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gnatster

ADA Cube Garden Pico Reef - A Journey - 6/6 Small Update

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gnatster

Many moons ago I was big into the reef hobby, worked the SW section a LFS and had a many tanks at home from 20's to a 300g. Times change, a few moves, a few downsizing opportunities and a change in focus brought me to doing planted tanks and breeding freshwater shrimp for a time.

 

Recently the reef bug has hit me again. I went to a few local shops ranging from a typical broad line shop to the local marine specialty shop. Thinking I wanted something in the range of a 24x24x18 frameless cube I started pricing out all the stuff I'd need. I was getting a little distraught at the totals, I think I even felt my wallet cinch tight at one point.

 

At the specialty shop I looked around, talked the them a bit and then saw this 12x12x12 cube they had on a counter. It has a HOB filter and a Solarflare LED clamp on light. This got me thinking a lot, and the wallet relaxed too. Being it is just after Christmas they were out of the lights, the HOB and well, the tank too.

 

Then I remembered I've had an empty AGA Cube Garden M tank in the back of closet, wrapped in saran wrap to keep the dust off, for a few years now. We discussed using that tank with the Solarflare lamp and what the limitations might be. I left the shop with the idea I'd be back after the 1st of the year to pick up some hardware, rummage through the live rock bins for rubble appropriate to the size of the tank and get started.

 

Then I got home...and sat at my desk...and started searching. Found out I was already registered here on Nano-Reef already too. Since well, 2005! With exactly 0 posts too.

 

Anyway, I started reading and making notes and reading more and bookmarking sites and and and...

 

Next think I know I'm digging the ADA tank out the back of the closet. Moved the printer off the credenza near my desk and put the tank on to see just how it would look.

 

DSC_2065.JPG

 

Looks good to me, back to surfing around looking for ideas.

 

I found all kinds of things. Then I came across The Remarkable Pico Reef of Marcello. That was it, I'm done looking. I can do this, I think. Now to figure out how.

 

Knowing lighting is going to be one of the major issues with this type of setup off I went looking at all kinds of lighting options. Being I rent, the building is about 150 years old and I can't drill into the walls or ceiling since they are about a foot thick plaster and lathe I came to the conclusion I needed to a clamp on light source. Being I don't have the space or tools for DIY anymore I wanted something already made, and made well. The over all aesthetics of this project are very important too.

 

I've pretty much made up my mind that I'm going with a Nano Box Mini Tide Duo with the StormX Upgrade in a custom color. The StormX Upgrade is a bit of overkill but my inner geek likes the idea of being able to control (and possible screw up) every bit of the lighting. Thankfully there is a reset function.

 

With lighting out of the way it was time to turn to circulation / filtration. I saw a few threads where people have used modified Aquaclear fliters with parts from inTank. I like that idea, however I need to have a heater. This is the mid-west. It gets rather cold here in the winter. I'm not going to heat the place to 75 or so to keep a small tank warm. This leads to the Aquaclear 50 with the inTank Media Basket and a really small heater like a 25 watt Hydor or Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm.

 

I am worried that an Aquaclear 50 might be too large for the tank. Not so much in flow rate but physically. The tank is only 10.5" tall. I've not been able to find the dimensions for the filter online. Anyone have one that thy can measure please.

 

Being this is a small place and I don't have much room to mix and store salt water I plan on buying premixed from the LFS. At a $1.25 gallon figuring weekly 1 gallon water changes it is not expensive. Both of the local shops I checked with use Instant Ocean. I'll probably need to supplement that for SPS growth.

 

Ended up getting an RO/DI and am using ESV Salt. Figured out the weights to mix it the same every time.

 

I'm open to other ideas, I've not purchased anything yet, except for a piece of black aquarium background material.

 

I've seen other threads now and see this is where I am supposed put some details about the setup.

 

Equipment List:

ADA Mini-M 36x22x26cm (approx:14"x8.5"x10) 4.2l (5.1gal)
Custom Finished 5 Channel Nano Box Reef Duo w/ StormX Controller 12"
Ecotech Marine Vortech MP10 ES
Aqua Clear AC50 w/ InTank Media Basket
Cobalt Aquatics NeoTherm 25W

AutoAqua Smart ATO


Livestock List:


Invertebrates:

 

Dwarf Ceriths Snails

​Emerald Crab

Porcelain Crab

Nassarius Snails

Florida Ceriths

Nerite Snails

Blue Leg Hermits

Red Leg Hermits




Vertebrates:

 

Red Head Goby

 

 

Corals:

 

Ricordia - Green

Ricordia - Orange

Zoa - ID Later

Zoa - ID Later

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mallek

congrats on the first post! haha looks like a very cool setup, what are the full dimensions? i was thinking the same thing when i got my light, the more gizmos and gadgets the better. Especially lightening, thats just cool. you may find that the ac filter will heat the tank a lil bit, combined with 75 room temp sounds like a good system. i hate heaters but the only way to keep my tank stable is to have it in the display :angry: my house gets cold though. any ideas on whats goin to live in it?

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VABumpkin

we can be tank twins!

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gnatster

Dimensions are 36x22x26cm (approx:14"x8.5"x10)

 

As to the inhabitants I'd like to find a pair of 2 spot gobies, but I also fear that there will not be enough for them to eat. I'm up in the air about that.

 

I'm a big fan of inverts too, funny cause I hate bugs, but creepy crawly things in water fascinate me. I'll keep my eyes open for very interesting crabs, shrimp, snail, etc.

