The Nuvo 25 Lagoon Redemption Story - Starting From Scratch Again

BrotatoSalad

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Currently in the planning stages on the next run with this tank. I've had it for a while and the first try with dry rock was monumentally unsuccessful. I really want to give it another go with a new plan of attack.

THE BUILD

Tank:
IM Nuvo 25 Lagoon AIO

Filtration:
2 x IM Media Caddies - Top filled with filter floss, rest for carbon media or anything else I need/want to throw in there.
1 x Icecap K1 Nano Skimmer
Carbon Dosing - Tropic Marin NP Bacto Balance / Tropic Marin Elimi-NP

Bacteria:
Brightwell Aquatics Microbacter Start
Brightwell Aquatics Microbacter7
Brightwell Aquatics Microbacter Clean
Vibrant (sort of as needed)
- Not using this as of 2/25/22 due to it not being bacteria as they claim. Won't support a business that lies through their teeth like that, especially after all these years it's been used in the hobby. Dang shame.
I abandoned all other products outside of Dr Tims One and Only for the initial cycle, and am dosing Aqua Forest Life Source periodically.


Light:
AI Prime HD (older gen)
Noopsyche K7 v3

Rock:
Dry rock. Thinking Marco but I'll look around for what comes in the cleanest. If anyone has recommendations on ones they've used with success I'd love to hear!

Pumps/powerheads:
Stock return
Vortech MP10 (older gen) Will add spare powerheads I have lying around if needed, or get an additional MP10
6/20/2022 I added an AI Nero 3. So far no complaints.

Dosing:
Tropic Marin All For Reef

Coral:
SPS only, focusing on sticks. Maybe some encrusting montis if I get the itch but my main focus is acros.

Fish/Inverts:
Banggai Cardinal - In 6/6/2022
Shrimp and Goby pair
Cleaner Shrimp
Maybe hermits

THE PLAN

Not treating water changes as a nutrient export for this go around. I'll be doing them weekly as a way to replenish minerals, but that's pretty much it. Water tests on the "big ones" will be done throughout this process.

  • Dry rock chosen because it's more available and no hitchhikers.
  • SPS, mainly sticks, chosen since they seem easier to ditch the plug on and dip/examine. I don't want to deal with aiptasia again if I can help it. LPS bases are so hard to be thorough with.
  • Cycle the tank using the bacteria starter and ammonia source. After cycle, keep lights off and fish in the tank. Monitor nutrient levels and figure out carbon dose that works with the feeding to keep nutrients low, but not zero.
  • Add coralline in a bottle. Keep AI Prime off but let light in the room to grow coralline. If it doesn't, try again with LEDs at lower power. Dose microbacter7
  • After some time, start turning on lights a few hours per day. If algae takes off and begins the ugly stage, try out microbacter clean. If it fails after a few weeks, cut lights and allow bacteria to build more.
  • Continue gradual increases in LED intensity and watch coralline growth. If it's looking like coralline and good stuff are winning the battle so far, bring in first acros.
  • Add additional corals if things are still looking good and keep up with carbon dosing. If algae pops up, but levels are good, manual removal and hit with microbacter clean.
  • Once water changes do not meet mineral demands of the corals, begin dosing All For Reef
  • If Nitrates and Phosphates trend towards 0 - 0, back off of carbon dosing. If it continues, stop carbon dosing and feed more heavily, or add more livestock. I'd see this as the corals uptake matching the food input and this would be my marker for success with the tank.
  • Share frags with as many people as possible.

I hope to get water in the tank soon, and will probably start posting pictures when the rock is ordered and I have a scape going. If you have experience carbon dosing with a smaller tank please let me know! I'll take all the insight I can get.
 
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Looks like a reasonable plan - congratulations on the new adventure!
 

BlackZebrasoma

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Currently in the planning stages on the next run with this tank. I've had it for a while and the first try with dry rock was monumentally unsuccessful. I really want to give it another go with a new plan of attack.

