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 Going for the Plunge!!!

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2SciCrazed
First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
2SciCrazed

Posts : 650
Location : Middle TN
Favorite Fish: : Anything that's not belly up!

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PostSubject: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime8/19/2012, 3:11 pm

OK, been a ghost around here for a while. Working 60 hours a weeks + doing online masters + having kids + running farm tends to do that to a person. lol!

So what's been going on with me.... Well, since I've conquered the planted tank - I'm looking for something new and challenging to learn and then bring into the classroom. (BTW did manage to get AP Environmental Science in the school this year. Having a BLAST using aquarium models for researching stuff with them!) Of course, what is more fascinating than a coral system with some snails/shrimp/ other invertebrates?

In pursuit of this goal, I broke down one of my 10G planted tanks, cleaned it out, filled it with ocean water mix + live sand + 1.5 lbs of live rock. Off with the sponge filters and pulled out one of my old Cascade Internal filters. Out with the 6500K lights and in with the 50/50 mix of blue lights and 10,000K spectrum. Did research the protein skimmers, but feel its not necessary for this minitank since I won't be overpopulating. The biological portion of the Cascade filter should handle the projected DOS load.

Now the cycling has started. There is a morel-looking sponge hanging off the small chunk of live rock. Pretty sure it's going to be dead since the salesperson lifted it out of the tank. (I hadn't researched sponges at that time) I find myself even more fascinated with sponges after I read up on them last night.

While I understand that sponges are difficult and can release toxins when stressed - I think I've got a plan. (tell me if its reasonably logical...) After a few weeks of cycling, I add a few snails, (I have nerites handy - will they work temporarily?) then add some small sponges. Do some water changes for a few more weeks. Then begin adding 'beginner friendly' corals and shrimps. This way, any toxins released by the sponges should be long gone/diluted out/neutralized by carbon in filter - before any sensitive species is introduced..

Also, what's a good macroalgae to go in a minicoral system like this? Any specific snail species/shrimps you'd recommend?

I've set this one up at home - once I've 'mastered' it sufficiently and everything starts outgrowing it - that's when I'll split it all up and put half of it in a tank at work.... Just like I did with the planted tanks. Really stoked!!!! banana dance banana dance
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sassynurse2
Moderator
Moderator
sassynurse2

Posts : 789
Location : Grand Prairie Texas
Favorite Fish: : 2 Clown Loaches...
Blue Dolphins 10.


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PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime8/19/2012, 6:27 pm

Cool I am so happy for you!!!

**********USAfishbox.com*************


Going for the Plunge!!! 395554 Going for the Plunge!!! CMSIG
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popebosephus
Chief Wrnt. Off. 3
Chief Wrnt. Off. 3
popebosephus

Posts : 419
Location : Midlothian, TX

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PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime8/24/2012, 10:10 am

What macro are you thinking about? In a 10g I agree a skimmer is relatively unnecessary so long as you are diligent on water changes. Macro is a proven means of nutrient export, but can limit what you have in the display. I'd probably opt for one of those CPR in-tank refugiums, and just put chaeto, and a pile of rubble rock in it. This will keep the chaeto in one place. Avoid Calupera it can completely take over. Obviously if you wanted pretty macro, then opt for dragon's breath and avoid species that eat i. Sponges will actually just show up on their own in your system over time.

The challenge with a 10g is keeping your salinity constant. I'd probably look at adding another 10 pounds or so of rock, and let the die off on the rock cycle the tank. Once your ammonia/nitrite are zeroed check out reefcleaners.org, and just get a quick crew for a 10g. You'll get a mix of ceriths and nass. snails (No I can't spell that .. still), way cheaper than you'd find at a lfs. The problem with ordering from this site is that you expect say 100 snails in your order, and when it arrives there are 150.

Spend some time on nano-reef, run through 10g setups there. Figure out what you like coral wise, and plan around it. Sponges are pretty delicate, but you knew that. If you want easy, set up the 10g in your classroom, add a couple rocks throw in xenia. Put a 6500k spiral cfl right over it in one of those cheapy reflectors, and just sit back and watch.
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BFinley
Admin
Admin
BFinley

Posts : 4498
Location : Fort Worth,Tx
Favorite Fish: : Frontosa and Red Tail Catfish and All Africans

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PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime8/25/2012, 12:11 am

Sweet! Pics when you can? usafishbox

**********USAfishbox.com*************


Going for the Plunge!!! CMSIG

Going for the Plunge!!! CAST-Sig

Say hello to my little friend

usafishbox usafishbox usafishbox usafishbox
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2SciCrazed
First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
2SciCrazed

Posts : 650
Location : Middle TN
Favorite Fish: : Anything that's not belly up!

