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RDA's 26 Gallon Bowfront: Honey I Shrunk The Tank!


The Rainy Day Aquarium

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

Hey all. 

 

Over the past few years I've had a enough tanks to figure out what I like and what I don't. Throughout all of them, though, I kept coming back to this idea of a low tech, SPS dominant reef tank. Call it my reefing unicorn, but I've never really been able to tack down a solid routine to achieve such a tank, given, I don't think I have ever "hardcore" tried to do so. 

 

In other words, welcome to The Rainy Day Aquarium's last attempt to achieve the tank of all tanks, the holy grail, RDA's white stag:

THE LOW TECH SPS REEF

 

 

For myself, the term "low tech" has always meant simple. I love simple. But simple and high demanding corals don't always play nice it seems. So lets blur the lines a little. Get down to the nitty gritty. The goal of this build is to make a low tech reef look so good it will make you want to smack yo mamma and say, "That reef looks good!" For the tank I'll be using an Aqueon 26 gallon bowfront. "Wait a RIMMED tank?!" you ask, "RDA I thought you were into those nice, smooth, rimless glass boxes?" I would say yes, I was; I still am. Everyone has their affair. Bill Clinton for example. As for myself, I have closeted my love for those thicc rimmed tanks for years. After all, what could I do? All of those Instagram influencers and their sleek waterbox aquariums has made it so anyone wouldn't be caught dead with one of these rimmed beasts. Well, I suppose I like the wild side regardless of current reefing pop culture. And as the great rapper Nathan Feuerstein once said, "I guess I'll be the outcast".

 

So going against the grain with my bowfront, and fighting the urge to get that Penguin Bio Wheel 350 -I ended up getting one 🙄-JK I switched back to the Tidal 75- I switched back to the Bio Wheel 350. Additional water movement will be had by two Sicce voyager nano stream 1000 pumps. I've also decided to take a chapter out of the "ye old crusty reefer" handbook and hunt down a new, in box, Hydor smart wave pump controller. If that wasn't retro enough, I scored a pretty much new 24" Coralife Lunar Aqualight Quad T5 fixture off of the good ol E of Bay. (I knew I wanted T5s for this build and at first I questioned if this light could provide enough for SPS corals, but hey, I had a neighbor back in the day that had one of these lights over his 24" deep tank and it looked amazing, so I figured I'd give it a shot. If not I can always back step and get a juicy metal halide). And that's pretty much it! I was thinking about getting an order of liverock from KPaquatics, but sheeeeesh talk about expensive, and that's not just with KP. Shipping heavy, wet things overnight across the country is very expensive. Might just go with BRS reef saver and deal with ugly white rock for a time. Corals will be mostly SPS with a few select filler pieces (I'm looking at you @joshthebox #fijiyellowtoadstool). I only wanted one or two fish for this tank really. A possum wrasse would be cool, or maybe I'll sell my left kidney and get a deepwater candy basslet, who knows?

 

 

Anyways we'll see you all next year for setting up this tank. Enjoy the holidays and as always, thank you for stopping by! Happy reefing!

 

 

Equipment:

Tank: Aqueon 26 gallon Bowfront 

Stand: Petsmart Special

Lighting: Coralife Lunar Aqualight Quad T5, with a Coralife Digital Power Center

Filter: Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel 350

Heater: Cobalt Neo-glass 150w

Flow: 2x Sicce Voyager Nano 1000 (with Hydor smart wave controller)

 

 

 

 

Corals:

TBD

 

 

Fish:

  • Pygmy Angelfish
  • Bristletooth Tomini Tang
  • Pajama Cardinalfish

 

 

Inverts:

  • Fighting Conch
  • Small army of Cerith Snails
  • 3 Trochus Snails

 

 

FTS: 

2/23/2023

IMG_3190.thumb.jpg.0c1d07a4487f336b62c613d83ab7d977.jpg
 

2/26/2023

C54854E8-F170-4055-9054-DBF2A133BE46.thumb.jpeg.f25c06b7bbdb60fea773dcafa47a382e.jpeg

 

3/27/2023

IMG_3381.thumb.jpg.e9e4dd17f576771d608810769ad2b29e.jpg

 

4/24/2023

0FF2A89E-0742-4F91-BD23-D837887CD4B9.thumb.jpeg.020ea32b70c38c05367660f13142c634.jpeg

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, The Rainy Day Aquarium said:

Hey all. 

 

Over the past few years I've had a enough tanks to figure out what I like and what I don't. Throughout all of them, though, I kept coming back to this idea of a low tech, SPS dominant reef tank. Call it my reefing unicorn, but I've never really been able to tack down a solid routine to achieve such a tank, given, I don't think I have ever "hardcore" tried to do so. 

