World's Smallest Acropora tank? 5 Gallon Nano

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East1

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I'm still seeing spots of tissue loss on the corals. it's not like the dry regression with low PO4 but flaking of tissue, so I suspect I overdosed something or my dosages are too high. This would also have been noticeed in an increase of kH as consumption was down, but my manual testing is every 2-3 days now and I didn't notice.

Scratch that, I took some of the affected colonies out to inspect and found some large acropora eating worms - I thought I had completely eradicated these a couple months ago but it seems a few persisted. I removed about 7 and a few egg masses, hopefully this was the source of the STN.
 
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Wonderful thread! Finally someone who puts some scientific basis into their tank. Many people do things to their tank with almost no reasoning other than it worked for other people.
may I ask what major and minor trace elements do you dose and what do you believe the benefit is keeping them above salt mix levels?
also have you considered housing KZ flatworm stop? I know it builds thicker tissue and may also help with your flatworm problem.
thank you and this is a great build! Following for sure! Also I would love some sump shots if you get a chance.

Edit: I read through the thread again and saw your dosing info! Don’t feel the need to adress that part in my comment. And I see you already are dosing flatworm stop.
 
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VR28man

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Honestly that's something I want to improve on too - my kH stability.

Honestly from my perspective.... for this next tank I am probably going with automatic alk monitoring of some sort.

Since I'll be using AFR, I'm not sure I'm going to connect the monitor to a doser, as AFR as you know does not show an immediate up in parameters when added since it's biologically based (if anyone's interested let me know; I remember discussing this with @Randy Holmes-Farley years ago and he gave me a good description of it, which I can dig up and repost the link to if desired)

Using an automated alk monitor (Trident, GHL KH director, KH guardian or alkatronic) raises the cost (and space taken up by) of this nano exponentially, but honestly part of me thinks doing this, either manually or with a machine, might be the cost of good acros. (I'm also a bit unsure if I'd use AFR or the available 2 or 3 part mixes in that case to allow automatic replenishment, though again this is something that exponentially raises the trouble of this nano)

Regarding fish - I have the azure damsel and 3 nano gobies. At one point I had way more fish, and the coral seemed to benefit from the huge feedings and such, but the agression between them all was difficult to manage.
Yeah this is something I've heard as well; the fish generate waste and additional bacteria which the acros either directly absorb or which turns into microscopic stuff the acros eat. Though i've been told that acros tend to eat smaller things than baby brine shrimp, which are good for even pocillopora damicornis, which I might explore as coral food. But still my experience in coral food has suggested that lots of it goes uneaten and turns into junk - ok in modest quantities, problematic in larger.

But yeah that seems like a full house for a 5 gallon! The guides to nano reef fish (another thing I can dig out for folks if desired) suggest something much more modest, but if it works for you it works. Funny, I was looking at recommended nano fish in the 3-5 gallon range and it recommends a few acro-dwelling gobies, which are acro nippers as well. Which is too bad; I would mind them nipping a big strong colony but that would require a big enough tank that ~1 inch fish would disappear, especially if placed among other fish. :(.

So maybe neon gobies it is for me........
 
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East1

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Wonderful thread! Finally someone who puts some scientific basis into their tank. Many people do things to their tank with almost no reasoning other than it worked for other people.
may I ask what major and minor trace elements do you dose and what do you believe the benefit is keeping them above salt mix levels?
also have you considered housing KZ flatworm stop? I know it builds thicker tissue and may also help with your flatworm problem.
thank you and this is a great build! Following for sure! Also I would love some sump shots if you get a chance.

Edit: I read through the thread again and saw your dosing info! Don’t feel the need to adress that part in my comment. And I see you already are dosing flatworm stop.

I don't really keep those elements above salt mix levels, the elements I dose (specifically Boron / Iodine and Phosphate) have direct visual effects on acropora, especially after some time in teh same water when these elements, which are always present in low level in the ocean, deplete. I just dose to make sure there is some available in a cyclical period (usually 24 hours)

I think Flatworm stop is the only reason the tank hasn't imploded, it stops the young from being as prolific, but I still have some adults worms. There's a sump shot on Page 1 I think, it's really just a box of water with a skimmer hanging off the back.

