2.5 Gallon Pico Reef - Page 2

Fishproblem

Don't mind me, I'll just be here anxiously refreshing the tracking on my refractometer and my sand until they arrive.
 

Fishproblem


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Mixing salt! The measurements here are absurdly convenient. I just drained the fresh water from the tank and scrubbed it all down, and there’s just less than 2.5 gallons in the whole system without sand in it. My bucket is 2 gallons. The instructions say to mix 1/2 cup per gallon of water. This is so easy compared to my usual ridiculous division to try and figure out how much to dose whatever in my nano tanks.

Excited to take the refractometer for a spin, too!
 

fish 321


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Mixing salt! The measurements here are absurdly convenient. I just drained the fresh water from the tank and scrubbed it all down, and there’s just less than 2.5 gallons in the whole system without sand in it. My bucket is 2 gallons. The instructions say to mix 1/2 cup per gallon of water. This is so easy compared to my usual ridiculous division to try and figure out how much to dose whatever in my nano tanks.

Excited to take the refractometer for a spin, too!
Hmm interesting; instant ocean calls for 1/3 cup per gallon.
 

Fishproblem

Hmm interesting; instant ocean calls for 1/3 cup per gallon.
Another mark on the board for Instant Ocean! I'm wondering if this salt is a total waste of money, as the 32 gallon box is $23.
 

fish 321

Another mark on the board for Instant Ocean! I'm wondering if this salt is a total waste of money, as the 32 gallon box is $23.
Yeah I usually get the 50 gallon bags for $11 off amazon, salt is salt theres not really such thing as premium salt.
 

Fishproblem

Oy vey. So I'm mixing my salt and getting a pretty low SG reading of 1.018 with the recommended amount. No problem, I can just add more until I hit 1.025 (at least, I think...).

But this made me do a quick google search about mixing Tropic Marin Pro, and I'm suddenly learning that this salt was designed for use with a calcium reactor?? From what I've read tonight, using this salt without the ca reactor can lead to low alk or alkalinity swings. I'm not sure how this factors in to my intended WC schedule of 100% weekly though. Maybe that will keep things stable? Is all salt just salt, or have I blundered my way into a salt that's not just salt? I'll keep you all posted. Would be super grateful for any insight from you more experienced saltwater hobbyists!
 

Jesterrace

Oy vey. So I'm mixing my salt and getting a pretty low SG reading of 1.018 with the recommended amount. No problem, I can just add more until I hit 1.025 (at least, I think...).

But this made me do a quick google search about mixing Tropic Marin Pro, and I'm suddenly learning that this salt was designed for use with a calcium reactor?? From what I've read tonight, using this salt without the ca reactor can lead to low alk or alkalinity swings. I'm not sure how this factors in to my intended WC schedule of 100% weekly though. Maybe that will keep things stable? Is all salt just salt, or have I blundered my way into a salt that's not just salt? I'll keep you all posted. Would be super grateful for any insight from you more experienced saltwater hobbyists!

100% weekly is a really bad idea with a reef tank. They need stability. You can get away with that with freshwater but it's odds of success with saltwater are not great. If it's fishless then it actually won't be that bad. What are you planning on stocking it with invert wise? That can help us gauge water changes based on feeding requirements. Also salt is definitely not just salt. The actual salt crystals you use have all the minerals required for a healthy reef tank so definitely a difference there. There can be variations from one brand of salt crystals to another in terms of things like alkalinity, so you might want to research the particular brand you have to see what it tends towards.
 

Fishproblem

100% weekly is a really bad idea with a reef tank. They need stability. You can get away with that with freshwater but it's odds of success with saltwater are not great. If it's fishless then it actually won't be that bad. What are you planning on stocking it with invert wise? That can help us gauge water changes based on feeding requirements. Also salt is definitely not just salt. The actual salt crystals you use have all the minerals required for a healthy reef tank so definitely a difference there. There can be variations from one brand of salt crystals to another in terms of things like alkalinity, so you might want to research the particular brand you have to see what it tends towards.
Many of the pico tanks that I'm modeling mine after use massive weekly water changes (some biweekly) to maintain their systems' stability and replenish minerals. My understanding is that the many frequent large WCs are another way to maintain stable parameters. If I can get away with less than that, I'd love to!

