28g Cube Build

penguin02
  • #1
I am finally venturing into the world of saltwater! I have three freshwater tanks and I thought that was all my dad would ever allow. But a saltwater tank has been his dream since he was a kid, so he finally impulse bought a 28g Cube Kit at our LFS. I know absolutely zero information about saltwater, so I sat up until 2 am doing research

Today I'm going to add live sand and figure out how to set up our RO unit. Then I'll fill the tank. Today or tomorrow we'll go to the LFS and pick up the live rock and start cycling the tank. While we're at the LFS, I'm going to show my dad all of the fish and have him write down his favorites so I can post them here and figure out stocking. So far we definitely want:

-a clownfish (main reason we bought the tank)
-a puffer of some kind
-some sort of goby (I've always wanted one of these guys)

I'll be posting our progress here, but in the meantime, can someone help us come up with some interesting stocking ideas? Even just listing compatible fish would be okay so I can show them to my dad and see what he likes.


EDIT: How is this as a stocking? This is definitely not final, but I am okay with slightly overstocking since I have the time to do frequent water changes.

1x Royal Gramma
1x Clownfish of some kind
1x Firefish
1x Six Line Wrasse
1x Cardinalfish
1x Yellow Watchman Goby
 
Coradee
  • #2
Sounds like an exciting project, hope our salty members can help you today
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I think we've decided on:
2x Ocellaris clownfish (probably two varieties)
1x bangaiI cardinal
1x royal gramma
1x yellow clown goby

This seems like a reasonable stocking, and Aqadvisor approves as well. My dad also wants a chromis or firefish, which would definitely make us overstocked (we are borderline as is) so I'll see if I can talk him out of it. Worst case scenario I do extra water changes. The filtration is pretty good and they're all peaceful fish.

I need a lot of help if anyone is out there. We're trying to figure out what to feed our fish, what corals to get and when to start getting them, what invertebrates can get along, and more.

Right now the tank is cycling with some mollies the store will take back for credit. I'll try to post a picture soon.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
We are adding a firefish to the list. Not entirely comfortable with that, but I'm willing to put in extra work to keep it clean and safe for the fish. I might do water changes twice a week.

I've noticed that the salty side of the forum is much quieter
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I shall continue talking to myself to keep this thread updated in case anyone ever replies. Today we tested the water parameters (9 days since setup).

pH: around 8.2-8.4
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

I'm a little disappointed because my first freshwater tank cycled in 10 days with bacteria in a bottle, and I thought saltwater would cycle faster because of the live rock/sand. But oh well, this hobby requires patience.

Since I have a while before I can return the mollies and get fish we actually want, I've been researching a lot. It seems like mysis shrimp is a universal food for most of the fish on my stocking list? Mixed with flakes and some sort of pellets, I think that will be the main diet for our fish. My dad wants something easy so he can help feed them himself. Now I'm moving on to invertebrates and corals, but if anyone has flake/pellet suggestions I'd be glad to hear them.
 
Esimm03
  • #6
I shall continue talking to myself to keep this thread updated in case anyone ever replies. Today we tested the water parameters (9 days since setup).

pH: around 8.2-8.4
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

I'm a little disappointed because my first freshwater tank cycled in 10 days with bacteria in a bottle, and I thought saltwater would cycle faster because of the live rock/sand. But oh well, this hobby requires patience.

Since I have a while before I can return the mollies and get fish we actually want, I've been researching a lot. It seems like mysis shrimp is a universal food for most of the fish on my stocking list? Mixed with flakes and some sort of pellets, I think that will be the main diet for our fish. My dad wants something easy so he can help feed them himself. Now I'm moving on to invertebrates and corals, but if anyone has flake/pellet suggestions I'd be glad to hear them.
Hi, welcome to the marine side of fishkeeping , the saltwater area is most definitely much quieter than the freshwater . Marine does take much longer than freshwater to cycle, my one has been going for 3 weeks and ammonia still is high, the best thing you can do is research and wait.

I'm not too sure on stocking but I'll tag a few people that may be able to help (by tagging they'll be able to see this thread as they will be alerted);

grantm91
thesoulpatch
stella1979

Sorry I can't help much, but hopefully these guys can , they helped me when I started a while back.

Ethan
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks a ton! It's definitely a lot different than freshwater and I hope I do everything right!

