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orkspace
02/18/2016, 02:54 PM
Hi All,

I'm considering a return to saltwater aquaria after a 14 year absence.

Back in 2000 and 2001, I kept two Odontodactlyus scyllarus in far-too-small nano setups. I wish I had known better, but so it goes. I had much better luck keeping a Gonodactylus platysoma and another small smasher that I never identified in small setups, but those setups were only running for a few months. I want to do things right this time.

I actually got to visit Dr. Caldwell's lab in Berkeley when I donated my G. platysoma to him in 2002. It was thrilling!

I would really like to keep another O. scyllarus in a tank that is appropriate for its needs. The health of the animal is going to be the driving focus for this tank, and if a healthy animal isn't feasible with this setup, I'll either change the setup or change the species I plan on keeping.

Livestock, Plants, and Substrate:

1x O. scyllarus (with an appropriately sized and camouflaged black PVC conduit/elbow for a burrow);
3-5 damselfish for color and movement, with the idea that they'll be replaced if/when the shrimp eats them (my G. platysoma ate a damsel, but they were stuck together in a 6g tank);
Chaetomorpha, Caulerpa, other low-light tolerant macroalgaes (if such things exist -- I'm interested in nutrient export, not decoration);
Maybe green star polyps or mushrooms, if light levels are sufficient. I'd really just be happy with coralline algae and whatever gribblies come on the live rock; and,
A few pieces of live rock, some live rock rubble, and a mix of sand and crushed coral substrate.


Hardware:

Tank: 55g or 40g long;
Filtration: A Fluval 206 or 306;
Skimming: Remora or equivalent HOB;
Heating: 150w, titanium or plastic-protected glass heater; and,
Lighting: A single 40w 50/50 NO fluorescent bulb.


If money were no object, I'd use a 20g long sump with a 24x7 lighted macroalgae section for nutrient export. Money is, unfortunately, a significant constraint. Because of this, I'm looking at HOB skimming, a canister filter, and no separate refugium.

I'd appreciate any feedback on this planned build. Specifically, would it work for an O. scyllarus species tank, or is that species too fragile for long term health in a tank of only 40g or 55g total volume?

If this setup wouldn't be good for an O. scyllarus, I'll think about smaller setups (a 20g long) for smaller and hardier stomatopods. If smaller and hardier stomatopods were readily available, they'd be my first choice.

Thanks in advance for any feedback and advice you all might share. It's daunting returning to the hobby, and I want to do things right this time.

EI Gringo
02/18/2016, 03:06 PM
Skimmer, river shrimp, adequate burrow, stable and good water conditions, 90cm x 30cm or more footprint - happy peacock mantis!

Jlentz
02/18/2016, 06:44 PM
I originally kept a bunch of yellowtail damsels and chromis in my 90g peacock tank but he appeared to be hiding from all the fish. I recently took out all but one damsel and he's out and about a lot more.

Martini5788
02/18/2016, 09:43 PM
I would not get a remora. I have one and it is absolutely worthless. Look at reef octopus or aquamaxx hob skimmers.

Halfpikant
02/19/2016, 07:12 AM
I don't want to highjack the thread but I have a question regarding El gringo's recommendation about "90cm x 30cm or more footprint". This equates 2700 cm².
I was considering to put my soon to be mantis shrimp in a RedSea E 170 or 260.
The RSE170 has dimensions of 60*57,5 cm wich equates 3450 cm².
Assuming the height is equal for both tanks, does the more rectangular shape of your tank better for the mantis or is the more square RSE shape also fine?

nmotz
02/19/2016, 08:51 AM
I don't want to highjack the thread but I have a question regarding El gringo's recommendation about "90cm x 30cm or more footprint". This equates 2700 cm².
I was considering to put my soon to be mantis shrimp in a RedSea E 170 or 260.
The RSE170 has dimensions of 60*57,5 cm wich equates 3450 cm².
Assuming the height is equal for both tanks, does the more rectangular shape of your tank better for the mantis or is the more square RSE shape also fine?

Regarding tank dimensions: the reason why people recommend rectangular tanks with lots of floor space is because its fun to watch mantis shrimp move about as they stalk their prey. Watch dive videos on YouTube and you'll often see footage of Peacock mantis shrimp wandering about their environment for great distances. You can select whatever footprint you want for your tank, but more space is always better, regardless of the tank's shape (square or rectangle). Peacocks grow to over 6" in length and really do love to be out and about. The tank that you've selected will be fine for a Peacock, but in my opinion if you went bigger I think you (and the mantis) would enjoy it more. For some comparison my Peacock tank's dimensions are roughly 91x45cm (36x18in). Some people on this forum are running even larger tanks, and I'll tell you that I plan on someday running a 5-6ft long tank for an adult Peacock. They need as much space as you can give them!

