Quantcast

proud poppa, 2 new nanos, suggestions?

Help Support Reef Frontiers:

A

Aiptasia

Guest
Hello there..

I've been a hobbyist for some 25 years but i've only had one other reef tank, which was a low light level 55 gallon polyp/mushroom tank with Florida Live rock.

I'm setting up two new nano size reefs in my living room and i'd like some suggestions for little corals/frags that like a lot of light. The tanks are running at 130 watts of C.F. (one 65w. 10,000k bulb and one 65w. actinic/03). When the shipment comes in this week, the tanks will contain aragocrete arches/shelves resting on a nice 2" layer of GARF grunge. The goal is, since GARF grunge is essentially gravellized reef rock, the organisms and corraline algaes in the GARF will cover the aragocrete arches/shelves, creating cultured reef rock.

I'm doing it this way for two reasons: 1) reduce impact on wild harvested reef rock and 2) I fought a losing battle with bristleworms on my last 55 gallon reef. I couldn't get rid of them and eventually had to break the whole reef down. I eventually sold it off to a friend. This time around, if I use cultured rock I grow myself, I won't have the pest problems or the guilt of using imported wild rock. Plus, it's fun.

Since both tanks are going to be saturated with light, i'm looking for suggestions on corals and other inverts that really love bright light (upper reef) environments. I would prefer corals that need very little to no supplimentary feeding. Please give me suggestions for species that can handle a lot of light, as well as any tips you may have for adapting deeper water species to brighter lighting situations.

Here's more about the tanks:

I'm using a modified Jaubert plenum approach (super plenum)/ Skimmer system. Each tank is a 20 high (24"x12"x16") with glass canopies on standard wooden cabinet stands. Each has:

Plenum: Penn-Plax undertow filter plates (all uptubes capped) with one cap pre-drilled and 1/4" black pond tubing inserted (tubing capped on upper part) for slow drip plenum changes, nylon mesh screening separating two 2" layers of Araga-Max (Bio active Caribsea seaflor special grade substrate) and 2" of GARF grunge as a surface layer. Why the pre-drilled cap and 1/4" black pond tubing? Because since plenums essentially work like a septic tank, they occasionally need to be emptied and have the water changed, albeit very slowly. By having the black tubing, I have a portal to insert an artist's syringe and hand draw out a few cc's of water every six months or so. Since the tubing is black, light leaks are not an issue, and the part of the tubing above the plenum can be capped and tucked into the substrate until needed. This is a future convenience, as the plenum water won't need to be changed probably until after six months have passed.

Light: 2x65w. Coralife C.F. strips with one 10,000k. and one Actinic 03 bulb (one of each) = 130 watts total C.F. light.

Water Movement: Three Maxi-Jet 400 powerheads on a nautralwave multicycle pump wave timer.

Skimmers: Prism Deluxes.

Janitors: GARF's 30 gallon Janitor pack (3-4 different snail species, true red legged hermits, etc.).

The skimmers will not be set up and used until the tank has been well seeded with the GARF grunge, to prevent skimming off beneficial plants/animals. The Prizm deluxes have a media basket but I don't plan to use it unless I need to. They also have a surface skimmer box that the Prism standard doesn't. The target date for activating the skimmers is 4 months after each tank's setup. Like all of my tanks, I believe in doing water changes weekly, 10% across the board. No exceptions, not even for reef tanks. I use RO water and instant ocean, and pure RO water for evaporation.

I also like seachem's reef suppliments. Here's my dosing schedule for each tank:

Reef Plus - two teaspoons twice a week
Reef Complete - two teaspoons twice a week
Reef Carbonate - two teaspoons twice a week
Reef Advantage Calcium - one tablespoon added to each gallon of evap. water every other week
Reef Builder - one tablespoon added to each gallon of evap. water every other week (one week reef advantage calcium, one week reef builder).

Oops! Forgot heaters. Each has a Rena submersable 150w. heater.
 
