Lorekeeper's Tanks!

Lorekeeper

So, seeing as how this tank is now completely different than it was at the start, I'm gonna redo this post to clue readers in as to what's changed.

This tank started out as a jar reef, and eventually got moved over to a 2.5 gallon, and then to a 5.5 gallon. I still have the the jar set up, in my other thread (found in my bio), but this is my "main" tank.

Current Livestock:
Fish:
1 4-striped-damsel (around 1" at the time of editing, will probably get moved to a 10 gallon in the coming years)

Inverts:
1 Mexican Turbo Snail
1 Red Legged Hermit
4 Cerith Snails

Coral:
Brown/Green Zoas
Orange Zoas
Green Star Polyps

Macroalgae:
Red Branching Macro (don't have any other name for it)
Red Dragon's Macro
Caulerpa Prolifera
Mystery Caulerpa embedded in the GSP

Equipment:

Flow:
Top-Fin 10 Gallon HOB (running carbon)
Top-Fin 10 Gallon Internal Filter

Heater:
Tetra 50W Preset

Lighting:
12" Freshwater LED Planted Fixture
12W 6500K CFL

Tank Info:

I had hoped to keep this tank pretty softy and macro dominated, and that plan hasn't changed. I do want to eventually get my hands on some LPS and SPS, but those are probably a long way down the road. As for stocking, I'm probably done adding inverts and fish unless the need for more CUC appears. I'm at (probably a little over) stocking capacity with the damsel, and honestly, I don't want another fish in this tank. Too much work for too little gain.

I'm running barebottom to make siphoning up muck from the bottom of the tank easier, and also to give my GSP free reign to take up the bottom of the tank.

The lighting situation is a bit jank, but I plan on eventually replacing the current fixtures with a single LED fixture or possibly a PAR 38. Just trying to find something that'll give my macros and corals good color and growth without breaking the bank.

Tank Params:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5-10
Temp: 76F
(I'm too lazy to list all of my other parameters)

So yeah, that should catch anyone up to where this tank is as of today. Doing great, just gotta keep on upgrading what I got and filling as my wallet allows.

The joys of high school.
 

BottomDweller

Amano shrimp might work, they may be a little big though.
 

Lorekeeper

Amano shrimp might work, they may be a little big though.
Yeah, I was worried about size. I think that even 1 in a 1 gallon jar might be pushing it, although I could be wrong.

I'm not against setting up a light for this tank, however, I'd like to keep tech out of the tank if possible.

The "rules" (things I want) for this tank are:
1) Must be a brackish jar. If no one can come up with anything brackish, then I don't mind venturing into the much more salty side of the hobby with it, as I've got experience there too.
2) Unless someone can find a micro goby with a bioload less than a shrimp, no fish.
3) Must either have plants or macroalgae (if we get that salty)
4) Needs to do okay in room temp water (unless we can't find anything)
5) Needs to do okay with just the 02 produced by the plants (again, there's wiggle room here)
 

BottomDweller

For plants I think java moss is pretty tolerant of salt
 

Lorekeeper

For plants I think java moss is pretty tolerant of salt
Oh really? That's interesting! I just bought a big hunk of it for my RCS yesterday. Does the same apply to Java Fern?
 

BottomDweller

I don't know about java fern. It's quite tough so you could try it.
 

Lorekeeper

I don't know about java fern. It's quite tough so you could try it.
Okay, thanks for all the help. I may throw it together later today and throw a bit of moss and a piece of anacharis in there to see how things go (of course, I'll be raising the salinity over a few days)
 

Lorekeeper

Just set up the "jar" with some light brackish water (1.004), some aragonite (low PH), and some base/lace rock. The plan is to raise the salinity to full saltwater in a month or two.

The inhabitants will probably be 2 ghost shrimp I got from my LFS, destined to be feeders. Brought them home, and they're acclimating to the brackish water now. I'll probably end up trying to find a snail for the tank as well, any suggestions? I know nassarius are pretty great in marine conditions.

As for equipment, I decided to go higher tech than I originally wanted. I'm using a Top Fin internal filter (not my preferred brand, but it's all I could find and I got it on sale at Petsmart for $3) and a heater set to 80F.

The goal for this tank is to maintain a stable, cycled saltwater environment with inverts. I may even EVENTUALLY get some cheap polyps, although that all depends on how the tank matures. For lighting, I'm using a basic desk lamp with a 5500k LED bulb. Not worried about great lighting atm, but eventually I'd LOVE to try out the PAR 38 Leds. Or even just a coralife 50/50 cfl, which I used on a 10 gallon reef for a while.

Here's a pic of the tank pre-shrimp.



Only managed to get a little less than a LB of rock in there, because of the size of the filter.

If you look behind the rock, you can see that the filter takes up the entire height and a big portion of the length of the tank.

