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UWWMatt's 25G Journal


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Welcome to my 25G Journal...


This tank was started in December 2008 using mostly used parts purchased from local hobbyist. My goal was to build a set up that would be as cost effective as possible because of my limited budget. Much of my original livestock came from my old 14G Biocube. Because of my finite budget I did not really have a set plan for my new system. I just kept an eye out for used pieces that would go together.


This was my first complete tank build so as you read the journal you will see some of the set backs and pitfalls that happened while I was designing and building my system. Also during the building portion of my journal I have tried my best to keep a running tally of the cost of each item purchased. Hopefully this will show people that you don't need thousands of dollars to set up a beautiful reef aquarium.


I hope you enjoy my tank, and thanks for stopping by,





My current stocking list as of May 2010:



Euphyllia paranchora (Branching Hammer)

Lobophytum sp (Devil's Hand)

Caulastrea curvata (Trumpet Coral)

Caulastrea furcata (Candy Cane)

Euphyllia paradivisa (Frogspawn)

Sinularia brassica (Cabbage Leather)

Seriatopora hystrix (Pink Bird's Nest)

Seriatopora guttatus (Green Bird's Nest)

Capnella sp (Kenya Tree)

Sarcophyton sp. (Toadstool Leather)

Cynarina lacrymalis (Button Coral)

Pachyclavularia (GSP)

Ricordea florida

Tubipora musica (Pipe Organ)

Fungia repanda (Plate Coral)

Actinodiscus sp. (Mushrooms)

Anthelia sp

Montipora Spongodes

Duncanopsammia axifuga (Duncan)

Parazoanthus spp (Yellow Colony Polyps)

Protopalythoa spp. (Button Polyps)

Zoanthus spp (zoanthids)

Lobophyllia hemprichii (Brain Coral)

Montipora sp.



Halimeda spp (Halimeda Macro Algae)



Epicystis crucifer (Rock Flower Anemone)

Thor amboinensis (Sexy Shrimp)

Neopetrolisthes ohshimai (Porcelain Anemone Crab)

Lybia sp (Pom Pom Crab)

Lysmata amboinensis (Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp)

Calcinus elegans (Electric Blue Hermit)

Clibanarius tricolor (Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit)

Paguristes cadenati (Scarlet Hermit)

Ophiactis spp (Micro Brittle Stars)

Asterina Starfish



Amblyeleotris guttata (Orange Spotted Goby)

Apogon chrysopomus (Spotted-gill cardinalfish) x2

Amphiprion percula (Clownfish)

Chromis viridis (Blue/Green Chromis)




TANK 1.0

The Build: Pages 1-2

Journal entries:

December 10th, 2008

December 11th

December 13th

December 14th

December 15th

December 16th

December 17th

December 19th

December 23rd

January 1st

January 5th

January 7th

January 8th

January 11th


Tank Maturing: Pages 2-3

January 12th

February 7th

March 19th

April 11th


Tank Disaster: Page 3-5

May 5th , conitued

May 7th

May 11th

May 13th

May 14th

TANK 2.0

Tank Reborn: Page 5-6...

May 14th continued

May 16th, 2009


Another Disaster: :angry:

Disaster thread: http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...203123&st=0


TANK 3.0

Recovery to follow on page 9...

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Wed Dec 10

Today I sold my 8G Biocube for $60, with the intent of using the money to buy a new tank.


Money:+ $60


Thur Dec 11

I found a used 25g tank and stand, along with a variety of other miscellaneous aquarium supplies. I am still up $10 dollars B)



I decided that I wanted a sump on this tank so I went about designing an overflow. I came up with an intank overflow design using google's Sketch Up. But would later settle on something different.


Link to thread about this design: http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=178776

Money:- $50 Overall:+10

Fri Dec 12

I got my paint scraper out and began cleaning the tank and stand. It took over an hour to get all the old coralline and other crap off the glass. My arms were sore the rest of the day. But it came out looking pretty good.


Today I also found a guy who is breaking down several tanks of various sizes and am in the process of working out a time when I can go and check out the equipment he is getting rid of.


