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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! This tank was set up in 08/09. It’s technically my second saltwater tank; I had one nearly ten years ago but had it for less than a year. I had to move and was unable to take it with me, so I sold off what I could. The rock I am using for this project is mostly the formerly live rock from the last tank. Thanks for visiting this newbie’s tank! :wavey:


29 gallon tank (30”long x 18”high x 12”deep)

Emperor 400 HOB power filter (soon to be turned into a HOB refugium when I add a Tunze Nano 9002 protein skimmer)

30” single 65 watt 50/50 power compact bulb (to be replaced by a 30” Aquaticlife 4x25 watt T5 fixture with LEDs)

40? pounds live aragonite sand with about 5 pounds Tahitian Moon black sand (left over from an old FW project.)

? pounds live rock (Seeding dead rock from my old tank with pieces from my bf’s tank and bits from the LFS)

08/14/09 – The back of the tank was painted with three coats of RustOleum Painter’s Touch gloss latex paint in Navy Blue.

The rock structure was built using a combination of zip ties & a few fiberglass rods. The entire rock structure is elevated on 2” tall sections of 2” PVC pipe. Big thanks to my wonderful boyfriend Casey for doing nearly all of the work (I mostly “supervised" because I am downright scary with power tools :funny:), it looks really good and has lots of caves, ledges and overhangs. Drilling rock is tougher and more time-consuming than it sounds! A few of the zip ties are visible, but I can live with that, coralline algae will cover them eventually.

More to come, including pictures... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The first month

08/21/09 – The tank had been sitting empty since we built the rock structure, but this was my Big Day! The rock structure was put into place, sand and water were finally added. Let the cycling begin! :D

Diatoms began showing up within the next week. The rock was all mustardy-brown for a solid week, than gave way to bright orange spots, than green spots began to show.

09/01/09 – I added three tiny blue-leg hermit crabs. Casey brought over a scoop of sand with a spaghetti worm in it and an empty Turbo snail shell that was covered with purple coralline. His tank is over a year old and has lots of spaghetti worms & small bristle worms. He had also discovered a tiny brittle star in his sand bed that day, too. Of course I was promised some if they continued to spread.

09/10/09 – Ammonia and nitrites were down to 0, nitrates around 20. Did my weekly water change and headed off to the LFS. Came home with what I thought was 4 astrea snails (one I believe is a margarita snail but that’s fine), two orange moon snails and four nassarius snails. I didn’t know the orange moon snails (labeled Orange Moon Turbos) were a cold water species or I wouldn’t have bought them.

09/18/09 – Little has happened in the tank other than losing one of the orange moon snails and an astrea that fell into the sand to become food for the crabs. The crabs are still too small for its shell and I thought I had lost one of the three hermits as I could never see all three at once and found a couple of blue legs in the spaghetti worm’s tentacles. Turns out this was probably a molt as I have since been able to count all three at once. :dance:

Ammonia & nitrite were still 0, nitrates down to around 10, pH has been steady at around 8.4 (I don’t have the best test kits, I realize they aren’t all that accurate.) I had been dropping a few Formula 2 pellets and occasionally a bit of thawed mysis shrimp into the tank to try and be sure the tank was actually cycling and everything had something to eat. When the bigger orange moon snail died, it was lying in the sand and the nassarius snails were circling it like sharks, as they were still half buried in the sand. Made me a little sad for it, but the scene was also creepy and cool at the same time. But even this did not cause an ammonia spike.

At my weekly trip to the LFS for water (I am lucky to have one within 2.5 miles of my house that sells RO/DI FW & SW) I couldn’t help myself and bought a green clown goby. He’s (she’s?) barely an inch long and partly transparent.
 

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Your Ph is a little high but other than that your looking good! Good luck with the little goby, i have 2 baby native gobies right now only 1/2" long too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Present Day

I am shamelessly breaking up this thread into so many parts to get to 20 posts so I can post pics... :D

09/21/09 – This past weekend I went with my bf Casey to a couple of LFS by his house and we picked up a couple of mushrooms and I also got a tiny green zoanthid rock. Visiting the LFS is better than going to the zoo to me, especially since St. Louis doesn't even have an aquarium. I digress...

