Diver's Paradise: Take Two!

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by FeliciaLynn, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    The original Diver's Paradise was running from 1/17/12 to 2/25/14. After a crash caused by a new wrasse disturbing the 2-year old sand bed, I decided to gut the tank and start over with a new plan. I figured I'd treat this like a new build and create a new thread. So now its time for Diver's Paradise: The Sequel [​IMG]

    This tank was started on 2/28/14.

    FTS 7/7/14



    • 30g Aqueon glass aquarium (36"x12"x16")
    Rock and Sand
    • 28 lbs of KPA cured live rock
    • 30 lbs of Caribsea Bahamas Oolite live sand
    • Aquastyleonline 36 LED dimmable kit
    • 18, 3 watt Bridgelux royal blue LEDs
    • 9, 3 watt Bridgelux 10,000k white LEDs
    • 9, 3 watt Bridgelux 4,500k white LEDs
    • 2 15.8" x 4.7" heatsinks
    • Vortech MP10ES
    • Jebao WP-10
    • Sump - 5.5 Gallon Tetra Glass Tank, Eshopps PF-Nano Overflow Box, Rio Plus 1400 Return Pump
    • 4" Felt Filter Sock
    • BRS Single Media Reactor with Carbon and GFO Mix (Cobalt MJ 1200 Pump)
    • SCA-301 Skimmer
    • 125 Watt Eheim Jager Heater
    • Finnex Max-300 Digital Aquarium Heater Controller
    Auto Top-Off
    • JBJ ATO Water Level Controller
    • Tom Aqua Lifter Vacuum Pump
    • 2 BRS Peristaltic Dosing Pumps (1.1 mL per minute) on digital timer dosing B-Ionic Alkalinity and Ca
    RO/DI System
    • BRS 5 Stage RO/DI System
    • Purtrex 5 micron sediment filter
    • Matrikx CTO 5 micron carbon block
    • Matrikx CTO 0.6 micron carbon block
    • 75 GPD Dow Filmtec membrane
    • DI resin refillable cartridge

    • Yellow Watchman Goby
    • Orange Firefish
    • Yellow Coris Wrasse
    • Leopard Wrasse (female)
    • McCosker's Flasher Wrasse (male)
    • Darwin Ocellaris Clownfish (female)
    • Standard Ocellaris Clownfish (male)
    • Yellow Candy Hogfish
    • Astrea, nerite, cerith, margarita, turbo and nassarius snails
    • Blue leg and orange claw hermits
    • Halloween Hermit Crab
    • 2 Fighting Conchs
    • Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp
    • 2 Sexy Shrimp
    • Squamosa (purchased Oct. 2013)
    • Tiger Derasa (purchased March 2014)

    • Green Fuzzy Mushroom
    • Orange Tree Gorgonian
    • Golden Muricea Gorgonian
    • Grafted Mushroom
    • BBEB's (Blondies)
    • Rastas
    • Devil's Armor
    • Pink Zippers
    • Punk Rockers
    • Miami Vice
    • Nuclear Greens
    • Purple Deaths
    • Fruit Loops
    • Kryptonites
    • Bam Bams
    • Pink Hallucinations
    • CARs
    • Mind Blowing Palys
    • Blue Hornets
    • Ring of Fires
    • Tubbs Blues
    • Lord of the Rings
    • My Clementines
    • Nightcrawlers
    • Unknown mint green zoas
    • Unknown purple zoas
    • Assorted rainbow palys
    • Goblin's Vomit zoas
    • Symphyllia Brain Coral
    • ATL Lavender Lace Duncan
    • Aussie Elegance
    • Orange Scolymia
    • Lithophyllon
    • Orange Fungia
    • Assorted Acans
    • Dendros
    • Frogspawn (branching)
    • Assorted Hammers (branching and wall)
    • Octospawn (branching)
    • Orange Tube Anemone
    • Purple Tube Anemone
    • Pink Tube Anemone
    • 9 Rock Flower Anemones
    • 4 Bubble Tip Anemones



    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
    neuro likes this.
  2. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Hi everyone,

    Whew! It is about time I get caught up on posting updates about my tanks.