It provides a huge amount of flow, which is great considering the possibility of corals in the next few months.

Saltwater people, give me some advice on how to go about this. I've kept nanos/picos before (2.5 gallon being the smallest), but this is a new level of tiny.

I'll get a pic of the tank with the Shrimp here in an hour or two. The lamp is off, letting them adjust for a while.
 

KaderTheAnt

I don't see the picture... maybe its because I'm on the app. *shrugs* I'm sure it's beautiful though.
 

Lorekeeper

Actually, I forgot to post the pic... Long day!

I'll post it. It's not exactly beautiful, as its just a piece of dead rock and a couple of shrimp so far lol. But its interesting to me at least

SG is sitting at 1.004 after mixing for an hour in the tank. I know that's a huge raise for the shrimp, but from here on out I'll probably do +.002 a day. Maybe take a day off to let them chill.

Just a fun story, but as I was adding the shrimp into the tank one decided to jump out of the net. I had no clue shrimp could crawl out of water! The little guy made it 2-3 inches in about 10 seconds. He seems fine now, but wow!

Seems like I have a berried female as well as a male (or maybe a virgin female, idk)

Pics of the tank with the shrimp in will have to wait till tomorrow, as the lights just went out with the timer.

The temp is sitting at 83F, so I've definitely obtained tropical temps.

The shrimp have been in the tank for around 2 hours now, and they're both still exploring. I think they're gonna be fine. I may try to feed them a bit tomorrow, and throw in a pinch of flakes to get the cycle going, as the shrimp won't produce enough ammonia themselves
 

FlutterFish

Love to see the pics! It sounds pretty good, I'm glad to see people doing this stuff (I'm thinking of starting one with my 2 gallon fishbowl as well )
 

Lorekeeper

Love to see the pics! It sounds pretty good, I'm glad to see people doing this stuff (I'm thinking of starting one with my 2 gallon fishbowl as well )
Thanks!

I posted a pic in an earlier post. It's a link to Imgur, so you can see the pic in a decent resolution.

The tank isn't beautiful, and it may never be beautiful. However, it's still pretty amazing to think that you can keep a 1 gallon ocean in a jar!

The 2 gallon fishbowl would be great! My only warning is that with a bowl, you'd have to use an airstone for circulation. The filter I'm using (which I'm impressed with so far, btw) almost didn't suction cup onto the curved edge, and on a bowl, the edge would be steeper. I'd still LOVE to see you give it a whirl though!
 

FlutterFish

Thanks!

I posted a pic in an earlier post. It's a link to Imgur, so you can see the pic in a decent resolution.

The tank isn't beautiful, and it may never be beautiful. However, it's still pretty amazing to think that you can keep a 1 gallon ocean in a jar!

The 2 gallon fishbowl would be great! My only warning is that with a bowl, you'd have to use an airstone for circulation. The filter I'm using (which I'm impressed with so far, btw) almost didn't suction cup onto the curved edge, and on a bowl, the edge would be steeper. I'd still LOVE to see you give it a whirl though!
Yup, I'm planning to use an air stone for it Thanks!
 

Lorekeeper

Just stole a Malaysian Trumpet Snail from my planted tank.

I know these guys thrive in brackish and low end marine conditions, so I figured I'd see how they did in full marine (my target sg is around 1.023-24).

At the very least, its an interesting experiment
 

KCaquariums

This seems like a very interesting project! Do keep us updated!
 

Lorekeeper

Whoops.

Just checked my thermometer, and it read 87F.

Apparently, 7.5W is enough to cook a 1 gallon jar. Lesson learned.

I unplugged the heater, and I'm gonna let the tank cool down and see how well the filter heats the tank. If it keeps it at 76-80, I'll just use it instead of a heater. If it gets too chilly, I'll switch heaters around and use a preset heater that struggles to keep my 2.5 gallon at 75F (so in theory, it should keep this tank at at least 77F or so) and throw this one into the 2.5, as I'm sure the betta would appreciate it.
 

KCaquariums

Sounds good, but in the future try not to make steamed trumpet snails... that doesn't sound too appetizing lol
 

Lorekeeper

Lol, that's true.

I'm not too worried, as Ghost Shrimp do pretty well till 82-84 and the tank's only be at 87F for an hour at the most.

The MTS won't die unless it's because of the salt.

So, after a 12 hour cooling period, the tank is at 75F.

No losses so far, which is pretty good, considering they acclimated to brackish, a HIGH temp and then back to subtropical in 24 hours.

I'll switch around heaters and see what that keeps the tank at. I want at least 78F, for safety for any Saltwater inverts/corals that might get into the tank.

Just a quick little update:

Before I moved the heater into the tank and added a bit of salwater into the tank, I fed some bleached peas.

