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I started out with a 13.5 Evo nano Mantis tank back in April, but Mr Pickles didn't make it through his first molt. I ended up with a White ribbon eel ("Slimy") that "wouldn't eat." He eat pellets now. Main issue is that he will quickly outgrow my 13.5, so I needed better long term planning for him. I settled on a 66 from SCA, because if I got rid of some clothes and got a smaller dresser, I could fit it in my room. This is sort of long, so I'll try to keep it brief and with pictures. I'm condensing 2 months of planning into one post. Found a used tank on Craistlist. Haggled, waited, he finally agreed. Sale didn't include the skimmer or light, but I paid WAY less than it was posted for. New tank/stand runs $1200 on Amazon. I got a skimmer (Bubble Magnus 5) for $70 on Craigslist in Reno when I was visiting a friend, and the guy had a Maxspect Razor 420 he let me have for $30 and a reactor for $20. Sent the light back to Coralvue for warranty repair of the burnt out LEDs and broken fans. Now, it's good as new. I like it, and think it's a good light for what I spent on it. I set up the tank, and started planning the plumbing. This is my first sumped tank. From my research, the old owner had set up the overflows all wrong, so I started over. I got Innovative Marine's tank mat for both the tank and the sump. The hinges were so rusted they were falling apart, so I swapped them out. I planned my plumbing on paper, bought parts, test fit it, and then glued it. It has a manifold for (3) 1/2" lines, a check valve, and several unions and gate valves. I went with a Herbie overflow. I did a write-up in the DIY section on mounting the power switch into the front board, so I'll spare you the details. Short version: hole, light up switch, behind it, outlet. Cords stay up away from water. Add a labelmaker, and I'm happy. My ATO is a $6 cereal container from Walmart, but I not sure it'll hold enough (1.5 gallons) so I may connect 2 together with little RO hose bulkheads. The sump is about 18 gallons, so it takes a bit to raise the water level. I needed to leak test, but had no good way to drain it if I used tap water. I ended up deciding to use straight RO, then when I'd fixed any leaks, I added salt. I left my live sand bags in the tank for volume's sake, and it took almost 3 days after work to fill with my little under sink RO system. But I made my money back on it right there. Once it was full, I starting adding salt. Estimate it to be about 80 gallons with the sump. Started low, and fine tuned. I've got it at 1.024 now. I'd prefer it to 25, but with the ATO not on, it'll get itself there before I put livestock in it. Sunday, I added the sand. I took a clean razor blade and split each bag. I tried to dump them gently, but no luck. The bubbles coming out and dumping action stirred everything up. I put my eel tubes in the sand, and covered them. I added filter floss and black foam stuff to the sump baffles to help catch sand. The skimmer, amazingly, picked up a TON of sludge. I should have my Current USA (Amazon) wave pumps when I get home, and I'll see how the sand is. If it settled, ill need to even the sand out still. After that, I'll pull my filter sock, turn off my skimmer, and add Dr Tim's. I'll probably hang some frozen silversides from a veggie clip for ammonia. They're starting to freezer burn anyway. I added chaeto yesterday, and I'll add more from the 13.5. Should give it a boost, and start adding pods. My last tank cycled in less than a week, so hoping for the same. More pics to follow once I get home. I'm working on the program/timer on the Maxspect, anyone have any advice? I'll be taking the live rock and almost all the coral out of the 13.5, when would it be safe to do that for the corals, since they're attached? Plan for the tank *so far* is Slimy the White Ribbon eel (about 16-18" now), 3+ Leaf fish, 3-4 McKoskers Wrasses, and a Scopas, Yellow, or Purple Tang. I'll need to trade them out as they outgrow the tank. One of my LFS have 2 Waspfish, so I'm very tempted to grab them and cut out the wrasses, although I'd like a few "swimmy fish". Here's Slimy, yawning.
I don't want to make this topic long, so I'll just say and list the main points. 🙂 Current Tank: Oceanic Biocube29 Inhabitants: 1 Clown, 1 Sleeper goby, 8-9 zoas, 4 LPS, 3 Snails, 1 Crab (whenever he decides to come out) Rock: 30lbs Live Rock + 30 Lbs Live Sand Age: 3 months Situation: I'm looking to upgrade my current set up to a more established one, that will last me a few good years before I ever need to upsize. When I started, I always wanted a sump/ refugium but I had no prior knowledge on how to care for one. I was able to scrump together enough to make this purchase. I'm moving in 3 months but I feel that will be fine. I don't have to set the tank up right away but I can always start the nitrogen cycle, so that its an easy set up for moving day (condo). My choices are, with included cons: SCA 66 Gallon Starfire Rimless Aquariums Pnp System 32x24x20" 10mm with Built-in Overflow for $1980 (I'll have to upgrade the plumping) Res Sea Reefer 425 XL (47") - $1800 (this is a great deal but I dont know how much space I will have and I would like a more cube like tank) Red Sea reefer 350 white (36") - $2200 (this was my first dream tank) Advice for choosing would be grateful
I'm setting up a new SCA 66, and thought everyone might want to see my electrical solution. The sump this tank comes with is huge, so not much else fits in the stand with it. I wanted a one switch-one plug setup, and found a DJ switch panel I was happy with on Amazon. I got it and realized I had nowhere to put it that wouldn't be directly in the way of salt water in case of emergency. After some head scratching, I settled on the front horizontal support. It's main task is preventing side wall collapse, and as long as the holes were close to the center and not the edges, I figured I'm pretty safe. I found some scrap light cardboard and marked the center of each switch. I transferred the marks to the front of the cabinet with wax pencil, and using a 1-1/4" hole saw, cut the holes out. My daughter (8) was thrilled and painted the inside of each hole black. With an extra set of hands, I mounted the switches from the back. (Be aware, mounting is next to impossible unless you can sit in the cabinet with a helper lining the switches up with the holes for you.) Now I can run the cords along the ceiling, my cord management side is happy, and my salt water/electrical risk does down significantly. The cabinet door covers the lights when its closed, and it won't keep me awake with the red glow. I have since added labels from my labelmaker under each switch.