Stella's Salty 20g


Edit: Current stock and equipment list, which I will keep updated here.

20g Long - painted the back black with Plasti-Dip. I love it! Looks great and overspray rubs right off.
20 lbs. dry rock
20 lbs. live sand
RODI filtration unit, Red Sea salt/blue bucket, refractometer for checking salinity.
10 gallon Brute trash can, Maxijet 900 and a Jager 75W for mixing and heating saltwater
AquaClear 70 HOB - It's modified to act as a refugium, while still able to handle mechanical, biological and chemical filtration.
ACKE 24W Plant light - over the AC70 for growing the chaeto
100W Jager heater + an Inkbird, a separate temperature controller with a probe thermometer.
Light - SB Reef Lights Ultra 22"
2 x Jebao OW programmable pumps
Test Kits - Red Sea Pro kits for Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium, Nitrates and Phosphates. API test kits for Ammonia & Nitrites
Stand - this is actually an entryway bench. This tank is going under an existing shelf to I needed something particularly short.
DIY Automatic Top Off Unit (details on page 68 of this thread)
BRS (Bulk Reef Supply) 2 Part Dosing Kit, which is actually 3 parts, for dosing calcium, alkalinity and magnesium.
DIY Dosing Unit (doses Calc and Alk daily, Mag is dosed manually and less frequently.)

Stock as of 04/11/19
1 designer Clownfish (perhaps a Black Snowflake? Unsure and don't care.)
1 Yellow Watchman Goby paired with a Randall's Pistol Shrimp
1 Royal Gramma Basslet
3 Trochus Snails
1 Nassarius Snail

2 Hammers
Kryptonite trumpet
2 Rock Flower Anemones
3 Favias
1 Favite
War Coral
2 Platygyra (Jason Fox High Voltage and WWC Regal)
2 Leptastrea (WWC Grapes and Limes and John Deere... which is orange, lol)
5 Acans
2 Chalice corals
Birdnest Stylo
Rainbow Montipora
JedI Mind Trick Montipora
Several Shrooms - 3 Ricordea Floridae, 1 Superman Rhodactis, 1 Rainbow Rhodactis, 1 Fruity Loops Discossoma
Jason Fox Special Porites
Green Leptoseris
Orange Leptoseris
2 Blastos
Green Slimer Acro
Green Millepora Acro
1 unidentified, but very beautiful Acro
2 Montipora Capricornis, red & green
3 varieties of zoanthids
1 Galaxea


Hey guys Oh boy, here I go…

I'm still pretty new to forums and have never made a build thread. I'm making this as a sort of log for myself as well. I am very much still learning. Please forgive my newbie mistakes.

So, we have very little space but with two Freshwater tanks running I can't help myself, I am originally an island girl after all. So, I've carved out an area where I can fit a 20 gallon long Saltwater tank. YAY!

Due to space restrictions and because we have an RO system installed, we have decided to go without a sump. We'll surely stay on top of the wc's and test regularly.

We'll also be adding a pound or two of live rock after we find the perfect LFS to get it from. There are a lot of places to choose from around here, just not sure which one is best yet.

We’re also not quite set on which products we’ll use to maintain calcium and magnesium levels, but we’ll get there.

We're taking it slow and want to get everything just right before we add any stock. We’re also quite frugal and will take the time to find the best bang for our bucks. Like to DIY when possible too.

The eventual goal is for this to be a nano reef tank but we’ll start it as a FOWLR. The only thing we’re in love with so far are cleaner shrimp. We’d like to have a Scarlet Skunk. Of course we’d love our first fish to be hardy and have considered a Percula Clown but I’m certainly open to other possibilities. I’d love something more colorful, maybe a firefish. We’re pretty good on the orange around here with our goldfish. We haven’t decided yet on fish, just want a colorful, non-aggressive species that will do well with the corals we want to introduce later. We’ve been reading a lot but advice from personal experience is great!

So that’s the plan as of now. I’ve been lurking a bit on the Saltwater forums lately and would love to hear any comments or advice. Paging MightyNanoTank


High five! Looks like you've been doing some research

You have the perfect set-up! Not sure what I would even change... Let me sift through your set-up again.

20lbs of sand is actually perfect. Unless you want a thick looking layer of sand. Less sand = easier maintenance.
20lbs of live rock - During your rockscape, try to avoid just piling rocks together or near the back. You'll want to give a good 2" clearance on all sides for cleaning and gravel vacuum purposes. To give you an idea check out CJ's Aquariums new set-up ad see how he rock-scaped his tank. He did a perfect job. The water flow is able to go through all areas of the rock rock and you can easily clean the bottom to avoid any detritus getting trapped.
This will be key in keeping a long-term successful tank.

When you say RO, you mean RO/DI yeah?
Perfect on the refractometer. You will want to get refractometer calibration fluid as well to calibrate it precisely during your water changes. The salt I use, typically takes 1/2 cup per gallon to mix at 1.025. When I measure the salinity and it doesn't look too right, I will recalibrate the refracto and double check the salinity.