    Unfortunately, I have a bit of bad news. I had a partial crash in my main tank (not the seahorse tank). I lost the majority of my SPS corals and most of my inverts (cleaner shrimp, starfish, pistol shrimp) in that crash. Most of my other corals survived, but a lot were looking pretty bad.

    After some serious discussion, I figured out what caused the crash. The tank was 2 years old, and I admit, I didn't really bother with cleaning the sand bed. Over the 2 years, my nassarius snails died off or were killed by hermits and nothing was stirring the sand bed. So yeah, the sand bed was nasty and full of detritus. I then made the mistake of buying a yellow coris wrasse. He is an amazing fish, but his habit of burying himself in the sand did not end well. Anyways, for a month or so after I got the wrasse, I was having issues with cyano and hair algae in the tank. I did a bunch of extra water changes, but I couldn't figure out where all the excess nutrients were coming from. They must have been coming from the sandbed when the wrasse buried himself. Then one day I came home from lab to find the tank water milk white because the HUGE birdsnest, my slimer colony, and my yellow acro colony had all RTN'ed. I'm pretty sure the wrasse finally kicked up enough gunk out of the sandbed that it set off the SPS corals and then it was just a chain reaction from there.

    I did a bunch of water changes and got the tank stable again, but it was just so sad looking at it half empty and just a shadow of its former glory. I was pretty bummed about it, so I decided to take this as an opportunity and start the tank over from scratch. New rock, new scape, and new stocking plan!

    Erin was kind enough to lend me an identical 30 gallon, so I transferred all my fish, remaining corals, and live rock into that tank for holding while I redo the tank. Unfortunately the stress of the crash plus the move set off an ich outbreak with my fish and I lost my clownfish and my coral beauty a few weeks ago. Luckily the remaining fish (yellow coris, yellow watchman goby, and orange firefish) are doing well.

    In good news, I'm really happy with how the scape turned out in the new set-up. I ordered live rock from KP Aquatics, since they have amazingly colorful and life-filled live rock that they harvest from their own live rock farm in the Florida Keys. I have to say, its some amazing rock and the price is great! With shipping, my rock came out to $5.60 a lb. If you ordered more (I only got 30 lbs) it would be even less per pound.

    The tank finished cycling during the middle of this past week, so I added my first two fish on Friday. I wanted to replace my coral beauty angel, but didn't want to risk getting a nipper since I have 3 clams and lots of LPS corals. My previous coral beauty never touched any corals, but who knows what the next one would do. Therefore, I was looking for a decent sized, colorful, open water swimmer to replace the coral beauty. There aren't a lot of options considering my tank is only 30 gallons. I ended up deciding to get a male flasher wrasse. Then I was speaking to a friend who has one and had done a lot of research on the fact that if you aren't going to keep the male with a harem of females, it will stay active and colorful if you keep it with another male of a different flasher species. Female flasher wrasses are hard to find and I don't have a big enough tank for a whole harem, so I decided to go the two males of different species route. I ended up picking up a male Carpenter's flasher wrasse and a male Linespot flasher wrasse. They've settled in nicely and I haven't seen any signs of aggression or fighting. They're both eating flake food already!

    The rest of my fish and my corals are in the holding tank still and I'll be transferring everything back sometime in the next couple weeks. Also, I'm going to be getting a new pair of clowns from Erin.

    In terms of corals in the new tank, the plan is to have it more LPS dominated. I want lots of puffy corals and movement. The rock island on the right will house euphyllias that I want to have grow together. The middle island will hold a couple BTA's. The left side rock structure will house my big duncan colony and my zoanthids and possibly my chalice. The sand bed and the flat rock on the sand will hold my 3 clams (maxima, squamosa, and derasa), acans, plate corals, a tube anemone, and a symphyllia sp. brain coral.
  3. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    And now here are a few quick videos of my new flasher wrasses and my new tube anemone.

