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Custom 24g (2)x70w MH Nano Cube Project


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Here we go... Last night I took a bunch of pictures, which I will work on getting posted today. I also have some pictures that I took while working on the plumbing and other misc. pictures that I will get posted as well. As for now, if you haven't read the preface to this project, feel free to use the following link:








Check back within a few hours, and I should have pictures up.

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At this point it has been 13 days since my rock has started cycling. It actually cycled pretty fast, and I'm currently at the algae outbreak stage of most new setups.


Chris originally delayed shipping the original 1.70 hood so he could make sure it passed heat testing before leaving his shop. Since I received the tank first, it allowed me to start working on the plumbing mods. I already had an idea of what I wanted to do, but the back chambers didn't turn out to be as large as I originally expected.


Here's a picture of the original parts I ordered to complete the plumbing mods, but due to confined space, I had to rework some things.




Tank Drilled For Bulkheads




Notice that I had originally purchased 3/4" black flexible tubing and barbed fittings. This would have worked great provided I had more room in the back chambers to work, but after a saw how tight the back chambers were, and how big the pump and SCWD were, I knew I would have to figure something else out. My first thought was to re-thread the outside of the bulkheads to accept 3/4" female barbed elbows to bring the elbows closer to the back wall, but the tubing was just to bulky to use, regardless. I tried trimming down the barbed fittings, and tried using other types of fittings, but nothing seemed to fit. Then I found that those plastic push-in type quick-connect fittings were extremely compact, but I couldn't find the "stackable" style that maximized saving space at any of the retailers. Looking at the fittings at Home Depot and Lowes it appeared that the ½" size would work out best.


I did find a source online that carried the stackable type, so I ordered a bunch of them to be safe ($46 worth). Unfortunately, I found out when they came that the size they were labeled at Home Depot and Lowes was the OD size of the tubing to be used with the fittings. So the fittings at Home Depot and Lowes were to be used with ½" OD - 3/8" ID tubing. The fittings I received from the source I ordered from were to be used with 5/8" OD - ½" ID tubing. This really kind of screwed things up since I couldn't find any tubing that would work with the fittings, other than PEX, which was too stiff and bulky to work with in my case. So I returned all the fittings and ended up purchasing the regular style at Home Depot, which I would have to figure out some way to make work.


After spending several hours and trying several different configurations of placing the pump and SCWD I finally figured out a way to make it fit. I tied the pump to the SCWD and the SCWD to the push-in type tees, to allow me to put in/take out these items as 1 piece. Then once in place, I could connect the tubing from the tees to the bulkheads. It worked great, and it's not too bad to get the pump in and out for maintenance.


Here's a pictures of the pump and SCWD tied together. Notice the small 3/8" barb. That tee has since been taken out since the 2.70 hood doesn't need water to be directed toward an ICA. Remember, my new 2.70 hood required a seperate chiller.




Bulkheads Tied to the SCWD and Pump




Front View of Returns




Well, lets stop there for now. I still have a bunch of pictures to post, but I'm running out of time. I'll try to post the rest within the next few days. As for now, please feel free to comment.

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Are you ready for more pictures? Let's start with some location pictures of the tank. These pictures were taken before I had the 2.70 hood.


Front of Tank




Right Side of Tank




Back of Tank. Note that the the clear tubing was how I originally planned to send water from the ATO before I received the new hood. The new hood made use of the extra hole for the additional ballast.




Then, for Christmas, I received my 2.70 + 2.18 hood and JBJ Arctica Chiller. This hood replaced my 1.70 + 3.18 hood with ICA Chiller, and added an R2 5 LED moonlight, and Nanocustoms 5.1 LED Moonlight.


Damage Found on Christmas Morning




New Hood With Cracked Splashguard #2 (I was able to glue this one temporarily)




Back of Tank with Chiller & Fuge Light. Note that originally I had the ATO plumbed into the return from the chiller to keep from having additional tubing going through the hood, but even with a check-valve, this proved to be disastrous. I'm not sure that our new hardwood floors will ever flatten out again. Now a have separate tubing running through the hood for the ATO.




