GK3’s IM AIO 30 - You won’t believe what she let me do

GK3

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So either have the best fiancé in the world or the most easily persuaded. We are moving in about a month and I can’t take my current system to the new place (too big). So I decided to pick a few of my favorite fish and coral that I will keep and get rid of the rest (I have another thread for items for sale).

So it dawned on me, how am I going to start a new tank in the new place if I have fish and coral that need to go in immediately? I really don’t want to sell a few of my items because I’ll never get my money back and then I’d have to pay more to repurchase. So it dawned on me - start the new tank now, so it’s cycled, move it and the few fish/coral, then it’ll all be ready day 1 in the new place. But who the heck starts a whole new system before they move? Apparently I do. I ran this by my fiancé, she looked at me kind of cross eyed, wasn’t so sure, and then says “makes sense, want to go get it now?” Uh, yea!

I decided I didn’t want to mess with the sump setup so I did an IM AIO the 30L to be exact.



Wanted to get the cycle started ASAP so immediately did the rock work:



And after 15 sets of gloves, 10 solo
cups, a bunch of hammering, and 2 containers of reef safe cement:





(Wow those pics are bad, I’ll take better ones tomorrow).

I used two types of reef cement. One from my LFS which is really fine cement mix that you combine with a resin. The other is NYOS reef cement (Amazon). I have used NYOS before but never the stuff from my LFS. NYOS is way better - cures much faster, mixes with water, and makes the whole process go much smoother. The other stuff says it needs 8-12 hours to fully cure so rocks will go in around lunch tomorrow. Only thing I regret is not having dry sand on hand to put over the cement to make it look more natural

That’s the tank wet behind it in the pics. Should have taken pictures of that process, but it’s poring water into a glass cube - you kind of had to be there.

Once rock is in, I’ll add pure ammonia and a bottle of bacteria to kick off the cycle.

This is not the IM pro this is the old version. My LFS had it for $100 cheaper and I saw no need for the DC pump as I plan to use my APEX from my current system. Will get the media caddy down the road.

And lastly, what are you keeping: my angler named Dave. Jack and Jill the two seahorses, my blueberry bounce mushroom, a few types of zoas, and my candy canes (they are just so yellow, I can’t not). Stay tuned to see how I keep my angler from eating the seahorses.

Lastly I plan to do bare bottom on this. I’ve never done it before, but I think I am going to lay down either white or black acrylic and have zoas grow on it instead of sand.

Wow, went on a bit of a ramble there...
 
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P-Dub

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Looking good! May I recommend black for the bottom. White just ends up looking dirty...
 
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GK3

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Looking good! May I recommend black for the bottom. White just ends up looking dirty...
Thanks! I thought about the dirty part too. I saw someone else do a white bottom and it was really cool because it kind of mimicked the look of sand. Do you think it would look dirty because of debris or will it just become over run with coralline, etc.?
 

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Thanks! I thought about the dirty part too. I saw someone else do a white bottom and it was really cool because it kind of mimicked the look of sand. Do you think it would look dirty because of debris or will it just become over run with coralline, etc.?
Yes, it looks nice in the beginning but it just gets mucked up with growth and coralline. The mucked up, coralline looks much better on the black. Here is my black HDPE bottom covered. When the tuxedo urchin goes at it and it peels away in sheets it still looks good. You can see a little peeling at the center-right.
20190328_115236.jpg
 
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Yes, it looks nice in the beginning but it just gets mucked up with growth and coralline. The mucked up, coralline looks much better on the black. Heeere is my black HDPE bottom covered. When the tuxedo urchin goes at it and it peels away in sheets it still looks good. You can see a little peeling at the center-right.
20190328_115236.jpg
I see you really like soft corals?

So your bottom is just black HDPE with growth on it, that’s not sand or anything else?
 

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I see you really like soft corals?

So your bottom is just black HDPE with growth on it, that’s not sand or anything else?
There are only one soft coral, a couple of shrooms, and one gorgonian in that photo. I do like them but prefer the sps's. Or, did I miss the sarcasm? ;) That is black with growth and not a lick of sand in my system.
 
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There are only one soft coral, a couple of shrooms, and one gorgonian in that photo. I do like them but prefer the sps's. Or, did I miss the sarcasm? ;) That is black with growth and not a lick of sand in my system.
Haha, definitely missed the sarcasm. I looked at your tank pic and even before I looked at the bottom I was checking out all the SPS. What made you decide to go sandless (made up word?)? I am actually planning to do a mixed reef. I’ve never done SPS before so I am gonna try. Thinking primarily SPS with a few of my favorite softies (like my blueberry bounce).

I do see you point on black for the bottom color.
 