Love the AQ70HOB. Skip the sponge and just use floss instead (toss out the floss each week). When you turn it into a refugium, just throw in bio-media and chaeto. Get a small LED light for the chaeto and by the 2nd to 4th week watch as your nitrates slowly creep down to 0. My water was too clean, I actually had to cut back my lighting schedule on my chaeto. You'll want to stay in the 5PPM range of Nitrates for keeping LPS corals and below.

API Test kit - this will get you started as a FOWLR because calcium, mag, etc.. won't mean much, but once you get into corals look into better kits to measure, KH, Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphates. Look into Salifert and Red Sea test kits specifically for those.

You'll be fine without a sump. Sumps are nice to hide all the equipments and etc... But you'll accomplish the same with your set-up.

Maintaining calcium and magnesium is such a pain lol. I am currently using Brightwell and Kent, though there's a lot of different products out there. Reefers all have different preferences, so trial and error to see what you like and what works best for you.

Clownfishes also comes in black
If you want to stay away from clowns... you can definitely look into Firefishes, Starry Blenny, bi-color blenny, yasha goby + randall shrimp (though they are not always swimming out in the open)
Some gobies to look into: - just make sure they fit the minimum requirement.
Skunk cleaner shrimps are neat, though they do steal food from your corals (something to think about down the line)
Unique piece that I've really been liking is a Royal Urchin aka Tuxedo Urchin.

Can't wait to see your set-up!

Oh - if I had a chance to start another tank... I would actually go the dry rock set-up route just like CJ's Aquarium in the youtube video I linked. This way I can take my time on the exact rockscaping I want and letting everything happen naturally. I had to rush through my IM25 gallon set-up because I didn't want a huge die off with my BB colony when transferring things over from my 15G. Though it does take a lot longer in a dry rock set-up, but I think it's worth it.


Thanks! You have no idea how excited I am! Want to hear a good one? Almost 20 years ago I had just graduated and moved in with my future spouse. He had an old broken down boat. Our buddy had a running 55 gallon that he was sick of maintaining. So, naturally, we made a trade. These kinds of things can go on when you live on a small island. We succeeded with some live rock, a yellow tang, my beloved yellow-headed jawfish, a blue tipped anemone & clown, as well as a few crabs and shrimp. We failed with the mandarin fish and some type of tiny flounder that a friend gave us. We didn't even have the internet at home then and didn't have much of a clue. Considering how green we were, I'm still proud of it. Kept that tank a couple years until a big move. Here we are all these years later and finally, another Saltwater tank!

No, I don't actually mean RO/DI, just RO. We've had the system awhile, originally for drinking water then much loved for Freshwater tanks because tap nitrates get as high as 80ppm. Do you find the DI part absolutely necessary or do you think we might get by without?

I know it's a lot to look at, but the 20lb. of rock I mentioned is dry. I agree about taking the time to scape and all. Just mentioned getting a piece of two of live to help move things along. Although I am even a little leary about that.

Thanks so much for the link to CJ's videos. We are definitely YouTube-aholics but there's a lot to weed through. I am not an aquascaping pro but I hear what you're saying about doing what's best in the long run. I do plan to leave as much open sand as I can with the rock I have, (BRS Dry Fiji).

Your thoughts and advice are most welcome! I can't wait to get this tank into place and share it with everyone here as well.


HI Stella,

I am not a expert in RO and RODI so you'll want to research more on it.
From what I know is that DI removes the rest of the impurities so that your tank will not have to deal with any algae issues down the road. Also for removing any impurities that can harm corals that are more sensitive to water qualities. However, I have heard of some folks even using straight tap water to run their tanks, so I think it all boils down to how good/clean your city water is, so I would pick up a TDS meter and start reading up on that.

Ah gotcha. You are going to have a blast with the rockscaping with dry rock.
I love FijI rock. They are so porous.

Yeah - Mandarin's are not easy nor cheap to keep. They blow through a population of copepods in a matter of days. Gets expensive to start dumping $20 a bottle every 3 days. Not to mention their bio-load. No thanks!


Well, I've not given this thread much attention. It's been pretty slow going with this tank as my two other tanks, both FW, are sick. Shortly after writing this I started losing fish in my community tank and have lost a total of 10 fish and 8 shrimp to what I believe to be columnaris. It's been rough.

The Saltwater tank is more in my husband's hands and I'm delighted to say.... We have water!!!


Rockscaping proved to be harder than we thought. I would have preferred to work with lots of smaller pieces (just saw a video from Reefapalooza with STAX rocks, pretty cool )but we were nervous about breaking the rock. I know it can be done and we have the tools. It's just that the rock came to us with areas where you could see that it had been broken. Those areas were quite smooth and didn't look nice and craggy like the rest of the rock. So, we went with the sizes we got so it could have a more natural look. It's still a little cloudy but that's to be expected right now. I'm so thankful to the hubby for this one. Yes! I finally have a tank that I can see from the couch!


