Skicat's JBJ28 Experimental Mixed Reef

SkiCatTX

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Technically this is not a new tank build, but I recently fragged and sold off many of the corals and moved a few pieces of rock to my Waterbox 10 for Pinky (See my build thread here), so I thought it would be great to document my larger experimental "practice" nano as I restart it with new techniques I have learned about by reading all these great tank builds over the last few months. Who knew so much great information was out here on the net? …well, I guess everyone else, I'm a bit late to the party, but plan to catch up quickly.

I have kept various saltwater tanks from 10 to 40 gallons over many years. I got this JBJ 28 Cube when we moved to the Houston area 12 years ago and I got rid of my old 40 and stand in Austin. Historically, I always followed old-school ultra low nutrient (ULN) techniques, barely feeding both fish and corals. It generally worked, I have had fish live 15 years or more, and I still have corals that I got over 20 years ago. They just aren't as brightly colored (AKA "mostly brown"), and don't grow nearly as fast, but I didn't generally have to worry about algae everywhere…

With this rebuild, and with my WB10, I am now feeding every day and even dosing Phosphates and Nitrates as needed, I got all new test kits, and I have been logging all the tank parameters and maintenance on the Aquarimate app. Some of the parameters are still scary all over the place as I gradually get better at dosing and monitoring. It is difficult not to try to fix everything right away, and to let things work themselves out, or gradually change dosing amounts over time. I'm also surprised at how much increased Nitrate can cause Phosphate to drop, and Alk to get used up much faster, etc. it's eye opening and fascinating.

Hardware on this tank might be a bit over the top, but I have accumulated a lot of equipment over the years and figure I might as well use it. I am also using this as experimental prep and planning for the big tank.

It is not exactly a work of art in my office. However, I consider this a temporary and preparatory setup, as I am planning a 180 build to start soon, hopefully up and running by the end of this year…stay tuned!

IMG_6671.jpeg


For equipment:
- JBJ 28 Tank with old CF hood removed
- Neptune Apex Classic
2x Jabao WP-25 (connected to Apex with Linkage Adapter)
- Radion X30 G3Pro (connected to Apex with WXM)
- Neptune PMUP ATO
- Aquamaxx HOB-1
- Fluval Canister Filter (Mainly used as a closed loop pump for the chiller and UV, but I do have some Matrix and sponge inside)
- AquaUV 15 watt HOB UV Sterilizer
- JBJ Nano Chiller
- Cobalt NeoTherm 100w Heater
- GHL Doser 2.1 dosing Triton 4-part (non-Triton method version)
- Clip-on fan for evaporative cooling (chiller doesn't even run much in the winter time)

As for the occupants, I haven't gotten any new fish in over 4 years because "Pinky" the death pseudochromis was in there and killed any other fish I tried to keep. I moved him into a new WB10 tank a few months ago when I restarted this tank, so I'm all set to restock (See my QT thread here). I do have a bunch of corals that I have collected over many years, and a rock flower anemone which I got about 2 or 3 years ago and is getting enormous. I might need some help identifying many of them. I'll posted images shortly.
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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Finally got a picture of the lone fish in this tank currently, Grover and Lawnmower Blenny. He is extremely shy, so we almost never see him out. Usually he just darts quickly out from the rocks, chomps a few bites off the glass or pump, then right back into the rock. This is a rare occurrence to see him just sitting there watching me.

Unfortunately it's heavy blue with my iPhone, plus some tweaking, since I didn't want to risk taking time to set the lights and get the lenses ready.

IMG_6998.jpeg
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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Exciting news! I just ordered two clownfish from Cultivated Reef! One Midnight Lighting and one Naked, both Ocellaris from Sea & Reef. I got the smallest size, here's hoping they get along OK. Maybe they won't pair up, but I'm not too worried about that. They will go into QT for a while, but it will be exciting to actually have active, visible fish in this tank for once!
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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Made a few newbie frags this morning. Quite a mix.

A few things that went wrong, I think I damaged the tissue on the acro frag, must have pinched it too much when I was cutting the base flat to glue it. And one of the frogspawn heads I crushed cutting it too close to the top. I had no idea, having never cut one before, that they are so fragile near the tip. It is solid stone farther down, but as it approaches where the tissue is still growing it's thin as paper. The tissue stayed together and I glued it into a roughly round shape. Hoping for the best.

Overall, not too bad, a learning experience for next time. Sorry for the blurry phone pic, it's through the rounded front glass.
IMG_7368.jpeg
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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I have been dosing Dino X for the last week to help with a Dino infestation. It was way less on this tank than my WB10, though the other is covered. I decided to run it on both since I treat these two as a single tank, sharing tools and water regularly even though they are not directly connected. This tank has UV so I think it helps quite a lot.

Turned off UV and stopped all but Triton (other method) dosing and feeding, and turned lights down to 5 hours as per instructions.

Just tested Alk and found that it's way high on both my tanks at 9.6 up from 8.5 or so a few days ago. I guess the combination of less light and fewer dinos has lowered usage. I need to cut way back on alk/cal dosing during this time. Something to watch out for when you make any drastic change that you don't over dose something...
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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Ouch, and it occurred to me to test phosphate as well and I'm glad I did, as it's at a whopping 0.18 (up from undetectable just a few days ago), I tested again just to make sure. With the dying off of many of the dinos along with the lower usage of corals with lower light, it's likely not being used up as fast as normal.

I put in a bag of Phosguard and I'll test again tomorrow. I'd prefer not to change water if I don't have to, as that just introduces more trace nutrients.
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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And, added to QT today I picked up a baby Raspberry Pi Rainbow Anemone at That Aquarium Place a LFS.

The guy there propagates them himself. The parent for this one he's had for 8 years or so. I got the last one, so not exactly pick of the litter, but hopefully it'll grow out. :)

Here it is under blues

IMG_7412.jpeg


And under whites for comparison.

IMG_7415.jpeg
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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Just tested Mg for the first time in forever at 1200, that fairly low. Could be contributing, among other things, to dinos I have read. Either way it should be a bit higher. I dosed a bit from the Triton #1 that I have to try to move it up over the next couple days.
 
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SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

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My Apex ATK ATO had been acting up recently, so I took out the sensors and found this:

IMG_7501.jpeg


It's not even a year old! That's scary. I took out the sensors, this one is shot, but the other one, while it still works is showing signs of rusting as well.

IMG_7502.jpeg IMG_7503.jpeg

I contacted Neptune, not sure if they'll do anything about it or not...will report back.

But I went ahead and ordered two new sensors since I need this thing running. Got the ones with the magnetic mounts since I wanted to test those for the Mixing Station containers.

IMG_7504.jpeg


All good, back up and running.
 
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