Choss' 96 gallon Reef Savvy "Nano" Tank

Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by choss, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Update
    Not a lot has happened in the last 30 days, which has been kind of frustrating but I have now made progress on two fronts - lighting and rock.

    I'll start with the lighting situation. I finally received my ballast back from Chris Conti at Coralvue. CV checked the ballast but couldn't find anything wrong with it. Nevertheless they sent me a brand new ballast, which I wired up and tested last night. The radium 250 watt bulb now fires up so something must have been amiss with the old ballast. I'm just happy that I don't have to take the light down and send it back. I already had to pay for shipping on the ballast because BRS wouldn't honor the return due to the length of time between my purchase and testing the product.

    Here is the light in all its glory. It is like having a small slice of the sun in my den. The only issue is that when I sit in my easy chair, I get a bit of glare from the reflector. The light currently is about 9" above the tank. I could move it down a bit but then I will have less coverage on the outside 6" of either side of the tank. Right now it looks ok at 9" and I'm particularly happy in that there is minimal light spillage beyond the tank.

    [​IMG]spectra w. all lights by choerenz, on Flickr

    So moving on to my rock....I was 100% set to go with TBS live rock. While I am very particular about the aqua scape that I want to create for this tank, the benefits of using live rock just seemed to great for me to go with dry rock. So I emailed Richard at TBS and found out that TBS is temporarily closed. Richard has had some significant surgery and can't dive for the immediate future. And I think its probably weeks or months out before he will be back on his feet.

    So I started to explore a few other options. For my scape, I really want two dominant islands with a natural channel in between where I can showcase some white sand and a clam or two. I also like the idea of having a more dominant island that has a bit of height. My plan is to attach SPS higher up and have acans and other LPS mounted vertically or on angles off the island. The tank that really comes to mind is Chris Krien's amazing tank that he calls his 160 G algae farm. Here is his scape and I think you will see why it inspires me. The grown out tank is even more spectacular so I'd highly recommend searching for this build. You won't be disappointed.

    [​IMG]Chris Kriens Aqua Scape by choerenz, on Flickr

    So with the long wait for TBS rock, I started to inquire into some large Pukani dry rock as a backup plan. BRS was out of "jumbo" rocks but Aquacave had some in stock. In fact, they were extremely helpful and sent over a few pictures of the rocks they had in their warehouse.

    [​IMG]Pukani Pic 1 by choerenz, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Pukani Rock 2 by choerenz, on Flickr

    While it will take me a few weeks to bleach, acid wash, and cure these rocks, I started thinking that at the end of the process, I will have the perfect rock for what I was envisioning for my scape - plus its porous, gorgeous rock that you can easily drill and affix sticks to.

    I immediately contacted Albert from aquacave jumped on these pieces. I had them 2 days later! Best customer service I've had from a major retailer of aquarium products...ever! I still intend to try and get some of the benefits from adding live rock, so I'm also looking into a small order of live rock from Gulfliverock.com, which I would have air freighted and then added to the tank to ensure the system receive some of the beneficial bacteria and critters that I was hoping to get from the TBS rock. Gulfliverock seems to have good reviews so hopefully I can end up with best of both worlds.

    So as I write this, my Pukani has been sitting in bleach since Saturday, and I'm just waiting for the weather to go above freezing to start the acid bath. More to come soon. [​IMG]
     

  2. Clayton Jessup

    Clayton Jessup Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Very exciting Choss , I can’t wait to to see the final scape ! I love Chris ‘s scape from his algae farm Elos tank. I think your light is at a very good hight above your tank. I am thinking you may just have to live with the glare in you easy chair lol
     
  3. Mattres

    Mattres Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    The light looks great above the tank mate!
    I like your scaping ideas to, the valley look between two structures with nice white sand inbetween makes my knees weak..
    :p
     
  4. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Yeah the glare issue I will have to deal with only during prime time lighting hours. When it is just T5 its really easy on the eyes and I plan on adding some Kessils as well. But I will play around with it a bit once I have the scape done. I just need to get my hands on a par meter and then I can align things better and keep my better half happy :)
     
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  5. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm excited to play around with the rock. It looks like this weekend will be warm enough to get the rock outside into the acid tubs. Once I rinse I will play around with some scaping and share a few pics to get opinions. The rocks are awesome but they are big (which is what I wanted) so the trick will be having enough open space around them to give it a less cluttered feel. It will be hard to get the nice balance you achieved with your islands! The additional challenge then will be, whether I am able to add the additional live rock without choking the tank visually. I might have to leave them in there for a while to establish the system properly, and then move them to a sump once things are seeded and settled. I hope to avoid some of the issues you were having with the all dry approach. Hey - how wasthe honeymoon? Are you back? You probably had the coldest NY weather we've seen in many years!
     
