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KMitch

KMitch's IM Peninsula 20 ZeoVit Build

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KMitch

Hello N-R.com family,

 

Last you heard from me I was building a Red Sea Reefer 50 gallon reef tank, but I had to break down the tank when I moved and only recently had a chance to set it back up. Rather than going back to the 50 gallon reef tank, however, I turned that into a planted freshwater discus tank. My first love in reefing came from a smaller nano tank, and I lost some of the love as the tanks got bigger and more complicated. I finally convinced the fiancee to let me start another tank, and settled on a nano reef for my return. So pull up a seat and follow along....

 

Over the course of the last 10 years, I've had a number of tanks with varied success, and I hope to put all the lessons learned from those tanks together in this build.

 

Rules of the road:

  • Simplicity is king. 15 pieces of equipment just create more opportunities for failure. I am going to do the basics, and I'm going to do them well.
  • Minimal SPS. I like some SPS Corals, and I might try a frag or two that amuse me, but this tank will go back to my love of LPS, softies, and (hopefully) a clam.
  • Fun, active, and healthy. I want my reef to thrive, the inhabitants to be healthy, and to have a tank that I can get lost staring at for hours. 

 

I settled on this tank and equipment after hours upon hours of extensive reading and research. I've tried complex systems like ZeoVit, algae scrubbers, CO2 reactors, etc.... now I'm going back to the more time tested and proven techniques. That's not to hate on any of the other stuff.... it just became too complicated and removed the fun. My tank in college was very simple, it thrived, and it was a blast. Time to return to that....though with a little nicer gear too 😉

 

Equipment:

  • Innovative Marine NUVO Fusion Pro Peninsula 20 Gallon tank
  • Kessil A360X light with wifi
  • InTank media basket
  • Aqamai KPS Wavemaker pump
  • Cobalt Aquatics Neotherm 75W heater
  • Aqua Gadget Spin Stream Nozzle
  • XP Aquatics Duetto ATO system

 

Livestock:

  • Planned pair of clowns
  • Planned goby/shrimp pair
  • Something else, TBD

 

I also ordered 20lbs of Fiji Pink sand, and will get live rock to seed the tank. I also plan to use Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt because I like that they use pharmaceutical grade materials in the salt. For filtration, I plan to run filter floss, carbon, and ZeoVit in the media basket. 

 

The hope is that I can talk my fiancee into setting up the tank at the end of our couch, so you can appreciate the full peninsula effect. Fingers crossed. I ordered everything from @BulkReefSupply this weekend and got notification that the gear will arrive Thursday, so pictures and more updates to come. I also need to build a stand for the tank, so it'll be a few weeks before we see water, but that's okay. Good planning leads to good results!

 

Tank is Born, March 2020:

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Pjanssen

welcome back! Sounds like a nice setup.

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KMitch

A tank is (almost) born! I received my tank and all the goodies in three massive boxes last week, and then spent the weekend getting ready to install the tank onto a new stand..... speaking of the stand.....

 

I don't have an existing stand to use for this tank. I also don't like the look of the stands that IM makes, and it's an odd size for a tank, so most traditional stands don't fit unless they are way oversized. Ikea to the rescue! We found a nice looking piece of furniture at Ikea that matches the motif and style of the room and have spent a few days re-building the stand to have a more re-enforced structure for the weight of the tank. My plan to try and persuade the lady to let me put the tank at the end of the couch was unsuccessful, so for now, the tank will go behind the couch. It's still prominently placed in the room though, and it's probably a better location logistically. 

 

Here's the stand we got from Ikea as they sell it:

 

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The stand is actually made of metal, and it's pretty damn sturdy. We estimate the tank with sand, rock, and water will come in around 275#s, so we jumped up and down on this thing in the store a few times to see how it held up LOL. But the stand isn't perfect, and a little re-enforcement is always good. We started with the top and shelf. I had a large slab of solid butcher block wood that wasn't being used for anything else, so we cut it to fit and replace the cheaper pine board that Ikea supplies for the shelves. That wood has also been given a few coats of a waterproofing lacquer to help it hold up against any splashes or drips from the tank.

 

We then took the wood Ikea provided and cut it to make sides and a back for the open space around the middle (between the bottom and the top shelf). This will help hide cords, and also gives a little more rigidity to the whole thing, because there won't be as much lateral flex. We also got some additional lumber to build some extra load distribution legs in the back and to re-enforce the base frame. It's still coming together, but hopefully by this weekend it'll be setup enough that we can put the tank on there are start testing things out.

 

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Arrival of the tank-- well packed by IM with no damage in shipping

 

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The new butcher block top and shelf. Cut to size, and awaiting varnish

 

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Varnishing the top. It is a matte finish, so the shine will fade as it dries.