THE BUILD

Tank:
IM Nuvo 25 Lagoon AIO

Filtration:
2 x IM Media Caddies - Top filled with filter floss, rest for carbon media or anything else I need/want to throw in there.
1 x Icecap K1 Nano Skimmer
Carbon Dosing (I'll explain myself, I swear) - Tropic Marin NP Bacto Balance / Tropic Marin Elimi-NP

Bacteria:
Brightwell Aquatics Microbacter Start
Brightwell Aquatics Microbacter7
Brightwell Aquatics Microbacter Clean
Vibrant (sort of as needed)


Light:
AI Prime HD (older gen)

Rock:
Dry rock. Thinking Marco but I'll look around for what comes in the cleanest. If anyone has recommendations on ones they've used with success I'd love to hear!

Pumps/powerheads:
Stock return
Vortech MP10 (older gen) Will add spare powerheads I have lying around if needed, or get an additional MP10

Dosing (in the future):
Tropic Marin All For Reef

Coral:
SPS only, focusing on sticks. Maybe some encrusting montis if I get the itch but my main focus is acros.

Fish/Inverts:
Unsure on fish right now.
Cleaner Shrimp
Maybe hermits

THE PLAN

I'll come right out and say it. I'm not treating water changes as a nutrient export for this go around. I'll be doing them weekly as a way to replenish minerals, but that's pretty much it. Water tests on the "big ones" will be done throughout this process.

  • Dry rock chosen because it's more available and no hitchhikers.
  • SPS, mainly sticks, chosen since they seem easier to ditch the plug on and dip/examine. I don't want to deal with aiptasia again if I can help it. LPS bases are so hard to be thorough with.
  • Cycle the tank using the bacteria starter and ammonia source. After cycle, keep lights off and fish in the tank. Monitor nutrient levels and figure out carbon dose that works with the feeding to keep nutrients low, but not zero.
  • Add coralline in a bottle. Keep AI Prime off but let light in the room to grow coralline. If it doesn't, try again with short light cycles at lower power. Dose microbacter7
  • After some time, start turning on lights a few hours per day. If algae takes off and begins the ugly stage, try out microbacter clean. If it fails after a few weeks, cut lights and allow bacteria to continue populating rocks. If this continuously fails, treat with Vibrant.
  • Continue gradual increases in time lights are on and intensity and watch coralline growth. If it's looking like coralline and bacteria are winning the battle so far, bring in first acros.
  • Add additional corals if things are still looking good and keep up with carbon dosing. If algae pops up, but levels are good, manual removal and hit with Vibrant/microbacter clean.
  • Once water changes do not meet mineral demands of the corals, begin dosing All For Reef
  • If Nitrates and Phosphates trend towards 0 - 0, back off of carbon dosing. If it continues, stop carbon dosing and feed more heavily, or add more livestock.
  • Share frags with as many people as possible


BUT WHY? IT'S A SMALL TANK. JUST DO WATER CHANGES YOU SILLY GOOBER
An attempt at organized thoughts:
  • Algae in a dry rock tank will out compete small coral frags and the growing bacteria population for phosphates and nitrates. Water changes just don't seem to be enough while the rock is still getting established with bacteria and coralline. I'm going to be blasting this tank with light and flow for the sps. This is like a beachfront vacation home for algae with minimal nutrients needed to fuel growth.
  • Filter media and carbon dosing are no longer the last resort, they're a tool to control nutrient levels until the corals have grown enough to uptake nutrients in balance with the feeding. I know the source of the nutrients in my tank, feeding, and I'm not going to shy away from using the products available to export them. Looking back, it just seems so silly to me that I avoided filter medias and carbon dosing thinking they were the nuclear option. They're a tool and I want to see if this is the right job for them.
  • Hoping that carbon dosing gets bacteria to take in nutrients faster than algae can, and allows for the population to continue growing.
  • Once corals and rock are established and thriving ween off of media and carbon dosing entirely. I'll likely keep the skimmer going as the main export method. If I find that carbon dosing is still needed to keep things stable, that's what it'll be then.
  • If the corals are taking in more nutrients than what food input produces (a man can dream, right?), go in with coral foods and maybe additional livestock. Ideally in a heavy in, heavy out scenario.