The other reason people recommend larger tanks has to do with water quality. I can tell you from experience that my 40 gallon is WAY easier to take care of than my first tank, a 15 gallon. Stability is important for many animals in the marine aquarium hobby, and that is certainly true if you get a Peacock.

nmotz
02/19/2016, 09:09 AM
To the OP, your plan looks fine to me. If you don't mind a little excess noise, the Reef Octopus BH-1000 is a nice little skimmer. It'll certainly try to overflow on you when you first set it up, but if you follow the directions well you shouldn't have too much of a problem. There is a video on YouTube that shows you how to tune it when you first put it on the tank. The only mod I had to make was cut the intake pipe just a bit so the surface skimmer would work properly. It was an easy fix.

Chaeto is ugly, but is reported to have fewer problems than caulerpa (it can spawn in the tank and is rumored to grow out of control). Those two species of macro are going to export the most nutrients. Red Gracilaria is another option I've tried but it doesn't do as well in my tank.

I recommend high flow in the tank to keep detritus from settling. I've also had success by limiting water changes to around 7-8% of total volume every 2 weeks. This comes out to around 3 gallons for me, and I think it keeps the tank's chemistry more stable. Most people just think more WC's are better because you're exporting nutrients, but you have to remember that you're introducing water that has completely different parameters (Ca, Alk, pH, Mg, and many other minor elements) than the water in the rest of your tank. Constantly doing WC's, especially large quantities like 20-25% is just upsetting the balance of the tank even if you are removing a little excess nitrate/phosphate. You can cut down on those nutrients by using a skimmer and macro. Studies have shown WC's to have little long-term benefit in keeping nutrients at the desired levels (i.e. nitrates < 5ppm and phosphate as close to undetectable as possible).

orkspace
02/19/2016, 09:50 AM
I would not get a remora. I have one and it is absolutely worthless. Look at reef octopus or aquamaxx hob skimmers.

Thanks for the feedback.

It's funny, back in 2001 Remoras were the cat's pajamas for HOB skimming. I lusted after one, since I had a worthless CPR Bak Pak. Actually, the Bak Pak worked well for me as a mini-refugium (growing the now-illegal Caulerpa taxifolia in its left-side chamber), but it didn't skim worth a damn for me.

Martini5788
02/19/2016, 10:24 AM
Thanks for the feedback.

It's funny, back in 2001 Remoras were the cat's pajamas for HOB skimming. I lusted after one, since I had a worthless CPR Bak Pak. Actually, the Bak Pak worked well for me as a mini-refugium (growing the now-illegal Caulerpa taxifolia in its left-side chamber), but it didn't skim worth a damn for me.


Some people like them, but I have tried multiple pumps on mine and it doesn't seem to matter, it still sucks. Protein skimmers have gotten so much better over the last few years from what I have read and heard from people and the remora is a very old design and just got effective like the new ones. No reason to waste your money on old tech when the new stuff blows it out of the water

nmotz
02/19/2016, 01:45 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

It's funny, back in 2001 Remoras were the cat's pajamas for HOB skimming. I lusted after one, since I had a worthless CPR Bak Pak. Actually, the Bak Pak worked well for me as a mini-refugium (growing the now-illegal Caulerpa taxifolia in its left-side chamber), but it didn't skim worth a damn for me.

Yeah, Martini's right. Both of those skimmers (Bak-Pak, Remora) were something of a novelty in their time and were among the earliest attempts made my manufacturers to make quality HOB skimmers. They just don't compare to today's models. My Reef Octopus HOB is really effective. It's big, and makes a little extra noise, but not the vibrating/grinding sounds that drive me crazy. It's more the intake of the air hose and the gurgling of the intake pipe itself, and that isn't so much a big deal to me.

orkspace
02/19/2016, 04:26 PM
Well, I'm convinced! Thank you for the feedback.

Does anyone have any comments on the Fluval filter idea, or the stock list?

