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Journal One Zero Three

Geoffrey Rea

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This is a first foray into marine. The setup was originally used as a DIY sumped freshwater setup.

1632735023482.jpeg


Equipment:

Aquascaper 600 display 600(L) x 500(W) x 360(H)mm
Dennerle 55l repurposed as a sump
CPR overflow with aqualifter pump
Hard PVC plumbing
2 x ONF Flat One 60cm lights
Hydor ATO
D-D temperature controller
Schego titanium heater
D-D/Kamoer auto doser
2500lph Jecod return pump
Sicce powerhead
Maxspect XF330 Gyres

Overflow box has room to run a bag of carbon etc:

1632735053760.jpeg


Sump is not as fancy as some:

1632735085764.jpeg


It’s currently a wet/dry trickle system that operates at one water level. The box operates as one big filter sock with floss. Hate cleaning filter socks. Floss can be quickly replaced. Drip plate (box with holes drilled in it) rains onto K1 media with lots of gas exchange, any fine mulm gathers on the base glass and can be easily removed during weekly maintenance. Final chamber houses return pump, some marine pure balls, Rowaphos when it’s needed and purigen.

If necessary, an additional baffle can be added, marine pure slab between the baffles and it free’s up a chamber for a filter sock and protein skimmer. It will also offer the ability to set the water height in the first chamber to the protein skimmer.

Scape:

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Now cycling:

1632735130429.jpeg
 

X3NiTH

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Wow, that was cycled quick..🤔

If the Marine Pure Block is taken from another fully cycled system then it’s good to go from setup for fish. I would have waited about 10 weeks to get past the ugly phase first but the Painted ‘Real Reef Rock’ hides a lot issues, same can’t be said for the substrate though that’s probably going to get ugly quick, easily stirred and turned over though.

So how does this work then? Do you just choose your favourite shade of pink? 😂

I always look top down with the sample half over the colour swatch and then try to match the contrast to get the reading. I generally don’t bother measuring Nitrates as I’m growing Macroalgae in all the tanks so I want a decent amount in there, around 10ppm or so if I was to target a level.

What type of Anemones are you planning to put in there? Bubble tip anemones look amazing especially if you can get the TriColour ones.

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Doesn’t just have to be Anemones, Clowns will also host Hairy Rhodactis Mushrooms!

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:)
 
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Geoffrey Rea

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Wow, that was cycled quick..🤔

This is a very contentious subject. If the concern is fish welfare, this introduction has involved a lot of due diligence. It is a fair statement John and one that isn’t lost on me. Starting a harem involves introduction of a group of juveniles at once to avoid casualties through squabbles for territory and breeding rights. It read ready. A further month of ammonium chloride addition is not necessarily a simple answer to ‘cycling’ a tank ready for fish though. Timing is important. Most will use fish food and yet to see fish health increased by raising the organics. Nor is this equivalent to fish load.

It may interest you @dw1305 that this startup was following Dr Tim Havonec’s suggestions; using one and only, lowering salinity, increasing temperature etc.

Full talk here for anyone interested:



You will find a pretty skeptical marine keeper here. There’s a lot of unsubstantiated chat about what works. Coupled with failing to define what ‘working’ means. Credit where it is due though, One and Only does appear to do as it says in the timeframes described.

What type of Anemones are you planning to put in there? Bubble tip anemones look amazing especially if you can get the TriColour ones.

Oh my…

Doesn’t just have to be Anemones, Clowns will host Hairy Rhodactis Mushrooms!

Congratulations @X3NiTH you’ve just seen to October’s pay check 😂 😂 😂
 
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Nice to see proper coloured clowns, there's so many ugly and ridiculously priced miss bars out there now.

Going to have plenty of movement for sure, a range of different nems would look great in there, though tights on power heads, as they will accidentally get chopped while they wonder about checking out the different flow and light spots.
 

X3NiTH

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This is the TriColour Anemone fully extended, taken a few minutes ago.

40D3437B-8C7E-44F6-85B8-440DF60A2A42.jpeg

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This was just after feeding RedSea Coral Nutrition AB+ hence the water in the background is glowing green as the supplement contains Fluoroescein so you can visually see target dosing. I could stare into the heart of that thing all day long, mesmerising, that’s if you can stop giggling at all the phalluses!

while they wonder about checking out the different flow and light spots

I wasn’t going to take that chance so my Green BTA got confined to a Hamster Ball with a little tub at the bottom with a rock in it and attached to the opening.

219D717B-CB59-437F-B8FD-34AC8B575995.jpeg


It got fed up that it couldn’t get out, sulked for a bit and when I eventually let it out it of there it has stayed on the same rock. I have a nice time lapse of this trying to escape the ball if you want me to post here.