If I see any success with the corals, I'd like to get a trio of sexy shrimp (yes, I know that they're reef safe only when well-fed). But that's months if not a year+ down the line.

When I say "salt is salt" I'm referring to the common advice I've gotten on FL that Instant Ocean = Red Sea Reefer = Brightwell. Basically that you can pick whatever salt mix and it will suffice for your tank. Not sure I believe it, but I also don't know anything, so my opinion is pretty meaningless!

Tropic Marin says of the Pro salt:
Tropic Marin® PRO-REEF Sea Salt has been designed to meet the special requirements of reef aquariums with optimized concentrations of calcium and magnesium, which promote the growth of corals. The lower buffering and the correct pH value serve to stabilize the natural water values, and particularly, the hardness of carbonates, even with the use of calcium reactors.

It says even with the use of calcium reactors, not that it HAS to be used with calcium reactors. I guess all I can do is test my parameters and see for myself.
 

Fishproblem

Jesterrace there are a bunch of others on forums I've been visiting, but this tank laid my initial blueprint for my setup. (Including titles and location on the web in case the links get murdered.)

Original video:
How to Pico Reef with Worldwide Corals
Posted to Youtube by Reef Builders on May 1, 2019

Update video:
World Wide Corals 3 Gallon Pico Reef Tank Madness
Posted to YouTube by World Wide Corals on Sept 24, 2020

(so, not quite 100%, but 90-95%)
 

AcornTheBetta

Fishproblem, after using the zoo med canister for a while, is it quiet or loud?
 

Fishproblem

Fishproblem, after using the zoo med canister for a while, is it quiet or loud?
It actually seems a little bit quieter lately, even if it's not silent.
 

Fishproblem


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I forgot to post this! We’ve got saltwater and sand, and I set up the controller for the light!
 

Jesterrace

With fishless other than nutrient import there shouldn't be much of an issue. I could see water changes being more of an issue if they kept a fish in there as they produce ammonia and require a food source that pollutes the water. Not saying you won't have to keep an eye on salinity and trace elements (ie Alk, Mag) but beyond that corals don't produce a whole lot of waste.
 

Fishproblem

With fishless other than nutrient import there shouldn't be much of an issue. I could see water changes being more of an issue if they kept a fish in there as they produce ammonia and require a food source that pollutes the water. Not saying you won't have to keep an eye on salinity and trace elements (ie Alk, Mag) but beyond that corals don't produce a whole lot of waste.
There was initially an anglerfish and one other fish in the 3 gallon I linked, and now they've got a clown in there. In the second video he describes how they do an almost 100% water change, leaving just enough to keep the fish in water when they drain the tank. I'm not awfully interested in keeping that kind of bioload in my tank, because I understand that it creates much more potential for disaster, and I'm just not experienced enough to justify it. That's also why the sexy shrimp are a distant goal.

If I feed the corals, that will definitely contribute to a greater bioload, right? I'm under the assumption that even zoas and ricordea need to be fed if there aren't fish in the tank, as there's no particulates in the water column for the corals left over from feeding any vertebrates? Or is that totally off base?
 

AcornTheBetta

There was initially an anglerfish and one other fish in the 3 gallon I linked, and now they've got a clown in there. In the second video he describes how they do an almost 100% water change, leaving just enough to keep the fish in water when they drain the tank. I'm not awfully interested in keeping that kind of bioload in my tank, because I understand that it creates much more potential for disaster, and I'm just not experienced enough to justify it. That's also why the sexy shrimp are a distant goal.

If I feed the corals, that will definitely contribute to a greater bioload, right? I'm under the assumption that even zoas and ricordea need to be fed if there aren't fish in the tank, as there's no particulates in the water column for the corals left over from feeding any vertebrates? Or is that totally off base?
IDK if I already asked this, but what are you going to stock with?
 

Fishproblem

IDK if I already asked this, but what are you going to stock with?
I mentioned it early on I think. I'm planning to go with just ricordea, zoas, and rock flower anemones to start. Once (and if) it's super established and I've really confidently got a handle on maintaining the tank, I'd like to get a trio of sexy shrimp. I've been told that there are some super tiny gobies that can do well in a pico this size, but I don't think I'm comfortable trying that any time soon.
 