 

In other words, welcome to The Rainy Day Aquarium's last attempt to achieve the tank of all tanks, the holy grail, RDA's white stag:

THE LOW TECH SPS REEF

 

 

For myself, the term "low tech" as always meant simple. I love simple. But simple and high demanding corals don't always play nice it seems. So lets blur the lines a little. Get down to the nitty gritty. The goal of this build is to make a low tech reef look so good it will make you want to smack yo mamma and say, "That reef looks good!" For the tank I'll be using an Aqueon 26 gallon bowfront. "Wait a RIMMED tank?!" you ask, "RDA I thought you were into those nice, smooth, rimless glass boxes?" I would say yes, I was; I still am. Everyone has their affair. Bill Clinton for example. As for myself, I have closeted my love for those thicc rimmed tanks for years. After all, what could I do? All of those Instragram influencers and their sleek waterbox aquariums has made it so anyone wouldn't be caught dead with one of these rimmed beasts. Well, I suppose I like the wild side regardless of current reefing pop culture. And as the great rapper Nathan Feuerstein once said, "I guess I'll be the outcast".

 

So going against the grain with my bowfront, and fighting the urge to get that Penguin Bio Wheel 350, I decided to go with a Seachem Tidal 75 for better filtration and some flow (I've had the Tidal 110 in the past and these filters can really rip). Additional water movement will be had by two Sicce voyager nano stream 1000 pumps. I've also decided to take a chapter out of the "ye old crusty reefer" book and hunt down a new in box Hydor smart wave pump controller. If that wasn't retro enough, I scored a pretty much new 24" Coralife Lunar Aqualight Quad T5 fixture off of the good ol E of Bay. (I knew I wanted T5s for this build and at first I questioned if this light could provide enough for SPS corals, but hey, I had a neighbor back in the day that had one of these lights over his 24" deep tank and it looked amazing, so I figured I'd give it a shot. If not I can always back step and get a juicy metal halide). And that's pretty much it! I was thinking about getting an order of liverock from KPaquatics, but sheeeeesh talk about expensive, and that's not just with KP. Shipping heavy, wet things overnight across the country is very expensive. Might just go with BRS reef saver and deal with ugly white rock for a time. Corals will be mostly SPS with a few select filler pieces (I'm looking at you @joshthebox #fijiyellowtoadstool). I only wanted one or two fish for this tank really. A possum wrasse would be cool, or maybe I'll sell my left kidney and get a deepwater candy basslet, who knows?

 

 

Anyways we'll see you all next year for setting up this tank. Enjoy the holidays and as always, thank you for stopping by! Happy reefing!

 

 

Equipment:

 

 

 

Corals:

 

 

Fish:

 

 

Inverts:

 

 

FTS:

 

Dude I can't wait to see the build develop!!!! I have no doubt it'll be amazing with your expertise. I love that you mentioned T5, classic SPS lighting!! Also your writeup is hilarious 🤣 I don't think I can ship you a frag of my fiji because I'm in Canada 😞, but you have to get a frag somehow. It'll go so well with your SPS!!! 

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The Rainy Day Aquarium
6 hours ago, PJPS said:

Eagerly awaiting updates!  I too have had a long term goal of an SPS nano.  I just ruled out simple and embraced the finicky pricesses, here's my SPS heavy 20G.

I read through your posts the other day, really neat tank!

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The Rainy Day Aquarium
4 hours ago, joshthebox said:

Dude I can't wait to see the build develop!!!! I have no doubt it'll be amazing with your expertise. I love that you mentioned T5, classic SPS lighting!! Also your writeup is hilarious 🤣 I don't think I can ship you a frag of my fiji because I'm in Canada 😞, but you have to get a frag somehow. It'll go so well with your SPS!!!

Haha thank you!!  

Aw man I blame you getting me thinking about T5 lighting. I was planning on getting two ATI coral plus and two ATI blue plus bulbs to start out? Idk I might need to do a little more research on how to get the look I want though? Haha I have literally planned in my budget for this tank the expense to travel to Canada and get a toadstool frag from you. 😂  

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16 hours ago, The Rainy Day Aquarium said:

Haha thank you!!  