The single shroom I got looks like it has a burgundy-purple base color with neon green “highlights” under the actinic light, but it looked bluer in the LFS.

The other shroom rock with five polyps on it has the same basic color but the glowy color is more blue-ish. These looked very blue in the store! A little disappointing but it will be interesting to see how different they look after I upgrade my lights.

I know, I know, pictures!! :)

Casey also sent me home with another scoop of his sand with a baby bristle worm and at least two of the tiny mini-stars. The goby is doing fine and I have seen him eat Formula 2 pellets and nibble on mysis shrimp. He’s so little and see-through that he gets a dark spot in his belly when he eats. He still hides quite a bit but swims around a lot more after the main light goes off and the moonlight is on. He’s really a neat little fish and I want him to feel at home before I add anything else. I think I need more snails as the small CUC I have now can’t keep up to my ongoing algae cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hopefully get this right on the first try...

Going to attempt to post some pics.

The tank when it was first set up on 08/21/09. Miss Harmony was fascinated by the bubbles.



FTS - 08/22/09



Shrooms and "Sketti"

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yay, it worked!

Here are a few more, than I am off to bed!

Green Clown Goby, barely 1" long - 09/20/09



Green Zoas - 09/20/09



FTS 09/20/09 - The rockwork looks crowded to me, but the extra rocks are being "algae cycled" for my bf since they were dry and his tank is well-established, we weren't sure what adding dead rock (formerly live) would do to his tank... Once they start growing coralline, they'll go into his tank. (Does that reasoning make sense?)

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
09/23/09 - I had noticed a couple of tiny aiptasia anemones on one of the shroom rocks I bought last weekend, so when I went to the LFS for my weekly water they had Peppermint Shrimp for $7. I figure if it eat the aiptasia then great, but if not, hey, I have a cool shrimp! :) It was very hard to be patient, but I drip-acclimated it for an hour. I've only seen it a few times since adding it but did see it munching on something.

Also picked up a couple of Cerith snails (that the lady at the LFS didn't know what they were, so I hope I didn't pay too much at $1.60 each.)

My Green Clown Goby (nicknamed Penny since it's barely bigger than one and his stripes look coppery to me) is doing great, eating frozen Rod's, mysis, and Formula One, as well as Formula Two pellets. He's starting to show himself more, but still mainly at night an hour or so before lights out. He zooms all over the tank when the lights go off and just the moonlight is on. It's really neat to see the Nassarius snails come out as soon as food hits the water. I am getting a red LED flashlight so I can watch the tank at night.

Currently very happy with my little set-up, although I only have a shy little fish and a really shy shrimp three times the size of the fish! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Full Tank Shot 09/27/09



I've been playing with the position of the light and decided I like the back wall all shadowy and mysterious.

I cleaned my Emperor filter out last Wednesday and changed 5 gallons of water, as I've been doing weekly. I realize the tank is still new, but I can't seem to get my nitrates down under 10. But I don't have a skimmer yet, either. Ammonia and nitrite have remained undetectable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have switched to a different LFS since the old one did have nitrates in the SW (see thread about that here.) But I am happy with the new place, it's still pretty close by, and my nitrates were lower than ever as of yesterday's testing. :)

I met up with a local club for the first time at the new store last week and have joined up. The meeting was a blast and I am very excited to hang out with fellow "reef nerds." :funny: I could not stop myself and went back to the store yesterday to get a royal gramma I had been eyeing the first time I was there. It's doing very well, only hid for a couple of hours (I doubt it sees the GCG as much of a threat) and is eating. Its head is a very deep violet under my lighting, it's absolutely gorgeous! I haven't had time to take pictures of it yet, but I'll post some soon. I'm expecting some goodies from Marine Depot to come in today, so I'll have some new toys to play with tonight!