Fishproblem

I've been away from home for the last few days for Thanksgiving (tested, isolated, and tested again before we went anywhere, unlike the other chumps in NYC who tried to get last minute tests and then traveled anyway after bailing on 4 hour lines at testing centers or not getting their results back from overloaded labs in time...).

But before we left on Thursday morning, I ghost fed the tank to try and start a cycle. Hopefully the BB from the sand is doing work, but I also bought a bottle of seed yesterday just in case. I'll admit, I'm a little impatient. I need to get an inkbird and make my diy heater housing, and we'll be in business! Very excited to test parameters tomorrow.

I went to my hometown salty LFS yesterday (where i got the seed) to poke around in anticipation of getting corals. Their frags look pretty clean, but the display tank had aiptasia in it.... they looked like they were thriving lol. But so did the corals! It does make me feel uneasy about buying there, though. I'm going to need to read up on coral dips and maybe QT. OSA is also close to my parents, so the next time I visit them I think a visit to OSA is in order too. I think I'll be getting the majority of my coral there. Photos of an API test kit to come tomorrow!

(GF and I went to poke around an empty house for sale in RI this am, and it's absolutely incredible, if a bit more expensive than we can budget for. We're trying to get a viewing tomorrow. 1890s victorian farmhouse with incredible details, on a 6.5 acre farm... this is all very impulsive, but it it works out I won't have a dime to spend on a tank for the next five years, so I better make this one something special!)
 

Fishproblem


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definitely some ammonia present, but no nitrate reading yet. should I continue to ghost feed if I dose aquavitro seed today? Jesterrace, any idea?

December 1, 2020

Happy December fishlore! I tested parameters again today after giving the tank its initial dose of aquavitro seed right after testing yesterday. Still no nitrate, same ammonia? Using my API Freshwater Master Test Kit for this, in case it wasn’t clear! Ghost feeding every day for the last three days and dosed seed again today. If I’m doing something wrong, speak now!


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Fishproblem

Some general updates about the build:

Aquavitro Seed and my Cycle:
I do not know too much about seed. I picked it up from an LFS because that was the bottled bacteria they had, and I was trying to support them on small business Saturday instead of pressing my nose up against every tank in the place for a half hour and then walking out emptyhanded. According to Seachem, it can cycle the tank in as little as a week. Who knows if that's true - there's not a lot of info on it out there, and what I've seen searching other forums doesn't imply that it's awfully reliable, or proven effective at all. I have a good deal of faith in Seachem though. Curious to see if nitrates start appearing in the next day or two. If they don't, I might double the amount I'm dosing. I followed the recommended amounts on the bottle, dosing a shade over 1.25ml yesterday and a little over .60ml today (Seachem says 1tsp per 10 gallons to start, then 1tsp per 20 gallons each day for the next 7). If it works, I'll be glad! If not, I'm only out $8 and I had planned on a long cycle anyway.

Parameters:
I tested my pH yesterday and the reading I got from my API kit was 8.4. How novel! I haven't got a single tank in my home that has a pH of over 7 - most are around 6.6-6.8. This, I presume, is why saltwater systems are said to be so much more sensitive to lower amounts of ammonia. The higher the pH, the faster ammonia becomes toxic in small amounts. From what I've been reading, the higher the pH, the better is the mantra for many reefers, and 8.4 is right at the high end of the average recommended range. I've seen people encourage even higher though, so I'm not entirely sure where I should be.

Heater:
The cobalt mini-therm is keeping the tank PERFECTLY at 78 degrees despite crazily fluctuating temps in my bedroom. Still going to get an inkbird controller as a failsafe, and cause I love that readable temp display. I'm going to mount a nice surge protector on the side of my dresser, and neatly organize the cables so they're mostly concealed, then mount the inkbird controller and light timer and controller next to it.

Salinity Swings:
Evaporation is WILD in this thing. Truly, there is no way I'd feel good about keeping life in here without a lid or an ATO. Manual top offs are just unfeasible. I hate the idea of waiting all the way until christmas for an ATO, so depending on when the cycle completes, I might toss a piece of glass on top of the tank for a bit as a temporary fix.

