Jestersix

...and then there were three! A multi-tank journey

Prestondeeply

Supporting Member
My family and I have had freshwater tanks (currently 5) for a few years now. But I've always eyed those marine tanks with envy. Last October a friend was moving from the area and we ended up with an IM 10g AIO Nano that had been sitting dry for a couple of years. We read, and read, and read, and the overwhelming points were, A) be patient and B) stability over number chasing....especially in a nano. It was 3 months cycling before we put a single coral in the tank...and at 5 months in we had a bunch....no casualties, no issues, totally stable...all softies and LPS mind you. Confidence was at an all time high! So we started looking at the HNS aquascaping and the floating island aquascapes and well, a single 10g just isn't very much space. But we really like the constraints and the AIO nature, so we started looking for a new AIO nano tank.

My son says hey....we have that old 10g fresh...and some plexi-glass...how about we make our own AIO 10g nano peninsula style. So, tank TWO begins.... NSA, here we come! Note that when they say 'buy Marco Rock roughly proportional to 1 lb/gallon with a little extra' they aren't talking about NSA or HNSA...we bought 12 lbs for our 10g NSA tank TWO and only used 6 lbs. But we're pretty happy with that experiment, its a fun look.

But, in the process of building out the 10g tank TWO with plexi-glass modifcations....we spotted another IM 10g AIO nano....a twin to our first...with a kessil A80 ready to go.....so _that_ number THREE tank landed in our lap just after we finished assembling the home-built 10g AIO peninsula! Since we still had another 6lbs of Marco Rock, we broke that up and made it into a cove style reef with some super-glue and insta-set.

Then we hit a speed bump! To celebrate our now 3 tanks....a hermit crab (1 of 3) in the original Nano, moved up shells, got caught between two rocks, bailed from the new shell, and the other hermits killed him. Having a hermit crab die in a 10g NANO is not OK. Corals immediately responded negatively. After a couple of small water changes in 3 days, our turbo snails (originally two...but multiplying and now at 4-5) decided to spawn and just left an oily brown mess of skim on top of the water....which is also rough on a 10g Nano! Corals, not yet really recovered from the hermit crab incident are now SUPER upset and all retracting for survival; zoa's get a few little white spots on them, etc. All in a matter of 1 week. Needless to say our big egos from the first 5 months took a hit in month 6!

We're now in month 7 on that first tank, no medical dips, no medications, just attention and water changes and all of the corals are fine and the white spots on the zoa have disappeared....I think we lost two zoa polyps that melted away.

We now have tank TWO and tank THREE cycling so we can spread the turbo snails out in a couple of weeks....we'll have to get a handle on their spawning and multiplying though. We've heard that spawning and multiplying snails are a good sign for a salt tank....but in a nano it is rough. If anyone has suggestions on how to reduce the spawning or maybe remove the oil slick quickly we're very interested!

So, 7 months in, we're at 3x 10g AIO Nanos. Two A80 Kessils and one LED from the original IM 10g...like 6-8 years old. All of the tanks run decent sump pumps, good Finnex heaters, and small hygger wave makers (we have a lot of water movement which really seems to benefit the coral). We run Instant Ocean and all of the water parameters reflect the Instant Ocean mix (we used to test the RODI+Instant Ocean mix before we put it into the tank...just to get a baseline).

We've got the bug for sure....and the variations in Marine tank aquascapes, corals, equipment, etc is just astounding. We'll post updates next month when we starting adding corals (2 months of cycling and algae growth).

Thanks for insights these forums have provided over the past 6 months!
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Prestondeeply

Supporting Member
We used extra acrylic cut-offs and a blow torch to bend a couple of L's. Glued the Marco Rock to one of the L's then used acrylic glue to set that on the AIO wall. Using the smoked/black acrylic makes it disappear like a shadow.

Also, we glued rock to rock through the holes...I'm not sure if that was necessary, but we don't worry about rock to acrylic connections...even though we superglued that as well. It is all super stable....and committed for sure. No problem for a DIY AIO.
 

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Qwiv

Supporting Member
How do you like the hygger wave makers? The controller is a nightmare. I put one in my 10gal QT tank and even on low, it is too much. Would easily cover a SPS tank, but not a mixed QT tank. Just got the Jebao version today as it has less flow and hoping it will be more appropriate. Will install it later today to this weekend to check it out. The Hygger would be awesome adn a longer tanks as it is so quiet.

Nice start to your tank. Excited to see how it develops. I love small tanks.
 

Prestondeeply

Supporting Member
For the Hygger wave maker we installed in that mound-scape first tank, we have the wave maker pointing across the back and right at a rock that looks like a wedge. So, for that one, even though we did drop the programmed strength, it is also split in two on the rock-wedge and creates a lot of water movement without blasting anyone away. I agree though, we don't have anything planned for that section of the rockwork at this point.

