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Reefing in the Little Red Dot


milu_kaka
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This gonna be very interesting journey , I never thought that I would ever document my reefing journey. But would definitely give a big thank you to SRC forum admins and all the sponsors for coming up with this initiative to encourage all of us to more actively participate and share part of out life in these mini threads. :score:

First of all let me give a brief introduction about my reefing journey.

- I started reefing roughly around October 2018. ( yet to reach the 2 year milestone )

- Equipment  :

  •  Innovative Marine Lagoon 25 ( its a 25g small tank perfect for a beginner )
  •  IM Nano Ghost Skimmer ( not the best in the market , but not the worse too )
  •  Eheim Canister Filter :fear: ( All mechanical filtration removed )
  •  China brand wavemaker which I eventually changed to a Nero ( one of the most expensive equipment I bought to this date, But no regrets because Nero is a work horse)
  •  Eheim Return pump ( Which I had with me during freshwater tank )
  •  HS-28a Chiller ( Its really decent and so far been treating me well , not that noisy or maybe I'm use to it ) 
  •  My very first light was a white LED light i used on my Arowana tank (Initially I wasn't sure if i wanna spend a lot of money on light with wide spectrum and it took sometime for me to read and understand before i got myself a second hand AI Prime HD ) 
  • Last but not Least , Im using a very old table as my cabinet for the tank ( Which is in use to this date and those who know me been bugging me to change it to a proper cabinet (For safety)  , but hey sometimes I can be a bit stubborn. :eyebrow: . ) 

Well we all have gone through that phase where the tank is empty and you see all the reefers posting their nice tanks and you wonder " How in the world " gonna fill my tank. Give it sometime and you will be telling yourself " I NEED A BIGGER TANK :idea:

If anyone have any questions regarding the equipment, feel free to comment and I will try my best to explain to the best of my knowledge.  

my tank look as of 16th Oct 2018 : 

 

20180916.jpg

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Well everyone try to rush through the tank cycle period for one REASON :D

  •  Its time to add new fish :
    •  My first fish was a Domino's damsel , Though it's really not ethical to add fish to a tank which is not fully cycled. I'm sure most reefers know that Damsel can even withstand a nuclear meltdown. It was black in colour with white dots and boy I was excited to see some movement in my tank :cheers:
      • My take from the tank cycling process , If you have the patience , Please run a fishless tank and spare a thought to the fish that might be suffering in your tank even though from outside they look totally normal.  
      • I got to admit that once you add one fish , in my case flood gates opened and to this date so much regrets and wrong decision making and I really hope that this will be a reminder to all beginners. I'm sure you hear it all the time , but I'm gonna say again " DONT RUSH and ENJOY THE PROCESS" . Even with my little experience I've seen many hobbyist who join in and disappear in few months because they are heartbroken. 

 I think to make things interesting , I will share my very own experience with the fish I have kept so far ( Dead or Alive) 

  •  Clownfish : I honestly kept many pairs in my tank and it could be me , I kept failing till the current True Perc and midnight clown. Clown fish can be very timid to very aggressive when they protecting their hosting ground. I've heard of stories where reefers selling their clowns because they wont let you put your hand inside the hand. overall clownfish are a good beginner fish since they are not picky eater most of the time and most of the LFS got stock almost all the time. So definitely can add to starter pack of a new reefers tank. 
  • Tangs : This gonna be a very controversial topic, I'm not planning to address the tank space and how many tanks you should be keeping. I leave that for you to manage. ( Warning : Some tangs are highly prone to Ich , so do put a little extra effort to get them feed regularly )  
    •  Hippo Tang : This is another cheap tang that is readily available in most local LFS and come in different sizes. They get big very fast and prefer a lot of swimming space. They are very peaceful most of the time and best if you planning to do a community tank. (These are ich magnets
    • Yellow Tang : I would range this tang under mid range pricing and another tang that is readily available locally. Most of the time you can find a YT that is already pellet trained. They can be very territorial against other new tangs. so plan wisely if you planning to get one. 
    • Purple Tang : Another beautiful tang with purple body and yellow fins. Lately the prices are very reasonable , however I always find PT to be a big bully in most tanks. Definitely advisable to provide these kind of tangs lot of hiding spaces and rocks to reduce the aggression. All in all I love PT and I would take a risk and keep one in my tank. 
    • Blonde Naso Tang : This is my all time favourite fish and sadly one fish I been keep failing to keep alive. I always love to call them the gentle giants. These Naso tangs will get huge very fast and if you planning to get one , remember to plan yourself a upgrade in the future. The only challenge I faced number of times with this fish was to get them to eat. they are very picky when it comes to eating, specially when they are small. 
  • Wrasse :  
    •  Yellow Wrasse : Very forgiving to beginners and can easily be trained to eat pellets. Most wrasse family fish prefer sand , but its not required. they will help you eat those nudi and other pest. but don't expect them to clear your tank on their own. you need to do your part to maintain the tank. Highly advisable to use a cover for your tank as these guys tend to jump if they get spooked. Mine jump and I found friend Ikan bilis  :rip:
    •  Melanrus Wrasse : Another very useful wrasse to keep specially if you have issues with flatworms. I had some flatworms on my glass and some of my friendly reefers suggested to get a Melanrus and to my surprise he really did his job and so far no issues with flatworms ( At least no that I can observe). These wrasse are not people shy and easy to keep. another good beginner fish that can be trained to take pellets and they will help you keep the tank clean.  