I'm so excited to be actually working toward a reef! Fishless cycles are boring af tho!
 

Fishproblem

Today's update includes the same API test results I've been posting for the last few days now, a picture of the tank with clear water and sand(!), and some musings on refractometers and lighting. God help me when I finally get a coral - having water in the tank is hard enough lol

Test results:
Looks about the same? I've been photographing them under my ONF light for accurate color in the pics I'm posting. I really don't see a difference, but I'm also comparing my test results against a computer screen and not a card. I honestly can't tell if this is reading .25 or 1.0ppm ammonia. Hoping someone has insights, but I'll keep chugging along either way. I'm going to double my dosage of seed starting today. I can't imagine it can hurt...


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The Tank!
I think it looks nice. Of course, this is the closest I can edit the photo into a near approximation of the irl color. It's a bit whiter than it looks here with the full spectrum on. I like the more natural look a lot more than just the actinics. I've had about an inch of evaporation since the last top off, because I went away for a few days and didn't cover the tank. And because I've been curious about the evaporation rate and its effect on salinity. The tank is reading at an unacceptably high 1.030 SG right now, but I'm about to top it off. Typically it's full to about a half inch below the rim. Now that my curiosity is sated, I won't be letting it get that low again.


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Refractometer & Salinity:
So, I've been thinking about salinity. In an earlier post, I mentioned my surprise that the salt mix took so much extra to get to 1.026 SG (I was shooting for 1.025 but it is what it is. I'll bring it down soon). I initially trusted my refractometer, but have had a nagging worry that maybe it's not totally accurate. It said it came precalibrated, but when I tested distilled water, the line fell well below 1.000 SG, so I recalibrated it using distilled water as the manual said I could. I've since learned that not all Brix refractometers are the same, and that some have a greater margin of error than others.

I've also confirmed a sneaking suspicion that seawater refracts light differently than the solutions most refractometers are designed to measure (jkkgron2 , this I think it relevant to the question you were asking on your thread). My understanding is that even for refractometers where the difference in refraction for intended solution vs seawater is relatively slight, the farther away from the calibration fluid's (whatever you used) measurement you get, the more dramatic the inaccuracy. That is why you want to calibrate using a fluid that is as close to the SG you're testing for, so for a reef tank a 35ppt calibration fluid (equivalent to 1.026 SG). I was concerned about the quality and accuracy of my refractometer, but when I went looking at the BRS refractometer options, it looks like mine is exactly the same as their budget one, so I'll keep it and just buy the calibration fluid. It's definitely not going to be as accurate as a higher end refractometer, but I don't have $100 to spend on one right now!

Especially in a system this small, I feel like measurements like this might be vital to long term success... so a more advanced refractometer is on the list for someday upgrades. For the time being, I'll be using calibration fluid and aiming for 1.025 SG to give myself a tad bit of leeway to make space for inaccuracy. I'm also working my way through this incredibly informative article* on the topic, but it's a bit dense for little old me. I'll get there though! http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-12/rhf/index.php#14

Lighting:
I hate the neon candy shop look that is super popular with most reefers. Maybe I'll change my mind down the line, but I much prefer a full spectrum plus some added blue for some color in the corals. There's one reefer, who goes by inland_reef on IG whose tanks I'm really enamored with. He lights his really incredible "coastal reef" with a Twinstar 900sp. So... growing corals with a full spectrum light that's not overloaded with actinics (or even designed for saltwater applications) can certainly be done. I imagine he's got some experience on me though, so I'm not about to abandon my blues. Especially because I'm learning that blue wavelengths are really important to zooxanthellae photosyntesis. That said, I do think that there's no harm in keeping the blues and adding other wavelengths as well, other than that the colors in the coral won't be as vibrant to human eyes. I might be wrong about that though? Doing more research on that front.

*Holmes-Farley, R. (2020, December). Refractometers and Salinity Measurement. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-12/rhf/index.php
______________________________________
Update:

I just bought calibration fluid and a surge protector so I can manage my cords the way I want. It's a 10 outlet surge protector with three usb ports, so I think I'll be good to charge my devices and have all the electronics plugged into it that I need.

