Will's JBJ 25 Soft/mixed reef tank

eenoo

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
118
Reaction score
68
Location
Twin-cities, MN
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hello everyone, welcome to my build thread that I plan to update periodically as my system progresses into what I fully envision.

This is not a new tank, the livestock started in a maxspect nano 15g AIO system, and as they outrgrew that we moved onto a hand-me-down JBJ 25.
nano cube 2.jpg
clown pair in gonipora.jpg

This is the Maxspect nano. The tank was great and VERY successful. I had collected some unique pieces as well as some corals and inverts i've always wanted to keep. I may talk more about this tank in the future. Ultimately, these corals outgrew the tank and I was seeking more space for more fish. I received a free JBJ 25 and decided to upgrade to it as my limited space didnt allow what I truly would like to upgrade into.

I decided to take a bit of time on setting up the JBJ system as the nano was smooth sailing, no rush. The system started with dry rock, a mix of marco rocks purple rock and some aquaforest rock. I used a box of Two Little Fishies ReBorn (Ca reactor media) as substrate. BIG mistake! I have no clue how old the box was, but i didn't rinse it very well and it created a dusty mess that the tank took ages to recover from. Ultimately I had to remove that gravel-like substrate and I replaced it with some Tampa Bay Saltwater Ultra Live Sand. Cool stuff, full of life and microbiome!

For nano cubes I find Kessil to offer the best lighting solution. Because of that, on the nano I ran a 160 and on the JBJ I am currently running an A360X Tuna Blue with the 55° narrow reflector. I use the reflector mainly to reduce light spill into the room, but it also allows me to run the light at a much lower power. I use a Kessil dongle connected to my Apex fusion to control the light. Because of this I can use profiles to create custom light modes using my adaptive reef control toggle box, more on this later. For heat I am using Helio PTC with dual heating elements due to the safety features of the PTC system. I am using a Red Sea ATO+ and a 5g trigger systems ATO in the stand.

For filtration, I started with the Tunze DOC 9001 but as this is in my living room it was a bit too loud and I removed it pretty quickly. Once removing it I decided to add a Klir filter roller to the filter sock chamber. I had to modify the rollermat very slightly as due to the JBJ 25 being an AIO, the water level in the filter sock never rose to the point of triggering the Klir sensor. Because of this, I simply bypassed the Klir controller and I have my Apex turn the roller on for 25 seconds every day which rolls it one full turn. I'm debating the merits of having it turn several times per day, but with less time turning. Fairly recently I've added a mini refugium to the center chamber of the AIO by cutting off the vinyl backing on the glass and attaching a Innovative Marine ChaetoMax with some 3M Dual Lock. As you can see its growing well, and the rollermat works great!
chaeto chamber.jpg


Also on the system is an Axis 40 return pump and a Nero 3 both controller through the Apex using MXM. The return nozzle has a Innovative Marine Spinstream which I absolutely love. The spinning action creates great surface agitation while also providing a randomized flow through the display. In the return chamber I have my probes which are a pH and temp probe, my intake for my Reef Factory KH Keeper, and my 4 inputs from my doser. Currently I am running a Reef Factory 4 headed doser but am considering a switch to the Versa 4 pack as I am not a fan of the Reef Factory app at all. Originally I had the KH keeper depositing its waste water into the tank again, but with such a small volume of water that caused all kinds of issues. The KH Keeper grew algae in its testing chamber as well and overall it was a bit of a headache.

JBJ25 FTS start2.jpg
rock scape.jpg


This is what the system looked like shortly after transferring from the Maxspect nano. The rockspace is quite cavernous, with the inside of the rock "hill" being completely hollow. As you can see, the abysmal calcium reactor substrate. It really caused me issues and I'm glad to finally be rid of it. As you can see, on the left side of the stand is an attached Adaptive Reef control board with my apex and other controllers mounted. I also have a Reef Factory temp display to get a reading at a glance. Above the control board is my control toggle box I use for several things such as feed mode, maintenance mode, photography mode, and "party mode". Currently in the Simplicity 2L dosing containers I have Triton Core7 primary method attached to that Reef Factory doser. Due to ongoing issues with the tank, I haven't had any consumption and have had this off. This should be turned on very shortly.

