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lpsouth1978

Lyle's 34g Solana

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lpsouth1978

I'm sorry that I did not get this thread up soon enough to do a complete build here, but I will try to cover everything.

 

First off, let me say that I did a lot of searching for the right tank for my needs. I was downsizing from a 135g reef setup and needed something much less time consuming. I have found the Solana to be that perfect tank.

 

I received my tank shortly after Christmas 2009 and began work immediately on a stand. The first tank that I got arrived broken, like soo many others. I was lucky and got a good tank on the second try. I decided not to go with the Solana stand or the disco ball light.

 

For the stand I had a friend help me design and build a custom stand out of steel tube and angle iron. He is a welder and a perfectionist. The stand is about 32" tall with a wood shelf painted black 18" from the bottom of the stand. The bottom and top of the stand has a wood shelf also to help support the tank and for storage on the bottom. We welded a piece of round steel tube to the back of the stand to hold the light fixture above the tank. The arm swivels to allow me to move the light out of the way for easy maintenance. the entire steel frame is powder coated black to keep it from rusting. We then had a local plastic fabricator make a cover for the stand made out of ABS plastic. This just lifts right off of the stand and makes accessing the shelves very simple.

 

The light that I selected is a Hamilton Cayman 400w pendant, with a CoralVue electronic balast and 20k IceCap bulb. I know that is a LOT of light for this tank, but everything seems to really like it so far. Here are some pics of the broken tank followed by pictures of the stand during and after final construction.

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jtv7471

really cool, i like your stand idea .. . that light will be super bright!

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lpsouth1978
really cool, i like your stand idea .. . that light will be super bright!

 

The light is deffinately VERY bright, but I don't mind at all.

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lpsouth1978

I started to stock the tank with live rock and sand in mid January. I found some incredible live rock at one of my LFS. It had all kinds of life on it. There was lots of macro algae, coraline algae, sponges, a few corals, severa mollusks, and even two sea squirts. I have seen several small brittle stars and a pom pom crab. The rock was pretty expensive but worth every penny. The tank took very little time to cycle and there was almost no die off. within a week and a half it was done cycling and ready to stock.

 

Most of the things that I have in there now came from my old 135g reef tank, which I sold to a friend. These include:

 

1 - Large Rose Aneone

1 - Small green mushroom rock

1 - Green Star polyp rock (which I have seperate from the main aquascape to keep it from taking over the tank)

3 - Heads of Hammer Coral

1 - 2in hydrophora (green slimer) frag

1 - medium sized Green Trumpet polyp rock

1 - large Multi colored polyp rock

5 - super colored orange polyps

1 - pink short tentacle flower pot

1 - Maroon clown

 

I have have about 30 dwarf hermits and 10 turbo snails. In the second compartment in the back I put chato and attached an LED fuge light to the back of the tank. I am using the stock skimmer and so far am very happy with it. I have also added a JBJ ATO unit with a 10g tank for the reservior.

 

For the return pump I am using the stock pump. I have a Vortech MP20 set on short pulse mode at about 65% for my water movement. For moonlight I attached the R2 Dual moonlight system to the pendant. This has the controller which automatically adjusts the brightness every night to simulate the phases of the moon.

 

This pretty much gets me current on the progress of the tank. I will attach photos in the next few posts and try to get some better pics of the finished stand soon. If anyone else would like a stand like this let me know and my friend and I can build one for you.

 

Any questions, comments, or suggestions are always welcomed.

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lpsouth1978

more pics

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Billdemart

That clown in the anemone is an awesome pic. Great looking rimless tank. B)

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lpsouth1978
That clown in the anemone is an awesome pic. Great looking rimless tank. B)

Thanks, I took a lot of pictures like that one, but none of the others turned out.

 

So, as you can all see in my pictures, I have a 4 fan unit attached to the back of the aquarium to help with cooling. I was hoping that I would not need a chiller, but with my 400watt light, it is no surprise that I am going to have to get one. Any suggestions? I am working with a limited budget at the moment and even more limited space. Also if anyone has a chiller just laying around let me know.

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lpsouth1978

added a couple of new frags today. The first is lemon peel zoas, the second are two red and blue acans, and third but not last are four heads of green purple tip frog spawn. I dont have any pictures as yet, but I have attached a few pictures of the tank taken with my Iphone today.

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d'Espresso

Your tank look awesome along with your custom tank stand. I wish u live closer so you can build me a custom one too. I know exactly how I wanted with extra room to fit my little pico inside the stand.

 

What kind of skimmer are you using? I am on the hunt for a good quiet one. Right now I do run any skimmer but just wc 10% each week and my sps seem to be doing ok.