Cabinet Stand with ATO System




ATO Container (Kalk Water)




Sand Added (Carib-Sea Argamax Sugar Sized Oolitic)




Added Water (Oceanic 1.025, but plan to switch to Tropic Marin)




Any comments you might have would be great… more to come later!!!

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Can you get some pics of the tank with noth Mh lights on ??? I was thinking about doing a 150 into my BC29, and may have to do (2) 70w's just for the fact you can do more with the timing of lights being on or off at certain times....

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Can you get some pics of the tank with noth Mh lights on ??? I was thinking about doing a 150 into my BC29, and may have to do (2) 70w's just for the fact you can do more with the timing of lights being on or off at certain times....


Yep, pictures already taken. I'll try to get em' posted today. You'll see once I get shots posted from different times of the day that it's very cool to be able to split up the MH's... obviously something you can't do if you just have (1) 150.

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More pictures...


After doing lots of research on live rock, I decided to try Premium Aquatics' Marshall Island rock. I went the Tampa Bay Saltwater route on my first tank since I was interested in all the life and hitch-hikers, but after everything slowly started dieing off, I was left with very boring chunks of very heavy rock. I tried to cover my TBS with my own stuff, but it's hard to place corals when you're dealing with a pile of round chunks of rock. So this time I was more concerned with porous/light-weight rock for filtration purposes, as well as nice shapes for aquascaping purposes. Marshall Island rock seemed to be the way to go, and I've got to admit that I'm quite impressed with it. It didn't come with a lot of life, but I'll take care of that further down the road.


Shipment of Live Rock




Rock Laid Out




Added Display Rock (35 lbs. Marshall Island)




Added Fuge Rock (5 lbs. Rubble)






Added Chaeto








Fuge Light (Nanocustoms 5.1 Model)



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TealCobra - I still have to post the pictures you are looking for. I'm trying to post them in order, so hold tight. I will get them up shortly.

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Here are some pictures of my lighting during different periods of my photoperiod. I decided to run:


9a – 9p Actinics

10a – 7p Right MH

11a – 8p Left MH

9p – 9a Moonlight + Fuge Light


9a Actinics On (36w :1 Hr.)

10a Right MH On (36w + 70w = 106w : 1 Hr.)

11a Left MH On (36w + 70w + 70w = 176w : 8 Hrs.)

7p Right MH Off (36w + 70w = 106w : 1 Hr.)

8p Left MH Off (36w : 1 Hr.)

9p Actinics Off


Hood 9a – 10a




Hood 10a – 11a




Hood 11a – 7p




Hood 7p – 8p




Hood 8p – 9p




Hood 9p – 9a



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Don't mind the algae, it has cleared up nicely since these pictures were taken, and I actually have some nice coralline starting to spread on the rocks.


Tank 9a – 10a




Tank 10a – 11a




Tank 11a – 7p




Tank 7p – 8p




Tank 8p – 9p




Tank 9p – 9a




Return From Chiller




View From Upstairs Loft




Well, that's all the pictures I have for now. I try to update often as thing progress.

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If I remember correctly, your kinda close to me (not TOO close) im in Streamwood, IL.... I have a half bottle of purple up if youd like it, its yours. I used it in my tank and it worked WONDERS.

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If I remember correctly, your kinda close to me (not TOO close) im in Streamwood, IL.... I have a half bottle of purple up if youd like it, its yours. I used it in my tank and it worked WONDERS.


Yeah, you're not too far. I'm out in Sycamore. Thanks for the offer, but I think I'm going to try to let things evolve naturally for right now. I have a feeling that the coralline will be going crazy within a few months (I hope so at least). Stick around and we'll see what happens.

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any updates on the tank? hows that LED fuge light working? is that cheato growing?


Nothing really exciting happening yet. I've manually harvested algae in the display twice now to try to export some of the bound nutrients, and I did a large 20% water change on Saturday. I also discovered that the plastic trim that rings the top of the tank must not have been sealed properly on the front/left corner of the tank. When the intake got clogged up with algae, rather than water overflowing the back wall and into the rear chambers, it was sneaking up under the plastic trim, over the glass, and trickling under the trim down the front of the tank. I guess the glass under that trim sits lower than the back wall. So while the water level was lowered down to do the water change, I siliconed inside the tank under the entire rim to prevent future problems. It would not have been pretty had I not been home to discover the flaw in the tank. I left the water 1g short to allow the silicone to cure for a few days with the lid opened.