Last edited:
E

empty

Guest
Well, for one, it would be helpful to know the size of the tanks :)

Edit: Oops, just noticed they're 20h. With that size tank I would go MH- nano-reef.com has good info on how to make a 70w MH from the ground up for $100(a little more if you want it in a hood or something). The difference in price would be worth the extra light, IMO.

If I had two nanos in my living room (instead of just the one, which is a 5g and my first and only(thus far) salt tank), I woould try a yin/yang approach. In one, I would go with bright color SPS, clams, zoanthids, etc. Mostly non-moving corals. That tank would have more fish than inverts in it. The other would be very mobile species, xenia, anthelia, finger leather, feather dusters, star polyps, etc. That tank would have more inverts than fish.

For what it's worth, a lot of people don't see bristleworms as "bad" anymore. Don't get me wrong, they're still ugly, but they are great detrivores. There are a few carnivorous ones but they seem to be rare. They usually munch soft corals and/or fish.

~Empty
 
Last edited:

j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
I have used GARF grunge and aragocrete with good results, but I would like to point out that the grunge will likely contain bristleworms....

As empty said, unless they reproduce so much that it's all you can see, I wouldn't worry too much about them. I have lots in my 10gal nano, but they have never caused a problem or gotten out of hand, and they keep the sand clean. When I stir up my sand very little gets kicked up. FWIW, the 10 gallon is also set up in a manner similar to what you described (though I leave the plenum alone), and is running fine.
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Hi Aiptasia and welcome to Reef Frontiers. Your et up and husbandry sound great. I agree that the gruge will take care of corraline seeding no problem in regards to the coloring up the agrecrete. Your concept on the plenum is a neat idea also, its kind of a micro version of what Delbeek does at the Hawaii aquarium. I might sugest maybe making a little modification to it. instead of just being able to pull a little of the water out, if you could plumb it so you could suck out some of the organics that accumulate down thier it would be that much better.
As per corals your looking pretty good on most, but I would go with smaller frags to start (aquacultured or tank raised) this way they would be much hardier and have a beeter chance for taking off.

sounds like a cool tank, make sure we get all the pics as they come out

MIke
 
A

Aiptasia

Guest
OneOfDazz: Thanks, I'll have a look at the link.

Empty: Nah, i've been the MH route. The tanks are 16" high, and with a six inch layer of plenum/substrate, that's less than 10" from substrate to bulbs. 130 watts of Compact Fluorescent lighting should be way more than I need for 20g. tanks. The power consumption will be less, evaporation rates will be lower and the bulbs run a heck of a lot cooler, which is important to a little tank. Don't get me wrong, MH is a beautiful thing. I use an adapted 400w. MH pendant on some live plants (herb/fruit garden) in my sunroom during the winter months and they love it. My last 55g. reef used two 175w. 6,500k. coralife MH bulbs and a 80 watt H.O. actinic, but that tank had a much deeper draft than the 20's. In fact, with MH being so intense, I would only use them in tanks with greater than 24" depth from surface to substrate at this time, IMHO of course. Tanks with a shallower draft don't need the same intencity to receive adequate P.A.R..

J.Stagner: When I finally broke down the 55g. reef, I had a good eight or nine fireworms in it off the Florida LR over eight inches long. They killed a beautiful T. maxima, two elegance, a large frogspawn, two bubbles, various leathers and three colonies of xenia before I tossed in the towel. I don't mind that the GARF grunge contains spaghetti worms or other nematodes, but i'm pretty sure they won't contain eight inch long bright orange fireworms. If it does, Leroy and Sally Jo and I might just have a chat. ;) This go around, i'd like to avoid that.
 
