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JZinCO
10/21/2016, 09:50 AM
Ahh. The time is finally here. I can now start a build thread because the build is finally in progress.

Okay so here is my system. I have a 50gal reef tied into a 20gal sump. The sump is a wet/dry with an algae turf scrubber (ATS). I don't currently dose for my corals or run a skimmer, no gfo, etc. Just a basic set-up. The (ATS) has only been up for a day now. I had issues going into the reef setup and a re-start so it is only a month old but some of its current inhabitants we have had for a year.

The addition. It took alot of convincing of the SO to upgrade to a 50gal, and then I immediately started thinking bigger and ended up deciding on tieing in a 29gal into our 50 gal+sump. Now that the 50gal is stocked to a decent level and can start maturing on its own, I turned my attention to the planned addition. I took the 29gal and started drilling holes. Well, I must have put too much force when doing the second hole because the tank cracked around hole #1. So, recycle that, and go back to the drawing board. I picked up a 20L last night for a few bucks and added holes to it. Now it is ready to go.

The 20L will had a foam background consisting of rock rubble, mussels, and barnacles. All are "real", having painstakingly glued 60 pairs of mussel shells together.
So, step 1) Create back wall for 20L
step 2) [maybe] Drill a 10 gal for a dedicated mangrove tank
step 3) Tie the return line from my sump up to 20L [possibly down to 10 gal mangrove tank], back to sump
step 4) Design. The 10 gal could be a simply mud/sand/mangrove deal. The 20L will be seagrasses and macros with minimal rockscaping. The rocks I currently have and are chock full of live mussels that I have kept alive for 6mo now. Sand for the mangrove tank would be 6" and for the macro tank 2-6" with some variations. I also have a half container of miracle mud to use.
step 5) Put lights/etc on the tank(s). Run these for a month or so without animals, just macros. Though the tank will be tied in, I'll be running it solo for this period.
step 6) Open up the lines and fully integrate the new addition into the reef system. Probably turn off ATS at that point.
step 7) Add seagrasses eventually

I haven't thought too much about livestock because that isn't that focus for me but I would like to have 2 barnacle blennies and 2 yellowhead jawfish in the 20L. Maybe the Carribean snapping shrimp that pair up with Curly-Q anemones. Further down the road, possibly rock flower anemones. I'd like a (micro)algae eater. Any suggestions? Thinking of acclimating mollies or a lawnmower blenny. I currently have a twin-spot goby that was bullied into starving in the reef tank. He was fattened back up and he will go in the new tank(s).

Well that is it for now. I will be back with photos sometime within a week.

7thdarkangel
10/21/2016, 10:28 AM
I'm going to follow along. Working on setting up a 40 gal refugium into my system.

JZinCO
10/21/2016, 11:03 AM
Well I keep going back and forth but decided that I might just do a smooth cordgrass and mangrove brackish 10g separately. More or less just an emergent aquatic houseplant.

JZinCO
10/24/2016, 11:24 AM
I built the back wall this weekend. I'm working on a photobucket so I can post photos.
For now I will leave you with my inspiration:
http://www.thetasteoforegon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/MusselBedCloseup.jpg
https://afinedayforanepiphany.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dsc_0161.jpg

JZinCO
10/31/2016, 10:40 AM
Sorry, no photos of the tank yet.

I have the tank in position on a stand next to the reef tank now. I mocked up the plumbing and it seemed to work. I have a plumbing question and want someone's opinion:

I ended up not putting a weir inside the tank. I have an inlet hole on one side of the tank and outlet on the other (hoping to get streamflow this way instead of a powerhead). Holes on both ends are mid-way up the glass, so I need to find a solution that can account for outflow greater than or equal to inflow and set the right water level. Looking back I should have put in a weir because I now have to simultaneously address two functions. I see two options:
1) On the inside of the bulkhead, use an elbow and vertical pipe. This will set the desired water level. Con: It will leave an undesirable element in the tank, maybe make a sucking sound but the tank will be covered so noise maybe isn't a big concern here.
2) On the outside of the bulkhead, elbow up to a height to set the tank water height. Tee off at that height, cap the tee and drill the cap. This will break the siphon, otherwise the water level would go down to the bulkhead height. Aside from adding a strainer on the inside of the bulkhead, this will look clean in the tank. Con: Also not visually pleasing but at least outside the tank; might make a drain sound. Probably depends on flow rate.

