2.5 Gallon Pico Reef - Page 3

AcornTheBetta

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!
Lol if you have a video of you closing the tab after the long response, I would make you post it on r/WatchPeopleDieInside.
 

Fishproblem

Ahhh I said that was all but actually I just fed the tank some brine shrimp to see if that gives me an ammonia reading tomorrow.

Lol if you have a video of you closing the tab after the long response, I would make you post it on r/WatchPeopleDieInside.
It would actually be a pretty long, sad video because fishlore usually saves my responses when I leave a thread without posting, even though I never do that when I actually intend to post. So it was just me looking through all 52 of my tabs and then hitting the back button on my browser a lot before slowly coming to the realization that it was all gone. 6 stages of grief right there XD
 

Fishproblem

Okay! So my tank has been up since Nov 23rd with saltwater in, and started feeding the tank on the 26th. Started dosing seed on the 28th. So from "Day 1" it's been 16 days. My Salifert nitrate test has arrived, and I tested the tank for ammonia (salifert) nitrite (API) and nitrate (salifert). Parameters are 0 ammonia, 1.0 nitrite, and .5 nitrate. This is great! Ammonia is being processed, and the nitrite has started being broken down into nitrates. I'm thoroughly pleased and will be eagerly testing every day.

Because you aren't supposed to change the water while cycling, I haven't done a water change to reduce the salinity after my refractometer snafu. I don't think it will negatively affect the cycle too much though, so I intend to do that tomorrow.

The brown cyano is spreading a bit, which makes me a little nervous, but I'll look into it more to see if I should just cut the lights for now. It's not growing fast, but I'd hate to let it get out of control.

After HarrisonAquatics clued me in to live-plants.com, I've been thinking about using them for most of my stock. I have to do some thinking about whether I want wild-collected coral though. It's tough to balance because I love the idea of getting all wild varieties of true caribbean corals and macroalgae (and maybe a sponge someday!??) from them, but I am concerned about sustainability and had been thinking I'd do all aquacultured coral. That said, I suppose I need to look into Florida's regulations more and decide for myself if the legal collection fits into my personal code of ethics. I understand that people who make a living off the ocean are also some of its best stewards, so I haven't ruled out going the all natural wild collected route.

The above considerations also have me thinking about how to keep pests out of my tank. Aquacultured alage from algaebarn is more expensive, but there's less risk. Same goes for aquacultured coral. Of course, the two LFSs that I frequent have aiptasia in their tanks. OSA in Rhode Island has their own coral farm, which I'd love to support. I need to get there, but with covid numbers looking the way they do, it looks like that's not happening soon. So overall I'm thinking about how to treat coral before it enters the tank. I'm working to decide on what to use for dips, as I realistically won't be setting up a qt tank. Not sure if there's any way to kick aiptasia before it gets into the tank other than quarantining, but I'm researching and learning!

That's all for today! Off to watch a bunch of youtube videos about coral dips.
 

Fishproblem

I was wrong! I have 50ppm of nitrate. I misread the directions on the salifert test and thought that I had to divide any result, not just the lowest readings. So, my actual readings are:

0ppm ammonia, 1.0ppm nitrite, 50ppm nitrate.

I'm repeating myself a bit, having also posted this here: Fishless Cycle Advice | Saltwater Aquarium Setup Forum | 480560

But I wanted this info to be included in my build thread too.

The faux lightwood plastic base is really getting to me - I thought I could live with it, but apparently I can't. I think I'm going to drain the tank and remove the base today, then put most of the old water back in, mixed with distilled to get it to 1.025 SG.
 

Fishproblem

So I went all-in today on the other forum I'm on, and have been getting some really great, informative advice.

My tank will need to be well established for RFAs, so those will be added far down the line (6 months minimum). Until then, it'll be ricordea and zoas/palys, with a macroalgae or two to keep me busy. I saw a blue ricordea in someone's build today that was just gorgeous... sigh.

I have been advised against sun corals in a pico, so those are back to the wish list for someday. That said, let's see where I am a year from now. I might start feeling dangerous. Evidently the frequent feeding makes it hard for a pico to sustain stability, but I think there's a way or two around that. Again though, I am a noob and won't be risking it while I am still a noob.

I'm getting talked into a CUC. Admittedly, it's probably not hard to talk me into. I'm pretty much exclusively looking at the Virgin Nerites on ReefCleaners. Gorgeous little Florida natives, super tiny, something different, decent cleaners. I'm into it. Beyond those, the jury is out.

I also need a phosphate test kit! I've been advised that liquid phosphate tests are remarkably difficult to read, and the hanna checker is best. LadyS , HarrisonAquatics , and Jesterrace - can any of you speak to your own experience on that front? I'd been finding mixed reviews on the hanna tests' accuracy.

When I do get corals, I'm probably going to dip with coral RX and keep an eagle eye out for aiptaisia, with kalkwasser on hand to murder anything that pops up. Kalkwasser because it can pull double duty and if I need to add it to my ato reservoir or otherwise dose it down the line, I already have it.

Haven't tested parameters yet today, but I have dosed seed and fed the tank some brine shrimp. Will test params soon and post about them. Holding off on the big WC/base removal project until tomorrow. Figured it would be irresponsible to turn my living room/home office into a wet, salty workshop in the middle of the workday!
 

ChrissFishes01

I don't find the Phosphate Red Sea test kit difficult to read - no more than any other kit. The lower levels do all look similar, but they're good enough for me. I do own a few Hannah Checkers, and I do like them, but don't feel they're necessarily worth the high cost.
 

Fishproblem

I don't find the Phosphate Red Sea test kit difficult to read - no more than any other kit. The lower levels do all look similar, but they're good enough for me. I do own a few Hannah Checkers, and I do like them, but don't feel they're necessarily worth the high cost.
Good to know! I'd rather save the money for shipping on coral and livestock
Do you find that the low levels are too low anyway, so it's informative enough in that sense?
 

ChrissFishes01

Good to know! I'd rather save the money for shipping on coral and livestock
Do you find that the low levels are too low anyway, so it's informative enough in that sense?
I'm not one to really push for insanely low levels - I get them within range, and let the tank ride wherever it's comfortable. I actually end up using API Test strips more often than anything else - they let me know ballpark info on my tank, and if something looks a bit off, I pull out the liquid test kits and Hannahs.

I really only test PO4 every month or two, even on new tanks. I'm not necessarily recommending you run your tank this way, but it's worked so far for me.
 

LadyS

I can only second Harrison.

I have a Hanna alk test (HI755), and their salinity meter (HI98319). The salifert alk test kit is ridiculously stupid enough to make the Hanna kit worth the price. Saliferts calcium test kit requires the same “add drops until color changes, then compare reagent left over to determine calcium” ridiculousness that the ALK test does, so I feel that the Hanna calcium price is justified. The only snag is that, for ALK at least, the accuracy is +/- 1dkh. I don’t remember the calcium off han

The salinity meter is on par with quality refractometers in regards price, so I feel the digital readout, and ease of calibration made it worth the price

But $50 to test my pH?! Not happening. Same thing with nitrates. Saliferts nitrate test kit is easy enough, and includes instructions on determining lower concentrations visually.