I hope to get water in the tank soon, and will probably start posting pictures when the rock is ordered and I have a scape going. If you have experience carbon dosing with a smaller tank please let me know! I'll take all the insight I can get.

If you want to tell me how silly I am for my view on water changes, please be nice about it. I will admit that doing this with acropora of all things as a "trial" for myself is not at all smart. I'd just like to give them a try and see how the tank does.
It’s a good and very well planned build. But personally, I would use all the products from the same compan. For example, fauna Marin. this because every company has their own plan for bacteria and parameters. If you choose to go with tropic Marin balling , you should also use their salt.
I would Strongly recommend you to use the whole faunamarin plan. They have everything you need for your tank, and they also have a well thought out plan and the products go well together
 
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BrotatoSalad

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It’s a good and very well planned build. But personally, I would use all the products from the same compan. For example, fauna Marin. this because every company has their own plan for bacteria and parameters. If you choose to go with tropic Marin balling , you should also use their salt.
I would Strongly recommend you to use the whole faunamarin plan. They have everything you need for your tank, and they also have a well thought out plan and the products go well together
Thank you for these recommendations and taking the time!

This is actually the first I'm hearing about Fauna Marin. Juggling that many bottles has me a bit nervous, but at first glance the plan does seem well laid out. I'll take some time and look through documentation on the products. If you know of a build thread, or have a build yourself, using this line of products I'd love to see! I'll definitely be looking to at minimum use their bacteria products as they seem to have a heavier focus there as a company.

All for reef being one bottle for the big three on minerals/alk has a very strong allure though... lol.
 

BlackZebrasoma

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Thank you for these recommendations and taking the time!

This is actually the first I'm hearing about Fauna Marin. Juggling that many bottles has me a bit nervous, but at first glance the plan does seem well laid out. I'll take some time and look through documentation on the products. If you know of a build thread, or have a build yourself, using this line of products I'd love to see! I'll definitely be looking to at minimum use their bacteria products as they seem to have a heavier focus there as a company.

All for reef being one bottle for the big three on minerals/alk has a very strong allure though... lol.
So this is what I’m working with atm:
my sump consists of a ClariSea roll filter, Nyos Quantum skimmer, uv-light, Alkatronic and reef factory thermo control, dosing pump and level keeper.

I use my Alkatronic every 6 hours to have a consistent control of the KH values of the tank. It’s connected to a buffer which automatically doses after a test if the value is too low. The buffer consists of fauna marin KH balling, and fauna trace 3. The kh balling highers the kh value. And the trace 3 consist of all the trace elements that your tank needs ( in combination with trace 2 and 1 which I will tell about later.)

i send a ICP test every other month to see how my trace elements are.

I use the dosing pump to daily add calcium and magnesium ( where the trace 1 and 2 are mixed with the calcium balling) to add a daily dose of mg, ca and all the trace elements during the day.

I think the most important thing to know is that you shall not use unnatural additives to higher your phosphate or Nitrate. Please just feed more. If a reef can survive in the sea without additives, then it will to 100% survive in your tank too.

i will also say that you should only use Fauna Marin’s salt If you want to go with their product planning. This because they don’t have any phosphate or nitrate. And most importantly, the values actually are correct if you compare the saltwater that you just mixed, with the water parameters you see online On their websit.