Also, if anyone is curious, I've attached a couple of really old shots of my G. platysoma, which was such a cool animal.

http://i.imgur.com/lI4O5Mh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/ajxdt04.jpg

nmotz
02/19/2016, 10:31 PM
I've seen/read about people running canister filters successfully for both O. Scyllarus and O. Havanensis tanks. Dr. Caldwell always said that he used canister filters in fact. I've never used one so I admit that I'm biased but I think the skimmer should be your primary means of filtration. One thing I like about canister filters is that you can run high flow through some GAC or even load up some of the media trays with MarinePure biospheres. I really like them as they allow you to cut down on excess LR (more floor space in the tank).

I think your stocklist is fine. Be prepared to lose a damsel or two, but you know that already. My Peacock did remove some soft corals once to "decorate" his burrow prior to a molt. He grabbed some Xenias from three different locations and brought them to the front of his burrow. Just make sure you attach the corals really well. The only thing I'll add about soft corals is that they have been known to favor dirtier (nutrient rich) water and for a Peacock you'll want to have low nutrients. I have Xenias, green star polyps and Zoas in my tank and they seem to do ok with nitrates at around 5ppm, but I've noticed they grow relatively slowly. They'd probably do better with higher nitrate/phosphate. SPS on the other hand are very compatible with a Peacock tank.

I really like that G. Platysoma. Rare in the hobby I'd say. Don't know that I've ever seen anyone other than Dr. Caldwell talk about them. Looks like it had a decent personality. How long did it live?

orkspace
02/20/2016, 09:49 AM
I really like that G. Platysoma. Rare in the hobby I'd say. Don't know that I've ever seen anyone other than Dr. Caldwell talk about them. Looks like it had a decent personality. How long did it live?

I had it for ~ 6 months in a 6g Eclipse before I donated it to Dr. Caldwell. I looked at the donation as a worthwhile price to pay to gain admission into his lab, which was *AMAZING*.

orkspace
02/20/2016, 11:58 AM
I've seen/read about people running canister filters successfully for both O. Scyllarus and O. Havanensis tanks. Dr. Caldwell always said that he used canister filters in fact. I've never used one so I admit that I'm biased but I think the skimmer should be your primary means of filtration. One thing I like about canister filters is that you can run high flow through some GAC or even load up some of the media trays with MarinePure biospheres. I really like them as they allow you to cut down on excess LR (more floor space in the tank).

Yeah, I decided to plan on a Fluval 206 or 306 b/c Dr. Caldwell mentioned he was running Fluval 204s in many tanks. My plan was to use both a canister and skimmer.

I'm really thinking that I should save up longer for a system with a sump, so that I can incorporate UV filtration, an ATO unit, and an in-sump skimmer. Like I mentioned, I killed two O. scyllarus by trying to keep them in far-too-small systems before, and I'd rather wait longer to do things correctly.

Martini5788
02/20/2016, 12:17 PM
Yeah, I decided to plan on a Fluval 206 or 306 b/c Dr. Caldwell mentioned he was running Fluval 204s in many tanks. My plan was to use both a canister and skimmer.



I'm really thinking that I should save up longer for a system with a sump, so that I can incorporate UV filtration, an ATO unit, and an in-sump skimmer. Like I mentioned, I killed two O. scyllarus by trying to keep them in far-too-small systems before, and I'd rather wait longer to do things correctly.


That is exactly what I would do. Don't even bother with the canister. Use the money on a sump.

orkspace
03/04/2016, 02:36 PM
That is exactly what I would do. Don't even bother with the canister. Use the money on a sump.

Thanks again for the feedback.

I've decided against fish, to help keep the mantis comfortable. I had hoped that a little bit of background movement would help increase his or her comfort, but it sounds like that might not be the case.

Can anyone point me to resources for figuring out what exactly I'd need to do to install a sump on a 40B glass tank? It's a bit overwhelming, but it seems essentially like I'd:

1. Drill a hole in the glass and install an in-tank overflow;
2. Pipe the water down to the sump, which would have some compartments for a skimmer, other equipment, and bubble baffles; and
3. Pump the water using a big return pump back into the display case.

I suspect that overflow and sump design can become unnecessarily complicated and expensive if one overthinks things. But, again, I'm taking the time to plan this out properly before spending a single dollar on equipment.

Again, thank you all for the feedback and I appreciate any resources you can point me to.

Jlentz
03/04/2016, 03:19 PM
I think mine is happy now with the single damsel and lawnmower blenny. The school I was trying for was too much though.

You are right on pretty much all of it regarding the sump. It's pretty intimidating the first time. It's pretty straight forward though. There are a lot of cool overflows on the market now. Synergy reef has a really cool one. Look for the bean animal thread and there are a few different brands people are using to do this along with discussion on drilling.