Aw man I blame you getting me thinking about T5 lighting. I was planning on getting two ATI coral plus and two ATI blue plus bulbs to start out? Idk I might need to do a little more research on how to get the look I want though? Haha I have literally planned in my budget for this tank the expense to travel to Canada and get a toadstool frag from you. 😂  

Haha if you trek all the way to Canada, i'll cut you a piece surely 🤣 A 50/50 mix of coral and blue plus worked really well for me in the past. It'll give the tank a nice crisp white look, but still colour up the SPS wonderfully! 

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  • 1 month later...
The Rainy Day Aquarium

I finally got the tank situated (pending approval from the Mrs. that is). I’m thinking going with Caribsea Liferock 🤔 I’m also not sure if I should paint the back panel black or just let things grow on it. These are the questions that keep me up at night. 

 

1C0E3984-8D98-4E22-A593-A6DA3A19483D.thumb.jpeg.229efdfc82275fa8bc5e7d66e82b163c.jpeg

 

 

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24 minutes ago, joshthebox said:

Can't wait to see how it develops!!! Life rock is pretty good. If you can find old dried up live rock on local classifieds i'd go that route personally. 

If real live rock is unavailable like it has been in 🇨🇦 for years, I go Liferock.  The bacteria aspect 🤷🏻‍♂️, the starts purple aspect?  Priceless in viewing enjoyment for me.  And the whole “shapes” aspect is just convenient in a nano.  Break 1 piece into 2-3, not 1000 and glue it all back together.  Just my $0.02, I’ve done white as well (didn’t love it tbh).

 

+10 charisma for the bowfront.  They make dope saltwater tanks.  Flow can be weird, and TOO crazy will test those seams, but anything under “madness” for standing wave style flow should be fine.

 

Eager to see how this comes in ✊🏻

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11 minutes ago, PJPS said:

If real live rock is unavailable like it has been in 🇨🇦 for years, I go Liferock.  The bacteria aspect 🤷🏻‍♂️, the starts purple aspect?  Priceless in viewing enjoyment for me.  And the whole “shapes” aspect is just convenient in a nano.  Break 1 piece into 2-3, not 1000 and glue it all back together.  Just my $0.02, I’ve done white as well (didn’t love it tbh).

 

+10 charisma for the bowfront.  They make dope saltwater tanks.  Flow can be weird, and TOO crazy will test those seams, but anything under “madness” for standing wave style flow should be fine.

 

Eager to see how this comes in ✊🏻

I know of a few LFS's in my area that still sell wet live rock.

 

Dry old live rock is still better than liferock, as it is far more porous and natural looking. Plus i'm sure it can be found for a cheaper price than liferock. 

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3 hours ago, joshthebox said:

I know of a few LFS's in my area that still sell wet live rock.

 

Dry old live rock is still better than liferock, as it is far more porous and natural looking. Plus i'm sure it can be found for a cheaper price than liferock. 

I’m paranoid, got a free mantis shrimp last time from some LFS rock.  If I could, Id start with dead pukani.  Premium Aquatics has an exclusive on some rock that looks amazing.  But getting it to 🇨🇦 is likely $pendy.  You’re 100% correct though, I’m just too chickenshit to get that particular hitch hiker again 😂

 

wait do you have line on dead pukani?  i have 5g bucket sitting bored.  I could season a stash… Ontario Bacto Bug Rock Elite Plus Pure… Salty & Wet ". $400/30g available through your reef concierge only… 😞 

 

 

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Niiiccceee. Loving this. My reefing unicorn is also the elusive sps nano.

 

I like that you tossed modern fancy to the wind and are going rimmed, bowfront. Stick to your guns!  Like that you considered the penguin bio wheel. Totally suits that tank and setup lol. Keeping it old school.

 

The T5s are gonna be great. Alot of folks grew sps under T5 back in the day. Some say a good T5 fixture will provide more even lighting than leds and better colouration.

 

I had a 15H (std 10 gallon, but taller) back in the day, with 15lbs Vanuatu Live rock, a 150watt halide fixture, a modified maxijet 1200, an ato, one dosing drip line and a heater. That was it.

 

I was so busy with school that i left it sitting there with just rock for a year. Id pause while writting papers to stare into the rock and think lol. When I finally put acros and montis in it they grew out to touch the glass in under a year. 

 

The only inhabitants where a handful of snails and serpent sea star.  

 

No fish, no shrimp, no feeding, no water changes, no hob, no media, no sump, no skimmer, no fuge. Ran flawless and effortlessly for 3 years. To date my most successful and lowest maintenance setup - which was in my room as a university student 20 years ago. 

 

In the last month ive set this up as well. This shot is from a month ago when it first got filled up. 

20230112_090636.thumb.jpg.978757520c8dae77fabee08d21f511c7.jpg

 

This tank will eventually have a journal. It's gonna be my unicorn. Sps Nano. 

