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Well well well, here we are again. New tank, new build! Here's what we've got! Equipment Tank: Lifegard Aquatics Crystal AIO 4.1 gallon Heater: Cobalt NeoTherm 25 watt Light: Fluval Sea Marine Nano Skimmer: DIY Media Reactor: DIY I picked up this aquarium on a sale (along with another small tank, but let's take one thing at a time 😉 ). This small "all in one" pico (or nano at the most) is only 4.1 gallons. Not as extreme as many of these crazy hooligans showing off their one gallon reef bowls, but this thing is pretty small nonetheless! Being an AIO, filtration will be taken care of with coarse foam and plastic bio media (these are stock supplies that came with the tank). With this aquarium being so small it's a little difficult to find equipment that will work/fit, but I ended up using a spare NeoTherm that I had lying around and I ordered an Asta 20 (the marine version) from amazon for lighting. I've read the controller for this light is a hot mess but the light seemed decent enough to fork out the $50 to get (I'll let you all know how I like it). Like mentioned in the list, I am planning on using a small media reactor and skimmer, both of which I'll be making (parts are in the mail). I've always liked the DIY aspect of the hobby and enjoy the challenge, but am more into making things that are not only functional, but have as much quality as I can muster (aka I'm not rolling with hot glue and water bottles). I'll probably make a separate thread on making these two pieces. Stocking will be kept to a minimum, being such a small volume of water, but I kind of want to keep that all a surprise until it comes in and everything is happy and doing fine. I've had a lot of experience keeping nano planted aquariums so small volumes of water are no issue with me, but I still have a lot to learn with this niche in the hobby and am excited to see what comes of it! Updates to come. Thanks for stopping by!
spiffish posted a topic in Aquarium JournalsHello folks! Back in 2013, I had a complete tank disaster. I had a Solana 34 cube running for five years. It had its ups and downs (the downs were when I got busy with life and didn't maintain it well). One day, in the middle of the night, I awoke to the sound of water. The tank had burst a leak in one of the seams. Much effort went into getting the livestock in containers to keep everything alive but I had a huge mess on my hands to clean up. In the midst of the chaotic scramble to manage the tank catastrophe, my wife came out of the bathroom with a positive pregnancy test (after trying for quite a while). "This is the best day of my life" I said amongst the buckets of salt water, rocks, and towels. Fast forward to Christmas 2018. My now five year old son loves animals and science and I thought that this would be the year to get back into the hobby- making this a great father-son type activity to do together. I am prepping what I can to have everything ready, but ultimately on Christmas morning the empty tank will be wrapped on a stand in the living room, ready for us to learn how to set it up together. I am planning to make a brochure type thing with the steps spelled out over the coming weeks so he can see and understand the process (Ex: day 1: fill tank with sand, rock, and saltwater, day 2: test water parameters and temp, etc) EDIT- Current FTS: On to the tank and equipment: Build goals: Mixed reef (lots of Zoas and soft corals) Mix of inverts and fish Clean crisp aquascape and display Modern overall design to compliment mid-century decor Keep it simple equipment wise, but go for quality when I can Be able to leave this for a couple of days out of town without someone checking on it Any suggestions on how to do this worry-free? Tank: Lifegard Crystal 24.09 gallon low iron glass 45 degree mitered corners All Glass. The wall separating the back chamber from display is dark tinted glass, the back is covered in black vinyl. This was the largest tank I could fit in the intended location within my budget goals (got for $150 on black friday sale) I could find hardly any information on this tank, it seems like a poorly marketed recent release, but the quality looks great! More info here: https://www.marineandreef.com/Lifegard_Aquatics_24_09_Gallon_Crystal_Aquarium_p/RRL31942.htm?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIssHTxJei3wIVF1mGCh17CgXcEAQYAyABEgKEk_D_BwE Lighting Kessil a160we blue tuna Gooseneck mount Kessil controller I really love the shimmer effect and the overall aesthetic of this light Other: Dry rock (found a 40lb box on amazon for $1/lb) Fiji Pink Live sand Cobalt aquatics 100w heater XP Aqua Duetta ATO (I have read lots of good about the Tunze, but This was almost half the price, and both sensors are optical vs the float backup on the Tunze, though I like the smaller pump and tubing in the Tunze) Back chamber: ??? I have no idea on how to set this up! I am thinking about making an in-filter style acrylic filter basket for intake chamber Basic set up plan: Plan aquascape and rinse rocks in fresh water Mix saltwater in plastic tubs, add rinsed rocks and bio-spira to jump start cycle (one week before christmas) Christmas: add sand and rocks, add water, set up light and back chamber (run polishing filter pad to help with sand debris) ?? Eventually, I may add a skimmer or some sort of fuge depending on how things go. I may also make an acrylic top for this depending on evaporation and livestock. For now, I will start simple! I would love your thoughts/feedback/advice on the questions below: EDIT: Moved the following questions to a post in beginners forum. Feel free to comment here or ignore my questions in this thread, since the journal is meant more for documentation. Any advice on setting up the back chamber? (see pics below) Do I plug the hole on the intake down near the bottom, or use the included intake thing? Are the intake grates too small? What do? The return doesn't have any sort of end on it to direct the flow, any suggestions? What basic setup plan should I follow after christmas day? I have never done a set up with only dry rock, life sand, and bio spira... is that enough to start the cycle and eventually turn my rock into LR? When can I add first Basic Zoanthids, inverts, or fish? Any suggestions on a book or internet guide that spells out all the reef keeping (better if nano-reef focused?) so I can use that as a guide to learn this together with my son? Any complaints, criticism, insults, or generally tomfoolery are appreciated! I want to get this right and have some fun doing it 🙂 On to the pics of the tank (I could find no good pics of this tank online anywhere, maybe this will be helpful for someone!)