Wolfthefallen journey into saltwater (40g AIO)

wolfthefallen

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Growing up and on and off through my Adult life I always seemed to have a fresh water tank, with live stock ranging all over the place. The last dive of fresh water for me was Bloody Mary Shrimp, which are still going strong today to the point I have a couple of breeding tanks set up for them.

My dream though was always getting into Saltwater. I wanted to get a coral going. While I do love planted tanks, and the simple beauty of fresh water, I needed the challenge. My hold back was always the capital to get started. While at my local fish store, they should be an Aquatop Recife Eco 40 Gallon system they had on sale. After googling the base price, I quickly realized it was a price tag I could not pass up, plus some addition deals off the other items to get me started. I jumped in head first and did not look back.

So I took everything home setup the tank and RODI unit and went to work making buckets on buckets of water, filled up that and started the wait..



Initial setup:
Live Rock
Live Sand
Base AIO of the AIO system
2 Aqamai Wifi Controllable Powerheads
 
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wolfthefallen

wolfthefallen

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Since I am in patient I tossed in Dr. Tim One and Only to help get the tank to Cycle.. Got the initial cycle done in about 2 almost 3 weeks If I remember correctly. I put in some live stock and picked up coral and started letting it go and enjoying the learning curve.


(Dust and Blade the first residence of the tank)

After a couple of weeks of Dust and Blade being happy in their new home, and a couple of Emerald crabs and snails for a CUC I began to add some coral after making sure all my parameters where staying with in an acceptable range.

 
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wolfthefallen

wolfthefallen

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At this point in the adventure things where going great! tank was pretty healthy. No crazy spikes of anything anywhere, expect Nitrates.. So I did what I do best Research and figure out what is going on. This is where I started haunting reef2reef and a few other forums.

So things I did; First I increased my CUC with more snails a couple of hermit crabs to fight back a small algae bloom, and picked up a diamond goby (More on this guy later).




Second thing I did was toss out the crappy skimmer that came with the system and got an AquaMaxx HOB-1.5 Skimmer. Let me tell you comparing the amount of stuff the new skimmer pulled out compared to the builtin one was night and day! With this change my Nitrates became much more manageable.



Third thing: Decreased the amount I was feeding, yup I was being heavy handed on the food.. Hey Dust and Blade always begged for food.. Now I know clowns are like dogs and cats, they will always beg for more food.

So If you look in the image with the new Protien skimmer you will notice the fungia plate is no longer in the center of the tank on the sand bed.. Will needless to say the Goby kept burring him! Every day I came home the poor coral was covered in sand. So I put in my frag shelf to get him away from the goby. I loved the goby's personality, he did a great job on making sure my sand bed stays white. So I moved the plate and see what happens..



After a few weeks the goby started treating my other coral to sand baths. He drew the last straw the day that he covered my Sunkiss bounce mushroom. Have you ever tried to get a Goby out of a tank when that have hole under every piece of rock you have in there? Let me tell you it is no easy task. Three hours later and taking out all the rock I finally managed to snag him, and delivered him back to my local fish store. I miss him, he was full of personality and would always puff up and act like the king when ever I came around the tank. In the end though we where just not going to work out, the coral was worth more then him, and I did not want to loose everything else to one fish that thought it would be funny to make blow sand off of my coral every day when I came home from work.

On the bright side, the credit I got for bring him back into the shop I put towards some actual good lighting. I picked up the Hydra 26 HD unit. As I love data and being able to automate and control things I pixed up an Apex unit. I came home Re-ranged all my rock and let things calm back down.

 

SPR1968

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Well the tank looks great so far and thanks for sharing the pictures with us, very nice indeed!

Thanks for the write up as well

And welcome to R2R, it’s great to have you with us!
 
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wolfthefallen

wolfthefallen

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This is going to be the depressing post of this tank build and the crazy things that has happened. Since my tank was being stable I decided to invest some more money into live stock. I picked up a couple of expensive pieces of coral.. First is an elegance coral, second was a scolly, third was a flame hawk. All beautiful additions to the tank. After about a week of having them the first sign of things shifting and going wrong is my scolly.


This beautiful piece started showing his skeleton, he eats some for me and then I had to go out of town for a couple of days.. By the time I get back he went through what appeared to be polyp bailout. His flesh just came off, It was a sad day..



I think about two weeks after the scolly left this world my Elegance came down with bacterial infection. You can follow and see what happened here https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/elegance-coral-help.490430/

About the time the Elegance went is when I added the Flame hawk to my tank.



He was beautiful, I lost him and one of the clowns to da Itch, and was sudden and bad. Valuable lessened learned.. Quarantine Tank is worth its weight in gold.
 
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wolfthefallen

wolfthefallen

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So from the information in my last post a few months have past. The Beginning part of November I got picked up a 4 pack of micromussa lordhowensis (Acan Lords for those going by its old names) from World Wide Corals. They had a great deal that I could not pass up.



