Innovative Marine 30L - Getting Back Into The Hobby

shadow1013

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My wife and I are getting back into the hobby after a few years of being out of it. We moved and couldn't take the tank with us so we ended up breaking it down. We are finally ready to jump back into the hobby but wanted to do it right, we rushed and jumped to bigger tanks quickly. I was first thinking of getting back into it with a Red Sea Reefer XL 300 but the wife said I should have the tank where I would enjoy it more like in my office, but that is on the second story and she didn't feel comfortable doing a tank that large up on the second story. I was looking at a few different options but I'm not a big fan of cube tanks, but also prefer having a sump to have full size equipment over AIO.

I was between the Red Sea Reefer Nano as it did have a small sump that I could put equipment in and the Innovative Marine 20. My wife has also loved the Innovative Marine 30L but my only issue with it was that being 3' wide we'd need two lights so it would add in more cost. We were going back and forth trying to figure out what to do as there was pluses and minuses for them all with no clear winner until we stumbled on a local facebook marketplace post for an IM 30L with two Kessil lights for $300 so we had to jump on it. We were thinking of going with Ecotech lights anyways but figured we could see the Kessil. Turns out one of the Kessil was an A160 and the other was a A150. The A160 had so much dust on it that it seems to has caused damage to the board as the blue channels keep flickering in and out, but the white channels do stay so maybe we can still get something for it. The plus side is the A150 works fine so we used that until we were able to snag another great deal.

Someone had an XR15 G5 with arm on Ebay and we ended up winning the auction just over $350 shipped. The only issue with the light was the case was cracked where the screws were, which could have been from Ecotech as a lot of the first batches of lights ended up cracking due to the screws being torqued down to tightly. We also found a used MP10 for $200 and was able to get the new RF chip to have it work with Mobius from our LFS Top Shelf Aquatics. The only other good deal we found so far that we picked up was a AquaFX RODI unit with a booster pump, and replacement media including DI for $250. It was a 4 stage unit that was upgraded to have dual carbon, dual membrane, and dual DI. I ended up taking it to AquaFX as it looked like the guy I picked it up from didn't convert it correctly and they tested rebuilt it for $25.

Not all of this happened at the beginning so we ran with some of the old equipment or didn't have equipment like a wavemaker until later. The tank did have a small rock and sand already, but we didn't trust either so we vacuumed out the sand and added in 20lbs of Caribsea Fiji Pink and about 7-8 lbs of live Marco foundation and shelf from WWC. Just before we went on a small week beach vacation we put in Brightwell's Microbactor Strat XLM for the 20 gallon dose as after rock and sand we got exactly 20 gallons to fill the tank from TSA. The instructions state not to use it with live rock or live sand, but honestly who sells not live sand so we just dosed it like normal. We put that in on Monday or Tuesday and when we came back on Friday we didn't have any measurable ammonia or nitrites and had a little bit of nitrates. I called TSA as they said it would most likely be at least 2 weeks instead of the 1 week Brightwell says it will take to cycle. They said to bring in a sample of water and they'll test it to make sure.

Top Shelf has the API AquaSpin test and they confirmed my readings so we ended up getting a pair of clowns. I'm not sure how as Brightwell stated not to use with live rock or live sand but we did cycle our tank in under a week so from bare tank to a pair of clown fish in under a week!
 
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shadow1013

shadow1013

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Thanks. I would have posted them but they are on my desktop at home but I had some free time at work to get a thread started. I'll add them later tonight or tomorrow.
Congrats on the new tank and welcome back to the salt water addiction....

P.S …. Pics or it didn't happen...….just saying.
 

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