As to maintaining levels in your pico: don’t worry about dosing kalk, just do water changes! RedSea blue bucket has sufficient levels of alk, calcium, and magnesium, and runs $28-$30 per 50g bucket. If you’re willing to order online, ReefCrystals can be had for less than $12 per 50g bag, and has sufficient levels.

Sun coral in a pico: don’t glue it down, and simply move it into a Tupperware container of tank water to target feed every polyp. That will give you a chance to reduce excess nutrients, and keep your CUC from stealing the food from the sun coral. A 1/4-1/2gal water change would more than sufficiently manage levels, and give you wiggle room.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say soon, but I’ve got 2 pages of comments to go through, so brace yourselves.
Okay, so that was a lot of reading, and I think that most of the questions got answered pretty well.

If you’re still in the cycle process, dropping the salinity down to 1.019 will SPEED UP the process. Additionally, don’t let the nitrite level exceed 5ppm, or it will inhibit the development of bacteria that break down the ammonia. Dr. Tim Hovanec (THE Dr. Tim) did a great presentation about this at MACNA.

Raise your light! You’ve got a massive hotspot in the center, and little coverage on the sides. Ideally, you should rent a PAR meter to determine appropriate height, as well as brightness, but taking it up to about 7-8” would probably work best for light spread.

I also despise the blue/purple that a lot of tanks are run at, but almost all of the corals metabolic needs are met with light in the 380-520nm range, which is all blue/purple. Using a PAR meter to set the intensity on the blue/purple spectrum (Probably between 100-150 PAR max), and then add in only enough white to get to the color spectrum you want will be best for the coral.

I had a group of sexy shrimp in my display, but the developed a taste for SPS coral, so they live in the sump now. They never hosted my carpet anemone, ricordea, Star polyps, Duncan, Goni, alvea, or any other corals. Super cool shrimp, though!

How are you planning to light your cheato reactor? Did you answer that, and I missed it?
 

Fishproblem

I can only second Harrison.

I have a Hanna alk test (HI755), and their salinity meter (HI98319). The salifert alk test kit is ridiculously stupid enough to make the Hanna kit worth the price. Saliferts calcium test kit requires the same “add drops until color changes, then compare reagent left over to determine calcium” ridiculousness that the ALK test does, so I feel that the Hanna calcium price is justified. The only snag is that, for ALK at least, the accuracy is +/- 1dkh. I don’t remember the calcium off han

The salinity meter is on par with quality refractometers in regards price, so I feel the digital readout, and ease of calibration made it worth the price

But $50 to test my pH?! Not happening. Same thing with nitrates. Saliferts nitrate test kit is easy enough, and includes instructions on determining lower concentrations visually.
Thank you so much for going through the whole thread! Wow! This is so great. So far I'm using API for pH and nitrite, and salifert for ammonia and nitrate. I think that phosphate is going to be the next test I buy - based on yours and Harrison's input, I'll probably go with Red Sea.

As to maintaining levels in your pico: don’t worry about dosing kalk, just do water changes! RedSea blue bucket has sufficient levels of alk, calcium, and magnesium, and runs $28-$30 per 50g bucket. If you’re willing to order online, ReefCrystals can be had for less than $12 per 50g bag, and has sufficient levels.
That was the general plan. I'm using Tropic Marin Pro, which I believe has sufficient trace elements to keep everything happy with water changes alone. My whole plan so far has been to use water changes to manage most things, rather than dosing, protein skimmer, etc. I just like the idea of having the kalk around becasue it's more generally useful than, say, aiptaisia X.

Sun coral in a pico: don’t glue it down, and simply move it into a Tupperware container of tank water to target feed every polyp. That will give you a chance to reduce excess nutrients, and keep your CUC from stealing the food from the sun coral. A 1/4-1/2gal water change would more than sufficiently manage levels, and give you wiggle room.
Ugh I want to go for the sun corals so badly. I do have a spot in the tank that I think would be great for placement to make for easy target feeding. When you say not to glue it down, does that mean I can just sit it on the sand bed and it'll stay put there? That would be great, and I imagine make fragging easier too.

If you’re still in the cycle process, dropping the salinity down to 1.019 will SPEED UP the process. Additionally, don’t let the nitrite level exceed 5ppm, or it will inhibit the development of bacteria that break down the ammonia. Dr. Tim Hovanec (THE Dr. Tim) did a great presentation about this at MACNA.
Wow! What a hot tip! I'm really glad I read this before I did my water changing today. Do you know anything about the science behind that?
I think I have little to worry about with the nitrite level, but I'll keep an eye on it. Hasn't gone above 1.0ppm yet. Is there by any chance a video of the presentation? I can look for it if you're not sure.

Raise your light! You’ve got a massive hotspot in the center, and little coverage on the sides. Ideally, you should rent a PAR meter to determine appropriate height, as well as brightness, but taking it up to about 7-8” would probably work best for light spread.

I also despise the blue/purple that a lot of tanks are run at, but almost all of the corals metabolic needs are met with light in the 380-520nm range, which is all blue/purple. Using a PAR meter to set the intensity on the blue/purple spectrum (Probably between 100-150 PAR max), and then add in only enough white to get to the color spectrum you want will be best for the coral.
omg I so appreciate this. I was wondering if the light was much too close. I guess I'll have to rig something with the cable to suspend it if I can't bully the gooseneck into doing what I need it to. I'll work on that today!

I'll look into renting a par meter, too. i think I saw rentals on the BRS site but it was like $60? I wonder if my LFS rents one out. Do you believe in the idea of having actinics only in the beginning/end of the light period? It seems to me like it's up in the air as to whether it's actually beneficial.

I had a group of sexy shrimp in my display, but the developed a taste for SPS coral, so they live in the sump now. They never hosted my carpet anemone, ricordea, Star polyps, Duncan, Goni, alvea, or any other corals. Super cool shrimp, though!
Yeahhhhhh I've read that they can develop a taste for coral, but I'm willing to take a shot at keeping them fat enough to behave. Fingers crossed that they host my future RFAs!

How are you planning to light your cheato reactor? Did you answer that, and I missed it?
Ugh. The idea of putting something in a canister filter on this tank has been so controversial. I'm not sure I'll be using chaeto in the canister at all, in favor of including macroalgae in the display. I'm definitely not going to add chaeto in until after I've got more nutrients going on, but if I do put it in the canister, I planned on lighting it with an LED grow light strip wrapped around it. The plastic is transparent grey and the canister is small enough that the light penetration would be more than enough. And I'd be able to totally cover the light so I don't have to deal with a pink glow in my bedroom at night lol
 

LadyS

Red Sea or Salifert. Whichever is easier for you to get your hands on. Those ammonia alert plastic things that hang in the aquarium are also very popular for monitoring free ammonia levels. The test kits will indicate all sources of ammonia, the little alert thing only warns you of the levels of free ammonia.

Yep! You can just set the sun coral somewhere on the substrate, or on a rock. You won’t have any fish to knock it over.

I really like the idea of tropic Marin, and their use of pharmaceutical grade ingredients, it just seems that there are regular supply interruptions, which added with the cost, has kept me on RedSea.

the Dr. Tim MACNA presentation is available on YouTube! Just google “dr Tim havonec MACNA”. It’s about a 30 minute video.