Currently, I have the canister filter, heater, and light plugged in for the tank, and I also need to power my google home and a water pump in the calla lily/mossball/shrimp vase . That leaves five extra outlets for my future ato and possible auto doser, plus three more things. And I can charge my phone! Very excited to set it up neatly and mount the light controller. I will feel Very Legit.

I got the Aqua Craft Standard Seawater 35 ppt calibration solution. It had good reviews on the SaltwaterAquarium website, so it's what I went with. HarrisonAquatics recommended the Aquatic Experts AccuBrate fluid, but it was super backordered on Amazon. I realize now that I could have gotten it from Walmart too, but too late! I think(hope) the Aqua Craft fluid should be just fine.
 

Fishproblem

The updates will continue to come later and later in the evening for as long as the 24 hour post merging exists! (Or until I skip a day and then post in the morning...idk)

Tested ammonia and nitrates again. Really honestly think that the ammonia test kit color has been fluctuating slightly, but can't be sure. This is not an easy process. I might buy the salifert tests sooner rather than later.

What do you all think? I guess I'm seeing some nitrates? And I just looked up a different image of the ammonia card and now I think it might actually be too high, at 2.00ppm? Why is it so much bluer than the card???


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That's my whole thrilling update today! Catch you guys tomorrow.
 

jkkgron2

I’m curious, are you using the freshwater or saltwater API test kit? Or a different test kit? If it’s the FW one then maybe it’s not working right or something.
 

Fishproblem

I’m curious, are you using the freshwater or saltwater API test kit? Or a different test kit? If it’s the FW one then maybe it’s not working right or something.
Freshwater! Apparently the only difference between the two is the colors they change depending on the readings, so I've been comparing my freshwater kit results to the saltwater color chart online. Clearly it's not going well though lol
 

jkkgron2

Freshwater! Apparently the only difference between the two is the colors they change depending on the readings, so I've been comparing my freshwater kit results to the saltwater color chart online. Clearly it's not going well though lol
Maybe ask your LFS to give you a SW color chart next time you visit them?
 

BadisBadis

Definitely get a salifert or red sea test kit. The ammonia is so hard to read on the api and you could have levels that aren't readable on the api, I had the same issue. Personally I got the red sea kit and that really helped pinpoint what my parameters actually were since api is very broad in the ppm readings. If your ammonia test is the blue tube then thats a faulty reading.
 

jkkgron2

It’s possible that the online chart just looks different in person. I agree with above about those test kits. API seem to be good for cycling, but not for general use because it’s not always accurate.
 

Fishproblem

Maybe ask your LFS to give you a SW color chart next time you visit them?
It’s possible that the online chart just looks different in person
I'm sure it does look a bit different in person, but it shouldn't be this far off. Not sure that just the chart is available, but per BadisBadis' advice, I'm not going to bother with the API kit anymore

Definitely get a salifert or red sea test kit. The ammonia is so hard to read on the api and you could have levels that aren't readable on the api, I had the same issue. Personally I got the red sea kit and that really helped pinpoint what my parameters actually were since api is very broad in the ppm readings. If your ammonia test is the blue tube then thats a faulty reading.
Have you used both? Salifert gets mentioned a lot on here, but I've heard good things about the Red Sea kit as well! if you've got input on which is better I'd love to hear it. I'd love to get a whole set of the hanna checkers, but that's gonna have to wait until I'm sure salt is my thing.

Either way, I think I'll be going to my lfs for some new testing supplies tomorrow.

I wonder what the implications of a faulty reading are for my freshwater test results, too...
 

emilymg

following!
 

BadisBadis

I'm sure it does look a bit different in person, but it shouldn't be this far off. Not sure that just the chart is available, but per BadisBadis' advice, I'm not going to bother with the API kit anymore


Have you used both? Salifert gets mentioned a lot on here, but I've heard good things about the Red Sea kit as well! if you've got input on which is better I'd love to hear it. I'd love to get a whole set of the hanna checkers, but that's gonna have to wait until I'm sure salt is my thing.