EDIT: (here's my compiled stocking plan)
28g
2x Ocellaris clownfish
1x royal gramma
1x firefish
1x bangaiI cardinalfish
1x yellow clown goby
 
stella1979
  • #8
Oh my gosh! How did this one slip by me for so long??? I watch the forum, but today is the first I've seen this. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long, and much thanks to Xbox62 for tagging me in. Congratulations and welcome to the dark (salty)side!!!

I'll have lots of info for you soon, but don't have time to write it out right now. I'll come back and edit or post more tonight, but for now, I'd like to know how you're mixing saltwater, which salt you're using, and how you're measuring salinity.

Stocking looks ok, but please do take it slow. I'll expand on this later, but please know that you have some timid fish along with some semi-aggressive fish, so stocking the tank will take time and care. The first thing you'll want to stock anyhow is your clean-up crew or CUC. I don't trust crabs with corals, and for that matter inverts, in general, can be very difficult to remove from an established tank. If you're planning on going reef, make sure all of your critters are reef safe.
 
Esimm03
  • #9
Oh my gosh! How did this one slip by me for so long??? I watch the forum, but today is the first I've seen this. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long, and much thanks to Xbox62 for tagging me in. Congratulations and welcome to the dark (salty)side!!!

I'll have lots of info for you soon, but don't have time to write it out right now. I'll come back and edit or post more tonight, but for now, I'd like to know how you're mixing saltwater, which salt you're using, and how you're measuring salinity.

Stocking looks ok, but please do take it slow. I'll expand on this later, but please know that you have some timid fish along with some semi-aggressive fish, so stocking the tank will take time and care. The first thing you'll want to stock anyhow is your clean-up crew or CUC. I don't trust crabs with corals, and for that matter inverts, in general, can be very difficult to remove from an established tank. If you're planning on going reef, make sure all of your critters are reef safe.
I've kept hermits and emerald with coral and it's all fine, I haven't had any issues yet...

I agree in the fact you should add slowly, to let the bioload adjust, as adding them all at once will cause a tank crash, I'd add a fish every other day or every week depending on your biological filtration .

Ethan

Thanks a ton! It's definitely a lot different than freshwater and I hope I do everything right!

EDIT: (here's my compiled stocking plan)
28g
2x Ocellaris clownfish
1x royal gramma
1x firefish
1x bangaiI cardinalfish
1x yellow clown goby
No problem, I can help a bit, but as I've only been keeping saltwater for about 6 months, I'll help where I can, the people I tagged are really helpful, there are quite a few more on this forum such as Culprit and Nanologist , and many others but I can't remember off the top of my head.

Ethan
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thank you both so much! I do plan on taking it slow, even though it's difficult.

I know CUC should come first, but I really want to exchange my mollies once the tank is cycled so I don't have time to get attached and convert them to freshwater. Mollies are my weakness . I'll probably get the firefish first since it's very timid and will need time to get adjusted. That should keep the cycle going while I add CUC, and if not I can add the cardinal at the same time.

Okay. Salt. We've had a bad experience with it and it's kind of driving me insane. My LFS friend who has helped a TON and I trust recommended Brightwell Aquatics salt. The back of the bag said 1/2 a cup per gallon of water. I put about 2 and a third cups of salt since the 5 gallon bucket wasn't filled to the top. I mixed it by putting an airstone in the bucket of R/O water and pouring the salt in. The I filled the 28g with about 5.5 buckets of the water. But right from the get-go our hydrometer was all wacky even after leaving sit with saltwater for 48 hours. We took the water to the LFS and they tested it with a fancy electronic thing and our salinity was high. Came home and the hydrometer finally stabilized and gave a high reading as well. This weekend the electric ones are in stock, so we're gonna get one of those to make my life easier (I HATE this inconsistent thing). But salinity is apparently still high and I'm trying to get it down, but I don't want to bring it down too much so I'm afraid to do anything. The mollies are troopers though and haven't really been affected.

We also had an ick issue with the mollies that I noticed 2 hours after they were put in the tank. I don't think it had time to progress. I gave them a freshwater dip and monitored them in a bucket + airstone for the night, and in the morning I couldn't see any more dots. They've been back in the tank all week and no more ick. Hopefully it doesn't spring up again... My dad called our LFS dude and alerted him since they have 60+ mollies in that tank.

Sorry for that and I hope it half makes sense.

Also, my dad is struggling to understand cycling no matter how many times I explain it to him. Does anyone know where I can find an in-depth description of why I can't just "add beneficial bacteria and nitrates" and have fish right away?
 
stella1979
  • #11
I've kept hermits and emerald with coral and it's all fine, I haven't had any issues yet...