Your LFS May have a PAR meter to rent, or your local reef group on FB. Just enter your city name, and “reef club”. I’m sure you have one, and the larger groups usually have communal equipment like PAR meters for use. I ramp my lights at almost equal levels, except for a 20-30 minute period where the blues come on first. I like a crisp, 12k-16k light temp look, so I ramp my lights in the color that I like. I think people got hooked on using actinic bulbs as a sunrise/sunset from back in th day when actinic was paired with metal halides, and the actinic came on first. I haven’t looked for information that says using blue to ramp up/down is better, but I haven’t seen it preached, either.

Nix the cheato reactor. It’s a form ofnutrient export meant to help reduce the need for water changes. Trying to reduce water changes in a system where water changes are your main way to stabilize calc/alk/mag would just be goofy. Use it as a way to move water, and call it a day k
Found it on MACNA.org

Video Category
 

Fishproblem

Red Sea or Salifert. Whichever is easier for you to get your hands on. Those ammonia alert plastic things that hang in the aquarium are also very popular for monitoring free ammonia levels. The test kits will indicate all sources of ammonia, the little alert thing only warns you of the levels of free ammonia.
Super dope, I'll see what the LFS has on my next pilgrimage.
Oh, but I so hate anything stuck to my glass lol. Think I can get away without the Ammonia Alert if I'm testing regularly?

Yep! You can just set the sun coral somewhere on the substrate, or on a rock. You won’t have any fish to knock it over.
Very cool, now I'm back on the Sun Coral Express. I just love them so much.
While we're talking corals, any gorgonian tips? You mentioned them on your thread and tbh I'd love to have some in this tank eventually. Are they tough to care for?

I really like the idea of tropic Marin, and their use of pharmaceutical grade ingredients, it just seems that there are regular supply interruptions, which added with the cost, has kept me on RedSea.
Same reason I was drawn to it! I found that the tiny box of Tropic Marin was really easy to find despite the supply issues. I guess most folks who are paying for it are buying in more bulk. Hopefully the covid vaccine works and Germany gets to start shipping things outside of the country again. Apparently their national covid response has been a huge part of the supply issue, which I suppose I can't complain too much about!

the Dr. Tim MACNA presentation is available on YouTube! Just google “dr Tim havonec MACNA”. It’s about a 30 minute video.

Found it on MACNA.org

Video Category
WELL then. What a helpful video. It looks like I have definitely been stalling my cycle by not doing a water change as soon as I realized my salinity was up above 1.030 SG. I had a hunch that it could be problematic, and this definitely confirmed! I've changed out a gallon of tank water for distilled water, which has gotten my salinity down to 1.022 SG, but I need to get to 1.015 before I'm in Dr. Tim's recommended range for growing bacteria quickly. I'll change a bit more water out tomorrow to get there.

Your LFS May have a PAR meter to rent, or your local reef group on FB. Just enter your city name, and “reef club”. I’m sure you have one, and the larger groups usually have communal equipment like PAR meters for use. I ramp my lights at almost equal levels, except for a 20-30 minute period where the blues come on first. I like a crisp, 12k-16k light temp look, so I ramp my lights in the color that I like. I think people got hooked on using actinic bulbs as a sunrise/sunset from back in th day when actinic was paired with metal halides, and the actinic came on first. I haven’t looked for information that says using blue to ramp up/down is better, but I haven’t seen it preached, either.
I'll poke around for a PAR meter and see where I can find a loaner most easily. Interesting about the older bulb setups... we really are creatures of habit, who rapidly let habit become superstition!

Nix the cheato reactor. It’s a form ofnutrient export meant to help reduce the need for water changes. Trying to reduce water changes in a system where water changes are your main way to stabilize calc/alk/mag would just be goofy. Use it as a way to move water, and call it a day k
I see the irony there now. Driving with one foot on the gas and one on the brakes. Sounds good! Simple. I like it.

________________________________________________________________

General Update

As for my update for today, my parameters pre water change tested at 0 ammonia, 2.0ppm nitrite, and about 75ppm nitrate, if I'm reading the tests right. The color of the nitrate test looks to be right between the shades for 50ppm and 100ppm. The higher level nitrite readings for the API test are functionally useless, but good enough for getting the idea, I think. I don't believe my nitrite should ever approach this high again once the tank's cycled.

My new friends from the other forum are talking me out of my blind fear of aiptasia and live rock, and I'm coming around to the idea of seeding my tank with some very established rubble, if I can get my hands on it. Ocean rock has been recommended, but I don't think we like the idea of taking rocks from the ocean anymore... not terribly sustainable, is it?

Aside from these issues, I'm mostly just impatiently waiting for a cycle, and mooning over some blue and green ricordea I'm seeing for sale online. ReefCleaners has some pretty ones! I'm probably going to get three Virgin Nerites and five or six dwarf ceriths. Thinking about hermit crabs. It feels like a lot of critters for a tiny tank.

I've gotta tell you all, I am just about desperate to try that bottled coralline algae from ARC Reef. Specifically the pink. I don't love the really purple look, but the pink is so light and just, idk. Nice? I know I've gotta have the right stuff in the tank to support coralline for it to work though. But I'm still thinking about it!

OH, and how could I forget? I took the tank apart and removed the base today. All glass now, very slick! Pics tomorrow. I raised the light some, so that'll be an exciting change to my otherwise empty tank as well XD
 

LadyS

You can absolutely keep testing, instead! I don’t like testing water, so any viable shortcut is preferred.

I am SO READY for a vaccine. I will take all the vaccines. I would like life back to normal, and fish stuff to not be in short supply.

Dr. Tim definitely shook up a lot of preconceived notions about cycling. I’m glad I didnt miss it. Im not so glad it happened in the middle of a hurricane. It sounds like your cycle is basically over, if you’ve gotten to zero ammonia/nitrite, and high nitrates. I don’t think the system is stable, but the basics are there to level out.

I’m really only making a broad assumption on the use of blue lights for sunrise/sunset, but that’s when I remember it becoming popular, and carrying over to LEDs. My sunrise here on the Atlantic certainly isn’t purple.

The cheato reactor may be a good idea down the road, if you find your nitrates/phosphates creeping up even with water changes. I know I’ve said it a million times, but even with my daily 5%, and my prolifera in the sump, my nitrates hang around 2ppm. Anything below 5, and above 1 keeps me happy.

GORGONIANS! My only suggestion is to buy a bigger house, because I really think you’re going to love them! Stick to Caribbean gorgonians, as most of them are photosynthetic. The larger the polyp, the easier they are to feed. If they have a white polyp, and you don’t know the species, don’t buy it. There are photosynthetic gorgs with white polyps, but a lot of the non-photosynthetic gorgs have white polyps. Briareum is probably the easiest of them all. It’s not technically a gorgonian, it’s basically brown star polyps. However, it has that shape, so it’s a great, hearty starter that won’t need supplemental feeding. From there, in descending order of my favorite, to least favorite, are:
Plexaurella
Pterogorgia - *need very high light, and feeding for long term success
Muriceopsis
If you look at KP Aquatics, avoid what they call Orange Tree Gorgonian, and the yellow/red finger gorgonians. Those are NPS, and will require daily feedings to survive. On live-plants, stay away from their “purple fan”. All the rest on both sites are photosynthetic, and will be easier. They’ll all need a fair amount of water movement, as they shed to help keep algae off of themselves.

