Newbie Nuvo 40 Gallon Build

TheWalkman

So after a few freshwater tanks decided I'm going to try a reef tank. Been getting some good advice from members like Nart and stella1979
Real excited so I decided to start the build forum early because I'm so excited and still need advice. Plan is to have the tank fully cycled and ready by October 6th. Just in case we see anything cool at reef-a-paloza
So far I have bought/ordered:
30lbs of reef cleaner rock
100 watt ehiem heater
50 watt ehiem heater (for salt mixing)
Colbalt mj1200 pump/power head (for salt mixing)
Aquamaxx refractometer

Still need to get:
Inovative marine 20 gallon (unless I decide/ talk my girlfriend into the 25 although probably 20)
Live sand
Prime HD
Buckets for mixing

Need recommendations for:
Test kit
Salt to use
Anything else that I need?

Fish interested in stocking:
Clown pair
Goby shrimp pair
Cleaner shrimp
Royal grama
Firefish
Wrasse
Blenny
Know I can't stock all these listed from most wanted to least still need to research comparability. Any suggestions much appreciated though.
Current plan is to get my rock in spend my time aquascaping on a mock up. Thinking about an arch of sorts. Get my rock glued together then put in a bin to start cycling. Get live sand and tank beginning of September set up sand and rock continue to check cycle. October start andding corals and live stock !
Anything I missed that I should be doing?
Thinking about possibling adding a chaeto reactor in one of the chambers in the back. Any advice on how to do this?
 

Nart

Very awesome. I know that exact feeling of setting up a brand spanking new tank.
Do let us know if you need help along the way. Feel free to message me on Instagram if you use it. I'm way more responsive on that media platform. My handle is @mightynanotank

It's not that much more for a IM25 is it?
I would personally go for the IM25 over the IM20 if you can swing it.
it's an awesome cube setup. Also, it'll give you a bit more space and water volume to work with.

The same equipment you've listed will also work in the IM25 as well.
But hey - both tanks are awesome!

For stocking, I wouldn't do more than 2 clowns + 2 other fishes.
That seemed to be the perfect number for me without running into any excess nutrient issues over time.
So I would do: goby shrimp pair, (blenny or firefish or wrasse), and 2 clowns.
I highly suggest you set-up a QT tank if your LFS doesn't already QT for you. It's a pain in the butt to deal with any illness spreading in your tank.

No need for a chaeto reactor - with the IM tanks, the backing is just a black vinyl. you can use a razor and lightly score the vinyl and remove the backing to expose the chambers in the back. That's where I grow my chaeto. I just toss a grow light in the back and boom done. A minI macro refugium in the back to help handle the excess nutrients and add bio-diversity to your tank.
Like I said, the AIO tanks are really great for this stuff. Doing all this behind the scenes and leaving your display tank looking clean.

When your tank is ready for chaeto by October or November. let me know.
I can hook you up for some just pay the shipping.
 

TheWalkman

My LFS said a firefish wouldn't pair with a shrimp.
I think watching the shrimp goby relationship would be cool. Actually real interested to watch shrimp and snails in the tank.
Ok so special basket or anything needed for the chaeto? that makes life easier.
 

Nart

Right. You need a Goby like Yasha Goby, hI fin Goby, yellow watchman Goby, those will usually pair with a pistol shrimp. The pistol shrimps I like are the candy cane pistol shrimps aka Randall pistol shrimp.
Maybe just egg crates to save some money
 

TheWalkman

Right. You need a Goby like Yasha Goby, hI fin Goby, yellow watchman Goby, those will usually pair with a pistol shrimp. The pistol shrimps I like are the candy cane pistol shrimps aka Randall pistol shrimp.
Maybe just egg crates to save some money
What would the egg crate be for?
I wish a firefish and pistol shrimp would pair! Really like the firefish color. I do like the body shape of the yasha though.and I feel watching the relationship of a shrimp and goby would be way more interesting then then colors.
 

stella1979

The egg crate would be for making a chaeto basket, or guard. Idk though, I have a finer grid holding my chaeto in place, and still. sometimes it escapes. Of course, it's in an HOB instead of an AIO, so that of course may make a difference in how you need to modify things to suit your needs.

You can have the firefish in addition to the pistol goby/shrimp pair! Though, with a pair of clowns, this would reach your stocking limit, so no wrasse, blenny, or gramma. Basically, if you definitely want the clown pair, you'll have to pick only two fish from the rest of your list. This is the precise reason that I've given up on mating a couple of clowns, though that would be awesome... I just decided that with only 20 gallons, I'd stick with one of everything for variety.

