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12g CAD lites newbie Tank


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The Beginning


Id been thinking about going salt for a while, a friend told me he knew someone getting out of the hobby and need some cash so he sold me a 60 gallon tank with a marineland skimmer , fluval 304 canister filter , heater, marineland power head. as well as about 80 ponds of live rock , crushed coral and two clown fish and a few shrimp, some other stuff... and all for 240 bucks. a good deal in my opinion. Oh and a shiny Refractometer, that i had no idea how to use at the time.


Bought this >



To make this, good idea.....not sure.



SPECIFICATIONS (as of July 2012)




CADLights 12 gallon Nano tank




Sunpod 70w mh fixture gutted out to include:

3 white

3 royal blue leds


All run from a DIM4 controller ( see build thread for more info) build thread




> stock pump (250 gph

> Hydor Koralia Nano

> marineland 50w heater


Schneider zelio 4 channel plc controller


- auto feeder pump shutdown








Water Changes: (5) gallon every two week (Im away from home for two weeks at a time right now)

ATO - New ro water


Tank inhabitants currently:



Lonely clown ( mate jumped) Will get a new mate when im home long enough to watch him for a few days


3 hermit crabs


2 snails of some varity




> not sure yet still learning names :( what ever my friends give me to stick in the tank at the moment.

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Your not supposed to top-off the tank with saltwater. When the water evaporates it leaves the salt in the tank and the freshwater evaporates. If you use saltwater to topoff the tank from evaporation you will raise the salinity.

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its not top off its just water that was dumped out when the tank was moved. i ran out of salt when we were filling it back up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

yea new tank is in time to set up :D I need to get a new heater though. as i need the old one for the 60g for now. I will post some pictures tonight.


what should i put in the media rack on the cad? if anything, it came with that blue mass of something and thats it. think it was supposed to come with bio balls but oh well.


also do i put live sand or crushed coral in the refugium or just a bit of cheeto.

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i was temporally running my old canister filter to take out the dust and dirt that was in the tank when i unboxed it, i did rinse it out but there was still a lot of crud floating around when i filled it so i ran the canister for a few hours to polish up the water.



please excuse the phone pictures.








i added a few cups of crushed coral to the back of the tank in hopes that it will speed up the cycle



i will hopefully get the sand and live rock in tomorrow.

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this is the cad today i put one of the more interesting pieces of live rock in it, the piece it the only one that has coral left on it too.


im not sure if it will stay, its a bit big and maybe a tank hog



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looks like emerald palys or green implosions, super hardy and spread fairly quickly. you should just run filterfloss and chemipure elite in your media rack, no bio balls stay away from them. filter floss on the top of the rack so every few days you can take that wad out and throw another in, its really cheap and easy to deal with and does a good job of filtering out large particles from your water.

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tank stats today

temp - 24

ph - 7.5

amonia 0.6

nitrite - none registering

nitrate - none registering


changed the light out to a 60w cree light today seams a bit brighter than the stock CAD quad t5 fixture was.







sorry if there are any antique furniture lovers out there that think my use of the dresser is a crime, ive been trying to sell it for a long time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting some alge growth, but not the good kind.



coral is not looking to happy , the edges are starting to curl a little, water parametrs have improved

nitrate and nitrite are o, and the ph is 7.5.



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  • 4 weeks later...

slow on the updates but i got the sand in the the critters moved over last night

Everyone seams to be happy so far, one of the shrimp molted last night it seams, not sure if thats good or bad.


So at the moment i have 2 clowns, 2 shrimp, 3 hermit crabs and a snail. I think thats if for fish but i would like to get some more colorfull corals to give the tank some color.







I instaled my aquatics plus skimmer from the 60g on the back of my 12, and it was happly skimming away this morning but i was just wondering is it possiable to overskim? am i going to take too much out?





ive also set up a plc to replace my crappy wall timer and to act as a pump delay for feeding.

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  • 2 weeks later...

well ive had an outbreak of hair alge and i noticed this morning i have part of a dead hermit crab floating around. i dont have all the test kits i need to do a full spectrum test at the moment so im going to take a sample of my water to the lfs and turn my light down a bit to see if that helps the algae.

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  • 2 months later...

well the led light is dead guess it was to heavy for the stock stand and the plastic broke and the light went for a swim, the leds still worked but the fan didnt and i guess the thing over heated and pretty much fried itself so im back to the stock CAD t5 fixture for now.


also one of my clowns went for a leap and landed on the floor, i sadly did not find him in time as he was a sun baked fish chip when i did find him, im actually surprised the cat didnt find him first.

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hopefully buying a 70w sunpod from another member on here soon , but i have to get my tank stand started first.


got my float switches for my plc ATO thing just need to get a pump and get all the wireing set up.

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  • 2 months later...


got a few new things it the works right now, the tank hasen't been getting much attention lately as im working a night shift thats messing me up.



>new electrical is coming, i plan on modifing the sunpod i bought with a few leds added on and maybe a dimmer and moon light but im still working that out


> float switches are in so i can wire up my ato circut for the plc


> new stand for the light , maybe emt pipe moutned to the back of my cabinet.


> media reactor for gfo in line with a 3w UV filter


and hopefull some new livestock once the tanks is moved to its new home and all set back up


at the moment im down to two hermit crabs and a clown, my shrimp died when my salt leval dropped for a while when i was slack on checking it so lesson learned i guess.


some updated pics, with gheto light stand








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  • 1 month later...

got the stand put together finally, its actually a garage storage cabinet with hospital casters on it but i like it,






sun pod and led soon to be hopefully combined as one.




plc and dim 4


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

got bored and cut up the sun pod this weekend, the leds and MH lamp are all controlled from the dim 4, currently running 3 blue and 3 white leds directly from the dim 4 controller.








its currently up and running, not very pretty but it works, currently running 3 blue and 3 white , as thats what the dim4can drive internaly. The white and the blue are on all day, the blue goes off last and the third relay channel, which is supposed to turn a fan on and off runs my relay for the MH ballast which is on from 12pm to 2 pm every day, still adjusting the timeing a bit but so far i like it






you can tell that there are more blue than white on the left side, becuase the dim 4 does three 1w leds its hard to ballance, i may have to use the fourth channel for more leds




i also planning on adding a pipe to the back of the cabbinet fo fly the light from thats why the wires look bad and that getto wood blocking.

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  • 3 weeks later...

was lucky that a friend of mine was moving and gave me some stuff out of his tank, im still learning the names so i cant tell you what any of it is :( (if you know feel free to tell me)


My plc ato seams to be working like a charm, i may be adding an auto feeder soon as im away for work a lot over the summer, and i can program the pumps to shut down for the feeder to feed the poor lonely clown.
















pics with the MH turned on from the DIM4







well after two trips to home depot, tearing half the ceiling out in the boiler room , the rodi unit is up.


seams to be working, i guess, i let it run all night and got about a third of that bucket.








also found a new use for my hex tank, aka my new sw make up tank. I will raise the salinity in the make up water and get some stuff to re calibrate my vortex.



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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Nano sapiens

Looks like the stony corals are receding (looks like Caulastrea, aka 'Candy Cane'). Might want to let the tank mature/stabalize a bit before adding stony corals.


Zoas, and especially Mushrooms, should be okay.

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Looks like the stony corals are receding (looks like Caulastrea, aka 'Candy Cane'). Might want to let the tank mature/stabalize a bit before adding stony corals.



I'm also thinking the light is very intense, even polyps are curling and washed out.

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