The tank has gone through many ups and downs, it has had a lot of livestock move through its waters. Some honorable mentions that either ended up passing away or I rehomed/traded. A beautiful pair of dragonface pipefish that I got to eat frozen mysis. One died and I rehomed the other. Impulse purchased a curious wormfish which ended up quickly becoming a favorite. Kept it for about a year in the nano before it got too big and rehomed. A tiny black/red anglerfish about the size of my thumb which tried to eat a 2.5" clownfish and killed itself on it, also killed the clown (the one without a spot in the photos, RIP).

Up until a few hours ago, this tank was a mixed reef mainly focused on LPS. Well I just sold all my corals that have a skeleton (ok not all of them, I kept 2 favorites). I was feeling a bit of burnout from the tank, and the lack of microbiome was becoming an issue and affecting coral health. About a month ago I had made the fatal mistake of adding a tiny Nox Angelfish to the system and over a weekend it ate half of every coral in my system. Due to the unstable nature of the system, the corals haven't really fully recovered since then. Because of that and my obsession with soft corals, I've decided its time to pursue my goal of a softy tank where I collect the rare pieces I've always wanted. Thankfully I have a few resources available to make that a reality! In a future post I'll share some of the corals I've acquired over time and why I like them. A little peak, here is one of my favorites and one LPS I had to keep, my little button scolymia Micromussa pacifica. In the image you can also see the anglerfish and its sexy shrimp friend.

sexy shrimp and anglerfish.jpg


The clean up crew consists of mostly black foot trochus snails (probably 6) and several halloween hermit crabs. Alongside them is a small florida red footed sea cucumber Pentacta pygmaea, a large abalone, a porcelain anemone crab Neopetrolisthes maculatus, several normal porcelain crabs Petrolisthes Caribensis, a Chiton, countless tunicates and micro brittle starfish, and anything and everything small that comes with TBS ocean sand. Theres also a gold coral banded shrimp, but it does nothing other than be a menace so its not included in the list of clean up crew.

As for fish the oldest in the tank would be the ocellaris clown which was a "premium assorted clownfish" from Petco. I think the single spot on the side of the otherwise naked clown is super cute! Sadly his partner was murdered by the mini anglerfish so he is alone. There is a second clown, a large orange skunk clown that hosts my large piece of cespitularia. Surprisingly they get along, the original plan was to rehome the ocellaris clown but unless I see aggression they may both stay for a while. I keep a lubbock's fairy wrasse as I believe all tanks should have a wrasse to manage pests. They are quite beautiful but can sometimes become annoyingly aggressive and are VERY keen on jumping out. A Dot Dash blenny accompanies the others and does great at keeping the rocks clean. Sometimes I forget, but I also have a clingfish that loves to eat straight from the feeding tube! He sits exclusively on the rear black glass and only moves for food. The star of the show is a Papuan Toby Canthigaster papua that I picked up 2 days ago and have fallen in love with. The color, body shape, and movement of the puffer is so gorgeous. This fish is the reason I've motivated myself to post about my experience with this tank, and to give the tank a new life as a softy collection.

So to recap:
Papuan Toby Canthigaster papua
Dot Dash Blenny Ecsenius lineatus
Lubbock's Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus lubbocki
Orange Skunk Clown Amphiprion sandaracinos
Premium asst. Ocellaris clown Amphiprion ocellaris


Some of my goals for this system include acquiring some rarer leathers or leathers I've always wanted, stuffing the system with cryptic fish, and adding a few nems, sand dwelling macro algae, and a hippopus clam. In specific I'm really in search of a Japanese purple leather, a nice ultra long tentacle Sarcophyton, several different sinularia, a few mini maxi nems, maybe a LTA, some Udotea and Halimedia, and a nice hippopus specimen. The long term goal is to not be able to see any rockwork due to varius leathers, mushrooms, zoas, and anemone.

I plan to create several more posts in this thread, some showing the current state of the system and its inhabitants and coral. I'll also be creating some regarding my equipment and some unique ways I like to use it! Follow along as I turn this tank around and create something I'm proud of!