 

Im also planning to follow my previous lazy and crazy long timeline recipe. So gonna be just snails for the next year. There's not much to talk about on a journal yet. And its just another boorrring  watebox cube. Thats like seeing a honda civic. They're everywhere. 

 

Anyway, that said, im looking forward to seeing your bowfront sps come together! 

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12 hours ago, PJPS said:

I’m paranoid, got a free mantis shrimp last time from some LFS rock.  If I could, Id start with dead pukani.  Premium Aquatics has an exclusive on some rock that looks amazing.  But getting it to 🇨🇦 is likely $pendy.  You’re 100% correct though, I’m just too chickenshit to get that particular hitch hiker again 😂

 

wait do you have line on dead pukani?  i have 5g bucket sitting bored.  I could season a stash… Ontario Bacto Bug Rock Elite Plus Pure… Salty & Wet ". $400/30g available through your reef concierge only… 😞 

 

 

I have a crap ton of dry live rock in my backyard 🤣 landscaping eh? 

 

Kijiji is probably your best bet for dead pukani. 

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

@geekreef_05

Haha thank you.

I'm kind of going back to my roots with this build. Don't get me wrong, I think systems with all the bells and whistles look great, but I get really excited when I see a clean, old school reef tank that's been around for years. 

Your 15H sounds like a dream. Simple is always the best imo 👍

On 2/17/2023 at 10:33 AM, joshthebox said:

I have a crap ton of dry live rock in my backyard 

One more reason for me to come up there! 😂

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

Something just wasn't sitting right with having the Tidal 75 filter on this tank. It's an amazing HOB filter but it didn't really fit the theme or the look I was going after. 

Well. I made THAT purchase, and $25 later I officially have an Old School build on my hands :rolleyes:

Also my rock should be coming today, needless to say I'm excited to finally start scaping the tank and getting it wet.

 

IMG_3189.thumb.jpg.7e3a1433bc2bea264ad62179bff601f1.jpg

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

Plumbed my RO Buddie to the utility sink in the mud room. The Mrs. is really happy that I won’t be flooding the floor anymore from overfilling containers 😅 Also I forgot how long it takes to fill up a tank using the RO Buddie🥲

 

924FD62C-17AD-4A2D-B5FB-E656FA41407A.thumb.jpeg.8ba12099e9fd6f7e02a253ecd8c8c911.jpeg

 

It was pretty late last night, so I called it quits and am finishing filling the tank this morning.

 

AC05F258-8510-4D78-9DFF-153A49E6E202.thumb.jpeg.a212fd4cf3f07eb82459d1b559c8ec94.jpeg

 

I wired everything so it looks nice on the outside, but I have some work to do on the inside of the stand 🫣

 

79E655B0-4031-499D-9E30-A28F0012A93E.thumb.jpeg.e474dbbfd63e0dee8f9af68958258069.jpeg

 

 

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Breaking the old school theme and added a doser for the obvious alk and cal in the future, but also to take care of topping off the tank (a worthy theme violation imo). Set it up for 500ml a day for RO water and will go from there. I think I’ll be using brightwell aquatics reef code A and B as well as PNS Pro Bio for the other 3 channels when corals are in the tank.
 

Really enjoy using the Chihiros dosing pumps though. The app is pretty intuitive and everything seems to be quality and is designed to be minimalistic as it’s meant for planted aquariums. You can barely see the tubing going up to the tank which is nice.

 

44942AFC-0AB1-45C5-8D45-C62574B8BAEA.thumb.jpeg.ced620faa4136b638c7d2cb9609f20f8.jpeg
 

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

Haha well I might just have to manually top off the tank as idk if the doser can keep up with the amount of evaporation on this aquarium. Which is fine, gives me an excuse to check on the tank and frees up a channel to dose something else. I also switched back to the Seachem Tidal. Not what I wanted, but the penguin was so. loud. Not to mention it covered everythinggggg in salt creep.  As much as I love a good, refreshing sea breeze mist coming from my tank. For the sake of my light’s longevity, and to keep my dog from using the area as a salt lick, I opted for the Tidal. 
 

Kicking back and enjoying the empty tank before lights out. Everything is putting right along 😁

 

9EFF19FB-26B3-42B9-BDB2-C2528E87B641.thumb.jpeg.9f8a6f7c5acdaa6f7fa422fcf445d903.jpeg

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  • The Rainy Day Aquarium changed the title to RDA's 26 Gallon Bowfront: Honey I Shrunk The Tank!

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