LOVE IT! Definitely going to read through this later!

Awesome! let me know if you have any questions!



Honestly from my perspective.... for this next tank I am probably going with automatic alk monitoring of some sort.

Since I'll be using AFR, I'm not sure I'm going to connect the monitor to a doser, as AFR as you know does not show an immediate up in parameters when added since it's biologically based (if anyone's interested let me know; I remember discussing this with @Randy Holmes-Farley years ago and he gave me a good description of it, which I can dig up and repost the link to if desired)

Using an automated alk monitor (Trident, GHL KH director, KH guardian or alkatronic) raises the cost (and space taken up by) of this nano exponentially, but honestly part of me thinks doing this, either manually or with a machine, might be the cost of good acros. (I'm also a bit unsure if I'd use AFR or the available 2 or 3 part mixes in that case to allow automatic replenishment, though again this is something that exponentially raises the trouble of this nano)


Yeah this is something I've heard as well; the fish generate waste and additional bacteria which the acros either directly absorb or which turns into microscopic stuff the acros eat. Though i've been told that acros tend to eat smaller things than baby brine shrimp, which are good for even pocillopora damicornis, which I might explore as coral food. But still my experience in coral food has suggested that lots of it goes uneaten and turns into junk - ok in modest quantities, problematic in larger.

But yeah that seems like a full house for a 5 gallon! The guides to nano reef fish (another thing I can dig out for folks if desired) suggest something much more modest, but if it works for you it works. Funny, I was looking at recommended nano fish in the 3-5 gallon range and it recommends a few acro-dwelling gobies, which are acro nippers as well. Which is too bad; I would mind them nipping a big strong colony but that would require a big enough tank that ~1 inch fish would disappear, especially if placed among other fish. :(.

So maybe neon gobies it is for me........

The bioload of any tank imo is down to how it's managed and not down to gallon values. I have a strong skimmer and dose carbon so I can handle a lot, like I mention if anything the nutrients in my tank need a boost. Things like neon gobies etc don't give enough bioload for most corals, what I do find is herbivores who graze all day long, seem to boost acro health a lot - I assume they process iodine and trace elements locked in microalgae that the corals can absorb directly from the water once digested.

There is a paper about captive acro diets, it indicates the best growth was feeding isochrysis galbana, and cautious a lipid rich diet. I do use a mix of phytoplankton dosed for a few hours through a dripper - though since upping my PO4 dosing I realise the tank is pretty amino acid limited so I intend to compensate.

With regard to alk monitoring, I'd use it to keep an eye on the KH but never on auto-dosing, I'd use the constant monitor to adjust the manual dosing. That said, once you've got a good routine of testing and are aware what to look out for, it's pretty easy to balance yourself. The key to keeping acropora is to be able to read their health from the colony, IMO, and not really from technology - as you can see here I use the bare minimum (ATO, one dosing pump, a big skimmer and nothing else but a light and some cheap Jebao pumps) but the coral health is able to be fine tuned by adjusting the environment.

That said, I do keep them on a knife edge it feels like, so something like those flatworms, or a heat wave can cause a lot of stress (to me and the inhabitants)

I believe part of keeping these animals is attaining a zen-like mindset, understanding that it's impossible to stop animals from dying in some instances and the downsides of being too reactive.
 
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East1

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here's a video of the standing wave in slow-mo, and also some photos:

1627330880895.png


1627330891342.png


1627330908040.png



1627330925036.png
 
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VR28man

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Very nice. The only thing similar I've seen is the Tunze wavebox. It looks like you have the pumps (Tunze's? :D ) aimed around 300 degrees, pulsing them in such a way that it travels a bit up the glass and a bit directly out, and that effect creates a wave throughout the tank?

I assume you spent a lot of time figuring the correct angle to create an exacting wave effect.

eta was wondering about the pumps used but it seems this has the answer..............

E77DA979-70D6-4ACC-8FC2-ACD4EB5FFA47.png
 
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East1

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Very nice. The only thing similar I've seen is the Tunze wavebox. It looks like you have the pumps (Tunze's? :D ) aimed around 300 degrees, pulsing them in such a way that it travels a bit up the glass and a bit directly out, and that effect creates a wave throughout the tank?