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lpsouth1978

I am just running the stock skimmer. I am also doing weekly water changes. I do 5 gallons a week with premixed RO water that has been mixing for a week. Everything seems to really be happy and all of my params are always perfect.

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Crackerballer

JFC that is a lot of light! I like it! The only thing I don't like is the fans stacked up all behind the tank. Takes away from the cleanliness and the lines of the Solana (which is why I got mine).

 

Other than that, rock on.

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lpsouth1978
JFC that is a lot of light! I like it! The only thing I don't like is the fans stacked up all behind the tank. Takes away from the cleanliness and the lines of the Solana (which is why I got mine).

 

Other than that, rock on.

I agree completely. The fans are just temporary until I can get a chiller for

it.

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d'Espresso

Any new updates? Pics? :)

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lpsouth1978

So, it's been a while since I updated anything on my Solana. A lot has changed since my last post. I no longer have the anemone or clown, and the corals have changed a bit. I have added a large yellow scroll coral, blue clove, and a nice blue bonsai SPS. Everything is doing really well although I am having a little algea problem.

 

I'm not sure what the problem is. I have tested all of my params and everything is in perfect ranges. I am still diong weekly water changes and I have shortened the photo period. Any ideas would be appreciated.

 

I also have changed the fish. I now have a melagarus wrasse and an arabian dottyback. The pictures are not very good (my good camera is busted) but you can get the idea. I have also added a chiller and removed the fans.

 

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Edited by lpsouth1978

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bxz

What happened to your nem and clown? that was really nice a pair.

 

So, it's been a while since I updated anything on my Solana. A lot has changed since my last post. I no longer have the anemone or clown, and the corals have changed a bit. I have added a large yellow scroll coral, blue clove, and a nice blue bonsai SPS. Everything is doing really well although I am having a little algea problem.

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lpsouth1978

What happened to your nem and clown? that was really nice a pair.

 

The anemone was growing at an alarming rate and I was unsuccessful at causing it to split. It grew way too big and started stinging all of my corals. I sold the pair to a local reefer who was able to give them a good, larger home.

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lpsouth1978

It has been a long time since my last update and a lot has changed. Things have come and gone but the system still lives. Here are a few pics of the system as it stands today. My MH died on me, not just the bulb, so it is being lit by a sub par mogil based MH that I borrowed from a LFS. I am currently working on a custom LED build to replace. I post info on that next. And before you lay into me about having a mandarin in a 34 gallon tank I want you to know that before I bought him I made the store show me that he ate frozen mysis. He has been in the tank for about 6 months now and eats both frozen mysis and live blood worms. I alternate what I feed him.

 

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Here is the info on my custom LED build as promised. It is WAY overkill, but I am looking at getting a larger tank and wanted to be able to use this over it when I get it rather than building another light. Here are the specs:

 

Custom built 18x18 heatsink

24 - 20k 3w LED's

24 - RB 3w LED's

12 - 10k 3w LED's

6 - standard blue 3w LED's

3 - UV 3w LED's

3 - Red 3w LED's

4 - RB moonlight 3w LED's

12 - 700mA dimmable buckpucks

1 - 350mA dimmable buckpucks

60 degree optics

 

All of the LED's amd optics were purchased from Satisled and my total cost for this fixture had been right about $500.

 

Yes, that is 72 LED's over a 34 gallon tank. As I said, it is WAY overkill, but should work nicely over a larger tank as well (looking at a 92 corner tank).

I am hoping that by putting so many different colors I can get closer to a full spectrum.

 

I was unable to find a heatsink that was large enough to work over the tank, at least at a decent price, so I decided to build my own. It is sort of an unorthodox idea but it seems to be working. I got a 1/4 inch aluminum plate and attached a bunch of 1/4 inch "C" channel to it. these are bolted to the plate and have thermal paste between them and the aluminum plate. Here are some pics to give you an idea what I did.

 

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I am still working on all of the wiring, but so far I have all of the 20k, RB, and half of the 10k LED's wired. I set it up so that the 20K, RB, 10k, Satndard Blue, and RB moonlights will each be dimmable seperate from each other. The red and UV will be dimmed together since they are on the same buckpuck. This should give me unlimited control over the color mix and intensity of the light. Here are a few more pics of what I have so far.

 

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Here is a drawing showing the layout of the LED's that I decided on. The section at one end with no LED's it the back of the fixture.

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OscD

WOW are you going to have a dimmer on that bad boy?

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lpsouth1978

There are 6 dimmers on it. One for each color, giving me endless color options and intensity possibilities.

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lpsouth1978

So I finished the LED build and have had it on the tank for a few weeks now. Everything is doing really well under the new lights. Here are a couple of new pics:

 

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Just blues and whites (no red or UV)

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All LED's (including red and UV)

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