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2.5 Gallon Maxi Mini Bonsai Reef Garden

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Maxi Mini Bonsai Reef Garden

An Amano-inspired reef, comprised of a polyp lawn, a focal rock with a coral tree and a maxi-mini nem/porcelain anemone crab pairing, much like bees and flowers.

I grew up with my hands in soil, gardening with my Mom, and tend to approach reefing in much the same way as gardening. I seek to replicate what I see outside on a small, wetter scale. Hopefully this little tank will end up being the more manicured cousin to my 'cottage garden' style 12 gallon nano.




Kenya Tree

'Green Flame' Paly



Maxi Mini Carpet Anemone

Porcelain Anemone Crab



Modified glass 2.5 gallon AGA tank

Pump from an old Whisper power filter

10watt 50/50 PC bulb in a clamp work light from Lowes


Current Full Tank Shot


{click for larger image, I couldn't figure out where to resize it to so it wasn't huge}


The tank started out as a standard black-rim AGA, and I spray painted the top and bottom rim, the bottom of the tank and created a peninsula style back compartment that for the pumps. The shade of the clamp light as well as the return PVC tubing were also painted white.

I set the tank up yesterday with water from the nano and a piece of live rock that I'd stashed in the nano, so that's all that's in the tank at the moment, aside from a few hitch hiking brittle stars. I'll be picking up the maxi mini Wednesday or Thursday of this week, hopefully, with the other livestock to come in the next few weeks! The tank is bare bottom for the GSP to grow on, and I had a piece of acrylic cut to cover all but 1~inch of the top to minimize evaporation and keep it from throwing salt everywhere.

Here are pictures:




Edited by ~LadyBug~

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Wow, that's a really cool idea. Can't wait to see it happen!

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Really cool idea!


Can't wait to see how this will work out!



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Thank you!

The maxi mini order got pushed back a week, the store said the supplier told them they didn't have them :(


But I did pick up the porcelain crab today, a cute little purple/burgundy one. I'll get pictures up soon, right now the little guy is under the rock, and the picture quality sucks :P

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The crab continues to hid, the search is still on for a maxi mini and I've added three pink margarita snails from a new LFS(check them out if you're in the area, Zec is awesome).

I decided to use some frags from my main tank, and so I moved those over yesterday. Kenya tree coral for my 'tree' and Green Flame paly for the bottom. I've got some pink zoas I'm going to frag and move over too after I get more super glue gel, and I think I might look around for some other small zoa/paly frags. I know most reefers love their big tanks, and don't get me wrong, they're amazing, but every time I have a smaller tank(keep in mind, my 12 is *huge* to me in comparison to the 2.5, I can only imagine something larger), I'm struck again by the beauty and detail that gets missed, even in nano tanks. I'm already paying more attention to the PE on the kenya tree!


So, without furthur ado, here's pictures-

The view walking into the room:



and what I see from my desk/computer:



The most of seen of crabby-cakes, who I've dubbed Tam(ani){a literary name, as always} :



I've had issues with the bulb, because it sticks out past the end of the work light shade it splashes light all over and is giving me that after-image like looking at the sun. After much searching and considering, I ordered the Perfecto Incandescent Perfect-a-Light hood, with the thought that it's a cheap solution for now, but in the future I could easily gut it and stick LEDs in.

The color temp is kinda bugging me too, so once the hood gets in and I can see the insides, I'm thinking of adding a blue LED strip.

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I've been waiting and hoping and crossing my fingers and driving everyone nuts, I'm pretty sure, but it's here!!


In the bag, under the higher blue-ratio light on the 12 gallon-it's green and orange, although it's hard to tell in the picture:


Newly settled in the tank, still ticked off:



I'll get a new FTS soon, the hood came in and I'm so happy, it's a bit too long, but the light in the tank is brighter and I'm no longer being blinded, so it's all good B)

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