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9to5 The World Turned Upside Down


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The World Turned Upside Down


Current Full Tank Shot:

Oct. 31st


Contest Entry Picture:




Tank:  Aqueon Rimless 5.5 gallon tank (16 3/16 x 8 3/8 x 10 1/2)

Light: ABI 23W Tuna Blue Par38 LED

Heater: Aqueon Submersible 50W heater

Circulation: Jebao SW-2 

AutoAqua smart ATO Lite

Powerhead from my 20 gallon, I don't remember the brand





 So I am a long time lurker very intermittent poster in my tank thread (I have been lax on maintenance recently so it is not looking quite its best), but I already had the tank, light and heater from a planned coral quarantine tank that I never ended up setting up. So I decided that since I had most of the equipment already I may as well put it to use. So I bought a powerhead, some extra base rock and am going to join my first ever nano-reef contest. 


My attempts to put together the aquascape over the next week or so will determine if the current tank theme will work or if I will need to think of a new theme very fast! I figure that it has been a very topsy turvy couple of years, so I will attempt a topsy turvey aquascape, hopefully unveiling soon, however neither my construction or DIY skills are that great so we'll see how it goes. There also remains the problem of structural integrity, I may be able to accomplish what I am hoping for, but if it falls apart later then there will be an entirely new set of problems!






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Don't know if you already saw this, but here's a link to an upside down pico tank I ran across awhile back. Might help with construction ideas. Have fun!


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I just found that thread a couple of days ago, and quite frankly that tank looks amazing, and probably better than mine will in the end. But I'm going forward with the current construction plans at the moment, I grabbed the wrong size pvc fittings so it will be a couple more days before I can try to put it together. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, the tank officially has water! And the scape kind of looks like I want it to. 

There is a new tank thanks to @Tamberav there is also a new tank, I didn't realize the dollar per gallon sale included a 5.5 rimless tank. I have always liked the look of rimless tanks, even though the aquascape means the fact that it is rimless irrelevant a $15 rimless tank was too good to pass up. 




Construction was very basic, pvc pipe frame with rock rubble zip tied and JB waterwelded together. 

The first frame was standard pvc pipe from Home Depot:



I then discovered that black 'furniture grade' pcv pipe existed, and decided it would be easier than spray painting and worrying about scratching the paint off when putting the rocks together. 

On a side note, for 1/2" black furniture grade pvc pipe the 1/2" white fittings at home depot do not fit. I also discovered my first time using PVC cement that the pipes fit farther into the fittings when using the cement as opposed to dry fitting, so the scape is a little shorter than I planned. 


I spent a lot of time making sure that as much of the top edge of the pvc was covered, which I still did not manage to do successfully. However it turns out that its not that visible, and I could have used less rock and spent much less time on it. I also discovered that I am not good at using JB waterweld as it almost always attached to everything except where I wanted it to.


Slightly wonky, and a little shorter than I planned. But after how difficult I found it putting this together I'm just happy that it exists and doesn't look like its going to fall apart at any moment.


And the light propped up in the base



I apparently forgot to take a photo with water in it! 

Let the cycling begin.



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+1 on the ventilation could be an issue. maybe you can raise the glass under the tank up some on some feet so it can get air and maybe put a vent on the back side or even a usb powered fan on the back vent if you wanted to be realy fancy. Those lights can run very hot. Its a little like those the Roman spa/bath houses.where they ran heat under the floor and bathing pools to get them hot. I would keep a close eye on water temps.

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5 minutes ago, LazyFish said:

This reminds me of an underwater grotto or sea cave im loving it.

Thanks! That's what I was hoping for.


5 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

whoa... ! cool! May want to have some ventilation for the light though. 


4 minutes ago, LazyFish said:

+1 on the ventilation maybe raise the glass under the tank upa bit on some feet and maybe put a vent on the back side. Those lights can run very hot.

