manage nutrient import/export well enough to keep my Nitrates (and this is another source of why I procured 4 different tests at great cost and checked w/ LFS) at 0 from start to finish so far. I'm actually half curious to find out how I can even start getting any to show up, as I'm a bit annoyed there's none at all for the corals to consume (or, they're consuming it immediately). In any event, as mentioned before, I'd really be almost more comfortable constantly re-seeding pods than worrying about amphipods taking advantage of the zoas or any other corals. Ipso facto, I'm looking for one last fish, but it just *has* to be one that will handle itself with the clowns, kill amphipods like a boss, and not outgrow the 14 for at least a few years (I'll possibly expand eventually). This has me eyeballing a juvenile yellow coris, but I worry about impacts on fauna I like. It has me eyeballing a Tanaka's pygmy, but I've never kept one and worry about Clown aggression. It has me eyeballing a Sixline, which used to be considered just fine, but people talk about them as if they're the devil now. Anyone have any recs? I'm not really worried about bioload; I'm mostly worried about in-tank happiness (i.e. it's just a bit cramped for a Carpenter's or Lubbock's, and they aren't guaranteed to tag benthic crustaceans anyway). Financially, I can replace microfauna forever, so it's more about killing pods and getting along in the size tank w/ the clowns, without overly messing with the cleaner (it's a large cleaner at this point, to be clear) shrimp or corals.

Speaking of which ...

Corals!
Well, I have a lot. A lot more than I thought I would by now, certainly more than I should, but a couple things contributed to this. First off, this forum's insane World Wide Corals Sale drove me crazy. I went in thinking I just wanted a couple frags, and ended up with about a dozen. Oooooops. There are 30 distinct coral frags / colonies in the tank, and every last one of them is growing and thriving so far. Yeah. I know, I'm bad. Here's what I've got ...

A carefully placed Torch, I say this first b/c I've been careful to ensure tentacles/sweepers will basically flow harmlessly into an uninhabited corner. This was the last one I've added so far, b/c I wanted to make sure I was happy with the other more peaceful and frankly easier to maintain stockings before I put it in.

Other LPS - Jingle Bells Cyphastrea, couple of Favia. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge LPS fan looks wise aside from the Euphyllia and a few others.

Zoanthids, Mushrooms, Polyps - I've got 4 Ricordea, though 2 of them came for free with an online order. One of them I bought at Supreme Reefs and adore; it's well secured with the plug carefully baked into a frag rock. The other 3 I've been more what I used to be with mushrooms, and let the tank take them where they will. They've each settled, two of them are cloning, one of them has tripled in size. I've also got a long-haired rhodactys that seems fine, but is honestly not all that impressive yet. Let's be real - none of my corals really are yet this early in the tank's lifecycle. Zoanthid wise, I don't track all the names really well, but I have 8 distinct colonies, which you can see in the pictures. One particular neon orange colony from Supreme Reefs has really done insane, quadrupling in polyp quantity and probably increasing in net polyp size and coverage close to ten times in a matter of weeks. These are guaranteed to be the first guys to get fragged in the future. I'm quite pleased to have set them up in between some also fast-growing green zoa colonies and set to run up the rockwork near them alongside a really attractive GSP colony from Quantum Reefs in the "front" pane of the tank. I have some Jason Fox cloves in the back corner in a low-flow zone that have doubled in 3 weeks and blow me away; I'm *trying* to get them and another 2 strains of GSP to grow up the acrylic ... we'll see. I've got a nice frag of Pulsing Xenia. I know they can be a weed, but I love the peristaltic motion. Sometimes you need to appreciate why something's popular instead of being a reef hipster. It's obviously growing well ...

SPS - This is a bit of an odd adventure for me. I've kept monti cap before personally, and kept a ton of SPS across hundreds of customer tanks back in the day, but I've neverally tried very hard at them personally. Not so much now. Thanks largely to that ******* WWC speed purchase on the form sale, I've got 2 Acro, 2 monti cap, leptastrea, and a large birdsnest from Quantum Reefs. All of them are showing immediate growth. So that's neat. The leptastrea in particular kinda surprised me ... I didn't complain, but it came with bubble algae growing on it, having attrited a section of coral underneath it. I'm pleased to say the mythrax found it within 15 minutes, cleared the hole, and the hole is now nearly filled in.

