Jump to content


Photo

My Orca Nano Tl-550 Journal


  • Please log in to reply
82 replies to this topic

#1 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 February 2010 - 07:09 PM

My journel TL 550

The beginning
So for about a year I had this unhealthy obsession with having a marine tank. At first, like with all my hair brain ideas I thought it would just pass and in a few months I would be crazy about starting sky diving lessons or something.  A whole year past and in that time I had read loads on the internet and visited my lfs once every few weeks and asked almost every annoying question, until I saw this pic on the internet
Posted Image

It was then I decided to go nano. I found my tl 550 on the Internet (flee bay) it was used for a year by a young guy in Guilford and I put a bid on it for about £170. To my suprise whilst at work I check my iPhone and I had won it for £130. Sweet!

Wish I could show you some setting up pics but they were taken on an iPhone that got lost in a messy night out in London. 

So once I had bought the tank it sat in my living room for about two months before I read enough on the internet to feel confident enough to put salt water in.

In the meantime I fitted some new blue led lights in the lid. As the old ones were dead. Was really easy just unscrewed the metal reflector and plugged them in. I also replaced the t5s. As I managed to break them when removed them to fit the LEDs! Dow! 

Setting it up
Now I was ready for water. I used ro water from the lfs. (two journeys) and red sea coral pro. I mixed it up in the tank and turned on the pumps to get it circulated. The stock pump in my version of the tl550 is at the bottom of chamber 4 and it connects to a uv (which I also replaced with a new bulb) that then connects to a spray bar at the top of chamber 4. I also put in a koralia 2 from flee bay new for £32.

After about three days I was happy the salt level was steady at 1.023 (using a V2 refractormeter, It's so easy to use! One of the best bits of kit I bought. Found it on flee bay £22). I then placed in some live rock. I could only stretch to £60 worth which was 6kgs and a bag of fiji pink live sand (about £25). I read that live sand was the way forward and I also read it's a waist of money?!? I couldn't make up my mind so just bought it anyway.

I placed the live rock on top of some egg crate I got from flee bay and poured in the live sand. A cloud that I though would never clear eventually did about a day later and I spent the next 24 hours with my hands in the tank making every possible combination of aqua scaping with my limited live rocks. 

Eventually I got this:

Posted Image

Posted Image

With LEDs on
Posted Image

I then added some rowaphos and carbon on top of some live rock rubble in chamber two. 

The cycle
Within two days I began testing for ammonia nitrate and nitrite using a nutrafin test kit. In the first test I saw the spike in these that I had read about and watched them fall within another week or so.  

In this time I saw heaps of things growing on the rocks. From algae to worms and even a tiny small brown mushroom type things. The rocks started turning dark purple and bright green and I saw a starfish thing on the glass. 
Posted Image  

Some more time passed and My tank was ending it's cycle, i did a 20% water change and I added some morr live rock and cuc. Two red legged hermits and two turbo snails.
Posted Image

Posted Image 

Adding cuc
I was told that red legged hermits are less aggressive but don't eat as much. They seem to be doing a fine job (at night mostly) I named them Hanabal and The Herminator. I read that they should have extra shells to change into so my lady and I took a trip to Whistable and looked for shells on the beach. 
Posted Image
I took a few and placed them in the tank, that night Hanabal ditched his current home and upgraded to a bigger one that I had added. So cool!  The turbo snails seem happy to work all day long with sort breaks. One day I saw red legs and claws floating in the tank and I couldn't find Hanabal anywhere. I honeslty thought he was a gona. A few days later he appeared, I read that they often shed there outer skeleton. Cool!  

Adding fish
Another two weeks passed and I took some water into a lfs. They did some tests and told me what I was ready for fish. 

I chose two clowns. I was so excited and got them home asap and aclimated them over about 30 mins dripping in small amounts of my water in the bag slowly. 

I named them Tango and Cash
Posted Image

I bought frozen food a mixure of everything pretty much. But to be honest they would only eat the brine shrimp so I bought some brine shrimp in garlic and I mixed them up with the other foods and sucked it up in a small syringe. I fed small amounts throughout the day about 3-4 times a day. 