I like your scape, I smashed my rocks with a hammer it was rather barbaric but my tank looks good. Id like an upgrade but my sw tank fits in the living room just right on my nest of tables perfect. Il sub this thread.


Thanks for the sub grantm91! I like the scape too! I should've said that.

Like I said, it's going to be slow. Right now we're not even turning on the lights. Trying to let a good amount of biofilm grow before algae starts going crazy.

I like your reef tank too grantm91! I checked out some of your pics. Is that a green anemone sitting in the sand? Really cool looking! How's your experience been with the zoa's? Looks like you have a pretty big colony. I'd like to invest in one of these really bright varieties but I have no experience with them.


No what you see in the sand is a torch coral, the perfect beginners alternative to a nem, I love that coral its my fave,and ask for the buttons an zoaz I need to do some pruning but not done it before so I'm nervous lol they look after them selves if you position them good enough I have found.


We couldn't help it, just had to turn on the lights for a little while. I'm really loving it now!

Our fixture will hold 4 bulbs, but here it is under 2. 1 white, 1 blue


I really love how you can see the porousness of the rock now. Wish I could get better pics


And here's the view from my favorite seat in the house. Looks like there's a great spot for a torch coral in the corner.


It's getting excited and we can't help but think of our first fish. We're hoping we can keep a firefish, a yellow watchman goby with a tiger pistol shrimp, and then a clown to finish it off.

How good are the chances of the goby and the shrimp pairing up do you think? Some people say it's no problem, while I've seen others say that it never worked out. Guess it's the luck of the draw?


I don't know about them gobys and shrimp I never had them. But I love the fire fish I seen a purple one the other day but I have no room I'm contemplating a new tank but its a hard decision as I love where my current one sits and don't know where a bigger one could go. Also I love the yellow rock goby they are so cute lol would look good exploring my little coral colony. You should 100% get a torch too, I don't do nothing special to care for mine or any of my corals but they thrive, so anything you see in my tank go for lol, the only thing ive done is spot feed my nem as I love watching it eat and placed my corals in a good flow not too much not too little and success.


Love the rock scaping. Excellent job!

Pistol shrimp and goby are usually sold in pairs. If that's one of your concerns, buy them paired already. If you do decide to buy them separately, yeah, it's a 50/50 chance with it finding each other and pairing. I bought mine separately and it was love at first sight with them and they paired right away. Make sure to have a lid screen on top. Those gobies are jumpers. I had a small slot in the back of my tank thinking it wouldn't find it... it became Yasha goby jerky I tried pairing my pistol shrimp with a yellow watchman goby, the pistol shrimp didn't like him and never paired with it. Now I just have the pistol shrimp by himself.

Why wouldn't you turn on the lights? By running the lights during the cycle just delays the inevitable diatom and algae bloom. Might as well get it over while your tank has nothing in it. Makes for easy cleaning.


Thanks MightyNanoTank! I'll admit, I was nervous and a bit horrified at my glue job. I'm a paper crafter too and found it tough to glue rocks! I only did one and let the SO take it from there.

You know, it does seem counter intuitive, but we actually want to delay the diatom & algae bloom for a little bit while we build up the nitrifying bacteria in this tank. Mostly so there isn't competition for nutrients.

I also watched or read something that said it was good to let biofilm cover the rocks before the algae bloom, but I can't remember why. Guess there's been a bit of information overload and I don't have the best memory to begin with. I'll try to find it again.

We're going to add a dose of bio-spira in a little while. Go cycle, GO!


Tonight I'm wondering about the introduction of coraline for this tank. We recently checked out several LFS's and found that most of their live rock tanks were filled with cured dry rock. Not exactly what we want. At the last store we visited last weekend we finally saw some actual live rock with visible coraline but there were also clear signs of aiptasia in that tank. There is still one more LFS about an hour away. I dropped in quickly once but didn't have the time for a good look. I do know that the label on their live rock tank said something like "Cuccina Live Rock." Haven't been able to find much about that, even Google yielded little information.

So, after all that and more reading, we've become more nervous about introducing live rock to the tank. But then, how do we get the coraline going? I've heard that some do it with snails, or even just with the empty shells, which sounds ideal but how to get that? Any more ideas about getting coraline in the tank without introducing live rock? Should I not even be worried about this now? Hmmm


With my tank I just bought the rock 2nd hand and its been the beating heart of my tank, I didnt worry about aptaisia or anything nor did I introduce coralline. Best thing I did, within a month I had snails, sea serpents and brittle stars appearing and as its my first sw it was so exciting to just see all the life appearing that's what makes the sw so different and exciting. Literally on its own my tank went from this
To this

In about 4 months, I can't explain enough how good it is to buy 2nd hand live rock.


