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Cultivated Reef

New PVC Reef Rack


Dustin11

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I just built and installed my first PVC rack to hold all my rock together. Untill now I employeed the traditional 'large unstable malicious pile' or LUMP for short :) as my primary aquascaping method. I finally had some time so I built a PVC frame and began attaching all my rocks with wire ties. I used a masonary bit to drill holes through many of the rocks. Since they were live rocks with all sorts of life on them I tried to keep them out of the tank for as short a time as possible to drill through them. Many of them I was able to completely drill in under 30 seconds or so!!! This tank is newly setup from the remains of my old system after moving houses. It's rather sparse right now but this should be a good base to build upon. Please let me know what you think!!! So without further ado here are some pictures from the project.

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Please ignore how unhappy my corals and anemone look right now, this is mostly due to the horrible day they all just had :) They are all feeling much better now (3 days later). Now I will start buying more corals and using the superglue gel and putty epoxy method to glue them over the spots where the PVC can still be seen. I'm also going to be watching closely what happens at the top of the "sea mount" so i don't accidentally bleach anything up there. I am using a 250W MH 14000k pendant. Currently I am using some extra panes of glass over the aquarium to try and mitigate all the extra light much of everything is seeing. Please let me know what you think! Or give me critical advice, I'll take it all :)

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Wow thats pretty awesome, great job.. Can't even tell you were using a pvc frame, it looks so natural. Can you post some close up pics if you could please.

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polarblair2000

OMG :o Thought this was only doable with Dry Rock, I am so doing this when I get to that stage of my tank. Looks Awesome!!! Much better than a "LUMP" :D

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looks awesome!!

 

I'm working on a foam back wall right now. I think while I have my foam can open I will make a foam/rock tower.

 

you meant "wire ties" as in zip ties or cable ties, right? The plastic things that only tighten but don't loosen.

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Thanks for all the kind words!!! :)

I'll take some better close-up pictures tonight.

We'll its been about 4 days now since I did this and no sign yet of a mini-cycle. I expected one due to the sponges dying off from their exposure to air. But so far: nothing. It's probably because I don't have that much sponge growth as I just moved and all of these rocks hit air about 3 months ago.

I'm was also a bit worried about all the slurry that I put in my tank during this process. When I drilled through each rock I had a lot of left over (powdered carbonate skeleton,...... i assume...... ) along the walls of each hole. This clouded up the water really nice :) I'm wondering if it will have any effect like Purple-Up which supposedly uses micro calcium something-or-others to promote coralline growth. If I see a sudden explosion of coralline it just might be similar and I might have found a good DIY solution here! I'll keep an eye on it :)

 

I'm also now working on adjusting my flow directions since everyone's in a new position. Trying to make all my corals happy again!

 

Oops! Yes, i meant zip ties or cable ties! not wire ties. (aka, the plastic things that only tighten but don't loosen), Thanks sae647!

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polarblair2000
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Haha I was looking at your photos again and was like "Man where did you get Pink korilla's from? Then I realised that there are just totally covered in Coraline! :D

 

Again I really like the scape. I really don't like the ones with just a big wall of rock covered in Coral, I like how there is so much open space around the column and on the sand floor.

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My koralias were bright purple too, untill i took them out for a few min to clean them, shocked all the coraline and turned it white ! :( (so keep them in the water ! )

 

I love how thick the rock column is, it looks very real. Some of the bonsai setups are cool, but look a little too thin for me, this is great and leaves so much swimming room !

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cruiZe, I'm pretty confident that the pvc can hold all the rocks. Before building it I searched around for others that have done similar things and found that a lot of them used 1/2" pvc. I one upped it and used 3/4" for my setup. I also gave it really good wiggle tests along the way.

 

I only glued the base structure and the arm fittings so that I can rearrange it as needed. The three T connections at the top of the structure are just press fit. This way i can grab any of the top structures and spin it around to where i want it. But it's still all surprisingly strong!!!

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reeftankguy

Very cool... I like it!