B213ABAF-56C3-4714-8D62-9FBF4C213BDE.jpeg 61D1819B-534C-482A-9CA5-601FBA46B67F.jpeg 5E8AD066-6232-4FF7-877C-13CB6D63D15C.jpeg 3369D250-74CD-4C43-92F4-793E660789EB.jpeg 3F8BD618-1078-4233-87EE-5A3CD7A5A1C3.jpeg AA7A039F-84B5-4F57-BC28-6B50AB688A06.jpeg
 
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BrotatoSalad

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So this is what I’m working with atm:
my sump consists of a ClariSea roll filter, Nyos Quantum skimmer, uv-light, Alkatronic and reef factory thermo control, dosing pump and level keeper.

I use my Alkatronic every 6 hours to have a consistent control of the KH values of the tank. It’s connected to a buffer which automatically doses after a test if the value is too low. The buffer consists of fauna marin KH balling, and fauna trace 3. The kh balling highers the kh value. And the trace 3 consist of all the trace elements that your tank needs ( in combination with trace 2 and 1 which I will tell about later.)

i send a ICP test every other month to see how my trace elements are.

I use the dosing pump to daily add calcium and magnesium ( where the trace 1 and 2 are mixed with the calcium balling) to add a daily dose of mg, ca and all the trace elements during the day.

I think the most important thing to know is that you shall not use unnatural additives to higher your phosphate or Nitrate. Please just feed more. If a reef can survive in the sea without additives, then it will to 100% survive in your tank too.

i will also say that you should only use Fauna Marin’s salt If you want to go with their product planning. This because they don’t have any phosphate or nitrate. And most importantly, the values actually are correct if you compare the saltwater that you just mixed, with the water parameters you see online On their websit.

B213ABAF-56C3-4714-8D62-9FBF4C213BDE.jpeg 61D1819B-534C-482A-9CA5-601FBA46B67F.jpeg 5E8AD066-6232-4FF7-877C-13CB6D63D15C.jpeg 3369D250-74CD-4C43-92F4-793E660789EB.jpeg 3F8BD618-1078-4233-87EE-5A3CD7A5A1C3.jpeg AA7A039F-84B5-4F57-BC28-6B50AB688A06.jpeg
This is some serious equipment goals for me. I'm sure your display looks fantastic with that kind of back bone. I've looked into the method and while it seems more wholistic, I just can't see myself staying consistent enough with that many additives alongside my manual testing. All for Reef being an "all in one solution" is something I'd like to try out and see how well it does in a tank as small as this one. If it turns out that it's not enough, this will absolutely be what I switch to.

That being said, the fauna marin line of bacteria products has me very interested and I think I'll be using their products over brightwells. My decision on Brightwell's was solely based on WWC using it in their systems. I'll do some more research on both and see what will work.

I appreciate you taking the time to provide some solid insight on my little slice of the ocean. About to go through your profile to find some pictures of your tank!
 

BlackZebrasoma

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This is some serious equipment goals for me. I'm sure your display looks fantastic with that kind of back bone. I've looked into the method and while it seems more wholistic, I just can't see myself staying consistent enough with that many additives alongside my manual testing. All for Reef being an "all in one solution" is something I'd like to try out and see how well it does in a tank as small as this one. If it turns out that it's not enough, this will absolutely be what I switch to.

That being said, the fauna marin line of bacteria products has me very interested and I think I'll be using their products over brightwells. My decision on Brightwell's was solely based on WWC using it in their systems. I'll do some more research on both and see what will work.

