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20G High School Tank Progress


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Formerly a FW community tank, I tore it down and moved the inhabitants to live n a 45 gallon community. Coming back from the summer I saw potential in starting my first SW tank. This thread will completely and fully log everything going on with my first SW aquarium.


-Added two "20 gallon" HOB filters. Let them run.

-Added powerhead rated for 600gph. Let it run.


-With $21 in my pocket I took a trip to PetCo and grabbed a bag of salt for $20.55. Lucky me.

- Mixed saltwater, only after realizing had no way to measure the salt aside from beakers and graduated cylinders measuring in milliliters. Time to use my math skills.

-Turned on powerhead to mix mix mix up the water

-Water measured Salinity of 1.024


-Turned on filters

-Temperature at approx 77F

-Salinity still at 1.024


-Ocellaris Clownfish (1)

-Watchman Goby (1)

-Pistol Shrimp (1)

-Black Tuxedo Urchin (1)



-Soft Coral



-Live Rock

-Live Sand

-Lighting (Ordered)


-Pictures to come on Tuesday of current setup-

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Picked up some flaky food for the Clownfish that was dropped off. Added rock. Picked up some live sand thanks to yet another amazing member.


Tank setup as of right now. I fail at aquascaping. Still a wee bit cloudy but I wasnt able to set up that QT tank as planned. So hopefully he can tolerate that. Salinity was all over the place when I first arrived to the school, thankfully I got that figured out before acclimating the fish. Even bought some new airline tubing and control valves to drip acclimate, since I seem to have run out.


Here's our little buddy. I think I'll switch his name up a bit, and call him Marley :)


Just before acclimation, chilling n his bag. Poor photo quality due to no lights at all being on in the room or tank >.>

I gave him a tiny bit of flake food through a pipette, so that it would get closer to him, he ate that. Just wanted to be sure he liked the food I got :) Gave him a tiny bit more. Don't want to overdo it on the first day. I'm sure he's stressed.

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Ran across this page in the interwebs. Thought I might give this a try. Looks like ill still ave the room for my HOB filters, and be able to mount my lights underneath the top, which would hinge open :) Seems like a fun thing to do with my dad.

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I was able to pick up two small pieces of live rock tanks to YET ANOTHER very giving and awesome member here. So now I have my live sand, and some live rock to seed my tons of dry rock. Mr. Marley the Clownfsh is doing 'swimmingly' Gave him a few small flakes again today.

Played with the Hydrometer and I think I finally got it to work right. Need to rinse it with FW after each use Duh!

Got a couple pics here of the whole tank, and Marley, as well as a close-up of my new fancy live rock!




Marley again


Yet again :)


Live Rock



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soak your hydrometer in vinegar overnight. Then rinse with RO water and it should be more accurate. It's important to rinse the saltwater deposits out of the hydrometer, less you end up with lower salinity than the hydro registers.

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Got a little frag today! Thanks to another member :) In trade for one of my old Maxi-Jets. This frag came with not one, but TWO itty bitty Bristle Stars! I was way stoked to watch them crawl around in my tank :D



More photos to come. These two were taken with my phone. Gonna take me a bit to get the ones off my camera and edit them accordingly. :)

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Move my Palys up closer to the light. They of course closed up when I touched them to move, and it took forever to get the plug sitting solid. This is what they looked like right before I left the school. They DO look bleached :( and they were kinda starting to open. But idk how long it takes for these guys to open up when they're happy. Also looks like th teacher turned off all of the aquarium lights over the weekend.. So they were in the dark :/ Set up a timer and a huge note saying not to turn that lights off because they are on a timer.


Also got to hold one of my baby starfish. He was wondering across some dry rock. After leaving my hand he settled on a hole in a rock to be his new home. His arms stick out so he can steal flakes from the clown :)



Put together a saltwater mixing station and did a small (10%) water change today due to a mini-cycle breaking out. Ammonia at .25ppm and nitrate at 5ppm D: Dosed with about 2x dose of Prime and added this ghetto bacteria supplement that came with a tank a while back. (Top Fin Bacteria Supplement)


My timer for the lights:


And my BALL ANEMONE that I found on my rock. Found three of these guys.


Also added in some more rock. This structure is NOT very sturdy at all. So I'm hoping to be able to get some sort of glue to be able to build a sturdy structure. FTS:


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use plastic white coat hangers. They're cheap. Just cut them up and use them like dowels to hold stuff together. combine that with some reef putty, and you're good to go. What kind of lights are you using over that tank? Those palys generally like it at the bottom of the tank, depending on lighting. Too high off the bottom and they'll start to close often, while they shorten their stalks. Also, if you're using LED's, they tend to bleach palys/zoas very quickly if you have them (the palys) up too high.

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went by the school again today. Everything looks tip top. Salinity good, mini cycle still going through but the "poisons" have dropped by about 60%-75%. Dosed with Prime again to keep that good for Marley. He doesn't hang out in the back of the tank quite as much. He came up front to eat, which was cool. Got some Silver Mollies and introduced them to my 45 gallon Freshwater Community. Also grabbed some 15 cent feeder goldfish for the Oscar. I'll post photos of him eating in a bit. It was hilarious, yet almost saddening cause I got some very healthy pretty feeders. Today was a good day. My "Apprentice" got her first fish, sadly I left before witnessing her acclimate them. Boo!

Talked to the manager at The Fish Gallery about offering any help towards the Aquatic Science program at CHS. He was thrilled to help. AWESOME!


Salinity reading. Finally got it about where I want it.


Marley finally not shy biggrin.png


The awesome Ball Nem


Oscar the Tiger Oscar having a meal tongue.png


I ALMOST feel bad for the goldfish just sitting in there.

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Mini-Cycle has ended. Still a tinge of green on the Ammonia test, barely.. but not even enough to constitute a color change. Acclimated my silver Mollies!! woot!


Palys opened up. If you look, you can see that the tentacles are getting a nice bright pink spot. COLORING! YES!.


New FTS:


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MAF on my car is acting up, along with about a billion other things. But still pushed my poor broken down vehicle to go to connally this week.

Hung out with my FW babies and finally got a decent shot of the Gold Gourami:


My Mollies hang out in the rocks, and look like they have something similar to the stress lines I see on Bettas, but these are vertical. Not sure if those are normal or something I should be concerned about. I've never kept mollies before.


Today's FTS:


The day I set up the SW QT:


My Palys seem to be doing swimmingly now:


Getting some algae? on the dry rock finally. Nice to at least see something going on in here.:


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Oh and the SW tank got fed some frozen food. It was a pack of 4 different types of cubes and I think 5 cubes of each of those types.. though I have no idea which are which :P The fish went nuts over that. Looked like Brine Shrimp. Not sure though. But they were very happy. Got some of the juices from thawing the cube and tried my hand at spot feeding Senor Palythoa. About 30 seconds after "feeding" they closed up

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One clown and the two silver mollies.

I did notice it looks like one of the Mollies got a nip on the tail the first day they were in there, but since then I've seen no aggression. The mollies are small enough to hang out in the rockwork. Marley the Clown is a bit too big and hangs in his corner of the tank. If I do see bullying, I'll def put the Mollies back into the FW commuinity :)

So is it just the clown and mollie in the saltwater tank? In my tank in the past the clown always beat up the mollie :/

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In my 135G lagoon, the three blue damsel were too mean. However, when I put twenty black mollies among them, they could not focus there aggression. I also added some Yellow Tangs that are having none of the damsel behavior. The smallest yellow tang is aggressive with the three damsels. It is almost comical to see him arch his tail and back up to the damsels. As if he is a threat to them.



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