His Coral Highness

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Started off about 2 years ago with an old 75 gallon tank I picked up at a garage sale with an old busted-up MDF stand. I redid the facade of the stand to cedar and added in 2x4 supports where I thought the stand would sag. Honestly I took it on as more of a woodworking project than an actual aquarium project, and it sat just filled with water/rocks and no livestock for the longest time. Finally after enough guests asking why I had an empty tank I took the plunge (no pun intended), but never thought I'd get into corals. After having some success with a 16 gallon reef tank in my office I am finally planning on upgrading this to a full-fledged reef tank. I want to eventually switch from a canister filter to a sump (planning on drilling), moving to an in-sump skimmer, and replacing my lava rocks with aragonite reef rocks. The lighting right now is actually a freshwater LED strip light hidden under a Home Depot shop light, so needless to say that is changing as well...

I do still like the red desert sand I originally went with though, and am thinking that hopefully I can still stick with this. The sand is "Jurassic Sand" and the guy collects it from the desert in Utah, if that means anything, and I think with the background gives the tank kind of a cool otherworldly look. I occasionally get a little diatom blood if I overfeed, but otherwise haven't had any major problems with it.

In the time being I am just browsing for ideas on a new scape to go with, as I think the current one is too "blocky," even though I do like having "mountains" in the scape. I think with reef rock it will be easier to build vertically without creating giant rock mounds. Also I like having a negative desert space in the middle, but it is so underused by the fish that I am planning on building more into the center of the tank. Originally my thought process was to create a valley in between two mountains before I had any interest at all in creating a reef tank. I can upload more pics/vids in a bit.

But like I said, this is just the before picture, and eventually I plan on upgrading to a full predator reef tank and would like to create a predator reef tank from my FOLWR setup.

75 tank.jpg
 
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His Coral Highness

His Coral Highness

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UPDATES! Finally moved out of my apartment and I get to upgrade my old FOWLR setup to a real reef system. First step was cutting out a hole in the stand I put together to fit a 29 gallon tank to act as my sump. The stand was originally all MDF and was in pretty poor shape when I bought it secondhand, so I decided to lift it with some 2x8s (or maybe they were 2x10s, it was a few years ago), some 2x4s and new plywood on the inside, and I used cedar than I stained and varnished for the trim. The paneling on the outside is actually red cedar that is meant to be a closet liner, but I think it came out beautifully around the body of the stand with a little varnish on it. The backside of the stand is what you see here, and that I did not refinish, so you can kind of see the before/after in one shot. At this point the stand is upside-down so I could cut out the insert for the sump tank.

Also you can see my little helper.
 

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Here was the part I was most anxious about. I finally got around to drilling the holes (after finding the Gorilla tape that mysteriously kept vanishing). I had a friend on the garden hose and I used painter's tape on the inside of the glass and it came out just fine. After I finished drilling though I realized I may have put the return holes too close to the trim to get the retaining nut on :oops::confounded-face:
 

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His Coral Highness

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Eh well I was right, but luckily with a little dremel and a straight razor I was able to trim just enough of the plastic to get the bulkheads to sit flush. It was actually pretty easy as I didn't have far to go, and the plastic is very soft. Plus it is on the back of tank and no one will ever see it (gotta tell myself that a lot of DIY projects...)
 

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His Coral Highness

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Here is the sump setup, btw. I used an Aqueon 29 gallon and the baffle kit from Jax Racks, plus a 5.5 gallon Aqueon tank that I put on a little platform to act as the ATO reserve. The hole I cut into the stand worked out well, and I have plenty of room to work in the sump. Not enough horizontal space to totally hide the ATO reserve in the sump, but it really only juts out about 4-5", and with the tank pushed closer to the wall and with all the plumbing/electrical work behind the tank, I don't think it will be much of an eyesore. Plus it makes it easy to refill with a hose from my RODI water container. Don't mind the silicone job on the baffles, I broke both of my hands and had to do it with my feet.
 

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His Coral Highness

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I know they’re not popular but I added this background to my tank when it was only a FOWLR and I really liked it. The background combined with the red sand gives it a little extraterrestrial look IMG_4090.jpeg
 
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Didn’t have any power heads at this point so I was using a canister just to get some flow while I plumbed it. I decided to use the colored FormuFit PVC and I’m glad I did. Red for overflow, green for returns. IMG_4299.jpeg IMG_4300.jpeg IMG_4308.jpeg
 
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Lids are crazy expensive in my opinion, and I didn’t like the look of the pure screen too or if the pure acrylic tops, so I ordered a piece of Lexan online for about $60 and used a jigsaw to cut out two windows, then used mesh and clear plastic hinges I found on Amazon to make two separate windows with a center brace down the middle to help with preventing sagging. IMG_4442.jpeg
 

Caring for your picky eaters: What do you feed your finicky fish?

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