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Well, it's a little late to start a build thread now seeing as the tank is mostly put together, if anything I suppose this will be more of a "polishing up" stocking and grow-out... thing... I do have some pictures I've taken of the process though and some little stories about how one thing or another got thrown together, but at this point I like the scape and stock enough I wanted to share it. Hope you enjoy! About 8 months ago I bumped into the opportunity to purchase a used Nuvo Atoll and AI prime light for $150 and I just couldn't say no. I'd been really wanting to get back into the hobby after moving off the big island of hawaii for ongoing health-reasons after a bout of myocarditis. It came in pretty scratched but I polished it up within an inch of the factory using the three-step Novus polish kit and some microfiber towels. Unfortunately I no longer really have any before and after pictures of the 6 or so hour process of getting everything nice a bright again, but I definitely learned I never want to deal with an acrylic tank again. I can't believe how easily these tanks scratch and how deeply at that... Next up was grabbing some rocks, I didn't want to deal with all the pests and unknowns which can hitchhike on live rock so I went with dry, instead figuring I would cycle the tank using ammonia, bottled Tim's, and some time. I couldn't really think of a fantastic scape Idea and had too many plans laid out, so I just ended up walking out of the LFS with a 30lb or so pile of Dry rock. I figured I could do some kind of really vertical scape to take advantage of the cylinder-shape of the tank, and I grabbed enough flat pieces that I felt like I could easily make a cove or island layout if I wanted to down-the-road. I replaced the stock pump with a Sicc nano 120 gph and bought a Sicc Voyager 240 for circulation alongside Brightwell N03 cubes, about "50 gallons worth" of Matrix and No3-out media, some chemi-pure blue nano satchels, phosguard, carbon, and egg-crate to hold it all in the AIO section. Underneath the overflow is filter-floss, carbon/phosguard, and then a chemipure satchel, to the right of it in the section which gets essentially no-flow is the NO3 seachem media, then in the large-middle section is half-a container of the brightwell NO3Out media and the Seachem Matrix. I also fashioned a little DIY lid out of Lowes scrap acrylic to keep evaporation down, though I really should have used some rods to keep it from warping, I still can't say I'm unhappy with the results. Bought a continuous power-supply UAC, which doubles as a backup for the nebulizer-compressor... And a Finnex 100W heater. Next-up the protoscaping while the tank cycled, I really wanted to try to maximize the amount of space I had for corals and livestock, while working with keeping a kind of full-tank-gyre action going. I was never really happy with the initial-concepts but couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to do, shy of keeping things bare-bottom, either. I managed to skip any huge algae or cyano breakouts and ended up with a 0-ammonia 10-nitrate tank within two moths, though I did get a few diatom blooms they always cleared up as fast as they came on. (That said I still get the occasional bloom after playing with my rockwork >_>) After two months wet, and about 1 month of feeding an empty tank, I decided to test the waters with a small clean-up crew, four nerite snails and a dwarf cerith. I never really took any pictures of them, but my wife and I both love watching the nerites zip all over the tank despite supposedly being "nocturnal", and have enjoyed trying to figure out where on earth the cerith is hiding during the day. Shortly thereafter we decided to grab a maxima from a local LFS, at the time it looked almost opal-white and was barely two or three inches across. I placed it towards the top of my rockwork and woke up the next morning to find that the little bugger had jumped into a hole and quite-firmly attached itself, prompting a "quick" re-working of the tank. Unfortunately working in the tank and scaping is much less pleasant than I had expected, certainly nowhere near as enjoyable as it used to be for me. Because of my various conditions I've lost most of my postural muscles over-time and have swinging electrolyte-imbalances which can cause shaking, spasms, and pain at just about any angle or weight. Needless to say working in the tank can at times be incredibly frustrating and physically-unpleasant, that said I still love aquascaping dearly and will probably end up with a planted bookshelf-tank or jar in the future. A shot of the clam and a Photo-bombing pair of nerites a few weeks-in. About a month later I decided it was time to start adding some corals when I chanced upon a bunch of indo euphyllia about to run out its' timer on Ebay, I picked up an unknown piece which I think is Baliensis, a bi-color frogspawn, and a yellow-ish hammer; plus a Florida-ricordea, chalice, and blasto-merletti colony for about $15 a piece after-shipping. Here's