I agree in the fact you should add slowly, to let the bioload adjust, as adding them all at once will cause a tank crash, I'd add a fish every other day or every week depending on your biological filtration
emoji16.png.

Ethan
Hermits and emeralds are fine, sometimes for a year or so, then suddenly they may not be fine at all... it hasn't happened to me either because I do not stock them, but look no further than one or two of the others that you've tagged to read about crabs either stealing food from or eventually even eating the corals themselves. It's a personal choice, but my reef stays clean with careful feeding, a strict maintenance schedule, a simple DIY refugium, and snails.

Also, stocking slowly isn't just to let the bioload adjust, but also to make sure mild-mannered and/or younger fish are well established and comfortably eating before a potential aggressor is added. For this reason, I like to give new fish at least 2-3 weeks in the tank before another new fish is added. LyssahBlue can tell you how difficult it is to feed young cardinalfish when a feisty clown is in the tank. So, with the stocking example above, I would follow this schedule.

First fish added should be either the goby or firefish. Add one or the other, wait a week or two to be sure it's established a safe zone and is eating, then add the other and give both fish a little time.

3rd fish can be the cardinal. Give it a week or two to feel safe and begin eating well. You may need to pause longer here, because we're about to get into your aggressors. If any of these first three fish are babies, are not eating well, or are showing any signs of stress, remain patient and allow them to grow or resolve any issues before adding the...

Clown! Finally! I know this is the standard fish and we all want one, but these guys are damsels, and can become unholy terrors, especially on timid fish that are not already well established. For example, if your dartfish, (the firefish) is not comfortable and a clown is added, it may dart into hiding and almost never come out. Nobody wants to invest time, love and money in a fish they'll never see.

Last would be the Royal Gramma Basslet. These guys are sometimes confused with another fish, the very aggressive Royal Dottyback. Be sure you get the gramma.

The fancy thing you need to measure salinity is a refractometer. They aren't digital but are much more accurate than a hydrometer. You can pick up a refractometer on Amazon for about $20.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
My brother really wants hermits and an emerald crab, and I thought they were reef safe. Now I'm kind of worried. Do you have any articles that talk about them damaging corals that I can read?

Will the clown goby be okay without corals to perch on? I was under the impression that I needed to replicate its natural habitat, so I was prepared to add it close to last when I have some corals in the tank. Other than the goby, that's the exact order I had picked out already!

I'm pretty much done with food for the fish. I plan to feed mysis, frozen brine shrimp, and high quality pellet and flake foods. Any brand suggestions?

On to inverts. Here are my questions, and I apologize in advance for the sheer amount of them.

1) Can multiple types of shrimp live together, or is it best to pick one species and stick with it?

2) Will emerald crabs hurt my fish? A fear of crabs has been ingrained in me because you're not supposed to mix freshwater fish and crabs. Also is there any evidence that crabs will hurt corals?

3) How many hermits and snails would you suggest? I'm thinking 4 hermits and 2 of a few different types of snails, but I may be over or undershooting it.

4) Do clownfish do better with an anemone? Are there any that are easy to keep (dad doesn't want any crazy foods)? Can I pick where to place them, or do they choose where to settle?

5) https://fthmb.tqn.com/0oOfSFmoAJuzt...okicymbalbubble1-56a81ac93df78cf7729c2473.JPG What is this snail? I found it in an article and it is adorable.

6) What are fanworms? I saw feather dusters on liveaquaria and they are fascinating. Would I choose where to place them?

7) My mom wants a starfish, but I know they can be sensitive and hard to care for. Which species would be the easiest, and at what point should I add it to the tank?

8) Finally, how the heck do I feed inverts? Do I just use tongs to place the food on the bottom? What if the shrimps/starfish are hiding in the rocks? How am I supposed to make sure everyone is eating?

Feel free to answer any amount of these questions. I am sorry for overwhelming you.

Ohhh. I think he did use a refractometer. The store said we could return the hydrometer for credit since it isn't working, so we'll make sure to buy one.
 
stella1979
  • #13
No, I don't know of any articles, and I'm sorry.... please don't let me scare you away from having crabs. Like I said, it's only my personal preference and I prefer not to have to worry about them. There are reef safe hermit crabs, and there are those that are not. Generally speaking, you want to stay away from hermits that have hairy legs, but also do your research so you know you'll get the right species.

Emeralds... I've heard so many reports of them being model citizens for months and months only to find them one day munching on coral polyps. This is why you will sometimes see them labeled as "reef safe with caution."

Plenty of people love keeping crabs, so I would say try it if you like them, just keep an eye on things.

