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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, not been on here in ages. So with Covid kicking my moods this year I decided after selling off my large reef and large FW tanks I missed having fish about the place. So, while working from home I have set up a Pico Reef and am also setting up a little Planted Betta Tank on my workstation in my office.
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I have had both tanks set up a week now (23/10/2020). Both are identical tanks, apart from the lights and filters.

The River
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12 Litre Pets at Home Kids Tank
Stock 50GPH Internal Filter
50w adjustable heater
9w Nicrew LED
Anubias
Java Fern

Plan is for a Nerite Snail and Betta.

The Reef
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12 Litre Pets at Home Kids Tank
450LPH HOB Filter
50w Adjustable heater (in HOB)
Kessil A80 Tuna Sun

Stocking plans for this one is a pair of clowns for 6 months until I move and upgrade. Also a species specific reef of just Montipora corals.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
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Discussion Starter #3
Afternoon all, Opal continues to do well. I do have some irritating cyano in places so have been basting that away and also introduced some bubbles to uplift the detritus. Also got some Livestock for the mini reef (until the 10 gallon is cycled and anemone is strong and settled - not long term residents) pair of baby Clownfish that the breeder couldn't shift
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Discussion Starter #4
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Quick update on Opal the Betta, she loves using the free floating java Fern ball as he hammock
 
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Discussion Starter #6
So glad to see you back. We've missed your advice more than you can know.
Thanks, well with lockdown 2.0 now in force in the UK I have nothing but time to be online :D

Anyways the Tank, seems I have found myself in an Ugly stage. I forgot to soak the wood before adding to the tank so I have the dusty algae, bacterial bloom forming on and around the wood. I have moved the plants away from this as it appears that they get smothered.

I also tested the water to ensure that the parameters were correct, 0's across the board (ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrites) I do have some anti algae treatments but want to try and rectify this with regular maintenance and water changes

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I also decided that the small internal filter was too strong, and short of stuffing it completely full of filter floss to reduce the flow (and leave the build up inside) I went ahead and purchased a tiny HOB Filter (rated 50 LPH)

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The HOB also allows me to run some Filter Floss (replaced Daily) as well as a small amount of carbon if I wanted.

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Mmmmm yummy, almost like my skimmer :D

Plan of attack, turkey baste the algae from the wood and the rocks, syphon sandbed of detritus and algae and replace floss regularly, shouldnt take more than a few weeks to clear up I hope. I'm also on the look out for some more plants to provide some cover in the mid and foreground so going back to my favourites Cryptocorynes, the small ones anyways
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I may as well show the results of the maintenance, share the ugly as well as the pretty. Its important in these situations not to panic and as I have found with reefing make 1 change at a time and monitor changes before trying something new.

So the results of the turkey baste lead to a nasty looking tank (through all of this Opal just watched me from within the Java Fern ball, so panicked swimming, heavy breathing, she looked very chilled) I tested parameters again to make sure I didn't have a Nitrate factory somewhere (detritus build up that releases Nitrates into the water when disturbed)

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Next stage was to replace the Filter Floss (I am now expecting to do this multiple times a day due to the amount of filth it is pulling out of the tank) this is particularly gross :D

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And the New floss after about 15 minutes, and the water clarity returning
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So I can now see that after changing the flow slightly, I can keep the detritus mainly at the front of the tank where it is easier to remove the heavier pieces of detritus (and snail poop) with the turkey baster
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So the results of the second clean, much the same as the the first. Pulled a load of detritus, algal mat, bacterial slime whatever out the tank and HOB. If this was a Reef tank I would increase the flow and reduce the lighting schedule, but I don't think that Opal can deal with that, just yet anyway.

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I have removed possibly 90% of it at the moment, I now plan on waiting until this evenings feed to see if I need to change the floss again, most likely I will looking at what's been pulled in an hour.

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I will scrape the glass later on this evening too, but she appears happy and healthy.

Also the Clowns were not impressed that I havent paid attention to their tank yet, I think they have associated my phone with food
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Discussion Starter #9
Well then, I have been keeping up with the manual removal, not a lot to remove each morning now which is reassuring both Opal and Steve (the Snail) are doing well and continue to explore the new environment. I got posted some. More plants but think they're affected badly by the temperature and treatment in transit.
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I will keep an eye out for some more plats, most likely buceplant or crypts still, I want the area planted between the back glass and midground rock leaving the front sand open. The Anubias seems a popular choice as this is now her floating hammock

The other tank, the two clowns are staying to show bonding behaviour
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You may also notice that the front left corner has become excavated, this was the clowns, typically they do this when ready to spawn which seems unlikely due to their ages (both under 6 months old)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So it seems that I have been keeping on top of the maintenance and the tank is settling in, I am still very much after some more plants to fill this tank out, still Buce and Crypts are at the top of the list.

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I did do a small amount of rescaping, primarily the sandbed now slants towards the front of the tank meaning that the majority of the detritus that forms in the tank gets pushed to the front for easy manual removal. I will eventually get around to gluing the plants in place.

