Simply A Innovative Marine 15 Cube

CD_Scapes

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Hello R2R, I am making my way back into the salty side of the hobby after I graduate college in May. Currently I am in the research phase again as I haven't had a salty tank in the past 3-4 years. I have a couple idea of what tanks I was thinking of getting. I'll update y'all when I figure it out! For now here’s some inspiration from some of my old tanks:
4971B62F-D6C8-483C-A735-7A5686F3D87A.jpeg
IMG_6143.jpeg
IMG_6144.jpeg


I am eager to be working with @LiverockRocks to supply rock and sand for my return to saltwater, love all the work they are doing and well I just love the biodiversity of live rock/sand.

Speaking of biodiversity, I want to focus as much as possible on biodiversity. That's one of the best part of saltwater vs freshwater is the variety of creatures that live in your tank. Don't get me wrong there are lots of creatures that can live in freshwater as well but saltwater has way more options. So with all of that here is my tentative plan:

Equipment
Tank: Innovative Marine 15 Cube
Filtration: Live Rock
Extra Flow: Hygger 1600GPH?
Rock: ~20lbs TBS rock
Sand: ~12lbs TBS sand

Future Livestock as of 1/3/24
Fish:
Tiger gobies & possible Springeri damsel
CUC: Dwarf planaxis, Black-ribbed limpets, Marginella snails, Nassarius vibex, Stomatella snails, Dwarf chitons, collonista snails, Mysid shrimp, Micro brittle stars
Mobile Stuff: Porcelain crabs, Mime crabs, Peterson or Spotted anemone shrimp
Sessile Stuff: Cluster dusters/Feather dusters, Photosynthetic sponges (maybe), Codium or Gracilaria, Kenya Trees


I think that is about all the updates I have right now, I will continue to update as more happens.

Current FTS:
thumbnail_IMG_6398.jpg
 
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LiverockRocks

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Looking forward to it!
 
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CD_Scapes

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A couple updates:
1. I think I’m dropping the rhino blenny in favor of smaller and less predatory species.
a. Reasoning behind this is largely due to the idea of biodiversity. My last rhino blenny picked off a lot of smaller organisms and I’m not sure how it would do with feather duster worms, especially small hitchhiker feather duster worms.
b. I also kinda was thinking having a few roughhead blennies would be better. Smaller size and bioload and no risk of really killing many of the cool hitchhikers.

2. Micro clean up crew = more diversity
a. Instead of going for a couple larger snails like tronchus and astrea, I am looking to do a more variety of micro species that all max under 1”. A breakdown below:
5-7 dwarf cerith
5 dwarf planaxis
1-2 black rubbed limpets
2-3 red dwarf hermits
5-7 zig zag periwinkles
2-3 marginella snails
1-2 dwarf nassarius
b. That may seem like a lot but in reality every group of snail equals about the same as a normal sized snail. 6 regular sized snail would be fine in a tank my size I think. The live rock will have tons of microalgae to graze and feeding heavier with feather dusters will aid in microalgae growth as well. If not I can always reduce numbers as this is just an idea.

3. Filter feeders galore
a. I want my tank be as natural as I can, I have always loved live rock for all the cool critters. Part of this are filter feeders like feather dusters and bivalves. So I also want to Introduce a few cluster duster colonies, some dwarf feather dusters and if I can some flat tree oysters. They are a super cool “oyster” found on mangroves in the Atlantic and I feel they would be perfect. Additionally 3 species of Atlantic porcelain crabs will be in the mix of the tank. Green, Blue, and the rarer Pink porcelain crabs are in the works.
b. How will I feed them? Well ReefNutriton for the win!

I think that’s about all I have for now, I will keep updating as the project moves forward!
 

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Take a look at a tailspot or lineatus blenny. Both are some of the smallest species of ecsenius, so they won’t be huge for the tank, and both may nip at algae which will help make up for where nano tanks fall short (not having tangs or rabbitfish) might reduce ugly stages?
 