I appreciate you taking the time to provide some solid insight on my little slice of the ocean. About to go through your profile to find some pictures of your tank!
Here you have some pick of the tank:)

8AEBA3C0-B4EB-4866-AB5F-A92D86559D67.jpeg B7264466-0E45-453B-A33A-051C3E1A224F.jpeg 1F837A44-4DD6-4EBE-985D-DC179997F0FC.jpeg C8E0D217-1DAB-4D63-82A1-4596C439BBD1.jpeg 8462E729-CA96-43B1-8626-9B811918BCBE.jpeg B0D9A065-D820-4B8C-B53F-9F94DE26BCD8.jpeg 54C6B6D7-6DCA-4902-9C87-6D7FD7461B1C.jpeg C6CB34DC-7358-44A2-A118-3E023D0061F1.jpeg ADC3D3AB-70C1-41CC-AD21-3288E1C56A6A.jpeg 7BBAD3D8-66D3-4425-A31A-DAB165C8406C.jpeg EBE8A85E-03D2-4C8B-97AC-C17CB838F735.jpeg FEFE9204-1CDF-48C1-A0A6-91C56E104720.jpeg F61551C0-D1B8-4B2A-BDE8-9C5B39BDB2CA.jpeg 62DA7F93-6120-45D2-A2FA-49C84CD4A660.jpeg F30D6105-3888-4F56-9DB0-FA94BB5D04D5.jpeg 2BCD6BC8-0B61-419F-86D1-B18C91261961.jpeg B57197A9-B5F8-4EB7-B933-F3DB5F14FF63.jpeg
 

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BrotatoSalad

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Update:
Made some edits to the original post. After reading it again it all just came across weird.

Plan might be changing now that I've seen Roberto Denadai's tank. His approach just seems so different from what I've read and I'd love to give it a go. Worst case scenario I get some teachable moments out of it and keep pressing on. If anyone has done a dry rock start without adding seeded medias, live rock, or bacteria additives I'm super interested in hearing about the journey.

Having a fun time trying to figure out where to put my RODI filter as well. Was about to pull the trigger on a 5 stage and realized I should probably confirm where I'm hooking it up first. I'll have to use a sink faucet. Can't split off the washer's cold water. Issue is the faucet aerators either don't come off, or are "welded" on by calcium build up over time (renting an older apartment so it's got some years on it). If I can't get the thing off when I track down my pliers I'll just replace the faucet.

I'm also realizing the AI Prime is probably not enough to keep SPS going. I have a buddy who is wanting to get into the hobby as well so it's a good excuse to sell it to him cheap to lower the barrier of entry for him a bit.
I'm close to pulling the trigger on a Reef Breeder Photon V2 Pro, but would love to save the $170 for the V2+. Just can't find them in stock anywhere.
I'll probably post in the lighting forum to see about other options that are comparable in price and PAR output.
 

jcolliii

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No LR for me, and have done multiple re-aquascapes with dry rock on the fly (without breaking the tank down). I have maybe 5 lbs of Tropic Eden morocca artificial rock in the tank now, with 20lbs of tropic eden reef flakes sand, and my NO3 and PO4 are both quite stable. I use about a liter of seachem Matrix in one corner (I pull it and rinse in tank water every 6 months if I remember), run UV in the other and a Tunze 9001 skimmer. I do no water changes unless I need to, and use the DIY All-For-Reef for majors,minors, and traces all in one supplement. I seeded this current scape using three separate bacterial additives and never went through an ugly stage, dinos, nor even really more than a very light dusting of diatoms that cleared in 24 hours. I think the keys are enough fish without too many, the ludicrous surface area of the Matrix (pumice) that I dose 1x/month with half a capful of bacteria, I seeded my sand with bacteria using a coral feeder and injecting it into the sandbed, and keeping parameters stable. I try to never let NO3 go below 9 or 10, and try to keep PO4 as close to 0.1ppm as I can. I also use a tuxedo urchin to keep algae at bay. I can find it if I look hard enough, but really not noticeable.

If I was to use dry rock - and not artificial man-made rock, I would do my aquascape, let all the mortar/glue/epoxy dry or cure, then add some good stinky bacteria directly and liberally to the rock - really get it good and wet so it seeps into the pores. Then would fill with as much "used" saltwater as I could and top up with NSW. But, I went with manmade stuff - looks awesome and no weird tan-brown-green cammo look rock before coralline growth.
 