This morning's thought... Why do most people prefer an open top or a screen rather than the standard glass lid? I guess it's likely for looks because condensation and salt creep are ugly. But then, the glass lid means fewer top offs. What do you guys think?


Asked my self this question a few times too, all I ever really come up with is that the mesh things are light weight, easier to remove for work, and evapouration helps with cooling, I have glass and the only place I get salt creep is under the lip of my hob filter its minor and I can't see it. Id just go with what I liked the glass one is good, looks ok to me ive seen people use accrylic too. I don't mind topping off or condensation but not a fan of my clownfish jumping out I lost a orrange spot goby to jumping and my clown did it but I saved her and did a diy flap set out of a food container.


People go with screen top over glass lid is because of the oxygen gas exchange with the surface agitation created by the power-heads or return pumps. You want to maximize the gas exchange so that your tank has plenty of oxygen for the corals and fish. It's a pretty in depth and scientific explanation for this actually, you can google up the articles written of how oxygen comes in to play with water chemistry.


Never thought or googled on the scientific side, I had an oxygen problem when I started I elevated my hob to create more surface agitation. The only real big problem ive ever had actually. Used birthyday candles to wedge it up as a quick fix and its been the same ever since lol


I guess that seems obvious now. Our surface agitation is pretty good but the lid is pretty necessary with small children. How do you know when you have low oxygen exchange?


You can get an o2 test but I didn't my clowns were gasping at the top in the early days I just knew.



Nothing much has changed in the looks department. I do kind of love the little dunes in the sand, there are a couple huge ones in the back. It's because we've had an extra pump in there for a while but it won't stay.

Nitrogen cycle is complete! Thinking over ways to best develop an anaerobic bacteria colony tonight. The light timer took forever to ship for some reason but will be here in a few days, so we should be on a regular light schedule this week. Guess we're going to start seeing those diatoms soon. :yuck: So ugly... hope to move through this phase easily.


Again, no big changes as of yet... The light has been on 6.5 hours a day for about a week now and we've been keeping the cycle up with pure ammonia. I kind of thought we'd start seeing diatoms by now but nope, still looking a little too clean in there.

Our RO filter isn't taking care of all the nitrates for the replacement water, which is unsurprising because they are very high in the tap. I hoped that a 5 stage RO would be enough but the water is still testing at 2ppm. We're considering the DI stage, and/or Matrix, and/or chaeto. We shall see how the hubby decides to move forward from here. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.


bump the lighting schedule up a bit more like 8-10 hours. you have a power-head on the right side yeah?
I am so happy that you are patient Stella! It definitely pays off in the end.

I think once you add in the DI stage it should be better. Have you checked the TDS?

By the way, I just love the scaping of your tank. It's going to look so good once you get corals in.


Aw shucks, thanks Nart. We do have a power-head on the right and the TDS of the RO water is 15. Indeed, patience pays but it's getting hard... my husband's birthday was a few days ago. Gift cards are burning a hole... want to go to the LFS!! This has been a nice distraction though. It was my favorite gift to give but yeah... It's just like it's both o' ours. We'll just keep it down on my bookshelf, lol.
Edit: Oops, forgot the pic...



What are your t5 units like? Were they expensive and how did you hang them? I wanted t5 lights but went led again on my new set up as it worked out cheaper for me, don't know about you but the lighting was the hardes part to decide about for me lol.


I'm not sure about the fixture grantm91... I'll have to ask the SO 'cause he bought it and handled everything. It's from Amazon and wasn't very expensive. It's mounted under a counter in my home so the hanging was easy enough. The t5's are Coral Life, again, nothing fancy or too pricey but we think it'll get the job done for a while yet since we'll be starting with softies and LPS. Right now my favorites are Duncan's and Hammer Torch's... but that's probably a ways down the road.


Good choice I have a torch, duncan and softys just waiting on a good enough hammer to pop up for cheap, and I'm sure the t5 will surfice for all those, it does look nice id like to see a wide angle shot as the lights are stook to a unit, I love diy especially when its to incorporate aquariums and the kit to your home.


Wondering if I have a good supply of Saltwater fish food this morning.

NLS Small Fish Formula 0.5mm pellets
Omega One COLOR Micro pellets, also 0.5mm
Frozen Mysis Shrimp
Frozen Brine Shrimp

I've been considering some flakes, only because I've had some picky Freshwater fish who didn't eat pellets well in the past.
My list feels kind of small compared to the variety of foods I feed my Freshwater fishes. What do you guys think?


I use the pellets I have occasionally, mostly feed with the mysis out of my pippet, I also feed my inhabitants frozen prawn lol the shrimp loves it and the nems. your foods look good to me it all depends on what you will be keeping. I tend to feed the frozen stuff more as its less of a pollutant to the water, the pellets are the worst thing as they are compacted little balls of nutrients I make sure I watch the fish eat them one by one rather than drop ten in, that's my way for you any way.