I assume you spent a lot of time figuring the correct angle to create an exacting wave effect.

eta was wondering about the pumps used but it seems this has the answer..............

You're partially correct -
though, they're Jebao pumps not Tunze.

The one at the back has the standing wave program, this pump runs in tandem with my lights, when I am above 50% intensity, the standing wave is on. The pump is set angled slightly toward the glass and the surface so it creates a strong bounce in the water column.

The second pump is angled at the front, at a 45 degree angle from the front pane, toward the surface, so it bounces off the side of the tank. This pump pulses for 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off, all day long. This creates a rotational gyre in a horizontal plane and the angle ensures it doesn't offset the standing wave when active.

this program setting means I have hours where only the single gyre pump runs, and during this period 50% of the time there is no flow. Conversely I have hours where there is a constant powerful standing wave with an additional 50% of that period is a combined gyre. It is the standing wave, and the intermittance of flow I think is the most important.
 
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VR28man

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You're partially correct -
though, they're Jebao pumps not Tunze.

The one at the back has the standing wave program, this pump runs in tandem with my lights, when I am above 50% intensity, the standing wave is on. The pump is set angled slightly toward the glass and the surface so it creates a strong bounce in the water column.

The second pump is angled at the front, at a 45 degree angle from the front pane, toward the surface, so it bounces off the side of the tank. This pump pulses for 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off, all day long. This creates a rotational gyre in a horizontal plane and the angle ensures it doesn't offset the standing wave when active.

this program setting means I have hours where only the single gyre pump runs, and during this period 50% of the time there is no flow. Conversely I have hours where there is a constant powerful standing wave with an additional 50% of that period is a combined gyre. It is the standing wave, and the intermittance of flow I think is the most important.
Aha. How did you program them to do the wave motion? I didn't know you could do that with Jebaos.

FWIW, I'm going through your dosing schedule in depth with a mind to possibly imitate or adapt it. Some preliminary thoughts:

1. befitting such a densely packed acro tank, your alkalinity comsumption (iirc basically the max recommended dose of afr) is massive. If we were using baking soda to keep up with alk on a similarly acro-dense 100 gallon tank, we'd need like 16g per day. :D

2. there's a lot of stuff that's being dosed, but it seems that it's uptaken by the acros very well if your levels for much of that stuff is at or below natural sea water levels. Dosing with an eye on acro health and occasionally checking most actual parameters seems logical for your objectives.

(ETA: 3.2; messed up my counting :oops:) as a corollary of 2, AFR (and every other additive schedule as well) appears, at least for your conditions, to be nowhere near enough amounts of various secondary or minor elements for a heavy acro tank.

3. my only possible criticism is that some things are being dosed which have the same thing, and there's stuff from like five manufacturers. If it was me, I'd be worried about potential unwanted side effects from these formulas, as I'm not sure all of them are mixed to be compatible with each other. I am trying to boil it down to its basics and see what kind of schedule could be done solely with Brightwell, and solely with Tropic Marin.

Anyway, will work more on this. Thanks again for this thread - it's brilliant.
 
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Aha. How did you program them to do the wave motion? I didn't know you could do that with Jebaos.

FWIW, I'm going through your dosing schedule in depth with a mind to possibly imitate or adapt it. Some preliminary thoughts:

1. befitting such a densely packed acro tank, your alkalinity comsumption (iirc basically the max recommended dose of afr) is massive. If we were using baking soda to keep up with alk on a similarly acro-dense 100 gallon tank, we'd need like 16g per day. :D

2. there's a lot of stuff that's being dosed, but it seems that it's uptaken by the acros very well if your levels for much of that stuff is at or below natural sea water levels. Dosing with an eye on acro health and occasionally checking most actual parameters seems logical for your objectives.

3. as a corollary of 2, AFR (and every other additive schedule as well) appears, at least for your conditions, to be nowhere near enough amounts of various secondary or minor elements for a heavy acro tank.

3. my only possible criticism is that some things are being dosed which have the same thing, and there's stuff from like five manufacturers. If it was me, I'd be worried about potential unwanted side effects from these formulas, as I'm not sure all of them are mixed to be compatible with each other. I am trying to boil it down to its basics and see what kind of schedule could be done solely with Brightwell, and solely with Tropic Marin.