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No LR for me, and have done multiple re-aquascapes with dry rock on the fly (without breaking the tank down). I have maybe 5 lbs of Tropic Eden morocca artificial rock in the tank now, with 20lbs of tropic eden reef flakes sand, and my NO3 and PO4 are both quite stable. I use about a liter of seachem Matrix in one corner (I pull it and rinse in tank water every 6 months if I remember), run UV in the other and a Tunze 9001 skimmer. I do no water changes unless I need to, and use the DIY All-For-Reef for majors,minors, and traces all in one supplement. I seeded this current scape using three separate bacterial additives and never went through an ugly stage, dinos, nor even really more than a very light dusting of diatoms that cleared in 24 hours. I think the keys are enough fish without too many, the ludicrous surface area of the Matrix (pumice) that I dose 1x/month with half a capful of bacteria, I seeded my sand with bacteria using a coral feeder and injecting it into the sandbed, and keeping parameters stable. I try to never let NO3 go below 9 or 10, and try to keep PO4 as close to 0.1ppm as I can. I also use a tuxedo urchin to keep algae at bay. I can find it if I look hard enough, but really not noticeable.

If I was to use dry rock - and not artificial man-made rock, I would do my aquascape, let all the mortar/glue/epoxy dry or cure, then add some good stinky bacteria directly and liberally to the rock - really get it good and wet so it seeps into the pores. Then would fill with as much "used" saltwater as I could and top up with NSW. But, I went with manmade stuff - looks awesome and no weird tan-brown-green cammo look rock before coralline growth.
Thank you so much for your detailed recount of your experience! Can I ask which bacterial additives you used? I apologize for the late reply. Some life events got in the way of updating the thread but I just completed all the major purchases I needed to get things started finally. If there are a few more things I can add to give myself a strong start on this go around I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.
 
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Update:
I've got a rockscape in the tank! I tried my hand at a "nsa" for the first time and I'm pretty happy with the results. My hope is to grow a few acro frags out to colonies instead of having to bonsai multiple frags in such a small tank. Ideally 2 or 3 branching acros and a tabling acro or two lower in the tank.

I've attached a top down view, a side view, and a front view of the scape. The glue has cured and I'm working on filling jugs of RODI to start mixing my salt and get things going.

For lighting, I ended up going with the Noopsyche k7 v3. The price was too good along with the reviews. If all goes well I hope my tank can show off the light's abilities.

I will be doing sand in this tank as well. I bought special grade caribsea after a bit of googling since it seems to withstand high-ish flow. With 12 inches of tank height I'll take what I can get there. A pistol shrimp and goby pair will certainly be added to this tank. Out of everything I've kept or had the opportunity to keep through maintenance contracts at the LFS I previously worked for these little guys are definitely in my top reef picks, shadowed by the vlamingi tang which 25 gallons can't support. For other stocking, either one sixline wrasse, a couple of bangaii cardinals, or a couple of firefish will be added.

For inverts, I don't plan on feeding coral food really so a cleaner shrimp of some sort would be fun. Possibly snails or hermits. My experience with snails though is they stay on the glass instead of the rock work and only contribute to the bioload. We'll see if a traditional CUC ends up in the tank.

I also picked up a neptune apex on BRS's most recent sale. I've always wanted one during my time in the hobby but have never been able to justify the money. Now that I've been doing this for a while and have no intentions of ever permanently quitting the hobby, I figured now is as good as time as any to finally pull the trigger.

I still intend to carbon dose after the cycle completes since I'd like to see how viable it is in helping with stability and fighting elevated levels of bad things in a nano. My hope is to trial with some cheaper acro/birdsnest frags I can get my hands on to see how well they stand up. If things go well for a while (I'd like to say a year, but even my patience will wear thin eventually) I'd like to get a BattleBox. Adam's input into the hobby as well as how he conducts business is something I'd love to put money towards. I can vote with my dollars and he seems to have a passion for aquaculture and all things reef. His meticulousness regarding pests is also a plus.

