So last weekend I got fed up with my new 13.5 sea evo. It was just too limiting and was a very good nitrate factory by design. I can go on and on about my gripes and likes with that tank, but the big thing that I can thank it for is it’s ability to spark my venture into saltwater. Had I tried to piece everything together from the start it probably would have been a bit defeating and overwhelming for me as I hadn’t joined the forum yet, and the 1000 dollar price tag for even a relatively low-tech setup would have scared me off. Dealing with the shortcomings of the all-in-one tank very quickly helped me understand the reasons and benefits behind doing things a certain way and how certain simplicities with basic tanks can be taken for granted. Here are some pictures of my basic 13.5 after a coral or two, followed by the ugly algae that soon took over! I decided on the 30 because I wanted a small tank to maintain and stock in anticipation of my 75g project that will be put together over the next 6 months starting in April. It offered 36 inches of swimming distance and viewing space that I can dedicate to my nano fish! Got the big hardware sorted over that weekend and have been piecing together everything else over the last week. I have a basic angle iron stand because I plan to make custom panels for the front and sides to hide my buckets and randoms. I’m using an AC50, two aqua top circ pumps, one at 245gph and the other at 660gph, and aqueon pro 150w heater. My light is a Fluval Marine 3.0 36 inch fixture that is very crudely programmed but at least functional for a sunrise/sunset cycle. I decided on purigen and chemi-pure elite with gfo in addition to carbon in the ac50 but they don’t all fit so I will probably get a Seachem Tidal 35 for an additional basket. I added in a big chunk of liverock that had some coralline and green algae on it, but curiously had some pretty nice green button hitchhikers and a couple rock flowers, and also a couple blue mushrooms that will likely get swallowed by the polyps. I’m too nervous to try fragging yet so I will probably let whatever happens there happen. I like the blend of life on the rock! Here are some pictures with the setup going. I’ll get one later on with my 2 clowns and my shrimp. The gramma in the first tank unfortunately did not make it through his first night in the 13.5 despite proper acclimation and good water parameters. He hid up inside my rock and stayed there until i found my shrimp poking around in there Over the next couple of weeks I will likely stock with a few more softies and mushrooms as I am still too new to be comfy with dosing nutrients for stonys. Currently I have a Kenya tree that’s slowly not being sad, a green star polyp that’s been growing slowly but filling in, and a few buttons and mushrooms. Let’s see where this goes! I set a budget for this build to try to make sure I don’t push my 75 too far back lol. Better pictures to come tonight with a deeper sand bed and cleaner glass.