I'm less strict with my fw tanks I always have been.


Yes, we will be spot feeding and cleaning out 'leftovers'. We're pretty set on our stock plan of a firefish, a clown, a watchman goby and a pistol shrimp. Of course we'll see how that works out and eventually there will be corals as well. We don't want 'nems though, (although I have tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the hubby to get some RFA's), so no worries about their diet.

Any experience with Reef ChilI or Reef Roids for coral feedings? Our first corals will likely be xenias and zoas, eventually moving on with a Duncan or Elegance as well as a torch. This is all in our heads for now and we'll see how things work out. Just like to be prepared.


For the xenias and zoas I use this occasionally
ca6aaf906ccdd445f7c4c2b494b48a8a.jpg I just give them the very occasional random squirt but they are pretty self sustaining, to be honest I don't really use it much if at all now as I think all my softies spread fast some are like weeds seriously keep an eye on them, I thrown a lot away yesterday as they were really invading my rock. Ask for the duncan and torch,they have been self sustaining for me too, the torch has a new head every month. Dont own an elegance doubt I ever will too I only get things I really like and that aren't demanding at all.

One on the nems, the purple tip condy, my gf made me get it when we were picking up an fx6 as she thought the clowns would host it, I didn't really want it as I knew otherwise but to make her happy I impulse bought lol. Its since became my favourite thing in the tank seriously its epic it earned my respect when it stung me and took over one of my rocks its been there ever since, it even fights with my peppermint shrimp that thing is a beast lol. The bta I'm not so sure it wandered for a couple of days then yesterday I put it on a rock which I thought it would love and its moved in, can't get it out, its like in the rock its annoyed me lol that one doesn't sting and I am not confident about it or particularly fond of it at the moment.


stella1979 what?? Why no RFAs? That's like one of my favorite corals. They are pretty harmless to other corals too. So easy to keep and beautiful. When they reach sexual maturity they will spawn hundreds of tiny RFAs in your tank.

Just a tip with the frozen foods. I use tongs to grab the unfrozen shrimp to feed the fishes and corals. That way I minimize the shrimp juice unnecessarily polluting the water. Unless you rinse them out in RODI water, which might be the cleanest method.


stella1979 what?? Why no RFAs?

I know!!! I think I may have changed his mind about them today. We visited our LFS today and they had about 8 RFA's in a beautiful 8 gallon nano. I wish I had taken a picture of that, it's very colorful with all the nems and a variety of really colorful zoas.

It was getting mighty old dosing ammonia to our tank to keep the nitro cycle up. So... this happened today.


We spied him a couple weeks ago and he was still looking good today so he came home with us. He's doing some exploring but also seems to have established a burrow under the big rock. He's heading into it in the second picture. We'll continue to take things slow but it sure is nice having some activity in the tank.


Beautiful !! I'm torn between one of those and a yellow rock goby, not yet though as I'm pulling my hair out with the scape and my corals at the moment, also I read some stuff about them not going well with the clowns, looks amazing though so colourful and smooth looking it is good to see something making a home out of your set up.


Too early to tell what may happen but here's a little update on Scorch the firefish, (I really tried not to name him, I swear.) He immediately scouted out a little burrow, but then found one he likes better where he spends much of his time. He ate a couple pellets the first night, and did the same on day two. Generally he's burrowed in during all light off hours and ventures out here and there when lights are on.

Today is day 3 and we decided to feed him twice today. Ate pellets well this morning then spent about six straight hours out of his burrow. This was his longest 'outing' so far. He then burrowed in again and did not show his face when we offered him mysis for the first time this evening. This is worrying but again, we're only on day 3. So, still nervously hoping for the best.

Silly question... I had a hard time fishing the little mysis shrimp out of the minI strainer I bought just for this purpose. Am I missing something here? I went after it with a spoon then with my fingers when I almost crushed it. The whole time I'm thinking, "I'm not doing this right."

Going shopping for xenia this weekend. At last weekend's LFS we found some on a little piece of live rock, which is preferred to plugs. It looked kind of silver but was under a very blue light so I'm not sure. It wasn't pulsing though. If it is a pulsing variety, what are the chances of it pulsing in my tank when it's not at the store? @MightyNanoTank Your's was looking great in your recent vid. Has it always been so healthy?


Ah - your tag didn't work because of the smiley face at the end of my name, so I just now saw this post.
Let me take my response from my thread and move it over here.