Sat Dec 13

I went over to another reefers house and got about 75lbs of dead sand and 50lbs of livesand. I also picked a hang-on overflow and some various pieces of plumbing. The overflow is covered in algae and looks pretty nasty, but I got a good deal on everything.


Money:- $50 Overall:-40


Sun Dec 14

Spent the day trying to figure out what other supplies I am going to need, and finding them for used in my city.

-sump tank



I also placed an order with Marco's Rock for 25lbs of Fiji rock. There wasn't any in stock but they will ship it out as soon as it is available.

Rock: $67.00

Shipping: $13.21

box & packing: $3.00

Final Total: $83.21


Money:-$83.21 Overall:-$123.21


Mon Dec 15

Found one person selling an AquaC skimmer and 30" 150W sunpod, and another person selling a 10 gallon tank which I could use for the sump.

Sunpod: $150

Skimmer: $75

10 gallon: $15


I also went to Ace hardware and made a few purchases

Latex paint: $5

Krylon Fusion: $5

Painting tape: $4

Brush: $1

I painted the tank and overflow black.



Money: -$255 Overall: -$378.21


Tue Dec 16

Today I set out designing my sump. I have never had a tank with one, and never used one before so I have been doing a lot of reading. Once again turning to Sketch Up, I came out with this design:


Link to Sump Design Thread: http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...p;#entry1954868


My fiance is beginning to get pissed because we live in a one bedroom apartment and I have fish tank crap everywhere. This morning (I work the night shift so I was sound asleep) she went into the shower and found a 75lb bucket of sand. She was unable to move it and just showered with it in there. (There was a lid so I am not worried about soap getting in there.) Needless to say she was not happy.


I tried to pick up the living room a bit and move all the tank stuff into one corner.


Here is the tank as it stands today:



To be continued...

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Wed Dec 17th


I went to Home Depot today to get some clear silicone and some glass baffles for my sump. It turns out that Home Depot doesn't offer glass, only Plexiglass, and they won't cut it for you. Anyway I headed over to Ace Hardware and they had just what I needed. Originally it was going to cost $30 to get my four 9 3/4 X 8 1/2 baffles, but the clerk found some old scrapes to use and it ended only costing $13.



I put together my sump, making a complete mess with the silicone in the process. I started taping off the sections I was going to be gluing but decided it was to much of a hassle, and I didn't really care what the sump looked like.



I am not a very handy person, so this is a learning process, but I would offer a bit of advice when attaching the baffles. Mark your measurement and placement lines on the outside of the glass so you can just wipe them off when you are done.


I made a few changes to my sump design after posting a thread in the DIY forum. I increased the fuge section by 1", and swapped the position of the baffles.


Here it is almost done, just one more baffle to go. I finally found a good use for my old textbooks.



Money: -$18 Overall:$393

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Thurs Dec 18

I tested the sump, and it works perfectly! I also added the sand and water 1 1/2 inches of dead sand and 1 1/2 inches of livesand from an established 180 gallon tank. Things are looking pretty cloudy, but it finally looks like a real tank.


I did a lot of cleaning today. My living room no longer looks like a garage! I will post some pictures later tonight.


Now all I have left to do is plumb the sump and wait for my order from Marcosrocks to arrive. Things are really moving fast. It has now been one week since I first had the idea that I was going to build a new tank.

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Here is my completed fuge including the skimmer with increased intake tubing. I had to double the length so it would fit smoothly. The picture is looking down into the cabinet.




Here is the sand. As you can see there are two different sizes. This wasn't really intentional, but the free deadsand I received was a much finer grain then the livesand that went on top, and after all this is a budget tank so I wasn't going to complain.



I spent about 2 hours washing out the deadsand with R/O water and the livesand with Saltwater. I must have done a good job because here is the tank about 4 hours later with almost no cloudiness to the water.



I am running an aquaclear 300 for circulation, it was included in the random pile of stuff that came with the tank and stand. The other pump in the tank is not currently running, I have no idea what kind of pump it is, it was also included with the fish tank.


So far I have seen about a dozen snails of various varieties, a pretty large bristleworm, and some spaghetti worms.