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Opal's colours becoming more pronounced, in amongst her little Cave
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have not cleaned the tank since my last update. This is the progression of the bacterial growth in that time
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I am also thinking about a small rescape, essentially rotate and place the wood infront of the heater and inlet to the HOB filter. I might also have to relocate or remove the front rock but we will see
 

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I have not cleaned the tank since my last update. This is the progression of the bacterial growth in that time
View attachment 1023730
I am also thinking about a small rescape, essentially rotate and place the wood infront of the heater and inlet to the HOB filter. I might also have to relocate or remove the front rock but we will see
How difficult are the nano reef’s to keep? I’ve considered one for a while but a bit nervous as I’ve heard they are tricky.
 

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How difficult are the nano reef’s to keep? I’ve considered one for a while but a bit nervous as I’ve heard they are tricky.
I will say that this is an experiment, i aim experimenting with tap water as opposed to 0TDS or RODI water. I do have a larger system that I want to build that will be the clowns permanent home as fully grown with anemone I want a 10Gallon/40 Litre system with 5 gallon/20 litre sump to hide the equipment.

I find them easier than the larger reefs. Once you get temperature under control then salinity pretty much stays where it is, you just have to top off a couple of times a day or find a tiny Automatic Top off. Eventually this tank will be drilled and sumped for easier control. This one I aim to keep really simple and take things slowly.

Essentially for reefs tanks with coral I find (YMMV) that keeping stable parameters of
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrates - 5ppm
PO4 - 0.03
Alk - 8DHK
Temp 78F
Salinity 1.023

Will keep things growing, If i keep a fish in the tank I dont need to worry about feeding the corals but the Clowns only have another 4-5 months before they need a larger tank and in that time I hope to be able to swap them for a Shrimp Goby and Pistol Shrimp or a Clown Goby as SPS corals are their natural habitat.

Corals shall start going in in early December, I plan to keep only Montipora Species Corals in this little reef, and only those that have come from other reefers tanks so i know they are hardier specimens.
 

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I will say that this is an experiment, i aim experimenting with tap water as opposed to 0TDS or RODI water. I do have a larger system that I want to build that will be the clowns permanent home as fully grown with anemone I want a 10Gallon/40 Litre system with 5 gallon/20 litre sump to hide the equipment.

I find them easier than the larger reefs. Once you get temperature under control then salinity pretty much stays where it is, you just have to top off a couple of times a day or find a tiny Automatic Top off. Eventually this tank will be drilled and sumped for easier control. This one I aim to keep really simple and take things slowly.

Essentially for reefs tanks with coral I find (YMMV) that keeping stable parameters of
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrates - 5ppm
PO4 - 0.03
Alk - 8DHK
Temp 78F
Salinity 1.023

Will keep things growing, If i keep a fish in the tank I dont need to worry about feeding the corals but the Clowns only have another 4-5 months before they need a larger tank and in that time I hope to be able to swap them for a Shrimp Goby and Pistol Shrimp or a Clown Goby as SPS corals are their natural habitat.

Corals shall start going in in early December, I plan to keep only Montipora Species Corals in this little reef, and only those that have come from other reefers tanks so i know they are hardier specimens.
Good to know! Thanks so much!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good to know! Thanks so much!
Not a problem, here's shots from a previous version of the tank that I shut down last year.
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Lighting is the most expensive part of the set up, but is a must if you want to keep healthy corals
 
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Not a problem, here's shots from a previous version of the tank that I shut down last year.
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Lighting is the most expensive part of the set up, but is a must if you want to keep healthy corals
They are so pretty! I’m actually somewhat familiar with salt water tanks. When I was a teenager friends of my family, a mother and daughter, opened a pet store. They let me volunteer there and eventually started paying me (a whopping 4.80 an hour haha) up by the till was a stunning 36 gallon salt water aquarium that I was in love with. The daughter sadly passed away a few years later and the mother decided to sell the store. Before she sold she gifted me the tank and everything in it. I looked after it until after college when I did some travelling, it’s at my parents house now. One day I will have it back but I don’t want to move it until it’s necessary. My dad is pretty good with fish. I thought I’d maybe try a small one to tide me over 😜
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So my first planned corals are going into the saltwater tank this weekend, I also think I may have found somewhere to get some freshwater plants (Crypts) which is either en route or a short detour off on my way home so Saturday road trip for corals and plants yay!

Limeberry Hysterix - I already know that I need to frag this coral into three before it even fits in my tank. I plan on keeping one piece and trying to trade away the other two once the frags have healed over.
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German Blue Digitata - Going to have to frag this even smaller, or preferably take off the branched ends and trade the rest away
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Discussion Starter #18
Picked up a few plants for Opals home, will wait out the crypt rot and should look nice
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Discussion Starter #19
Collected my corals this afternoon, Happy a birthday present to me from me.
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