So for the pulsing xenias they are soo weird. It's also one of those corals labeled as beginners but can do fine in one tank and melt in another.
I also bought a small pulsing xenia frag before and I was watching it die in my tank over a month. I tried everything but could not keep it alive. I actually gave up keeping xenias in my tank until I dropped by my local frag swap. This guy was selling the most beautiful pulsing xenias, but I told him my story and he said "trust me dude. I had the same issue as you, but this strand of xenias... they will take off in your tank. 1 year later, you will be sorry you ever kept em inside your tank" I told him, let me look around and I will think about it. He ended up leaving early and actually gave me about 6 frags of his pulsing xenias for free.
I really thought they were going to die over time. At first it looked like it. The first week it was all pulsing, but 2nd week in... it stopped pulsing completely. Looked droopy... Nothing really happened. So I just threw em all in the corner and didn't care much about them.
I am not exactly sure what I did... because I dose phytoplankton and coral accel into the tank. A month later... are they really starting to pulse again?? Another week goes by, holy smokes, they are attaching themselves to rocks and growing heads after heads.

And today? I am actually kind of afraid they will take over my whole tank. Currently I am keeping them on a separate rock away from everything. I need to remove one of the xenias that attached itself to one of my main rocks.
My suggestion is, try to buy the bigger xenia frag. They seem to survive better when it's a bigger colony. If it starts to look droopy, check your parameters. If they are in check, maybe try some of the supplements I use.
Also - yes, there's different kinds of puling xenias, I know one of them is named pom pom pulsing xenias. They are the shorter version, looks like pom poms. lol
Oh yeah - I notice my xenias during the day, with my blue/white lights on, they don't pulse as much. But once my white light dials down and it's mostly blues, they pulse a lot more. In the video, when you saw it pulsing, it had been under blue lights for a few hours. I switched it over to white lights to film some videos.

Fishing out the uneaten frozen Mysis shrimp? Either use a baster or, the method I use is a pair of longer tongs. The ones where people use to feed their reptiles.
Firefishes in generally are very skittish. They will open up in time and hang out in the open more, but it might take a while.

If you don't have any luck with the xenias... may I suggest a Duncan? They are pretty hardy and a lot of fun to keep.


Thanks again MightyNanoTank

My frustration with the mysis lies in getting them out of the strainer after they've been rinsed, before they're in the tank. Like I said, silly, but I felt like I had the wrong approach. I'll get there...

grantm91 Do you have a thread for your tank? If not, I'd love to see one... If so, please direct me to it. I've enjoyed your posts on this thread as well as Nart's. So, a yellow rock goby? Is that the same as what we call the yellow watchman goby over here? That's actually next on our fish list! It'll be a month or two but maybe we can learn about that fish together.

I can't wait to see your full tank update MightyNanoTank ! If I may be greedy here... grantm91, you should do one too!


Ohhhhhhhh..... so what I do is, I have a small little glass bowl that I fill with RODI water and toss the cube of Mysis shrimp in.
If you are feeling fancy, you can put some liquid garlic extract to entice the fishes to eat as well and (helps build their immune system?)

Anyways, I let it thaw in the bowl and just use my thongs and grab the Mysis from the bowl as I feed.
I am very meticulous that everything gets fed in the tank from fishes, to inverts, to corals (every polyp/head)... so the whole process on my entire tank feeding day usually takes 20minutes lol. On just fish feeding days though, it will take about 5minutes.


I do have a thread with my tanks on but its not as good as @mightynanotanks because mine is very basic and I'm not as good at getting everything covered in detail like he does, I find he never forgets any fine detail off I really enjoy his content these days. I miss a lot of stuff, I set this thread up Easy Reefing, Reef,fowlr. For The Beginners/minimalist there is some good stuff in there I aI'm my stuff at people who may be anxious of setting a sw tank up to try and show them how good it can look even if your a beginner. I did it because of all the threads coming up recently asking about getting in to the sw hobby and because my old tank was getting a lot of love lol.

The yellow watchman goby I believe is different to the rock goby, ive heard the rock goby referred to as a clown goby you should check them out they like hanging out on the rock work and are only small they look really cool ! Also on what MightyNanoTank said, reference coral spreading, that is all too true lol, it can become a nightmare as I learned with some brown button pollyps, they were my first ever little frag and good god they are like weeds so be careful where you put stuff and just keep it in mind because its no fun taking the largest rock out of the tank to pull coral off it because its taken over. I recently had to throw a lot away, a quick tip for you which I learnt from first hand experience or maybe inexperience lol: the more beautiful/colourful the zoa/button the less likely it is to take over, ive only had an actual problem with the brown ones, also just be tactical with the placement of stuff, keep it all in good view with room where you can get a scalpel and tweezers in, that's how I'm operating from now on. Il probably update my thread with pics and a vid next week as I'm having a diatom party at the moment because I decided to add some extra sand when I put the new set up together because I'm full of bright ideas lol.


grantm91 I enjoy browsing your stuff too. Straight to the point and a very good starting basis for folks hopping right in to see how basic a Saltwater really is. As basic and low cost you want to get or to how fancy and expensive you want it to be.
I think sometimes I can overload on information, just because I'm pretty passionate about it and whoever wants to take the time to read I hope I can help the next person cover all their bases as well and not make the same mistakes I did.