I bought a bottle from ARC reef in May of 2019, and was not impressed. I live 187 miles north of their facility, and it still sat for almost a week before USPS was finally passed the package. Their website states it’s bottled fresh the same day the shipping label is printed (which is when USPS is notified there’s a package, and the tracking begins on their site), so that means it sat for 6 days in ARC Reefs warehouse in that bottle. We had more days in May of 2019 that were over 95 degrees than all of 2016, 2017, and 2018, so I received a bottle of rotten water. They didn’t return any phone calls, or e-mails, and I didn’t have any coralline growth in that system until 9 months later, when I introduced scrapings from another tank. It was an absolute waste of $20 for me.

I like to wait until everything is covered in algae before adding my CUC. The stores around me keep their CUC in clean tanks by the hundreds, so they’re no doubt starving when I buy them. Lots of food, I think, helps them settle in.
 

Fishproblem

You can absolutely keep testing, instead! I don’t like testing water, so any viable shortcut is preferred.
hahah I hate testing water but I hate junk cluttering my tanks even more. I'm a slave to the #aesthetic

I am SO READY for a vaccine. I will take all the vaccines. I would like life back to normal, and fish stuff to not be in short supply.
I cannot WAIT. I've been lucky to keep work and have healthy friends and loved ones who have all stayed safe thus far, but being stuck at home without even an office to go into has really messed me up. Thank god I have fish tanks, tbh. Otherwise I would have started banging my head against the wall a loooong time ago!

It sounds like your cycle is basically over, if you’ve gotten to zero ammonia/nitrite, and high nitrates. I don’t think the system is stable, but the basics are there to level out.
I'm definitely at 0 ammonia. The tank seems to be processing it as quickly as it arises, so that's great. Nitrite is still a little iffy. It's getting processed into nitrate, but not quickly enough to get down to zero. I have yet to test today, but I'm eager to see where the numbers are.

I’m really only making a broad assumption on the use of blue lights for sunrise/sunset, but that’s when I remember it becoming popular, and carrying over to LEDs. My sunrise here on the Atlantic certainly isn’t purple.
I think you're onto something with that assumption though. I'm really fascinated by the lighting thing. Idk if you're familiar with his tanks, or saw me mention it earlier in this thread, but inland_reef on IG has an incredible reef with macroalgae, gorgonians, and a few other corals that are all growing under twinstar freshwater LED - no actinics at all.

I have to wonder, particularly with shallow water coral species, how necessary the actinics really are. My understanding is that the blues replicate the wavelengths that reach the corals in deeper water, but if we're talking as shallow as 50 feet and under, the full spectrum is still getting through - so in that case, for a lagoon style tank that's hosting shallow water species, why not just use a full spectrum light that includes but isn't preferential toward blues? If we're after the effect of sunlight passing through water to photosynthetic organisms, why shouldn't that be doable with lights that mimic the full spectrum of sunlight, shining through water? My knowledge of the way color wavelengths move through water comes from saltwater fishing with lures though, not reefkeeping, so I'm sure I'm missing info.

The cheato reactor may be a good idea down the road, if you find your nitrates/phosphates creeping up even with water changes. I know I’ve said it a million times, but even with my daily 5%, and my prolifera in the sump, my nitrates hang around 2ppm. Anything below 5, and above 1 keeps me happy.
I'm definitely keeping the idea in mind for down the line. Gonna work hard to keep this build as simple as possible and only add features as they become necessary.

GORGONIANS! My only suggestion is to buy a bigger house, because I really think you’re going to love them! Stick to Caribbean gorgonians, as most of them are photosynthetic. The larger the polyp, the easier they are to feed. If they have a white polyp, and you don’t know the species, don’t buy it. There are photosynthetic gorgs with white polyps, but a lot of the non-photosynthetic gorgs have white polyps. Briareum is probably the easiest of them all. It’s not technically a gorgonian, it’s basically brown star polyps. However, it has that shape, so it’s a great, hearty starter that won’t need supplemental feeding. From there, in descending order of my favorite, to least favorite, are:
Plexaurella
Pterogorgia - *need very high light, and feeding for long term success
Muriceopsis
If you look at KP Aquatics, avoid what they call Orange Tree Gorgonian, and the yellow/red finger gorgonians. Those are NPS, and will require daily feedings to survive. On live-plants, stay away from their “purple fan”. All the rest on both sites are photosynthetic, and will be easier. They’ll all need a fair amount of water movement, as they shed to help keep algae off of themselves.
Thank you for the guide to gorgonians! I'll be sure to refer back to this when it comes time to buy! They're so cool and after having seen some really awesome photos of a bunch of them growing off a dock with sun corals, I've had my heart so set on peppering a couple into the layout of this tank. Look at me. I started this saying I was planning on 1-3 species of coral, and now I have a list of 5 and counting. I'm going to add only the smallest frags possible and let them grow, but I have a feeling that if all goes well I'll be fragging pretty frequently. We'll be in a bigger place this time next year, so perhaps there will be more real estate for gorgonians soon

I bought a bottle from ARC reef in May of 2019, and was not impressed. I live 187 miles north of their facility, and it still sat for almost a week before USPS was finally passed the package. Their website states it’s bottled fresh the same day the shipping label is printed (which is when USPS is notified there’s a package, and the tracking begins on their site), so that means it sat for 6 days in ARC Reefs warehouse in that bottle. We had more days in May of 2019 that were over 95 degrees than all of 2016, 2017, and 2018, so I received a bottle of rotten water. They didn’t return any phone calls, or e-mails, and I didn’t have any coralline growth in that system until 9 months later, when I introduced scrapings from another tank. It was an absolute waste of $20 for me.
Really! That's so disappointing, I'd been seeing great reviews for it. Man, maybe if I order it in the dead of winter and after the holidays I'll have okay luck with it getting here in good condition. I'm not trying to buy stupid stuff, but I've definitely blown $20 on useless aquarium purchases before, so I think I'll live if it doesn't work. How big was the tank you dosed? I figure if I just dump the whole thing in a 2.5 gallon system, maybe the sheer abundance of spores per gallon will make it likelier to work. I hope.

I like to wait until everything is covered in algae before adding my CUC. The stores around me keep their CUC in clean tanks by the hundreds, so they’re no doubt starving when I buy them. Lots of food, I think, helps them settle in.
Oh yeah, the clean up critters are definitely going to wait until there's stuff to graze on. But I am glad to have the virgin nerites to look forward to, especially. they're so pretty! and I'm a huge dork for tiny tidal creatures, so even the prospect of a cuc is
thrilling.

Speaking of algae! I have this in the tank now! Green stuff has appeared within 24 hours of reducing the salinity to something not insane. Correlation? Causation? Who knows?! Check out the specks and some green film all over the side of this rock. I have no idea what it is, hoping it's okay!


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Tank parameters today are: 0, 1.0, 50+ish
the API nitrite kit really is a PITA to read, but the purple is certainly more on the blue side of purple than the red side, so I'm reading it as 1.0 and not 2.0. thank god for art school i guess. I inherited near perfect color from my mother, who to this day gets invited to do press okays from print industry people she worked with decades ago. how do normal color perceiving people do this? how do colorblind people do this????

