first half


New member
I just received the first half of a 10 gallon package for my nano reef, and I just wanted to share my experience.

I kept a reef tank a few years back, and I'm getting back into the hobby with a 10 gallon nano reef with a 5.5 refugium. After considering several online shops, I decided to give the TBS aqua-cultured rock a try - the package for a 10 gallon seemed perfect.

I was a little disappointed when the box finally arrived, as Mary mentioned including a bag of macro algae for my refugium (mostly for missing the first flight and to offset me shifting my day around and picking up the box in the evening). I didn't see any macro algae, either on the rock or in a separate bag. Bummer, now my refugium is just bare sand.

Although previous comments mention outstanding customer service, my personal experience was about average. I could tell Mary was quite busy with other customers, and I assume my "small" order just got placed at the bottom of the pile, as I had to call roughly a week after the initial order to ââ"šÂ¬Ã‹Å“re-orderââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢ my package.

Also, the included instruction sheet mentioned a 'little brown bag of powder' to help cycle the tank - which I did not receive. Or is the instruction sheet incorrect/out-of-date?

And now a few questions (for anyone willing to answer!):

1) I saw 2 small red crabs (not hermits). Are these good or bad critters? A search told me these are probably ââ"šÂ¬Ã‹Å“red reef crabsââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢, but it didnââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢t say either way if theyââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢re good or bad.

2) There are tons of filter feeders - including a good sized clam! What should I feed these guys? Any suggestions?

Overall, the rock has tons of life! Quite representative of what I expected. My 6 year old son was beside himself with glee looking at everything. Iââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢m now looking forward to the second shipment (cycle tank ââ"šÂ¬Ã‚¦ cycle ) - hopefully with a little macro algae to seed my refugium ...

I took some pictures - if thereââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢s interest, I can post a few later this evening.

Just incase anyone reads this and has the same question, after reading a bit about clams (my first!), phytoplankton is the way to go. I'm off to the LFS to find either:

- LiquidLifeUSA Bioplankton
- DT's Phytoplankton

After researching I'm feeling pretty silly for not using that search feature sooner...!

If the crabs are hairy, try to get them out. They aren't bad small but they will be a problem later.

I've never heard of TBsaltwater using a brown dust package.

You may not see macroalgae but it will probably show up.

If it doesn't, get them to send you some on your next half. They got tons of it.

Its great rock and you must have got them at a bad time. I have always got superb service from them.
Brown stuff in package...

Brown stuff in package...

Hello, I ordered the package a few weeks ago and did indeed receive a package with brown "dust" in it...I ordered a 100g package so not sure if it only comes with certain sizes...

I would definitely ask for that macro-algae if you want it. Mine came with three types of algae: red and green grape caulerpa and red gracillaria.

I'm not a huge fan of the green grape caulerpa becuase it simply grows like a weed. The small amount I started with took over the rock it was on in under two weeks and started branching out to the surrounding rocks. I've had to trim a few times already. It is also really pretty good at attaching to rock which can make it a bit of a challenge to trim neatly. I'm not sure what if anything will eat it but if something does, I'd consider this a bit more manageable. The two red algaes seem to be doing well but aren't taking off like the green stuff (which I like).

I've seen a bunch of crabs in my tank -- some small red ones and a several sandy-brown, hairy ones. I'm definitely going to get rid of the hairy ones -- I've seen them attacking hermits, snails and anything else it can get its claws on. I still haven't found anything definitive about the red ones.

I can't believe how many clams were on the rock I received...there must have been 6 or 8 all told and I've only received half my package. I didn't even notice half of them the first week...they're all covered in barnacles and coralline.

The only other thing I'll mention is keep your eyes open for isopods. There is another thread in the TBS forum on these creatures. They apparently feast on the blood of fish (or your blood if you stick your hand in the tank unprotected). I've found at least one in my tank.

Good luck.
As far as the crabs....TBS recommends removing all crabs except for the Porcelain crabs. Porcelain crabs wave two hands, not their claws, in the current to gather things in the water, they are filter feeders.

I was somewhat skeptical at first , and still maybe aliitle skeptical as I believe 'wildlife managment' is a sham. For us to try and manage our reef is not a natural thing and is for our own vanity. I'm not saying that this is a terrible thing, but in reality nature is the only thing that can manage nature.

Anyway, Those nice brown/red crabs that are only slightly hairy on the some legs are a mithrax crab of sorts, similar to the emerald crab. They tend to graze on anything infront of them. I have seen them trample feather dusters, disturb corals, and grab other animals indesriminately and then spit out what they don't like. They are not mean spirited but very hungry as they don't eat large pieces of anything.

To me they seem a nice and neat, but the larger ones seem to be a minor problem at least.

just my experience,