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5.5g AGA Nano-Reef In tank ( Sump / Fuge ) + ( Hood / Light ) Upgrade Journ


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Sorry for the long post... but I am moving it over from my other post on ReefCentral... so bare with me! If it seems a little choppy time frame wise now you know why... here we go:


Got tired of seeing my huge PH, ugly AC300 intake, and wack heater in my display... solution: build an intank sump/fuge.




1 Domino Damselfish (Zippy - very cool active fish)

1 Coral-Banded shrimp (friendly doesn't attack any of the tank mates)

3 Red Legged Hermits

3 Mini Blue Legged Hermit

1 Giant Turbo Snail w/a nice looking shell

2 Nassarius Snails

1 Astrea Snails

A hugeeee bristleworm

A hugeeee featherduster (tossed its head after the move... but still alive somehow)


I always see all these guys hitchhiking on eachother's backs which is always fun to watch, I had 2 more snails but they got jacked up for their shells by the hermits.


My live rock seems to be top notch and the live sand was seeded from many tropical sources which explains the huge amount of hitchhiking creatures... a bunch of tiny brittle stars hundreds of spaghetti worms a few copepods tons of tiny dusters and other good stuff.


Here are the final measurements for the sump:




Coral Banded Planing with the Coralife Thermometor




Construction Materials




Silicone - Not just for #### anymore




Drying time: 24Hrs - then water test... no leaks... Had to shorten my bulkhead... pain in the arse!








Water test went sucessfully... overflow works GREATTTTTTT. Unfortunatly the tubing from the pump to the return wont make the bend and restricts water flow so I have to get a elbow for it before I do the transfer... later tonight... more pics to come hopefully I wont stir up the stand too much and I can put the fish and shrimp back in tonight, wish me luck!


Oh yeah, I'm glad I put the return high because it keeps the waterlevel behind the display pretty high - more water = good..... unless i use the wet-dry method of having my sponge... hrmmmm the dilemma! Also - how am I going to determine evaporation because the water level in my display will always be the same height? Do i have to mark it in the pump chamber and watch it there? May-b i can take the volume of the pump chamber and figure out mathematically the evap rate for a ato... or float switches sound nice hrmmmm







GOOD NEWS! Transfer is complete everything seems to be workin fine... fuge looks great just needs live rock rubble and cheato.... I NEED MORE LIGHTING!! Next project is building the hood, got all the measurements going to go back to home depot again today and get some more wood cut...... anywho here are the details and pics of the transfer... it took 30 minutes to do.


1. Siphoned water out of original tank into bucket while removing all livestock and liverock.


2. Transferred most but not all of the sand into the new tank with very little water.


3. Put the hood from my AC300 filter into the display to act as a diffuser when pouring water from the 5g bucket (VERY SLOWLY) into the display.


4. Poured new, already mixed seawater into the fuge/sump part so I would have a gallon extra in the bucket not needed.


5. Transfered water from bucket into tank slowly using cups and being careful not to stir up the sant too much, while putting the rock and all the livestock except for the fish into the new tank.


6. I still ended up making a pretty bad sandstorm but it could have been worse, only took 2 hours to clear up mostly... I only left the fish in the bucket with a gallon of old water for 20 minutes before putting him in the display.


7. Waited till it cleared up enough to see the overflow notches from the front barely to aquascape. Waited till it cleared up again and fed the fish/shrimp.


8. The next morning (today) everything looks great, fish and shrimp look happy and active, mushroom, sponge, and yellow button polyps look sluggish but the zoos actually look good for once! I think my feather duster is still alive and trying to decide what to do with itself.