Otherwise, my only update is some FTSs, blues on, and lights off. Hoping the light is in a better spot now, but if not, I've been brainstorming mounts I can build. I've also been looking into PAR meter rentals. Found a cheap one, but they put a $500 hold on your card until you return it. Barf. For some reason I'm still balking at that, even though it's only a hold and it makes perfect sense for security. I'm sure I'll get over myself and do it if that's the best option.


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lights off and messy testing stuff all over my dresser. i'm a disorganized, sloppy disaster, and have smashed three different API test vials this week as a result. I'm also a stupid meathead and those things to the left are my new jaw exercise balls. don't worry, god is already judging me so you're in good company.


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anddd evening blues. I hope this doesn't look like so much of a hotspot anymore. my phone makes it look really blown out but irl the light looks much more diffuse. still. PAR meter needed.

I am getting really sick of waiting for my tank to cycle! i'm a patient woman, but like, not this patient.

hope you all enjoyed the update! stay tuned for tomorrow, where I'll post and bemoan the same exact parameter readings!
 

LadyS

First: how do you break down a whole post into multiple quotes?

Remember that the bacteria that break down nitrite replicate at a much slower rate, it’s something like once every 40 hours, so they’ll lag behind the ammonia bacteria.

Broad spectrum bulbs (Especially the 10-15k t5s) still have a high peak in the blue. The focus on using as much lower spectrum as possible, beyond being what the coral utilize the best, also helps with color. I run my tanks at between 12,000, and 15,000k. I’ve bought some zoa that looked like yellow sundials at the shop that are basically brown in my tank. Literally zero chance I’d have paid $60 for those brown turds, but under basically blue/UV, they looked like $60 stunners. This was years ago, and I still wake up sometimes mad about it. (They still look like brown turds, btw).

I used an entire ARC bottle in 12 gallons of water (it went into a 15 gallon tank), so I overdosed it, thinking it would help. Assuming it doesn’t freeze in shipping, ordering in Feb/March may work. You can also just get coralline scraped off of another aquariums glass, break it up, and sprinkle it in like magical fairie dust.

The photo showing the algae isn’t opening properly for me, but that light green film algae is a good sign!

the deposit on a PAR meter rental is jarring, but you’ll benefit in the long run.
 

Fishproblem

First: how do you break down a whole post into multiple quotes?
Well first you have to waste untold hours of your life on fishlore... jk. Highlight the relevant text in the post you're replying to and wait a second. A popup option appears allowing you to select "multi quote" or "reply". Multi quote has never worked for me. I just click reply in the popup and it adds just that text to the response. Type your response, rinse, and repeat as needed.

Remember that the bacteria that break down nitrite replicate at a much slower rate, it’s something like once every 40 hours, so they’ll lag behind the ammonia bacteria.
Thanks for the reminder. I'm getting a little impatient, but hoping to see a fully finished cycle and some stability in the tank relatively soon. I do have to say that I'm really glad I fishless cycled, and even that it's taking so long (to me. It hasn't been that long at all lol) because I'm getting a lot more practical understanding and literary education on the nitrogen cycle.

Broad spectrum bulbs (Especially the 10-15k t5s) still have a high peak in the blue. The focus on using as much lower spectrum as possible, beyond being what the coral utilize the best, also helps with color. I run my tanks at between 12,000, and 15,000k. I’ve bought some zoa that looked like yellow sundials at the shop that are basically brown in my tank. Literally zero chance I’d have paid $60 for those brown turds, but under basically blue/UV, they looked like $60 stunners. This was years ago, and I still wake up sometimes mad about it. (They still look like brown turds, btw).
Right right, I should have acknowleged the color, as well. I would be tossing and turning over that too! I'm actually not super averse to corals looking more natural (aka sad and brown), depending on the setup. Though if I paid a premium for a frag with a name that sounds like a powerful and expensive strain of indica, and it showed up in my tank looking like a piece of potato, I'd be pretty upset. So I guess I'm mostly talking about the fact that I'm not sure the heavy blues are necessary for healthy growth. For display purposes, I totally get it. This is all stuff I'll be thinking about for years and for future setups though, not this one.

I used an entire ARC bottle in 12 gallons of water (it went into a 15 gallon tank), so I overdosed it, thinking it would help. Assuming it doesn’t freeze in shipping, ordering in Feb/March may work. You can also just get coralline scraped off of another aquariums glass, break it up, and sprinkle it in like magical fairie dust.

The photo showing the algae isn’t opening properly for me, but that light green film algae is a good sign!
Hmmmmm. The fairy dust option is a good one but I don't have any friends irl who have reef tanks :/ I guess I'll try the sad lonely reefer option of the ARC bottle, and if that goes sideways I'll just wait till I can find some pink coralline somewhere nearby that I can harvest or buy on a frag or rock or whatever.

Hm. I'll post more algae pics later today, it's kinda cool looking. spots of green film are growing in a few places on the rock, and there's also a lot of pinhead dark specks of darker green algae all over the side of one. I hope it's all good/neutral stuff!
 

LadyS

Thanks for the reminder. I'm getting a little impatient, but hoping to see a fully finished cycle and some stability in the tank relatively soon. I do have to say that I'm really glad I fishless cycled, and even that it's taking so long (to me. It hasn't been that long at all lol) because I'm getting a lot more practical understanding and literary education on the nitrogen cycle

testing, testing. It’s easy to get impatient. You’re at the point where I would have started adding pods, and beginning to treat it like a fully functional tank. You’re at the point where I was with the 40b where I stocked the refugium, fired up the protein skimmer, and added tisbe pods.
Right right, I should have acknowleged the color, as well. I would be tossing and turning over that too! I'm actually not super averse to corals looking more natural (aka sad and brown), depending on the setup. Though if I paid a premium for a frag with a name that sounds like a powerful and expensive strain of indica, and it showed up in my tank looking like a piece of potato, I'd be pretty upset. So I guess I'm mostly talking about the fact that I'm not sure the heavy blues are necessary for healthy growth. For display purposes, I totally get it. This is all stuff I'll be thinking about for years and for future setups though, not this one.

So the heavy blues, in like the 380nm to 500nm range is, from all that I’ve read, where zooxanthelle gets all of its necessary photosynthetic radiation. So you can absolutely run a tank on just 6,500k lighting (which is natural sunlights kelvin temp), but I believe you’d need more wattage to meet the necessary amount of proper light spectrum. When wattage = heat, less is mobetter.
Hmmmmm. The fairy dust option is a good one but I don't have any friends irl who have reef tanks :/ I guess I'll try the sad lonely reefer option of the ARC bottle, and if that goes sideways I'll just wait till I can find some pink coralline somewhere nearby that I can harvest or buy on a frag or rock or whatever.

Does your LFS have lots of coralline on their frag tanks? They may be willing to scrape some off for pocket money.

ARC isn’t as pink as you would think for something called “pink”. In my bottle was a piece of rubble. ARC says it’s there to allow spores to settle while in the bottle, and it did eventually turn purple. But it was a bottle of pink, so I’m guessing this is their pink. Pick outside in sunlight, and in a tank, against Caribsea Purple life rock. Please excuse my calloused man hands.
 