 

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Other braces and supports for the tank. Although most of it will be hidden, still giving it some good paint to make sure it looks nice and clean.

 

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Current FTS :happydance:

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KMitch

PS - does anyone know, do I have to pay Photobucket now to get the stupid watermark removed?

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mitten_reef
11 minutes ago, KMitch said:

PS - does anyone know, do I have to pay Photobucket now to get the stupid watermark removed?

I use Flickr, so far so good.

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KMitch

Stand progress continues.... We've built the stand and are re-enforcing the structure to support the weight and to look nice and sexy. Hopefully the stand will be finished this weekend and ready for water to go in the box!  

 

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These are extra legs to help distribute weight - we added 4 more legs to the existing ones, and still will be building a stronger base for the frame. This thing will be rock solid when we're done!

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KMitch

The stand is complete! It looks great, I am super happy with how this piece of modified Ikea furniture turned into a deluxe fish tank stand. 

 

Taking inspiration from @Tigahboy's build, I also installed a strip of LED lights behind the tank for some fun effects.

 

Need to do some wiring still to get all the electronics setup, but hopefully I can do that today and get some water in here. Then it'll be time to get some rock!

 

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All done and in position. I will get a better shot of the finished stand later

 

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Full tank shot, sans water. Need to get things wired up and run the RO unit for a few hours so we can bring this baby to life!

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Tigahboy

Very nice.  Backlighting looks great!  Looking forward to seeing this develop. 

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KMitch

Water and sand added! FTS tomorrow once it clears

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KMitch

We have a water box! Added some freshly mixed RO water with the Tropic Marin salt and the 20lbs of Fiji Pink sand to the tank. So far everything looks great - the stand is nice and sturdy and the water cleared up quickly.

 

I also ordered some live rock from KP Aquatics; it hasn't shipped yet but I have talked to Phillipp about the order. Hopefully that will ship soon and we'll really get things going. The only thing left to install in the tank is the ATO system, but waiting until I have the rock in as I'm anticipating a good amount of water displacement once that arrives.

 

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I am also planning to run the ZeoVit system on this tank. I know that people normally run Zeo only with a skimmer, but I am hoping that water changes can replace the skimmer for this sized tank. I know there are some skimmers that will fit into the second chamber in the back, but the light mount still takes up a lot of space in that chamber. So for now, I'll try without it.

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KMitch

Forgot to mention, that spin stream nozzle is annoyingly loud. Can't wait for that thing to shut the beep up..... 🙉

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KMitch

The live rock from KP Aquatics arrived today, and I must say, I am very impressed with the quality of their materials. For anyone unfamiliar with them, they are one of the few suppliers of "real live rock" in the United States, and they aquaculture the rock in a sustainable way. Unlike much of the live rock that comes from Indonesia that is pulled from living reefs, they have an offshore permit site in Florida where they dump dead rock into the ocean, let it sit for two years to "age" and fill with goodness, and then they harvest and sell the rock. Plus, unlike rock that is air shipped from half-way around the world, there is minimal die off. My rock shipped last night around 7pm and was at my doorstop by 10am this morning. That's about as little time exposed to the air as one could ask for!

 

In my last tank, I used the dry live rock and added all sorts of live nitrifying bacteria to the tank during setup, but I was never really pleased with the alive-ness of the live rock. While it was clean and free of any pests, it also lacked the goodness like sponges and encrusting purple and orange coralline algae that comes from rock pulled from the ocean. Overall, I am quite pleased with the product from KP Aquatics; it satisfies my desire to have live from the ocean rock, while still being eco-friendly and sustainable.

 

The rock arrived packed in a styrofoam box with heat pack and wrapped in wet paper. The rock was very damp and the smell told me it was very much alive. I had emailed KP Aquatics requesting certain shapes for the tank, and they delivered in a big way. 

 

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The rock was absolutely teeming with life! Plants, sponges, corals, encrusting algae.... you name it. 

 

Knowing the rock was from the ocean, I also expected my fair share of hitchhikers and pests, but was prepared to deal with removing them before putting the rock into my virgin tank. To remove these unwanted friends, I mixed a bucket of super-saline water (1.040 specific gravity) and vigorously dunked and shook the rock in the solution for a minute or two. I wore some latex gloves during the process to protect my hands from any escaping bristle worms, craps, or mantis shrimps.

 

I repeated this super-saline rinse four times. Here's how it went....

 

Rock Rinse #1

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Rock Rinse #2

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Rock Rinse #3

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Rock Rinse #4

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While I am sure there were some bristle worms that survived my purge, the bulk of the big gross ones are certainly gone. Likewise, I removed at least one pest crab, some sea urchins, and a few other oddities that didn't seem like they had a place in the tank. Unfortunately, there was one casualty of war -- a small pistol shrimp that would have been fun to save and grow in the tank, but he didn't survive the salt dunks. While that's a bummer, it also tells me that anything that didn't fall out during my rinses and shakes was heavily traumatized and/or killed with the salt bath.