I've never seen a shrimp descend upon a helpless little pod so quickly. As in humans, it seems the female is the first to notice and the first to react -

The male is hiding in the shade beneath the filter. They've divided up "territories" surprisingly quickly. I seen a bit of skirmishing last night, but they seem to have decided to split the tank pretty equally, and I've seen them stroll around the tank together as well.

- just a pic of the tank now that everything's settled.

If a mod could move this to an appropriate spot in the forum, I'd appreciate it. I don't think it really belongs in Brackish anymore
 

BluePsion

This is awesome! It makes me want to also give it a try. Please keep us updated
 

Lorekeeper

Just got finished mixing a gallon of SW. I think I measured poorly and it turned out at about 1.018, but I'm just raising salinity, so that's fine.

I added a coffee cup full of SW, and I'll get the new SG of the water in about an hour.

Everyone seems okay, but I haven't seen the MTS since last night. However, they love to burrow, so I'd say he's just down in the sand loving life.

Even with this heater from the betta tank, the jar is just staying arounf 76-77F.

I thought about buying a new heater, but I think I'm gonna stick with this. I'll just have to get corals that aren't so temperature sensitive if the tank makes it that far, which is fine by me
 

Lorekeeper

So, we're sitting at 1.012, as I've been drip acclimating the entire tank.

No adverse affects so far, seeing as they're still searching for bits of pea left from earlier.

Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate are of course reading at 0, and I was wondering what you guys thought the best way to cycle the tank is?

I would have cycled in Freshwater and then converted to SW, but I read online that a cycle will only survive that if it's done very gradually ( +.002 a week.), and I honestly don't want to wait that long.

I was thinking about using a tiny bit of fish flake, and trying to keep the ammonia reading exactly at 0.25, while dosing Prime and Stability to make it more bearable for the inhabitants.

Proof that MTS can survive for at least a while in high-end brackish conditions:

 

Lorekeeper

Stopped the drip acclimation over night, to give the shrimp some time to adjust.

PH is running from 8.2-8.3.

Tank is now sitting at 1.014, and the shrimp are still doing just as well as they were when I first got them, if not better.

I fed another pea today, and the female swam around the tank (through a very strong current) to snatch her share up before it hit the bottom.

It had to take a fair amount of strength to do that, so I'm not all that worried about their ability to acclimate at this point.

I may be getting a few chunks of cycled Live Rock rubble from a FOWLR tank (I know the guy), and if so, I may have to rush the acclimation a bit. Or find a way to store it without having too much die off. Thoughts?
 

Lorekeeper

Well, we're at marine salinity now. 1.020.

No adverse affects noticed, everything seems to be going well.

The male is still hiding quite a bit, and I'm beginning to wonder if he's injured, ill, or just more timid than the female. He's still eating, so I'm not exactly worried yet.

The female is hiding quite a bit as well, but she comes out to make laps around the tank/scavenge for bits of pea that have settled on the rock.

I know I've been posting post after post, but this is kinda my tank journal. A lot is changing in this tank right now, so there will be lots of posts. Sorry for breaking the rules
 

Lorekeeper

Tank is at 1.023.

The MTS snail hasn't made an appearance in a while, so I can only assume that it died. Kinda expected.

The two ghost shrimp are doing great! They've molted, and both are considerably more active than they were.

The colors on the shrimp have deepened, and I'm not sure whether that's a side effect of their diet or the salt.

The tank, as of day 4:

The male ghost shrimp:
 

Culprit

Awesome! This is a super cool project
 

Lorekeeper

Awesome! This is a super cool project
Thanks!

I don't think I've mentioned this on here yet (I've been a double agent on nano-reef.com to get some help with this tank), but I think I'm going to do a macroalgae dominated tank, with some soft corals mixed in.

It'll help me keep parameters under control (macroalgae serve the same purpose of Freshwater plants - they absorb ammonia/nitrate and put O2 into the water), as well as give me more flexibility with parameters. Corals might have issues with the swings this tank will inevitably experience, however a macroalgae should be hardy enough to tough it out, unless something goes completely wrong.
 

Lorekeeper

I went with the 50/50 CFL. Decided that I'd rather have a bit less light, as I'd have to do a lot of extra to accomodate the par 38 on such a small tank.

I'm heading into town tomorrow and I think I'm going to check out KY Saltwater supplies for some cured live rock to kickstart the cycle. We'll see how it goes!
 

Lorekeeper

Male ghost shrimp died last night while he was molting. He caused a small ammonia spike that I've gotten under control, but the female doesn't look too good.

Oops.

New bulb came in today!



It's definitely much more purple than I was expecting, however, it'll get the job done.

Female ghost is still hanging in there. I honestly don't see her making it through to the morning.

