The Shaolin Temple, My 40B Mixed Reef in Western New York

TheWalkingCoral

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After waiting what feels like forever and doing absolutely no research I dove heads first into reefing. I'm just over three weeks in and today for the first time I have felt enough of a relief to enjoy the tank. I understand this moment may be fleeting but I welcome the journey this hobby will take me in years to come. I have taken a approach which may bite me in the butt, but only time will tell =D Here is my Aqueon 40B mixed reef named "The Shaolin Temple".

Gear Consists of:
(1) Aqueon 40B Tank
(1) Fluval Aqua Clear Power Filter 50 Gallon HOB
(2) Aqueon 100w Adjustable Heater
(1) Digital Thermometer
(1) Fluval Sea Circulation Pump
(1) Reef Octopus 1000 HOB
(1) XP Aqua Sumpless ATO (On the way)
(??lbs) CaribSea Life Rock
(8lbs) LFS Live Rock
(1) AI Prime 16 HD
(25lbs) CarribSea Live Sand
(1) Cyber Power APC (Keep fan going for a few minutes while I panic)

The goal of the tank was to be compact and able to be moved and setup within reason in the future without compromising too much on water clarity and quality. Most of the gear I bought was heavily discounted online or purchased used on craigslist. The initial plan was to use the HOB and circulation pump to keep the water clear, but then I found a used 1000HOB and jumped on it quick. I don't mind the back of the tank looking all mad scientist like, I just want the corals and future fish to be happy within my means. I run a 100w heater on both ends of tank to keep water stable during these NY winters.

The current plan is to grow the small coral stock I have (listed below) and introduce fish after a 76 day fallow which begins today. After which I will eventually add another light (around 6 months) and continue growing the tank.

Corals Consist of:
(2) Green Star Polyps
(1) Acid Torch
(1) Unnamed Zoa (Not Sure)
(1) Pulsing Xenia
(1) Birds Nest

Here are the notes and hiccups so far
Week 1: Dosed Biospira and Microbacter 7
Week 2: Tank cycled by modern convention means (zero ammonia) and added three nasarius snails and two clowns which showed brook within hours, removed fish & setup QT. Added torch, star polyps and zoa.
Week 3: Added protein skimmer, adjusted lights to acclimate David Saxby's prime settings over a month (lowered max % wayy down about 60% max on blue for scale during peek. Most likely will have to adjust light in the future as I learn more about these coral and there demands. Added Birds Nest. (end of week nitrites zero for the first time, for those interested)
Week 4: Added two cleaner shrimp as last members before 76 day fallow begins. Have spent most of this week so far reading humble fish posts on fish disease and prevention. Also have read a bunch on fish that serve a purpose that tolerate cleaner shrimp.

While this tank may seem rushed and may bite me in the butt I was very interested in bottle bacs and their use in modern reefing. As of now all my coral are thriving and look great, but only time will tell as the tank matures. I have ran a 10 hour light cycle since coral were added to the tank and everything is looking great but diatoms are just beginning to show, maybe there won't be a battle ;) I've done roughly a 50% water change the last three weeks but I amm going to wait and see what happens with diatoms/algae. most likely will continue to do largish water changes until fish are added and tank matures, maybe 30/40%. The only piece of gear I was thinking of adding would be a UV sterilizer if things ever got crazy but I don't believe there is anything more this tank truly needs.

While all this was going on I decided I wanted another science project. I saw a gorgeous baby wrasse at petco (I know) and bought him, the two pieces of live rock in his tank a 10g starter kit, price matched + coupons was $60 all together out the door. I through some old sand I had feed a bit in a 5 gallon bucket I had left over in with the two pieces of live rock and the tank cycled immediately processing ammonia and nitrite entirely. Threw in some snails (not sure tbh what kind, I'm going back to LFS tomorrow to find out LOL) and a conch (also gotta figure out what kind, he is so cool though dude OMG his poops are so big). A toad stool was thrusted upon me as well and having no idea how the hell him and the torch get along I threw him in with the wrasse. I ordered a extremely cheap LED (i'm talking $20 cheep) not even sure if its rated for corals and DIY'd the starter kit lid to prevent the wrasse from escaping. Crazy part is the toad stool is actually improving dramatically from how came to me. Everyone is happy as hell in there as of now and I'm learning so much that I can carry forward with my DT.

Here are a few pics, will post more as everything progresses. DT (Shaolin Temple), Second Tank (Don't have anything cool yet) and the QT (homer bucket lets me change water much more frequently to help the clowns fight brook)

PXL_20210223_010843233.jpg PXL_20210223_010901966.jpg PXL_20210223_010927105.jpg
 
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TheWalkingCoral

TheWalkingCoral

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Here is the DIY job I did on the lid. The light gives me option to enable white and blue leds on a 3, 6 &12 hr timer that ramps down at end of day, kinda cool. Still not sure if light is rated for coral but as of now the toad stool is responding really well to it. Was $20 on ebay.