    neuro likes this.
  4. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Glad you got things going. I've never had a sandbed so I can't comment on the cause of the crash. Have you thought going barebottom? Maybe it'll be one less thing to worry about in the future.
  5. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Unfortunately, I absolutely can't stand the look of bare bottom. I need some sand! This time around, I'm going to try to do a better job siphoning the sand during water changes. I also got really fine grain sand this time around because its supposed to trap less detritus since the fine grain packs tighter and doesn't have so many gaps. Also, I'm getting a bunch of nassarius snails to stir up the sand, and I plan to keep up with adding more of them if I notice them disappearing. Hermit crabs are annoying with their snail killing habits, but I love having them because their antics are so entertaining. Also, now the yellow coris wrasse will be in there from the beginning and he will help keep the sand stirred up when he buries himself. If anyone has any good sand sifting invert suggestions, that would be great too!
    neuro likes this.
  6. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    i want to note, although it's too late now, there's always a false sand-bed you can create. It helps with the bare bottom look without having detritus trapped in it.

    i have an handheld siphon w/hand pump that i use to siphon stuff out. always wondered: when you siphon stuff out, the smallest pieces get sucked up. how do you plan to separate the good and the bad when you siphon?
  7. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    I have seen those false sand beds before and I think they're a great idea. However, I have several fish and inverts that need to have a real sand bed, so that wasn't an option for me. I have a yellow coris wrasse who sleeps in the sand, a yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp who need to make their burrow, and a tube anemone that needs to be buried in the sand.

    I plan to just siphon off the very top of the sand bed during water changes so that hopefully I pick up the settled detritus and not too much sand. Some sand will however get siphoned out, so I'll probably have to add some additional sand after a while. Kind of a pain, but I learned my lesson about not cleaning the sand bed at all. I'm hoping with the very fine sand that I'm using this time, the detritus will only settle on the top and not be able to get trapped down in the sandbed since the fine sand particles pack so tightly and don't leave much open space.
    neuro likes this.
  8. F6553066

    F6553066 Guest

    I just redid my 65 gal tank and thought I was going to have the same problem you did. However after a major disturbance of the sand bed everything survived just fine. I attribute this to my pistol shrimp and high fin goby. The tank has been up and running for about 30 months and all during this time the pistol shrimp has been making tunnels through out the sand bed. He never stops. I have read that if you are going to have a sand bed it should either be less than 2 in. Or more than 4 in. Of course I didn't know that at the time, but I think the little shrimp saved me. If nothing else the relationship between the shrimp and fish is worth watching.
  9. F6553066

    F6553066 Guest

    I just redid my 65 gal tank and thought I was going to have the same problem you did. However after a major disturbance of the sand bed everything survived just fine. I attribute this to my pistol shrimp and high fin goby. The tank has been up and running for about 30 months and all during this time the pistol shrimp has been making tunnels through out the sand bed. He never stops. I have read that if you are going to have a sand bed it should either be less than 2 in. Or more than 4 in. Of course I didn't know that at the time, but I think the little shrimp saved me. If nothing else the relationship between the shrimp and fish is worth watching.
  10. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Good to hear your tank was ok after a major sandbed disturbance. I had a pistol shrimp paired with my yellow watchman goby before the crash, but unfortunately, they only built their burrow in one corner of the tank and didn't sift the sand in the other areas of the tank. My sand beds are under 2 inches. Its just an issue of needing to do a better job of keeping it clean. I'll definitely be siphoning off the detritus every water change from now on. Also, I'll probably get a fighting conch to assist my nassarius snails in sand sifting. They're supposed to do a great job turning the sand over and eating detritus in the sand.
  11. F6553066

    F6553066 Guest

    Looks like you have everything under control. Maybe I was luckily with the pistol shrimp I got. Like I said it is all over the aquarium. You have always done a very job with your aquariums and this one looks like your record should stay intact.
    FeliciaLynn likes this.
  12. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    It might be the type of pistol shrimp too. I had a tiny randalli pistol shrimp since my tank is small. Maybe it wasn't quite as brave in its burrowing. Thank you for the vote of confidence! I obviously still have things to learn, like about sand beds, haha! I'm trying to make this another nice tank :)
  13. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    I just transferred my remaining corals and fish from the holding tank back into the main tank. Whew! That was a lot of work, but it went well. I think everything is just fine. All the coral is just thrown in at random for now. I'll work on placement another day.