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Fishproblem

testing, testing. It’s easy to get impatient. You’re at the point where I would have started adding pods, and beginning to treat it like a fully functional tank. You’re at the point where I was with the 40b where I stocked the refugium, fired up the protein skimmer, and added tisbe pods.
but I don't haaaave a fuge or a protein skimmer! As far as seeding with little living things though... I've seen people adding pods and worms and stuff to their tanks and while I appreciate (and want to take) a holisitic approach to a well rounded ecosystem, what is the benefit of say, pods and spaghetti worms? I'm not planning on a fish in here for quite some time if ever, so do pods serve as a helpful addition to the CUC, or will they just sorta hang out?

So the heavy blues, in like the 380nm to 500nm range is, from all that I’ve read, where zooxanthelle gets all of its necessary photosynthetic radiation. So you can absolutely run a tank on just 6,500k lighting (which is natural sunlights kelvin temp), but I believe you’d need more wattage to meet the necessary amount of proper light spectrum. When wattage = heat, less is mobetter.
aha! that's the missing link I was looking for. interesting... I wonder if there's a way to rig a decent cooling system for LEDs that would do the trick. that's a build for a future home though!

Does your LFS have lots of coralline on their frag tanks? They may be willing to scrape some off for pocket money.

ARC isn’t as pink as you would think for something called “pink”. In my bottle was a piece of rubble. ARC says it’s there to allow spores to settle while in the bottle, and it did eventually turn purple. But it was a bottle of pink, so I’m guessing this is their pink. Pick outside in sunlight, and in a tank, against Caribsea Purple life rock. Please excuse my calloused man hands.
You know what? They really don't. But I go to Pacific Aquarium and while they do some corals and saltwater fish, they really specialize in freshwater planted. (Though they do have some incredible saltwater displays, including a few nano and pico ones that are so inspiring). I have yet to explore the saltier LFSs in NYC.

Huh. That's so weird, but also really helpful. I was definitely looking at pics that were pinker than that. And their product images on their site are very different. But, for $22 I'm gonna take the shot and buy it. Should I wait for the cycle to stabilize a bit more? I've read that it succeeds in stability, and that I need the right calcium, mag, and alkalinity for coralline to grow. Without anything else in the tank though, my salt mix should provide?
 

LadyS

but I don't haaaave a fuge or a protein skimmer! As far as seeding with little living things though... I've seen people adding pods and worms and stuff to their tanks and while I appreciate (and want to take) a holisitic approach to a well rounded ecosystem, what is the benefit of say, pods and spaghetti worms? I'm not planning on a fish in here for quite some time if ever, so do pods serve as a helpful addition to the CUC, or will they just sorta hang out?

If you choose the correct pods, they act as a part of the cleanup crew. Both spaghetti worms, and certain pods will eat detritus, and left over floaty bits. Plus, the pods are cool to watch flip around on the glass.
aha! that's the missing link I was looking for. interesting... I wonder if there's a way to rig a decent cooling system for LEDs that would do the trick. that's a build for a future home though!

I think you should snoop on Kessils! They have what they call “KessilLogic”, which basically prevents the user from changing the output of the LEDS that serve the blues, but allow you to adjust the red/green/white to make the light whatever color you want, without messing up the necessary light for coral. Much better than the infinite adjustability of many other LED manufacturers.
. I have yet to explore the saltier LFSs in NYC.

Huh. That's so weird, but also really helpful. I was definitely looking at pics that were pinker than that. And their product images on their site are very different. But, for $22 I'm gonna take the shot and buy it. Should I wait for the cycle to stabilize a bit more? I've read that it succeeds in stability, and that I need the right calcium, mag, and alkalinity for coralline to grow. Without anything else in the tank though, my salt mix should provide?

Well, vaccine, and then road trip!

also, yes. I expected like “pride Mohawk pink”, but their sample pebble definitely came in as “not as dark as purple, so we’ll call it pink” pink
 

Fishproblem

If you choose the correct pods, they act as a part of the cleanup crew. Both spaghetti worms, and certain pods will eat detritus, and left over floaty bits. Plus, the pods are cool to watch flip around on the glass.
cool! I guess I'll start looking into some creepier and crawlier potential members of the cuc.

I think you should snoop on Kessils! They have what they call “KessilLogic”, which basically prevents the user from changing the output of the LEDS that serve the blues, but allow you to adjust the red/green/white to make the light whatever color you want, without messing up the necessary light for coral. Much better than the infinite adjustability of many other LED manufacturers.
I learned about kessillogic from a BRS video about lighting! I've been looking at their lights a lot, actually. it seemed like a bit much for what I'm planning on for this build, but I'll end up with one sooner or later. i do really like how they lock you out of self-sabotage that way. i'm actually really tempted to try one of their freshwater lights too, the next time I go for a serious upgrade to one of my existing setups.

Well, vaccine, and then road trip!

also, yes. I expected like “pride Mohawk pink”, but their sample pebble definitely came in as “not as dark as purple, so we’ll call it pink” pink
allll the way into manhattan!
yeah i've seriously adjusted my expectations for pink fusion lol. i'll still try it once the cycle is through, but i won't be heartbroken if i flushed twenty bucks.

in general update news, i only bothered testing nitrites today, since that's what i really need to see move. i think they're decreasing ever so slightly, but i quite honestly can't get a solid read against the color chart. it's gonna need to be very evidently bluer before i'm confident the levels are moving the way i want: DOWN. i think i'm going to just keep feeding the tank and dosing seed for a few days and not test at all, then test over the weekend. otherwise it's like watching paint dry.

hopefully these are some clearer algae pics! it's definitely greener in here. first up, film and speckles.


Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 11.30.49 PM.png

and then more spots of subtle green film on this rockwork too.


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I'm getting really antsy about adding corals, but i'm trying to remain calm. in the meantime, i'm trying to find a small amount of ethically sourced ocean rock to seed the tank with. ARC actually sells it by the pound, but their collection is on hold until January 2021 due to damage caused by... Hurricane Irma(?). Sorta wild that it's three years on - the hurricane must have totally trashed their site. Although, if I'm being honest with myself, January isn't far off so maybe I can wait.

Christmas is coming, and we've decided to play it safe and not get together this year. That means boxes are arriving at my apartment from my family every day now. I know there's aquarium stuff in some of them and I am desperate to open them lol.
 

LadyS

Anywhere that sells gulf live rock is going to be selling aquacultured rock. We don’t collect “wild” live rock out of Florida waters. It’s all piles of dead rock that’s dumped into the ocean on leased plots.

So KP Aquatics, Gulf Love Rock, Live Rock and Reef, Tampa Bay Saltwater, Salty Bottom Reef Company are all selling the same basic thing.

If Irma overturned all of their piles Surface rocks, which is where all the coralline/macro algae/corals would be, it’s entirely possible that they’re having to wait for light sensitive creatures to culture what was previously buried rock.
 

Fishproblem

Gosh DARN I am looking through all those sites for someone who will sell me just a pound of their lovingly left-to-the-sea-for-fifteen-years rock, and coming up short. Gotta call around tomorrow to see what salty LFSs in NYC will let me buy just a handful off 'em. There's gotta be someone!

Otherwise, I've been good and fed/dosed, and haven't tested. Trying to find my zen with this cycle.

A few people on the other forum I've been frequenting have been so helpful answering my dumb noob questions. And today, someone swept into my thread to answer so many questions I was looking for the answer to but hadn't directly asked yet. Confirmed: Tropic Marin Pro mixes to a lower alk - it's best for people who plan on dosing, and i plan on being as hands off as possible in that regard. The plan has always been to run on nothing but water changes, and so it's been recommended that I switch to Tropic Marin Classic in order to accomplish what I want to. Glad I only bought the small box! I'll get the classic mix soon so I can switch over when I'm done cycling.
 