Thank you!
 
OP
OP
eenoo

eenoo

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
118
Reaction score
68
Location
Twin-cities, MN
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Today I decided to do some chores on the tank. These included removing the KH Keeper, testing, and doing some TLC in the tank. I haven't really been on top of the tank recently and plan to change that.

Results are disappointing but not too shocking, I'll explain below.

Alkalinity: 9dkh
Salinity: 37ppm
pH: 7.6
nitrate: 14.9ppm
phosphate: .9+++ppm

Now a brief list of my goals and why.

Alkalinity: 7dkh
Salinity: 35ppm
pH: 8
nitrate: 15ppm
phosphate: .1ppm

Recently I've been researching a bit on the effects of nitrate (No3) on marine animals, specifically fish, shrimp, corals, and anemone. Ultimately I've found compelling evidence to believe that under 20ppm is the only acceptable nitrate for proper coral growth and health and to relieve stress in fish related to nitrate toxification which ultimately leads to fish less likely to be affected by various issues. Because of this, my nutrient goals are primarily focused on nitrate control.

The spike in phosphate is due to recently adding a 3" later of TBS live sand. It is still taking time to settle and has caused a large phosphate spike. Today I added two products to combat this, some PolyPad filter floss in the refugium and a bag of Phosphate Minus from Aquaforest. This is my first time using the Aquaforest product. Hopefully it is not as disappointing as the other AF products. Thankfully this was a sample pack!

phosphate control.jpg


This Aquaforest stuff is incredibly brown and dusty. They recommend not rinsing it and allowing it to cloud your water... hope it works. If this doesnt work, I will be doing a 10g water change followed by some Maxspect Phosphree in a bag. Potentially followed by Red Seas NOPOX. These are tried and true methods to get your phosphate removed. If your phosphate is bound in rocks and/or sand, I don't recommend NOPOX. Using a polymer based media like the Phosphree from Maxspect really works wonders on bound phosphates.

The reason for my elevated Alk is most likely due to the elevated salinity. When adding the sand into my system, I also removed many coral and gave them to a friend. In doing so, I raised the water level with the sand and lowered it removing water for coral transport. Time to fix the salinity, to do so I'll simply remove a cup of water every day till the ATO catches up. In my opinion this will also fix the elevated Alk.

pH chart 4-14-24.jpg



Unfortunately, this is my pH. Again, I'm believing in the sand to save me in this. Since adding the sand the pH has slowly been climbing. It is also warming up here in Minnesota which means opening more windows and more fresh air into the house! Exciting news for my pH goals. If I cannot reach my pH goals I may look into adding a skimmer or other ways of further oxygenating my tank. My refugium in the middle chamber was an addition a few months ago that was added to raise the pH and help manage some nutrients and stability. While it hasn't quite raised the pH enough, it has stabilized the tank quite a lot and is growing crazy. Time for an ICP test to see if I'd like to begin Chaeto-Gro from Brightwell!

temp chart 4-14-24.jpg


Temp chart, not much to see here. PTC putting in work, keeping it right at 77.

The TLC within the system itself involved a few different tasks. My Reef Factory 4 head doser has been off for about a month now and because of that, the lines have crystalized and clogged. I managed to clear 3 of them, but a fourth is stuck and I need to either soak the hose or simply replace it. I'm going to give the Reef Factory doser one more try before I swap over to the Versa. Theres no option to MANUAL dose on the Reef Factory doser! In order to clear the line I have to use the priming function in the calibration tab!

I like to keep my system very visually clean. Because of that, I sprayed down my rear AIO chamber with RO water and gave it a brushing. This gets any salt creep, mineral buildup, or general detritus off of the many tubes and power cables going into the rear chamber. I also blew off my rocks and scrubbed the glass. I like to do this as often as possible as I believe this clears your rock crevice and pores and allows more beneficial creatures to inhabit those areas instead. Soon I will take apart my Nero to deep clean it. I've noticed Neros in specific are very negatively affected by algae/bacterial buildup and lose a lot of their flow very fast.

