13.5 Gallon Build Thread.



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Apr 20, 2021
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hattiesburg ms
Good morning everyone! Just a little update here: I studied a little bit on play sand (which I had in my tank) and that was a total no go due to silicates which = diatoms . So I’ve switched to Caribsea sand and I like the look of it way better anyways. I’ve done some more studying and the base rock I’m using isn’t the best, primarily because it’s very porous and could potentially hold worms and attracts detritus. So I will be changing that out to live rock.
I’ve also added a beautiful chromis to the mix and they all seem happy together. The clown and him love swimming together while the damsel is a little more reserved and shy. But he still likes to come out and play. I’ve removed the lid and put in my own light (a coralife 48 LED) until I find something that compliments my tank very well. (I already had it on hand so it was my go to light) I was thinking an AI Prime 16HD but not sure yet.
also: because I do have 4 other tanks (freshwater), and it makes things a little easier for water change day, I have a 5 gallon bucket of salt mix already made up and it is always circulating, just not heating. I made this little contraption with a power head and some PVC piping to circulate it.
I attached a few pics of the happy fish, snail, and hermits just for a size update.


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Jun 18, 2021
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I’m on the same journey. Definitely good call getting rid of the play sand. Your rock is fine. It looks like standard Marco reef rock or something like it. You don’t need live rock your tank is already cycled. Losing your rock would potentially be losing some of the healthy bacteria you worked so hard cultivating. I personally think a sump and refugium are overkill. Managing nutrient levels is easy with water changes when you are probably only dealing with roughly 10 useable gallons. Display refugiums are cool though. If you haven’t checked out intank yet they make some much better filter solutions than what the tank comes with. Stock light works well for softies and some LPS.

What is the best "cleaning product" or home recipe for cleaning reef tank equipment?

  • Water and scrubbing

    Votes: 59 12.7%
  • Citric Acid

    Votes: 224 48.4%
  • Vinegar

    Votes: 148 32.0%
  • Hydrogen peroxide

    Votes: 13 2.8%
  • Lemon Juice

    Votes: 1 0.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 18 3.9%
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