The peppermint shrimp hasn't touched the aiptasia, but I kind of figured that would happen since there are better things for it to eat, so I'll have to try another method...probably try kalk paste first.

My bf is going to bring me some more spaghetti worms, pods, and mini-stars from his tank this weekend as well as a few small rocks to boost my coralline growth. I gave him the couple of extra rocks I had in my tank, the bigger one was really blocking water flow in the back of the tank! I am slowly making progress but at least things are going smoothly at the moment. :dance:
 

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kudos awesome looking goby, it's the cutest. I have 2 yellow gobies, they really help add color to my tank. The black sand on white looks very neat, something unique is always nice to see. Love the peppermint, I used to have one, but it mysteriously died. I think it was my royal gramma, whenever she'd see the shrimp she would attack it. Nice tank look forward to seeing more pics. also love the corals
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Darn Cat.....

Thanks for the compliments!

I can't seem to get a picture of the royal gramma, my cat Harmony has discovered it and keeps her nose pressed to the glass constantly. I've locked her out of the room when I'm not home to give the fish a break! The tank is covered, so I'm not afraid she'll actually get it, but I don't want it stressed, either. It doesn't appear to be too freaked out, it keeps its head poked out of a cave and watches her, then swims out as soon as she goes away. The green clown goby doesn't pay any attention whatsoever to the cat, just swims around whether she's batting at the glass or not!
 

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i have 3 cats - one ignores the tank completely, and the other 2 like to sit on my footstool (i'm only 5'1, so need my stool to do any maintenance in my tank, lol). the kitten just sits and watches the movement in the tank, but her 1-1/2 yr old mom likes to try to "catch" my clown (taps the tank glass with a paw where the fish is swimming). clown doesn't seem to mind (or even notice?) as it just keeps on swimming at the same speed and direction whether the cat touches the glass or not.
however, i've learned that the best cat toy on earth is a python hose - all 3 cats try to "catch" the air bubbles when i'm filling sump, and try to "catch" any detritus i suck up when i'm siphoning out. .. so funny to see all 3 running along the hose-line, following the loops and occasionally pouncing or running into each other, lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The gramma seems to be doing well now, but the same evening as my last post I noticed it had a couple of tiny white spots. As of yesterday they were gone. The goby looks just fine and both are eating like pigs. So I have no idea if this was anything serious, but I guess time will tell. I only let the cat into the room when I can watch her, I don't want her stressing out the fish, especially if ich may be in the tank! :arg:

Frozen foods:
Rod's
Formula One cubes
Mysis shrimp

Dry foods:
Prime Reef flakes
Formula 2 small pellets

I also supplement with Selcon & garlic

Current livestock:
1 green clown goby
1 royal gramma
purple mushrooms (5 shrooms)
single green mushroom
green zoanthid colony (12 polyps)
1 peppermint shrimp
6 (?) astrea snails
1 large turbo snail
1 orange moon (aka red foot) snail
2 cerith snails
1 margarita (I think?) snail
4 nassarius snails
3 blue-leg hermit crabs
1 spaghetti/hair worm
mini brittle stars

My bf is bringing me another "culture" from his tank tonight. He's going to shake off some of his rocks into a container of water to start my pod population and give me some more mini-stars. :dance:

I had been circulating the water with a Maxi-Jet 1200 (I had two of these left over from another project) and a Koralia Nano. I bought two Hydor FLO Water Deflectors and put them on the Maxi-Jets, added the second Maxi-Jet to the tank. I was afraid of too much flow, but everything seems to like it just fine, including the mushrooms. The deflectors cut down on quite a bit of the flow. I've read they need to be cleaned very often. They were on sale cheap, so I figured I'd give them a try. I love the turbulence they make! The sand is almost (but not quite) blowing around and has formed some nice dunes/ridges.

I truly love this hobby! :biggrinbounce:
 
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