Still undecided on my 4th fish, but with two fish with burrows they spend time in, I want the next one to be highly visual. I'd love a gramma myself, but am unsure if he'd fit the bill.
 

TheWalkman

The egg crate would be for making a chaeto basket, or guard. Idk though, I have a finer grid holding my chaeto in place, and still. sometimes it escapes. Of course, it's in an HOB instead of an AIO, so that of course may make a difference in how you need to modify things to suit your needs.

You can have the firefish in addition to the pistol goby/shrimp pair! Though, with a pair of clowns, this would reach your stocking limit, so no wrasse, blenny, or gramma. Basically, if you definitely want the clown pair, you'll have to pick only two fish from the rest of your list. This is the precise reason that I've given up on mating a couple of clowns, though that would be awesome... I just decided that with only 20 gallons, I'd stick with one of everything for variety.

Still undecided on my 4th fish, but with two fish with burrows they spend time in, I want the next one to be highly visual. I'd love a gramma myself, but am unsure if he'd fit the bill.
Still very open to stocking suggestions.
Leaning towards: clown pair, goby pistol shrimp pair, royal gramma, and cleaner shrimp.
Clowns because everyone recommends them and hardy. Really interested in seeing the goby shrimp relationship and I think gobys are cool.

Also how did everyone cycle their tanks?
Thinking about going with dr tims one and only. But did see the Red Sea tank mature kit last night and was trying to research.
 

stella1979

I like your stocking plan. I had the exact same plan at one time but it has taken forever for me to stock the reef and plans change.

Hmmm, I don't know that it did much of anything, but I started my tank with a 2ppm dose of ammonia and a bottle of BioSpira. The same product did not help in a difficult to cycle qt setup. However, for the reef tank, I did not use any live rock, only live sand, dry and uncured FijI rock, ammonia and BioSpira. Watched nitro cycle parameters, dosed ammonia as needed, probably did a water change or two if nitrites got really high, but otherwise, let it ride. The tank was cycled in 30 days.

I don't know much of anything about Red Sea's kit, but if I were getting bottled bacteria again, I'd go with Fritz Turbostart. I don't completely trust any of them, due to the nature of bottling live 'things', but I've heard great things about Fritz's stuff.
 

TheWalkman

So I ended up getting paid more then expected for a job this weekend, so instead of saving the money decided to get the nuvo 40 instead of the 20. So excited to be playing with a bigger tank.
I pick the tank up and 30 pounds of south sea base rock today.
Going to start playing with aquascape ideas with the rock tonight.
Only down side with a 40 is I might have to rethink my lighting plan. Tank measures 24x20x19. Think I can use an AI prime still or should I go with something a little bigger?
 

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stella1979

First off, AWESOMESAUCE! I love the tank!!!

I have no experience with the Prime but would think that you might need an upgrade if you want to keep more difficult corals, and I can assure you that we all eventually take the gamble on Sticks, lol, that is, branching SPS corals such as Acropora. My assumption comes from Nart eventually adding a 2nd AI Prime of his IM25 Lagoon, and eventually even upgrading to Radions... though I believe those are now on his bigger tank. Perhaps an AI Hydra would be a good option? I'm not really sure, but hope Nart or one of our other AI users chimes in soon.
 

TheWalkman

Finally making some visible progress on the tank! Got my aquascape figured out. And got to experience the joy of figuring out how to put the scape back together after pulling it apart to start washing it.
A little set back the bin a bought to cycle the rock in had a small hole. So need to buy a new one.
 

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Nart

With just 1 AI Prime you'll have to plan the placement of your corals especially around the edges. the realistic coverage of 1 AI Prime is more like 21"x21". So if you have just 1 AI, the corals placed on the edges will start to grow inwards/towards the light. Either get 2 AI Prime for best coverage, or AI Hydra.
Though, for starters, 1 AI Prime is plenty for now. It's what I used for the longest time and then got another when I had some extra spending $$.
 

TheWalkman

I'm just worried if two AI primes would be strong enough long term compared to the hydra 26. Because doesn't the hydra have significantly more par? My girlfriend wants to get a clam eventually.
 

TheWalkman

What are some of the essential test kits I should be starting to pick up now? And my API master kit should be good enough for cycling right?
 

stella1979

Yes, the API master kit is good enough for cycling, though you should know that the ammonia kit can give a false positive. It'll often have just a tinge of green in that tube when it should be yellow. Since I'm aware of the issue, I never upgraded from API for ammonia or nitrites. Everything else? Well, that's a different story.

