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Hello there! I'm Dylan and this is going to be my first build journal here and only my second saltwater tank ever (last one came down four years ago). I've been planning this tank subconsciously for years and recently for past 6 months but I just got my tank and a stand (pics below) and I'll be getting all sorts of stuff over the next couple weeks so I figured I'd start a kind of "pre-journal" where I can share thoughts or questions I have before we get wet! I move in a month so once that happens and the tank is in its permanent spot (right next to my desk a couple inches above the desk with direct view from side sitting at my desk full down view standing up) I will be filling it up immediately and starting the journal of the actual journey of this tank. I have a very strong vision for this tank of a beautiful zen garden of zoas, ricordeas, some lps here and there, maybe a nem or 2, a gaggle of sexy shrimp, and MAYBE if my roommates yell enough a goby or 2. I really love the look of this shallow tank and think keeping to (for lack of better words) low growing corals on some beautiful rock work will give me the moss and lichen terrarium look I'm going for. For this tank I have been taking a lot of inspiration from my own plants/terrariums and pictures of planted tanks all over the internet. I am going to get my dry rock order in next week so I can begin working on the rock scape as I want to put lots of time into making it very intricate and exactly what I want. Gonna seed the tank with as live of rock rubble as I can get in the back as bio filtration and MIGHT mod the second chamber into an area for some chaeto (although its so small probably not...). Might run some carbon once every two weeks or how ever often needed but want to stay natural all live rock and live sand filtration. Will update after I get more stuff or to show rock work when I start that ASAP! Anyways here is a list of the equipment I have ordered or stuff I am ordering soon (I know some of this is overkill for this small of a setup but this is what is hopefully going to turn into the tank I have been dreaming of for years so I am pouring some money into it) : Tank: 13 gallon (24"x16"x8") AIO acrylic frag tank by luckreefs (great price + free shipping 🙂) Light: Radion XR15 G5 PRO or AquaIllumination Hydra TwentySix +HD (I wanted the NanoBox but they have paused production and there is always future tanks, right?) Heater: Archaea Mini 50w Return Pump: UMPCT 120 GPH Pump (cheap might replace) Flow: Tunze Nanostream 6020 or 6040 ATO: Tunze (not the nano one) + reservoir I got from luckreefs as well RO/DI: SpectraPure MaxPure MPDI 90GPD Stand: Got at local flea market- need to add supports and my friend is coming to pick it up this weekend to paint it for me (might end up being cooler than the tank lol) I have other stuff like salt, testing kits, bulkhead, etc. I have ordered but I figure I will leave those out for now and put em in the actual journal 🙂 QUESTIONS: 1. For dry rock I have been looking at Salty Bottom Reef Co. anyone have experience with them? Said they should be shipping in a week or two and if you have other vendors you like let me know! 2. Opinions on the Radion XR15 or AI Hyrda 26 HD? Like I said I really did want the NanoBox but I also like the look and functionality of both these options so if you have experience with either give me your opinion, please! 3. Looking into a small generator/battery backup I could keep in case of power outages, any recommendations? Also recommendations for good surge protectors? Kinda silly to ask for but I always like products I know someone has tried and trust. 4. How many sexy shrimp could I realistically keep here? I want enough so it's like a herd but not to many that I am crowding them. I am thinking maybe 8-10 of them? Just wondering if the more I have also increases their chance of munching corals/becoming more aggressive? I have kept a pair in my first tank and just made sure they were fed we never had any problems so just wondering if having that many will increase the chance of that? Ok this was a lot so I will go for now and post more if I have more to say, thanks if you read all this and if you have any tips, tricks, opinions, or anything to say please do! Love all advice and wisdom I can get. I have such a vision for this tank and hope with the help of this amazing forum and some exercised patience I can pull it off and I have never been more excited to see where a hobby takes me, cheers! (plz ignore these messy pictures I am moving in a few weeks as I said so my space is a MESS and packed full of stuff and I am no photographer but atleast I tried lol)
Rock arrived today! This is my favorite part of a new tank! Couldn't wait to get home and out down the little one and take a hammer to some rock! Lol I am wanting a free hanging minimalist look with an aquascape that spirals upward a bit. Like a spiral staircase. Tank is going to be rock flower nems and encrusting/plating corals. And GSP, because every tank needs GSP! I still have a fair bit of rock, thinking about just rasing up the structure a few inches. Rock will be epoxied and stuck with acrylic rods.