zdes' 10g nano (feedback requested)

zdes

Reefing newb
So after about a month of research and getting in trouble with the fiance on a bi-daily basis, I finally got together my 10g nano reef.


Equipment:
-10g glass aquarium
-2 x 20 watt 50/50 coralife mini CFL's (white facing down, blue up, inside and out spraypainted gloss white)
-12" LED bubble strip (with no bubbles, just suction cupped to the front bottom of the plexiglass on hood)
-AC70 Fuge w/ Hydor 50w heater inside
-Koralia 240 Powerhead
-10 lbs annoying petco black sand
-13 lbs live rock (3 lbs of it seeded in lfs tanks, the other 10 is cured fiji)


Fauna (to be purchased in about 3 weeks):
-Chaeto for fuge (adding clip-on screw-in CFL to back of AC70)
-Cleanup crew (recommendations? i love the look of emerald crabs but don't know what their compatibility is like)


Fauna (to be purchased in about 4-5 weeks):
-Coral (recommendations? i'm going for color so I'm thinking a variety of mushrooms and a couple frags of xenia if I can find some around here at the lfs)


Fauna (to be purchased in about 6-7 weeks):
-2 x Occelaris Clownfish (should I even worry about getting a mated pair? I'm thinking about getting just 2 small immature males and let them mature into female and mature male)


I'm kinda not looking for anemones because I'd like to get some experience with cheaper SW Fish and Corals (plus the anemone police are MEAN!). Hoping the clowns end up hosting in xenia or shrooms. Zooanthids are pretty cool looking but I don't know if I have enough light for them.


I've had a couple problems. The reason I put annoying petco black sand on there is because, despite stirring and rinsing, it forms nuissance air/sand bubble/ball things and they get sucked into my AC, which eventually stopped it. I rinsed out the impeller fixture, put it all back together, and it worked. I had to mod the tube so that it wouldn't happen again, so I cut a small rectangle of AC sponge to fit between the U-tube and the intake tube, then squeezed the two tubes together (took some work but finally got it and the sponge doesn't move at all which is good because it almost got sucked in with my other prototypes).


Any feedback on anything about the tank would be appreciated. I'm new at the game but I've done a lot of research on the nano, threw out some of the stuff, then went with my gut.
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Here's what I'm thinking about for CUC - small female emerald crab, blue-legged hermit crab, scarlet hermit crab, 5 zebra nerite snails. What does everyone think? They all look really cool and from what I've found looking around is that there won't be a compatibility issue provided I keep the emerald crab fed.
 
Day 11.

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DIY CFL fixture with plexiglass for the chaeto in ac70 fuge with handful of live rock rubble.

Had to boil 3 of the rocks (the more expensive seeded rock unfortunately - the ones that are now green in the picture) due to Aiptasia. No more outbreaks but it delayed the cycle.

Current levels: .5 ppm ammonia, 1.5 ppm nitrite, 0.5 ppm nitrate, ph 8.2, temp 79.0 at night 79.5 day, sg 1.024.

I'm concluding that boiling the live rock started another mini cycle and the original cycle was in nitrite breakdown phase, so it almost looks like there are 2 cycles going at the moment. Either that, or the ammonia breakdown phase is just about over and the nitrite breakdown is just getting started.

Good algae and diatom growth! There is brown hair algae and diatoms on the rocks, and some diatoms on the sand on the right side of the tank. I will check levels on Monday and order 10g cleaning package on reefcleaners.org. Im rethinking having any crabs or shrimp in the tank as they can sometimes damage coral, from what I've read. Considering the coral will be the most expensive aspect of the tank, I'm not willing to gamble - the same reason I didn't get peppermint shrimp to get rid of the Aiptasia.

The coralife screw-in CFL's are holding up well so far! I'm very impressed with them but wondering how often I will have to replace them... Plexiglass on DIY light hood (sealed it up so that water won't get in) needs to be wiped pretty often. The cheap blue LED strip is cool night lighting. I also rearranged the rock to have more caves and less contact area with the sand.

I will post another update when cycle is close to complete and CUC is added.
 
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Water level is at the point where I'd like it to stay and SG is stable. I made a little line with a permanent marker where the level is - does anyone have any better recommendations for marking water level?
 
Like the set up so far, mine is pretty similar.

One recomendation I have is to either add another 25watt heater or to use two 25 watt heaters instead of 1 50 watt. Reason being I was running a 50 and it actually failed after two months. It stuck in the on position and put my water up to 84 before i realized what was going on. Luckily I had the other 25 in the tank so I took it out immedeately and ordered another one and just left them both in. Withouth the back up I would have been heaterless for a couple days. As far as coral goes I've had good luck with mushrooms and zoanthids so far. I think an emerald crag would do great. I've had mine for about 5 or 6 months (from an old tank and moved in to the 10) and he's done great. He hides a lot but he's always cruising around and eating. Keep us updated with pics!
 
Like the set up so far, mine is pretty similar.