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Haha, definitely missed the sarcasm. I looked at your tank pic and even before I looked at the bottom I was checking out all the SPS. What made you decide to go sandless (made up word?)? I am actually planning to do a mixed reef. I’ve never done SPS before so I am gonna try. Thinking primarily SPS with a few of my favorite softies (like my blueberry bounce).

I do see you point on black for the bottom color.
I went with bare bottom because I have had a DSB, SSB, and BB before. If you are planning on primarily SPS corals it really is the way to go, IMHO. I have A LOT of flow and sand is just not practical. I would have sand storms all at the bottom of the tank with corals and rock being smothered. People say that the sand looks more "natural" but this is actually not true in the truest sense of the word. Sand only occurs in patches on most reefs of the world, at the very depths of drop off, and within lagoons. When you do come across sand in the shallower sections of the reef where most of our corals originate from, you rarely find an abundance of corals at or near the sand/rock boundary layer due to the same phenomenon described that prompts me to go BB. I do like the 'look' of sand in the tanks, though. That is an older shot of the tank and really should update my build thread with some fresh ones.
 
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I went with bare bottom because I have had a DSB, SSB, and BB before. If you are planning on primarily SPS corals it really is the way to go, IMHO. I have A LOT of flow and sand is just not practical. I would have sand storms all at the bottom of the tank with corals and rock being smothered. People say that the sand looks more "natural" but this is actually not true in the truest sense of the word. Sand only occurs in patches on most reefs of the world, at the very depths of drop off, and within lagoons. When you do come across sand in the shallower sections of the reef where most of our corals originate from, you rarely find an abundance of corals at or near the sand/rock boundary layer due to the same phenomenon described that prompts me to go BB. I do like the 'look' of sand in the tanks, though. That is an older shot of the tank and really should update my build thread with some fresh ones.
Fair point. I think the reason people do sand beds is either a) live stock lives in it (i.e wrasse) b) the biological benefits c) the look. A real coral reef may not have a sand bed in it, but the ocean does, so the reef still benefits from a sand bed in its waters.

You gave me an idea. What about getting live rock rubble(1”-2” pieces) and covering the bottom in that (I’d cement it to HDPE). It would be a fairly natural look, ability for coral and what not to grow on it, but won’t kick up like sand. Only thing I’d worry about is detritus building up in it, but flow and CUC should handle that. Thoughts?
 
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Tank update: cycle is still going but it looks like ammonia level is beginning to fall.

I also bought my lights, should be here Monday. I went with 2x Radion XR15 G4 Pros.

Think I’ll have enough light?
 

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Fair point. I think the reason people do sand beds is either a) live stock lives in it (i.e wrasse) b) the biological benefits c) the look. A real coral reef may not have a sand bed in it, but the ocean does, so the reef still benefits from a sand bed in its waters.

You gave me an idea. What about getting live rock rubble(1”-2” pieces) and covering the bottom in that (I’d cement it to HDPE). It would be a fairly natural look, ability for coral and what not to grow on it, but won’t kick up like sand. Only thing I’d worry about is detritus building up in it, but flow and CUC should handle that. Thoughts?
Funny you should say this. I did just that on my last BB setup. Still have the leftovers of a large bucket of rubble, though primarily larger pieces than 1-2", that I am putting in my sump a few pieces at a time.
rubble.jpg

Still would have to blow it out with an MJ-1200 every other water change. I like the look of it and bits of coral frags sometimes would take root from random breaks. Made swaps easy. ;)
 

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Tank update: cycle is still going but it looks like ammonia level is beginning to fall.

I also bought my lights, should be here Monday. I went with 2x Radion XR15 G4 Pros.

Think I’ll have enough light?
If not, you can always add an XR15... Got a feeling that will be plenty though.
 
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Funny you should say this. I did just that on my last BB setup. Still have the leftovers of a large bucket of rubble, though primarily larger pieces than 1-2", that I am putting in my sump a few pieces at a time.
rubble.jpg

Still would have to blow it out with an MJ-1200 every other water change. I like the look of it and bits of coral frags sometimes would take root from random breaks. Made swaps easy. ;)
Do you have a pic of that setup?
 

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That was before the advent of digital cameras. I might have a print somewhere but very doubtful.
 
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That was before the advent of digital cameras. I might have a print somewhere but very doubtful.
Hahaha, you are aging yourself my friend. No worries. I am going to play around with it soon as see what it looks like.
 
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Ammonia was almost down when I left for work travel, hoping it yellow by the time I get back.


I found an open box 11W IM UV sterilizer on bulk reef supply for 15% off so I snagged that along with the medium sized media rack for the other overflow side.

Question, since I am doing BB and don’t have the biological benefit of a sand bed, so I need to run GFO for sure or should I wait and see what bioload is? I’ll definitely be adding the IM skimmer in the near future.
 

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I have run BB for a year now and have been trying to get phosphates up. Do not run GFO unless you have to.
 
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