I'm happy with New Life Spectrum pellets, though I have no basis for comparison. As far as frozen shrimp, feed mysis much more often than brine as mysis are protein heavy but brine are very fatty and contain little nutrition. Also, I prefer to get gut loaded shrimp... so perhaps mysis gut loaded with phytoplankton, or spirulina (very healthy marine algae... this stuff is a superfood. )

1) Not sure... some shrimp get quite large though.

2) No, you don't have to worry about emerald crabs and your fish. Yes, there is evidence of emeralds harming coral... but I don't have it at hand. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding reports of this on multiple forums though.

3) There are different schools of thought on this. Some believe in stocking a large CUC from the get-go, but this could lead to die off of some of them if your tank doesn't support them all. I'd start with 3-4 hermits and 3-4 algae eating snails. Nassarius snails are cool little sand dwellers but are carnivorous, so best not to get them right away as your sand will not have a lot of leftovers in the beginning.

4) Clowns are fine without an anemone. This is because most captive bred clowns have never been introduced to one. In fact, folks often have to put some effort into pairing clowns with 'nems.

5) Sorry, no clue.

6) Here ya go. Common types will end up in your tank whether you want them to or not. They come in as hitchhikers on live rock and corals. I have a couple that I find quite beautiful.

7) Brittle stars are easy peasy, so much so that some consider them pests, though they are CUC too as they eat detritus. They hide a lot, so aren't seen often and may also find their way into your tank without your knowledge. Other, more decorative sea stars can be difficult to keep alive, but I want to try it one day too. Look into Fromia stars.

8) You can use tongs or a pipette to squirt a little food at just about anything in your tank, be it fish, inverts or coral. Healthy critters will want to eat, so you shouldn't have too much trouble. New guys might be scared for a while though. When I first got my firefish, he darted into a hole and I didn't see him again for days. I don't know how much it helped, but I used a small plastic pipette to squirt a few shrimp in his hole during that time. And here is where I'll say to be careful with feeding. Corals, as well as some inverts, are pretty sensitive to excess nutrients being in the tank.
 
Coradee
  • #14
A couple of articles on crabs you may find useful


 
HarryPotter
  • #15
Trash hydrometers! Refractometers or digital

Salinity & Temperature Digital Pocket Tester - IceCap
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Wow, thanks for all the help and advice! I have today and tomorrow off school because of testing (eek) so I have a lot of time to get research done. Hopefully, I'll have a list of inverts ready for you to approve by this weekend. I'm sure I'll have a million more questions but I'll try to contain myself and not overwhelm you.

A trip to the LFS this weekend is looking less and less likely, so I might end up ordering the refractometer online. Which is a shame, because I like supporting my LFS even if the prices are a little high.

One of the mollies appears to have a white bottom lip. It looks fuzzy. They're too fast for me to get a picture, but does anyone have ideas on what it could be? It's been breathing rather heavily, and didn't come out to feed with the others.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
The molly ate a little but still looks to be struggling. I can't find any answers online, so hopefully, someone will know. Today it looked a little better.

I am definitely going to the LFS this weekend, and I have a ton of questions for the guy that's been helping us. Hopefully I can bring back some pictures of their corals to show you so I can start planning that.

Also, do any of you use supplements for corals and inverts? Which ones make the most sense financially are are the most beneficial? I’m thinking calcium and iodine, but that’s based off liveaquaria info.

I might place a large order on liveaquaria to get my inverts since I need freshwater stuff anyways (getting killifish!!). I might order the clown goby as well since my LFS didn’t have one last time. If I order this weekend, the inverts will be here late next week. Are they hardy enough to survive if the tank isn’t cycled by then? I’d like to place the order now since my killifish are on sale, but it’s pointless if the inverts will be in danger once in the tank.

I keep getting more and more excited now that this tank is becoming a reality!
 
stella1979
  • #18
Inverts are quite sensitive as far as I know, and I would not put them through a cycle.

Reef tanks full of growing coral colonies often need dosing, but you do not need to worry about this in the beginning. A good rule of dosing is not to dose anything you're not testing for. Our reef tank is almost a year old and has more than 40 growing corals in it, including some large LPS pieces as well as some SPS. I've been testing weekly for the big 3, (Calc/Alk/Mag), since my last big coral purchase a few months ago. If I found any of these values falling out of the recommended ranges, I would know that the coral's uptake is more than my salt is providing. However, even with a lot of growing coral, my numbers never fall below the appropriate levels, so I still have never dosed my tank.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
I might not need to worry about the inverts. Petvalu tested our water and we have nitrates! Just a bit of ammonia. I’ll test with my own kit tonight just to make sure. The inverts won’t be here until Tuesday if I do decide to order them, so it should be finished cycling by then.

