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Diamonds x Pearls posted a topic in Aquarium JournalsState of the Aquarium, 1 July 2020, 2am EDT the journal begins here: Didn't realize image compression and Figure 1 looks terribad. yikes! The story actually begins well before this photo on the 22nd. We rewind to December 27th to where I was moving a couple of aquariums in my wife's Honda Fit. (near professional aquarium mover at this point, it's my 4th move). She says she didn't say that, but from that video conversation through Facebook I started thinking real hard what would I make for a third aquarium. I wanted to be lazy and build another planted tank, but I was ready for something different like the tank I made before. I built an Amazon blackwater aquarium to just see how simple or hard it was to maintain that effect. Turns out it was just a matter of boiling botanicals to no end. Wife was okay with another tank. Good enough for me. I was a newly minted aquatics specialist at my Petco and I turned the saltwater section around by not killing all the invertebrates. (That's another story to tell.) Then I thought, hey you're not at FOWLR tanks why not building a reef tank at home? $1 per gallon sale happened right around the new year. I hemmed and hawed at the idea of getting a tank. I looked at Inappropriate Reefer's 10g build. Then I saw defekt's Sanity Saver. Perfect. I had to work around my property management for not having an aquarium of 15 gallons or more. I worked the legal gray area by getting a 20 gallon long since I remember measuring the inside dimensions came closer to 16 gallons than 20 gallons as advertised on the marketing label. I never enjoyed tanks that ran tall with a poor footprint. Bigger footprints mean more horizontal swimming room and unless you're caring for sea jellies or freshwater angels height can be a dimension to ignore. Fortunately there was only one 20L sold at my store and after 3 weeks of thinking really hard of how to build it and its life support elements I decided to go for it and blocked out the image of a nasty credit card bill (but hey points right?). I bought the tank around January 10th and it just sat there sad without a stand for about a week. I was still wondering if this was a good move, but I didn't like the idea of just wasting a perfectly good tank. I built one of those nicer Petco stands (because my wife doesn't have her woodworking tools right now). And that stood for another few days. I painted the back of the aquarium with clearance acrylic paint from Michaels. I waited another week as I was picking out parts. Life Support System: (thanks defekt) AC70 from a previous tank with floss, purigen, phosguard (as needed since mid-Feb), and biomax rings 2x Koralia 240s Fluval 100w heater Current Orbit Marine LED 24-36" Parts arrived on January 21st. Thanks Amazon Prime trial. CaribSea LifeRock, 20lb box arrived January 22nd. I bought CaribSea CORALine from my Petco store. Figure 1. Insert awful photo.
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!