20g long mixed reef

BlackLitez

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Started getting into this hobby in mid-May, from scratch. I've had a mild interest since I saw my friend with a dual 40gallon setup back in high school about 15 years ago. I never thought I had the time/funds to get into the hobby until now, so I started reading and watching videos. I'm not sure what exactly sparked my renewed interest, possibly one of those $1/gallon sales.

I started at Petco with a 20 gallon long, a 10 gallon and a stand. Drilled, plumbed, and built the sump myself, which was pretty fun. Grabbed some more equipment and away we went.

-Hydor Koralia
-Sicce pump
-Kessil a160we
-75gpd RODI
-Titanium heater
-25lbs of Liferock
-20lbs of Caribsea Special Grade
-Redsea Coral Pro
-Eshopps Overflow
-BRS dual reactor (not setup yet)

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June 2nd.....Started with a fishless cycle using Tim's whatever and dosing Ammonium Chloride. Upped the temp to about 85 for the duration, which took about 14 days until 0 ammonia.
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End of June - Fast Forward to the frag swap....and I have my first few coral. Picked up a frogspawn, a Sunkist bounce, and a frag of clove polyps. A couple days before the meet, I had also picked up a ASD Rainbow Millepora, and a Bubblegum Digitata. Oh yea, also grabbed a branching GSP from someone for free!

I found a deal on 2 Tunze 6055 Powerheads($250) and stuck those in there.

Changed the rock work a bit for some more vertical space.

I wanted some more life in the tank, so I added a cleaner shrimp. Was hoping to see something move from one side of the tank to the other. In the months I've had this guy, I've only seen it come out of the cave twice and both times were after the lights went out.
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Mid-July - I kept reading everywhere that you shouldn't add sps to a new tank and that it had to be at least a year old, I couldn't really find a reason why besides just having stable parameters. Hard headed as I am, I decided that I wanted to attempt to prove them wrong.

I continued to add a frag of Walt Disney which I thought was a good deal and a Highlighter acro. Had some algae issues with the marine pure that I had placed the GSP on. I had algae that was completely smothering it, polyps stopped coming out. I pulled it and brushed it off a couple times but it just came back. I decided to move it to a rock, no more algae issues with it. I also got tired of seeing that giant frag plug with the Sunkist, so I chopped off half the plug and placed it on the sand bed.

I found a great deal on a pair of AI Prime 16HDs($200). For a while I had both the Ai primes and the kessil on max throughout the day. I didn't see any bleaching on anything so I assumed it was fine. I continued reading and realized that it was probably too much light, so I have reduced it to just the primes. I had originally pushed to get a Kessil because I read the shimmer was awesome, I cant really tell the difference. Maybe soon, once I get my next tank setup, I'll be able to see more of a side by side comparison.

I've also added a protein skimmer and a refugium light. I got the Bubble Magus Z5 and some random light with colored leds. I did add some chaeto from Algae barn, but it all just kinda dispersed into my tank when i added it. Since the chaeto didn't work out, I picked up some macro algae from Atlanta Aquarium, which I'm assuming is Caulerpa. The caulerpa didn't really grow, since I barely have an nitrates.

I've been feeding a mix of reef roids and reef chili, which had my phosphates go up to .2 ppm, while my nitrates stayed under 5 ppm. I actually allowed my nitrates to drop to 0 for a day or so until i started dosing NeoNitrates. I also went out and got some carbon and gfo to start up my dual reactor. I continue to feed every other day or so, my phosphates stay at around .05ppm and I keep my nitrates between 2-5ppm.


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First week of August - I participated in the Bulldawg Reef auction and picked up a few frags. Got the Psylocke Yuma, Looney Tunes Stylocoeniella, and a frag of Utter Chaos zoas.

While I was on the west side, I decided to check out Creation Pet store and Reefshac. I came home with my Bulldawg auctions, a Hydnophora from Creation, a red/blue tipped goniopora and a watermelon psammacora from reefshac.
Once I got home, started researching the Hydnophora and Psammacora. They are both aggressive, awesome. I've also seen some small sweepers come from the Stylocoeniella as well.

Since I've been dealing with low nutrients, I've thought about doing less water changes. However, I have to keep up with water changes due to Alkalinity and Calcium replenishment. So I've been going around to all the fish stores looking for All-for-reef in order to dose Alkalinity, Calcium, and it also has Iodine and Strontium. I can't find anyone that carries it locally.