As for testing a reef tank, well, you'll want a nitrate test kit that can accurately read in the low range, and API is incapable of that. You'll also want a low range phosphate test kit. Keeping nitrates low and phosphates as near to zero as possible will help keep your tank from becoming a haven for algae. Then, there's the Big 3, calk, alk, and mag. You'll want as accurate as you can get in a home kit for these because as your coral collection grows, the little beauties will start consuming calc and alk for growth. You have to keep an eye on these each week, as a reef tank will eventually see one or the other, or all three, (usually alkalinity goes first), dropping between water changes. This means that your tank is consuming more than the water changes can provide, and corals like nothing better than stability in water quality and parameters.

When we see one of the Big 3 begin to waver, it's usually time to start dosing. I was a bit slow in starting my coral collection, and even when I got my first big haul, they were all tiny frags. So, dosing didn't start for me until nearly a year into the tank. Lchi87 on the other hand... well, she wisely started slow too, but then an opportunity she couldn't pass up came along. ReefAPalooza NY was local for her, AND, one of our very own members, Nart , met her there and generously gave her some nice SPS frags. LchI came home with quite a haul and before she knew it, alkalinity (and possibly calcium) were dropping like crazy. While testing can become a chore, and feel so repetitive when the tank is stable, someday, it won't be, and you'll have to know when that day comes.

So, with all that in mind, you absolutely do not want inaccurate API for the Big 3, phosphates, and nitrates. You can use API for now for nitrates, as you'll be testing a cycle, so the level may get very high. When you're ready to start stocking the tank, you'll want to be able to read a result under 10ppm.

I've been quite happy with both RedSea and Salifert. If you're budget minded, the Salifert might seem like a better option but that's not the case with alk, calk, & mag. Salifert sells their kits individually for about $15-$20+ each, while a RedSea Reef Foundation Pro is sold with all 3 for about $50. Also, RedSea's kits come with better testing gear imo. Glass jars for testing instead of plastic tubes, and this little handle doohicky that makes the titration tests easier. RedSea's Algae Pro Kit comes with low range nitrates and phosphates as well as a little test jar holder and color wheel that makes the comparison a bit more accurate.

Long answer to a simple question, huh? Yeah, sorry about that. I'm pretty bad that way.
 

TheWalkman

stella1979 the long answer is totally fine! Always appreciate as much info as possible.
Just so many options and research with setting this tank up.
Also thanks for your advice on corals in the other thread. Definitly excited for the corals! Part of the reason I'm pushing to finish by October is for reefapaloza in socal. Watched brs video on softies and it got me excited!
 

Lchi87

stella1979 and Nart have great advice there, they won't lead you astray! Definitely don't skimp on the testing kits...yeah testing daily and figuring out dosing was a major headache but it will come to a point where you will be able to get handle on consumption and then its not so bad. I test twice a week now instead of every night. All that being said, mistakes and slip ups will happen but most corals will survive and bounce back from a tank shock like mine did, as long as you catch it early enough. Corals will tell you when they're not happy so just watch for those signs and be observant!
 

TheWalkman

Finally started cycling my rock. Threw a piece of shrimp in a 17 gallon bin with bio-spira. Hopefully the cycle goes quick.
Any tips for mixing salt to an accurate salinity? Or does that come with time?
 

stella1979

The amount of salt per gallon listed in directions was pretty dead on for me but I've only measured it by volume once, then weighed that amount of salt on a kitchen scale and recorded the number. When salt is measured to the gram, there are no worries about variances in salinity. Perhaps I'm a little nutty but hey, I'm a pretty proficient home baker so the scale was already around.

If you'd prefer to not be neurotic about dry measuring like I am, and don't choose to use a scale, you will become more proficient in measuring salt over time.
 

xiholdtruex

I used apI master kit for cycling. I started buying salifert now and I am not dissapointed so far. I have the phosphate and nitrate kits for salifert. I found the salifert kit for cal,alk, and mag for $45

the red sea basic foundation kit is also $45 but apparently people have been having people with the vials leaking during shipping. the pro kit comes with a hard plastic case which is nice and like stella1979 said it comes with some more goodies. I believe either one will be good it all depends on the deal you get but have no experience with the red sea so far.

