Reef nutrition

A good little tank


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Hi BAR. I finally got around to starting a tank journal for the Nuvo 10 I got used in August 2018 from Craigslist. Here's a photo of it from when I first got it:


The tank is running a kessil a80 at around 75%, chemipure blue nano, filter floss and has an ATO. I do a 2-3 gallon water change every week with RODI and regular IO salt and so far haven't dosed anything but may start with manual 2 part. I feel a bit intimidated and confused about dosing to be honest.

A little about me:
I'm originally from NYC. I had fresh and saltwater tanks as a kid, ending with a 125 FOWLR and 20 gallon FOWLR that both got dismantled when I went to college. I started living in SF part time a couple years ago when my partner got a job out here after grad school on the east coast. Now we're married and I went back to school to change careers and become a therapist. I finished school this past summer and my husband got me this tank as a graduation gift. In the next post I'll put up pics of the tank from a few days ago and talk about the successes and failures.
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Here are two pics of the tank from tis Thursday.

Here's a list of the tank's current live stock. Unless otherwise noted the livestock all came with the tank and so I've had it since August 2018

Green leather toadstool (came with the tank Aug '18)
Rainbow acan (micromussa) (came with the tank Aug '18)
Green mushroom (came with the tank Aug '18)
Green star polyp (came with the tank Aug '18)
Pinkish Goniopora (came with the tank Aug '18, dying)
Hammer coral (frag swap March '19)
Orange Montipora setosa (came with the tank Aug '18)
Purple monti cap (from Bar frag swap March '19)
Jack o'lantern leptoseris (came with tank Aug '18)
Green Birdsnest coral (from Aquatic Collection in Sept '18)
Branching pink cyphestria (frag swap May '19)
Green dragon zoas Live aquaria October '18)
Fire and ice zoa (maybe?) (Frag swap March '19)
Gatorade zoa (Frag swap March '19)
Vamp zoa (Frag swap March '19)

royal gramma (bought December 2019 from Aquatic collection)

3x blue legged hermits
1x nassurius snail
1x cerith snail
1x randall's pistol shrimp (bought December 8th)
Micro brittle stars
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Finally, some notes on the failures and success of the tank so far:

Inverts: The tank came with a cleaner shrimp who did very well and bugged the gonopora a lot. Then we added a randall's pistol shrimp and the cleaner shrimp vanished within a week! We also had 2 turbo snails and one died for no apparent reason. Otherwise, the hermits have been growing and trading up shells, and there are many baby snails in the tank, either from the turbos breeding (which was amazing to see!) or they're collinista snails, I'm not sure yet.

Fish: This is the saddest part. I love fish, and always have. My first 3 fish fro the tank (a pygmy hawkfish, a pictus blenny and a rainford goby) all died of ich within month. After that I let the DT go fallow fro 76 days and set up a quarantine tank and got 3 new fish and started treating with copper immediately. The high-banded shrimp goby found the tiniest hole in the cover of the QT and jumped to its death. The possum wrasse lived for 2 months but eventually died from flukes that Prazipro wouldn't treat (I also tried febendazole and that helped but either I messed up somehow or the treatment was not 100% effective). The happy news is that the royal gramma survived and seems disease free and is in the main tank. I am thinking of using a quarantine service for any new fish I get. I also found a JBJ 10 gallon cube on craigslist and am considering using it as a coral QT so I don't introduce ich or other diseases to the tank on a coral frag. :eek:

Coral: I never had coral as a kid but really love having them in the tank now. My husband actually really loves the coral, especially feeding them. I had some difficulties with some coral (the lepto bleached until I put it lower in the tank, the pictus blenny ate a bunch of the acan, including all its new polyps). But at this point all the corals are growing and colored well. I'm sure they could be growing faster and have better coloration but for a tank I've had for 5-6 months I am very happy. I am especially happy with the acan's and birds nest's growth. The exception is the goni which I think is sick. I am trying my best to help it live but it seems to be slowly dying :(
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I test every two weeks before water changes (every other water change) and so far the parameters have always seemed ok. But I am not convinced I am using the salifert test kits very well. I also think I probably need to test every day for a bit to get a better sense of the tanks uptake. What would you suggest?
I use instant ocean reef crystals currently as the alk Is lower (9.5 instead of 11 ish) and the ca is good at 420 or so instead of sub 400. I’m sure you could just start dosing some ca and call it good.
The real question is how much alk does your tank consume? Daily testing, ideally around the same time every day, will reveal this. What you don’t want is the alk changing a lot during water changes. Seems like most of your corals are doing fine, but stable alk will always be good for pretty much everything.
Regular alk testing is a good idea and it will give you a feel for the tank. My bet is given the coral load, that your alk is pretty stable


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To follow up on the alk- I switched to Red Sea blue bucket salt and upped my water changes to 4 gallons a weeks, so far alk has been stable at 8 so I think I will hold off on any dosing for awhile.

Below is a new FTS with the corals I’ve added from a frag swap in March and a second with the royal gramma this morning. I’m trying to make a zoa garden on the branching rock, we’ll see how it goes.

I’m happy with the growth of many of the corals, including the birds nest and Orange Monti, acan, toad stool, and the new zoas that have grown since the frag swap. The lepto has more than recovered from getting too much light a few months ago and is back to a beautiful vibrant orange and yellow and growing over the plug.

