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Here is my build. It started Jan 2020. I was going to get some african dwarf frogs for my son's bedroom (my daughter has a betta) and my wife says "wouldn't it be cooler to get some clownfish?" I'm sure she regrets saying it because all I heard was "BUY A SALTWATER AQUARIUM!!!"


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Too heavy for the bookshelf so now it lives on an IKEA BESTA (with glass topper). Also acquired the smallest BRS RO/DI unit, some buckets, and some red sea salt.

Also snails.

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Let's get a fish. (2020/04)

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Ugly phase begins (2020/05)
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Six months (2020/06) = anemone

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First coral + MP10 (2020/08)
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Shortly after this I added 1x 21ledusa actinic reef strip.
 

msporleder

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Okay so the anemone died, more coral is purchased and most survives (so far). Here's the full list:

lps
  • acan (micromusa?)
  • duncan

softies
  • cespitularia
  • xenia
  • kenya tree

sps (most came from a local guy -- beginner sps sale -- a real deal!)
  • green leptoseris
  • red cap monti
  • Bubblegum Montipora Digi
  • Green Montipora Spongodes
  • Green Montipora Digi
  • Green Highlighter Acropora
  • Green Goblin Anacropora
  • Red Montipora Setosa

dead:
  • mushroom
  • rbta
  • birdsnest x2
  • monti

livestock:
  • two clownfish
  • long nose hawkfish (deceased)
  • nasarrius snail
  • trochus snail (deceased)
  • dwarf cerith snail (many)
  • blue leg hermit
  • red leg hermit
  • asterina starfish (many)
 
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msporleder

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New frags.

202110_frags.jpg



FTS tonight. (2021/11) Just after a blackout to battle dinos and I'm seeing some nasty tissue loss on the new frags and some spots I don't love on the orange monti. I'll be going heavy with aminos. I increased my flow.. too much?

202111.jpg
 
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msporleder

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In the first chamber of the "sump" section of the tank I have tons of coarse sponge + heater.

Second chamber is the included medium sponge with a tiny bag of ceramic media. I took out the carbon. I normally run seachem purigen in my freshwater tanks but I have dosed so much random stuff that I took out the purigen just in case. -- chemiclean, various dr tim's products, reef flux

One time the clownfish made it to the second chamber and had one side pretty much out of the water all night. I'm sure it left semi-permanent damage to one side of his gills but no obvious injuries any more.

The third chamber just has the return pump.
 

msporleder

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My maintenance schedule is - make three gallons of salt water every two weeks. Do a two gallon water change + as much cleaning as I feel like one weekend, then do sponge squeezing + turkey basting + scraping + tooth-brushing + sponge squeezing with the remaining gallon of water every few days over the next week.

I add 3oz or so of rodi replacement water every morning to keep the salinity under 35 ppt.

I feed small pellets, freeze-dried daphnia, aminos, tropical bug bites small, freeze dried brine shrimp every day in tiny amounts.

Every so often I will hatch some baby brine shrimp or add pods (just added a bunch of pods yesterday to combat dinos, in fact) but less often than I should.

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I've never shown nitrates (test strip) or phosphates (tropic marin) on a test kit. My ph probe (hanna) feels broken but it says I'm 8.0-ish. I don't trust it at all.

I use red sea pro reef salt because it comes in the small bucket. It leaves really gross flakes of brown stuff in my storage container.

My alk (hanna) has always been 10.
 
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msporleder

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The Red Montipora Setosa is losing tissue fast. It is in-line with the powerhead so I'm pretty much blasting it. I turned down the flow a little bit (again) to try and give it a break.

The monti's on the wall are also showing white spots but they've recovered before so idk.
 

andrewkw

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I am impressed you waited 6 months to get that anemone - which very few new people will do. I would speculate part of the problem(s) you've been having is a lack of bacteria diversity starting with just the small amount of dry rock / sand. Even if the new corals don't do well you've at least added bacteria to your reef.