9. Here are pics... don't you love the getto rigged lighting? I only have 2 power chords coming off the tank... 1 heater 1 pump... I left the magfloat in for the pics just because I like my magfloat so ****... I love how the heater, temperature probe and just everything is out of the display makes for a nice clean look; also I think i have pretty good random flow in the tank right now but i might stick on the 1/4" flare nozzles onto the Y return










Hood construction is coming along great, I might start building hoods in my free time and selling them... it's hard to find decent hoods for smaller tanks like 2.5g and 5.5g's... anyway - I used 1/4" Wood and the hood is 5.5" tall. It will house 2X18w 50/50 bulbs + ballasts + reflector from my 12" coralife fixture and 2 x 20w 50/50 coralife screw in bulbs on the sides... this should be plenty of lighting for my display + fuge @ 76w. I don't think i will need any fans because the hood has a nice open back. Here are some pictures:


Building Materials - Gorilla Glue = Teh Shyt




Clamping Final Piece!




Front View




My hood is done! Took me no time flat to transfer the coralife fixture to the hood and do all the wiring... pictures to come later. At 5.5" tall I can't see making the hood any shorter... there would just be no room... unless there was a metal halide fixture in which case the hood could MAYBE be 4 or 4.5" tall.... class time - pictures later... still have to build the base!


The Hood is complete! It looks sick :-) Base construction is going to be done on monday or tuesday... can't wait it will really tie it all together. Check it out....


Primer to seal the wood and make the topcoat look perty - very necessary.




Teh Hotness










Not much room... and no fans needed! The hood does NOT heat up the tank.










Yellow Polyps




Hermit Shedding




Base is almost done... some wood filling where i CRACKED the wood and some sanding and painting and hopefully it will be perfect. It really sucks not having any powertools but somehow with the collaboration of many difference business venues I was able to get this project done... but the project is not complete! After the base is done and more corals and live rock rubble and cheato are added and let to sit for a little I will be working on a custom made protein skimmer hopefully. I will DEFINITLY be off to the LFS this week to get live rock rubble for the minifuge and a friend will be sending me some cheato. The sponge seems to be doing a great job at catching nasty stuff and macroalgae that comes lose so may-b its acting like a fuge too? I also have the carbon in the there and my flow seems perfect not too much not too little and for the most part somewhat random. More updates to come >> POST COMMENTS QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS LOOK ALIVE PEOPLE!


Oh and my feather duster tossed it's head... fxcking GROSS to look at but hopefully it will grow back nice and beautiful in 2 weeks time... until later!


Rain rain rainnnn...


Today it is raining... rain = bad because I can not spray paint outside in the RAIN... no other places to spray paint =( the base will have to wait another day or week or so because its supposed to rain all week... oh well... rescheduling my trip to the LFS until tommorow! I have an extra 5.5g AGA tank... anyone have any ideas what I should do with it? How bout a GIANT brine shrimp factory! hahahah let me hear your ideas... keep in mind i do not want a sump or any more fish tanks (I already have 2)

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Today my coral banded shed his skin again... second time since I got him a month ago... I guess thats a good sign! Going to the LFS in a little to try to pick up some live rock rubble, maybe even a small frag or a snail or who knows? More pics:








All of your base are belong to my nano-reef.



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  • 2 weeks later...
Dude that is just beautiful

I wish i had your diy ability


I have no DIY ability... I just winged it and it happened to come out good... I learned as I went along and asked alot of questions and did alot of research... I would love to build a tank or hood for anyone who asks though... so let ppl know! Right now my tank is doing great... more pics to come when I get a chance

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looks great! i really like the design!!!


few things on the CBS, as I've had them and had problems with thme...


first, you're pushing the space required for it, esp when it gets bigger.. don't be surprised if it starts messing with your coral placement at night.


second, it should only molt once per month... any more than that and it's a sign of stress... maybe it's just adjusting to it's new home, that's most likely.


third, there's a high possibility it will become aggressive, especially if you aren't target feeding it. it knows it can't catch the damsel, so it's not even trying. if you put a smaller, slower fish in there (ie. clown) or something, it'll most likely go after it. they've got those claws for a reason. Mine also took out some snails when it got hungry.


basically you need to provide it adequate space to move around without it's antennae toching anything (glass/coral/rock/etc).


just some tips, it'll probably be fine... looks great! nice design!

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