Here is a picture of my current  fish (without the Naso :(

 

IMG_9387-0001.jpg

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1 hour ago, milu_kaka said:

This gonna be very interesting journey , I never thought that I would ever document my reefing journey. But would definitely give a big thank you to SRC forum admins and all the sponsors for coming up with this initiative to encourage all of us to more actively participate and share part of out life in these mini threads. :score:

First of all let me give a brief introduction about my reefing journey.

- I started reefing roughly around October 2018. ( yet to reach the 2 year milestone )

- Equipment  :

  •  Innovative Marine Lagoon 25 ( its a 25g small tank perfect for a beginner )
  •  IM Nano Ghost Skimmer ( not the best in the market , but not the worse too )
  •  Eheim Canister Filter :fear: ( All mechanical filtration removed )
  •  China brand wavemaker which I eventually changed to a Nero ( one of the most expensive equipment I bought to this date, But no regrets because Nero is a work horse)
  •  Eheim Return pump ( Which I had with me during freshwater tank )
  •  HS-28a Chiller ( Its really decent and so far been treating me well , not that noisy or maybe I'm use to it ) 
  •  My very first light was a white LED light i used on my Arowana tank (Initially I wasn't sure if i wanna spend a lot of money on light with wide spectrum and it took sometime for me to read and understand before i got myself a second hand AI Prime HD ) 
  • Last but not Least , Im using a very old table as my cabinet for the tank ( Which is in use to this date and those who know me been bugging me to change it to a proper cabinet (For safety)  , but hey sometimes I can be a bit stubborn. :eyebrow: . ) 

Well we all have gone through that phase where the tank is empty and you see all the reefers posting their nice tanks and you wonder " How in the world " gonna fill my tank. Give it sometime and you will be telling yourself " I NEED A BIGGER TANK :idea:

If anyone have any questions regarding the equipment, feel free to comment and I will try my best to explain to the best of my knowledge.  

my tank look as of 16th Oct 2018 : 

 

20180916.jpg

 

Guess what I found a picture of my FTS :lol:

 

 

start.jpg

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Currently I'm running a mix reef. 

I always find mix reef somewhat challenging as you are required to find a sweet point between SPS and LPS. I would be lying if I said it was EASY , But its not as scary as most reefers think. Just stick to the basic and maintain the BIG 3 ( KH , CA & MG ). If you are running a small tank your water changes are sufficient to replace the trace elements. I wouldn't throw additional money to dose Trace elements unless you know what you are doing !!! 

In my case I dose the things stated below :  

  • ALL 4 Reef  from Tropic Marine ( I call this the Nano Magic portion )
    • if you are struggling with maintaining your big 3 , give this a try as its loaded with all required elements for a reef tank. However do take note that if you happen to over stock the tank with corals , this Magic portion might require more heavy dosing and it will no longer be cost effective.  But all in all this is the beginner must TRY portion in my honest opinion. 
  • CarboCalcium from Tropic Marine 
    •  This is not necessary , but in my case my tank is heavily crowded and in order to reduce the amount of All4reef I dose into my tank , I use this product where this will add additional amount of KH and CA into the tank. which helps me to maintain the desired levels I'm looking to achieve. Only downside of this product, you will need to monitor your Mg in order to make sure that it doesn't drop too low and Dose Mg when required. I tend to check my Mg every 3-4 days.
  •  Amino from Nyos
    •  This was a product recommended by one of my friendly neighbourhood reefer and since the day I started dosing I see most of my zoas and SPS polyp looks happier and I will keep trying till I get a better understanding of additional element dosing.
  •  Coral Food
    •  Reef roids : I occasionally use reef roids since I like to heavily feed my fish now a days , I feel happy fish will help the corals to stay happy. PLEASE REMEMBER TO CHECK YOUR PO4. Don't just listen to me :D
    • Phytoplankton from Continuum : i add once a week since I'm keeping a clam and I don't have much experience with clam and some of my friendly reefers told me that this is good food. 
    • Gold pods from Nyos : I don't really like this brand even though my fish do nip on it every now and then , I feel the pods are way to big for my liking and once I add gold pods my tank look like a mess 

 

Here are some of my Tank photos I just took just for this post ( No Filters ) 

 

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Don't chase the numbers !!! :dunno:

This is one statement that i often heard since the day i started reefing. what does that really mean ? 

In my opinion most new reefers often misinterpret this statement. Many of us believe that you are not required to meticulously do test on your system to achieve a more stable matured system. Well there is somewhat truth to it , But I always feel that you need to know whats going on in your tank in order to understand what you need to do to reach your end goal. 