In the long run hanna eggs are the king of the castle.

with salinity it is a play by ear till you know exactly how much to mix by weight or measurement. for example I use instant ocean salt mix and 3 cups of salt mixed into a 5 gallon bucket of rodI makes about 1.026sg water. so what I do is I always start with 2 3/4 of salt and allow it to mix with a power head for 30 minutes than check that its fully dissolved and measure with a refractometer. I use 1.023- 25 in tank and the sweet spot for me is 1.024 so I will add a little more salt if needed or take some water out and add RO/DI if needed . there is a few different salt mix calculators online.
 

xiholdtruex

Also I had some issues with my live sand leaching organics for some time after my cycle. So I from now on am rinsing the sand to prevent that. had to contact Dr tims and speak with them about it and was able to pin point it coming from the sand. also if you are using the apI kit with nitrate make sure to properly shake the bottles to get accurate results.
 

Lchi87

Mixing salt was tricky for me too. If you follow the instructions, you’ll get pretty close with a little common sense thrown in too. Like when I fill my 5 gallon jug, I know not to measure out exactly 5 gallons worth of salt mix because my container isn’t filled to the top with water; stuff like that. If I’m ever in doubt, err on the side of caution and use a bit less, its easier to add more salt if needed.
 

TheWalkman

Thanks for the advice I think it's just a learning curve for me. Just trying to get as many tips as possible. I did steal the advice of using a scale. I used a measuring cup, then transferred to a solo cup to get my weight. Now it's just refining how many grams it will take to get the salinity to 1.025.
 

TheWalkman

Now next on my decision list is sand.
My LFS carries caribsea live FijI pink sand. But he can order whatever for me. I'm in between the FijI pink or the live direct ocean. Sorta like the direct ocean because of the range of grain size. 0.25-6mm
Plan on keeping a pistol shrimp goby pair. So what would be best for them. Also advice on a sandbed depth would be appreciated. I'm think about 2in.
Also for what's everyone's favorite pistol shrimp goby pair? Looking through options for a pair. I think the Yasha goby is my favorite so far. Any comparability issues with cleaner shrimp and pistol shrimp being in the same tank?
 

stella1979

I've never actually seen the FijI Pink, but it is popular. Does it have a finer grain? All I can say is my own sand is quite varied in size like you've mentioned the Ocean Direct having. We like it, and so do our pistol shrimp and goby. 2 inches is fine and you're critters will be rearranging it for you eventually anyway. My guys made a foxhole behind maybe 3-4 inches of sand that they built up, but just a short distance away, the sand depth is less than 1 inch. I was quite glad when these guys were added and they started messing up the sand a bit.

Yasha's are great, but in the end, it's mostly about what look you're after with the fish and making sure you get the right species of shrimp. I have a yellow watchman goby and a Randall's pistol shrimp, as I didn't much enjoy the look of the tiger pistol.

There are, however, other species of pistol shrimp that do not pair with gobies. I mistakenly thought a small red pistol shrimp I found in an LFS would pair with a goby, and the LFS was selling me them both to me and told me they would pair! To make a long story short, it was a Red Caribbean Pistol, which pairs with anemones. He had no patience for the gobies attention and we'd hear him popping all the time while they were in qt. The fish died, which was surprising because he looked healthy and was eating. It had been only a few days, so, still ignorant of the shrimp, we thought the 1st ywg just didn't survive the big change in moving to our qt... So, we got another ywg, who lasted all of 7 days. On this one could see what looked like internal damage, but the fish's 'skin' was unbroken, so it looked like he was bloody and bruised on the inside. You're aware of what pistol shrimp can do and why they are called pistols, yes? We're pretty certain that shrimp killed the 2 gobies. The first one was tiny, so we chalked it up to bad luck, and only realized our mistake with the second fish. It's one of my biggest regrets and most disturbing mistakes, so while it's sad and embarrassing, I just like to share and warn folks.

There should be no compatibility issues with the pistol and cleaner shrimps. They will occupy separate areas of the tank, with the pistol spending most of his time working in the sand and extending his burrow/network there. The cleaner will spend time on the rocks looking for stuff to clean... including your hands when they're in the tank.
 

xiholdtruex

I have the fijI pink sand in my tank. I purchased it because I planned to originally have a sand sifter goby. It is a fine sand with tiny pink grains mixed in with the sand. I personally like the look of it.
 

TheWalkman

I've never actually seen the FijI Pink, but it is popular. Does it have a finer grain? All I can say is my own sand is quite varied in size like you've mentioned the Ocean Direct having. We like it, and so do our pistol shrimp and goby. 2 inches is fine and you're critters will be rearranging it for you eventually anyway. My guys made a foxhole behind maybe 3-4 inches of sand that they built up, but just a short distance away, the sand depth is less than 1 inch. I was quite glad when these guys were added and they started messing up the sand a bit.

