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Seventh week update on the nano reef tank cleanup

Seven weeks into the saltwater, nano reef, cleanup, and the tank is looking great. With the help of the newest cleanup crew members from Reef Cleaners, the tank has finally stabilized itself and the water is crystal clear.

The inhabitants are quite happy. The coral polyps have been showing signs of growth. I am guessing that over the next two weeks, all the original algae issues will be gone.

For comparison, here was the tank as I received it:

Nano Reef Tank Crashed

A few Aiptasia keep popping up, but the numbers are few and fewer.

Oscar, the Emerald Crab, has already pulled in 66 followers on his new Instagram account! You should go follow him too.

Here are a few more photos around the tank:

P.S. I found the Nano Reef site and it has been consuming me. I ran across TheRope’s 3 Gallon Pico tank and ReefJar.com and have been having some very naughty thoughts about starting up my own pico reef tank…. trying to decide between coral or rock anemones at the moment….

New fish for the 30 gallon freshwater tank

Having been stuck at home for the last few weeks, I have been playing with my tanks. That, of course, has had me wanting to change things up a bit.

I had intended to swap the 30 with the 90-gallon tank by now and was waiting to get new fish, but I decided that with the elevated light that an algae bloom was well on its way. The Wet Spot, maybe the best fish store on the West Coast is offering free shipping this month, so I sprang for some new fish.

Specifically, I have been wanting a Golden Nugget Pleco.

The German Blue Rams have caught my fancy too.

So I ordered them! Tossed a few Cardinal Tetras in as well.

It has been a couple of weeks since they arrived, and I am really enjoying this Ram.

Third week update on the nano reef tank cleanup

This week spelled out a lot of change for the saltwater nano reef tank. The transformation has been quite dramatic. Here is how the tank looks today.

Nano Reef Cleanup - week 3

versus how it looked three weeks ago.

Nano Reef Tank Crashed

The two rocks on the right were rinsed in fresh water, and then left to sit for a couple of weeks before a good scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush. I did not know one of them was purple! It is a beautiful vibrant purple.

The rock on the right was cleaned up quite a bit more too. The three peppermint shrimp have not been able to keep up with the Aiptasia blooms, so I picked up some Aiptasia-X to help out. I had been avoiding this product because the process of killing Aiptasia with it is a manual one. It comes with a syringe that is injected into the mouth of the Aiptasia. A cumbersome process. It worked really quickly! I am a fan of Aiptasia-X now.

Here is a photo of the rock before an application of Aiptasia-X, and again a couple hours after.

The Rose Bubble-Tip Anemone is looking happier by the day.

The crab is still my favorite. We named him Oscar, and he now has his own Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/crabnamedoscar/

Found a gnarly Bristle Worm also. Attempted a couple times to catch it, but for now it seems it is determined to remain.

Some more photos around the tank:

Second week update on the nano reef cleanup

Today ends the second week of the new saltwater nano reef tank. Here is the update on the cleanup project.

The tanks started out overgrown with algae an aiptasia. The tank had crashed. Here is a photo of how it started.

Nano Reef Tank Crashed

I am dedicated to bringing this tank back up to snuff and giving it back to my buddy looking like the beautiful reef it should.

I started by removing all three large rocks for cleaning. The rose bubble anemone refused to be moved, so I wound up leaving that rock in. You can see the anemone on the left most rock in the above photo. Leaving that rock in has made the revitalizing of the tank more difficult as I have been unable to simply kill off and scrub it like the other two rocks. Minor speed bump!

Later, I took a good look at the default sump configuration and was not too thrilled with what I saw. The built in sump is convenient, and certainly makes this tank much easier to maintain, but it has not been doing a great job out of the box. There are three chambers, in the first chamber was nothing but water. The second chamber held a highly porous black sponge that contained a tiny bit of activated carbon and even less bio material. Not nearly enough bio material to build the level of beneficial bacteria I would like to see.

For the short term, I need to be collecting junk in the water, which the black sponge cannot do. I pulled that and the carbon out, then dropped the bio material to the bottom of the second chamber. Then I took filter floss and stuffed the second chamber full. The first chamber was still empty. Here is a photo of the water change 2 days after updating the sump. The filter looks whiter than it really is in the photo, it is dark brown.

Yowza! That is some gross water!

Both chambers one and two now are packed with filter floss. More bio media should be arriving shortly, and that will fill most of the second chamber. There are other specialty saltwater gadgets that could be used, but I am attempting to keep this as simple as possible.

The sump pump was also replaced. It had an anemic 80 gph pump in it. Or at least it felt like the same output as my other 80 gph pump. A 200 gph pump replaced it. This provides much better flow that everyone in the tank seems to be enjoying. The water is much cleaner as well.

Onto the critters!

Removing the other rocks helped the stock feel much better. Everyone is more active now, especially the shrimp, which had stayed in one place for the most part. I also picked up some cleanup crew to assist:

  • 10 Trochus snails – general algae eater
  • 3 peppermint shrimp – aiptasia eater
  • Emerald crab – bubble algae eater

The anemone was looking depressed initially. I fed it some brine shrimp and the next day it looked better. I have been feeding it directly every other day and it is looking happier now. It has fully emerged and opened up, and it’s arms are floating up again.

I have been heavily consulting with a couple pro saltwater buddies, Josh and Jordan. Their guidance has been invaluable. Barrier Reef Aquariums has also been critical to the success of this rehab. I highly recommend you check them out if you are in the Seattle area.

Here are some photos of the tank now:

Click on this link to see a video of the Emerald Crab dining on some algae.

New fish tank, saltwater- I have never had this before!

For over three decades I have kept aquariums. I tried to calculate of all the individual tanks over the years and came up with a rough 400 gallon number. In all of that time I have never had a saltwater fish tank! My friends Joshua and Jordan were the salt pros and I was the freshwater guy. 

A  buddy with a nano reef tank asked me a couple weeks ago if I could take care of his tank for a while. An established tank, with a built in sump. It is the perfect salt water aquarium starter package. I gladly agreed and the tank is now sitting next to my desk where I get to look at during the work day. 

Tank: Fluval Evo 13.5 

Current stocking:

  • Rose bubble tip anemone
  • Frosted Clown
  • Black and White Clown
  • Watchman Goby
  • Pistol Shrimp
  • Yellow Coral Banded Shrimp 
  • Peppermint Shrimp
  • Emerald Crab (I added)
  • Trochus snails

Photo of the tank after moving it to my house

Algae and Aiptasia got a foothold during my buddy’s vacation. We are currently battling it out, but I am confident that we will be the victors and the tank will be pristine again soon!

Some photos of the stock:

Video of the Emerald Crab

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