You probably want a little more nutrients in the tank but you might already have them depending on how accurate the test strip is.
 

msporleder

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thanks to many sales I bought a Ca and Mg test kit (salifert). I'm still not sure if the testing instructions are some kind of joke or not but I went ahead and attempted them.

Ca - 450
Mg - 1440

Did some drops land on the side of the bottle and not make it into the water? WHO KNOWS!

I did a PO4 again and accidentally looked at the freshwater card where I was (almost) getting a reading/a slight blue tinge to the bottle, but the saltwater card shows a pretty strong minimum color with mine being quite clear so it is still a solid 0. I didn't bother running the alk test because I know it is 10.

PO4 - still 0

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Because I am silly I own a bottle of all-for-reef and some kalkwasser powder. I use "reef" salt from red sea so I get all of that stuff in my water. One time I posted a picture of an SPS and guy got on me about "calcium and alk demand" so I bought some stuff. lol.

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In other news I went away for thanksgiving (three days) and the tank looked pretty brutal with dino build-up. Coral STN continued but no full deaths. I'm getting tempted to start dosing ferts just to see what happens.

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I calibrated my refractometer and it was off by ~2 ppt so my salinity was actually 34ppt instead of 35ppt, which I was happy with after being away for a few days. It helps to not run the house heat since that increases evaporation a ton.
 

andrewkw

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While it is important to learn the test kits - yes the side drops make their way into the solution. Given the size of your tank, the age of the frags and the fact that right now you are more concerned with keeping them alive rather than growing, I suggest you stick with water changes to maintain your calcium and alkalinity - while you are learning to use the text kits. Don't start dosing stuff since it's 100x more likely you are going to overdose vs under dose.

P04 test kits are very hard to read. I would suggest a hanna checker for phosphate, however given your tank is small if you suspect high phosphates you can simply change 50% of the water and that will remove 50% of the phosphates if your source water is clean.
 

msporleder

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I've been out of town twice in the last three weeks and dinos are starting to get ahead of me so I am going to dose chemi clean (blue box?) to get ahead of it. Also got my first patch of cyano. When my tank was doing ugly stage #1 the chemiclean helped and a follow-up with reef flux also worked. We'll see how it goes.

IMG_2507.jpgIMG_2508.jpgIMG_2509.jpg
 

msporleder

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did a water change, pulled off two xenias, dosed chemiclean, and turned off the lights for the next two days.

My orange monti is looking terrible and I can see more white than ever before, the lepto is showing some white spots. Everything (except xenia) looks crappy. Corals do not appreciate being blasted with the turkey baster and then covered in dinos. Who knew?

My red-legged hermit crab moved back into his previous shell after moving into one I added from the beach. Those guys are nuts.

Anyway the summary is that I'm at a pretty low spot in this tank.
 

msporleder

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Last night my red hermit died. I'm not sure if the blue one killed him or if he was on the outs. He switched back to an old shell a few days ago and then I found blue next to the dead body and he was poking around inside of the shell.

Chemi clean has knocked back the dinos but I will probably need to do another round in a week or two.

Green hair algae is taking off more than normal so that might start to out-compete the dinos (good) and if I need to get it short enough to stop blowing on the corals (bad) so something might be able to eat it (good).

I haven't seen my nasarrius snail for a little while so I'm not sure what happened to him. I might drop some sinking food and just see what happens.

--

MP10's are pretty loud when you go over 40% power.

--

After my urchin moved the bubblegum frag again I finally glued it down. My effort to glue my micromusa keep failing so I have him living on the sand bed now. I will get the epoxy out and try again one day when I'm done fighting algae.
 
Have you looked at what you have growing under the microscope?
Sometimes that really helps because different dinos respond to different treatments. UV is especially helpful with some strains, but not all.

Also it seems that cyano sometimes keeps dino's under control. A lot of people have dino outbreak after using chemiclean. I know you had dinos prior to using it, so not sure if this was the case in your tank. I don't worry too much about cyano anymore, but just blow it off and let it collect in filter sock. Also increasing flow is very helpful to keep it from making the mats.

When I did have a major cyano problem with it forming mats all over the tank, I used chemiclean and it did the trick (y)
 
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