Yasha's are great, but in the end, it's mostly about what look you're after with the fish and making sure you get the right species of shrimp. I have a yellow watchman goby and a Randall's pistol shrimp, as I didn't much enjoy the look of the tiger pistol.

There are, however, other species of pistol shrimp that do not pair with gobies. I mistakenly thought a small red pistol shrimp I found in an LFS would pair with a goby, and the LFS was selling me them both to me and told me they would pair! To make a long story short, it was a Red Caribbean Pistol, which pairs with anemones. He had no patience for the gobies attention and we'd hear him popping all the time while they were in qt. The fish died, which was surprising because he looked healthy and was eating. It had been only a few days, so, still ignorant of the shrimp, we thought the 1st ywg just didn't survive the big change in moving to our qt... So, we got another ywg, who lasted all of 7 days. On this one could see what looked like internal damage, but the fish's 'skin' was unbroken, so it looked like he was bloody and bruised on the inside. You're aware of what pistol shrimp can do and why they are called pistols, yes? We're pretty certain that shrimp killed the 2 gobies. The first one was tiny, so we chalked it up to bad luck, and only realized our mistake with the second fish. It's one of my biggest regrets and most disturbing mistakes, so while it's sad and embarrassing, I just like to share and warn folks.

There should be no compatibility issues with the pistol and cleaner shrimps. They will occupy separate areas of the tank, with the pistol spending most of his time working in the sand and extending his burrow/network there. The cleaner will spend time on the rocks looking for stuff to clean... including your hands when they're in the tank.
Do you actually have the ocean direct or a different brand? Just worried about dust storms with the small particles
Luckily my LFS has about 15 small tanks with invertebrates. And he buys some of the gobies already paired with shrimp.
And real excited to see cleaner shrimp do their thing.
 

stella1979

I do not have the ocean direct. I actually don't remember the specific variety of sand I got but it was definitely CaribSea. I seem to think it was the one called Arag Alive Special Grade, though that is reported to have a grain size of 1-2mm, and if I were asked, I'd say there's perhaps a bit more variation than that. I can see bits of shells and teeny bits of crushed coral. Anyhow, it's all different sizes, nothing too big or too small, and the shrimp and goby seem to love it. The shrimp works all the time and it's fun to watch when we can see him.
 

TheWalkman

I do not have the ocean direct. I actually don't remember the specific variety of sand I got but it was definitely CaribSea. I seem to think it was the one called Arag Alive Special Grade, though that is reported to have a grain size of 1-2mm, and if I were asked, I'd say there's perhaps a bit more variation than that. I can see bits of shells and teeny bits of crushed coral. Anyhow, it's all different sizes, nothing too big or too small, and the shrimp and goby seem to love it. The shrimp works all the time and it's fun to watch when we can see him.
Hhhm that might change opinion a bit if there's large chuncks in the special grade.
Also what Jabeo powerheads do you run and how many stella1979 ane how do you like them?
 

TheWalkman

Rock still sitting and cycling away in the bin, although might make the transfer to the tank this weekend.
Last week I got myself the jabeo rw-4 powerhead pretty cool powerhead for so cheap.
Then Labor Day I ordered the Tunze nano ATO brs had 10% off.
Also ordered an AI prime for my tank. I was conflicted between the prime and a hydra 26. But decided on a single prime. Put plan to add another one as my skills advance. And s second one should give more flexibility for lighting over a single hydra.
It's fun to start seeing the pieces together!
Any tips for keeping cloudiness down when I first add sand and water?
Also any recommendations to supe-up the filtration. I.E. filter floss, chemipure, ditching the filter socks for something else?
 

stella1979

Just found you on another platform. Love your hat! Sorry I missed your last post about the Jebaos.

Nice haul you got there, and I know just how you feel looking at all your new goodies. I've been mostly happy with a couple of Jebao SW-2's, though they tend to be a little finicky. They run like with the thinest bit of buildup on the impeller, so keep her clean, and if you can, get the protection plan. I haven't had major problems or anything like that, so I'll explain. I thought I had a busted SW-2 not too long ago, the thing just quit spinning. Strangely, and I still can't explain it, I found an extra silicone ring inside, in the front cage, where the impeller post ends. Since I have two of these, and clean the impeller regularly, I knew that part wasn't in the other one. Err, perhaps one of them got lost, but the one without was running just fine. Wouldn't you know it, the 'broken' one started working after I removed that piece, but it really was strange because the pump had worked with that part the day before. I mean, nobody put the silicone ring there... but anyway, that's not the point. I got the pumps on Amazon and worried that only one of them had been purchased with the protection plan, so I may have been s.o.l.