Lol about the brown button polyps. I got some blue palys for free and ugh... it attached itself to rocks and just growing like weed. I have to do some work this weekend and try to remove one of those head that started growing on my xenias rock.. otherwise I'm afraid the blue paly might sting the xenias over time. But yeah, rule of thumb for that stuff is, generally the cheaper or less colored stuff will grow like weed once they adapt to your tank. Designer ones take a lot longer, though once it adapts too and if it really likes your tank it has the potential to take off too... I wouldn't mind some of my fancy zoas taking off because I wouldn't mind fragging it and trading for different corals.

Hey Grant - are you still using Red Sea Pro Coral Salt by the way?


grantm91 I enjoy browsing your stuff too. Straight to the point and a very good starting basis for folks hopping right in to see how basic a Saltwater really is. As basic and low cost you want to get or to how fancy and expensive you want it to be.
I think sometimes I can overload on information, just because I'm pretty passionate about it and whoever wants to take the time to read I hope I can help the next person cover all their bases as well and not make the same mistakes I did.

Lol about the brown button polyps. I got some blue palys for free and ugh... it attached itself to rocks and just growing like weed. I have to do some work this weekend and try to remove one of those head that start growing on my xenias rock.. otherwise I'm afraid the blue paly might sting the xenias over time. But yeah, rule of thumb for that stuff is, generally the cheaper or less colored stuff will grow like weed once they adapt to your tank. Designer ones take a lot longer, though once it adapts too and if it really likes your tank it has the potential to take off too... though I wouldn't mind some of my fancy zoas taking off because I wouldn't mind fragging it and trading for different corals.

Hey Grant - are you still using Red Sea Pro Coral Salt by the way?

I just ran out and need to pick some up on Friday I'm thinking about getting it again though as its done me good, new heads on the torch and a couple on the Duncan, and just all round happy corals even with my minimalist approach I don't know if its just luck or the salt or what so I'm sheepish about experimenting because of prices and because of the amount you have to buy and how long it lasts you. Id like to try something else but I think it could be a bad idea as I don't test for any trace elements and because I'm not as clued up as I should be, I can't find a bad thing to say about the red sea coral pro apart from the price compared to others. And your passion and info overloads pay off lol the mandI and the baby brine shrimp thing really impressed me love the way its just sat on the feeder thing looking all happy and content, that's some good sw fish keeping right there in that video.


grantm91 yeah - I was just wondering and was going let you know. Kind of like, if it aint broken don't fix it. I switched over to the normal one and it brought my parameters pretty low. Lower than where I want it to be. So what I do now for a 4 gallon water change is 3 x 1/2 cup RSCS and 1 x 1/2 cup RSCPS. That gets my parameters perfectly where I want it to be, so when the ATO kicks in and doses Kalk my parameters are steady. But yeah, Red Sea Coral Pro Salt is still good, though I would recommend to beginners to mix at a salinity of 1.024 - 1.025 that way your dKH and other values isn't so high.

It's also partial reason why many of the corals didn't do well in my tank at first when I only used RSCPS and mixing it at 1.026.
LFS and vendors keep their corals at around 8 dKH and etc... so when it went in my tank it was now at a value of 12-13 dKH. So, even if you drip acclimate before it goes in the tank, it will still take a month or two before it gets used to your tank. Anyways, just something I noticed and thought about.

Get this... I just ordered white worms to help fatten the mandI up. The wife is going to freak out when she see's the worms lol.
When I get more time I will do a better one. I just thought of ya'll when I was feeding the baby brine and said "hey. I'll do a quick video"


Wow guys, I can't say how much I appreciate the discussions... the hubby is going to love reading about your salt experiences. I am so in love with this tank but it's really his baby and he's been doing the testing. Thank goodness for that as my Freshwater tanks keep me more than busy... trying to get good with a planted tank too right now. With the Saltwater we're more worried about nitrates around 12ppm right now but we'll get that under control soon. I'll have to check with him regarding calcium and magnesium but I am pretty sure alkalinity tested at about 8 dKH recently. We were thinking that was too low but maybe not? I guess we'll see.


8 dKH is perfect! that's where most of the experienced reefers keep their dKH at.

12PPM Nitrates isn't bad, but yeah, probably a good idea to lower it and stay ahead of the curve before anything is in it and addressing it afterwards.
2ppm - 5ppm Nitrates is where you want to be at as you progress with harder to keep LPS corals.
and 0.00 to 0.02 for Phosphates ideally.


