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Adwyth

Adwyth’s 3 Gallon 365 Day AIO Challenge Tank

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Adwyth

Hello all, 

 

I am a long time lurker. I first joined Nano-Reef back in 2004. I took a few years off of the Aquarium hobby due to life. I was moving a good bit and never seemed to be in the same place for very long. I got tired of breaking down my tanks and just put them in storage. Now that I have settled down and don't plan on moving again, I am getting back into the reef keeping hobby. I have some FW tanks and anted to dip my toes back into the reefkeeping world. That being said, my goal for this challenge tank is frugality. I wanted something small, self contained and CHEAP. I am going to be using a combination of new and used equipment. I have the sand and rock on hand. I was going to evict the Betta I have in a Fluval Spec....but my wife likes him where he is at. So I just so happened to find a cheap alternative.

 

On to the tank!

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The tank is a 3 Gallon Glo Fish Betta Kit from PetSmart. Regular Price is $59.99 on sale for $29.99. After using some TREATS points I ended up paying $25. These tanks are marketed by Tetra but remind me of the Marineland 3 gallon AIOs.

 

I plan on keeping the filter area basic. I am going to take one of the 90* elbows off of the pump to help with flow. I will also be placing a 50W heater back there. With one of the 90* elbows removed, there is plenty of space for a heater without any cutting or modification. I plan on keeping the filtration fairly stock. I may add some chemi-pure later.

 

I really like this tank. It doesn’t show up in the pic, but it has a nice glass top that will help keep the evaporation low and the kid/cats out.

 

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Obviously the light is not going to be sufficient, but I haven’t quite decided what I want to do for that yet. I’m going to try to keep that under $50. I am going to be scouring EBay for a clip on light. My stocking plans do not require a AI Prime or Kessil. (Although I am eyeing the AI Prime for my 15 gallon I started last week.)

 

I have plenty of rock options. I even have the first pieces of LR that I bought in 2004 for the 2.5g Pico that I kept in my dorm room. I have a 29 gallon tank that is stuffed with rock that I have held onto over the years. The rock had dried out, but I am letting it hang out with some rock from my LFS while I decide what I want to do with it.

 

I have a bag of new dry sand that I am going to be using....if I dont go bare bottom.

 

As far as stocking goes I plan on a basic Zoa/Shroom Garden. No fish. Maybe some crabs for a CUC.

 

My Theme on this tank is Frugality. I am enjoying piecing this tank together as cheap as I can. It is sorta taking me back to 2004 when I was a broke college student trying to piece together a cheap reef tank. (Which was no easy task in 2004!) So I will be keeping a running tally of the money spent on this project during my monthly updates. Corals will definitely be the most expensive part of this puzzle, but I plan on attending frag shows and club meeting to stock as frugally as I can.

 

I have to spend 3 weeks out of town for work starting next week, so I will have plenty of time to pick out a light and let it start cycling. Tonight I am clearing off the area where I want to put it. I want to block part of the lower return so it doesn’t suck up sand before I fill it up with water. Pics of that process will come by the end of the week.

 

Running Tally:

 

3g AIO - $25

Sand - on hand

rock - on hand

salt - on hand

Total - $25.00

 

I am really enjoying planning out this tank and participating in the challenge!

 

Adwyth

 

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EfrainChicagoDeepdish

Nice little tank.

 

I would keep track of what I spend but then I'd know where my money goes.  Ignorance and such.  

 

Good luck in this challenge.  Following. 

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kimberbee

What a cute little tank! 

 

Don't forget to add the "365 day challenge" tag to your thread so everyone can find your entry easier! 

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Adwyth
43 minutes ago, kimberbee said:

What a cute little tank! 

 

Don't forget to add the "365 day challenge" tag to your thread so everyone can find your entry easier! 

Thanks! I will do that. I’m still new to the forum layout and didn’t know what a tag was lol.

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seabass

Wow, an '04 member.  Not quite as distinguished as '03, but I still might have tried to keep that badge. :lol:

 

Glad you've stuck around.  This should be a nice little tank for you.

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debbeach13

Welcome back! Good luck with your tank and the contest. Following

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Smurf

Awesome pickup for the price! Happy to follow along. 

 

Welcome back and best of luck!

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Adwyth
19 hours ago, seabass said:

Wow, an '04 member.  Not quite as distinguished as '03, but I still might have tried to keep that badge. :lol:

 

Glad you've stuck around.  This should be a nice little tank for you.

lol, I thought about trying to save it, but I dont even remember which email I had it under. 