In contrast, a reefer buddy of mine bought an AI Prime HD second hand. Got it home and the fan was noisy, quite a bit noisier than his other Prime that he had purchased new. My friend contacted AI and gave them the honest truth about the noisy one being purchased 2nd hand. They sent him a new one!!!

Point being, I don't know for sure but don't think I would have had much recourse with Jebao as they are overseas without a domestic contact. So it's just my thinking that getting Amazon's, (or whoever's), protection plan on a budget piece of equipment is a good idea because that seems to be the quickest way to replace something in a semi-emergency. (Errr, this seems like a good time to mention that it's a good idea to have a backup plan in place for emergencies that can threaten all that expensive coral in our tanks. For flow, my contingency plan was taken care of early on with a couple of super cheap SunSun pumps that will do the job in a pinch. )

Yes to filter floss. You can get a big old bag at WalMart or sewing stores. It's just polyfill like is used for pillow stuffing, but you want to make sure to get the plain kind, without fire retardant properties. The reason to get a lot is that you'll probably want to follow the floss and toss routine before long. Meaning, you'll remove the used stuff after a few days or so, toss it, and put new floss in.

Mechanical filtration catches detritus, of course, and if we leave it there to break down in the system, it will only lead to elevated nitrates and phosphates. So, any type of floss, sponges, filter pads, and filter socks must be kept clean. Perhaps you won't use floss forever, but it does a very good job at picking up those fine particles kicked up by sand, and it's great to floss and toss when you're scrubbing those new tank diatoms.

So, the IM40 came with filter socks? Idk about those, never used 'em, but folks do complain about them getting clogged and being difficult to clean up. Machine washable filter socks are available, but still... Personally, I think I'd be happier sticking with floss & toss and getting something like an InTank media basket, though probably a knock-off. This kind of thing makes it so easy to manage different stages of filtration, and it's entirely customizable based on what you put in it. You could have different stages of mechanical filtration as well as chemical filtration like ChemiPure and carbon.

Do you plan to grow some chaeto in a rear chamber? This would give you a refugium and it's a very simple project. I love a refugium for keeping nitrates down. I've got a standard 20 gallon long reef, but it's got an Aquaclear 70 with floss, bagged biomedia, and still quite a bit of room for chaeto. I feed 3 fish daily and all the corals about twice a week. I wouldn't say I'm light-handed but the fuge keeps nitrates at 0ppm... always. I've wished they were a little higher and at one point turned the fuge off, at which time I had half the corals and only one fish. Nitrates got up to 15ppm within a few weeks, so the fuge went back on.
 

TheWalkman

Thanks for the heads up on making sure to keep the Jabeo's clean stella1979
Also do plan to do a refegium in one of the chambers in the future leaving room in between the tank and wall to add in the future.
So I realized I made a terrible financial mistake in setting up this tank. Was in a local reef store today looking to see what I might be interested in adding to the tank. And I finally realized how expensive corals can be!!
Now that I'm getting over that any recommendations for begginer coals? Like the softies. Currently plan on a hammer and torch. Some zooanthids. Probably some pulsing Xenia I think it looks cool, but scared because I've heard horror stories.
Light and auto top off should be here Friday. So I'll be spending the weekend setting up equipment for the tank, then filling it to test run for a few days to make sure everything works proberly. My sand should be in next Wednesday so next weekend will be adding rock, sand, and saltwater to the tank!! So close to fish and corals can't wait!
Some Red Sea test kits came in today so happy I'll be getting more accurate results then API.
 

stella1979

Bahahaha! Yes, corals can surely kick you right in the wallet... but I have some news for you. Very few of my own corals were purchased at an LFS. As much as I'd like to support them, there are just deals to be had elsewhere that I couldn't turn down. I'm talking about a World Wide Corals Live Sale my friend. It's a crazy, free-for-all, online sale where buyers are racing to purchase the little beauties at significant discounts. Yes, we pay for the corals, but it feels like a win to buy them, lol. WWC frags are small, but super healthy and always have excellent color. The company does this several times a year, and if I'm not mistaken, we can expect at least 2 more live sales before the end of the year. If you're interested, I'll be happy to share my tips for success.

Yes to euphyllia, (hammers, torches, frogspawn & octospawn). These are LPS corals, while the xenia and zoas are softies. Another LPS I highly recommend is a Duncan. They are lovely, fun to feed and grow like weeds. Nothing is better for a new reefers confidence than coral growth! Pulsing xenia is also quite lovely, and you can have it without worries if you take some precautions. Namely, isolating it on a rock in the sand, like an island, kept well away from your main scape so the xenia can't take a walk. Same goes for green star polyps, (gsp).