It's a 20gal so I didn't want to go all out and put in a beananimal/herbie/etc. I probably should have added an overflow in a corner so that I could have put a good, legit standpipe in but it's such a small tank already. I'm also aware that no redundancy means keeping on top of maintenance. I can always attach a float valve to my return pump.

I'm probably going to try 2 and then try 1 if I don't like it. I've mocked up option 2 and verified that it will drain correctly, just not sure about noise.

Michael Hoaster
10/31/2016, 12:00 PM
Rather than a vertical pipe in option 1, build an overflow box from the hole up to desired water level. If you don't want a box in your tank, you could enlarge it to be the whole wall, giving you a wider weir.

JZinCO
10/31/2016, 12:40 PM
Yeah..
I get that it would be nice; it would hide the plumbing and provide for some surface skimming while letting me have a full siphon overflow. No more or less fail-safe than my other options but could be near silent... I was hoping to avoid ripping up my work and redoing it...

I'm still going to try my option 2 first (guess, we'll call that an adapted durso) and see what happens.

JZinCO
11/04/2016, 01:21 PM
No pictures yet. argh, I'm sorry.

The plumbing is complete and I'm happy with it. The adapted durso is working well and is almost silent. With my 700gph pump split between two display tanks, I'm not getting the flow I want so after my plants and algae establish I will be adding in a powerhead.

I moved over most of the sand last night from my holding tank to my nano planted tank. I really did want to reuse the sand because my twinspot goby is an obligate sand sifter and needs mature sand. I hope he takes well to the tank. I also put one rock from the holding tank in because it has a few large musses living on it. I think all the barnacles have been pulled out of their shells by my fish and crabs. Many of the mussels have been eaten as well. I think over time my mussel population will diminish though I have had at least one new recruit. If I'm lucky my mussel population will grow. I also added a mussel bearing rock to my reef tank.

I will be moving the goby into the tank tonight after I put in some new macros and turtle grass. Right now I only have an aggressive, easy to care for sponge, feather caulerpa, and codium in the nano macro tank. Soon there will be more!

What are peoples thoughts on inverts for a planted tank? I'm thinking snails for sure, no crabs to re-decorate. Obviously no urchins, possibly something "decorative" like a sexy shrimp or a snapping shrimp paired up with an anemone.

In other news, I changed up my wet/dry so that it is now just a DSB in half of the sump. It also gave me room for a second heater and now a place to sump-dump undesirable critters. The trickling was maddeningly loud.

Sorry for the ranting, just wanted to post an update.

falcona2552
11/04/2016, 06:30 PM
No pictures yet. argh, I'm sorry.

The plumbing is complete and I'm happy with it. The adapted durso is working well and is almost silent. With my 700gph pump split between two display tanks, I'm not getting the flow I want so after my plants and algae establish I will be adding in a powerhead.

I moved over most of the sand last night from my holding tank to my nano planted tank. I really did want to reuse the sand because my twinspot goby is an obligate sand sifter and needs mature sand. I hope he takes well to the tank. I also put one rock from the holding tank in because it has a few large musses living on it. I think all the barnacles have been pulled out of their shells by my fish and crabs. Many of the mussels have been eaten as well. I think over time my mussel population will diminish though I have had at least one new recruit. If I'm lucky my mussel population will grow. I also added a mussel bearing rock to my reef tank.

I will be moving the goby into the tank tonight after I put in some new macros and turtle grass. Right now I only have an aggressive, easy to care for sponge, feather caulerpa, and codium in the nano macro tank. Soon there will be more!

What are peoples thoughts on inverts for a planted tank? I'm thinking snails for sure, no crabs to re-decorate. Obviously no urchins, possibly something "decorative" like a sexy shrimp or a snapping shrimp paired up with an anemone.

In other news, I changed up my wet/dry so that it is now just a DSB in half of the sump. It also gave me room for a second heater and now a place to sump-dump undesirable critters. The trickling was maddeningly loud.

Sorry for the ranting, just wanted to post an update.

+1 sexy shrimp

JZinCO
11/05/2016, 09:03 PM
I have photos now! There are all here: https://pix.sfly.com/S3_dM1

Here is a photo legend:
1) Full tank short with things that had been moved over from the holding tank. Fern caulerpa, codium, a small paly colony. Just the lone rock to provide sanctuary for critters to hide around. If you look on the rock you can see what might be my favorite critter of all, my largest mussel.

The rest are after new additions which include mermaid's fan, shaving brush, ogo, gracilaria, turtle grass, halimeda, red grape tree, and an orange gorg. The latter two I put in to see how they'd do and I don't think they survived shipping.