I also am loving having micro brittle stars I got at the swap in the tank, I feel like they are a great CuC addition and their waving arms in the current during feeding time is cool. In general the tank feels full of tiny life, I saw an amphipod leave an empty Cerith snail shell and then scurry back in.

In less happy news the Goni that came
With the tank is dying. It always had a little brown jelly on it or something like that. I tried cutting it drastically back but even the few polyps left have the brown jelly. If it could’ve been saved before it was probably too late. I wish I’d gotten bone cutters earlier, they are an amazing tool.

I also got an encrusting monti, attached to the same frag rubble as the purple monti cap, at this swap in March. It must have come from a lower light part of the tank because it lost a lot of its red color. I have also noticed it hurting the monti cap where the two meet and decided to remove the encrusting monti and glue it to its own frag plug. I’ve put the plug in a lower light part of the tank and will see if it recovers and grows, with the intention of swapping it away at the next frag swap. I don’t think encrusting montis are a good fit for a small tank like mine.

The other coral not doing as well is the gsp, which has gotten hair algae ever since I moved it to the back wall. We’ll see if I can get rid of that hair algae, the rest of the tank is pretty much free of hair algae but the back wall gets it.


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And here are the photos, a FTS, a nice pic of the gramma surveying his kingdom, and a shot of the zoa garden I’m attempting.

(I will attach photos later, the site won’t let me
Upload them from my phone :()


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and a top-down shot from early April when I hadn't yet attached all the corals. Btw, gluing coral down is annoying as heck!


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Visited @Coral reefer last week a picked up 4 frags: a red goni to replace the pink one that was almost dead, a blue/green lithophyllon, a red/green blasto and a purple stylo. The goni is truly amazing, I love the motion it adds to the tank. It had great PE very quickly after I acclimated it and has beautiful blue centers. I tossed what was left of the pink goni because even though I thought it was actually growing a bit it still had some kind of brown/red film on it and I didn't want to risk it infecting the new goni. Blastomussa is a coral I've wanted to try for awhile now, and I'm really glad Mike cut his one frag in half for me!

I also did some slicing and gluing of the vamp in drag zoas and attached more to the branching rock with the other zoas. I may eventually get rid of the zoa frag plugs on the sand to give the tank a more open look. Some pics of the new coral below:


Mike is super generous. I saw the goni at his place and it is really nice in person. I was tempted to grab one too but since I have never kept a goni before, I didn't want to risk it. Good luck!


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My husband and I are off for a three week vacation to Japan, leaving our tank for the longest time since we got it almost a year ago. A good friend who’s fish sat in the past is helping us out, so I have hope that all will be well baring a power outage or other disaster. Here’s a photo of the tank from yesterday morning in just natural light. I treated the gramma for internal parasites with GC/focus bound food a couple of weeks ago, since then it’s gained a ton of weight back and become so so so much more active!

The gsp on the back wall is also bouncing back. For the most part all seems well, corals are growing nicely.

My single nassarius snail was upside down and immobile this morning, close to the pistol
Shrimp’s cave. Lately Toby (the snail) has seemed slower than usual, with less slide in his step. I hope he stays with us for a long time, he’s a wonderful animal that brings a lot of joy to watch. My husband (who loves Toby) righted him and pushed him away from the shrimp, and he buried himself in the sand and eventually came out to eat a bit when I fed the tank. So there’s some hope!


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photo dump time! obviously pictures are what bring folks to a build thread, so here's my very blue iPhone pics :rolleyes:

After we returned from our vacation, I realized the tank was suffering from being in so much direct sunlight, so my husband and I moved the tank. Its helped improve coral color, decrease algae growth, and its much better for viewing so win-win-win! We bought a bedside table from a thrift store, sanded and re-finished it with marine layer varnish. Here's two FTS, front and side views, and a top down shot that shows the growth of some coral we’ll. In the front view you can see all 3 fish that are now in the tank:


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I've now had the tank for a little over a year. In that time the biggest difficulty has been fish disease and QT. Nothing else has been as much of a challenge. I lost a single coral, and have had some coral set backs, but besides the goni that came with the tank, every coral has recovered by some combination of giving it more or less light (re-placing it on the rock work), and increasing water changes. I've started to experiment with not running filter floss except right after I do a water change or scrap the glass to pick up algae/detritus. The water has more particles in it but if there's no big impact on coral health I may continue to go without regular floss, we'll see.

In terms of pests, the cyano that was getting bad after the 3 week vacation in July is going away. There is also some hair algae on the hammer coral, I scrape it with a tooth brush during water changes, but my hope is it will also go away on its own.

I don't think I will add any more fish to the tank, although I'm sorely tempted to try another pygmy geometric perchlet or rainford goby (perchlet for the personality and coloration, rainford goby for the colors and hair algae eating/sand sifting utility). But if I add another fish it won't be for a good amount of time.

I do plan to add more corals, mostly from frag swaps, but need to figure out if i will be doing a coral QT to stop pests and fish diseases from getting into the tank. I have a 12 gallon bio cube with the led light it comes with, do people think that could keep most corals alive for 76 days (ich fallow period)? They don't need to grow or even keep their best color, just be 'fine' if that makes sense