I'm looking forward to moving the inhabitants from my old 12g to the new tank, but want to make sure things are really stable before I start to slowly move things over. I've got:


Rose Bubble Tip Anemone

Ocellaris Clown Fish

Yellow Clown Gobies (pair)

Blood Red Fire Shrimp

Hammer Coral

Sun Coral

Blue Striped Mushrooms

Button Polyps

Kenya Colt Tree Coral

White Pumping Xenia


The Xenia is already in the new tank, but I think I want to wait to move anything else over until I'm able to add the RBTA/Clown since I'm sure the RBTA will wonder a bit before establishing its permanent resting spot. I figure I can place the rest of the corals around the RBTA. I have a feeling that the light acclimation for this process is going to be tricky. I plan on doing weekly 10% water changes starting this Friday, and I hope to be able to move the RBTA/Clown early next week.

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Well, I found out that the silicone I thought I used to seal up the rim of the aquarium was actually clear caulk. I e-mailed DAP this morning to find out if their product was aquarium safe, and they replied stating that it's not. They recommended removing what I had applied and redoing it using their Aquarium Sealant. Oh well. I'm just glad I thought to check what I had used and didn't have to find out the hard way.


So maybe all Nano Cubes don't have a sealed upper trim ring. I just thought that mine had a manufacturer defect. Has anyone other than Qwank and me had an issue with this?


Qwank, your Mexican Hermits killed your clown goby? I've got a few of those myself. I believe Premium Aquatics labeled them as Baha Red Legs. I thought they were supposed to be less aggressive than the blue legs. I hope I don't have issues with them. I also have 3 Red Scarlets.

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Part of the revisions made to the 2006 & up models was a different adhesive for the trim ring. I think you may be experiencing wicking action taking place if i am reading your post correctly.


The reason behind the move is to compensate for thermal expansion, etc. This prevents the trim ring from causing too much stress during the normal expansion and contraction of the tank.


Its an annoyance, but I would just recommend keeping your surface skimmer tuned. I know you are moving a boatload of water Dave, so it may be a challenge.



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Thanks Chris. I'm glad to see that you are following along! You always amaze me with the amount of information you know about the products you sell. I just wish that some of that information was easier for the general public to access.


Anyway, I think you are reading correctly. The first time I discovered the leaky corner was when I was aquascaping and stuck a sponge in front of the intake before going to bed to try to clear up the cloudy water. I woke up to find water pouring down the front of the tank and a good gallon of water sitting on the hardwood. This was the second time I flooded the new floor already.


I did run my finger along the gapping inside the tank and found that the right corner had a wider gap than anywhere else. This is why I figured that it might be a small defect, but an easy enough fix to take care of. Is the glass under the trim ring lower than the back wall? I did anticipate the sponge getting gunked up enough to block the intake when I did the aquascaping, but I figured worst case, the water would just overflow the back wall rather than the front of the tank. It would really surprise me to find out that the tank wasn't designed to handle an intake blockage.


So the caulk is already in place, but as mentioned I need to remove it anyway to avoid poisoning the tank and replace with aquarium sealant. I figured I would remove as much as I can and cover what I can't remove with the aquarium sealant. I would really like to safeguard against water flowing down the front of the tank in the future should something block the intake again, possibly when we're not home. What would you do?


And... you are right about "moving a boatload of water". The water level in the display comes just below the back wall. So you can imagine how close it is sitting to the top of the glass under the trim ring. I don't even think the overflow could handle 1 GPH more without overflowing the backwall / front glass.

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How your hood? It doesn't heat up a lot with this MH?


The hood is awesome. It heats up to the ideal temperature for the MH's to give maximum performance. I don't know the actual hood temperatures, but I can tell you that the water temps range from 80.0 - 80.2. I have my ReefKeeper set to turn the chiller on at 80.2, and my heater on at 79.9. I'm yet to see the tank deviate from these parameters. We keep ambient temperatures in the house around 70.


