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Ballhog's 34 Solana


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Tank - Solana 34, 20" x 20" x 20" - Stock Sicce 1.5 Return Pump

Filtering -
1st chamber - Rubble Cartridge
2nd chamber - InTank Media Basket with, Top- Filter Pad, Middle - Purigen, Bottom - Chemi-Pure Elite, Bag of Carbon
3rd chamber - Pump for Skimmer and Stock Return Pump.
AquaC Remora-S Skimmer with Maxi-jet 1200
3W Aquatop UV with 100 gph pump

Flow - Mini Polario 7ML Low Voltage Water Pump - 1300 to 1800 GPH. Awesome for flow, almost silent and cheap.
Ecotech Vortech MP10 or Sicce Voyager 2, I've been switching back and forth
The Ecotech was too loud, The Sicce, Super quite it was just too large.

Light - Kessil LED a350w

ATO - Optical Sensor, Made by me, 5 Gallon water tank in cabinet

Rock - Bulk reef supply, glued together with 2 part reef epoxy.

Fish - GSM clown and randall's goby(RIP 2/2/13 Jumped).
Invert - 2 Scarlet Hermits, 1Blue Leg, Pain in Arse Cleaner Shrimp,Moved
Oct 2013


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Well I planned this move a few years ago. I originally bought this Solana when they first came out, it been sitting empty for years and I'm just getting around to putting water in it, lol. So basically I am setting up a new/old Solana 34. My current reef is a 60 shallow, with a coast to coast overflow that is about 13 gallons, total about 73 gallons. Here's a pic when it was new, 2006. link It's been setup 6 years and will get shut down and reset after I'm finished with the Solana. If you must see it now, click if you dare

So anyway onto a clean start.
From Ikea .
Going to remove the ATO baby bottles and skimmer. So this is a parting shot.

Tank - Solana 34, 20" x 20" x 20" - Stock Return Pump

Filtering -
1st chamber - Filled with rubble
2nd chamber - InTank Media Basket with, Top- Filter Pad, Middle - Purigen, Bottom - Chemi-Pure Elite
3rd chamber - Pump for Skimmer and Return Pump.
AquaC Remora-S Skimmer with Maxi-jet 1200
3W Aquatop UV with 100 gph pump

Flow - Ecotech Vortech MP10

Light - Kessil LED a350w

ATO - Optical Sensor, Made by me, 5 Gallon water tank in cabinet

Rock - Bulk reef supply, glued together with 2 part reef epoxy.

Fish - One dead shrimp from freezer.

I started with dry rock and put a couple pieces of rock from old tank into the rubble section in the back to help seed the new dry rock. And now I wait for tank to cycle before I kick on skimmer, UV and put in filter media.

Fish - GSM Maroon and BTA, maybe a goby.
Coral - I really only want one or two really large colonies. I'm not sure what exactly will do good under the LED. I figure thats a ways off so I have some time.

A few more pics



Snail Top Off
No Skimmer, no filter media, nothing, just waiting for the cycle. Boring

Top Off

I put pieces of the loop side of velco on the bottom of the 5.5 gal, it will make it easier to side in an out of the cabinet.





The first chamber is almost 20" deep, so if I just toss the rubble in, its a pain to remove to clean. So I came up with this, I drilled holes in the rubble and connected them with a piece of hard plastic air line. I used a propane torch to heat up the ends and bend hooks on the ends. Its like a rubble module, it just drops right in.



The Aquac Remora-s is larger then what I expected. I haven't kicked the skimmer on since i'm still cycling.






For stocking, which won't probably happen till december at the rate the tank is cycling, I am taking the GSM clown, BTA, cleaner shrimp and only one piece of coral from my other tank. Trust me I'm not leaving much behind, the 60 is just wall to wall bubble algae. Over the last year I have just lost the battle, big time. So with the new tank I am going to try and take this real slow and get the water parameters up to snuff first.

I had this GSM clown since 06'

Started this from only a few small heads. I completely amazed it does not have any bubble algae all over it.


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So it looks like my Ammonia is on its way down.



