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gnaru
05/05/2017, 10:50 AM
Hi All,

This forum has been very useful to me as a beginner, so I figured I would give back what I can by sharing my tankís progression throughout the past ~8 months, along with some impressions, and presumably continue this thread into the future as my tank grows.

Iíve been interested in this hobby for a couple years and finally decided to dive in as I moved into a new home. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an inexpensive second hand Red Sea Max 250. Letís hope an all-in-one system will serve me well as a first timer.


Pickup:
http://i.imgur.com/07otZtU.jpg


(10/05/2016) Moving into a new home, first things first.
http://i.imgur.com/uW0zSdg.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/SOejm7K.jpg


(10/21/2016) Introducing first bit of livestock sourced from LFS and friendís tank: three damselfish, small colony of zoas/palys?, red corallimorpharia, few frags of red montipora, and a ball of chaetomorpha.
http://i.imgur.com/utwf1Do.jpg

I decided to remove the skimmer in the back sump compartment and convert the area into a refugium by packing it with rock, moving the chaeto there, and peeling off some of the plastic on the exterior backside in order to allow light through from a velcroed on an LED fixture.


(10/29/2016) Algae bloom.
http://i.imgur.com/13J1G0G.jpg


(11/17/2016) Some more livestock: a few green corallimorpharia, couple mats of GSP, and three RBTAs.
http://i.imgur.com/vcVKCSw.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/0AeAgB3.jpg

As the notoriously aggressive damsels grew through December and established their respective territories, the largest of the three began to bully the other two. The smallest one would continuously get cornered and nipped at while the middle sized one would constantly hide within the rocks in a little nook. Eventually, the smallest was at a point where it could hardly swim, floating at the surface, so I decided to euthanize it. The biggest now patrolled the majority of the tank while the other would still hide and only dash out to feed.


(01/15/2017) Belated Christmas present from a friend: two ocellaris clowns, royal gramma, mandarin dragonette, xenia, two colonies of zoas/palys, a gang of CUC including Astraea snails, nassarius snails, hermits, skunk shrimp, peppermint shrimp, black longspine urchin.
http://i.imgur.com/AK9RMlK.jpg

Immediately after introducing the new livestock, the big bully damsel started to go after just about everyone. I decided to get rid of him. Interestingly, once the bully was gone, there seemed to be a utopian balance in the tank, and the surviving damsel, likely with PTSD, has since kept to himself, appearing to be the least aggressive fish in the tank.

gnaru
05/05/2017, 10:51 AM
(02/20/2017) Loc line splitters installed on left return pump. Everyone doing well, including the clowns which have paired up, with the exception of the smallest RBTA who never quite acclimated properly as it would move around constantly until one day it started to disintegrate; I removed what I could and changed out some water, and luckily the only loss was a small branch of xenia in proximity. Though the back wall covered in algae isnít exactly aesthetically pleasing, it did provide a nice hunting ground for the mandarin, and I would always see the royal gramma and damsel picking things off the wall. After trimming the chaeto in the refugium, it started to shrink, perhaps due to the variety of other algae using up nutrients, so I moved it back in the DT where there is more light.
http://i.imgur.com/lEcZxyB.jpg


(03/12/2017) Cleaned up the algae. New coral: zoa rock with three different flavors, acropora frag, purple montipora frag.
http://i.imgur.com/ocHZ4G2.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/HoZlMhb.jpg


(04/28/2017) Put in some dry rock a few weeks ago to create more real estate, as well as the obvious benefit of increased surface area for bacterial growth. Cyanobacteria outbreak quickly followed which Iíve since been siphoning out periodically. The chaeto went back into the refugium and is growing nicely again. Frogspawn from a friendís tank.
http://i.imgur.com/RCI4B05.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/lR2jBct.jpg

Current status:
All the livestock seem to be healthy and the coral are growing nicely. The mandarin is doing well, constantly hunting. The clowns have yet to be hosted by an anemone though they do stay close to one and occasionally swim up against the tentacles Ė fingers crossed. The largest RBTA split just the other day and all have mostly lost their bubbles. I havenít seen the peppermint shrimp for months so I assume he died early on, though I had a few aiptasia anemones disappear and not return. A couple hermit and Astraea snail deaths but otherwise no issues, except the cyanobacteria outbreak which Iíve decided to take the red slime remover route.