:)
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Nice to see proper coloured clowns, there's so many ugly and ridiculously priced miss bars out there now.

Indeed. Was lucky to get a clutch of eight juveniles who all look stunning and in great health. One did come in with a swim bladder problem. But after feeding some lobster eggs his buoyancy issue disappeared within a day and he’s back swimming around with the group.

Going to have plenty of movement for sure, a range of different nems would look great in there, though tights on power heads, as they will accidentally get chopped while they wonder about checking out the different flow and light spots.

There’s just one gyre that will have the sleeves on when the nem’s go in. The scape is deliberately low as well. Outflow from the sump runs back to front, the gyre pulses 2 seconds on 6 seconds off left to right. The outcome is a low level, intermittent turbulence across the entirety of the scape. Lighting is also pretty even with the two ONF lights, equivalent to T5’s. Should provide some equity on real estate. If all works out and the nem’s do spread out, broadcast feeding a home made frozen mix with just the gyre on should provide for the Percula Clownfish and the nem’s.

With this arrangement excess food is getting turfed up and heading into the overflow box quickly as well. It gets caught in the sponge in the overflow box and be can removed after feeding. Minimises loading and need for excessive nutrient export.

I would have waited about 10 weeks to get past the ugly phase first

Has anyone considered it’s the waiting that leads to the ugly phase @X3NiTH ? There’s an increasing amount of Instatanks that maximise diversity in one fell swoop with minimal established competition to contend with. They seem to break all the standard, engraved conventions in marine setup and come out on top. This used to be attributed to live rock being used, but there’s ‘dead’ systems using established media as you mentioned that just seem to do exceedingly well. Again, have come across some passionate conversation about this but - evidence…

Spoke with someone who studied marine biology and works in the fish store I frequent. Level headed guy. We both agreed that successively increasing organics with fish only for weeks on end, then switching the lights on and not expecting issues is pretty silly. But it’s the standard advice.

This is the TriColour Anemone fully extended

If you have any advice on selecting and sourcing anemones, all ears @X3NiTH

Despite seven years of planning this setup, still overwhelmed by the thousand plus species.

Here we go!



:)

Fascinating time lapse. Interesting that it has stayed on the same rock since.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
It may interest you @dw1305 that this startup was following Dr Tim Havonec’s suggestions; using one and only, lowering salinity, increasing temperature etc.
I've got a <"lot of time for Dr Hovanec">, and if I was in a personal area of <"unknown unknowns"> I'd be tempted to follow his advice as well.

I've never kept marines, but it is slightly different because you don't have access to water changes <"and angiosperms"> in the way you would in a freshwater tank.

cheers Darrel
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I've got a <"lot of time for Dr Hovanec">, and if I was in a personal area of <"unknown unknowns"> I'd be tempted to follow his advice as well.

His advice on lowering salinity, raising temperature and not disturbing anything was followed.

The one variation added was the bag of K1 media from when it was freshwater. This was rinsed in freshwater, kept aerated and then added to the sump. The die off of the previous assemblage in saltwater, plus one and only resulted in roughly 5ppm NO3.

As outlined in his talk an eerie cloud throughout the system when the processing by heterotrophic bacteria is dominant, accompanied by a film on the glass. The timescale for nitrite to nitrate followed his estimation as well. Once zero ammonia and nitrite with fixed 5ppm NO3 was registered, started feeding the tank the intended food for the stock at set timings. No appreciable spike in ammonia or nitrite measured, just an increase up to 10ppm NO3.

Was taking the mick with the visual test kit in the previous post. Four people viewed the visual test shown in that post, no agreement on the reading. Have been using the Hanna Marine Colorimeter checkers as well. Bought various test kits to see how they compare.

The other part of Dr Hovanec’s talk that stood out was the use of different media types favouring different colonies, relating to flow through. Aside from the display, all water goes through a sponge, floss, K1 plastic media and marine pure porous balls. Not sure any of this matters but there’s a variety in contact time. Would have previously said surface area is surface area, but been given pause for thought. Also discounted the value of the rock and sand for nitrifying bacteria in this description.

Other aspects during startup:

  • no carbon
  • no GFO/Rowaphos for phosphate removal
  • no other means of nutrient export
  • no disturbance
  • all out media sump design
  • second addition of one and only with fish introduction

Still testing post stock addition and the system is for all intents and purposes ‘cycled’ and handling the inputs. Nothing to compare this startup with but one and only appears to work @dw1305 .
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Once zero ammonia and nitrite with fixed 5ppm NO3 was registered, started feeding the tank the intended food for the stock at set timings. No appreciable spike in ammonia or nitrite measured, just an increase up to 10ppm NO3.