The first week went well but then something bad happened. Both clowns were covered in a white glaze/film. Within 48hours the bigger one, Tango died but the smaller one Cash managed to shrug it off and he is still doing well today. 

Not sure what tango had. We think it could have been a disease called Brooklynella. But to be honest it could have been any number of things and I'll probably never know if it was something I did or if he was on his way out when I bought him??? Sad times. 

Brown stuff
Soon I notice my lovely colourful clean rocks and beautiful white and pink sand  was turning a dirty brown colour. 
Posted Image
I believe this is due to newly forming diatoms. To combat this I have reduced my lighting cycle down to 8 hours and recently introduced some cerith snails which are munching away.  
Posted Image
Today I also added another hermit. He's a little feisty as he went for my finger when I placed him on a rock. I've called him Quinten "The Rampage" Jackson after the cage fighter.
Posted Image
Future plans
I've had ups and downs starting this nano and I know I've got a long way to go. My plans are to add a cleaner shrimp and later a mate for Cash once I'm happy that he is truely fit and well. I'm going to wait till he gets a little bigger and I'm going to add a little clown in hope that Cash turns into a female and they couple up. 

I def want corals and have my eye on a toadstool coral at my lfs, but really don't want to rush things. So I'm going to hold out until my rocks are clean again and Ive successfully buffered my ph to 8.3 and my salt is 1.026. I will also start testing for phosphates etc. 

As for other fish i'm open to suggestions. I want colour and a peaceful tank. Your thoughts please?   

As for hardware I want to replace the stock pump to a maxi jet 1000 or 900 not sure which. Then I will put the stock pump in the back bottom left corner of main tank aimed the rock to help with circulation there.    

The tank today 2/02/10
Posted Image

I've move the rocks around for the last time and I'm leaving them be! The cerith snails have worked magic in just 24 hours. I witness the blue hermit change shells and change back. I conducted a water change and added a little more salt than usual to try and bring my level up but it did nothing to the overall salinity of the tank. Guess I will have to heavly does some or water and add it slowly over a few days? Any thoughts on this

Also I went to the LFS to enquire about buffeting the ph. The dude there said to buffer the kh and the ph will follow. I left more confused. So could anyone help me out? Cheers 

#2 seffieuk

seffieuk

    I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!

  • Pet Of The Year 2009
  • 11,133 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 05 February 2010 - 05:12 PM

Loved your write up - :good:

Don't start mucking around with your water yet - just ensure all your stats are good, that your sg is up to 1.026 for your corals and you do a regular weekly water change of 25% with a good salt mix.

I had no problems as long as I stuck to those rules with my 550 - go slow and steady, read and ask questions before buying anything and you will be rewarded wtih a wonderful tank

Seffie x

#3 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 05 February 2010 - 09:44 PM

Loved your write up - :good:

Don't start mucking around with your water yet - just ensure all your stats are good, that your sg is up to 1.026 for your corals and you do a regular weekly water change of 25% with a good salt mix.

I had no problems as long as I stuck to those rules with my 550 - go slow and steady, read and ask questions before buying anything and you will be rewarded wtih a wonderful tank

Seffie x

Hey Seffie

thanks for the advise. Just got a few qs if that's cool? Things that i'm not sure on. I'm currently using Red sea coral pro salt, I'm always unsure how long to leave it mixed up before I put it in the tank. A few hours or over night?. What salt do you use? Do u buffer ph kh. Again what do you use?

Cheers mate
Ps I really like your tag/banner/signature thing at the bottom of your posts. How do u come buy those? Did you have someone design it? It's cool
CoMan

#4 seffieuk

seffieuk

    I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!

  • Pet Of The Year 2009
  • 11,133 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:06 AM

Hey Seffie

thanks for the advise. Just got a few qs if that's cool?

it's cool :good:

Things that i'm not sure on. I'm currently using Red sea coral pro salt, I'm always unsure how long to leave it mixed up before I put it in the tank. A few hours or over night?. What salt do you use? Do u buffer ph kh. Again what do you use?

between 12 to 24 hours is best, with heat and a powerhead. I use D & D H2Ocean and no, don't buffer ph or kh

Cheers mate
Ps I really like your tag/banner/signature thing at the bottom of your posts. How do u come buy those? Did you have someone design it? It's cool

Thank you - a very kind Banjo player on here made it for me 8-) I believe you can make your own at mybanner.com

CoMan


Seffie x

#5 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:00 PM

Seffie

I take it the H2ocean salt u use brings you ph up nicely then? I just can't get mine up(now now lol) with red sea coral pro to 8.3. Would u recomend I change salt or buffer?
Cheers
ps I'll look into mybanner.com. Nice one

CoMan

#6 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 February 2010 - 07:34 AM

Ok first gripe!