A

Aiptasia

Guest
MojoReef: Thanks! It's two tanks of the same size and setup actually. I think what i've done is similar to the idea you have but I probably should have explained it in more detail. The modified plenum idea came from an albert thiel article, in which the author used a similar hose. What you do is put in 1/4" black pond hose (hardware store in the ponds section) and snake it down and into your plenum. I'd say there's a good nine inches of black hose under the plenum plate in each tank. Since i'm using undergravel filter plates for this, you simply drill a hole in one of the provided caps and snake the hose through that. Drill a small hole in the hose that's under the plenum every five inches and you can more evenly draw out water from every section of the plenum that the hose touches. Careful not to drill the holes too big or the water will not draw evenly throughout the hose. Above the plenum, I have about 2" of hose, which is silicone cemented into place and capped, so that I can just tuck it under the sand until it's time for the plenum water to be changed. Then, every six months or so, you can drain out the plenum water as needed. I like doing this slowly with an artist's syringe of good size (looks like an oversized medical syringe with a curved plastic snout, see an art supply/hobby store). Why slow? Because anaerobic bacteria hate oxygenated water, and you don't want to kill off the colony of anaerobic bacteria. So, you suck out a syringe worth, wait six hours and do it again. Two big syringes worth of plenum water is a little over a cup and 1/4 of waste water.

If the hose ever clogs, you can backflush it with vinegar water (50/50) in the syringe. This weak acid will dissolve minor calcium deposits.

Good idea eh? ;)

I'll see if I can borrow the digital camera from work and take a few pictures of various stages of each tank's progression. Both tanks are semi-set up. I'm waiting on the GARF grunge, reef janitors, aragocrete pieces (www. garf.org) and the prism skimmers from www.thatfishplace.com, but everything else is in and churning away. I'll go ahead and toss in the grunge when it arrives in each tank, but i'll need an extra day for the aragocrete, so that I can lay it out, assemble it into the shapes I want, and glue it down with locktite gel (bonds in 5 mins, aquarium safe, hardware stores). Even though it bonds instantly, i'm going to let it cure overnight just to be sure it's stable. Then, i'll arrange my rock shelf creations with as few contact points as I can get away with stability wise.
 
Last edited:

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Why slow? Because anaerobic bacteria hate oxygenated water, and you don't want to kill off the colony of anaerobic bacteria
Actually my friend the anaerobic bacteria you want (Pseudomonas denitrificans ) love oxygen. They are what we call faculative. they can go either way. what ends up happening is that they will fix oxygen until it is used up, once the oxygen is used up they revert to nitrate. so no worries at all thier. Concidering the nature of these bacerias I would think the quick large suck up of the organics down thier might be a better concept, this way you get a good clean and then all your waiting for is for the anaerobic zone to once again get depleted of oxygen, which should not take to long concidering all the respiration going on down thier.
The concept is a good method for dealing with the common problems associated with the use of a plenum system. I plan on bugging you for some testing as the tank progresses.hehehe:lol:


Mike
 

Johnny

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
51
Location
Meridian Mississippi
That sounds like a very cool plan. You could stock the tanks with the frags from garf and have 2 nice tanks with little or no impact on the reef. Lets see some pics when the garf shipment comes in.
 
A

Aiptasia

Guest
MojoReef: I stand corrected. :D Yeah, it's going to be interesting to test the guuk water when I draw it out. I better dust off my Lamotte master test kit and check the reagents now :p

I'm such an aquanerd...

Johnny: I thought about ordering some frags from Sally Jo this go around, but i'd like the weather to warm up a little before ordering corals. Those little hand warmer packs might be o.k. for the grunge and the janitor snails/crabs, but I don't want to risk the cold weather on coral frags. Let's face it, they're knee deep in snow up there in GARF country. I'm probably going to wait until March before ordering some frags, which is why i'm soliciting opinions on which corals I should put in these brightly lit tanks.


Bright light corals? Any suggestions?
 
E

empty

Guest
Aiptasia said:
In fact, with MH being so intense, I would only use them in tanks with greater than 24" depth from surface to substrate at this time, IMHO of course. Tanks with a shallower draft don't need the same intencity to receive adequate P.A.R..
Well, I agree that the PCs are a lot of light, I just though MH might end up being cheaper for you in the long run.