About my Klir filter roller. Firstly, its great. I've heard some hate around the Klir, being a bit annoying to use, or getting stuck often. I don't have any of these issues. My tips to anyone running into issues is to make sure to clean the detritus buildup from the machine when you change the roll each time. In doing this I've never had it clog or fail to roll. Currently the roller is rolling once per day one full turn as I mentioned in my original post. When this happens the filter ends up being louder, and I notice a bunch of detritus ends up floating around the tank for a bit. This is probably because its building up too much and some breaks free and goes through the back chambers once it rolls. To remedy this I'd like to experiment with having it roll a few times a day, for a shorter period of time. My current Apex code looks like the following.

Fallback OFF
Set OFF
If Output video_mode = ON Then OFF
If Output Axis = OFF Then OFF
OSC 720:00/000:20/719:40 Then ON
If Four CLOSED Then ON

The bolded portion rolls the rollermat every day at 12:00pm for 20 seconds. I'm going to try twice a day for 10 seconds each. If I remember how to do this, it should look like this:

OSC 360:00/000:10/359:50 Then ON

I believe this will make the roller turn on for 10 seconds at 6am and 6pm every day. I'll check in with some people who are smarter than me just to make sure!

food.jpg


The food I've been feeding is pretty simple. I'm a big fan of refrigerated foods! My favorite is the Reef Nutrition's Beta Brine but it gets a bit expensive. Currently I have a few bottles of Nyos Goldpods on hand that I also very much enjoy. It seems like nearly any fish is willing to eat it, and its the first stuff I saw my Papuan Toby eat 2 days ago. The Fish V from Aquaforest is a dark brown color and I add a drop on top of the frozen cubes I use. I received a large quantity of this P.E. Mysis and it serves me well. High quality freshwater mysis shrimp. In addition to that I also feed different mixed frozen foods that includes a bunch of smaller frozen feeders such as roe, rotifers, and calanus. Recently I've become a big fan of Benepets. They're a smaller company, but their foods seem very high quality. I really like their powdered coral food as I find basically ALL corals are receptive to it. The LPS pellets never end up making it into the mouths of any corals since the clownfish like them. SA hatchery diet is a good cheap pellet that I keep on hand for friends/family to toss into the tank to watch the fish eat.
 
OP
OP
eenoo

eenoo

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
118
Reaction score
68
Location
Twin-cities, MN
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I took a trip to Reef-a-Palooza and came home with a nice white long tentacle toadstool from Seven Seas Aquatics and a beautiful Atomic Broccoli macroalgae from Collin at Coral Morphalogic. I had a wonderful time at the show and cant wait to visit the rest!

IMG_1591.JPG


The toadstool hasnt quite opened up yet but is very healthy!

When I got back I got the bug to collect some mushrooms. While I'm still currently on a budget due to plenty other hobbies, I had to start! PNW Custom aquatics gave me a few Mushroom Boxes to try out so I added one to either side of the tank and had to fill them up. I ran out to a few local fish stores and even ventured out to try one I havent tried before (it was a bust). At my favorite local fish store that is quite high end I managed to snag a baby jawbreaker mushroom for $50 and a red rhodactis and blue rhodactis for 2/$50. I am quite happy with these prices and very happy to start my mushroom collection!


IMG_1607.JPG
IMG_1573.JPG


After running around to several stores on Saturday, I shared my spoils with my good friend and he told me he had some Sunkist Bounce Mushrooms and some Blue Spot Red Discosoma Mushrooms that I could buy! I also had a trade lined up to get some Pulsing Sinularia in exchange for some Sam Adams Boston Lager, win/win for both of us! While I was there he also had some extra rock flower nems and I picked out a unique looking grey one, it may be plain to most people but I like the oddball pieces.

IMG_1606.JPG
IMG_1598.JPG


While there I took advantage of his bandsaw and cut them off the disks to fit them into the nem boxes.

IMG_1581.JPG


In total for all these pieces I spoke about (more than photographed), I spent $325, a flight to Reef-a-Palooza, and a 12 pack of Sam Adam's Boston Lager. Often in this hobby, the journey of the acquisition is a bigger reward than the coral itself.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
eenoo

eenoo

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
118
Reaction score
68
Location
Twin-cities, MN
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Results are disappointing but not too shocking, I'll explain below.