While I was out at these fish stores.......I picked up a couple more frags. Got a really pretty mardi gras galaxea(kinda regret, but its so pretty!), a gold tipped hammer, and an Orange echinata. So in one week, I managed to add 5 aggressive corals to my tank...oops, we'll get through it. ( I guess the hammer and frogspawn can be aggressive too)

So I gotta move some coral around the tank to make room for the aggressive coral, but before that happens......I'm getting more coral. (this is getting a bit out of hand)

At end of the first week of August, I found out about the TSA back to school live sale. Free, $1, $5 coral....omg
I spent all day Saturday and Sunday sitting at my computer ready to click. Ended the sale with 12 additional coral.
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Alien Finger Leather, Mohawk Zoa, Rainbow Acan, Pandora/Bob Marley zoa frag, King Midas zoas, Duncan, Bioluminescence Chalice, Pink tipped torch, Watermelon Favia, John deere Lepastrea, gatorade zoa, and a $15 mystery LPS

Safe to say I had a good time, no regrets(yet).
tank3.jpg
Here it is at the end of the first week of August, just moved everything around in preparation for my box of corals that will double the amount of coral in this tank. I've also come to the realization that I'm probably gonna upgrade to a bigger tank size before anything has time to encrust, so i put everything back onto frag plugs. (Probably moving things way too much)

And my current sump area
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I guess I got tired of manually topping off and added the Hydor ATO, its been great. No issues so far.
Battling the uglies so I have 7 Trochus, 3 Nassarius, 8 cerith, and a conch in there as well.
I also have a frag of Little Shop of Horrors in there, starting to get hard to keep up with everything i've gotten.
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Really hard to get a photo of this Looney Tunes stylocoeneilla, but I'm thinking it would look really cool if it encrusted on the front of this arch
arch.jpg
 
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My box of coral came in during the 2nd week of August, everything looked great.

However, I made my first mistake during the 1st week of August. Was chasing a number, and decided to do a larger water change. My salt has a much higher alkalinity than my tank water. I took my alkalinity from 8.1 to 9.0, which resulted in a shock to all the coral in there. Lost all the sps, darn. Not too upset, as I didn't have high expectations for those. I'll try again later.

A lot of new growth on many of the softies, so many of them have been closed while new polyps come in. All the new coral are still on the floor. As soon as i get them up to their spots on the rock, I'll get a picture of the tank again.

Also picked up a couple new powerheads. Got 2 Ecotech MP10s, haven't installed them yet. I wanted to leave the tank alone after I shocked it.

Since June, I've been adding a bottle of copepods a month. Was hoping to add a mandarin, so I now have a huge explosion of pods. They are EVERYWHERE! I keep reading that i can't have too many pods, but they seem to be aggravating many of my zoas.

I think I have enough coral in there that i won't want anymore for 72 days. I will probably setup a coral quarantine tank just in case i decide to add more.
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Guess a couple won't hurt.
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John Deer Leptastria, Pink Tipped Torch, Duncan, and Orange Echinata
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The little shop of horrors hasn't really stayed completely open much since i got it. I figure it's because it is growing a new polyp. Same with the Gatorade in the back.
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This mohawk is probably my favorite out of all of them, only came with a single polyp. I really can't wait to see this one grow. The king midas is always open there to the right, it came with a single polyp of a different zoa, looked kinda like a rainbow spectrum but not sure. I'll eventually get a good picture of it to get identified.
 
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Finally got around to switching out my powerheads. Wow, what a difference 10 inches makes.
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Everything seems to be going well at the moment. The only coral in here that is struggling is the goniopora. It's still recovering from my dkh spike. Also moved the corals to their long term positions.
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the Little shop of horrors has finally been happy and fully opening up everyday after a month of having it. The new baby is also looking healthy.
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This is the galaxea that i hadn't really gotten a photo of. Don't regret having it yet. I haven't seen any sweepers coming out of it, but its still very small. I liked this one specifically because it looks different from the hedge galaxea that is pretty common. This one has a rainbow of colors.
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also picked up a frag of this zoa, which i'm very happy about. It is absolutely beautiful.
 

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Keeping my nitrates at 3-5 and Phosphates at .04, but I still got dino. It's starting to subside though. Moved a powerhead above the torch and got it to flow upwards, which i like much better than seeing it flow sideways. The mohawk that came with a single polyp now has 4 polyps! That was fast! Would love to see that new zoa grow that fast.