a grumpy shot of everyone after shipping, dipping, and dropping into the tank: And everyone a few days later: After an ongoing, impressively-successful, feeding regimen of sera-marin-granules (once a week) and 1/4 the recommended dose of RedSea AB I decided to order some plastic-coated neodimium magnets to replace the frag plugs, with the plan of epoxying and gluing their pairs into the rockwork, this way I can remove, swap, and frag the colonies without tearing apart my scape or worrying about much of anything. Unfortunately I think I went overkill on their strength as I can pretty much pick my rocks up by the corals XD Shot of the Maxima and Pink-green chalice after about a month settling-in and my dialing in the two-part dosing to keep alk and cal stable. The longer I had the scape up the more I realized the flow levels just weren't working out for the euphyllia or the chalice. The water coming off the voyager was getting deflected down directly onto the colonies and buffeting them, so I bought a timer to turn the powerhead off a few times a day as a temporary-solution until I felt ready to begin more re-scaping. After a week or so I decided breaking up the rock the Maxima was attached to was a great starting place as its' size and awkward shape left itself and the entire scape unsteady and prone to constantly coming apart while I tried to work with the coral. A few days ago my wife fell in love with this dark black-purple and rich-green anchor coral we found at a LFS, it reminds me of a truffula tree or some goofy fairytale-plant. Which leads me to the current iteration of the scape, overnight the new anchor coral decided to go cliff-diving and fell off its' plug entirely, to fish it out I pretty much had to tear apart the whole tank. With that said it did give me the opportunity and excuse I needed to completely-redesign my rockwork into something that would work better for my animals and for me. Four hours and a very sore back/core later and we have this beautiful little lagoon/cove which keeps the euphyllia sheltered from harsh flow and light, keeps the clam high-and center toward the Prime-puck, and the chalice in highish-flow and medium-ish light. The plan from here is to get a Lobo/Favia/Acan colony for the center and some bubblegum Digitata for the back-right of the wall (to be suspended by magnets) and decide on a small fish which won't harass the clam (No clown gobies, no damsels, I've heard clownfish can be mean...) maybe an assessor? I would love to try a yellow-stripe clingfish, but I know you're not supposed to keep pipefish with clams and am not sure if there's a similar rule. On top of that they're very difficult to keep and, while I would be willing to make it a little-feeding dish and shelter and go the extra-mile, even those who seem to do everything right tend to have their fish die within 3 years... Since there's no real information about their actual lifespan in the wild, I don't know how comfortable I am with the idea of potentially doing that to an animal when other species seem to adapt or even thrive in captivity by contrast. Anyway, that's pretty much the whole process of setting up this 13g nano, it has been a really long time since I've been able to play around with this hobby and honestly this tank has been jumping back into the deep-end for me. I'd love to hear any suggestions on livestock, but I want to keep it light and 10% every-other week or even monthly water-changes in the realm of possibility because of my condition (I test every three days to make sure nitrates are undetectable). Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I've loved browsing around the community and admiring all of your tanks and projects, hope you have a great day!
Well, this has been set up for a little over a year. Originally I had set it up after a couple year hiatus from reefing (relocated and didn't have the room at the next couple places) in a 25 gallon (aquarium masters, same footprint as a 20 high) and swapped it all over to get a better layout for aquascaping and lighting coverage. I'm a simple man, so I'm running a Maxi-jet 600, a Zoo-Med 501 canister (mainly for a sponge and media) and an Aqueon Pro heater. Lighting is currently a DIY rig in a RapidLED designer heatsink, with a Luxeon Lime and a pair of "10W" chinese (one blue, one that is 1/3 cool white, and 2/3 royal blue) multichips per side. I currently have a couple BlueAcro Acrostar test boards on the way to swap in though! The current light isn't as blue as I like, but looks pretty good for how cheap and dirty it is. It's got a slightly warmer than 14k look, and the pics are actually pretty accurate to how it really looks. I have a pair of misbar clowns, because the five year old wanted one, and you can't have just one! These suckers were just a bit longer than a quarter when I got them, and now are a good 2.5" or so. The larger one is a deep orange, and the smaller one is almost stark yellow. The starry Blenny (the five year old named him "Fluffy" and it stuck!) is a very happy and enernaining puppy of a