Jestersix

Thesassyindian's 13.5 gallon m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ ̶p̶i̶t̶ reef tank

thesassyindian

Supporting Member
Hello folks,
I am new to BAR and the reefing hobby. In fact, this is my first foray into pet keeping, period.
Thank you @IOnceWasLegend for introducing me to BAR. This group has been a great resource since day one.

I have been contemplating the hobby for the last 2-3 years, and been reading forums and watching instructional videos about reefing for just as long. Earlier this year in March, my wife and I visited Maui for a couple of weeks. The absolutely mesmerizing fish and corals we saw during our snorkeling trips were the push I needed to get my first tank! My wife didn’t hesitate either! So that’s a win right there, yes?

Soon after, we got our first tank and set it up on April 19th, 2020.

The beginning was a little rough, with two fish deaths within the first week of filling the tank. Contrary to what I had read online, the LFS I bought the stuff from, suggested live cycling with dry rock, live sand, Fritz Zyme9, one yellow tail damsel and one sergeant major damsel. They both passed in quick succession within the first week.

Needless to say, I changed my LFS of choice, and decided to take my own approach to cycling.
I performed a 100% water change, while I waited for Dr. Tim’s Ammonium Chloride and One and Only to come in from Amazon, and then performed a fishless cycle.

Anyway… after a very , very , VERY long ugly stage, my tank is now algae free, and I can actually see through the glass. (See this post for details)

Here is my current setup:

Tank: Fluval Evo XII 13.5gal, ReefRock 2.1, Nature's Ocean Bio-Activ Live Aragonite
Light: AI Prime 16HD
Stocking:
Fish: 2 Juvenile Ocellaris Clowns, Randalls Goby
CUC: Pistol Shrimp, 3 Nassarius, 2 Trochus, 6 Cerith Snails, 4 Blue Legged Hermits, 1 Conch
Corals: 1 frag each of Duncan, Green Hairy Mushroom, Pink Goniopora, Eagle Eye Zoa and a very very unhappy GSP.

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thesassyindian

Supporting Member
As of 8/5/2020, the corals look a lot healthier, and the 90% water change a couple of weeks ago, seems to have knocked out the algae.

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Ironically, the most hardy coral, a GSP is still unhappy.

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thesassyindian

Supporting Member
In May 2020, the Bay Area experienced a heat wave, and my tank was at a risk of cooking itself.

Luckily my wife would check on the tank temperature while I was at work (I have to go to work 9am-8pm everyday), and turn on the fan as needed to cool the tank.

After consistently recording tank temperatures of over 82F, with the fan on full blast and my powerhead pretty much pointing vertically upwards in freaking fountain mode, I sensed something was wrong and I just had to root cause the issue.

Turns out, my Fluval M100 heater was out of whack! With the dial set to 78F, I dropped it in a 5gal bucket of plain tap water. The next morning, the damn thing had heated the water to 85F! EIGHTY FIVE!

So throughout the heat wave, the heater was pretty much on full tilt, and so was the fan. Something HAD to be done!

My brewer friends introduced me to the Inkbird temperature controller, and after a brief Googlefu, turns out, its very popular in the reefing community as well! Nice!

BUT... after my tank almost cooking itself, I needed to be able to monitor the tank remotely from my phone.

The traditional tank automation systems were WAY too expensive and far out of my budget.

So I decided to put my degrees in electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and robotics to use!

And voila!

Made this temperature monitor, controller and alarm. BOM cost, about $30 + a weekend's worth of firmware coding.

(Details in this post.)

TL;DR; It records ambient and tank temperatures every second, and controls the fan / heater as needed.
It also keeps a log of temperatures for the last seven days, and I can monitor the tank temperatures remotely from my phone!
Alerts on my phone and an audible alarm at home when the temperature goes out of limits is great for maintaining my peace of mind :)

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thesassyindian

Supporting Member
I know this following statement has been said multiple times, and I can't recollect who preached it to me:

"You aren't taking care of fish and corals, you are maintaining a body of water."

We all know through experience that testing water parameters is key to healthy livestock and a great looking tank. And with a barrage of parameter to test, comes a crapton of test kits.

Stanley came to my aid, to help keep things organized.
A few more kits have been added and/or swapped for other brands since then.
And yes, I did buy the API saltwater master test kit.

Juch a n00b, no?

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Oh and with these many test kits, come a ton of vials and cuvettes.

Nothing a block of delran, a few pieces of acrylic rod and a bridgeport can't solve.
Here's my DIY drying rack:

:cool:

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max_nano

Supporting Member
that testing toolbox is a nice idea. I think the API test kit is a rite of passage for reefing lol. It Looks like that gsp is covered in some algae, scrubbing that off with a toothbrush may help? Or it could be the placement, my piece likes lots of flow but doesn’t seem to want to get blasted by light.

what settings are you running the prime with?
 

The_Lazy_Reefer

BOD
Staff member
I know this following statement has been said multiple times, and I can't recollect who preached it to me:

"You aren't taking care of fish and corals, you are maintaining a body of water."

We all know through experience that testing water parameters is key to healthy livestock and a great looking tank. And with a barrage of parameter to test, comes a crapton of test kits.

Stanley came to my aid, to help keep things organized.
A few more kits have been added and/or swapped for other brands since then.
And yes, I did buy the API saltwater master test kit.

Juch a n00b, no?

View attachment 18050

Oh and with these many test kits, come a ton of vials and cuvettes.

Nothing a block of delran, a few pieces of acrylic rod and a bridgeport can't solve.
Here's my DIY drying rack:

:cool:

View attachment 18051
That quote is from the owner of my favorite tank Mr. David Saxby. We keep water that is all. If we keep the water stable everything else falls in line. That idea changed my entire view on aquariums and I’ve never looked back.
 

thesassyindian

Supporting Member
It definitely looks like it. Are they long slimy strings?

It reduces after the photoperiod, but comes back just as strong when the lights have been on for some time. They reappear in about 4-5 days after manual removal.

My main weapon was manual removal, regular water changes and limiting food waste.
 

thesassyindian

Supporting Member
Hmm - something weird happened last evening.

My tank turned cloudy over the span of 3 hours. Not sure what caused this - but hey it conveniently it was water change day today!

I took inventory of all my livestock, and looks like I am missing one Cerith snail :/
Coincidentally, one of my 4 blue legged hermits had changed its shell a few days ago.

If I were to make a rushed conclusion, it would seem like it liked the cerith's shell more than the extra shells I had lying around the tank for this exact reason.
Welp - The ocean is a dangerous place!

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Here's a request for help thread I posted with some rather entertaining discussions.

Anyway....
I cleaned the sand with a gravel vac, and changed out about 4 gallons of tank water this morning with fresh saltwater.

Here's hoping for the best!
Stay tuned!
 

thesassyindian

Supporting Member
OK! Good news! The water change, sand vacuuming seems to have worked!

Perfect params this morning, and crystal clear water!

Oh, speaking of params, here's my hack for noting down params between successive tests and logging on the AquaticLog app.
I made a simple table, printed it out and laminated it.

The result is a small "dry erase" board that takes a lot less space, and fits in my test kit.
These parameters were before my 40% water change last morning.

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