 

Thank you everyone for the warm welcome back!

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Adwyth

 

So I was going to glue a small piece of acrylic to the back of the bottom return last night...but I could not find any superglue in the junk drawer. So on my way home from work I stoped and got some. So add $4 to the total...

 

Here is the lower return 

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It has a sponge behind it in it stock form...that has been taken out.

 

I only needed a small piece of plastic to block half of the intake. I didnt want to block the whole thing because I want the water level in the sump area to be the same as the tank. I also needed a very thin piece so it wouldn’t get in the way of the basket assembly on the stock filter system. So after scrounging around I came up with this.

 

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This old planner has plastic Binder...so I sacrificed it and made a plate to block half of the intake. (It was from 2015...I am a pack rat and really need to throw stuff out, but then I end up needing it right after I throw it away!)

 

I put glue around the edges and used an extendable back scratcher to lower it into place. (My hands are too big to get to the bottom of the filter area.)

 

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Now the finished product.

 

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The point of all of this is to prevent sand from getting into the filter area. The lower intake area is very close to the bottom of the tank and that would be fine for regular freshwater Glo Fish gravel....not so much for reef sand.

 

I am letting this cure over night and I will hopefully be adding water tomorrow. I am still debating on where I am going to put it. I thought I had a spot for it...but that would require moving a Betta tank and I really like where it is at...so I dunno. Either way, the rock for this tank is hanging out in another tank and it will go together rather quickly after I find a spot to put it. Thankfully it is only 3 gallons so I can always move it lol.

 

After looking around, I think I have settled on an Asta 20. It’s cheap, has decent reviews and looks good. I think it will be enough light to keep some zoas and shrooms. I’m not in any hurry to order it because Ill be out of town for 3 weeks so if anyone has any better suggestions then I am all ears!

 

I SL’s think I am going to get some of the Carib Sea live sand...not because I think it is any better than what I have, but I like the way it looks better lol. That an I will need more sand for my other tanks I am moving around.

 

On an unrelated note, after I got this little job done, I moved all my rock that I’m letting marinade from a 29g to a 55. After that cycles it will probably be a FOWLR. (Eventually lol)

 

Now I’m fighting the urge to move my recently set up 15g over to the 29...I haven’t bought a light for the 15 gallon yet so I will probably transfer everything over to the 29g tomorrow after work. So after years of not having a saltwater tank I now have three lol.

 

Money Spent thus far:

 

3g AIO - $25

super glue - $4

 

Total - $29

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Adwyth

After I got the intake taken care of, I removed a 90* elbow from the return. I’m not sure why they include 2 when 1 works perfectly well. Maybe to reduce the flow for a Betta? I’m going to let it cycle with this pump, but if I feel like it needs more GPH, I will upgrade later.

 

2 90* elbows on return:

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1 90* elbow on the return:

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This also creates more room for a heater. Probably going to go with a preset 20W heater from PetSmart...I dunno yet, I still mulling it over.

 

Now that the filtration area is sorted all I need to do now is set it up!

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This guy is extra salty

Nice mods!

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Adwyth

Well, the 3 gallon is now wet!

 

On my way home from work I stopped by my LFS and picked up some live sand, Reef Crystals, RODI water, a 50w heater, and a small piece of live rock to help seed the dry rock I had.

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For right now I am setting this up on a 36gallon corner tank stand. I have it positioned next to a 75G FW community tank. This is in my Home office/critter room. I am thankful my wife enjoys the hobby just as much as I do and is going to be helping me keep this thing topped off while I am out of town. After I get home from being out of town, I am going to try my hand at building a stand so I can put this tank by my recliner.

 

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I have the stock light on this tank for right now just so I can get a feel for the rock layout. It will change again, no doubt.

 

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The small round rock on the bottom left is the very first piece of live rock I ever bought. The small branching rock on the bottom had my first over coral on them. They were some basic green zoas. I had a 2.5g set up in my dorm room. (I still have that tank. Me and my grandpa built a nice wooden hood for it before he died. It is now in my living room as a FW planted Betta Tank.) I got the dark purple rock from my LFS today. 

 

So to recap:

 

Tank - GloFish 3g AIO. $25

Heater - Aqueon 50w preset $14.29

Pump - stock (I may upgrade this in the future if I feel I need more flow.)

Filtration - Stock with small modification to keep sand out of lower intake. I also removed the carbon from the Whisper Bio-Bag.

Light - Stock for now. (Probably going with Asta Pixie 30 or Kessil A80)

Salt - Reef Crystals & RODI water. $15.29.