As for MH not being necessary or appropriate on a nano, go check out nano-reef.com. You will be shocked how many people have 70w MH over a 7g bowfront, with great success.

Anyway, good luck and it sounds like a great project... Keep us updated ;)

~Empty
 
A

Aiptasia

Guest
empty said:
Well, I agree that the PCs are a lot of light, I just though MH might end up being cheaper for you in the long run.

As for MH not being necessary or appropriate on a nano, go check out nano-reef.com. You will be shocked how many people have 70w MH over a 7g bowfront, with great success.
Well, MH certainly isn't necessary for little tanks with the proper intensity and spectrum of bulbs. As far as appropriate, it really depends on the coral animals you want to keep and how you plan to manage the higher temperatures these bulbs produce. With shallow draft tanks (20" or less) that have a good thick substrate, I think H.O., V.H.O. and/or C.F. bulbs are a better choice. They produce less heat, can be mounted flush with the top of the glass canopy, etc.

I'm not downing MH (or other full spectrum HID lights) at all. By all means, use them.
 
E

empty

Guest
I'm not downing MH (or other full spectrum HID lights) at all. By all means, use them.
I intend to :) I have a 175 watt setup coming for a 20g.

Aiptasia cure: Poke them, making them retreat into their holes in the LR, and cover with pre-chewed sugar free chewing gum. Easy peasy japaneezy.
Does this really work?

~Empty
 
A

Aiptasia

Guest
empty said:


Does this really work?

~Empty
Oh yeah. It works very well. I tried everything, copper wire, hot water injections (very difficult), copperbanded butterflies, scrubbing and elbow grease, all kinds of things to get rid of my scourage of aiptasia colonies.

I found that each anemone likes to live in a little hole in the LR, and if you irritiate one, you can see how fast they withdrawl into the hole. Then I read someplace where someone used epoxy putty to seal them in their holes, and tried it with chewing gum. Viola, it works.

Btw, chewing gum is safe to use in reef tanks if you have some LR or coral with a rock base that won't stay put. The bond isn't as strong as crazy glue gels, but it can do the trick. Cool, hard chewing gum is very tough and putty like, just like under the desk in grade school, you can't get it off unless you chisel it off.

So, chew a piece up, get it nice and pliable/tacky, and plug a few aiptasia holes with some wrigleys. Leave it in place and the corraline algae will just grow right up and over it, or take it off if you can after a month or so.

In my best Jack Palance voice: Bury... Them..... Alive!
 
Last edited:
E

empty

Guest
Aiptasia said:
I found that each anemone likes to live in a little hole in the LR, and if you irritiate one, you can see how fast they withdrawl into the hole. Then I read someplace where someone used epoxy putty to seal them in their holes, and tried it with chewing gum. Viola, it works.
Very cool! I will try this tonight on the little bastards I see at the back of one of my rocks. The rock in question is smack in the bottom middle of my nano, and supports the two pieces of branch on either side, so pulling it out is not a good option.

Just to be sure though I may squirt some kalk paste in after I seal it up- cork them in there with some pH12 love and let 'em stew.

The other method I have been contemplating is this:

Aiptasia: A method of control

Best Ripley voice: "Nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure."

~Empty
 
Last edited:

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Aiptasia - Welcome to Reef Frontiers! I'm very interested to see how your modified plenum works for you. The concept is very interesting, and I'm excited about it - is there such a thing as an aquanerd? I've always been called a reef dork :D . Be sure to keep us updated. You sound like you have a great plan in place.
 
E

empty

Guest
Cool- it looks like my jaw is spared :)

My peppermint shrimp has apparently gotten down to business, as the rock is clean this evening and I can see no trace of them elsewhere in the tank.

I will remember the trick for next time though :)

~Empty
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

Latest posts

Top