I've been thinking about which fish I want to have in the tank. I've been wanting a mandarin since before i got the tank started. I was thinking my 2 must haves were a mandarin and a royal gramma. I like the symbiotic relationship between the yasha goby/watchman goby and pistol shrimp. I'm not so sure about how much sand the pistol shrimp can move though. I've also read that the pistol shrimp can remove glued frags from rockwork as well.
 

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Looks like I'm about to get 3 new heads out of this LSoH20210907_000819.jpg

I think the GMK has a new head coming in as well, but they are rarely closed. Hard to see what's growing underneath.

I've also decided that I need a yellow coris wrasse to take care of this flatworm explosion that I experienced. I just hope that it doesn't compete with a mandarin for pods as well.
 
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I dont know how i missed this little tank.... but looks great and seems to be doing well!! Great zoa collection!!
 
Pink tipped torch got a new friend last night. They love holding hands.
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This should be my last addition until I get some fish in there. Unless I find a good deal on an OG bounce or an aussie gold. I read the aussie gold isn't as hardy, so that might deter me from getting it for now. I'm also itching to put some sps back in there, we'll see what happens.
 
Finally put together a spreadsheet of all the corals I've ever gotten. $3,152.24 spent on coral in 6 months. I've got a serious issue.

I've got one more coral to purchase and then I'm for sure set to follow through on my fallow and start adding fish.

Stocking List: Yellow watchman Goby and Exquisite Firefish, then Royal Gramma, and then one or two clownfish(Black Ice or Phantom Long fin).

I'd like to add one more fish at the end, but i'm very hesitant to add this species. A Sapphire Damsel would be nice to take care of my flatworms.

All my equipment have stayed the same except for a couple dosers and a 36" actinic reef brite.