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Tue Dec 23


Stocking plans:


Being transferred from my 14g

-Bicolor blenny

-Orange spotted goby


Possible additions

-2 blue-green chromis?

- Clown?


I was hoping you guys could give me suggestions for my possible additions. I was thinking 2 blue-green chromis because I want something that will be very active at all levels in the tank. My Bicolor blenny basically just perches on rocks or in his shell, and I only see the goby during feeding. I was thinking of adding 3 fish bringing the total to 5 fish.


Any suggestions would be very helpful.

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Speaking from experience, the maroon clown I had for four years was very personable and spent time swimming in all water levels. I'm thinking of replacing him with another that is maroon and gold. (He died of what I presume to be natural causes. He was pretty old.)


Also, I like six-line wrasses or other forms of wrasses. These are hit or miss with certain corals, though. So, do your research on whichever species you'd be interested in. I know that the six-lines are generally reef-friendly and are rumored to eat bristleworms.

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Thur Jan 1, 2009


I received my Mag 5 pump in the mail, but the first time I tried it the impeller broke so it will be another week before I get another one in the mail.


Sump Plumbing

I bought a 10' section of 3/4" PVC for $1.89 from Home Depot as well as a series of various connections and fittings for a total of $18. My design was pretty simple. Originally it was going to just be some flexible tubing for the return, but the pump was just to powerful, so I decided to make a pvc pipe return with a valve that allow me to control the water output. The excess water is just routed back to the sump.


here is a photo of all the individual pieces that make up the return.



Here is a test run in my bathtub, it worked like a charm. This is before the pieces were cemented.



Eventually I plan on painting it black, but that will have to wait until it is warmer outside.


I also bought a few things from Drs Foster and Smith:



Money: -$168.25 Overall:$591.25

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Wed Jan 7th


My reef cleaners order comes tomorrow. Than only a few more days before I transfer all the liverock and livestock over from my 14 gallon.



There is going to be an upgrade from 72w PC to 150w HQI. The bulb in the sunpod is over 10 months old, so I am hoping that it will be weak enough so that it won't shock my livestock. I have a brand new 150w bulb that I will switch in after a few weeks of acclimation.


The fuge light right now is an Azoo Galaxy Light 2. I had one lying around, do you guys think that will be enough?

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Thur Jan 8th


My Reef Cleaners order arrived:



I got a couple of these guys



Limpits hitching a ride



Messy full tank, remember the live rock and corals are being transferred this weekend.


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Sun Jan 11


Last night I finally made the switch. Here are all my corals in one bucket.



It didn't really take that long to do the transfer. I did drip acclimate my cleaner shrimp, but the rest of the stuff I just tossed in. I did the transfer at night when the lights where off to lessen the stress on my livestock.



And here is the tank this morning.


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Looks good. That koralia is it pointed directly at the rocks and will this be too much direct flow for the livestock.




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That's awesome. I love the follow along posts. I like pictures along with explanations. Makes it easier to absorb. Looks really great so far.

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Hey adollfo, the koralia is not plugged in yet. I actually don't have an open outlet available at the moment, but I will be sure to move it.



I still have 25lbs of rock coming from Marcorocks some time next week. Once I get the rock and seed it I will be adding it to the tank.


how do you seed the rock?

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how do you seed the rock?



I am going to put the dead rock into my now empty 14 gallon (it still has the sand in it) and add a few pieces of liverock from my display and let it run for 2 weeks. This will allow the coralline and other organisms to colonize the rock. Since it is dead rock I could just rinse it off and put it directly into my display and it would become "liverock" there, but just to be safe in case there is any organic material that might cause a cycle, I am doing it in the other tank.

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looks great!!!!




Mon Jan 12th


It has been 2 days since I made the transfer and everything seems to be going great. Here are a couple full tank shots.





You can see my sump in this one. I have 4 kinds of macro algae and 5 mangrove trees. My skimmer has been amazing, it really gets the job done.



The grand total for this tank came to $659.40 but that includes $140 worth of salt and other random things that don't really count towards the build and all shipping costs. So really the actual cost was probably less then $500.


Had I bought all of my equipment retail, the light and skimmer alone would have almost cost $500

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