Just checked the water. Ammonia is .25, Nitrite is 0, and nitrate is baaaarely orange. It's more canary yellow than the light yellow listed as 0, so at least that's something. We might exchange the mollies for a firefish tomorrow and hold off on ordering the inverts unless the LFS I trust shows different readings.

I'll make sure to take lots of coral pics since the names don't usually line up with the individual corals.

List of supplies I'll be buying. Anything else that I need?
-refractometer
-more salt
-more R/O cartridges
-frozen mysis and brine shrimp
-other foods the LFS recommends

Here's the saltwater order so far. I don't know when I'll be ordering it yet.
1x Yellow Clown Goby
1x Blood Red Fire Shrimp
3x Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs
3x Margarita Snails

I stayed up late drooling at Liveaquaria corals, and I'm very tempted to buy a cheap one just to see how it does. But that would probably be dumb. How long would you suggest waiting before starting to add some beginner corals? Here's the one I was particularly interested in:
 
stella1979
  • #20
Hi! I didn't stay up late last night so allow me to catch up a bit...

For your supplies order, I am unsure of what you have, but here are a few little things that I find to be invaluable for the reef tank.

Turkey Baster - Used bi-weekly for blowing off rocks and into nooks and crannies. You won't believe the amount of snail poo you'll have while the tank goes through it's algae stages and your CUC is having a feast. Blowing stuff around regularly lets mechanical filtration pick up more detritus, and doing this just before a water change means you'll be removing more.

Soft toothbrush & stiffer brush, (I have the OXO grout scrubbing set for stiff brushes) - the soft brush is for cleaning algae that may/will appear on and around corals, the stiffer brush is for hard to remove stuff on the rocks.

Dedicated small bucket or larger Tupperware - this is used to soak dirty equipment, (mostly powerheads) in a vinegar/water solution. Pumps underperform when their dirty and vinegar works against the toughest algae/calcium deposits. Using a smaller container means you'll use less vinegar than you would if you did this in a 5 gallon bucket.

Speaking of buckets, don't forget the buckets and hoses you'll need for wc's, and you'll also want a spare heater and pump if you'll be mixing your own water. The pump is also handy for putting water back into the display. Get hosing that will fit the output and you won't have to lift so many buckets or worry about a mess from pouring water in.

Here's the saltwater order so far. I don't know when I'll be ordering it yet.
1x Yellow Clown Goby
1x Blood Red Fire Shrimp
3x Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs
3x Margarita Snails

I stayed up late drooling at Liveaquaria corals, and I'm very tempted to buy a cheap one just to see how it does. But that would probably be dumb. How long would you suggest waiting before starting to add some beginner corals? Here's the one I was particularly interested in:
Just be sure you're cycled before getting the livestock. Acclimate the shrimp very slowly as well.

For coral, I waited a month after my first fish and tested regularly to make sure nitrates/phosphates/pH/calcium & alkalinity were stabilized before adding my first coral. This is also a good time to practice with the refractometer and to develop a good feeding plan that will support the stock but won't bring up nitrates and phosphates. Don't overfeed.

I usually recommend starting with soft coral and did so myself. I waited about a month to see that Xenia and GSP would survive before getting my first LPS... a Duncan just like you've linked above. They are very hardy and it will be a fast grower for you provided it has good stable conditions.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Thank you! We're about to leave. I have most of the equipment you listed except for a turkey baster, which I can order from Amazon tonight. We're bringing the mollies to exchange for a firefish. I've read they're pretty hardy so it should be able to finish our cycle before I order the inverts!

I'm super excited!
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Just bought a firefish, three turbo snails, and two emerald crabs. I would prefer to only have one emerald crab, but it was BOGOF. When I get home I’ll link some of the pretty corals we saw.

My mom fell in love with the Condy Anemones, so it’s time for more research!

As for supplies, I got the refractometer, more salt, a GH/KH and calcium test kit, and some smaller pieces of LR to finish my scape.

Turns out I was using the wrong chart for the API testing. A little bit of green means 0 for saltwater tanks apparently. The LFS guy gave us the correct chart, and turns out we have almost zero ammonia and a little bit of nitrates, which is better than I thought. The ammonia is probably leftover from the spike I caused from purposely over feeding the mollies.

