Today we received our first batch of corals, sent to us by Bayside Corals, and we couldn’t be more excited to see this little tank come to life. We had a few setbacks along the way, and well the 30-day reef tank project turned into a 40-day reef tank but hey, we all knew this process would require a fair bit of patience!
What’s most important about this tank, it’s not for me but my mom. So we wanted to get a nano tank running that would require little maintenance after a month. The first month did take longer than desired but along the way, we both learned new skills, water testing, salinity monitoring, mixing saltwater, and top-offs.
Problem number one. We ordered a dual gauge refractometer online and didn’t get what we ordered. Five days after setting up the tank we added a Coralife mini hydrometer, and our salinity was at 1.020. We removed some water from the tank, and slowly added salty water and freshwater to achieve our 1.024-1.026 salinity.
We found the perfect container holding 4L of water. As a bonus, we can easily pop out the Aqamai KPS pump to mix up the saltwater, we also use the same container for freshwater top-up storage.
Perhaps the low salinity and a rather abrupt water change didn’t help the cycle process. After waiting a few more days and testing we added a second dose of the Brightwell MicroBacter Start XLM and then kept our hands out of the tank for as long as it takes!
This time the MicroBacter dose hung on and here we are 10 days later with a complete cycle and a tank hungry for corals.
What we learned
30 days of waiting with a rock box in your living room can seem like years. Or maybe it’s just this crazy time we are living in stuck at home… If you’re setting a tank up for someone remember they don’t necessarily see the end product a dazzling colorful reef tank, instead, they focus on the current state, algae, rocks, and waiting.
The new noises from the tank, algae blooms, and a sluggish cycle all worked against me during this process trying to convince someone no please we PROMISE it’s worth the wait!We were able to reduce the flow rate on the Lifegard Aquatics pump which had a slight rattle. Little rattle in a little apartment had to be stopped! Remove the pump and there is a piece on the outflow that can rotate increasing and decreasing the flow.
Keep it simple
Choose corals with low maintenance, and have a good light over the tank. A quality light will ensure proper photosynthesis, and you won’t need to feed the corals until the tank is more mature. This will reduce any nutrient swings, from someone who just can’t resist feeding their new pets.
We choose bright Greep Star Polyp and an ORA Neon Green Finger Leather to start. Plus a beautiful orange tentacle flower anemone and a few extra goodies, a rainbow rock anemone, and an orange ricordea thrown in the mix by Bayside Corals 😀
It’s super funny to me that we are ordering corals from Saskatchewan (the center of Canada). However, when we passed by the Bayside store in 2018 we were very impressed with their coral collection. We knew Mindy and Colby wouldn’t steer us wrong and all our new corals are settling in nicely to the tank.
Finally, my mom’s excitement is renewed with her new coral collection and the tank is happy and healthy for her to enjoy!