Kind of a rambling update, but it's my build thread and I'd like to keep this as a journal to track my tank's progression and thoughts at the current time of updating. I want to commit to documenting the inevitable storm of "bad luck" I'll experience trying to succeed with acros in a nano. I feel like nano tanks don't get enough love even though a majority of reefers nowadays get their start with a budget nano of some sort. I'd love to be an example of what worked, and what doesn't work in a relatively small tank.

Let me know what you think of the scape! My girlfriend helped throughout the entire build of it and I was thankful for her supervision. I may add a couple of "caves" depending on the fish I decide to get to allow for more hiding spots. Would rather a fish dart into a hole in the rock than launch out of the top of the tank through a gap in the lid.
 

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Tank is officially wet! Cycling with Dr. Tims and Ammonia. I also picked up some AquaForest Life Source. Figured it's as close to live rock as I can get without as many hitchhikers. Surely there will be some form of algae introduced, but I'm curious to see what kind of effect it has during the first stages of a tank maturing after the initial nitrogen cycle. I'm also going to hold off on the other bacteria additives in my original post to see if they'll be necessary. I started questioning myself on adding all of these bottles and figured it may be better to keep things more basic with the mud.

I am still undecided on fish, but I have a loose idea of a few options. Shrimp and goby pair are going to be in no matter what "main fish" I put in. Any recommendations are appreciated. I don't need anything fancy necessarily. I would default to clowns if it weren't for the devil coming out every time my hand is in the tank.
  • Six Line Wrasse
  • Pair of clowns
  • A couple of firefish (Will need to find a lid. The standard one for this tank creates a bit of a siphon at the clips so I'll have to find one that sits on the top of the tank).
  • Tailspot Blenny and a couple of Banggai Cardinals
  • A few Chromis (not sure how many is acceptable in a tank this size though)
  • Create more rock "hides" and go all out with pistol shrimp and goby pairs.

Very excited to get things kicked off! Today is going to be cleaning up wiring and mounting things in the stand. Figure I'm more likely to get under the stand when needed if there isn't a rats nest of wires.
 
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Cycle finished! Got a Banggai Cardinal in the tank and things are okay for now. The day the cycle completed my nitrates were 63. After adding AF Lifesource the nitrates are 52. I’ll be doing a decent sized water change tomorrow to get the nitrates down and get the fish settled in. I plan to carbon dose but I’d like to reach some form of normalcy prior to starting it.

I’ll take another nitrate test prior to the water change to see if they trend down further. Found it interesting that there was a decent drop after adding AF lifesource.
 
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Quick little update, the Nitrates are down to 23. I have done no water changes yet. The only thing I’ve added is a fish and AF lifesource. I’m inclined to believe the mud has actually decreased nitrates. I’m certainly no scientist but has anyone else had similar results with AF lifesource?
 
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Small update:
Nitrates are down to 9.6. I've done one 5 gallon water change and I attribute the rest to AF Lifesource. The tank has had lights on for over a week now at the Noopsyche default "sps" setting and no brown yet. Trying to deal with uglies before I get coral so we'll see how that goes.

Banggai Cardinalfish is eating like a pig as well. Feeding pretty heavy to see how the tank reacts and nitrates are trending in the right direction. Happy with how things are thus far.

Edit: Got an okay pic of the tank. Fish is finally tucking into the rockwork a little. Sorry for the blues. I'll figure out how to get a decent picture one of these days.

IMG_0841.JPG
 
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Tidal Gardens
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jumping on since i'm also looking at this tank. looking good.
It's got a footprint I really enjoy. Maxes the spread out for most single unit lights and is built well. This is the first iteration of the tank and it's survived quite a bit through the move and all of that fun stuff. My only complaint is it's hard to find a skimmer that fits the back chambers. That's probably an issue with most AIOs though. Can't wait to see your build!
 
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