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  6. Clayton Jessup

    Clayton Jessup Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I am excited to see what you come up for a aqua scape ! I understand with T5’s being easier on the eyes , once I added my XR15PRO’s, my brightness like tripled over my tank ! I would love to test my par as well just to see where my hotspots are in my tank. Some Kessil’s to your light would be a great addition I must say .
     
  7. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I have two w360s ready to go. One is in use so initially I'll be testing with a single one next to the MH fixture. I need to get the angle right here too. I'm adding them more for late evening viewing and to add a little par to the sides of the tank but my thinking is to grow LPS on the edges of the display anyway. We'll see what actually happens though - great plans don't always work out exactly as we dream them up. Check back this weekend for scaping layout. Love to get your thoughts.
     
  8. Smprc

    Smprc Member

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    Fantastic build...following along!
     
  9. YHSublime

    YHSublime Reefopotamus R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Reef Tank 365

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    Aquascaping is probably my favorite part of putting together a tank.

    When using dry rock, I've found that tanks have to go through a lot longer cycle time wise until I think they are truly ready for coral/fish. As you figure out what your scape is going to be, consider finding another reefer in your area with a clean tank, and get a cup of sand, or a rock from them, to help seed your tank. I ended up getting scoops of sand from a few members tanks, and a rock from a members fuge. The rock from the fuge ended up taking all the hair algae, and then after my cycle, I removed it.

    I just looked back into your sump pictures, that's looking really nice, it's tight with purpose, and clean!
     
  10. Mattres

    Mattres Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    You’ll have fun playing with the rock, probably some headaches as well but mostly fun! haha :p
    It’s definitely hard to find the balance but no doubt once you’ve played around with it for a while you’ll find something you like.
    I reckon your live rock addition will definitely benefit the tank, and like you said once she’s cruising along things can be moved around again.
    Haven’t left for the honeymoon yet, wedding is on the 10th of Feb and I think we leave on the 12th so a few more weeks to count down. We have been keeping an eye on the weather though and it’s crazy!
    I’ve had to buy heaps of ski gear for our stay up the mountain in Banff (I’ve never really been to the snow) but I’m thinking I’ll be using it all in NY as well! It’s gonna be a big shock coming from an Aussie summer :D
     
  11. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Great to have you along for the ride!
     
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  12. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks for the compliment on the sump. At the moment it is a mess but getting there. Yes, I have a few options for helping the dry rock out. One is the 40 gallon tank I have in my basement. It has rock that I brought back from "dry" just as you said - I added some rock from LFS. Only issue is that I have a few aiptasia in there but they never get out of hand. Second option is what I'm leaning towards, and that is getting 20 lbs from gulfliverock. I'd consider having it sent via airline to preserve as many critters and bacteria as possible. I'd probably get a few pests but I can quarantine the rock for a week or two and remove the obvious stuff - mantis, crabs etc. Let me know what you think.
     
  13. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I think you will love it - especially since you get to go back to warm weather! In any case, give a shout when you hit the big apple.
     
  14. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I think you will love it - especially since you get to go back to warm weather! In any case, give a shout when you hit the big apple.
     
  15. YHSublime

    YHSublime Reefopotamus R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Reef Tank 365

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    I'd be concerned about the aiptasia. I've already gotten some pests in my nano, like aiptasia, and bubble algae, and I'm regretting not QTing everything.
     
  16. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm about to commit to the live rock shipment. Are you thinking I'd be best sticking with dry only?
     
  17. YHSublime

    YHSublime Reefopotamus R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Reef Tank 365

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    I think either way, there will be challenges. I think live rock will be more expensive, but faster cycle. Follow your heart!
     
  18. Smprc

    Smprc Member

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    Choss, for what its worth. I went with dry sand and rock for the very reason that I didn't want to risk any pests. I just bought a 10g and 20g from petco on the $1/g sale. I'm QTing everything even if it takes a couple months longer. I've been waiting almost a year...few more months I can live with. Just my 2 cents.
     
  19. Mattres

    Mattres Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Haha good point, it’s 111 degrees Fahrenheit here on Friday, I couldn’t look forward to a bit of cold weather any more!
    I definitely will mate!
     
  20. choss

    choss Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    My heart wanted TBS rock with sizes like I picked out for the Pukani. So now its split 50/50 and I think going with both dry and live rock is a decent value prop. I'm pricing 20lbs of live rock now and I think if I can get it for $200 or less its not a bad investment.
     
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