Maintenance is minimal relative to what Iíve read about other reefers. I do the occasional water change when I decide to clean up a bit, but nothing regimented. The only non-biological filtration is a piece of felt between the refugium and left return pump compartment, original to the tank design, which I swap out a few times a month when it gets saturated with gunk. The hood seems to mitigate evaporation so manual water top offs are also minimal, maybe 10 gallons a month, but we shall see how the summer goes since I am in southern California. I feed one thawed cube of Mysis shrimp every other day. No dosing of any kind. T5 light setup from back to front is blue+, daylight, blue+, coral+, daylight, blue+.

Impressions:
First off, this hobby is a lot of fun and is quite rewarding. Iíve learned a lot, not only about fish and coral, but also about biology, chemistry, and ecosystems in general. The biggest thing I may have done differently in retrospect is the tank choice. Donít get me wrong, the RSM 250 is sleek, quiet, easy to setup, and the pricing and timing was just right, but the lack of customizability, or difficulty thereof, is an issue for me. Larger water volume/refugium would be nice; display refugiums are cool. Dimmable lights/a smarter timer to control the lights would be nice. The stock hood only allows on or off, with a few blue LEDs advertised as moonlights on the reverse cycle. I like the color I currently have setup but it would be cool to have sunrise/sunset lighting to get a variety of looks. Also, I feel like the sudden change of darkness to sunlight and vice versa can be stressful to the fish, though maybe only slightly. In any case, I am thoroughly enjoying my living room coral reef, and am not planning on upgrading for a while since this tank still has so much to grow and I still have so much more to learn from it.

Thanks for reading, and I would appreciate any feedback.


http://i.imgur.com/ix5EFLK.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/eHwEFTL.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/yGv7mtE.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/nkmsnDC.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/uDW3JV9.jpg

JUNBUG361
05/06/2017, 08:24 AM
Looks good

gnaru
05/06/2017, 02:14 PM
Looks good

Thanks! I'm planning on getting some more photos now that the cyanobacteria has cleared up and will upload them when I get a chance.

wii64brawl
05/06/2017, 03:22 PM
Looks very good. I must say I'm surprised the monti is growing so well under the stock lighting. I could never get montis to live in my Red Sea Max 130.

CC85
05/10/2017, 12:01 AM
Tank looks awsome I hope I have as much success when i start. Currently still deciding on tank size and if AIO is right for me or if I should buy things individually. Anyways great progression would love to see more pics of the corals in the future.

Gueeto
05/10/2017, 03:56 PM
Wow! Great looking tank! I'm with CC85 and looking to get a new tank. Probably going AIO under 45g. Great work


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

gnaru
05/11/2017, 12:03 AM
Thank all for the nice comments.

Looks very good. I must say I'm surprised the monti is growing so well under the stock lighting. I could never get montis to live in my Red Sea Max 130.
Not sure if this helps explain the discrepancy, but I did swap out 4 of the bulbs with some brand new ATIs, though this was rather recent and a lot of the pictured growth was under the stock bulbs.


Tank looks awsome I hope I have as much success when i start. Currently still deciding on tank size and if AIO is right for me or if I should buy things individually. Anyways great progression would love to see more pics of the corals in the future.

Wow! Great looking tank! I'm with CC85 and looking to get a new tank. Probably going AIO under 45g. Great work


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
If you haven't already, see the last paragraph of my second post for my take on AIO systems.
I'll try and get around to posting some more pictures this weekend.

CC85
05/12/2017, 08:32 PM
Very valid points gnaru. An AIO for me just seems less over whelming in regards to how it all goes together and works. I think once ive gotten comfortable with the equipment, its setup, function and so on. I will have alot more confidence in my ability to do something more custom in the future and stray away from AIO and create a custom tank system with fish and coral thats as awsome as the ones on these forums.