got ethical husbandry?

Arvin's Nano Aquatop ES18

Arvin R

Supporting Member
Decided to have fun with a nano reef.

Aquatop es18 8.7G bow front
8lbs Real reef live rock from AC's live rock water bin
Crushed coral substrate (hoping to maximize bio filtration with the use of crushed coral)
Aquaclear 30 filter running sponge and carbon.
LED light from my 6.8 Gal Imagitarium AIO tank (temporary light)



Going to make a cover out of acrylic as Aquatop doesn't seem to produce/sell the glass top for the es18 bow front anymore.

Anyone have any stocking ideas for fish? I was thinking a pair of clown fish and a mandarin. Maybe a small CUC?
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Arvin R

Supporting Member
The mandarin will be tough unless you are feeding it daily. Maybe a pistol shrimp/watchman goby pair?
Yea definitely know about the dietary challenge of a mandarin and it's something I'm willing to take on. I did come across an article of someone who was feeding their mandarin sushi grade roe everyday along with supplementing copepods and newly hatched brine shrimp every once in awhile. Going to get a small hang on the back fuge going using a small fluval breeder mainly to try and house pods and give them a breeding ground outside of the DT.

Arvin R

Supporting Member
Nano tank is coming along nicely. The mushrooms from @H2OPlayar are going great and showing great growth already. I've also got a frag of green toadstool from @keithschon that split in two from me rubberbanding it to a rock so I'll have a frag of that to share once it attaches itself to the rock it's sitting on. I've also got 2 pieces of Kenya tree, some branching frogspawn and some small bits of montipora that I will be attaching to some frag plugs once I get a chance.

I'll try to remember to snap some better pictures in whiter light tomorrow. I am getting what I believe are diatoms growing around the tank so I reduced the amount of light the tank gets each day and will start dosing vibrant cleaner soon if I don't see any decline.

live stock is 2 Ocellaris clowns 1 astraea snail and 1 nassarius. Need more CUC here and found a source for biota mandarin that is already acclimated to frozen food. Waiting to see if they can order any right now.

next plans for this tank is need ato asap.


Supporting Member
Don't dose Vibrant. If it really is diatoms ride it through. They'll disappear in no time. Don't rely on chemical quick fixes. Make sure your lighting, water movement, alk, and cal are stable first. Diatoms can also be a sign of too little light.

Arvin R

Supporting Member
Don't dose Vibrant. If it really is diatoms ride it through. They'll disappear in no time. Don't rely on chemical quick fixes. Make sure your lighting, water movement, alk, and cal are stable first. Diatoms can also be a sign of too little light.
Alk/calc are good. Lighting should be plenty for this little tank. Water movement could be better but it isn't stagnant. Waiting to get a nero 3 once the toadstools attach to their rocks as right now I just have them sitting on the rocks and the lack of flow helps to not knock them off. My main tank went through the same thing with the diatoms. I dosed vibrant as insurance but mainly combated it by going dark for a couple days and it cleared right up. I do have a bit of it here and there but it's going away faster than it appears most days now.

Arvin R

Supporting Member
Kenya tree super expanded today and great polyp extension on both frags of green toadstool. The bases of the toadstools look like they're almost fully attached to their small rocks I set them on. I can see the foot starting to mold around the rock. Once the big piece is fully attached I'll be moving it to my main tank.


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Arvin R

Supporting Member
Cleaned up my nano and did a waterchange today. First time using my own RODI and mixing salt. Went pretty well. Going to be reducing light hours to help combat the GHA. Current livestock for GHA is 3 hermit crabs and a hector goby. Going to be adding a few more hermit crabs on Sat. Also replaced my heater with something a bit more compact. (Old heater is a aqueon 50w hiding horizontally crossing the whole back of the tank. New one is a hygger 50w compact heater. Still need to add ATO to this tank.

Arvin R

Supporting Member

Tank has gotten over GHA awhile ago. But I also let this tank go and NO3 peaked at around 80ppm before I went and did a huge cleaning. While NO3 was this high, my Kenya tree was dropping multiple branches a day and gave me tons of frags to give out for who ever wants them. I was religious about checking multiple times a day and gathering them onto the crushed coral for easy removal. Some of the bigger pieces I've put onto a frag plug.


I've found that the crushed coral traps a TON of detritus and in a tank this size the weekly siphoning/small cleanings definitely need to be kept on top of. Here's the water/dirt I pulled out. Yuck...


I've removed a lot of coral from this tank to stock my other tanks. And am slowly turning this tank over to my 7 yr old daughter. So far she's super interested in the up keep and maintenance and is always excited to go to the LFS and look for some cheaper frags that she can put in this tank.

The blue mushroom I got from @H2OPlayar had 2 babies (one of them can't be seen as its covered by the bigger mother shroom). I'm going to have to find a way to get it off the rock so I can dbtc this one out.


The rest is a photo dump of the other coral in this tank. I have a feather duster that I got from petco but it isn't open at this time. I'll have to get a picture of it another time.

Arvin R

Supporting Member
Rare occasion where I actually tested something in this tank. To my suprise PO4 and NO3 are both at zero. I rechecked NO3 with my API test kit and confirmed zero is a true reading. Funny part is this is probably my most stable tank currently. I change water maybe once every month to two months, feed the fish flake food and over dose oyster feast, reef roids, roti-feast and ab+. Corals are all just softy corals.

I've moved the blue devil finger leather to my wife's 32gal bio cube as it outgrew this tank as it was pretty large already when I got it.

Arvin R

Supporting Member
This has became my shroom tank. I need to break up that rock with the Gonzo golden dragons and keep the shrooms on a clean part of the rock. The calacious algae keeps coming back no matter how many times I pick them off.

Arvin R

Supporting Member
So I finally decided to shut down the 10gal es18 and use one of the IM nuvo 20s I have sitting around. Decided I wanted to go bare bottom. Threw a bunch of the crush coral substrate into my media trays on both sides of the tank and my media bag from my hob filter in the sump too. We'll see how this goes. Still got some kenya tree I've been trying to give away but may be at the point where I need to start throwing it out unless a lfs will let me trade it for store credit.

I'll probably start a new tank journal to follow this one along in a couple days.