Zoas... ughh. Well, they're said to be easy, and I suppose they are for some. For me, they weren't. In the first several months with our tank, I put in 7 different zoa frags, some of which might have been called little colonies with about a dozen polyps. They struggled, got zoa pox, I treated them, they struggled some more. They never grew and were closed often, polyps were lost, and eventually, all off those zoas died or struggled for so long that I couldn't look at them anymore. Not a single one of those first 7 are still with me. Don't even get me started on Rastas... I babied the heck out of them, but they didn't last. So, about 6 months in, I was done with zoas. I didn't even look at them for a long time, until a friend kinda pushed some on me.

And here comes my other tip for getting coral deals. Find your local scene. They are there, and fellow reefers love to share. Corals grow, yeah? Eventually, they grow to the point where we need to frag them to maintain safety for other corals or make room for new ones. Fellow reefers sell corals cheaper than the LFS, you just have to find them. Facebook, Craigslist, and here...

are all good places to start looking for coral deals.

Back to the zoas. I did a trade with a friend, who lives in TN, while I live in SoFlo. We both sent each other frags via 2-day mail, and he really wanted to share his zoas. I wanted to try again but wasn't going to pay top dollar for them. A trade though, well, that felt free. My tank was nearing a year old by this time, and FINALLY, zoas thrived in it. After I saw them grow a pup or two, I went to the LFS and bought a cheap zoa frag, and it's growing too. For me anyway, zoas wanted a mature tank. So, my advice is to not go crazy with them in the beginning like I did.

Are you watching BRStv yet? You should. This whole playlist is great and has helped us a lot.
Can't wait to see your tank get wet!
 

TheWalkman

Busy weekend with my tanks. Lots of maintenance on my Freshwater tanks.
Did my leak test on the Saltwater tank. Got my light in and mounted. Such a clean look. Any recommendations on settings for the lights? Then I organized most of the wires.
Really thinking about getting a custom made stand for this tank.
Can't wait for my sand to get in so I can fill the tank up!!
 

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stella1979

Looks great! Very clean job with the wires... errrr, I used to like to zip-tie/bundle wires too. Then I learned how aggravating it is to unzip them when equipment like pumps need to be cleaned. Hoping that doesn't happen to you! Looks to just be the return? Which should stay pretty clean without a lot of light getting on it.

A custom stand sounds like a fine idea.
 

TheWalkman


IMG_1563.JPG Sorry been crazy busy with work. This weekend kept me busy too! But finally filled the tank up!! So happy can't wait to get some livestock in the tank. Cycle is almost done just need to do some water changes to get my nitrates down.
So my stocking list and order:
Purple firefish
Clean up crew
Royal gramma
Cleaner shrimp
2 Clowns (possibly designer)
Emerald crab?
HI fin goby candy cane pistol shrimp pair
Picked up a cheatomax light for $20 off going to order a InTank media basket today so I can start my refugium soon.
Need to hook up my ATO this week too. Need to figure out what I'll use for a resivore.
 

thesoulpatch

Just get a 5 gallon bucket from home depot or lowes if you wanna go on the cheap end. Get a white one and drill some holes in the lid bam. Done. I love it, I just toss a light at the side and see if I need to fill it up. Cost less than $5.
 

TheWalkman

Just get a 5 gallon bucket from home depot or lowes if you wanna go on the cheap end. Get a white one and drill some holes in the lid bam. Done. I love it, I just toss a light at the side and see if I need to fill it up. Cost less than $5.
I'm going to run my water jug for the time being
But want to find a cleaner looking solution since the tank is in my living room.
 

stella1979

Well, lol, if you're up for it, Trigger Systems makes some nice looking reservoirs. In looking at them though, I've often thought of how my hubs is pretty handy with some acrylic and silicone, so perhaps one could be DIY'd.

I suppose I'm wondering why you're holding off on the goby and shrimp to be added last? Generally, we want to stock based on temperament, starting with the least aggressive fish and working our way up to the most aggressive. This is so peaceful or timid fish can find a safe space in the tank, establish themselves and begin eating well before any greedy guys like clownfish are added.

Emerald crab? Did you intend to make that a question? Lol, if you looked, you'd find I'm not a crab lover, so take this with a grain of salt. Many, many reefers love them, and just as many will never have another. They are loved for eating algae that other cuc won't touch, like bubble and bryopsis. They are hated because sometimes they go rogue and begin eating softies and LPS corals. So, I've avoided them so far, but do need to up my cuc game... I've been advised to feed them meaty foods a few times a week and to try to get a female.
 

