Baby Steps Part 3

So, let’s review the issues that we have going on in this Waterbox AIO Nano. Honestly, at this point, I don’t know what to expect. I have this thing running and I am trying my best to address and combat these issues, but I have no idea if this stuff is going to work. What I do know is that I am smart enough to figure this stuff out. I am a patient person and I can move slowly and be deliberate. I know that’s hard for some people, but for me, it’s not. That being said, I tend to obsess about stuff, but in this case, that’s a blessing not a curse because it keeps me thinking about these issues and how I want to fix them.

  • Algae Issue
  • Water is FILTHY and Yellow
  • Need to be able to test the water
  • Need a clean-up crew
  • Filtration Media (Filter Floss/Filter Sock)
  • No Backup Heater (I cannot trust this heater and need backup)
  • Need Tank Cover
  • Need sand
  • Need to aquascape
  • Reliable Powerhead
  • Pods to keep Mandarin alive until I can figure out a plan of action

Algae Issue: Water changes and being a member of the cleanup crew that I now have in the tank are starting to clean up the algae issue. We are still working on it, but it seems under control and I feel we are winning the battle.

Tank Parameters: Now it’s time to test the water, but that does me NO GOOD if I don’t have a place to keep track of that data. As a technical person and coming from a testing background. I need to be able to see these numbers, remember them and look for trends. Enter Aquarimate. I think it’s a few dollars on the app store and it lets you keep track of a hold slew of things. I’ll do a post on what I use it for later, but for now, let’s just focus on keeping track of my tank parameters.

  • Nitrate: 2.0ppm ( Safe Range: 0 -0.2 ppm)
  • Phosphate: 0.02 ( Safe Range: 0 – 0.03 ppm )
  • Calcium: 375ppm ( Safe Range: 375 – 450 ppm)
  • Alkalinity: 10dKH ( Safe Range: 7 -11 dKH )
  • Magnesium: 1455ppm ( Safe Range: 1250 – 1350 ppm)
  • Salinity: 1.025d SG ( Safe Range: 1.025 – 1.027 d SG)

*Note: Some of the ranges I listed are purely based on what is listed in the app as safe ranges. In some cases, you can be under or above these ranges and be fine, but it’s a good guide to understand if you are even in the ballpark.

Nitrate Issue: So right off the bat, I have another issue. Most of my numbers are ok, but my Nitrate is elevated. I call and chat with my LFS and while I need to get that Nitrate number down one of the workers at the LFS runs all her Nano tanks at around this Nitrate level. So, it’s not the end of the world. Great to know because I don’t have to obsess about that and can focus on more pressing issues.

Tank Lid: On to the next issue I need to solve. I love this Mandarin and I guess the clown is cute also. 😛 I need to keep them BOTH in the tank and I have heard that gobies like to jump out of the tank. I am not sure that Dragonets are the same, but I am not going to take that chance. To add insult to injury… This clown likes to hang out in the upper right corner of the tank near the top. I went online, purchased Innovative Marine DIY Mesh Screen Kit Pro Series and I have to say it was SO EASY to put together. Measure twice, cut once and you end up with a perfect lid for your tank that keeps all the fish inside and fits like a glove.

Mechanical Filtration: I purchased Innovative Marine
AUQA GADGET PURITYPACK FILTER MEDIA
. Mostly for the re-usable filter ball media, but it cannot hurt to have some carbon and GFO on hand I figure. So it’s a win/win. I purchased two and I start swapping out the filter balls ever 3 to 4 days. I put a fresh one in, clean the dirty one under the sink with piping hot water and then let it dry out. Rinse repeat.

Tank Heater: So, the owner gave me a second heater that I could use as a backup, but both of them seemed very cheap to me and one of them had the plastic cap near the top busted off. He “said” it was still working fine, but I decided to not gamble with my tank. I kept the none-busted up “cheap” heater in the tank and order and install a Cobalt Aquatics
NEO-THERM SUBMERSIBLE HEATER
as my backup heater. I still don’t trust the cheap one, but at least I have a backup heater installed.

Light Cycle: So I have this nice Kessil A80 Tuna Blue light with controller and I need a light cycle that is going to simulate sunrise and sunset, but I have NO IDEA what I should set these levels at. After some research and a post on Reef2Reef I get some help from someone running the same light. You gotta love asking for help and getting it. The numbers he gives me seem to jive with the other stuff I find online and I create the program and start using it.

  • 7:30 – 5 Color / 5 Intensity
  • 8:30 – 30 Color / 45 Intensity
  • 10:00 – 55 Color / 80 Intensity
  • 12:00 – 65 Color / 100 Intensity
  • 15:00 – 65 Color / 100 Intensity
  • 17:00 – 55 Color / 80 Intensity
  • 18:30 – 30 Color / 45 Intensity
  • 19:30 – 0 Color / 0 Intensity

So, I have made some progress on this tank. Everything is alive and I can keep my hand out of the tank because things are mostly under control. I have a lid that will keep the fish in and filtration to clean the water. My lighting is automated and my tank heater has a backup. The only two things that I don’t have replacements for are the powerhead and the main pump, but I am spending my cash on the other stuff I need to get this tank stabilized and those things will have to wait for now. They are on my radar but lower on the priority list. No one said this was a cheap hobby. All these little things add up and this tank STILL needs a lot of stuff.

Next: What To Do About Mandarins

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