Anyway, will work more on this. Thanks again for this thread - it's brilliant.

Ah you can on any of the newer pumps, it's just difficult because it's done by a dial, building the initial standing wave is fairly easy, but tweaking it is done very finely (a few fractions of a mm of a turn on that dial can take it from perfect smooth wave to a bit more chaotic) - what I do is put blutack on the dial to kinda make it more resistive once I have it roughly set, then tweak it to perfection and the blutack holds it in place.

To answer your questions:

1) I would LOVE to see a 100 gallon tank that's this dense, I think per gallon in this tank I must have 1.75 colonies at the moment! But yeah, that sounds about right on balance.

2) this is true, in essence, corals will either consume the elements within their own tissue, or take what is available in the water from my research and experience, for as long as there is enough available in a cycle (for example, weekly, or per 24hours) then the coral will continue to grow and be healthy. When there is a defecit, the coral will decline slowly till it hits a critical point.

3.2) This is definitely true, there's a reason most manufacturers advise those dosages based on a lightly stocked tank, and then a separate dose for a moderately stocked tank. If you think of it as a normal distribution, the more coral you have, the faster the lowest amount of certain elements will be needed - so in 100 gallons a single acro colony would likely only need minute amounts of kH and wouldn't likely encounter trace limitation, but in 10 gallons, the relative amount of element consumed is the same per coral but per gallon of tank water, is 10 times more (or sometimes even more than that) and so dosing needs to be carried out, and done in a balanced fashion so the appropriate elements are targeted. It gets further complicated when certain elemeents are also necessary for biofilm etc.

3) I agree with this criticism, the main reason for this was logical: I started with All for Reef, then realised some elements were lacking, once I moved on to the Red Sea Reef Colours, I realised that while I can dose Boron with Potassium for example, the specific change in these elements was not linear, and so I split out and started dosing B Balance to specifically target Boron. At this point I realised I wasn't getting enough Strontium because this is included in Red Sea Calcium, so I added that. I am very cautious of dosing the same element from 2 different sources, but to mitigate this, I just reduce the relative dosages of those sources because as I mentioned above, as long as the corals have some access to these elements they will be able to grow healthily. I am looking to phase out the Red Sea bottles but I like the microelements in the iron (C) and trace (D) bottles. I'll likely, now that I know what I need, switch out these bottles with KZ Coral System 2 (I think 2 has both nickel Manganese and vanadium, which are the reason I add the above 2)

An important thing to note is that some supplements will include other elements for example KNO3 will increase potassium, as well as nitrate. This is further compounded when certain salts of elements are absorbed easier than others - for example, ammonium and urea is easily uptaken by coral, but KNO3 requires a reduction before it can be assimiliated. If I had limitless funds, I would likely source each element individually and dose them all apart, likely using a very heavy gang of dosing pumps, but we're talking about 16 or so elements here, and some can be combined easily (for example Iodine, Bromine, Flourine). Understanding this just comes with trial and error and a lot of reading.

Then, finally, it is important to make sure there is no contra-indications, for example dosing Iron as well as Phosphate, the iron will cause a phosphate salt from the water column, so I dose these at opposite ends of the day.

I'm not too sure of the brightwell range, as I just use their Neophos. If I was going to recommend someone replicated this method and wanted to auto-dose, I'd just suggest using KZ Coral System 1-4 in addition to AFR. The initial doses should be manually once the corals start to grow, then this can be automated via dosing pumps, and fine tuned via ICP. Then I'd likely only check Alk and Calcium on a weekly basis once stable (as AFR can sometimes under-supplement Alk to Calcium depending on coral load, so it's important to make sure they stay balanced)

The only thing I'd include with the above if you're not going with a good fish load is phosphate and iron.
the reason I recommend this is the respective 'colour mixes' all seem to comprise the same elements I'd target individually, ie I note anecdotally that my Strontium dose and my Boron dose is about equal daily. These two elements are within the same mix in their system.

That would then be 5 dosing pumps which I think is managable.
 