TheWalkman

I suppose I'm wondering why you're holding off on the goby and shrimp to be added last? Generally, we want to stock based on temperament, starting with the least aggressive fish and working our way up to the most aggressive. This is so peaceful or timid fish can find a safe space in the tank, establish themselves and begin eating well before any greedy guys like clownfish are added.
I've heard of pistol shrimp killing other inverts that enter their territory. So thinking I could modulate some of that by adding him last. Although the stories might be from tiger pistol shrimp more. You think I should have the goby shrimp pair earlier in the list?
Also emerald crab is still a maybe. I really like inverts but like you said stories of damaging coral.
 

stella1979

Hmmm, can't say that I've heard much about the dangers of goby pistol shrimp. I have a Randalls (candy cane) pistol, (because he's prettier than a tiger), but other than him, only snails for inverts, so I couldn't really comment on how dangerous he might be. I suppose any creature would do their best to protect their territory though, so your comments make sense to me.

I did get the WRONG shrimp first, and that was a Red Caribbean pistol. The LFS told me he'd pair with a goby, and I only found out that these guys pair with anemones later, after he'd killed two gobies. Guess he didn't appreciate their advances. He snapped a lot, which could be heard quite well even when in a different room. I rarely hear old Randall snapping and though he's a hard little worker and has shifted a lot of sand, he is rarely seen.

So, it's really the fish that concerns me. Pistol gobies are not the bravest of fish, and clowns are quite territorial and wide-ranging. In smallish setups, adding anything that can't handle a clownfish, after the clownfish are established, is a bit worrying to me. I only have a 20g, but it's 30 inches long, and though he's not aggressive, he is quite active. The clown uses the whole tank, and that puts my firefish on edge. Scorch took a long time to come out of his lair after the clown's appearance, and I fear that if the clown were in the tank first, Scorch would never have become comfortable enough to survive. Yep, I also have a watchman goby paired with Randall, but the goby and clown were together in a tiny fish box at an LFS, and have a strange and fascinating relationship still. Lol, I think they're confused because they sleep together, rub up on each other, and sometimes fight pretty hard too.

Anyway, if I were in your shoes, I would stock in the following order, giving 2-3 weeks between additions so newbs get established before more newbs are added.

Firefish + CUC
Cleaner Shrimps
Goby & Pistol Shrimp
Gramma
Clowns
(The last two are your biggest 'aggressors' and could probably be added in either order.)

Also, if I had your tank size, I'd definitely want a smaller wrasse species. They are beautiful, very cool fish to watch, AND will eat pest! There's nothing better than a real looker that also does a fine job. If you aren't keen on adding additional fish, consider switching out the gramma for one of these guys.
 

TheWalkman

Been busy so I got lazy about posting updates here. But my tank is up and running going through the uglies right now. Added a firefish, a Zoa and leather last week.
Then added another 7 corals from reef-a-Paloza Sunday.
I have my refugium up and going with my chaeto max light and Intank media basket.
 

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stella1979

How could you not tell us about ReefAPalooza?!?!?!??? Lol, jk, jk. I hope to make it to one in Orlando one of these days. I'm totally not kidding about this though... What did you get???

I love a firefish! Mine is called Scorch and he's my baby.
 

TheWalkman


455F80D3-DA4B-432F-A697-3EE7A2C501D1.jpeg
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2418CAFA-1663-48AE-AEFA-693D3503B8AC.jpeg Here’s some pictures of the corals I got at reef-a-paloza. Not sure about the two at the top. But got a torch, golden mushroom, blasto, zoathid, blasto, and Duncan
 

stella1979

Nice! The two at the top both appear to be in the Stylophora family, which includes Birdsnest corals. I'm unsure which of the family is officially a Birdsnest, as that name is used a lot, but I believe really only refers to a single species. Anyhow, unsure of the species you have there but both look to be Stylos and not a lot of people would call you out for referring to both as Birdsnest, (though it could be that neither are.) Make sense?
 

TheWalkman

Thanks i
Nice! The two at the top both appear to be in the Stylophora family, which includes Birdsnest corals. I'm unsure which of the family is officially a Birdsnest, as that name is used a lot, but I believe really only refers to a single species. Anyhow, unsure of the species you have there but both look to be Stylos and not a lot of people would call you out for referring to both as Birdsnest, (though it could be that neither are.) Make sense?
Thanks! I asked the guy I bought it from if it was a birds nest he said no. I only got it because it was free when I bought three corals.
I’ll do more research though
 

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