fish, definitely the star of the tank. Now for some terrible Pics- It's been up for a while, so I've got some nice coralline growth, and a ton of micro-dusters... Got a nice little Pipe Organ (one of my personal favorite corals!) Even have a little frag of the guy (from a piece that was hanging by a thread when I first bought it, will be neat to watch the growth over time) Nice little neon green tipped Toadstool (with baby that is ready to separate) next to what I believe is a Piece of Leptastrea? Better pic of the Leptastrea- Nice little Duncan starter frag- This Montipora was turd brown and about the size of a quarter when I first got it eight months ago, now it's about seven inches across, and ready to divide up at the back side... Here's a little piece of it that grew from a quarter-inch sized bit that stuck to an adjacent rock before the tank switchover, it's still got a lot of the original brown coloration... The stupid Zoas that just plain refuse to grow or die- And the stupid little frag of it that fell off one day on its own... Here's Fluffy, in one of his favorite spots to hide at whenever I try to get a pic with my phone... This guy has a ton of subtle little details that make him very handsome, if he will ever sit still... My nutrient export? Weekly water changes, and recently a small clod of Chaeto, just threw this in and we will see how fast it grows... The plan is eventual LPS domination, Blasto, Acans, maybe some torch, hammer, frogspawn... I want a Bubble coral or Elegance, but the ones I seem to always come across are either huge or stupid expensive. Not a big SPS guy, but maybe a couple Acro some Hydnophora, and Pavona. Once I figure out the new light I want some more Zoas but I never seem to have good luck with them! I'll try to get better pics up soon, and get some pics of the light setup. Pretty basic but a pretty decent setup, and soon it will be even better!
The start of my 20 long, it was my freshwater tank up until a couple of weeks ago when I decided to use my new 50 gallon for freshwater, so the 20 long will become a marine tank, not planning corals of any significance, maybe some softies but mostly just small fish. The stand is an aqueon metal stand and the aquarium is Tetra branded. Heater is an aqueon which I had been using previously. Lighting will be Current USA Marine Orbit although I have not yet purchased the light. I wasn't going to use a skimmer, but I got a good price on a new HOB skimmer that was too good to pass up, and will be needed when I start a saltwater lagoon in a few months, so figured may as well just use it on this tank for now. Skimmer is a reef octopus classic 100 hob. No substrate as of now, decided to try bare bottom. Bottom and back of tank painted black. Rock is previous live rock from several years ago. Rock is held together with a thermoplastic polymer I found at the local fish store, easier to work with vs epoxy and no chemical migraine inducing smells which is a plus living in an apartment where everything has to be done inside. Salt being used is just instant ocean. Just getting it filled today. Forgive my lack of nice photos, I don't have a modern camera so it's not as good as the phones most folks use these days...lol
Hey NR! feels good to finally post! I'm gonna skip some of theÂ introductions and the "this is me and where I came from" background because I'm pretty boring, until I'm reefing. Then, like many of you, I am in the zone and I am (suddenly, and despite inevitable heart-aches) good at something that should be impossible to beÂ good at Â Â YOU, US, REEFERS in general... we are pretty awesome. We are REALLY awesome.Â Â We are imaginative, resourceful, diligent, cunning, gifted as minimalists, hilarious over-thinkers and far too many of our reefing companions possess an actual instinct for suddenly absorbing enough chemistry, math, financial cleverness and electrical/mechanical daring to imitate Tony Stark and produce some truly outstanding works of functional,inspirational, art. Every single tank of the month that's posted makes me jealous, inspires me, pushes me towards more, and it feels good. Reefing on a budget is not an easy thing, but I'll be posting some tips and hints and success best practices on that later. Â I do have a primitiveÂ motive for this puff piece - but even if I have some great photos or unique ideas, I wanted to publicly say that this community is one of the ONLY reasons I had the strength to come up with any of it. (Single tear sheds down bearded cheek) Â SO enough of that. Some pics of The First Tank! Â A couple of years ago, the beginningÂ was an abused 20 gallon long. That poor tank. I learned enough to know that I needed much more practice, patience, and research, but that stupid thing was so much fun to set up, I had to keep 'upgrading' it. We all know when the bug hits, and that was it. Pour some salt in a box of glass, and BOOM. Spark.Â Â I'll be posting my tanks, upgrades, hacks, tributes, thanks, and all that nonsense regularly, and I will make them pic heavy and lighthearted. Â Cheers to you, reefers.