Here's my stocking wishlist that I'm choosing from:
Inverts:
None until I see an issue arise with my current stocking

Corals:
Pulsing xenia
Leathers
Kenya tree
Mushrooms

Macros:
Red Fern
Shaving Brush
Dragon's breath
Chaeto
Galaxaura
Purple Fauchea (if I can find any without paying $30 for a small frag)
 

Lorekeeper

Redone the rockwork in the tank -

Ghost shrimp seems to be doing better, exploring the tank, etc.

Got a surprise earlier - the MTS lives!!!



He's been living in full marine salinity for 24 hours now, and been in brackish for 5 days. I think that he'll do well long term.
 

Lorekeeper

I've learned the true meaning of instability.

Last night, ammonia read 0.5, Nitrite read 0.25, and Nitrate read 0.

Today, ammonia read 3, Nitrite read 2, and Nitrate read 5-10.

Ugh.
 

FlutterFish

How's the tank inhabitants (currently)?
 

Lorekeeper

Well, the remaining ghost shrimp and the MTS are fine, as of now.

I did a large WC, and then quadruple dosed prime.

Full tank -
Ghost shrimp -
 

BottomDweller

Wow they are tough little things to survive all that
 

Lorekeeper

They really are!

If I had somewhere else to put em, I'd move them. But I can't even set up a QT tank, because of my parents.

Hopefully Prime, and excessive WC's will keep them safe.

Do you guys think that she'd do best in the cycling jar, or in a very small food container with no heat/circulation (but clean water)
 

Florian Pellet

Do you guys think that she'd do best in the cycling jar, or in a very small food container with no heat/circulation (but clean water)
You could use Tetra safe start and you'd have a cycle almost instantly.
 

Culprit

I belive that Freshwater and Saltwater cycles are differnt I think...
 

Lorekeeper

TSS doesn't cycle a tank instantly. Neither does Stability. They're great seeders though!

And yes, Freshwater and Saltwater cycles are different. However, the basics are still the same.

Last ghost shrimp died during a power outage. Don't know if the outage had anything to do with it.

Lots of change!

Since the shrimp died, I decided to take an opportunity and run with it.

The setup got moved to a much larger 2 gallon jar, that's much larger in circumference vs. height (the 1 gallon jar is really tall and narrow)

As far as I know, the MTS is still alive, which doesn't really surprise me. I'm going to try to get this cycled, then add in the stuff I want, like I should have in the first place.

The lighting isn't nearly as intense as I would like, however I think it'll do well for any coral I add into the tank. If not, then that gives me an excuse to go ahead and upgrade to the PAR 38.
 

Lorekeeper

- new tank!

I'm not exactly sure how to scape this one. I just blindly threw some rocks in there last night, and decided I would fix it today. But I'm stumped. Suggestions?

- size comparision to 2.5 gallon tank
 

Culprit

So are you going to stay with the same stocking? Two ghost shrimp? What filter do you have?
 

Lorekeeper

The two ghost shrimp actually died. As far as replacement stock... I'm not sure. I'm taking recommendations. My only two requests are that they're reef safe and relatively active.

I have the Top Fin 10 gallon internal. Picked it up for a few bucks, and it gets the job done.
 

rubysword

I might be too late, but if you want colorful, low-maintenance, hardy shrimp, you should try opea ula! They are brackish and really really hardy! They are like tiny rcs.

Oops, doing full on reef now, huh? Sorry!
 

Lorekeeper

Lol, no problem!

I actually considered opae ula, but in the end decided to do a macroalgae dominated reef.
 

Lorekeeper

New stocking list:

Inverts:
Pederson Anenome Shrimp
2x Trochus


Corals:
Xenia
Mushrooms
Ricordia
Kenya Trees

Macros:
Red Fern
Shaving Brush
Dragon's breath
Galaxaura
Purple Fauchea (iffy on this one)
Red Palm
 

Lorekeeper

Fixed the scape:



Much better
 

FlutterFish

What filter are you using?
 

Lorekeeper

Top Fin Internal 10 Gallon.

Not my favorite brand, but it gets the job done.
 

Lorekeeper

Posted a complete equipment and stocking list at beginning of the thread!
 

FlutterFish

Sorry, didn't read that!

Anyway, the 2 gallon looks great! Can't wait until you add the species.
 

Lorekeeper

Thanks!

I meant I posted it after you asked about the filter... Lol, I've gotten asked with filter it is quite a few times, I just realized it's something I should've done!

I can't wait either! It may be a while before I get any good macros/corals in there, simply due to cash issues. However, the inverts should be coming by the beginning of may, and there may be a few fugly frags in with them.
 

Lorekeeper

Okay, so a late night water test showed:

Ammonia: 3 PPM
Nitrite: 1 PPM
Nitrate: 5-10 PPM

So no change since this morning... ugh!

I pretty much dumped 1/2 of the Stability I had left. Trying to get a kickstart.

Might be getting some real live rock tomorrow to seed the tank.
 

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