Levels, Coral Food, and Dosing - I'm not going too crazy on this yet. Huge fan of the SeaLab No28 Automatic Replenisher tabs. I put one into a low flow area of the return sump once every other week, high up in the flow sitting on top of a random bio-ball I threw in there that got lodged between some gear, so I can eyeball it and prevent any hefty flow from dissolving it too fast. I'm using a TINY, TINY daily dose of RedSea KH Coralline Grow (0.1ML). PolypLab Polyp Booster daily (0.1ML) before AlgaeBarn Phyto (15-20ML/day). I'm seeding monthly w/ 5820 pods from AlgaeBarn, and have also done some periodic seeds of Rotifers from Reef Nutrition, Purple Helix / Pink Fusion from ARC, and a variety of things from IPSF. I've got to say in re: IndoPacific Sea Farms, they gave me a free hyper neon-green Sarcophyton frag that's in outstanding shape and is easily one of my favorite corals. It just came in the order with "Freebie" written on the bag. So awesome. I dose Magnesium, Vitamin C, and a handful of other bits and baubs a bit by art and hunch than anything else, always on the low side, always backed up by daily and weekly testing. Plus the good old fashioned "finger in the wind" test of staring intently at coral growth and behavior, fish behavior, etc. I feed 1/8th a TSP of Reef Roids turned into a paste and mostly target fed once a week. I'm not comfortable with more than that yet, and growth is great so far on basically every coral.

OK, so where do I go from here? Well, years of trials, tribulation, coral growth, and panicked fragging, ideally.
Honestly, the tank's gone up faster than I should have and been smoother than I expected. The combination of OCD, experience, and attention from years of past experience and the fact I work every day for 10-12 hours right next to the thing has insulated it well from any problems arising. They are bound to, however, whether that's an issue when I add Fish #3 with behavior or microfauna devastation, a conversion of the digitate hydroid population into something actually meaningful, random chemical warfare between corals, who knows. That's what being a reefer is. But it's been really exciting to get back into it. I'd like to thank the admins here for encouraging us new and returning reefers to post threads.

Gear wise, I've put so much time, money, and energy into this already that I'm probably going to get a nuclear-grade controller, ATO, dosing, and power backup system. Recommendations? I have a couple of "natural" looking magnetic frag racks that I plan to put halfway up the back acrylic and populate with low / indirect light encrusting corals. Suggestions?

A little over two months in, here's where I sit today...
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Besides the omnipresent Hazy IPA and workspace, you can see the various wires and tubes that are generally out of sight beneath, all coming down from "loops" above so no water can drip down. Controllers for the Kessil and MightyJet are wall-mounted. ATO and Saltwater reservoirs are in 5-gallon jugs on the bottom left. Half the tank's power supplies are behind the monitor on the left, the other half are concealed within the wicker basket drawer on the right.

I've made a shareable link to my Google Photo Album, which I'll try to keep populated, rather than sharing a million photos directly here, but I'll kick some good ones in when I post further.

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Cheers!
 
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mvbrandt

mvbrandt

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Thanks for being such awesome and welcoming hosts! I certainly will! I could use some advice on that big Fish #3 question, if any trollers are wise to such things.

Strongly leaning toward the Yellow Coris. LA sells them @ a relatively small 1-1.5" size, which should give me at least a couple years to ponder whether there'll be a need for expansion.
 
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Ah, and a follow-up on levels. As mentioned, had just the faintest breath of Ammonia in week 1, and flat zeroes across the board on Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates since, with testing as often as twice a day b/c of paranoia. I've spent a fortune on test kits from 4 different brands just to double check, as I was certain my first kits must have just been wrong. IDK why, what I'm doing makes sense from a nutrient management perspective, but what can you do?

Calcium and Hardness (500 and 10) are actually a bit on the high side, but I expect CA to become more of an issue to delve into when the SPS growth continues to accelerate. Other than an early Phosphate quantity that I assume came from a combination f the water used, new rock, etc., everything else has been in optimum ranges (Mg, Iodine, Strontium, pH, etc).
 
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Update - went on vacation for a week with a friend watching the tank, and a few odd things happened. Hope to add pics soon ...

1) I committed to the bit and ordered a yellow halichoeres from LA, with instructions not to send it until after I got back. They sent it immediately; kinda my bad. Nevertheless, it settled in immediately, is eating the Clownfish's food w/ gusto, and has had an immediate positive impact on my pod population that I didn't quite expect. He's on the smaller side, which was my intent with the order. The Amphipods, Munnids, and various Copepods are all still thriving in the back half of the aquarium, and he's spending most of his day "schooling" with the clowns in the front half of the tank. All of the pod populations are doing well, but the Amphipods are no longer coming out and wandering around on the zoas and other softies. Best I can figure, he's grazed on them somewhat but is happy with the prepared foods, causing a net retreat deeper into the shadier parts of the rockwork by the pods without rapidly destabilizing the population. Course, we're only about 2 weeks in so we'll see how that goes. I would call this my biggest "gamble" with the tank.