Chris would be the one to talk to if you want to know specifics about the hood. I just know that the Nanocustoms' systems are highly tested and tuned to allow the bulbs to perform at their highest potential. Chris, if you're still watching, jump in here with some of the technical jargon regarding hood temps / bulb performance.


Also, I raised the water level back up in the tank last night and blocked the intake with a piece of cling wrap. There were absolutely no leaks around the rim of the tank, and the water overflowed the back wall into the back compartments. So, I'd say the sealing job was a success, but now Chris has me worried that I may have messed up the trim ring against allowing it to adjust for thermal expansion/contraction. Chris, was JBJ contributing a lot of the old cracking issues to how they had the trim ring adhered to the tank? I always thought it was solely based on glass thickness. I guess we'll see what happens.

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does the 1.70mh kit for the 12dx come with the ICA chiller?


Are you looking to do the Nanocustoms DIY Kit or the Nanocustoms Complete System? I don't believe the DIY Kit comes with the ICA, but you can purchase a kit for that for $89.95. If you purchase the Complete System, you have the option of having the ICA installed too for $79.95.

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I did get the RBTA and Clown acclimated to the new tank last Friday night. I was a little nervous about how the RBTA would do with such an extreme change in lighting, but I figured, worse case, it would crawl into a shaded spot until it could adjust. Well, good news and bad news, kind of. The good news is that the RBTA is doing just fine in the new tank. However, bad news is that it's doing too well. The thing must be a good 4x larger than it ever was in the other tank and is almost too big for the 24g. I'm not sure what to do at this point. It's definitely thriving in there. I was just really hoping to having a lot more room to add different corals. Anyway, let me know what you think.


RBTA and Clown




Close Up



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IMHO the issue was more with glass thickness, but the trim ring adhesive was very stiff and wasnt as pliable as the current version.


Thanks Chris. That makes me feel a little bit better.


I got most of the caulk scraped off last Tuesday night that I applied by mistake over the prior weekend. It was difficult to keep a lot of the "crumbs" from falling into the water, though, so I hope it will be ok. I tried to suck out what I could. I did spread a bead of DAP aquarium sealant under the rim to cover the caulk that I couldn't get out of the gap. I trimmed it up with a razor blade the other night and allowed it to finish curing for another day. Once it had cured for 48 hours I raised the water all the way back up and started using the surface skimmer again. After I let that run for another day, I did a 10% water change and added the clown and RBTA.


Does anyone else use the ReefKeeper 2? I don't know if it has been posted on NR or not yet, but I read over at Reef Central that the Data Logger Firmware Update should be available for download soon. I'm pretty excited about this. Check out this thread if you're interested:



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very nice system :D

I use the the RK2. I luv it.

Yes the new update is ready:)

Does anyone else use the ReefKeeper 2? I don't know if it has been posted on NR or not yet, but I read over at Reef Central that the Data Logger Firmware Update should be available for download soon. I'm pretty excited about this. Check out this thread if you're interested:



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very nice system :D

I use the the RK2. I luv it.

Yes the new update is ready:)


Is the data logger update available or is it just the 0.2 degree hysteresis heater update at this point?






Here is the firmware...


For the ones out there that want/need different heater control. Feel free to download this update and install it. You'll now have a 0.2 degree hysteresis on the heater and you wont have the rapid on/off that bothered you in the past.


We'll be posting the logging application later this week and our ReefKeeper2 application shortly after that.


We're sorry for the delay! Thanks everyone for being so understanding! I hope to have some screen shoots of our viewer application soon for you all to see.


Please report any issues to support@digitalaquatics.com



Digital Aquatics

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Thanks Qwank. I'm still not sure if I like how the RBTA looks with it being that expanded. I actually think it looked a lot nicer in the other tank when it was only a quarter of that size and the tenticles were much closer together. We'll see... maybe it will grow on me once I have more stuff in there.


As for the kit, you might want to give Chris a call to discuss some options. I know that you can save some money if you're not looking for as much of a drop in solution. Nanocustoms sells bare-bones parts to perform your own mods too. I'm sure Chris would be more than happy to give you some ideas there.

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