Newbie Nuvo 40 Gallon Build

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Builds' started by TheWalkman, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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
    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?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  2. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    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.
  3. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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.

  4. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    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

  5. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  6. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    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! :D 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.
  7. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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.
  8. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    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.
  9. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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?

    Attached Files:

  10. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

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

    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.
  11. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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.

    Attached Files:

  12. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    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 $$.
  13. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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.
  14. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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?
  15. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Yes, the API master kit is good enough for cycling, though you should know that the ammonia kit can give a false positive.:meh: 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.:rolleyes:
  16. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    @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!
  17. Lchi87

    Lchi87ModeratorModerator Member

    @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!
  18. OP

    TheWalkmanValued MemberMember

    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?
  19. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    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,:wacky: and don't choose to use a scale, you will become more proficient in measuring salt over time. ;)
  20. xiholdtruex

    xiholdtruexWell Known MemberMember

    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 5g 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.

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