PXL_20210223_011834127.jpg PXL_20210223_011822046.jpg
 
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TheWalkingCoral

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QT Update: Unfortunately the two clowns finally succumbed to Brooklynella a day before I received Ruby Reef Rally. I sterilized all the equipment and containers associated with their tank and setup. Although I sterilized all equipment correctly I just have this constant fear of cross contamination, but I guess it's all a part of the game.

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Observation Tank Update: I setup a 20L and transferred the Sixline Wrasse and all the contents of the 10G to the 20L. I added two small Snowflake Clowns and a small Tomini Tang to observe for the next 4-5 weeks while my DT finishes fallowing. My hopes is all the fish show no disease and can be added safely to the DT. Everyone has got along for the most part except the clownfish who seem to figuring out who's gonna be boss. The Tomini Tang and the Sixline Wrasse absolutely adore each other and are always swimming together.

The cheep $20 light I purchased for the 10G has worked absolutely incredibly and brought the leather coral back to health. I found two used ai primes and decided to add another to the DT and add a proper light to the observation tank to allow the leather coral to fully thrive. Used light has had green led stuck on and flickering throughout night, not sure what's going on. It's not noticeable when the routine is running but once all the other leds are out it stands out a ton. I've reached out to AI support for help and in the mean time put it on a wifi socket with the schedule that matches the light so It turns completely off at end of the schedule =D Easy fix for now.

PXL_20210302_131800723.jpg


DT Update: Added a gorgeous Fungia. All the corals are looking great, torch is continuing to show signs of splitting. I've had a small diatom bloom for about a week now and have not touched tank or done a water change since. From my understanding it's best to leave the water alone till it begins to pass. Planning on doing a 30% w/c this weekend if it is looking better. CUC has done a great job keeping everything tame but I can't wait for it to be gone. I've taken this time without fish to get to know my cleaner shrimp and they are absolute blast to watch and interact with. I understand by normal standards I should have waited to add coral until after diatom bloom and tank matured a little further but as of now none of the coral are showing signs of stress. The used ai prime I've added is the wifi model with only 13 lleds while the newer version I have has 16. I have noticed (as did my wife XD) a small difference in the lighting, but realistically it does not matter. These are absolutely great lights and will serve me for years to come. The used protein skimmer has worked great too!

PXL_20210302_131807579.MP.jpg


Can't believe how much a little hob skimmer can pull from the water.

Oh yeah the ATO came in! I had to drop the water level to accommodate the sensor since I have a rimmed tank. As bummed as I am to lose the 1.5 inches of water at least my tank will have the added stability. The overflow box has actually been a welcomed addition to the tank as it provides water movement in the back of my tank that I did not previously have. I believe I may figured out a good water patter, but only time will tell.

Planning on taking pictures of the individual fish and coral today and potentially continuing to weekly in the future. I think it would be fun to document their growth/maturity and maybe even prevent any illness. Also thinking of potentially building a new stand out of wood that will give me some storage area, help keep wires off ground and potentially shield my eyes from the lights on the couch.
 
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TheWalkingCoral

TheWalkingCoral

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Observation Tank Update: The Tomini Tang showed signs of flukes so I drove 1.5hrs and picked up some PraziPro to treat with. Pretty thankful that it's the only disease that has shown itself and that I'm aware of that is in the tank. It was easily treatable and will not harm the reef long term as I house corals and inverts in this tank. I do have a sixline wrasse going through treatment and was a little worried of overdosing. As of now everyone is happy and healthy. The tank is showing some green algae on the glass, going to look into how to handle it. Not sure what to do atm as I'm planning to move all the fish together into the display tank and don't want to add any other factors to the mix. I do have two astrae snails and 1 figther conch, but they can't do it all =D

Quick edit: I picked up some tissue paper for $1 and wrapped it around three sides of the observation tank to give the fish some privacy while they acclimate to the new tank/me.

PXL_20210308_002758166 (1).jpg


Display Tank Update: Diatoms are on there way out but still present, skimmer still pulling out a ton of gunk. Cleaner shrimp are shedding like crazy and looking great. Wife and I added a beautiful chalice coral and candy cane coral. Did a 15G water change this weekend and screwed up a bit. During w/c and cleaning I moved my auto top off sensor somewhere new and it dumped wayyyy too much rodi water lowering the salinity in my tank (for the record it was off during w/c). I panicked (never good) and removed 5g of water and added the required amount of salt to increase the salinity. The result was my torch coral shriveling up like grandmas prunes along with all the sanity I had left. Drank a glass of wine and went to bad. Avoided looking at the tank until peak time on the schedule and bam, the beauty was back =D I felt bad but I'm glad the few corals I do have a hardy and can deal with my chaos for now. Increase was only .001 but still a mess as some of the highly concetrated salt water reached the torch directly. Noted my mistake and am moving forward.

PXL_20210308_004212941.MP (1).jpg
PXL_20210308_004148386 (1).jpg

(my camera sucks, still have to figure out good light settings to take pictures with my prime/cheap camera phone)

This weekend I fully committed to disease eradication. I was thinking of trying Paul B's method but after doing some thinking am going to give this a go. My plan is to observe the fish in a observation tank for one month and treat with prazipro one time. If any of the fish get sick I will place them in a 10G quarantine tank and treat them for whatever disease they face.
 

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