Was taking the mick with the visual test kit in the previous post. Four people viewed the visual test shown in that post, no agreement on the reading. Have been using the Hanna Marine Colorimeter checkers as well. Bought various test kits to see how they compare.
A lot of measurements are actually easier in salt water. There are a couple of reasons for this, one is just the sheer amount of ions in sea water, it means that pH is a swift and easy measurement for example and you don't have to worry about <"interference by chloride ions (Cl-)"> in nitrate testing (NO3) etc. The other is just that their is a known datum, ocean water is the same the world over, there is really only one ocean, they are all joined to one another.
The other part of Dr Hovanec’s talk that stood out was the use of different media types favouring different colonies, relating to flow through. Aside from the display, all water goes through a sponge, floss, K1 plastic media and marine pure porous balls. Not sure any of this matters but there’s a variety in contact time. Would have previously said surface area is surface area, but been given pause for thought.
That is one of the main differences between keeping a reef community and a planted fresh water tank, you don't need to worry about nitrate (NO3-) and whether a particular <"filter type is a "nitrate factory">. In fresh water I'd regard NO3- production as an unalloyed good thing. I'd still regard aerobic nitrification in the same way in salt water, but you do have the issues of not having easy access to angiosperm plants or water changes to <"deplete that NO3">.

cheers Darrel
 
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X3NiTH

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If you have any advice on selecting and sourcing anemones

If you are UK based you can ask for your name down to be put in the request book of your local MA and they will try to source one for you, fair warning they are not cheap you can expect to pay around £130 for the size (fist sized extended) of the one I have pictured (standard one colour green or red BTAs are around £40-50). If they are unable to source one from a supplier (unlikely) then occasionally you will have customers donating anemones that they are growing so well they keep splitting and they don’t have the space to keep them. Anything that is really hot with fluorescence usually carries a premium on the price.

When in store and you have the ability to personally select one from the coral display the person serving you will/should be taking as much care as possible freeing the anemone from wherever it has placed it’s foot (mine above had to have the rock chiselled apart to free the anemone from the hole it found), if care has been taken then the foot of the anemone will hopefully be uninjured and the staff member should show you the foot so you can confirm it is unharmed (you won’t have this ability buying online). The Tricolour above is the second one to go in the tank, the first came from this lovely basket -

975F1CA3-F8B8-455E-9931-4A2EAE7DB5A1.jpeg


Can you guess which one!

DE0462C5-D88A-4948-A7AC-0BEEBDE6C759.jpeg


Here is the only photo I have of it in the tank (image not colour corrected)-

C3F1E400-80EE-4A64-A298-1E1228A1502A.jpeg


That’s the last I saw of it, it went through a hole in the Real Reef Rock down the back somewhere and I haven’t seen it since, when tried to be removed from the basket amongst all the others it shrank down to a foot smaller than the size of a penny, great care was taken but a tiny tear was on one side of the foot (it’s not easy to remove if it doesn’t want to), I don’t know if it still lives because it hasn’t been seen elsewhere in the tank, because of the size it was a quarter the price I paid for the larger one above. I’ll find out in a few weeks when I move everything from this TMC Signature600 into a RedSea Reefer 170.

I’m of the opinion that ‘Ugly Phase’ is not a cycling (nitrogen cycle) problem but a problem of ‘Lack of Diversity’ within the tank, surfaces within the tank will not only be colonised by bacteria but by higher order opportunists like Dinoflaggelates, Cyanobacteria and Algae, adding UV to a system if/when these appear can knock them back but Invertebrates (hermits, turbo snails, cowries, shrimp, crabs) help to keep it in check.

When fixing flora/fauna issues in a Marine tank it generally works like this - ‘There was an Old Woman who swallowed a Fly’

:)
 

Aqua360

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On the subject of cycling marine aquariums, by and large it tends to happen a lot faster than in freshwater aquariums, one benefit!

Also, nice hardscape with the rock, you can tell someone with an aquascaping background has done it lol
 

Geoffrey Rea

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We have a plant!!! Well… macroalgae. Does this setup now count as a planted tank? 😂

1633784258562.jpeg


Nitrate and phosphate have plummeted to barely detectable since adding the refugium. Installed a submersible Tunze refugium light at an angle to prevent light spill in the sump:

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Bit unorthodox having the light like this but it’s working out quite well. The chaetomorpha has grown considerably since the above photo and excess light is controlled.

Couple of Nem’s in too:

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One perfectly content where it is, the other going walkabout each day on its search for the perfect location.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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It would if we had a fts 😃

It doesn’t really help as the chaetomorpha is in the sump 😆

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The display is gonna be pretty bland until there’s further additions. The iPhone really, really struggles to photo this tank. The light spectrum and coral sand mess with it something chronic.

Also… Decided it is silly to call them a Clown harem. It’s a tank full of Clown’s, so it’s a Circus 🎪

Here’s a few of the circus and the anemones shifting about:

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