 

 

Now all you need is a pump to keep water circulating through the pipes... If not it will become a place for nastiness to accumulate and become troublesome to keep stable water parms ...IMO

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Now all you need is a pump to keep water circulating through the pipes... If not it will become a place for nastiness to accumulate and become troublesome to keep stable water parms ...IMO

 

i also thought of that and decided that it probably won't be a problem. the sand in the tube is kinda just like a really small DSB. but i could be totally wrong.

 

but imagine if you hooked a pump up to the base and had water shoot out every branch, that would be a cool circulation system.

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THAT.

 

 

IS.

 

 

AWESOME!

 

 

I will be doing something similar on my next tank, nice to see another success story before I try it.

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Wow, thanks for all the encouragement! It was nano-reefs that taught me almost everything I know, so I'm glad to finally be contributing now!

 

I've thought a lot about hooking the frame up to a pump, and I may still do it! but as for the problem of detritus accumulation, I left the very top uncovered. This way when i am turkey basting my rocks I can also just run a hose down the frame from the top and give everything in there a good jolt! I'll get a picture of this section up tomorrow.

 

One of the reasons i am opting not to put a pump on it (for right now anyways) is to make sure that everyone has a hidey hole for themselves. If I make a constant current behind all my rocks where will my peppermint shrimp, etc. relax? Does anyone one think that this is a legitimate issue?

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polarblair2000

why would you need to have current running trough it? Would you not get the same kind of build up of detritus with just a pile of rock with out PVC? Anyway, wouldn't your CUC be able to get in there and clean up what you can't?

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reeftankguy
why would you need to have current running trough it? Would you not get the same kind of build up of detritus with just a pile of rock with out PVC? Anyway, wouldn't your CUC be able to get in there and clean up what you can't?

 

I guess without good alternating flow/current, yes you get build up...

 

I don’t have any build up in my rock work...I Guaranteed it!... Carefully planned the layout and Vortec does the rest... ;)

 

Anyway... wasnt hating his build... I like it!

 

Just offering a suggestion/opinion...

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Now paint your background black!

A little tip, and a lot easier to do with the tank already setup...

 

Window Tint. Get a roll of 5% tint from Walmart for like $10 and DIY. Not messy, not permanent.

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I love the idea of window tint!!! I'd never considered it before. I especially like the impermanence of it! I'm definitely going to get some and try it :)

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I love the idea of window tint!!! I'd never considered it before. I especially like the impermanence of it! I'm definitely going to get some and try it :)

It's not completely black, but you have to know chords are back there to notice them. I guess you could get some vinyl from a sign shop, but I imagine window tint from walmart is cheaper.

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Well i tried to get some close up pictures last night; it was an utter failure. I now know how difficult it is so I'm going to start reading up on how to do it. I'm just using a simple point and shoot Canon Power shot right now and I just left it on auto everything during my first attempts, i think i'll try to manualy adjust all the settings tonight and see how that goes. I should also use a tripod if i'm cutting off the flash :rolleyes: Here are my initial attempts, please give me some tips so that I can make my photos look as good as everyone's here!!! I've also taken a photo of the top of my rack structure to show the opening that I left for maintenance. I plan to take a small pump with a hose attached and push the hose down in to this tube every month of so to blowout all the detritus. You can only see this opening from the top when the lid is off.

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You can see the sad state my hammer coral is in. In my last tank I had hitchhiker urchins that came in with my live rock (gulf of mexico). I always liked them and they grew from about the size of a pea to a ping-pong ball within just a few months. However nasty things starting happening around my tank such as the destruction of my hammer corals skeleton :blink: . then i finally ID'd these little buggers as 'Rock Boring Urchins' !!!!!! and quickly got rid of them. All of the live parts of the coral are still alive, but I have many frags of them now around my tank! So lesson learned there!

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polarblair2000

Shame about the Hammers, sure they will bounce right back :)

 

Yeah def get yourself a tripod, will make life alot easier. I would turn off all the other lights in the room other than the tank light. Did you use the macro mode? Its normally has a flower symbol, turn that on and that should help. :)

 

Looking good though.

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