Either way, I think I'll be going to my lfs for some new testing supplies tomorrow.

I wonder what the implications of a faulty reading are for my freshwater test results, too...
I haven't used the salifert tests yet (I actually posted a thread about api vs red sea vs other test methods) and I'm real happy with the red sea. But I'm sure the salifert is good too. The PH in the api and red sea is the only one thats still accurate on both. The only other method thats more accurate for ammonia is a seneye control kit or an apex system. But I've also found out that those controllers aren't worth since you really don't need a controller once your tank is cycled or if you have thousands of thousands of dollars invested in your tank. I have hanna products also. they work well (only salinity and phos)
Also are you making sure you're rinsing out the test tubes and droppers with RO water In between testing?
 

Fishproblem

I haven't used the salifert tests yet (I actually posted a thread about api vs red sea vs other test methods) and I'm real happy with the red sea. But I'm sure the salifert is good too. The PH in the api and red sea is the only one thats still accurate on both. The only other method thats more accurate for ammonia is a seneye control kit or an apex system. But I've also found out that those controllers aren't worth since you really don't need a controller once your tank is cycled or if you have thousands of thousands of dollars invested in your tank. I have hanna products also. they work well (only salinity and phos)
Also are you making sure you're rinsing out the test tubes and droppers with RO water In between testing?
I'll go look for that thread! I think I'd like to go for the red sea tests if possible.
I've been rinsing in tap between use and then rinsing out in the tank prior to filling to test (test tubes and pipette). I'm using distilled right now. Should I rinse with that instead?
 

BadisBadis

I'll go look for that thread! I think I'd like to go for the red sea tests if possible.
I've been rinsing in tap between use and then rinsing out in the tank prior to filling to test (test tubes and pipette). I'm using distilled right now. Should I rinse with that instead?
Yeah use distilled, thats better than rinsing in the tap. Just less chance of contamination. And good job rinsing in the tank water before use too.
I just realized the thread was on another saltwater forum, not here lol
 

Fishproblem

Yeah use distilled, thats better than rinsing in the tap. Just less chance of contamination. And good job rinsing in the tank water before use too.
I just realized the thread was on another saltwater forum, not here lol
Haha, I try to be good, I really do!
Oooh traitor! (jk) i’m happy with your advice based on what you’ve learned and what I’ve been told, too!

And now, for a refractometer update... holy cow, is all I have to say. My measurements were WAY off. The calibration fluid just showed up at my doorstep and I couldn’t bear to wait. The results have been... informative. Remember how I was surprised by how much salt it took to get to 1.026 SG? well, keep that in mind.

This was my salinity reading that I took of my tank water a few hours after topping it back up with distilled water. This test was done with the refractometer still calibrated with distilled water. Reading is just as expected.


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Then I took a reading of the calibration fluid that I know to be 1.026 SG. Uh oh:


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I recalibrated my refractometer using the calibration fluid, and got the following reading of my tank water.


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Yikes. On. Bikes.

This, evidently, is why we use calibration fluid and not distilled water to calibrate refractometers.

Does anyone know what the effects are (if any) of this much salt on the cycle?

I’m going to drain some of the water and refill with distilled bit by bit until I’m at 1.025 SG. Jeepers.
 

Fishproblem

Welcome to Evening Thoughts on Pico Reefs with Fishproblem... make yourselves at home.

jk. but can you imagine the podcast? The following is purely rambling, so feel free to blithely disregard.

I've been scouring fishlore for small, successful reef tanks (yeah I'm on another forum for this but there's no place like home, right?). My search has brought me to the very beginning of time: 2006. I've been peeking at our first nano tank threads on record, and it's been really interesting. AnnaEA hasn't been around these parts since September of 2010, but the idea she had to do a saltwater shrimp-focused pico tank sure does sound familiar: Mini Tanks? | Nano Saltwater Tanks Forum | 7771 . I checked her other threads, but it looks like the idea never got off the ground. Brianna here got talked out of starting up a 3 gallon reef as her first SW tank in pretty short order: 3 gallon saltwater tank | Nano Saltwater Tanks Forum | 9166 . I wonder what kind of a setup mine would be if I were building it in 2007...