2) is the left side. a bit deeper at 6" for the turtle grass. 3) is middle, 4) is right side 5) is FTS from above. 6) is looking from the side glass on the right.
7) shows the emerald crab chowing down on the gracilaria. I had put in three clumps and one has already vanished thanks to hermit crabs and the emerald, all were caught in the act. As I said earlier, I didn't want crabs in the tank but it's hard to account for every little thing when you are moving rocks and sand between tanks. Looks like I will have to transfer these guys to my reef tank. 8) and 9) show some of the life quickly adapting to new conditions. The feather dusters quickly built new tubes, the nass snails are going to town, and the twinspot goby seems right at home. Photo 10) shows the whole system including the reef, macro, and sump tanks.

I'd like some blues and yellows in there so that will dictate my next choice of macros. Some ceriths and nerites are needed as well.

Enjoy! I planted everything in sand rather than rubberbanding some algae to hard surfaces. Feedback is appreciated.

Michael Hoaster
11/05/2016, 10:11 PM
That back wall is awesome! Nice job.

JZinCO
11/07/2016, 10:21 AM
Thank you so much!
It looks 'busy' in photos but is so fun to just admire in person. I'm wondering if you have any rules of thumbs you have found from your experiences. Like, what key nutrients to monitor, best inverts to use, etc. I've noticed how useful in photos your snails are at keeping the grasses algae free.

If I ever get a macro in that you are interested in, I'd be happy to drive down and give you some as well.

j_mazzy
11/07/2016, 11:14 AM
what foam worked?

JZinCO
11/07/2016, 12:40 PM
I used great stuff big gap filler, but the regular great stuff and great stuff pond foam work just as well.
In some areas there was egg crate lighting diffuser to act as a scaffold but I also foamed right on the glass. It keeps the foam from being buoyant. I don't use zip ties to hold down objects. It really doesn't take much foam at all to hold up a rock; just lay down a thin strip of foam, put on the objects and wait a few hours before it is bonded enough to support its weiht.

Michael Hoaster
11/07/2016, 10:31 PM
Hmm…rules of thumb. I'm sure I have some.

Cerrith snails reproduce in your tank, giving you multiple sized cleaners. Crabs will eat algae, if that's all there is to eat. Once they taste fish food, they are worthless algae eaters. Take pictures. You can look back and see what's happening over time. Take plenty of time to just sit and observe your aquarium and think (and enjoy!). Before making any big changes, think about the possible outcomes, don't rush into doing anything. When trying to solve a problem, ask "How would Mother Nature do it?"

Chasmodes
11/14/2016, 11:31 AM
The 20L will had a foam background consisting of rock rubble, mussels, and barnacles. All are "real", having painstakingly glued 60 pairs of mussel shells together.


Your tank looks like it's off to a great start, and looks great too. I love the back wall. Your shell gluing efforts really bring it to life though, nicely done. From your pics, I think you've captured the essence of your inspiration photo. I can speak to how much work that is as I've done it with oysters on my oyster reef build.

I do have a question though. What fish did you have that ate all of your live barnacles?

I will be following for sure ;)

JZinCO
11/16/2016, 07:49 PM
Thanks Chas. Can't wait to see yours. Correct me if I'm wrong but oysters tend to have a more cohesive structure, aggregating into clutches. So I'd bet yours has a more aesthetic appeal. Mussels and barnacles in the real world are constantly battling for real estate so their organization is chaotic hence my hodgepodge looking wall. I love it though and it was fun to make. I'll try to post a few photos mid-build.

In other news the tank is doing well. The gorgonian died as I expected. The string of pearls algae looked like it was a goner but sure enough, it's showing rapid growth. In general I think removing the crabs was a good idea.The caulerpa is going great as well.
The goby is fine too and he's catching on to feeding more a little. I no longer have to bury his food in the sand. During feeding time, I noticed that his feeding behavior gets kicked on. He'll sift alot more and actually take some food off the top of the sand. So he can distinguish meaty feed. Before it seemed he was oblivious when I was adding food. I know he's not completely trained to eat prepared foods (and a slow learner at that) but there's progress.
In other news, I got a sexy shrimp and a Condy. The sexy shrimp is an eager eater but hasn't left his corner. The Condy found a place on the wall over night. the goby was deathly afraid of the nem, I used food to coax the goby out and he has been acting normal since then. Maybe I should have waited for an anemone shrimp but, ce la vie.