 

I'm still working out in my head how I want to aquascape or place the rock. Coming from planted tanks I feel have a much better grasp on the aesthetics then I did back in the WallO'Rock days. To get a better idea I'll the need the light then I can can start mocking up some ideas with lightweight materials. I've not worked with a point source light such as this before.

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DaveFason

Very nice start. I hope you place an order here soon :D

 

The ADA/picO tanks paired with Nano Box units look incredibly good together.

 

-Dave

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gnatster

congrats on the first post! haha...

 

Heh, only took me 8.5 years from sign up to 1st post. You'd think I'd know better too. I own a MINI Cooper forum and consult on dozens of of other forums as a day job.

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gnatster

It occurred to me today that this tank has been sitting dry for about 2.5 years. A leak test is in order. Currently sitting full of tap water on the kitchen counter.

 

Fingers Crossed...

 

I really don't want to have mop up 5 gallons of spilled water.

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gnatster

Leak test passed. Woot!

 

Now to start ordering stuff. Starting with some lighting from Nano Reef Box.

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gnatster

I really want to paint the back glass black, but with this snowy and cold weather that bit of this project it going to take some time to get to!

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Cameron6796

Really you want to paint an ada... Jkjk. Also I'm with Dave nano box look so nice, but I've never used one.

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gnatster

Really you want to paint an ada... Jkjk. Also I'm with Dave nano box look so nice, but I've never used one.

 

Nothing a single edge razor blade and some patience can't remove.

 

Went the Duo w/Storm X controller to appease the inner geek in me.

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KennioSays

Definitely going to be watching this thread. Sounds like it's going to be a amazing build and anyone who starts off with Many moons ago is just plain awesome

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Cameron6796

Yeah your right does sound very cool

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VABumpkin

Can't wait to see what you'll do with this build! Plans for livestock?

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gnatster

Can't wait to see what you'll do with this build! Plans for livestock?

 

Yeah, but every time I go look I see someone already has put the same gobies I'm interested in using in a similar setup. Hmmm...

 

A lot of what I plan on using depends on availability of course. The idea I have in my head is SPS dominated with a nice selection of inverts and a few interesting fish.

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VABumpkin

lol sowwy! Hey you can put some trimma cana in here, that would be very cool.

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gnatster

Heh...that's funny. I'm keeping my eyes open for unique gobies and other small fish that I can use.

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gnatster

A bit of paint prep. Cleaned glass by using some plain white vinegar and a razor blade. Scraped the glass in every direction lubricated with the vinegar till it just floated along with no resistance. Then cleaned with Isopropyl alcohol. Lastly buffed with a virgin microfiber towel.

 

DSC_2074.JPG

 

 

2 coats of paint applied. Going to allow it to dry for at least a good 16 - 18 hours before another coat is applied.

 

DSC_2077.JPG

 

Paint is latex based, will easily scrape off with a single edge razor blade.

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mascott

buffed with a virgin microfiber towel.

 

The ADA gods smile on your sacrifice! Following along!

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gnatster

Now with painted back goodness..

 

Looks like I'm going to have to work on the lighting in the apartment to get the reflections from the windows mitigated.

 

DSC_2092.JPG

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gnatster

Ordered AQ50, Media Basket, MP10/wireless and 25W Neo-Therm today.

 

Found out that Nano Reef Box Duo with custom finish will not ship till close to the end of the month. This gives me lots of time to plan even more...I mean look at lots of sites, get lots more ideas, and drive myself even battier.

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Cameron6796

Haha seems legit especially that last part

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matt144007

I love ada tanks!!! Good luck with the build

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gnatster

Picked up just over 5lbs of Carib Sea dry Reef Rock and a 15lb bag Special Grade Reef Sand from the LFS. To bad they don't sell this sand in 1lb bags. That is probably all I'll need.

 

For my next trick I'll start breaking up the dry rock into manageable shapes to work on an aquascape.

 

 

 

 

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gnatster

If I learned nothing else from a talk given by Amano at an Aquatic Gardener's Convention, laying out the proposed aquasacpe on paper is the way to start in achieving what the minds eye has planned.

 

 

I'm thinking an increasing slope peninsula hardscape at a 60 degree angle from left to right. Leaving an overhang on the right side near the back corner.

 

The hardware is taken into consideration with this layout.. An AC 50 siphon tube will be to the left rear corner. I'm not quite sure of the where that places the return flow, The AC 50 is not on hand yet. A MP 10 is slated for the mid-third of the front half on the left side I figure this will help promote a circular flow as well as some mild left/right sway.

 

A quick reminder, the dimensions are 14 x 8.5 x 10 inches.

 

Cut some heavy white paper to fit the bottom of the tank and drew out the base of the hardscape.

 

DSC_2102.JPG

 

From there it was time to start digging around in the box o rocks to see if there were ones that fit my plan.

 

These two look to work nicely together to give me the desired overhand for the right rear along with a flattish area to place a bushy type branching SPS.

 

DSC_2108.JPG

 

Starred too think the other end next and creating a base to build the ridge and overhang from. I came across these two pieces that feel like they work well together as a base. The angles of the cuts into the rock match up, giving it a more natural, hewn from a single rock feel. I know stuff will grow over the rocks, softening the hard edges, These two in this manner give me lots of real estate for frags to attach along with some overhangs to support a goby/shrimp pairing.

 

DSC_2137.JPG

 

Besides front on I took pictures from various angles one will be able to view from. The tank is situated just lower than desk height to the right and slightly behind my seated position. Turning my head yeilds a 3/4 view.

 

DSC_2181.JPG

 

That's today's thoughts anyway. I'm sure before it gets wet I'll come up with other ideas, both good and bad.

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