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I’m also a bit skeptical about filter feeders galore- that will translate to having to keep the water dirty, ie Phyto and aminos and stuff, and the minute you accidentally exceed your livestock’s intake you risk BOMBING such a small system with excess nitrates and phosphates. Just a thought.
 
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CD_Scapes

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I’m also a bit skeptical about filter feeders galore- that will translate to having to keep the water dirty, ie Phyto and aminos and stuff, and the minute you accidentally exceed your livestock’s intake you risk BOMBING such a small system with excess nitrates and phosphates. Just a thought.
Macroalgae exist for a reason, like I said in the intro. It’s not my first full rodeo in SW but a return. I’ve had tanks in the past and know a thing or two about water chemistry and maintaining SW tanks. But I do appreciate the suggestions
 

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Macroalgae exist for a reason, like I said in the intro. It’s not my first full rodeo in SW but a return. I’ve had tanks in the past and know a thing or two about water chemistry and maintaining SW tanks. But I do appreciate the suggestions
Yeah no I understand that.

But filter feeders like corals and feather duster worms feed upon both direct molecules (nitrate, phosphate) as well as the indirect methods (Phyto, copepods, etc)

Macroalgae, to my knowledge, doesn’t EAT Phyto.

So while there’s a potential for the macroalgae to process waste as soon as it forms (unused Phyto->nitrate and phosphate breakdown->consumed by macroalgaes) that relies on the macroalgaes being in equilibrium; which I believe might be a quality of a mature system. You might have issues establishing that stability. But that’s not to say it’s not possible long term, and there’s gotta be a way to REACH that mature stability, even if it might be hard along the way.
 
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CD_Scapes

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Yeah no I understand that.

But filter feeders like corals and feather duster worms feed upon both direct molecules (nitrate, phosphate) as well as the indirect methods (Phyto, copepods, etc)

Macroalgae, to my knowledge, doesn’t EAT Phyto.

So while there’s a potential for the macroalgae to process waste as soon as it forms (unused Phyto->nitrate and phosphate breakdown->consumed by macroalgaes) that relies on the macroalgaes being in equilibrium; which I believe might be a quality of a mature system. You might have issues establishing that stability. But that’s not to say it’s not possible long term, and there’s gotta be a way to REACH that mature stability, even if it might be hard along the way.
I’m up for some more research and a challange
 
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CD_Scapes

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Well, plans changed. Most likely turning my current UNS 5T into a little pico project! Y'all ready @LiverockRocks?!?
 
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So I head a heart to heart conversation over Christmas time with my GF about post-graduation and I brought up fish tanks and moving. We agreed on a 3 tank limit going forward, which means I am parting ways with 3 of my current tanks. Which left me still on the hunt for the SW tank. It turns out the tank was under my nose the whole time! A Fluval Spec V, I already have one as our dorm desk tank and it is the perfect canvas for a little pico (don’t worry I’ve had MANY tanks before). This scape will be somewhat similar to my old Fluval spec V with more corals like my old UNS 45A. A current co-worker picked up this Spec V over Christmas break off of Facebook for me. Which leaves me with this empty canvas to work with.

Here is a shot of the first Fluval Spec V reef I had:

4971B62F-D6C8-483C-A735-7A5686F3D87A.jpeg.80cd8cac2eeb08eaa87aedd2ea470bc2.jpeg

Here is the old 45A featuring a really nice zoa garden:
IMG_6144.jpeg.849ae0ec892c4a3e8d1413c3a976c387.jpeg



Now time to talk about ideas/livestock/equipment:

First off equipment; right now the tank has the stock pump rated at 83GPH which will not cut it at all! Ideally I will upgrade to a NEWA MN606 rated at a max of 159GPH. I do also have a spare little 50GPH pump for a temporary fix on flow. In the future though I was thinking of possibly getting a Hygger 1600GPH for some extra flow too.