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debbeach13

You are well on your way. The dead line is still a week away. 

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Adwyth

Small update time.

 

I am currently out of town and the tank is cycling away. The wife is reporting that there is very little evaporation happening. 

 

I ordered an Asta Pixie 30 light and it should be waiting on me when I get back home. I was going to go with the Asta 20, but I figured for just a little more money I could get a little bit stronger light while still keeping it budget. The Pixie 30 will give me a little more flexibility down the road if I change my mind about stocking or transfer this into a larger tank after the challenge. (That all depends on how easy it is to maintain this tank. If it goes smoothly Ill let this thing run for a long time.)

 

I was thinking about an ATO, but seeing how little this evaporates, I’ll probably skip it since I am trying to do this on a reasonable budget.

 

So add $79.80 to the total. 

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Adwyth

Here are a couple of pics my wonderful wife sent to me. Everything is nice and clear and she asked me when I put a snail in the tank. It must have been a hitchhiker from the LR I got for my LFS. Even small tanks are full of surprizes.

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ef4life

Looking good. Free hitchhiker snails are the best snail.

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Adwyth

Well, I’m finally back home from living in a hotel for 3 weeks. My Luminie Pixie was at the house waiting on me. I got it hooked up last night and did around a 50% waterchange.

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This morning my wife and I went to our LFSs grand opening and I picked up some corals. They had $5 frags and I got more than I originally had planned. I’m still fiddling with the light and taking pics. As soon as everything settles in and I figure out this picture taking thing I’ll post some pics of today’s haul.

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mitchels6

Coming along really nice. What corals did you buy?

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Adwyth

Thanks! 

 

I got 4 ricordias, 4 acan frags, some GSP, 1 Zoa frag, and a candycane frag with 3.5 heads. 

 

Three of the Acans have 5 heads and the other has two. The Zoas where green/purple. I don’t know all the new names. I can’t keep up with them all lol.

 

All the frags where $5 each (except the Zoas. They were $10.)

 

I've downloaded the aquarium camera app to help get better pics, but Im still piddling with it lol.3ED44493-FD13-4DB3-839F-16D23F7F3FB9.thumb.jpeg.bcc06fab463da798b9ac354e7244a05e.jpeg1E3A9D22-5DB9-4D04-8821-A15BB8B67D5A.thumb.jpeg.017bdb926ced710e3b685718af8ead41.jpeg3ED89E09-F291-48E5-B957-AA48ADCCCBDB.thumb.jpeg.b522207abd63dcd7c86ac9e4d47586de.jpeg

 

Please excuse the crappy photos! The Acans are all out and very happy. The recordia have settled in nicely. I count 6 mouths. The gsp, Zoas, and candycane are still closed, but look healthy. I hope I can capture the color on these Acans better as they are looking very good.

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debbeach13

$5 frags what a bargain they look nice.

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Adwyth
4 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

$5 frags what a bargain they look nice.

Thanks! It is their grand opening weekend so they had some good specials. I really like the owner and service was top notch. They have me as a loyal customer now. 

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ef4life

Wow those are some nice $5 frags

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Adwyth

So I’ve been piddling with my phone camera app and I getting a smidge better...I still suck at it, but I’m better than I was. After things settle out I am going to be trimming down plugs and getting things on the rock structure. I am also still messing with the light setting trying to find the sweet spot for the coral. Right now it is set about 30-40% stream this and everything except the zoas are looking great. Zoes can be temperamental so Ill just leave them alone until they perk up.

 

Obligitory FTS....dont mind the mess around the tank. I was reading the light instructions. After I move this to it permanent spot, I am going to clean up the wiring.

 

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The Acans are getting bigger and bigger. 

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The green ricordia are splitting and seem really happy.

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This shot is from the right side of the tank. I had picked out a candy cane coral at the LFS, but when I got home I had a Duncan in the bag...$5 frag with lots of heads...not complaining!

 

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Another random shot...

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In other news....I have the post cycle pod explosion going on. The glass is covered up with the things. I have been very pleased with how little this thing evaporates. I thought I would be fighting evaporation and getting a ATO, but I only have to top off every 5-6 days...and even then it is a very small amount.

 

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debbeach13

It is nice that the corals have settled in and growing.

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Adwyth
On 3/17/2020 at 6:21 PM, debbeach13 said:

It is nice that the corals have settled in and growing.

Thanks! The GSP is already encrusting the rest of the plug it is on and reaching out for the rock. In this tank I am OK with it sorta taking over.

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