Overall we’re in good shape! I’m lobbying to name the firefish Mr. Dumass after that one commercial where the guy being interviewed kept mispronouncing the old guy’s name. Remember, it’s pronounced Mr DOOMass.

EDIT: I was overruled by my 11 year old brother. His name is Hamilton. I'll just call him Mr. Hamilton Dumass. xD
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Sorry for posting literally 5 times a day. I just get really excited

Hamilton the dartfish has chosen not to live up to his species name, which I'm happy about. So far he hasn't darted into the rocks. We'll see how he does tomorrow when I try to feed him some mysis. The emerald crabs buried themselves under the LR and the turbo snails started climbing the glass. At least nobody died yet, so I must be doing something right.

Here are some pictures of the tank, Hamilton, and a few corals I liked at the LFS. The coral pictures are really bad because I was distracted and too busy talking to my brother and dad.


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stella1979
  • #24
Congratulations!!! Your tank looks great. Love the rocks, but do be careful of detritus build up in the cave. The turkey baster will help you with that.

If you have Prime, you can dose that for any low levels of ammonia or nitrites. It will make low levels safe for about 24 hours per dose.

Condy anemones are beautiful and clowns might pair with one. I wouldn't add one until the tank is at least 4-6 months old though, as they are sensitive to the imbalance that new tanks experience. They also get absolutely huge at full size and generally like cooler water than your typical reef tank. Nevertheless, people do keep them in reef setups, just know that their max temp is 78-79 degrees. I haven't had one in almost 20 years and my knowledge was limited then, but I know they aren't the hardiest species of anemone, so be sure to do lots of reading.

The first and last corals pictured are different color variations of the trumpet coral, or what is often called a candy cane. They are quite hardy, though may not grow as fast in an immature tank. This is true of most corals though. The second coral pictured is definitely in the faviidae family of corals... perhaps a platygyra. Like the trumpets, they are LPS corals and fairly simple to care for. Neither of these corals need very high lighting and both have done well at the bottom of my 20 gallon long. I can't tell what the third picture is, but it seems like it might be thin and branchy? Perhaps a gorgonian of some kind? These can be some of the most difficult corals to care for, though some are hardier than others. Be careful of any NPS (non-photosynthetic) corals, as these need a very well established tank and because they do not get what they need from the light, they have very special feeding requirements. Definitely not for beginners.
 
Esimm03
  • #25
Sorry for posting literally 5 times a day. I just get really excited

Hamilton the dartfish has chosen not to live up to his species name, which I'm happy about. So far he hasn't darted into the rocks. We'll see how he does tomorrow when I try to feed him some mysis. The emerald crabs buried themselves under the LR and the turbo snails started climbing the glass. At least nobody died yet, so I must be doing something right.

Here are some pictures of the tank, Hamilton, and a few corals I liked at the LFS. The coral pictures are really bad because I was distracted and too busy talking to my brother and dad.

View attachment 431437View attachment 431442 View attachment 431438 View attachment 431439 View attachment 431440 View attachment 431441
Wow, it looks really nice. Can't wait to see it progress.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Oh, I didn't even think about using Prime. If there's still ammonia today I'll dose.

Eek. I don't want an anemone to dominate the tank if it gets that big. And some places say to have caution when putting it in reefs, which I'm trying to avoid. Are there any other anemones off the top of your head that stay small and are guaranteed reef safe?

The third coral was very branchy. I wish I had gotten a better picture :/ We'll definitely avoid that one then. I think we're going to order the Duncan with the inverts in about a week, which will be almost a month after adding the mollies for the first time. We'll see how it does and in a few months maybe we'll get some of the candy canes or platygyra.

Hamilton hasn't come out yet this morning, but Aqadvisor brought something to my attention that I hadn't thought about before. A firefish is technically a goby so is it possible that the Yellow Clown Goby will fight with it? Or are firefish an exception because they swim around a lot?

Another question. I'm so sorry At around noon when the lights turn white I'm going to try to feed some mysis for the first time. How exactly should I go about doing that? Do I thaw it in a cup of tank water, turn off the filter/pumps, and dump it in the tank? Is it possible to feed just half a cube since Hamilton is the only fish?

Wow, it looks really nice. Can't wait to see it progress.

Thank you!
 
stella1979
  • #27
Derp! Late again. ops: Scorch didn't come out for a week after bringing him home. Feeding - I thaw out a half a cube in a tiny tupperware with tank water. Then I use a plastic pipette or tongs to deliver mysis 2-3 at a time, store the leftovers in the fridge and use it to feed for 4 days max. Scorch rarely eats more than 5 at a time. An entire cube must be somewhere around 100, so even a half a cube is way too much at once. Don't be surprised if Hamilton doesn't eat very well at first, just keep offering very small amounts daily, but be careful with too much as it will only contribute to a dirty tank and algae problems.