Next is ideas & livestock; I am almost certain I will be getting a free tiger goby from TBS when I get my rock/sand besides that I was showing my GF the old tanks I had and she really likes Zoas. So I am thinking a sloping/triangular like scape with some zoa colonies, a couple feather dusters, some caulerpa, and a Pederson or spotted anemone shrimp for the main highlights. Possibly adding in a small Springeri damsel and returning it to the LFS when it gets bigger too. That way I have some fish activity on the bottom and a nice, colorful, swimmer to use the 18" of swimming space. The Springeri is also nice because they have been known to pick of flatworms which could be a great benefit as well. Other inverts I plan to add would be some green/blue porcelain crabs and some mime crabs from ReefCleaners when they come back in stock.

Clean-up Crew from ReefCleaners will be as follows:
5-7 x Dwarf planaxis (max size: 0.3")
These are a less common clean-up crew snail that inhabit low-oxygen areas under rocks and crevices, naturally they are also semi-colonial. They do not venture too much and due to the low oxygen environment they stay super small in size. These are going to be my crevice feeders for the clean-up crew.

3 x Black-ribbed limpets (max size: 1")
Most limpets are not considered fully reef-safe, but this species is and it stays small. I will use these snails as the rock grazers in my setup, much like Astraea/Trochus/Turbo snails are used in larger setups.

2-3 x Marginella snails (max size: 0.4")
Marginella snails really do not do much significance in tanks, they are tiny and it takes about 3 marginella to equal the power of one nassarius. These are added just for fun and a bit of biodiversity.

1-2 x Nassarius vibex (max size: 0.6")
This species of nassarius is the smallest commonly available nasssarius compaored to the larger Tongan nassarius or Nassarius margaritifer which gets over 1" long. These smaller nassarius will be great at helping stir the sand and clean up some detritus.

You might be thinking I am crazy for having 11-15 snails in a 5 gallon tank, BUT they are PICO-SIZED snails. The total mass of these pico snails equals a clean-up crew of 2 regular cerith, 1 trochus, and 1 of the larger nassarius. So really not the big of a difference other than body size. I will also add in 2 orders of their pods just for biodiversity and getting closer to an order minimum.

Lastly I am hoping to due an order from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms for Spaghetti worms, Amphipods, and Micro brittle stars.

I think that is about all the updates I have right now, I will continue to update as more happens.
 
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CD_Scapes

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So I got my Fluval Spec V and the more I looked at it, I thought why not just use this as a reef. It already had the filter and it’s an AIO so it’ll look nice display wise. So I’m keeping my UNS 45L as a botanical method tank. Which means my return to SW will be a return to a Fluval Spec V (a Spec V was my first SW). So I’m going to make it a SW. It was a little dirty from the past owners, lots of water stains and even a few spiders in the filter chambers. But after some elbow grease it ended up looking like this:
IMG_6196.jpeg


Hopefully some rocks and sand will be in the tank at the end of the month!
 
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CD_Scapes

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Crazy how fast things change, I graduate college with my degrees in Aquatic Biology & Wildlife Biology in 29 days! I got a seasonal job working with the MNPCA doing stream surveys across the state of MN in June. Around spring break I got a little extra money from working the front desks of the dorms so I saw that IM had their 15 cube for $99 still and added the lid for the extra $29. I keep hearing how great these tanks are and I love mine so much.

I will be moving into a place that will let me have two tanks and my frog vivarium too. I get to also bring my RODI system back from my house with me which makes this sooo much easier to get RODI without a true local LFS besides a dang Petsmart. I also got my Duetto ATO, Inkbird, and Asta 20 LED in storage. I still have @LiverockRocks waiting to send their amazing rock and sand too. All I need to buy is new RODI filters and salt to get this tank going. I cannot wait to start my return to SW!

Currently I am planning my stand to fit the IM 15, a blackwater Fluval Spec V, and the Exo Terra 12 x 12 x 12 that my frog lives in.
 

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  • "What do you mean?! I am smiling!

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