Of course everyone knows after your ammonia drops you change out the sand.







Actually, I didn't like the look of the Black Hawaiian, it was too coarse. Since I'm still cycling, I figured now was a good time to swap it out.


My RO/DI system has been severely neglected. I would imagine this is one of the reasons my other tank always has algae. So it's time to redo my RO/DI system. I had 8 filters on the system. Really not sure what I had going on, so I have completely re-plumbed the system and ordered new filters. To be honest, my RO filter is probably 4 years old. My TDS meter shows 170 ppm in and 0 ppm out, at this point I have a hard time believing my TDS meter is right. But anyway here's the my filter plan.


Stage One 5 micron poly sediment filter

Stage Two 5 Micron Matrikx NSF rated CTO Workhorse carbon block

Stage Three 0.6 Micron Matrikx NSF rated chlorine guzzler carbon block

Stage Four RO membrane 50 GPD Dow Filmtec

Stage Five refillable cartridge with color-changing DI resin

Stage Six refillable cartridge with color-changing DI resin

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Thanks, The snail,lol


I have to wonder if its such a good idea for the rock to be so tall. Every time I do a water change the top of the rock will be exposed to air. I guess any type of coral I put on that section should be ok, with getting a little dry every week.



I replaced the bearings on my MP10 today. The plan is to take a MP10 from my other tank for the Solana. I did a test run on it the other day and it was way too loud. Since the tank is just off the living room, this wasn't going to fly. It was fairly easy to replace the bearings and it reduced the noise big time.


Sort of a mini write up on replacing the bearings.


The bearings are from Boca bearing.


I spilt the dry side cover where it mounts to the tank with a putty knife, then removed the sticker from the end. The 3 screws under the sticker attach the motor to the plastic housing.







You have to separate the housing. You notice the wiring harness attaches to both the end cap and the magnetics. So you have to be careful when separating the housing you don't want to break off any of the wires.


I didn't take a picture, because my hands were full, but I gripped the old bearing lightly with a pair of vice grips and used a punch and every so lightly tapped out the motor shaft. I did this on both sides. The new bearings almost went on all the way, to seat them I put the old bearing on top of the new bearing and very gently tapped it with a tiny hammer.


Then resembled. I used hot glue to glue the dry side cover on the tank side and re-applied the sticker.

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  • 3 weeks later...

quick update, things are looking good as far as water conditions. Not much to look at








The no2 and no3 levels dropped a few weeks back. I pulled out what was left of the shrimp and added a small fish. Very small Yellow 3 spotted damsel. Little sucker will not stay put for a picture.




I'm really surprised I don't have any algae, its been over 7 weeks. I don't have the light on the tank yet, but it does get natural sun light.

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Sorry I meant my other tank is a shallow reef. My Solana is not a shallow, but this one is....


These are pics of my other tank. To be shut down once the Solana is up and running.




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Yeah its not looking pretty. Bubble algae has beaten me.


Had the GSM maybe 7 years, its really turned into a deep ruby red and the stripes have really turned bright yellow. The last 6 months it really has grown.






from 2006, The white things sticking out of anemone's mouth is whats left of a cleaner shrimp.


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  • 1 month later...
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Solana seems to be doing good. The rock seems to be coloring up nicely with life I guessing from the seed rock. I have removed the Aqua C skimmer. My main nutrient export is going to be water changes, I'm doing 5gal/week. The Aqua C was just too loud and I really don't plan on having a heavy bio-load.


The frog spawn is doing really good and seems to be liking the Kessil LED. I'm not sure about the anemone's. Both are BTAs, one seems to deflate once every couple weeks, the other one seems just ok, maybe the tank is not mature enough, not sure. I normally don't feed the anemones, but I thinking of trying some food.



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Looking really good. I like how you have set up the filtration and the stand. I have always been a fan of the pillar scapes and you have pulled it off very well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the nice comments.


I think my Green BTA is about to spilt.




It was shriveled up for a day, once it puffed back up I could see what looks like its splitting. This is the first time I have seen this anemone spilt.

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