Didn't get a chance to pick up a test kit today, because it turns out my job is great but awful, in that pandemic related cuts have left me bearing the burden of a pretty wild workload. But now it's the weekend! I still have work to do, but I'll certainly have time to make it over to Pacific Aquarium. And looking at their frags will have never been so fun, now that I have a tank full of saltwater!

Still lowkey reeling over my terribly calibrated refractometer. Truly, the advice to go slow couldn't be better. What if I had blindly "instant cycled" with live rock and taken corals home? I'd have had no idea what was going on when I noticed a problem, too.

I got my surge protector in the mail with the calibration fluid today, too. Took a break from work midday to set it all up, and ended up rearranging my dresser entirely. I'm not sure I'm thrilled with it yet, but in the meantime, enjoy the last photo of the tank with the old surroundings. I'll post pics of what it looks like now tomorrow! (With a great before and after of my cord situation )


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Fishproblem

Aw man, I wrote out a whole update and then I accidentally closed the tab...

In any case, BIG NEWS! Something is growing in the pico reef! It's brown cyano algae, but whatever! Still something! There's the tiniest speck of it at the back of the tank with a single bubble, and about four other small spots on the rockwork and sand. What do I do? Suck it out with a turkey baster? Then what - do I stop running the lights through my cycle? Cyano + bubble:


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I'm loving the new orientation of the tank on my dresser because now I can see it from my bed! And my dresser is way less cluttered. Here's what it's looking like now:


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Ideally, I'll get new clear vinyl tube when I get the glass lily pipes so that I have the length to totally push the filter behind the vase. I cut the stock hoses too short for the new arrangement. Whoops!

And! The cord management before and after. What a difference! It's all on the side of my dresser that's easily accessible but we never see unless we're changing the rabbit's litter so that's perfect. (Yeah we have a free range house bunny. It makes power cords complicated.)


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The new placement of the light leaves a shady spot on the right hand side of the tank... perfect for a sun coral, and a great location to target feed polyps. What the heck, I'm gonna get one. I feed my fish every day, I can feed a coral every day too.

I haven't been able to get test kits yet. My LFS usually has Red Sea and Salifert, but yesterday all they had left was one Salifert Ammonia test. And was set to expire next month. I left it . But! huge props to Pacific Aquarium cause the employee noticed the expiry date as he was about to ring me out, and pointed it out to me. He told me they might or might not be getting more in on Wednesday, but that's too long for me to wait only to find out they didn't. Don't worry, I still didn't make it out without buying something lol.

So now I've ordered the Salifert Ammonia and Nitrate kits from Amazon. Ammonia will be here tomorrow, Nitrate by Wednesday. Fingers crossed they both show up tomorrow! I can't wait to get accurate readings. I went with Salifert because from what I can tell, they're both accurate, but Salifert is cheaper and more user friendly, and while Red Sea is a bit more accurate I felt like Salifert would do the trick for now.

Speaking of expense... did a little mental math today, and I've cruised past $250 for this build with my test kit purchase. $100/gallon so far, and I haven't touched a single coral! Still feels worth it.

Pacific Aquarium didn't have any ricordea yesterday, but they did have a few zoas and palys. They had a few zoa frags that were a dullish green with coral pink all around the edges. It was bright and beautiful but pretty subtle. I loved it, but not sure it's worth $45 for a single polyp? I'll keep it in mind though.

Otherwise, still ghost feeding, and still dosing seed. Wish me luck!
 

ChrissFishes01

Tank looks great! I'll be following along.
 

Fishproblem

Tank looks great! I'll be following along.
Thanks! Means a lot

Not much to write home about today. I've been ghost feeding and dosing aquavitro seed all but one day that I forgot to since the first dose. Salifert ammonia test arrived in the mail, and I got to it right away. Result came back with 0 ammonia. So now I have to twiddle my thumbs till the nitrate test arrives. Either I've got a cycle that's eaten all my ammonia, and I'll get a beautiful nitrate reading this week, or something has gone very awry and I have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrate. We'll see!