2) I have a 2-head torch coral and placed it where it is in part because of their reputation for being slow growers. Well, it grew quite a bit in a week, as did several other corals. This brought me some interesting conclusions, not least of which is I might be "messing" with the tank a little too much. A week of a friend following a strict minimalistic regimen to keep it stable while I was gone caused some substantial growth explosions I hadn't seen before. Interesting.

3) The addition of the Halichoeres changed the clownfish behavior from "sit in one corner of the tank" to "patrol and roam most of the tank (Though still emphasis on the front half of it). I'm gonna call this a pleasant and unexpected win.

I'll try to get some pics up when I get a minute.
 
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Text update:

Lost one acro, more or less. Other acro is thickening out heavily and growing. I really wish I could pin down why I lost the one (a berrynice from wwc). I've had some color loss on a couple Monti frags. Birdsnest is on fire. I suspect the fact the birdsnest and slimer acro have much bigger polyps infers they're getting more supplemental nutrition and trace from Phyto, roids, aminos, etc than the smaller polyped SPS do, which would point at a trace or lighting issue, but hard to imagine it's the lighting. Until and unless I can zero in, I'm going to avoid any further SPS.

Zoas have all launched into overdrive, so has the torch (growing way too fast tbh). Fish are all in close to perfect shape.

Got an Aiptasia. Hemmed and hawed forever about it because I hate using chemicals designed to kill cnidarians in a tank full of cnidarians.

Got a cheap local captive bred peppermint (true peppermint), fearing it would be an instant tasty snack for the canary, or be murdered by the cleaner, or ignore the Aiptasia. I figured it was worth the risk given it was not a wild caught. Fish ignored it. Cleaner ignored it. Aiptasia gone in under one hour. Ok ...

So I'll go to church this week, I suppose.
 
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This is a really great build thread. I just recently set this exact tank up and it was helpful seeing your approach. I recently added the purple helix, but curious if you pods and rotifers made a difference.

Also, what sand are you using. I'm using Fiji Pink and starting to regret it. It blows all over with only the return pump and random flow generator. I don't have a wave make yet and am really concerned what will happen if I add one. Contemplating removing the Fiji Pjnk and moving to something with a larger grain, or possible removing half and mixing something in.
 
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Couple updates & answers:

The purple helix hasn't taken off yet, but i know it can take a while.

I did end up getting the yellow Coris, and don't regret it. I'm probably going to upgrade to a freestanding 30-40 range tank in a couple years.

In re pods, etc, I added a big chunk of amphipods after adding the Coris, and he chowed down. I still add various copepod batches once a month at least. I think both activities are really good to do. All 3 fish and the corals visibly chow down on the pods when I add, and the population throughout the backend system is visible and healthy. Moreover, while my "during the day, worrying me over my zoanthids" amphipod population got apocalypsed by the wrasse, the in-tank population remains healthy and strong, and very much in evidence during night viewing.

I rather obsessively stare at the fish for their health and growth, which has been 5 stars so far for each, and I attribute that to the healthy and consistently replenished pod, rotifer, phyto habits, as I really don't add much food to the tank otherwise (a tiny bit of hatchery diet once or twice a day, a third of a brick of frozen fortified mysis every couple weeks).

With sand, I wish I could remember. It's coarser aragalive and yeah, doesn't get blown around easily. I was a bit worried the wrasse would scratch himself on it, but he's in perfect shape and explodes in and out of it at wake up/sleepy times. Does leave a pile on some zoas occasionally that I blow off with a pipet.

I'll try to get some update pics. Lots of the corals are rocking.

On the down side:

From a dosing and testing perspective, I started trusting my levels too much and not doing it as often. Big mistake. I was also using some time release trace bricks for a while that had good reviews and didn't exist back in my day. Big mistakes.

In about a week or so of not testing as often because things had seemed fine, my calcium soared to 600+, and my phosphates went insane. I lost several of my SPS, with the exception of the birdsnest and acro. My torch, which had been crushing it, also decided to abandon ship ... And did so right onto my birdsnest somehow overnight (it took about a week to complete the jump and I made the mistake of hoping my corrective actions would somehow save it). Net net, birdsnest is in a different location to recover but is doing so despite some tissue loss. I pinned the torch in a corner for a bit, and it thrived, but kept working loose and ending up on top of other corals, so I've got it in an isolated quarantine with high light, low flow to see what happens. Expect it won't make it.

Anywho, after w/c and some other activities to get my phos under control, I slowly switched my dosing back to tried and trusty 2part. CA is back to 460 and Alk/Mg are in order. And the tank by and large is still crushing it. I'll get some better pics in the morning proper.
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting

Toys For Kids Drive

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Have you ever had a nano reef tank?

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