You know, I'm not great at taxonomy at all, but as far as I know, firefish are dartfishes. They may be in the same order as gobies, but they are a different family. You really never know until you try, but should have no trouble housing a goby with a firefish.

I'm not great with nems either. Are you looking for one to pair with clowns? Have you seen rock flower anemones? They don't pair and might not really do it for you if long tentacles are what you're after. As far as I know, RFA's will not move across the sand and they can be very beautifully colored, but they are rather flat. Over time, some RFA's may get huge too, though we try to slow the growth by not feeding every day. Then there are the bubble tip anemones, which can also get big over time, but come in beautiful colors. Many people keep these in reef tanks, but again, there's always the chance that it will roam and hurt others. Also, it too will grow and possibly split over time. If it's the long tentacles you like, why not look into a torch coral? They can hurt corals too, but they will not move around your tank on their own. I love my own torch coral... it's just got a special spot where it can't harm other corals.
 
Culprit
  • #28
Another question. I'm so sorry At around noon when the turn white I'm going to try to feed some mysis for the first time. How exactly should I go about doing that? Do I thaw it in a cup of tank water, turn off the filter/pumps, and dump it in the tank? Is it possible to feed just half a cube since Hamilton is the only fish?

I shave off mabye 1/8 of a cube, and feed it to my yellow watchman goby. He eats lots, probably 10-15 mysis. When I had my clowns for feeding my whole reef I'd use about 1/2 a cube, but that's 2-3 mysis per head on each of my LPS, plus a YWG and 2 clowns.

No, no nem is "safe" in such a small tank. It has been done Nart but there's always the danger of it deciding it wants to move and leaving a path of destruction.

Agreed on the torch, there's lots of colors, and big and flowy. They also don't move on their own. Clowns won't host them. There are RFA's which are a lot safer. Other large flowy long tentacle beautiful corals are frogspawn and hammers.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
If anemones are that complicated, I'd rather stick to just corals. Especially since there's no guarantee the clowns will host them, which would be the main reason I'd get it. I DEFINITELY want torch corals. I drool over those all the time.

Hamilton came out of hiding at about 7pm and American Idol is coming on, so I'll probably wait until tomorrow to feed him. I doubt he'd eat yet anyways

Don't apologize if you don't reply right away since I post way too often
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Hamilton is still sleeping, so hopefully he’ll be out when I get home from school. Two of my turbo snails haven’t moved since I put them in the tank, so I’m guessing I didn’t acclimate them slow enough Hopefully they perk up because we had a huge amount of algae appear overnight.

Talked with my dad and we’re placing the invert/goby order on Wednesday so they’ll be here Thursday or Friday. I think I’ll add the Duncan as well so we can see if I’m capable of taking care of corals before we get more expensive ones in the coming months. Do I need special coral food or will they eat mysis/pellets as long as I put it on the mouth of the coral? I might order some of the food Taylor Nicole Dean uses regardless.

Final question, I promise When should I start thinking about a protein skimmer? The LFS guy told us to wait because it would do more harm than good during our cycle. I trust him because all of his advice has added up with my research so far
 
stella1979
  • #31
You will want special coral food eventually, but Duncan's are big eaters and will very much enjoy meaty offerings like mysis. Just drop it on the tentacles and watch in amazement. Feeding Duncans is so much fun! Sorry Penguin, not a big fan of Ms. Dean, only because there are others with much more time in the hobby who can better support their claims. I have to say, you'd do much better to watch some BRStv, CoralFish12g and Tidal Gardens. BRStv is great because they put everything to the test, and George, (CoralFish12g), has been reefing for more of his life than he hasn't. Tidal Gardens does great videos on specific corals.


CoralFish12g



As you get more corals you will need smaller particulate foods. I have had great success in mixing Reef Roids with bottled phytoplankton.

LFS guy is right, you certainly don't need and probably don't want a skimmer during your cycle. You really shouldn't need a skimmer at all if you keep up with regular maintenance. I run a very clean and low nutrient 20 gallon with just an HOB refugium. Is your cube an all in one, (AIO)? In other words, does it have rear chambers where you can keep the heater and other equipment? If so, consider either a well-reviewed nano skimmer, (some of these things are totally not worth the cost, so do your research), or you could turn one of those chambers into a refugium, (fuge), with a little chaeto and a plant light.

