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Christopher Marks

1/6/05 Upgrading your aquarium

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I wanted a dremel for sooooooooo looooonnnnggg... and then I finally got one! No way I'm not gonna DIY the crap out of everything. I've thought of too many uses for one when I didn't have it, it's kind of hard to put down sometimes. Then again I'm a real hands-on person. New tank ideas zoom through my head all day long, its hard to pin one down. Let alone pin it down long enough to dremel it :P

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I'm pretty sure this is the biggest upgrade so far....


Went from an imaginary 10 gal dreamtank in Sept. 04.

To a real 10 gal (frankensein's monster with Sterlite getto-fuge) nano-nightmare. Complete with red slime algae!!!! :) =]

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It's been almost two years, and I consider everything to be the same essential "tank" though about the only bit that's the same is the corals :P


It was a 3 gallon plastic POS (Aquatic Gardens) which I retrofitted with 2X13w 50/50 bookworms. Deep black sand bed. Aquaclear HOB. 25 watt heater.


Now, it's a 5.5 AGA with 2X24w 12K pcs, smaller white sand bed, and a microjet 450.


Reasons for switching:

**the black sand, which looked sexy at first, started just looking dark and dirty to me.

**the coraline algae was harder than the plastic tank. I literally could not scrape it off without peeling off strings of plastic. Never. Again. Augh. I was down to probably 60% visibility before I made the switch.

**heater bust and almost cooked the tank. Now, no more heaters period. I have one on hand in case it gets really cold, but between the pumps and the lighting, the tank stays warm enough in a climate controlled room.

**Aquaclear HOB bust. I replaced it with an aquaclear powerhead. Powerhead bust. Oh look, a theme! I put my microjet ph in to keep the current going but I'm toying with going back to a HOB...I like the current patterns better believe it or not, and it agitates the surface. And it's not as ugly.

**LR, though pretty, was about three small boulder-shaped pieces with no real sites to place corals. It was barely stackable, but I "settled" for it when I was impatient to start and payed for it later. I let it encrust with GSP and then ditched it for ONE piece of LR with loads of nooks and crannies. No aquascaping, nothing to knock over, and a much cleaner look. One of the best decisions I ever made.

**GSP and some mushrooms were growing rampantly and were difficult to control. Now I'm going to keep things on the sand bed for a while to see how invasive they are...if they turn out to be fast-growing, I have room for a rubble island where they can be isolated from the main rockwork.


After all the chaos of loosing that established but ugly black sand bed in the old tank, and putting in cycled-but-still-new LR, I've let the tank sit for a month or two to stabilize itself. I was going to shoehorn it all into a spare 2.5 but at the last minute my LFS owner mentioned he had "these lights" on sale, and, well, the extra room of a 5.5 was too appealing to pass up. So now I have a spare 2.5 in my bedroom as a rubble and prop tank.


Current things I may change:

**Get a HOB instead of the powerhead.

**Get a background. I was playing around with the clean look of clear glass, but I'm not sure if it's a keeper.

**Get a hood and trim made. Yes. I have no hood. Just the lights and a reflector :P

**Different bulb spectrum. I've got 2 12ks and the tank looks like someone murdered a smurf in there. I've got a 10k and a 50/50 in the mail.


Of course, compared to the 3 gal, now it almost looks TOO big and bare, and I'm wondering if I could turn my liverock on it's side and stand it in one of those AGA 4 gallon tanks...hmm...

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from 2.5 to 10 gallons, added skimmer and upgraded lights, but kept the corals and fish from the smaller tank to outgrow them so the reef looks natural. im glad i did not buy additional LR, im hoping the corals will build the reef, not the rocks :)

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Upgraded from a 20H to a 29 about 9 months ago. On the 20H I had an aquaclear 200, 65w PC's, 40 lbs of LR and a powerhead. The tank did fine, but I wanted a better system. Upgraded to the 29 130W PC lighting, sump, skimmer, multiple power heads, locline return, added 15lbs of LR, a few fish and a lot of corals. I noticed a huge improvement in the growth of my corals from the lighting upgrade and filtration upgrade (i think upgrade is an understatement). Turned the 20 into a FW planted tank. I am very pleased with my upgrade and now the only thing left to finish my upgrade is to get a nice stand and maybe canopy for my 29. I want a cherry one to match my furniture but can't find one or anyone to build me one. The bad thing is I'll always want to keep upgrading. I have a 55 FOWLR tank right now that has all the equipment except for lighting and some more LR to make a reef out of...it might just end up a reef tank with a 29g sump/refugium...

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I have a year old 10g with a skilter, a minijet, and 30watts of flouresants. I am upgrading to a 20H with a 175 watt MH pendant. Getting another minijet and constructing a fuge out of a AC500.

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I just moved from a 20H to a 29, my friend tim and I came up with this method between us (mostly him ;))



buckets of salt water, airpumps or power heads, siphon tubes and or cups/pitchers, a new tank, HOT magnum or the like



Fill three or more buckets with salt water from the tank mixed with clean salt water (70/30) with rock, coral and fish. Store the corals separately in a bucket of their own.


Siphon or otherwise move the sand from one tank to the other (i moved snails and crabs thru the siphon tube as well, hell of a ride). You may need to add water to the tank to siphon all of the substrate etc.


After putting the rock back in, use a bucket of salt for dipping and rinsing stressed corals so that their angry-chemicals wouldn't pollute the new tank. Move the corals in and then the fish. Don't worry about arranging in the cloudy water just don't crush anything...



Battery powered airpumps were helpful for all of the buckets. Don't put any water that the corals were in in the new tank but all of the rest of the previous tank water should be preserved. That night I hung an HOT magnum on the tank with carbon in it (I know, I know this is one of the only times i ever use carbon), tank 90% clear by morning.


Check out my 20H and 29g photos from my gallery, the proof is in the metaphorical pudding.



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I JUST upgraded this weekend


NC12 to BC29



I started with a 10gal hex

I switched because a friend found me an NC12 for DIRT cheap, complete with everything working.

It was better because:

1 - everything built in and hidden in back

2 - not as tall, easier to get to stuff, easier for light to reach bottom


I liked the NC12, but ran out of space, so I found a BC29 on CraigsList for an AWESOME deal I couldn't pass up.

I have the cube for the same reasons as above... only more room for corals and can support more fish now.


I will probably stay with this tank a LONG time since I can't afford to go any larger.

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I'm going to upgrade to my 20 gallon and use my 6 gallon as a fuge. gathering equipment for the upgrade is going slowly but surely!

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