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3. my only possible criticism is that some things are being dosed which have the same thing, and there's stuff from like five manufacturers. If it was me, I'd be worried about potential unwanted side effects from these formulas, as I'm not sure all of them are mixed to be compatible with each other. I am trying to boil it down to its basics and see what kind of schedule could be done solely with Brightwell, and solely with Tropic Marin.

Thinking about this, I bet you could do similar with Tropic Marin All for Reef, A+ and K+ elements on a dosing pump. Those two provide the following, so I believe you'd just need to dose potassium and phosphate in addition (and something like Aquavitro phosphate has potassium which helps)


K+ ELEMENTS contains cations of the trace elements barium, chrome, cobalt, iron, copper, manganese, nickel, strontium and
zinc in pure mineral form
A– ELEMENTS contains anions of the trace elements bromine, fluorine, iodine, lithium, molybdenum, selenium and vanadium
in pure mineral form

Again the limitation is from the fewer solutions we use, the harder it gets to supplement specific elements - this is why I use different brands of Iron for example, as the different blends mean I can also target things like Nickel in some additions, but for a fairly balanced non overloaded tank this method could also work
 

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holy, this was cool to stumble upon:

1627570739221.png

Not surprising. I for one will bow before our big tech overlords. ;Sorry If you added acropora to the title or first line of the OP I'm sure it would be even more famous. :D

Thanks for the additional explanation; still going through this. (and delayed by other things)

ETA: playing around with similar words (in this case smallest acro) yielded this article by Vincent Chalias, a coral farmer in Indonesia on @Reef Builders . Very good into on A Millepora, which goes over the need for feeding and flow.


Of most note, he states that the polyps at the end are the ones who rely on photsynthetic feeding while the internal ones are more reliant on actual food. This sort of matches my experience; I've seen acro colonies in the aquarium which grow, but where only the polyps at the tip are active while the ones inside eventually die off.

Also note how weird colonies can become with the wrong flow.

Also of note, at a different article he says A tenuis is the most durable of all acros almost to the point of being a lab rat. It also does the best in the trade.
 
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Not surprising. I for one will bow before our big tech overlords. ;Sorry If you added acropora to the title or first line of the OP I'm sure it would be even more famous. :D

Thanks for the additional explanation; still going through this. (and delayed by other things)

ETA: playing around with similar words (in this case smallest acro) yielded this article by Vincent Chalias, a coral farmer in Indonesia on @Reef Builders . Very good into on A Millepora, which goes over the need for feeding and flow.


Of most note, he states that the polyps at the end are the ones who rely on photsynthetic feeding while the internal ones are more reliant on actual food. This sort of matches my experience; I've seen acro colonies in the aquarium which grow, but where only the polyps at the tip are active while the ones inside eventually die off.

Also note how weird colonies can become with the wrong flow.

Also of note, at a different article he says A tenuis is the most durable of all acros almost to the point of being a lab rat. It also does the best in the trade.

that reefbuilders article is really interesting, I think Vincent also has two videos posted on RB which I think are good, if not almost necessary watching, just for the small tidbits of information he drops.

Also, check out baliaquarium's website, they have a small section on specific care for various acropora, and it confirms that heavy feeding is necessary for tenius, millepora. I had included this in my theory but it only made sense recently - I had identified that millepora for example really requires nickel, but couldn't figure out why that coral specifically, till I looked at nutritional information of most fish food indicating that nickel amongst other things are sourced from foods, at which point those demands made sense and the relative skew. It then made me wonder if nickel was important for Tenius colouration too.
 
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Lol, sometimes its' so easy to get fixated on microelements, and delicate balances, that the big picture becomes shrouded -

A big astrea snail died and I didn't notice, thinking the acros were stressed from somethnig chemical I didn't remove it and lost a couple corals by the time I realised.
 

How long does it take to you to get an inch of acropora growth? (on average)

  • A couple of weeks or less

    Votes: 3 1.5%
  • Up to 1 month

    Votes: 13 6.3%
  • Up to 2 months

    Votes: 19 9.2%
  • Up to 3 months

    Votes: 35 17.0%
  • Up to 6 months

    Votes: 49 23.8%
  • Up to 12 months

    Votes: 14 6.8%
  • 12+ Months

    Votes: 5 2.4%
  • I can't grow acropora

    Votes: 59 28.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 4.4%
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