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  1. State of the Aquarium, 27 September 2020 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 stock foam sponge, 100g of GAC, and biomax rings (added PhosGuard 9/2020) Foam layer Media bag (currently running 16 grams/2tbsp of GAC and GFO each) Floss Bio Max rings 2x Koralia 240s 1x Koralia 425 - added October 3 Fluval 100w heater Current Orbit Marine LED 24-36" NICREW ClassicLED Marine 30" (peak hours only) - added August 15 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.
  2. The tube returns! Plans - I'm not sure, the Randalls will likely be banished here to keep it cycled and I may end up with some special filefish to experiment with, otherwise the damsel may end up with a little pygmy perchlet friend. Lots of Macro once it's in season again, maybe an elegance or some euphyllia to just let go nuts in a nutrient-heavy system. I may as well do a little pricing game since I tagged this as a #BudgetReef, I'll update below whenever anything gets added: -Atoll tank, freebie with $130 AI Prime (I sold the light, bought a prime hd for 120 and then sold that - in any case the light's not on the tank so I don't think it counts) -Return pump, came with tank -Finnex Titanium Heater $20 -ABI Tuna Blue PAR 38 $30 ($3 for the lowedepot bargain fixture and $2 for the pie-tin light-shield) -Branch Rock $15 -Rolland's Damselfish $20 ($0 after store-credit, but that's kind of cheating) -Dragons Breath $0 (Was $5 for the original frag, but little lydia likes to frag it for me) -Odd Frogspawn morph $0 ( $5 originally, Came from 20L system -should maybe count?) -White Tipped Torch $0 ($10 originally, Came from 20L system -should maybe count?) -Pair of Trochus $3 -Red Legged hermit and shells $2 -4+ dwarf ceriths $0 (compliments of old tank and possible baby-time, still have a few juvie trochus growing up) March Additions: -Duncan (purchased by my wonderful wife) $10 -Bravo Favia (Some crazy oaf of a monkey came in and fragged the original $15 animal, what luck!) -Baby Acan colony $20 May Additions: -Chalice coral from 20 Long $0 ($10 or so last year -might need to count?) -Iron Man Disco $12 August Additions: -Neon Green Sinularia $10 -Autumn Favia $5 $147 Total This is about the tanks, not me, so I decided to post every acrylic-tanks favorite snackfood, Polish... I may have accidentally crazed the whole interior with a paper-towel which previously had rubbing alcohol on it, and it may have taken a few days to polish it clear again. Whole setup is just waiting for a table to sit on, and then will get wet and dirty with some nice pre-cycled rock, I'll even toss a damsel in for color!
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