JZinCO
11/16/2016, 07:52 PM
Oh, btw I suspect my starry blenny ate the barnacles. No real proof. Just a hunch given his greedy appetite for any moving small thing. Could have been hermit crabs too. I just think that predation happened but its possible some other event may have led to the barnacle populations' crash.

Ron Reefman
11/17/2016, 05:38 AM
I've always found barnacles impossible to keep for more than a month or two, even in a very mature tank with heavy feeding and natural filtration.

Chasmodes
11/21/2016, 01:16 PM
Thanks Chas. Can't wait to see yours. Correct me if I'm wrong but oysters tend to have a more cohesive structure, aggregating into clutches. So I'd bet yours has a more aesthetic appeal. Mussels and barnacles in the real world are constantly battling for real estate so their organization is chaotic hence my hodgepodge looking wall. I love it though and it was fun to make. I'll try to post a few photos mid-build.

Thanks JZ. I look forward to seeing the pics, and also new pics of your tank as well.

JZinCO
12/20/2016, 11:38 AM
I owe you all an update so that's forthcoming. Made a purchase at Diver Tom's so that is overnighting... macroalgae/seagrasses at $1 a pop, yes please.

JZinCO
12/21/2016, 05:53 PM
Okay, so what's been new?

Honestly not a whole lot.

5 and 7 weeks ago were the last additions to the tank. I can't believe my tank is not even two months old.

since I last updated:
- Ceriths have been fine, though no eggs laid yet.
- The gracilaria was eaten up
- The fern caulerpa has grown a bit
- Film algae grew all over the back wall
- The goby has been making sand hovels, abandoning those and making new hovels. He is slowly leveling out the sand.
- One mussel has died. I don't know how many I have left.
- The Condy has taken up residence in a far corner and has been hard to observe. Seems stable but not thriving.
- The turtle grass died back. The two leaves browned out. I haven't touched it in hopes that there are still carb reserves in the roots. I most definitely added this too early.
- The halimeda opuntia and shaving brush has wasted away but the mermaid fan has sprouted new clones so I do not have a Ca problem.
- Sexy shrimp seems happy hanging with the Condy.
- The string of pearls died back and was almost gone but has regrown with a vengeance.
- Alot of algae, snails, crabs, etc made it to my sump. My sump looks super nice actually.
- The gorg is actually hanging on, barely. It hasn't grew but hasn't died back.
- So many pods everywhere!

Today I got from Matt over at Diver Tom:
- Halimeda incrassata, shaving brush, manatee grass, mermaid fan and something that looks like mermaid's wine glass. At least a dozen individuals, most growing intertwined on big sand/rock plugs. More ceriths and some astrea snails. At least a cup of sand straight from the Keys incidentally. Also a spotted nem shrimp.
- And some stuff for my reef tank

I'm really impressed by the quality. The overnight shipping hurt but at $1 per plant/algae, it was still cheap.

I don't have any future plans except more algae varieties and fish eventually.
Oh, and I think my tank has become N limited and P rich. For the reef tank's sake I am reducing P now.

Ron Reefman
12/22/2016, 08:17 AM
Is there a link to Diver Tom? I googled it and all I found were scuba lessons and dive shops?

JZinCO
12/22/2016, 10:29 AM
Yeah divertom.com
They do business under Caribbean Tropicals now which is amazingly generic sounding.

Ron Reefman
12/23/2016, 07:55 AM
I tried 'divertom.com' and it gave me 'caribbeantropicals.com' and said page not found? I'll try again later. Any other ideas? What city are they in?

JZinCO
12/23/2016, 10:41 AM
Must have just been down; you can try their facebook page too or [email protected] I would place an order ASAP if possible because they have a 25% off special.
I'll probably order some plants and inverts from them again this summer. I counted again and I think they gave me 10 extra plants (2x my order)!
One of two shrimps didn't make it so I got store credit. I would get gorgs or sponges but the added water adds weight. Key Largo fyi.

Ron Reefman
12/24/2016, 04:53 AM
Thanks for the link. The prices on some of their stuff is crazy low. And I get down there (Key Largo) about 3 to 5 times a year. It's only about 4 hours from me in SW Florida. I was planing on stopping by to visit KP Aquatics which is in the same area of the Keys.

JZinCO
12/28/2016, 12:49 PM
No prob Ron.

I got a couple hitchhikers on the Halimeda incrassata.