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PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime8/27/2012, 8:39 am

Thanks for all the great advice Pope...

The sponge died as expected. I have noticed some salinity fluctuations from morning to night - mainly from evaporation through the day. I check 2x per day and add bottled water each afternoon. Fluctuations are from 1.22-1.23, so not too bad.

Temp fluctuations are another story. Goes from 78F in morning to 82ish in afternoon. Think it's hurting the one stony coral that came on the live rock.

After researching some more, I'm leaning towards soft corals since they are touted as 'more forgiving' and 'better suited' for beginners and nanos. Thinking some time in Oct.

Did get a cheap nano 'cleanup crew' off of ebay. Consists of blue legged hermits, nerites, and a spiral-shelled snail. They are very active and doing great! Munching down on the dying tissues of the sponge.

Also purchased some Chaetomorpha Chaeto Macro Algae after seeing a nice nano setup using it like I've been using mosses in my freshwater tanks. Waiting for it to arrive.
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popebosephus
Chief Wrnt. Off. 3
Chief Wrnt. Off. 3
popebosephus

Posts : 419
Location : Midlothian, TX

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PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime8/27/2012, 9:22 am

GSP, Kenya, Xenia and mushrooms are all bulletproof. I have all 4 growing in my sump under your average run of the mill spiral cfl bulb I got (in daylight spectrum) at walmart. Drop your heater setting to like 74, and raise your light. Another walmart tool I acquired this year was a 7 dollar "personal fan". It sits on my overflow cover and blows across my tank. It keeps the tank around 80 when the full array is on, but ups my evaporation (I have an ATO so it's negligible).

If you want next time I'm thinning I'll make you up a care package and just ship it to you. I'm in education myself, and fairly enthusiastic about people who go the extra mile to engage students.
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2SciCrazed
First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
2SciCrazed

Posts : 650
Location : Middle TN
Favorite Fish: : Anything that's not belly up!

Going for the Plunge!!! Empty
PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime8/27/2012, 11:05 am

Unfortunately the light is in the hood that came with the 10G kit. I have popped out the piece in the back and started to leave the front feeding door open. I could put a pencil/pen across a corner to lift it up?

I've noticed that the heater never comes on. Think its set around 74F already. More important when winter hits, since we keep our house around 66-68F then. Summer we keep it 70-72F.

I would really appreciate some frags of some hard-to-kill soft corals. Maybe by the end of Sept I'll have the temp thing leveled out. Planning to purchase more live rock this coming weekend as long as tests are still running good. Hope to have the macro algae in and strapped down to rocks for front decorations in the tank soon. Hope the hermits don't eat it too fast...
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2SciCrazed
First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
2SciCrazed

Posts : 650
Location : Middle TN
Favorite Fish: : Anything that's not belly up!

Going for the Plunge!!! Empty
PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime9/2/2012, 9:22 am

[img]Going for the Plunge!!! Fall_211[/img]

[img]Going for the Plunge!!! Fall_212[/img]

True, not much to look at for the first two weeks. One little piece of live rock w/hard coral and a squirt (found out that was what the unknown was) and a handful of 'reef cleaners'

Just purchased two more pieces of live rock yesterday. Interestingly, they came from same batch my first piece came off of - but aren't as healthy looking (even though my first piece went through 'the ringer' as the tank cycled, dealt with temp changes, salinity, etc......) I'm hoping they'll bounce back and thrive. Do have some macro red algae showing up on original piece - the shape of 'freshwater micro swords'. Think that's why my nitrates have never gone up.

Did have two pest anemones show up on one of the new pieces. Debating on purchasing a hairy red-legged hermit (read they prey on the pest) or to aim a drop of vinegar on them (teacher from another school controls them that way in her clown fish tank)

The temp has regulated a bit. Goes from 78 in the morning to 81 in the evening. Holding the tank hood up with a hard plastic ruler to increase air flow.
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Stourmy
Corporal/Specialist
Corporal/Specialist


Posts : 85
Location : Pasco, WA
Favorite Fish: : the ones I own, all the others I just want to own.

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PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime9/4/2012, 8:41 pm

Even for "start" you tanks are beautiful. Going to be gorgeous when fully stocked.
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08can-am
Chief Wrnt. Off. 3
Chief Wrnt. Off. 3


Posts : 435
Location : bowling greenvirginia
Favorite Fish: : Any thing reef friendl

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PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime9/7/2012, 10:44 pm

if you plan to keep this tank up long term i would def invest in some sort of top off. Nice start. Xenia will take over everything and is a pain to get rid of so keep that in mind when stocking. Same with kenyi tree. Good luck
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Going for the Plunge!!! Empty
PostSubject: Re: Going for the Plunge!!!   Going for the Plunge!!! Icon_minitime

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