Been thinking about macroalgae a lot lately, too. The algaebarn website is just too tempting. Right now I'm really hoping to get some blue hypnea and pom pom gracilaria. Seems as though both are native to the caribbean, so fit the theme well. And well, that's it! I'll probably write quite a bit about my macroalgae hopes and dreams tomorrow.
 

ChrissFishes01

Thanks! Means a lot

Not much to write home about today. I've been ghost feeding and dosing aquavitro seed all but one day that I forgot to since the first dose. Salifert ammonia test arrived in the mail, and I got to it right away. Result came back with 0 ammonia. So now I have to twiddle my thumbs till the nitrate test arrives. Either I've got a cycle that's eaten all my ammonia, and I'll get a beautiful nitrate reading this week, or something has gone very awry and I have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrate. We'll see!

Been thinking about macroalgae a lot lately, too. The algaebarn website is just too tempting. Right now I'm really hoping to get some blue hypnea and pom pom gracilaria. Seems as though both are native to the caribbean, so fit the theme well. And well, that's it! I'll probably write quite a bit about my macroalgae hopes and dreams tomorrow.
I love macros! Very different from corals, and they add a lot of texture that you don't see in many tanks.

I've got some Gracilaria Hayi (pom pom) in my mantis tank and my reef tank, and it does well. Likes high light, for sure - flow doesn't seem to matter as much, although higher flow keeps detritus from settling on it. I've also got some carpeting Halimeda in my mantis tank that I like a lot. I've kept several different species of Caulerpa in the past, too, and they're all fun. I have a bit of red grape caulerpa in my reef now, and it's been a fairly slow grower in comparison to C. Prolifera. I'd recommend ordering from Live-Plants.com - Algaebarn is cool, but they tend to be expensive IMO.
 

Fishproblem

I love macros! Very different from corals, and they add a lot of texture that you don't see in many tanks.

I've got some Gracilaria Hayi (pom pom) in my mantis tank and my reef tank, and it does well. Likes high light, for sure - flow doesn't seem to matter as much, although higher flow keeps detritus from settling on it. I've also got some carpeting Halimeda in my mantis tank that I like a lot. I've kept several different species of Caulerpa in the past, too, and they're all fun. I have a bit of red grape caulerpa in my reef now, and it's been a fairly slow grower in comparison to C. Prolifera. I'd recommend ordering from Live-Plants.com - Algaebarn is cool, but they tend to be expensive IMO.
Yeah! They're awesome! I'm trying to consider how the tank looks with and without blues, so I'm thinking blue hypnea, a sun coral, and a red rhodophyte will make for awesome viewing regardless of the lighting. Also I'm a planted tank geek when it comes to freshwater, so why fight it? lol

I've definitely got enough flow to blow the dust off, but not enough for any "high flow" organisms, that's for sure. Thanks for the tip about live-plants.com! I didn't even know they exist.
 

ChrissFishes01

Yeah! They're awesome! I'm trying to consider how the tank looks with and without blues, so I'm thinking blue hypnea, a sun coral, and a red rhodophyte will make for awesome viewing regardless of the lighting. Also I'm a planted tank geek when it comes to freshwater, so why fight it? lol

I've definitely got enough flow to blow the dust off, but not enough for any "high flow" organisms, that's for sure. Thanks for the tip about live-plants.com! I didn't even know they exist.
Blue hypnea is nice, but I'd research specific requirements before pulling the trigger. I've never tried it myself, but I've heard it can be pretty picky on lighting conditions. I had actually never specifically heard of Rhodophyta, but I guess it's a relatively common macro. Dragon's Breath and Red Ogo would be similar ones to look into, if you can't find exactly what you're looking for.
 

Fishproblem

Blue hypnea is nice, but I'd research specific requirements before pulling the trigger. I've never tried it myself, but I've heard it can be pretty picky on lighting conditions. I had actually never specifically heard of Rhodophyta, but I guess it's a relatively common macro. Dragon's Breath and Red Ogo would be similar ones to look into, if you can't find exactly what you're looking for.
You're right, I do think I need to keep another macroalgae alive before I try the blue hypnea. Yeah, I think any "red algae" falls under the rhodophyte category. So long as it's native to the Caribbean and fits in my tank, I'll take it. Beginners can't be too picky, I think!
 

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