Fishproblem

Called my old standby Pacific Aquarium today to see if they have any gulf live rock. Devastatingly, NO, they only have domestic, tank raised live rock lol. Oh well.

Didn't get to call any other aquarium stores to check, but I did get myself onto the New York Reef Aquarium website, and that's it! I'm in trouble! All those awesome zoas!!! Look at them!!! New York Reef Aquatic | Corals, Saltwater Tropical Fish, Freshwater Fish, Flushing Queens, Local fish store, dry goods, Aquarium Maintenance I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a little baby zoa garden that is absolutely lit. Provided I can keep zoas alive.

I'll call around more tomorrow, and if someone says they'll sell me a pound of rock (or less tbh), I'll go get it! And then it'll live in my bucket with lighting and a powerhead for a while so I can "quarantine" it for a week or so to look for aiptasia and murder any before it goes into my tank. This was the recommended strategy from the reefer who won me over for ocean rock, and it sounds like a solid plan.

My used hardcover copy of The Nano-Reef Handbook : The Ultimate Guide to Reef Systems under 15 Gallons arrives tomorrow! Probably gonna read it cover to cover and take notes.

Green film algae is all over my rockwork now. I hope this is okay! I'll take a pic to post tomorrow so y'all can see what I'm working with.

Look at how many words I managed to use to write "Nothing new today." Thanks for bearing with, folks.
 

LadyS

so exciting!
 

Fishproblem

Meant to post this yesterday! Only bummer updates lol. My book was too big for my mailbox so I have to go pick it up at the post office today.

I called like a dozen LFSs, and no one has aquacultured live rock, except for ONE guy, who has 600lbs of Australian ocean rock. I'd go there tomorrow, but I would much rather have rock from the biotope I'm trying to build.

There's a little saltwater LFS that's actually pretty near me that's gonna be my best bet for Florida/gulf rock. They said they don't have it now, and can't be sure when they'll be getting it in, but they do carry it. I'll find some time this week to stop by and check the place out. I also signed up to be updated when ARC starts shipping live rock again. January 1st is only getting closer, so why not?

My green algae is beginning to take off...


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AcornTheBetta

Meant to post this yesterday! Only bummer updates lol. My book was too big for my mailbox so I have to go pick it up at the post office today.

I called like a dozen LFSs, and no one has aquacultured live rock, except for ONE guy, who has 600lbs of Australian ocean rock. I'd go there tomorrow, but I would much rather have rock from the biotope I'm trying to build.

There's a little saltwater LFS that's actually pretty near me that's gonna be my best bet for Florida/gulf rock. They said they don't have it now, and can't be sure when they'll be getting it in, but they do carry it. I'll find some time this week to stop by and check the place out. I also signed up to be updated when ARC starts shipping live rock again. January 1st is only getting closer, so why not?

My green algae is beginning to take off...


Screen Shot 2020-12-18 at 10.59.41 PM.png
Can you order live rock online?
 

Fishproblem

If only fishlore allowed us to swear.... UGH. Tested nitrite. Hasn't budged. Was incredibly tempted to hurl the test tube at the wall, but I refrained. This is a painful process. I sorta want to mix up a fresh little batch of saltwater to test, just to see what the results are to check the quality of my test. Might do that tonight so I can compare tests tomorrow.

Can you order live rock online?
I can, but the order minimum everywhere is about 15 lbs and shipping is completely absurd. For the cost to ship at some of these places that only do overnight air, Julia and I could both get round trip flights so I could pick it up and fly it home myself lol. Gulf Live Rock is absolutely the most affordable - shipping is free - but their minimum is 10lbs. So $70, and then I have to figure out what to do with nine pounds of rock I don't need. I'm thinking about texting the girl I gave my leftover sand to to see if she's interested in live rock. I'd split the cost down the middle if she is...
 

AcornTheBetta

If only fishlore allowed us to swear.... UGH. Tested nitrite. Hasn't budged. Was incredibly tempted to hurl the test tube at the wall, but I refrained. This is a painful process. I sorta want to mix up a fresh little batch of saltwater to test, just to see what the results are to check the quality of my test. Might do that tonight so I can compare tests tomorrow.


I can, but the order minimum everywhere is about 15 lbs and shipping is completely absurd. For the cost to ship at some of these places that only do overnight air, Julia and I could both get round trip flights so I could pick it up and fly it home myself lol. Gulf Live Rock is absolutely the most affordable - shipping is free - but their minimum is 10lbs. So $70, and then I have to figure out what to do with nine pounds of rock I don't need. I'm thinking about texting the girl I gave my leftover sand to to see if she's interested in live rock. I'd split the cost down the middle if she is...
For that money, you could fly and get some from the ocean.
 

Fishproblem

For that money, you could fly and get some from the ocean.
Don't joke! Julia's been dying to get me SCUBA diving with her.

Butttt this rock ethically aquacultured by one of I think 20 permit holders in Florida, as opposed to snatched from a natural reef. It's actually pretty cool. About 15 years ago these people put a lot of ancient fossilized reef rock that was quarried on land back into the ocean in plots leased from the state, and have let it accumulate a ton of oceany goodness. So it gets harvested and then shipped to you wet and covered in algae, bacteria, and (hopefully!) corals and critters straight from the ocean.
 

BadisBadis

If only fishlore allowed us to swear.... UGH. Tested nitrite. Hasn't budged. Was incredibly tempted to hurl the test tube at the wall, but I refrained. This is a painful process. I sorta want to mix up a fresh little batch of saltwater to test, just to see what the results are to check the quality of my test. Might do that tonight so I can compare tests tomorrow.


I can, but the order minimum everywhere is about 15 lbs and shipping is completely absurd. For the cost to ship at some of these places that only do overnight air, Julia and I could both get round trip flights so I could pick it up and fly it home myself lol. Gulf Live Rock is absolutely the most affordable - shipping is free - but their minimum is 10lbs. So $70, and then I have to figure out what to do with nine pounds of rock I don't need. I'm thinking about texting the girl I gave my leftover sand to to see if she's interested in live rock. I'd split the cost down the middle if she is...
I was gonna say, you can see if anyone wants to split Rock with you, maybe your LFS would take it or heck even someone on Craigslist or marketplace would pick it up if you really want it but not that much
 

Fishproblem

I was gonna say, you can see if anyone wants to split Rock with you, maybe your LFS would take it or heck even someone on Craigslist or marketplace would pick it up if you really want it but not that much
Yeah! I'm definitely gonna text that girl tomorrow. I met her through my local buy nothing group and she's really excited to start her first saltwater tank, but I have a feeling she needs help... her ex had a reef and she's wanted one ever since they dated, but I think she has a tank and my leftover live sand and not much else at this point lol. It'd be nice to make an irl friend who has a tank, honestly.

If that fails, there's a NY specific forum I'll post in to see if anybody wants to split an order.

__________________________

In unrelated news...

You know what's awful? I saw a pico build that uses a 3 gallon fishbowl today. I have an empty three gallon fish bowl. I think my 1lb of live rock that I'll use to seed this pico might have a nice round forever home...