You don't need to start with either of them, but your nutrient build up will tell you when you want the upgrade. As always, feed carefully and keep a close eye on nitrates and phosphates. These are the nutrients that will cause algae problems in your tank, and corals don't like algae growing on them. A reputable skimmer will remove dissolved organics from the water, thus keeping these nutrients low. A refugium does pretty much the same thing, but you are growing macro algae in it so it's the plant that is using nitrogen and phosphorus for it's growth. With a skimmer, it collects sluge that you will empty and clean regularly. With a fuge the macroalgae, usually chaetomorpha, will grow and you'll have to remove some now and then to make room for more growth. Either is a form of nutrient reduction, and many big tanks, particularly those full of difficult SPS coral, run both. With a smaller tank like you and I have, water changes are usually enough to keep nutrients low... depending on how heavily stocked we are, and how much we're feeding. Imo, skimmers can be a pita, but plenty of folks love them. I'm doing just fine with my little fuge.

Edit: Don't feel bad about asking questions. Most reefers love to help the new guys and grow the hobby, and we surely appreciate you taking the time to do your research. It is much easier for us to help you when you've already done some reading and have formed specific questions.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
I like Taylor for entertainment, but I usually don’t get information from her. I just saw her using a certain food to feed her corals in an older video and they gobbled it right up! I’ll look into the brand’s reputation (don’t remember the name off the top of my head).

I watch some of George’s videos, but I’ve never heard of the other two. Thanks for the recommendations!

I’ll probably go the protein skimmer route so I won’t need a light in the back. The tank is an AIO so there’s a space for the skimmer that currently has extra filter sponge in it. When I find a skimmer I’ll link it so you can make sure I’m not getting ripped off!

Is it okay to start water changes since the tank is cycled? I don’t have a way to test phosphates yet so I’d rather be safe than sorry and do extra WC’s for a while.

EDIT: I’m also going to order some coral dip that I forgot to put on my last Amazon list.
 
stella1979
  • #33
Yes, if you're cycled then you're good to go as far as weekly water changes. Corals like stability more than anything else, so be sure you're not doing wc's very, very often, nor changing more than, say 30% at a time. The only time I'd do larger water changes on the reef tank is if testing told me I really needed to.

Nart (my mentor, lol... give him a like) just got a nano skimmer that he likes so far, and it fits very well in his 25g AIO tank. He just did an unboxing video, and I'm sure he'll update on the skimmer as he gets it dialed in. Check it out.

MNT crew for life!
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Whoops. I’m at school and accidentally clicked the video without realizing it. And my sound was on I’m clumsy

Thanks for another great recommendation!
 
stella1979
  • #35
Bad Penguin! lol Hope you didn't get into much trouble.

Edit: To each their own, and always do your own research... but I use Bayer Advanced insecticide to dip corals. I also know people who've done well with CoralRX, yet some say that Bayer is actually gentler and possibly more effective. Can't recommend BRStv enough, but don't play it in class!

 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
Hamilton wouldn’t eat yesterday. The first time I tried to feed him, he darted into his cave. The second time it flew by his face and he ignored it. Hopefully today will yield better results :/
 
Culprit
  • #37
Don't worry, he's probably still settling in. Before you know it he'll practiclly be jumping out of the tank trying to get to the food.
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
Success! He ignored the big pieces but went for some scraps.

The white lights turn on at 1pm, and usually he doesn’t come out until about three. But my mom works from home and said he came out at 1:30 today. He must be settling in. He even ventured from the entrance of his cave today
 
penguin02
  • Thread Starter
  • #39
So I had this thought while I was sleeping. My male balloon molly, Maurice, has been acting very depressed ever since his two wives passed away. He used to herd them around and have a good old time swimming around the tank and bossing the other fish. Now he swims slowly and is the last one to every feeding.

At first I thought he was declining (old age) just like my two females. But it’s been months and he’s still acting the same way. What if I convert him to saltwater to spice up his life again? He used to have an awesome personality and it’s all but gone now that his wives are dead. It would also be a good test to see if Hamilton is ready for tankmates, since mollies are very docile.

I’ll bring it up with my dad. Maurice is silver, so he’ll blend in with the sand and won’t take away from the overall look of the tank. And he’ll be in direct view of the living room instead of in my bedroom where he doesn’t get attention. I have a soft spot for balloon mollies
 
stella1979
  • #40
Idk... but wish you luck and hope you'll keep us updated if Maurice transitions.
 

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