Alkalinity: 9dkh
Salinity: 37ppm
pH: 7.6
nitrate: 14.9ppm
phosphate: .9+++ppm

Now a brief list of my goals and why.

Alkalinity: 7dkh
Salinity: 35ppm
pH: 8
nitrate: 15ppm
phosphate: .1ppm

So.... we are making progress, a bit. Here is how they stand currently:

Alkalinity: 9.7dkh
Salinity: 37ppm
pH: 7.73
nitrate: 12.3ppm
phosphate: .77ppm

Alkalinity climbed a bit because I was attempting to unclog my dosing tubes to begin dosing and ended up dripping some of the Alk portion of the Triton Method Core 7 which is quite concentrate for a 25 gallon. Phosphate is coming down as I've done several water changes and added a bag of Aquaforest Phosphate Minus last week which I just renewed a few hours ago. Looking forward to see where that takes my phosphate as I have done yet another water change.

Alongside the maintanence and testing I also took a look at my chaeto, and WOW has it grown! I added it to a middle chamber of my system in the first post of this thread and it had completely filled and stuffed the middle chamber. I cut it in half and threw out half of it, cleaned all the filter pads and threw out a polyfilter pad I found (oops!).

clean chaeto.JPG
excess chaeto.JPG



Another big event happened this weekend.... I switched from my Kessil A360x with 55° narrow reflector controlled via IOTA by a Kessil dongle and Apex to a Radion controlled through my MXM.

Kessil.JPG
radion.JPG


I changed for several reasons, let me explain. The A360x is a great light with an insane PAR output, with that narrow reflector I ran the light at 20% with 150 par on the sand. The glimmer effect is very nostalgic of snorkeling in a shallow reef. The reflector limits the light spill into the living room and on the TV, its honestly a GREAT setup. A tiny light, unobtrusive in the room. Thats about where the benefits of the Kessil is for me though. After my visit to Reef-a-Palooza and seeing TSA and WWC, all the best are using Radion. I have a few lights laying around so seeing Radions over everything and how beautiful the corals looked it seemed like an obvious choice. I've recently been reading up on mushrooms and have become hooked as you can see in my previous post ($300 of mushrooms). UV is the name of the game when it comes to getting color out of mushrooms. I have my PAR lowered down to around 90 where the mushrooms are and I'm BLASTING the UV and purple on the tank all day. Check it out, the mornings and evenings are just UV and purple.

Radion settings.jpg


So far I've been enjoying the Radion much more. The Jawbreaker instantly looked more vibrant under the Radion and its been enjoyable to tweak the light to exactly what I'm looking for vs. the Kessil which always had the same "kessil shimmer" look. I will say I am going to be getting a diffuser for the Radion tomorrow, the light spill is unbearable and I'd like an even more muted light. I worry it may affect the UV output, but I'll see soon.

Also as a potential hint to the future, I've been seriously eyeing the TSA Build Your Reef membership program, might be having monthly TSA additions in the near future...
 
OP
OP
eenoo

eenoo

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
118
Reaction score
68
Location
Twin-cities, MN
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Checking out the new Flipper DeepSee CLEAR viewer. Quite a fun product, I had it in black but the clear is way better as its not nearly as obtrusive. I'm not a fan of adding more magnets to my aquarium, but this may have to stay.

IMG_1765.jpg


Shhh my boxes are dirty!

I've seen some cyano popping up in a few places, I imagine it is due to the unfortunate onset of velvet and the rapid decline in fish populations. Currently down to my toby puffer, lubbock's fairy wrasse, and a naked clown. A sad time for my reef, but I do not have any space to set up a quarantine currently. I've been trying several in-tank remedy options with little success. Fishkeeping is one of my week spots that I want to work on improving as I've recently come to love several expensive fish species that can be a bit delicate.

IMG_1766.jpg
 

How much do you care about having a display FREE of wires, pumps and equipment?

  • Want it squeaky clean! Wires be danged!

    Votes: 159 39.4%
  • A few things are ok with me!

    Votes: 207 51.2%
  • No care at all! Bring it on!

    Votes: 38 9.4%
Back
Top