Wow guys, I can't say how much I appreciate the discussions... Freshwater tanks keep me more than busy

I appreciate all your guys posts, I think I can count on one hand the regular responsive users who have sw set ups I love following your threads and chatting,

And I also have a 120,55 and 29 g fresh set ups stella it is a lot to keep up with lol the 29 is just a fry setup under the 55 with about eight 4 week old white convicts in there as a pre sponge fell off a power filter and most of them got chewed I'm enjoying watching the eight grow I sold the parents reluctantly but I may keep one of the eight in the 29 as a permanent pet, till my fire mouth reach sexual maturity but I'm enjoying raising them.


grantm91 so awesome that you still have passion for your Freshwater tanks.
Once I got into Saltwater I completely lost interest in FW. It got a little too stale for me. I downsized my 20 long Freshwater community to a 5G and sold everything else. Sadly, I hardly ever notice the Freshwater tank anymore, except for feeding and water changes. Wish I could re-home my Freshwater fishes to someone local to me.


grantm91 so awesome that you still have passion for your Freshwater tanks.
Once I got into Saltwater I completely lost interest in FW. It got a little too stale for me. I downsized my 20 long Freshwater community to a 5G and sold everything else. Sadly, I hardly ever notice the Freshwater tank anymore, except for feeding and water changes. Wish I could re-home my Freshwater fishes to someone local to me.

Ahhh nooo that's sad ! Lol I love my fw fish, cichlids are the reason I got in the hobby, I'm an accidental reefer, I seen a beautiful rimless tank for cheap that was the same size as a table I have so I got the tank and flipped a coin for figure 8 puffer or saltwater set up, then boom the coral bug bit and ive even upgraded that tank to a bigger one now as you know, I really love both sides of the hobby probably because its also the only hobby I'm truly dedicated to and take seriously unless you class owning 1 golf club and just smacking golf balls down a range as a hobby lol sorry stella1979 if we hijacked a little.
That's it in a nutshell.


No worries about hijacking around here y'all. All aquarist experiences are welcome on this thread... I still love my Freshwater too. I'm actually going to pick up some fishes for that one this weekend too.

Let's get back to salty business.

I wanted to ask about coral dips... do you do them? What product do you use? What's your process?

Also, what do you do with frag plugs? Leave them on? I'm worried about that because I've heard that the dip can penetrate the plugs then leach into the tank. In case you can't tell, I've been watching some BRS TV.


Well heres what I do, I only have softies a torch and a Duncan, with the torch I got it as like 3 heads stuck to a rock so I had a good look to see its healthy before I took it from the shop as it was £40 and when I got it home I cleaned the stoney part with a toothbrush to get anything off, literally scrubbing it and rinsing the brush under the tap. The Duncan my gf sister just turned up with it in a bag on my birthday lol but same again but I was I little more gentle, then straight in the tank.
The softies I buy frags on rocks then when I get home they go in a plastic container where I go to work on them with tweezers and a scalpel splitting them apart or even using a hammer and a chisel to brake the rock if its a big frag, I've found aptasias between them and hair algae and even a red leg hermit on a big one lol still have him! I think I'm a bit of a barbaric cowboy but it works for me the softies in my tank have been through a lot but they are resilient I have found. Ive not done lots but Ive done a few the shop near me is good as in it sells some really messy frags what have just been broke off a big rock they can be really messy but have all sorts of heads on them, il take pics next time I go to show you what I mean. Forgot to mention I stick them back on to rocks with gorilla glues gel super glue ive used it since day one and will continue to do so.


Haha - we know you don't mind the hijacking. The mods do though. So our convos might get moved, reallllll quick.

I used to use Coral Rx dip when I first started. I would put the frag/frag plug after the dip and right in my tank and never had any issues.
I don't really dip anymore even though I should. But the only two LFS that I visit do a really good job QT'ing and dipping all their corals before they sell it, so generally I do a quick temp acclimate --> pour it out in a bowl and I do 1/3 cup of my tank water every 5 minutes for 3-4 times and it's ready to go in my tank.

Frag plugs can hide some pretty nasty hitchhickers, especially so if your LFS is all about a high volume sales. Like, if they just buy in bulk, don't QT, don't dip, toss it in their tanks and sell it right back out. You should ask them what their process is when they get corals and guage from there.
I know some people dip and keep their frag plugs and put them right in their tank. I personally don't like frag plugs, so I pop them off before I put the corals in my tank.

Oh - you should visit World Wide Coral's website. They have the cleanest and most immaculate QT process for all their corals. Even their shop is spotless. Anyways, they do Frag auctions with no reserves and starting .99 cent bids from time to time. I did it once, it's a $40 overnight shipping, but you can combine ship on all the stuff you win. Shipping sounds expensive, though you will win some amazing frags for a really good price. I think I spent $120 out the door last time and got 5 frags that I don't typically see at my LFS. One of them is a rainbow enchinata. I never even heard or seen a echinata coral lol.

My recommendation is... for your first go around. Dip your corals in Coral Rx or a dip of your choice. Get a turkey baster and use it to blow on the frag a few times all around and beneath. After the dip, it should be okay to put in your tank. If a hitchhiker makes it through the process just deal with it then. Chances are pretty low if your LFS is reputable.
stella1979 are you in Florida now?? WWC is located in FL lol. Make a trip there IMO!

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