An emerald crab was also added to take care of my bubble algae issue.
CoralETAPriceVendor
GSP
Jun-21​
$0.00​
???
Frogspawn
Jun-21
$30.00
Cook
Sunkist Bounce
Jun-21​
$70.00​
BioDelmar
Firework Cloves
Jun-21​
$50.00​
Spike's
Hammer
Jun-21​
$75.00​
Atlanta Aquarium
ASD Rainbow Milli
Jul-21
$50.00
mrmrburke
Walt Disney
Jul-21
$30.00
zoajohn
Bubblegum Digi
Jul-21
$30.00
mrmrburke
Alien Hand Leather
Aug-21​
$1.00​
TSA
Mohawk Zoa
Aug-21​
$10.00​
TSA
Rainbow Acan
Aug-21​
$10.00​
TSA
Pandora/Bob Marley Zoa
Aug-21​
$0.00​
TSA
King Midas Zoa
Aug-21​
$20.00​
TSA
Duncan
Aug-21
$10.00
TSA
Bioluminescence Chalice
Aug-21​
$5.00​
TSA
Pink tipped torch
Aug-21​
$99.00​
TSA
Watermelon Favia
Aug-21
$5.00
TSA
John Deere Lepto
Aug-21​
$0.00​
TSA
Gatorade Zoa
Aug-21
$1.00
TSA
Highlighter Acro
Jun-21
$25.00
zoajohn
Utter Chaos Zoa
Jul-21​
$40.00​
BulldawgReef
Hydnophora
Jul-21
$30.00
Creation Pet
Watermelon Psammacora
Jul-21​
$25.00​
Reefshac
Psylocke yuma
Jul-21
$77.00
BulldawgReef
Looney Tunes Stylo
Jul-21
$60.00
BulldawgReef
Red/Blue tipped Goni
Jul-21
$50.00
Reefshac
Galaxea
Jul-21​
$25.00​
Atlanta Aquarium
LSOH
Jul-21​
$100.00​
Nathan
Orange Echinata
Jul-21​
$50.00​
Atlanta Aquarium
GrandMasterKrak
Aug-21​
$225.00​
Ocean Garden
Dragon Soul Torch
Sep-21​
$220.00​
Jorge
Gold/Blue tipped Tonga Torch
Nov-21
$134.99
NewYorkReefAquatics
Blue moon Goni
Nov-21​
$34.99​
NewYorkReefAquatics
Pink Goni
Nov-21​
$25.00​
NewYorkReefAquatics
Green tipped Goni
Nov-21​
$0.00​
NewYorkReefAquatics
Galacitc Goni
Nov-21​
$37.00​
BulldawgReef
24k Indo Gold Torch
Nov-21​
$229.99​
NewYorkReefAquatics
Bowser Zoa
Sep-21
$32.00
BulldawgReef
Rainbow Incinerator
Oct-21​
$34.99​
Joker Corals
Nightmare
Oct-21​
$8.99​
Joker Corals
Stratocaster
Oct-21​
$39.99​
Joker Corals
CB White Zombie
Oct-21​
$34.99​
Joker Corals
Purple/Green tipped torch
Dec-21​
$49.99​
TSA
Vivid's Rainbow Delight
Dec-21​
$19.99​
TSA
Superstitious Psammy
Dec-21​
$5.00​
TSA
PC Rainbow
Dec-21​
$29.99​
TSA
Green Monti
Dec-21​
$5.00​
TSA
Nirvana Zoa
Dec-21​
$9.99​
TSA
ORA Gorgonian
Dec-21​
$21.99​
TSA
Bioluminescence Chalice
Dec-21​
$29.99​
TSA
Rainbow Monti
Dec-21​
$26.39​
TSA
TSA Green Hornet
Dec-21​
$10.00​
TSA
Bali Shortcake
Dec-21​
$14.99​
TSA
TSA Purple Rain
Dec-21​
$10.00​
TSA
TSA Incredible Hulk
Dec-21​
$75.00​
TSA
Sugar High Monti
Dec-21​
$1.00​
TSA
TSa Dan Akroyd
Dec-21​
$49.99​
TSA
Fruity Pebbles
Nov-21​
$70.00​
BulldawgReef
Forrest Fire
Nov-21​
$30.00​
BulldawgReef
Icey Eyes Zoa
Sep-21​
$17.00​
BulldawgReef
Indo Gold Torch
Jan-22​
$100.00​
Steve Burton
TriColor Valida
Jan-22​
$10.00​
Emmanuel
Cali Tort
Jan-22​
$15.00​
Emmanuel
Rainbow Milli
Jan-22​
$40.00​
Emmanuel
Walt Disney
Jan-22​
$25.00​
Emmanuel
Pink tipped torch
Jan-22​
$120.00​
Nemo's Duluth
Peach Frogspawn
Jan-22​
$40.00​
Nemo's Duluth
Neon green hammer
Jan-22​
$30.00​
Nemo's Duluth
Peach Hammer
Jan-22​
$70.00​
Nemo's Duluth
OG Bounce
Oct-21
$190.00
Betico
Kenya tree
Jan-22​
$10.00​
Betterwhereitswetter
13 losses out of 70 frags wasn't too bad. All my parameters have been stable since adding the dosers, so I expect less losses in the future. Adding it up and realizing I had $722 in losses was a real eye opener though. That doesn't even include taxes and shipping charges.

Still not enough to hold me back though. I'm ready to leave it be and watch it grow.

I'm not worried about how overly stocked my tank is, as I just purchased an IM Fusion 40g.
 

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You have good taste in coral. I also have a ss on cost and it really does add up. I have about 40% in losses cost-wise. I went through a crazy torch phase…gonis…clams…ooof. Then the frag tank crashed and I lost a lot of sticks. Adding a Loss column to your ss helps - when something dies, zero out the Price and move it over to the Loss.

The biggest cost savings is getting established and having a network to trade corals and to not go chasing unicorns - become more of an opportunist - only buy when people are selling and don’t ask specifically for items.

The IM40 is a great tank. It was my first.
 
Thanks for the input! Not many people talk about their accumulated losses, it's kinda embarrassing. I've read that some of the most seasoned reefers out there still incur 40-50% losses.
I decided to just do a strike through on my losses so that I'm still able to read the info on my losses.

I am certainly at the point where I've been chasing unicorns. It's starting to become hard to find the certain corals that I want.
 
Much like the gold w/blue tip Tonga torch I got. Already knew that Tonga and aussie variety were sensitive and are unlikely to last, but I got it anyways. It survived for a week or less.

I'm trying really hard not to collect gonis.
 
Much like the gold w/blue tip Tonga torch I got. Already knew that Tonga and aussie variety were sensitive and are unlikely to last, but I got it anyways. It survived for a week or less.

I'm trying really hard not to collect gonis.
Ahh just give into it 😀
 
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