I have extremely happy with my purchase, and they have been thriving in my little tank. Two of the frags have even given my new heads! It has been great watching them slowly grow in over the last couple of weeks.





In addition to this happy growth, my sunkiss bounce mushroom has split on its own. It pulled itself into three pieces and all three even the small piece seems to be doing pretty good. At the time of this post It has been about a month since the successful spit.





Since I have been Traveling a lot over the last couple of months I started switching to BioPellets from NO-POX doing about Mid November. It has been a slow transition that is for sure, I have stopped dosing NO-POX all together at this point and have not dosed for about 3 weeks now.. Although it still appears the bacteria for the BioPellets is not fully active yet. I still find myself do larger water changes to keep up with Nitrates while I wait for to kick in. Quickly approaching that two month mark. I hope it picks up soon. As my tank is an AIO, I have set up a shelving unit to put my reactors on, and have a secondary pump that pushes water through the BioPellet reactor and then I have a slow drip running through a reactor with SeaChem de❊nitrate™. My hopes is between the two I can maintain a good level of Nitrates while I travel for a couple of weeks at time and the person I have watching all my critters does not have to stress about anything except making sure the tank is topped off and the dog has food.

I also got a C20 Scrubber from BRS as I could never get my pH to rise above 8, and its low would hit 7.9. To me that is just not enough wiggle room and to close to the low of the pH line for me to be comfortable. Since I have gotten the C20 Scrubber in my pH has been peaking out at 8.22 with a low of 8.12. I have only been running for about a week now, and all the residence in the tanks have been loving it!

Another new addition to the tank is an IceCap 1K Grye, The two Power heads I had before was just not providing enough flow and kept have dead spots where nasty stuff would just start to grow. Even though the IceCap 1k is rated up to a 50 Gallon tank, I have found that with both sides on it pushed to much water for my primarly LPS tank. It is running only on side at this time, running on random up to 50% flow. With the addition of the new flow the Corals are much much happier. The only coral that seemed to hate the extra flow was my Fungia plate which got moved to the mouth of the 'cave' so it had some block of the flow, and happens to be the place where the food gets really low during its travel in the water column. No more target feeding him, He catches anything Dust misses, woot! Ok face it I'll still target feed the fungia plate he is a hungry greedy little guy.

My 40g as it stands today:

 
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wolfthefallen

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Got a new clown fish that needed a new home. Got him from a local reefer that did not have enough tank space for him. Dust and accepted him and put him in his place he now follows dust around loyally.. They posed for a great picture this morning so I had to share!

 
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wolfthefallen

wolfthefallen

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It has been a little over a month since my last update. The growth of the new heads on my green lord has been fantastic and been consuming Alkalinity and Calcium like a mad man. On my last post I showed the Green Lord with two baby heads, will those have come into 'full bloom' and two more heads have started to develop.

I've had growth on several other corals in my tank too, my rainbow chalice, and brain coral have picked up. The splits from the Sunkiss Bounce Mushroom are growing nicely. Overall I've been pretty happy with progress of my tank. My Nitrates are still sitting around 20 >< it seems the biopellets are still not doing their job. Going to give it another month before I scrap that and turn it into an algae reactor and grow Chaeto like a mad man.

My two Clown fish are happy and swimming around, they seem to enjoy posing for pictures lately which makes me laugh. These two are crazy, but hey clown fish do weird things.

With the constant dosing I have been needing to do I've been tempted to get a DoS unit to go with my Neptune system, eventually I'll get there once funds are in place for the purchase. For now I've been checking Alk almost every morning and dosing accordingly.

The Baby Heads have come to 'full bloom'


More new heads growing in:



Rainbow Chalice is growing:


The Splits of the Sunkiss Bounce are doing wonderful and growing:


My Brain coral is starting its job on encrusting its rock


Happy Clowns
 
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wolfthefallen

wolfthefallen

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So I have officially given up on the bio pellets, and gone back to an Chaeto Reactor. In addition I picked up a Neptune DoS system. I've been running the DoS now for about two weeks, and got it dialed in to keep my Alkalinity right around 8.0. I have been really happy with the DoS and highly recommended.

On other news my Clowns have taken to hosting my torch coral. So far the torch does not seem to care so much and is still full extending. All the lords are showing new heads or still growing in the ones that I showed last time.







 
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wolfthefallen

wolfthefallen

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So the clowns did kill my Torch coral by hosting it. So I got one Watermelon BTA that has already split. As you can see the lordhowensis are growing like weeds. I have some new corals sitting in my frag rack. I have not put them on to the live rock yet as I'll be moving in a couple of months..

And yes I have some green hair algae popping up >< I have a toothbrush with its name on it, I just need to get some time to scrub rocks since my turbo snails and Mr. Blenny seem to be ignoring it /sigh

1568658395227.png
 
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Did you ever do any mods to the filtration. i just ordered this same tank and will get here in about 2-3 weeks. just want to make sure i start right with this tank and since you've had it setup for over a year it would be great. any downfalls to the filtration system. did you upgrade pump. so many questions but i just cant think of them right now.......
 

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