15g Office nano tank - natural sea water

KimG

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Hi everyone :)

Time to start a new tank.

A bit of background first.

I started reefing about 13 or 14 years ago during my Bachelor degree. The wife and I liked it so much that we decided to open a company to produce ornamental fish. While great things came out of that, unfortunately the economic crises would last for longer than we anticipated so we had to close the company and leave our home country. However, the experience and knowledge gained during those 2/3 years was invaluable and would guide a lot (if not all) of my professional life up to this point. I spent the next years working in the aquaculture and research sector, as a technician, research assistant and plenty of other adventures, all connected to fish breeding, systems and aquaculture. Unfortunately during most of this time I was unable to keep a tank.

Two years ago the wife and I bought a house, so we were finally able to start a tank (IM SR80, photo below) which has been a mixed adventures (plenty of self-inflicted lows including almost a year of fighting dinos. Some post about that in the forum).

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At the end of last year I got my own office at work and start to think about adding a small nano to it. A lot of the inspiration for the research I do still comes from reef tanks, so it made good sense. However, due to the ongoing on and off due to covid I decided to wait.

Earlier this year we added a CBB to our home tank. Didn’t eat for 2 days, at the 3th was eating frozen fine, at the 4th all acans were closed….. Yep, he likes acans….

The acans went in to protective custody

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So, prefect timing (and excuse :cool:) to start the tank in the office and transfer the acans


The tank in question will be a Waterbox peninsula 15 mini. It need to be small so I can take it home in case covid causes some more unforeseen issues at work. Plus, I always wanted to try my hand at a nano, so it was a perfect combo.

The tank will be stock with mostly corals from our tank at home (the above mentioned acans, plating monti, echinata lamelosa, seriatopora and maybe some zooas). The idea is to add them slowly and see how corals are reacting.

Other stock will probably include a pair of Ocellari clows (standard orange) and a cleaner shrimp, as well as some clean-up crew.

Now, as mentioned before I do research in aquaculture so I have easy access to natural seawater. Our home tank was started with natural sea water and during that time it grew all corals really well (mainly sps). However, after lots of issues caused by restarting the tank with dry rock, and in a bid to reduce potential sources of issues, we transitioned to artificial water (tropic marin pro).

This nano tank will be again with natural sea water. Alkalinity will have to be adjusted before water changes (normally its about 6.7) and calcium and magnesium also tend to be on the low side, but time (and corals) will tell if I adjust them or leave them be.

Overall, the objective with this tank is for it to be simple and based on water changes for maintenance and nutrient control. When on holidays I will probably have to ask a colleague to take care of it, so it should be simple. So no skimmers or ATS.

Feeding of the fish will be done with pellets once a day to keep nutrient load low.

A lot of the equipment will be DIY and I will probably do an individual post for each of the DIY pieces of equipment with some more explanation. I will also update the equipment list if something changes.


Currently waiting on the delivery of the aquarium (hopefully tomorrow or the day after) so I can get it wet, as all remaining equipment is ready to go.
Hopefully, this will be a smother jorney than the one at the home aquarium :rolleyes::p

Cheers



Equipment list



Waterbox peninsula 15 mini

DIY stand

Light – DIY 28 3w led

Return pump – Tunze Silence 1073.008

Eheim thermopreset 50w

InkBird ITC-308 wifi

DIY ATO using an Arduino as controller

Tunze care magnet nano

DIY screen top



Future Equipment list

If/when I need additional flow I will add either a Jebao SOW 4 that I already have, or potentially buy an Aqua Medic Smartdrift 3.1

Dosing will be conducted via an Aquamedic EVO (also have already from previous adventures).

Tropic Marin All for Reef will be dosed if/when needed.


Filtration

Filter floss

Activated carbon in a bag



Maintenance

Planning on doing 20 to 25% water changes weekly using natural sea water. This may be increase or decrease if needed.

Cleaning glass when needed.

Cleaning sand if needed.


Tank Progress
Currently stand, lights, ATO, Aquascape are all ready. Waiting on the tank to arrive. Probably tomorrow.


Livestock Plans
Pair of ocellaris

Cleaner shrimp

CUC – turbos, trochus and nassarius.

Acans

Maibe some montiporas (plating and branching)

Seriatoporas (mainly caliendrum)

Echinata lamelosa

Zooas
 
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lapin

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KimG

KimG

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One of the brilliant things about this hobby is the diy opportunities.
Once I knew I was going to set up a new tank I knew there would be some more options for DIY.

The first thing to do after choosing the tank was to build the stand.

I love to do wood working, so it all fitted nicely.
A trip to the local hardware store, some bought wood and time to go to the workshop and build it.