The temperature in my tank is drivig me mad! The thermostat on my heater is turned up to 26c and the temp in the main tank reaches a smidgen under 28c(I'm guessing that's too high right??). I turned the thermostat down to 25.5c and no change to the temp at all. So I turn the stat down to 25 and this morning my tank is 22c. Ahhhhhhhhhh!

I'm stressing that my clown is going to die due to all this up and down temperature business!!!!

Some reasurence would help out here! I think I need a new heater

Cheers

#7 jtnova13

jtnova13

    Fishaholic

  • Member
  • 587 posts

Posted 12 February 2010 - 04:00 PM

That is cold! Clowns are generally very hardy and can put up with subpar conditions for a while. My 12g nanocube consistently runs around 82F during the day and drops to 79ish at night.

As long as it doesn't just drop a few degrees instantly, you should find the clowns to be ok.

That said, I wouldn't leave them at 22C very long! This is why it's important to test your equipment for a bit BEFORE you get livestock :P

Also, I use reef crystals in my tank because it has trace elements for corals. It does cost a little more than regular instant ocean though.

Edited by jtnova13, 12 February 2010 - 04:02 PM.


#8 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:40 AM

So my lonely clown "Cash" now has a buddy "Tango II". Tango II is doing really well eating loads and He doesn't seem to travel more than a few inches from Cash.

They are distively two different colours though! Cash is dark orange with little black on him. Where as Tango II is like a yellow/orange with quite wide black lines? Both are thought to be captive bread??? Any thoughts?

I replaced the heater with a fluval e200. Which seems to be a good bit of kit. It has an LCD panel that displays the tank temp and lights up blue if is colder than the temp you set. Green if is bang on and red if it's too hot. It's housed in a protective guard and I have chosen to leave it in the main tank for now. Until I have a stronger pump in the back that will increase the water transfer into the main tank.

I've added some more live rock and think on Friday I'm off to the lfs to get a cleaner shrimp. I'm also tempted to get a toadstall coral but can someone tell me not to do it yet and it's best to wait!lol

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#9 seffieuk

seffieuk

    I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!

  • Pet Of The Year 2009
  • 11,133 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 18 February 2010 - 02:02 PM

Way to go CoMan :good:



Seffie x
ps CoMan, would you recommend the tank?

Edited by seffieuk, 21 February 2010 - 07:15 PM.


#10 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 21 February 2010 - 02:38 PM

So a few new things. I have changes the shock pump with an Eheim 1000. To be honest I'm not massively impressed. There is a marked improvement in suface movement but not what I was hoping. Kind of wished I went for the maxi jet 1200 now. Oh well

The stock pump is on the main tank in the bottom left corner pointing at the live rock and there is some good flow there now. Cool!

And...
Posted Image

Check out my leather coral I've called it Edmond. He's doing well he's been in for about three days. I was umming and arring over whether to get him but I did some extra water tests over the last week with my API reef master kit and nitrate is now 0, phosphate 0, calcium 450, kh 9 and ph 8.1 

Oh and salinity is 1.026

So with that in mind I thought I'd go for it. As you can see I have placed him mid way up on the rock. He closed up and shrunk away for about 2 hours and then was out to play.
Posted Image 

The flow on him is moderate, the tenticles sort of wave around a little and open and close occassionaly. Which I'm guessing is normal?
Posted Image

Next plan is to get a cleaner shrimp and then maybe a xenia. 

#11 seffieuk

seffieuk

    I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!