 

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After a few hours of rinsing and prepping, I finally loaded all the rock into the tank. This is a first stab at aquascaping... what do you think?

 

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nano_izzy

everything looks great so far. that scape looks perfect!! makes me wish i had a longer tank to work with 

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debbeach13

WOW that was a lot of stuff in that rock. Scape looks great. Welcome back and good luck with your tank. 

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KMitch

I finished getting the ATO system installed today; I opted for the Duetto from XP Aqua because of it's small size. It's actually smaller in real life than I expected too! I made one small modification and attached airline tubing to the pump instead of the included tubing so that it would take even longer to fill and flood the tank.... hopefully causing the internal timer to trigger and cutoff the water before that happens. So we'll see how this goes. For a water reservoir I picked up a Trigger 5 gal system from @BulkReefSupply. Initially I thought I was going to do the IM one with the pull-out drawer, but since the reservoir is on the floor, I decided it was better to go for an acrylic system vs glass tank, just in case....

 

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It has been 48 hours since I added the live rock to the tank, so I also got the Zeovit started. It required a little work with a calculator to work out the proper dosing and media amount for a tank of this size, but we got it eventually. The Zeovit system technically requires a protein skimmer, but no space for that here, so I'm going to rely on water changes to accomplish the same goal. I had great success with Zeovit on a previous tank -- actually the success was so good that I didn't appreciate how well my tank was running until I switched it off Zeo in favor of another method. Turned out to be a big mistake because the tank was more stable than I realized on Zeo. So this time, I plan to stick with it. Right now I'm only dosing the core 3 elements -- ZeoBak, ZeoFood Plus, and ZeoStart, along with the Zeolite media and some carbon. 

 

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I haven't bothered testing my water yet, but I'll probably do that later tonight to see how things are doing. I had a bit of cloudy water after adding the Dr. Tims bacteria, but that finally cleared up, so I'm feeling brave enough to test the water finally. I also mixed up my BRS 2-part Alk/Calc today with RO water, though I expect it'll be a little while before I need to add any of that.

 

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A token FTS.... because why not!?

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KMitch

Checked the water parameters....


PH is on point. No nitrites and zero nitrates. Going to give it a few more days before I consider trying to add anything.

 

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A full stand shot; I realized I hadn't posted a pic of the finished thing

 

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The tank in my living room

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Tigahboy

Very nice!  I'm digging the scape.  🙂

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KMitch
40 minutes ago, Tigahboy said:

Very nice!  I'm digging the scape.  🙂

Thanks Tigah! Your build was a big source of inspiration for mine. Only thing I haven't dialed in yet is the powerhead -- I have it on one of the presets for a 50L tank, but I don't feel like it moves that much water. What'd you opt for?

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Tigahboy
2 hours ago, KMitch said:

Thanks Tigah! Your build was a big source of inspiration for mine. Only thing I haven't dialed in yet is the powerhead -- I have it on one of the presets for a 50L tank, but I don't feel like it moves that much water. What'd you opt for?

🙂 I had 2 of them.  One on a 200l preset and other on a 100l preset I think.  
 

Also placed an order for LR from KPAquatics yesterday.  Looking forward to getting the shipment. 

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KMitch
6 hours ago, Tigahboy said:

Also placed an order for LR from KPAquatics yesterday.  Looking forward to getting the shipment. 

Nice! Have you used their rock before? I was quite impressed with it.... just give it a couple of rinses. 

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debbeach13

That set up looks awesome. Happy reefing.

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DNR88

I think it's a shame that you have rinsed the live rock. That is the 'charm' of the live rock, to see what's in it..

 

In any case, you have seen what lived in it.

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KMitch
16 hours ago, DNR88 said:

I think it's a shame that you have rinsed the live rock. That is the 'charm' of the live rock, to see what's in it..

 

In any case, you have seen what lived in it.

KP aquatics recommends this procedure themselves. Plus, I have no intention of introducing a mantis shrimp, fire worm, pest crabs, etc to my tank. Been there, done that, and don’t need to repeat those mistakes. 

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WindyCityReefer.

Looking good! I always enjoy watching a new build come to life. While I have no experience with the ZeoVit system, I am sure this tank is going to take off. 

 

Also, I never thought about doing a super-saline bath for newly acquired rock.. good thinking! 

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William

I’m not sure if I would have done the Saline bath; at that salinity you will have killed almost all life on the rock (sponge, coral, copepod/amphipod, micro/macro fauna) 

 

seems like somewhat of a waste to use fresh live rock then kill everything on it. 

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