  • In my case i do water testing twice a week. I used to do daily and i realized that its too much time consuming and if i wanna check daily there are so many gizmo that can help you monitor every min of the day and i should invest on one instead of manually trying to achieve the same level. But well those equipment are really expensive and maybe :drunk: one day i will try to get one and enjoy hands free life.  
  • I feel that aside alkalinity (KH) of the tank , the next most important thing that you need to maintain is Salinity. Always remember to check your salinity every now and then specially if your tank is small. this is one challenge i constantly face, 1 minor carelessness can lead to a major problem.  
  • Water testing wise , I primarily test BIG 3 ( KH , CA , MG) . Imo this is a must , specially on a new tank until tank is matured and you know what you doing. 
  • Aside that , its always good to test your No3 and Po4 levels specially if you are having algae , Cyano or any others issues. these testing will tell you whats exactly wrong with your system and you can do the corrective actions. ( In my case at the beginning , i use to test every week once , now i do it once a month since i know that my nutrient levels are under control. ) 
  •  Specially if you having issues with your corals and you planning to enter the world of dosing from Water change only routine , it will be a very good practice to note down all the test values with the date and time you took the reading. 
    • This will help you understand and provide you a clearer view of your reef system 
    • It's best to do the testing around the same time of the day in order to have more accuracy on your test results 
    • remember to check the test kit expiry date 
    • don't ever take test results for granted and always try to observe and see how the tank doing 
    • if you have friends nearby with test kits such as Hanna, always try to cross check your results with those high accuracy test kits to get a better understanding. No test kit is ever perfect and its only a guideline for us. 
  • Please refer to my reef tank numbers below ( Remember every tank is different ) 
    • KH (Alkalinity) : 7.5 - 8 dkh  
    • CA (Calcium) : 400 - 420 ppm 
      • Calcium will be working hand in hand with KH , so its very important that you stabilize your KH so that you can get your desired Ca levels with little to no effort. 
    • MG (Magnesium) : 1400 -1450 ppm Often many reefers overlook on MG and i feel that its not very difficult to maintain MG desired levels , But something to take note regarding MG, in the scenario if you MG is low and you require to raise the MG level. you will have to dose a lot in order to raise MG. for some reason MG always goes up very slowly.  ( If anyone know why , please do share)
  • there are many brands and different test kits in the market, in my case my preferred choice is Salifert. 
    • KH , CA , NO3, PH & Po4 - Salifert test kit 
    • MG - Nyos Test kit ( Because its cheaper than salifert Mg kit :yahoo:)
    • I honestly feel that you don't really need the PH test kit. ( don't waste money on PH test kit ) 

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MY take about all the testing , Do your testing because you want to know whats going on in your tank and not because you are some rocket scientist who trying to find the perfect number that will help you succeed in reefing. HAPPY REEFING !! 

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Light Upgrade on my Lagoon 25 :yahoo:

  • Hydra 26HD (Used) 
    • After running AI prime HD for almost 1 year , i couldn't help but keep thinking i need a light that provide more PAR. 
      • I feel that AI prime is a very good light for LPS , but i noticed that once i entered the SPS world the lighting is not sufficient enough.
      • One way to understand the PAR level would be using a Par meter. It's not something many reefers carry under their reefing gear. But i was fortunate enough that forever friendly Reefer Leon has a Par meter and he helped me with testing my tank Par. 
        • Huge shout out to Leon for being so helpful and if you wanna get your PAR level checked , you could contact him for more information.
  • I'm sure most of you are aware that one of the most expensive reefing gear in our tank is Lights , I was determined that i wanna change my lights . So i started checking the SRC forum daily for any good lobang  ^_^
    • It didn't took me long to find a very good deal on a second hand Hydra 26HD , I was lucky enough to strike a very good deal for a second hand light with warranty intact. 
      • I feel that Hydra 26HD is perfect for those small tank, the spread and the PAR is sufficient to give a good growth in SPS and keep the LPS happy at the same time. Overall it was really a good buy worth every penny. 

  (Growth after changing the light and Manual dosing since 2019 September ) 

                             Image-1.jpg.ab35de0fb9f07531fb4633d8df8dd908.jpg

                             PHOTO-2020-04-21-15-39-50.thumb.jpg.13f352f2c05ed688000070ec7a67f1ef.jpg

                           

  • If anyone AIO reefers wanna try out my light setting , PM me and more than will to share with you. It's a modified version i got from the AI website itself.
  • TIP for all those reefers who are looking for equipment, if you able to afford brand new that's the base case scenario. But if you are like me keeping the reefing more budget friendly and sustainable. don't rush to get equipment. Our very own SRC Sell off/Pasar Malam Shop always got reefers letting go equipment at very affordable prices. strike a deal and who knows you might make a new friend  :friends:at the same time. 

Deep down i really love AI products and i think will keep supporting AI products all the way.  

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