I wasn't sure about the ventilation, the box isn't fully sealed, there is a 4 x 4" hole in the back for access and I do have a separate fan I can add. I haven't had the light on for any significant period of time yet, and I was going to check on the heat build up. 

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12 hours ago, kimdawg said:

This is a winner.  I love the idea of upside down.  Are you going to let some of the coral grow upside down?  Like hanging down from the top rock.

Yup! the current plan is some zoas and mushrooms (can't have a cave without mushrooms!), and I'm not sure what else. Probably not too much considering the size of the rock shelf. I'm going to try the superglue/epoxy/superglue method to attach the frags, which I haven't tried yet, and we'll see how successful it is. 


2 hours ago, Snow_Phoenix said:

Such a unique concept! I love it. 🙂 

Thanks! I googled some photos for inspiration:


And then went from there. I didn't go all the way across the top of the tank with the structure because I wanted to be able to reach in around the one side to do quick maintenance tasks without having to lift the entire structure out every time. We'll see how successful that strategy is later on 🙂


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  • 4 months later...

Long time no posts, life got a little away from me and this tank was sadly neglected for some time. I have some pictures from early January but no other real updates. Sadly, it appears that the Waterweld is not holding well at all. I am assuming some form of user error on my part as this was the first time that I had used it, however some of the sections are falling apart and I zip tied some bits back together 😬. This tank will definitely not be staying up much past the contest end sadly. As of this moment only two tiny coral frags that somehow survived the entire period of neglect, a small mushroom and a frag of zoas. 


To start off with, based on some concerns several months ago I did test the temperature increase inside the box with the light, and it made it only to 73 degrees at the highest, so not a concern for raising tank temperature and shouldn't be an issue for the light itself. This is however at a room temperature of 68 degrees, so summer may make a difference. 🙂


(I don't know why the photo is sideways, its not sideways in my files)


So, update from early January, (before the significant neglect😐)

I discovered that there is some direct sunlight on the tank at some times of day, which was concerning, but ultimately I don't think it made much of a differece. 



So, the first inhabitants of the tank, one astrea snail from my main tank


And a small mushroom and zoa frag:

I have a lot of trouble taking photos of this tank, in my other tank I just us the whites, however with a tuna blue light, that's not really possible. Please excuse the algae film on the front glass, the scraper tool I have doesn't actually fit between the rocks and glass the way I thought it would. whoops. 


So, then I had some trouble, the ATO on my main tank kicked the bucked right before I was headed out of town, so the ATO on this tank got stolen and used there for longer than I would like to admit before I got another ATO unit, and I am not  good at topping off tanks with distilled water (which is why I buy ATO's in the first place). 


Then other life things happened and I didn't get back to the tank until about two weeks ago where I thought I was dealing with a major bacterial bloom:


I was prepared to do a 90% water change, and then I started changing the water and it didn't smell right, just a little funky. So it turned into a 100% water change and scrubbing the rocks, the heater and the powerhead. And when I was scrubbing the heater I discovered this below the level of the little protective plastic cap on the end:


I have no idea when it happened or how it may have contributed to the tank changes, but I grabbed a spare heater from a previous freshwater set up that I never managed to get all of the algae off..... So hopefully that won't cause any issues. 🙃


So, current photo as of this evening, with zip tied rocks and all🤣


Whoops, it looks like I left the wide angle lens on after I tried to get photos of the coral frags.

On a side note, what may have been obvious to others but I completely missed, if the water line is any closer to the lid clips than I have it now it wicks water over the edge and leaves a nice line of salt at the base of the tank....


And somehow the mushroom and zoas lived through this madness (again, sorry about the photos, this is using an orange filter)


A little green mushroom


And a small frag of, magician's zoas I think.

So altogether, not a very successful run for this tank sadly, but certainly fun to set up. I will probably add another softie frag or two this weekend and let it run to the end of the contest. 






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  • 2 months later...

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