We haven't experimented with the wave maker in tank TWO yet. That one is likely to be more difficult to get placement on....hopefully we won't need to replace it but I'll look into the Jebao in a couple of weeks if we can't get the Hygger dialed in. Thanks for the heads up. The intent for tank TWO is a zoa garden where the tree scape on the right has different zoas on each nob/branch. Those won't take a Hygger pointing right at them....so we'll have to figure something out.

Anyone been creative with baffling and redirecting parts of a wave? Maybe that is only a Nano problem?
 

Prestondeeply

Supporting Member
The last month has been interesting. We changed lighting to an A80 from the original LED lighting that comes with the old IM10; the hermit crab death; and repeated turbo snail spawnings. So when many of the corals looked upset, they had reason...many of them. Here is what we did:
  • Found 3 of the baby turbos (1cm) and moved them to the new tank2 and tank3.
  • Performed several water changes, every other day, 10-20% for a week. Even though the alk, ph, calc, mag, and salinity all matched up with our Instant-Ocean levels before the water changes.
  • Changed the filter media (we run carbon and po) in the Nano.
Things looked better, for 1-2 weeks, but then they started to fall back again with the corals looking off. Not bad, but new growth receeded, formerly plump polyps were maybe 1/2 their normal size everywhere else. The willow leather would daily bend almost completely over in the night and return to 'standing' form by mid-day. I also noticed a long string (like the mucus strings from frogspawns et al coming from a recent echinata purchase....which I had thought might be typical of an echinata filament.

After another 2 weeks of unhappy corals, under visual inspection we noticed that when we spot feed the echinata that long filament comes out....of the side...and now out of a little pyrimid! Turns out we had a vermetid worm hitch-hiking on that new-ish echinata. That filament was like 9 inches long...and sometimes detaches I guess....we found pieces in a number of places. So we pulled out the echinata and crushed/scraped off the worm until we were down to bare coral base.

As an all out change, we also moved the large leather....which is the largest in the 10g to another 10g that is currently ending its cycling phase (tank 3 above).

Its been only 4 days since the vermetid removal and the leather relocation. But, I'm happy to say that all of the corals look happy and are plump again. So now we're wondering, would the Leather or vermetid cause this kind of general environmental unhappiness in a 10g, or were those just coincidence and we need to look for another cause?

Also, we noticed today that we have a new herd of turbo snails growing up. In another month, we'll have a decent crop of 5+ turbo snails that will need to be re-homed if there is any demand for turbo snails in BAReefers...and what size should a turbo snail be before it gets re-homed?

We should have asked earlier about what might be causing these problems....but without seeing the tank...that just feels impossible to describe.
 

Prestondeeply

Supporting Member
Oh, its been a while. Here are some current photos, left and right of the mountain tank. Montis have attached and are growing out. Tangerine Dream Chalice has added a bunch of new eyes in the lower left....the barnacle in its' base is still living. Notice some STN on the Forest Fire Digi...maybe after I added a purple Pocillopora kind-of in its water flow path....if that makes a difference. I haven't dealt with STN before. Do I cut and remount 1/2" above the STN? I'll look that up.

Also, oddly enough the yuma decided that the best spot was top-of-tank right under the birdsnest. I fully expected the yuma, which has now split into two, to sting the birdsnest but its been 6 weeks and they both appear to be doing great. Is that only a matter of time? Should I move one or the other ASAP?
 

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Prestondeeply

Supporting Member
There is the spot between two micromussa right in front that is a dead-spot of flow, but also, too small for the turbo snails to get into. This is where a small twig of xenia landed and attached. I've been watching it grow...before I get in there and clean-it off once it reaches 'un-interesting' size. I was looking at that taking the pictures and now I see what looks like a frogspawn polyp right in that same little pocket. The little green segment. I have no idea what it actually is....but it is bright florescent green. The frogspawn was one of the first tank corals, about 9 months ago maybe.

That is going to be fun to watch.
 

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IOnceWasLegend

Secretary
BOD
Oh, its been a while. Here are some current photos, left and right of the mountain tank. Montis have attached and are growing out. Tangerine Dream Chalice has added a bunch of new eyes in the lower left....the barnacle in its' base is still living. Notice some STN on the Forest Fire Digi...maybe after I added a purple Pocillopora kind-of in its water flow path....if that makes a difference. I haven't dealt with STN before. Do I cut and remount 1/2" above the STN? I'll look that up.

Also, oddly enough the yuma decided that the best spot was top-of-tank right under the birdsnest. I fully expected the yuma, which has now split into two, to sting the birdsnest but its been 6 weeks and they both appear to be doing great. Is that only a matter of time? Should I move one or the other ASAP?
I would keep a close eye on the "STN" patch; I don't think the lack of flow could cause that, but given how hardy digis are cutting + remounting wouldn't leave it any worse for the wear.

For the Yuma and birds nest, I'm surprised the mushroom hasn't damaged the birds nest yet. I'd probably try to move the Yuma if you can, especially since they grow and split pretty quick.
 

Prestondeeply

Supporting Member
I'm pretty sure that bright green growing speck is the mouth of a new Yuma now. Way more likely than the frogspawn and the color just matches a little better. Still and wait and see....but I'm narrowing it down!
 
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