Also, I'm frustrated with my cycle being apparently stalled af, so I bought stuff to make myself feel better. Ordered a bettamag from Two Little Fishies so I can keep my glass sparkly, and emailed Jardli about their mini lily pipes. The 10mm mini pipes are awesome and made for this filter, but the inflow/outflow set inludes a traditional lily pipe when I want a jet outflow. The jet is only sold solo. The inflow isn't available on its own, only in the set. So I just wrote them to see if I can buy the jet with an inflow. Hoping to hear back soon so I can get some gear out of the tank and at least have the build looking streamlined.
 

BadisBadis

Do you think your not getting enough bacteria in the tank to start a full cycle? What I used to do for my nano tanks is I'd leave a frozen silverside (or a piece of shrimp) in the tank and let it rot.
I would get an instant cycle. Works like a charm instead of feeding the tank. This was my 10g little tank after a full cycle. I used half and half live rock and dead. Something to consider if your cycle is stalled.
 

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LadyS

I definitely second finding someone to split the cost of ordering rock!

You’ll have lots of macro algae, sponges, tunicates, and possibly some tube coral, and brains/favia. The sponges, tunicates, and brains/favia are hit/miss, but the tube coral is pretty hardy.
 

jkkgron2

I definitely second finding someone to split the cost of ordering rock!

You’ll have lots of macro algae, sponges, tunicates, and possibly some tube coral, and brains/favia. The sponges, tunicates, and brains/favia are hit/miss, but the tube coral is pretty hardy.
Would all of those survive being shipped in wet paper towels? Asking because I’m considering getting the same rock as the OP
 

Fishproblem

Do you think your not getting enough bacteria in the tank to start a full cycle? What I used to do for my nano tanks is I'd leave a frozen silverside (or a piece of shrimp) in the tank and let it rot.
I would get an instant cycle. Works like a charm instead of feeding the tank. This was my 10g little tank after a full cycle. I used half and half live rock and dead. Something to consider if your cycle is stalled.
I've been feeding it fluval bug bites which are pretty packed with stuff to decay - mostly soldier fly larvae and salmon - but I've also dumped a spoonful of frozen brine shrimp in a few times with all their gross shrimp juice. I'd think the brine shrimp would have done about what a piece of shrimp does in larger tanks, but maybe I'm wrong. I'll try a bigger shrimp chunk from the supermarket tomorrow.

I'm using totally dry rock, so that could be a part of it. My live sand was damaged in transit so was pretty dry by the time it got to me. I don't know what's in aquavitro seed, but it seems to not be enough added bacteria to boost the cycle. Live rock is looking better and better!

I definitely second finding someone to split the cost of ordering rock!

You’ll have lots of macro algae, sponges, tunicates, and possibly some tube coral, and brains/favia. The sponges, tunicates, and brains/favia are hit/miss, but the tube coral is pretty hardy.
Yeah, it does seem like the way to go! I just texted the girl I mentioned yesterday. Hopefully she's interested! Otherwise I'm off to craigslist to make friends lol

Would all of those survive being shipped in wet paper towels? Asking because I’m considering getting the same rock as the OP
In part! Most people I've seen post about it do have some die off, so a good rinse and swish or ten in a bucket is a good idea before adding to the tank. And that's if you can cure in tank, or live close enough that curing isn't necessary. But basically, enough fun hitchikers make it (in addition to coralline and bacteria) to be worthwhile. Allegedly!
 

jkkgron2

In part! Most people I've seen post about it do have some die off, so a good rinse and swish or ten in a bucket is a good idea before adding to the tank. And that's if you can cure in tank, or live close enough that curing isn't necessary. But basically, enough fun hitchikers make it (in addition to coralline and bacteria) to be worthwhile. Allegedly!
That’s good to know, thanks!!!
 

BadisBadis

I remember soaking live rock in coral dip (I've worked in aquatic stores for a long time so we got tons of reef rock in) and yeah it killed the bad stuff but I will always remember when it would kill all the little snapping shrimps and cute little hitchhikers too it always made me feel terrible lol
Just order the live reef rock already xD
 

Fishproblem

I remember soaking live rock in coral dip (I've worked in aquatic stores for a long time so we got tons of reef rock in) and yeah it killed the bad stuff but I will always remember when it would kill all the little snapping shrimps and cute little hitchhikers too it always made me feel terrible lol
Just order the live reef rock already xD
I want to know what stores you've worked at that always have reef rock! I'm over here in the "greatest city on earth" or whatever and nobody has any lol

I wouldn't know what the heck to do with a snapper if I ended up with one, but I'm gonna try to keep everything alive. Except aiptasia haha. I figure an observation QT won't be tooooo bad, and I have a big 2.5/3 gallon bowl to use for it for really good viewing. Just lots of water changes, but whatever, gotta use up the pro salt before i switch to classic. jkkgron2 get the rock! You can actually use the full 10lbs, so just go for it! It'll be cool to see what comes out.
 

jkkgron2

I want to know what stores you've worked at that always have reef rock! I'm over here in the "greatest city on earth" or whatever and nobody has any lol

I wouldn't know what the heck to do with a snapper if I ended up with one, but I'm gonna try to keep everything alive. Except aiptasia haha. I figure an observation QT won't be tooooo bad, and I have a big 2.5/3 gallon bowl to use for it for really good viewing. Just lots of water changes, but whatever, gotta use up the pro salt before i switch to classic. jkkgron2 get the rock! You can actually use the full 10lbs, so just go for it! It'll be cool to see what comes out.
I’m definitely gonna get it!
 

Fishproblem

This was my 10g little tank after a full cycle.
I don't know how I missed the photo you attached the first time around. I love that tank! I cant wait to move and completely reorganize my tanks. I'm going to end up with an 11 gallon rimless in need of inhabitants... maybe a little fowlr could be on deck!

I’m definitely gonna get it!
Cool! Are you ordering soon, or waiting until after the holidays? I thought you said the tank wasn't coming back out for a bit, but now I can't remember.

__________________________________

Today I completed my lily pipe purchases. Couldn't buy the intake on its own from Jardli, unfortunately, so I bought the outflow from them and the intake from a chinese vendor on eBay. The ebay vendor sold outflows too, but the bend in the glass narrowed in a way I didn't like so I went for the nicer Jardli one. I'm really looking forward to having them in the tank. It's gonna look so nice.

Jardli did try to be really accommodating and offered me a 30% discount on the set that the inflow is a part of, but it just wasn't gonna work for me. I love them though, and their products. I have their lily pipes and diffuser on my freshwater high tech tank. Their price and quality totally can't be beat.

I have a question about my nitrite test. If the nitrites are so high that it's hard to read the color, can I dilute it with distilled water to get a "half reading" that's easier to discern? Or should I dilute it with new saltwater? The API Nitrite kit has the same color key for fresh and salt, so I imagine cutting the tank water with distilled would be okay.

I've got my copy of the nano reef handbook, and made my way through the intro this afternoon. Flipped through the pages, and I think it's going to be really informative. I'm looking forward to learning in a more directed way, rather than just trying to figure out what it is I need to know. I'll write here as I learn new relevant info.

No dice on splitting the rock purchase with my neighbor, so I posted on CL to see if that might work. Fingers crossed.
 

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