Any ideas? Appears to be a bivalve. It looks almost like a Venus flytrap. Opens and closes its mouth with thin outward projecting hinge teeth.. The green color is odd.. either this is a plant or bivalve looking animal that either sucks chlorophyll from host algae or is colored green as a camouflage..
http://reefcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=11194&pictureid=76812

Ron Reefman
12/29/2016, 06:00 AM
Consider asking the supplier of the algae? I've snorkeled the keys shallow flats close to 100 times and I've never seen anything even similar to that other than a flame scallop. And I don't think that's any kind of flame scallop! Any chance at a better pic?

JZinCO
12/29/2016, 11:14 AM
The individual in question has disappeared. While that one was green and attached, I had found a white one floating at the top of my tank (dead?). No photos of it but got a good look. It was shaped like a wing oyster so that's my best bet.

Here's a side view photo (left) and the shape of it (right)
http://reefcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=11194&pictureid=76813

j_mazzy
01/16/2017, 09:23 PM
does look like scallop

Michael Hoaster
01/21/2017, 11:52 AM
Progress?

JZinCO
01/23/2017, 10:21 AM
Michael,

Some new developments: Bought more lighting to deal with some macros dying out. It appears that my tank is becoming dominated by a couple species of caulerpa, shaving brush and mermaid's fan. The goby is now able to dig 4" holes in the sand because the holdfasts of these macros are keeping sand from filling the goby's holes. The manatee grass and halimeda are doing okay. It's hard to tell because they haven't been growing or receding at a noticeable rate. Considering that these are all present in the Keys, I am thinking of converting it to a Caribbean tank and introducing some more coral.

Currently I just have the Condy and some protopalys. I have some zoas and true palys that came from my Diver Tom order and are flourishing in the reef tank. I may move some over to this tank to give it a fuller biotope theme rather than just an autotrophic focus
On an aside, the Condy started moving quite a bit right before I got the new light. He ended up in the powerhead, ugh. My GF rescued him and he seems to be recovering just fine. In other news, my nass snails had babies and I counted a dozen pin sized snails. In general, I am very satisfied having only snails and no crabs. I haven't cleaned my glass for weeks because the ceriths are amazing at cleaning up film algae.
I also found a new hitchhiker. A very small lettuce sea slug; he has doubled in size the past week and enjoys spending time sucking chloroplasts from shaving brush. At worst he is just slowing their growth but I'm content to leave the sea slug be.

Also, the tank has doubled up as a frag tank now :)

JZinCO
02/13/2017, 03:48 PM
Just another update. I haven't bought anything so I've just been watching things occur.

I did some management for aesthetics last night. I don't really like the codium so I threw 3 golf ball pieces into the corner and threw the rest into the sump. I have cleared most of the coral frags, as well as caulerpa taxifolia, but I couldn't remove everything.

Lately, I've been struggling with what the point of the tank is.
From one perspective, last time I wrote that I really want a florida tank with coral, grasses and algae of the region blending rocky parts here: http://166.78.194.232/forums/showthread.php?t=2469373, but half of the space dedicated for the openness of florida lagoon here: http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/11902012
I'm not sure if I should start that in this tank or wait years down the road to have a large tank for that.

Under another approach, I think I also initially conceived of this tank being jammed with algae like nawilson89's, on their thread ( http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2533104&page=13 ), or pledosophy's here: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2253174&page=2

So.. how to proceed? I'm not sure but for now I am aiming for the open look with halimeda, shaving brush, mermaid's fan and grasses..
[I still owe you all recent photos]

JZinCO
02/17/2017, 10:32 AM
Alright! I got the GF a 150-tall for her oscar fish (tank + stand + 55 sump for $150)!
My 50 show reef inhabitants are moving to her old 72 bow. Upgrading sump from 20 to 55.
The 20 long (this thread's tank) inhabitants are moving to 50 show. The 20 long is becoming a frag tank.

The macro tank is going the Caribbean direction with half seagrass bed, half reef. This time the macro tank will be unconnected to the reef tank (probably sump and skimmerless). The process will probably take a few months because I need to do things like beef up floor joists.

Chasmodes
02/17/2017, 01:42 PM
Sounds like a good plan to me. I checked out the links from the previous post and I like all of them, so I couldn't decide what was best. Each was cool in its own way.

Your plan reminds me of the old reef tank that they had in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History a little bit, where they had the reef side and the lagoon side along with a bucket dump wave machine (or whatever they called it). I loved that tank and always made a point to see it weekly when I worked in DC. At least that's what pops into my little brain :)