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The stand is slightly bigger than the tank (approximately 60cm X 40cm) so there will be a small rim around the tank.
The stand is 100cm tall. Perfect for when I’m sitting at the desk in the office.

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I wanted maximum accessibility under the stand, so both the front and right panels of the stand are doors. Most of the electric equipment will probably be mounted on the right side panel. The panels on the back and left side are secured with screws so I can remove them if needed in the future.

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On the back of the stand are two 3d printed mounts for the arm that holds the light. This allows me to move the lights up and down as needed or remove them all together.

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The arm for the lights as a grove along the top and back to hide the light cables and an extra piece of wood that secures magnetically in place, hiding the cables.

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The all stand is coated in Rubio Mono Coat which will hopefully help protect it from water spills which will undoubtedly happen.


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KimG

KimG

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Yes, I've looked quite a bit. I'm afraid my skills are quite poor, but may have no choice but to try.
I considered getting a kitchen cabinet. Various configurations, normally easely available and if needed it can be reinforced on the inside.
However, at the end of the day is was much more fun for me to build it from scratch (also cheeper, and in my eyes looks better as well) so I went that route.
 
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KimG

KimG

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Well, it's never a good sign when your tracking information for an aquarium says "The slightly damaged shipment is being repackaged".......;Nailbiting;Nailbiting;Nailbiting
Not looking all that good. It looks like I might have to wait a litle bit longer to have water in the tank.
They should come by today or tomorrow. Then we find out the state of the tank.


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KimG

KimG

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No tank delivered today, so still not sure the size of the “damage”… I will have to wait some more.

Also, sorry for the very long posts, but it’s easier to show the individual bits in the beginning and describe them well in case someone is interested in replicating some things.

Posts will probably get a lot smaller once everything is running.
If anyone is interested in a more detailed construction post of any of the DIY projects, I can add it to the DIY section of the forum, with more detailed pictures. Just let me know.

Today’s topic: DIY LED lights.

I first started to play with LED’s about 12 years ago when I first started in the hobby.
Over the years I have built many project using LEDs for different purposes.

I’m by no means an electrician or an electronics engineer. Most of what I know on this topics is self-thought, so it’s likely that there are better ways (and maybe safer) to build these led fixtures. Keep that in mind.

When we first set up our main tank in the house I knew I was going to go down the DIY route.
I have built two different lights for the aquarium in the house.
The first was based off 3 ebay replicas of radion lights.

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It work really well, but I never really like the way it looked and it was in many ways overly complex with all the individual drivers for all the channels.

So eventually I made a second light.
This time it was simpler. 6 rows of 14 leds, with the final colour been the result of the selection of leds. All leds run at the same power. Also, I could make it more panel style.

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For the office tank I went with the same principle.

4 pucks with 7 leds each, with 1 whites, 3 royal blues, 1 410nm, 1 425-430 mm and 1 bright blue, 28 leds in total.
The lights many require some more white, but I will have to see once it’s in place with the tank and rocks inside.
In order to simplify mounting and cable management the leds are solder into 7 led pcbs. Unlike the main tank at the house, I’m using round pcb’s. Mostly due to easier options for 3d printing a cover that makes it look nice.

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The light uses 4 pucks, which I hope will give me a very good coverage and distribution and help reduce shadowing.

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When ran at 500ma it uses approximately 50w, or less then 2w per led. This helps keep the leds cooler, meaning that I do not need fans (passive colling) and the leds should last longer.

As mentioned before a 3d printed cover is placed over the entire assembly to reduce light spill and improve the appearance. Inside each 3d printed case there is a space for 6 magnets. These secure the acrylic cover that goes over the leds (magnets inserted in the acrylic). This way I can easily remove the acrylic cover for cleaning and I can also easily replace it if it gets scratched.

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Currently I’m missing the 90 degrees lenses that will go on the leds and the power supply.

Currently I’m using a variable power supply until I can get everything installed and the tank in place with water so I can measure the PAR values. After that I will buy the appropriate Mean Well power supply.

On my home thank I use the GHL profilux to do sun rise and sun set by dimming the mean well power supply. In this tanks it will be kept to a simple on or off using a timer like the good old days of T5’s.

I will update this post with some pictures and PAR measurments once the tank arrives and the lights are above the tank.

One thing many people wonder is the cost of build DIY led fixtures, so here is the breakdown of the costs:

2 heat sinks: 28USD (2x14)
LEDs: 30 USD (approximately)
LED lenses: 10 USD
PCB’s: 1 to 2 USD
Power supply: approximately 40 to 50 USD (depending on the size required)
Thermal past and wires: aprox. 10 USD

So all and all approximately 130 USD.