One recomendation I have is to either add another 25watt heater or to use two 25 watt heaters instead of 1 50 watt. Reason being I was running a 50 and it actually failed after two months. It stuck in the on position and put my water up to 84 before i realized what was going on. Luckily I had the other 25 in the tank so I took it out immedeately and ordered another one and just left them both in. Withouth the back up I would have been heaterless for a couple days. As far as coral goes I've had good luck with mushrooms and zoanthids so far. I think an emerald crag would do great. I've had mine for about 5 or 6 months (from an old tank and moved in to the 10) and he's done great. He hides a lot but he's always cruising around and eating. Keep us updated with pics!

Thanks for the input! I have an extra 50w as backup just in case (I use it for mixing water with a cheap marineland powerhead in a 5 gallon bucket). What I really worry about is the situation that happened to you - that my tank will be cooked while I'm at work. I tried to not skimp on the heaters so I'm just hoping that doesn't happen and checking it whenever I can...
 
Love it, and I have the same lights as you (Minus the led strip). I just tore down my 10g and restarted it (Was having problems with kids and gf over-feeding it while I was at work. So started it fresh with all new sand. Let me know how those lights do with corals, because whatever you're able to grow in your tank, I'll put in mine! :)
 
So last night, I found another aiptasia on the second coral-y rock. It wasn't even one of the seeded ones so it is obviously spreading... I'm really contemplating boiling them all and starting from scratch - hopefully the sand will help seed the boiled rocks... I just don't want to have to deal with aiptasia when the tank is cycled and it has livestock in it. The problem with other options is that they are all hit-and-miss with fail rates and I really don't want to jeopardize my coral and inverts, just so that my cycle can be shorter. Green rocks here we come :(
 
I know you're opposed to shrimp, but they do eat that crap (sometimes, it's a 50/50 chance on them doing it or not). Once they've done their job, bring em back for store credit?
 
Thanks Anthony! It's been something I've been thinking about... It's a natural solution which is always a good sell for me. Catching things in a fish tank is pretty difficult for me - I had a hard time even catching danios in my freshwater snail-breeder tank (for my f8 puffer). I know they make traps for the shrimp, though. It's something to think about... I might just boil that rock and if I see another one pop up, think about the shrimp thing or lemon juice injections as opposed to boiling the rest.
 
Well, I can tell you from personal experience, catching peppermint shrimp has never been difficult for me lol. When i got the 90lbs of base rock delivered I took both the ones I had out of my 55 (along with my other fish :p) and I must say, they were the easiest things to get out lol. Now, firefish gobies on the other hand :shock:. Never again will I try and net/container catch them. Took me about a half an hour for each one lol :frustrat:
 
Boiled the rock yesterday. Today's levels are: ammonia 1.0, nitrite 2.0, nitrate 1.5, ph 8.4, temps stable from 79.5 to 80.5. Im thinking another 7 days or so and cycle will be complete and cuc added. Im going to keep an eye on the ph and possibly doing 12 hrs dt light and 12 hours fuge light. I will have to get some black spraypaint and finish up the casing for the light so it doesnt leak into the dt.
 
So I just tested the water tonight. Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 8.2. I was concerned about the testing since everything dropped so fast to 0, so I tested again and got the same results. Maybe my chaeto and all the green hair algae in my tank consumed the nitrates? Has anyone seen this before happen overnight? The whole "nothing good in a reef tank happens fast" is floating around in my head so I am still relatively concerned about it. I ordered the 10g cleanup crew from reefcleaners.org, though, so I should get that by Friday.
 
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Day 15.

Fiancee was in a really good mood and wanted to get the fish after staring at the tank for a while. I couldn't pass it up, even though my cleaning crew will be arriving on Friday. Anyone with a significant other can understand my decision... It actually sounds like she might be getting the "itch"!

Water parameters are still good (undetectable everything). Noticed some excellent coraline growth on a couple rocks that have hair algae growth. Still trying to think of names for the male and female ocellaris clowns, but I'm leaning towards Zeus and Hera. The male has a clouded left eye, so in a fit of paranoia searched as much as I could, and came to the conclusion that I would have to watch it for a week or so to see if it clears (which would mean just an injury from the netting and transport) or if it doesn't (bacterial infection) then explore other options.

Let me know what you guys think!
 

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Tank is looking good, although, I don't know about adding many more fish. I'm planning on three in my 10, and that's going to be spread out over a 6 month period (and even that is too fast to add them). I'd wait till the tank was more established before adding another fish. Over-stocking means you'll also have to be absolutely religious with your water changes by the way. Other then that tho, glad to see you got over your "weed" problem :)! Looking forward to updates!:mrgreen:
 
Thats all the fish that are going in there. The coral inverts and snails will contribute to the bio load and 1 gallon water changes a couple times a week gets expensive over the long run and way too time consuming. Ill take my 1 per week and call it a day :) Anyone have experience with coraline algae? I have some starting to grow on my powerhead and worried it will get into the propeller and stop it from working.
 
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