    In terms of fish, the tank now houses:
    1) Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse (male)
    2) Linespot Flasher Wrasse (female)
    3) Orange Firefish
    4) Yellow Watchman Goby
    5) Yellow Coris Wrasse
  14. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Alright, big news! I decided to finally put a sump on this tank! I don't have space in my stand for anything bigger than a standard glass 5 gallon tank, so it will be a tiny sump but it will allow me to get the heater and ATO float switch out of the tank, plus allow me to have a small skimmer and a media reactor for better filtration. The only filtration I have now is an AC70 with some ChemiPure Elite and Purigen. That will be coming off the tank and being replaced by this small sump.

    Here are the components of the sump:
    1) Eshopps PF Nano Overflow Box (200 gph)
    2) Aqueon glass 5 gallon tank (16.2" L x 10.5" H x 8.5" D)
    3) 4" felt filter sock with holder
    4) Eheim Jager 125 Watt heater
    5) BRS single media reactor with MJ1200 pump (GFO and carbon mixed)
    6) SCA-301 In-Sump Skimmer (rated for 65 gallons)
    7) Rio Plus 1400 Return Pump (420 GPH)
    8) CPR Inflow Kit

    All the plumbing is going to be done with 3/4" vinyl tubing. I got a slip to barb fitting that I will glue into the bottom of the overflow box so that I can then attach the tubing. I also got two barb fitted ball valves for adjusting water flow on the inlet and outlet tubing for the sump.

    I'll be installing two glass baffles into the sump to route the water through a sponge to trap detritus and remove micro bubbles before the return pump. Here's the final plan for the sump design:

  15. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    Sponge and filter sock seems like overkill. Could you put the reactor pump in the same area as the return pump? I am not a fan of using ball valves to adjust the flow. Too finicky and there are flow changes over time. There was also some discussion that gate valves were a better choice for flow regulation. I'd rather go big on the overflow and then have a pump that cannot reach the overflow capacity. It looks like you could drop to the Rio+ 1000 and not overwhelm the overflow.
    FeliciaLynn likes this.
  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I don't know why but sponge looks like it's misspelled when written sideways... sorry that's all I got for this thread ;)
    FeliciaLynn likes this.
  17. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    The filter sock is to collect any big detritus or anything right before going into the sump. I originally just had the sock, but then was told I would need a sponge before the return pump to remove microbubbles from the skimmer. I looked at a bunch of premade sumps and most of them also have a sponge before the chamber with the return pump, so I figured it couldn't hurt to have it. I'd hate to have a bunch of microbubbles getting pumped into my tank.

    Interesting to hear about the ball valves. This is my first attempt at plumbing, so I'm definitely a bit clueless. I got the ball valves because they were the only ones BRS had with barb fittings on both ends for use with vinyl tubing. I didn't want to have to deal with gluing to get a bunch of valves into my plumbing. Once everything gets here though and I start planning the plumbing, I can always go pick up some gate valves and the fittings I would need.

    I saw some reviews of the overflow I bought that all say the GPH rating of 200 is very conservative and it can actually go much faster than that. The Rio model I got is the one that was recommended for the specific overflow I got, so I figured I'd just grab that one. I can always exchange it for a smaller one if it doesn't work out. I was also worried if I went down to a smaller one that I wouldn't get enough flow once you figure in the head loss for the 3' it has to travel back up into the tank. Hopefully I thought through this all correctly! Its all very confusing and my first ever attempt at planning a sump.

    Thanks so much for the input, Mike! You guys will definitely be getting questions from me once all the supplies get here and I'm trying to get it all set up.
  18. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Hehe! It does look a bit funny sideways :)
  19. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    i personally don't think a sponge filter is overkill.

    if i had known, I would have spaced out my baffles enough for a sponge filter.

    there are a lot of things that get past my filter sock. I mean, having any amount of skimmate is enough evidence isn't it?
    FeliciaLynn likes this.
  20. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Good to hear. I had heard it traps any detritus or whatever that gets past the sock and then the microbubble removal is the main reason I decided to add one. It will be easy to remove and rinse out frequently.
  21. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    FYI, I do get microbubbles in only two instances:

    1. brand new filter socks (seriously, lots from them). they're fine after they've been used once or twice.
    2. changes from my skimmer (sometimes it spits out microbubbles)

    Otherwise there aren't any bubbles in my sump and return areas.

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