Two things can change the price a lot:

First is complexity of using multiple drivers for individual channels.

The second is the brand and quality of LEDs. I bought all of mine in a UK company that sells them as Bridgelux or Epiles. I don’t really have a way of confirming authenticity, but I have had them running on my main display for almost two years and only had problems with the 390nm. I replaced them with higher wave lengths and haven’t had problems again. They also seem to grow coral ok. So, for me they work great.

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Any questions or comments just let me know.

Cheers
 
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KimG

KimG

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And we have water, sand and rocks.

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The aquascape is made of Real reef rock, glued together using cyanoacrilate glue and tunze coral gum epoxy.

The sand is AMA Natures Ocean Reef Sand 0,5-1,7 mm. Unfotunaly its prety fine sand, so I may come to replace it, as even gentle current seems to move it about, but we will see.

I also added a bag of biomedia from my home tank.
Ammonia and nitrite are already being converted.

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KimG

KimG

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Todays DIY projected is the screen top.

screen3.jpg


The inspiration for the screen cover came from the beautiful acrylic tops you can buy online.

While I did not expect to come up with the same results as the ones you can buy, I must say I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

screen1.jpg


I started by cutting a 3mm acrylic sheet to the dimensions of the tank (display area only).

After that I 3d printed a guide that I glued to the acrylic using double sided tape.

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The guide served two purposes:

Guide the router bit to cut the inside of the acrylic sheet
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And allow me to drill holes in specific locations

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Once that was done, I sanded the edges (some imperfections, as the guide is made of 4 individual parts and wasn’t fully secured.

I considered and tried many ways to attach the screen mesh to the acrylic. I tried different glues, but didn’t like the result of any of them.

So instead, I 3d printed 4 pieces that fit on the bottom of the acrylic, which have small pins that fit on the drilled holes. That way the pins secure the net and the parts together.

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The parts should cover the entire side, however due to printer issues, only the corners have been finalized.

The 3d printed parts also serve as a stopper on the inside of the glass, preventing the top from sliding over.

The tension of the net holds everything together, so I don’t need to glue it, making replacing the net very easy. Also, if you like to colour match the parts of the tanks you can always replace with different colours.

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All and all, pretty happy with the results

Cheers
 
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KimG

KimG

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Habemos fish :D

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One of the great things about having this tank in the office is that I’m no more than 20 meters from a fully equipped aquaculture lab, so keeping track of the progress (and parameters) is pretty easy.

After adding the rocks and sand last week I added 0.5 mg TAN per l. For my surprise, it was all gone the next day. At this point I added a bag full of biomedia from my home aquarium (full of sponges and other critters) and added more TAN. Again, 24 hours later all gone and no nitrite.
I have been checking daily and so yesterday I added the two main stars of the tank (at least according to my colleagues most of which have never seen a saltwater aquarium in their lives and all thing they are the cutest thing ever).
They are a pair of standard Ocellaries. Depending on the organic load I may add a blenny at some point, but for now they will be the only fish. The plan is also to add a cleaner shrimp.

I have also added a few tester corals.
First an Acan. After 24h it look really good and all puffed up. This is as good as it has looked since I introduced the copperband in the home tank.
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So after 48h I brought 1 more Acan and an echinopora lamellose frag. So far both are doing great.
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The plan is to track them over the next few days. If they continue to look good I will transfer the remaining acans over.
Is it a risk with such a new tank started with dry rock? Definitely. However, as I live 5 min from work I can easily take the corals home if something is off.

The other reason I’m adding them already is to try and increase the biodiversity from the start. The only other time I started a tank with dry rock I took it “slowlyish” and after one year things still hadn’t stabilized. I’m trying a different approach this time.

I have also added the DIY ATO for which I will make a post during the weekend.



Cheers
 
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KimG

KimG

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Good evening

All the Acans have been moved to the tank and everything is looking happy. The echinopora is also showing signs of growth.
In the meantime the LED lenses have arrived and are installed.

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Using 40w (approximately 1.4w per LED) there is about 300 PAR at the top of the rock and about 200 at the sand level. Lower in shaded areas. So far happy with the results. We will see how they behave over time and how the corals react to them.
It has very little light spill and cause no distraction what so ever while seating in the desk.

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Cheers.
 
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KimG

KimG

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It has been a while without updates. Sorry about that.

The tank is doing great.
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There was a tiny bit of brown algae in the sand for a few days and that was it so far.
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In the meantime alk consumption as increased to 0.3 dkh per day so I started to dose All for reef.

The montipora frag as started to encrust on the rock, the echinopora lamellose is also showing signs of growth, while the acans are all happy and puffed up.

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So far so good.

Cheers
 
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