  • Pet Of The Year 2009
  • 11,133 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 21 February 2010 - 07:16 PM

Lovely toadstool and conditions must be near perfect for him if he came out within two hours :good:

Seffie x

#12 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 22 February 2010 - 08:46 AM

Lovely toadstool and conditions must be near perfect for him if he came out within two hours :good:

Seffie x

Cheers Seffie, yeah I'm well happy with him. He seems to extend a little bit more everyday but always shrinks away at night when the light goes out. Do you now what type of toadstool he is?

CoMan

#13 seffieuk

seffieuk

    I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!

  • Pet Of The Year 2009
  • 11,133 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 22 February 2010 - 08:53 AM

There are over 36 different types of sarcophyton - so it's difficult to say, although i will say it is one of the prettier ones :nod:

Seffie x

can i ask you to put a photo on the coral of the week thread please (Sarcophyton)

#14 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:25 PM

Ok so the final inhabitants for a little while have been added a pink xenia and cleaner shrimp. I'm staying away from LFS until next payday at least!
Posted Image

I acclimated them for about 2hours adding a cup of water to their bags every 15mins. The cleaner hid for the first few hours and then came out at night. The xenia was a little more shy. She was placed at the top of the highest rock were there is moderate to high flow. It stayed shrunk for over 24 hours. 
Posted Image
I then moved her down to an area that is more protected and within 2hours she was extended and pulsing! Cool.
Posted Image
I've moved a few things about and I know it's far far from finshed but I really am happy. To me it's sort of starting to look a little like a reef.  
Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#15 seffieuk

seffieuk

    I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!

  • Pet Of The Year 2009
  • 11,133 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 25 February 2010 - 07:43 PM

I agree, its looking really nice

Seffie x

#16 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 February 2010 - 12:15 AM

I agree, its looking really nice

Seffie x

Thanks Seffie. I'm slowly getting their! I'm not sure what to add next. Thinking of a royal gramma and some zoanthids?

#17 seffieuk

seffieuk

    I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!

  • Pet Of The Year 2009
  • 11,133 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 26 February 2010 - 07:44 PM

Good choice :good:

Seffie x

#18 Seren

Seren

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 78 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 02 March 2010 - 08:17 PM

Love your tank,and that toadstool is really fab :good: I wish I had the patience to write a journal, but I'm hopeless!
S

#19 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 March 2010 - 11:10 PM

Love your tank,and that toadstool is really fab :good: I wish I had the patience to write a journal, but I'm hopeless!
S

Mate thanks for the comments. Really nice to have some positive feedback. Def start a journal! I'm sure if you start it and just update it when you can it will be great. I mean I don't have a pc at the mo and doing this journal from my phone!lol I have busy thumbs.lol. Personally would really like to read how your getting on with your set up and it helps us newbs.

#20 CoMan

CoMan

    Fish Fanatic

  • Member
  • 171 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 March 2010 - 01:10 PM

Ok some good and some bad this week. Early in the week I went to the lfs to inquire about a royal gramma. Long and short they didn't have any but they had a false gramma. I had read that they were aggressive, though hardy they weren't always the best behaved fish. The lfs stated he would be fine with clowns and totally reef safe. The wife was present and had fallen in love with this fish and though I aired my concerns she was willing to bank roll this purchase. So i thought "what the hell". And we brought him home. 

For three days it terrorised my clowns chasing them endlessly  stopping only to nip at my cleaner shrimp and hermits until it managed to eat one! Great! 

Knowing it would be hard to catch I knew it would have to go back. Piece by piece the live rock was removed and even then he continued to circle my toadstool which also was removed  until I had him cornered caught and bagged(very slippery fella)

My tank destroyed and aquascaping demolished he was returned to the lfs who found my story most amusing! he was swapped for a royal gramma that had just come in and whilst there a friend i was with said she wanted to buy me a fish. She pointed out the coral beauty that I had shown her as the fish of my dreams
and before I could decline her offer she had paid at the counter. I cooked her dinner in return.  

A day later once i had restored my tank to some sort of order picked up my fish and brought home. 

Moral of this story. 
Don't let your wife chose your fish! Even if she is willing to pay! 

What the lfs tells you is not always what's going to happen! 

If a friend buys you the fish of your dreams cook Her a really nice dinner. She may buy you another some day?

Some picks to follow in a few days
 




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users