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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone.

After almost a year hiatus, I am back fishkeeping! Last year CT had some wicked power outages and I lost all of a 150 gallon reef tank :cry: Last week I took a vacation from work and set up a twenty long freshwater tank for my son with some Platys and Cories and I got an itch that nothing but a saltwater tank could scratch! I still had a 16 gallon that I used as a Q tank (hyposalinity only, no meds) that is going to be my new S/W obsession. It was pretty much the only thing I had left after I sold off my 150...

I took pics of me taping off the tank to paint the back black:

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And after painting the back Satin Black:

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I am very excited about this. I am getting rock and sand today from Fosters and Smith, along with a nano powerhead and a heater. I am going to let it run empty for about a month (or longer if I feel the rock isn't cured) to let it mature. First addition will be a pair of False Percs - slated for September 30th...
 

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Looks like a good start. Couple questions:

1) Are you going to drill the tank and install a sump?
2) What are your goals for livestock? SPS? LPS? Clams? Enough Xenia to choke a horse?
3) What other gear/mods do you have planned for the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Looks like a good start. Couple questions:

1) Are you going to drill the tank and install a sump?
2) What are your goals for livestock? SPS? LPS? Clams? Enough Xenia to choke a horse?
3) What other gear/mods do you have planned for the tank?
First of all, thanks.

1) I think that the cons outweigh the pros of a sump on a 16 gallon tank. I know I gain water volume, but I have to find a tank that fits under the stand, drill the tank and concoct a sump that will be efficient with bubble traps and what not.

2) My first goal is to get a pair of clowns in the tank. Most likely false Percs. I also would like a Yasha Goby/ Pistol Shrimp combo. Maybe a couple of peppermint shrimp to take care of aptasia and other detritus. Lastly nassarius snails, hermits and probably a serpent sea star as a cleaning crew.

For corals I think I will do low-light, softies and polyps. Nothing too light dependant, I am probably going to invest in a
or a
Fixture. I haven't decided which way I want to go yet (and what type of funding the finance department, aka wifey, will release on this project).

I will never keep a clam again as I read up on how much light and plankton they require. It seems to me that more clams are killed in aquariums each year than survive. I am going to go slow on corals, so we'll see as this build progresses...

3) Gear/mods: I am outfitting the tank with a Hydor Nano 240 powerhead, an Fluval 204 canister with only LR in it, and probably (due to a discussion on carbon in a different thread) a Prizm skimmer. I know the Prizm is a black-listed skimmer, but I have one hanging around and think I will make the necessary modifications to make it worthwhile. If not I also have a Seaclone CC that may be able to be mod to produce skimmate.

I really want to make a mod on the hood that came with it. Right now it only has the one little strip for the T8 light that came with it. I want to keep a lid on this tank as evaporation can be a killer in a smaller tank and this should help to slow that down. If I run that LED fixture that I linked or even the Quad T5, I will need more glass to let the light in. I am thinking of bending 1/4" plexi into the shape I am looking for and maybe re-use the lid part...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The essentials have arrived!

The Base Rock: 40 lbs
IMAG0134.jpg

The Live Sand: 40 lbs
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And powerhead, heater and stick-on thermometer (I still have a digital coralife I plan on using)
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Now just four more hours til I leave work... Then my son and I can set it up! He keeps looking at his freshwater tank saying, "Nemo?" He's a funny little two year-old. Loves his fish!
 

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My suggestion would be to ditch the canister filter and rubble rock idea, as it's just going to turn into a horrible nitrate factory. Also, on that small of a tank you can get away without a skimmer if you're doing regular water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My suggestion would be to ditch the canister filter and rubble rock idea, as it's just going to turn into a horrible nitrate factory. Also, on that small of a tank you can get away without a skimmer if you're doing regular water changes.
I am using the Fluval mostly as an added source of flow in the tank and as a surface skimmer (I have a TOM surface skimmer adaptor for canisters) in lieu of a sump. I plan on larger pieces of Live Rock to actually catch the detritus. I never planned on rubble as it does not have enough surface area to be a good detritus trap before becoming a nitrate factory. As long as the surface area of rock is sufficient, it will act in the same manner as putting rock in your sump inlet (common practice).

Water changes and protein skimming are not a means to the same end. I would use carbon, but I had read an article posted in another thread that made carbon out to be the precursor to lateral line disease. Large water changes can be detrimental to a system. Large water changes can stress the fish, bleach your corals and flucuate your salinity. I always change 10% a week to keep trace elements and bicarbonates in check, but not to remove Dissolved Organic Solids. In the case of DOS I use either skimming or carbon. Since carbon is out of the picture, it's skimming.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I added water, sand and rock last night. I forgot about the patience needed after adding sand. All's I wanted to do was aquascape and move the powerhead into the right place...

An hour and a half after adding sand:
IMAG0142.jpg

Better this morning. I didn't have time to go elbow deep before work.
IMAG0143.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Much better this morning. Tried to reposition the aquascaping, but am not 100% happy yet. I have a fellow s/w enthusiast here at work that is going to trade me a live rock from his tank for a base rock of mine.

IMAG0144.jpg

I am torn between using carbon and running a skimmer. I have an old Red Sea Prizm skimmer that I can mod and try to get to work, but I have to pull the tank away from the wall about 4".
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Right now I am running the lights from 1:00 to 11:00. This is probably the schedule I will stay with when I upgrade the lights, but this right now is just a T8 50/50 single bulb.

I added a piece of a friend's live rock last night, we'll see if it jump-started anything...
 

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Tested params tonight. I only have nitrate, nitrite and calcium tests til I go to the fish store Thursday.

So far:

Calcium: around 375. This Calcium test stinks, I am never sure when/if it turns blue.

Nitrate: < .25 ppm.

Nitrate: < 10 ppm. Another shoddy test kit. I might pick up the api master reef kit...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Those look interesting. As soon as my budget allows it and I can invest in one of each, I will. Thanks for the reccomendation.

For now I will just grab the essential test kits: Alk, Calcium and pH. The Nitrate and Nitrite I have are good enough to check against the 5-in-1's I have for my f/w tank. When I get a few bucks together, I will invest in those Hanna Checkers though...

Anyone have a good reccomendation on good liquid calcium & alk test kits? I am going to Petsmart to buy my son fish for his f/w, so something I can find at a large pet store. Thanks!
 

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Wow, I really like how your tank is turning out! It looks really cool! I always want to have a S/W tank but my dad won't let me! :-D *stalking thread*
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks aussie!

I think I will pick up the API tests for now, and save up for the Hanna Checkers. Thanks Wub.

I added a hunk of Live rock from a friend's tank the other night. So far, I think I am seeing the start of a diatom bloom, a good sign my tank is maturing. I am picking up calcium and alk supplements tomorrow night.

More tank shots:

IMAG0150.jpg

IMAG0151.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Wow, that coral makes it look better than before, not as plain! :-D
Thanks! I look every night for the start of coraline growth on the base rock hoping that my tank is maturing.

Tonight I will go pick up test kits and supplements for the tank. Maybe a mag float too so I can clean the glass.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Last night I picked up an API Calcium test kit and Kent Marine Part A and B Calcium/Alk buffers. I tested my Calcium when I got home and it was a surprising 420 ppm! So I went over to the tank and stared for a few minutes to see if there was any coralline growth, and behold! (I know it’s hard to see, but it is there. Another rock is also starting to get purple flecks on it!)

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I also picked up a Oceanic Biocube magnetic glass scrubber and cleaned the glass:

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