Matt's 7.5 Nano Cube Build

thatsruff

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Hello again, R2R! During quarantine, I have decided to get back into reefing. Digging through R2R again, seeing all the great tanks, and doing tons of research has been a really great way to keep my mind occupied and my stress levels down.

-----

UPDATE (2020-06-22):

I thought I would do the obligatory equipment/stocking list now that I think I know what it will be:

Equipment:

DT:
Mr. Aqua 7.5-gallon cube, 12"x12"x12", DIY drilled for three 1/2" bulkheads
Sump: Aqueon 10-gallon, 19"x10"x12", with DIY 1/8" thick ABS baffles, Lord 7550 A/C Adhesive and Dow 995 Silicone
Overflows: DIY using 1/8" thick ABS plastic and Lord 7550 A/C Adhesive
Media Basket: DIY using 1/8" ABS plastic and Lord 7550 A/C Adhesive
Return Pump: Aquastation DC3000
Return Pump: Eheim Universal 600
Powerhead: Jaebo WP-10

Light: Reef Radiance Nano 60
Light Bracket: Custom, stainless steel
Fuge Light: Clamp work light with daylight flood bulb
Skimmer: SC Aquariums SCA-301 with replacement Bubble Magus SP1000 skimmer pump
Heater: Hygger 100 watt w/controller
Rock: Dry, from a previous build, bleach cured
Sand: Caribsea Dry Argonite Special Grade, 15 lbs
ATO: DIY wired limit switches and container
Stand: DIY, tbd


Livestock (Plan only, will update):

CUC, Macro Algae, Pods:
SurfZone Live Sand Activator Plus
- Indo-Pacific Sea Farms
Fuge Startup kit - Indo-Pacific Sea Farms

Fish:
Clown Goby
, Green (Gobiodon atrangulatus)
Pink-Streaked Wrasse (Pseudocheilinops ataenia)
Panamic Barnacle Blenny (Acanthemblemaria hancocki)
Wheeler's Shrimp Goby (Amblyeleotris wheeleri)

Coral:
TBD
, see post 21: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/7-5-nano-cube-build-dreaming-of-a-big-restart.726982/post-7584576

-------

A bit of background: we got into the hobby in 2014 when my wife got a new job.

The job was helping to re-build the 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank in the New England Aquarium. When they rebuilt the tank they removed the old fiberglass painted coral and replaced them with cast pigmented epoxy coral. She is a very talented designer and sculptor who was part of the team that sculpted, cast, and installed thousands of coral replicas into the tank. When they refilled the tank and reintroduced the animals the fish were so happy that many of them began spawning in captivity for the first time ever.


NEAQ-03.JPG

NEAQ-02.JPG

NEAQ-01.JPG
 
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thatsruff

thatsruff

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So, we had to get a little system for ourselves. We dove in head-first without really knowing what we were doing. She had learned so much about the wildlife and the ecosystems but, despite all the books we bought, we didn't know a whole lot about what it would take to keep a happy system at home. We got some live rock and some sand and some salt and threw it in a 29-gallon Petco tank.

Needless to say that we were chasing our tail from the start. I tried to add bandaids in the form of better lights, HOB Skimmer, QT system, and eventually, tried setting up a sump using a HOB overflow. We had some success and loved it while it lasted but we ended up losing everything and had to shut it down to move. At the time we didn't have either the resources or the know-how to keep it up.

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IMG_0053.JPG
IMG_0011.JPG

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We always knew that we would get back into the hobby once we got settled into an apartment/house that fit the right circumstances. And, so the addiction goes, while we had the previous tank I was dreaming about a bigger tank, primarily because I really want to keep Wrasses. I find them to be the prettiest fish in the hobby. So I knew the new set-up would be at least 50 gallons.

However, my wife was dreaming of a nano tank and a clam.
 
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thatsruff

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That more or less brings us to a couple of months ago. I knew that, in reality, we weren't in a position where we could start up a new tank. It is possible that we will be moving again to a new city once all the craziness of the world settles back down. But I wanted to be prepared in case this new place fit the bill. I started making spreadsheets and saving all sorts of R2R threads and bookmarks. I was planning my (current) dream tank. A full DIY low iron rimless 40x30x20 ~100-gallon display.

But finally, about a week ago, it occurred to me that we might be able to pull off a nano tank, something like what my wife was thinking about. And what I could do with this tank is make it a scaled-down version of my dream tank. To test out my DIY abilities and get a fuller grasp of all the systems at play (though I know that the smaller system will be less stable than a larger one). And, if we have to tear this down in 6-ish months in order to move, I would be okay with trying that with a small system.

Bonus: we have most of the equipment to build this theoretical system, and that should keep our costs down some.

So here is the high-level plan:
- 12x12x12, 7.5 ga dt with 10x19x12, 10 ga sump. Total water volume probably around 14 ga.
- Drill tank, build overflow.
- Re-build sump.
- Plumb.
- Cycle in tubs.
- Transfer to tank, potentially with the first corals (wait 45-76 days before adding fish if using live-rock or sand or adding coral).
- QT then add fish: Clown Goby, Firefish, and sand burrowing goby.
- Once stable, start adding clam and sps coral.

Diagrams:
Full Nano Set Up - 02.JPG

Full Nano Set Up - 03.JPG

Full Nano Set Up - 04.JPG

Full Nano Set Up - 05.JPG

Spreadsheets:
PHASE 1.JPG

PHASE 2.JPG


I still need to work my way through all our old equipment, that is my first task and probably will be my next post!

Thanks for reading (its a lot), I look forward to rejoining the community and building this little system!
~Matt
 
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thatsruff

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Sounds like you got a good plan for that nano (and by the sounds of it, if I had to guess, you still have those plans for the 100+ gallon dream tank tucked away for when you can use it in the future). And your wife's job sounds freaking aweseome!!
Thank you! I very much am still planning that 100-gallon tank and any thoughts on the nano plan are very much welcome. She was absolutely super lucky to be involved with that project, it was a really great year or so.
 
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thatsruff

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I got into all the old gear and pulled old rock. You can see that whenever we went to a LFS my wife would dig through their live rock in search of coral skeletons. We ended up with some really nice pieces, some of which she has used some to cast replicas.

IMG_20200606_161153.jpg


I still need to clean and test all the equipment. In our previous set-up, we never had TDS meters or a pressure gauge. So those, along with citric acid, was my first order. Our portable RODI is from cleanwaterclub.com. I need to test its quality and determine if I need to replace the filters/membrane (or buy a full replacement).

Also ordered a refractometer, glass drill bits, bulkheads with other fittings, a few new test kits, 15lbs of dry special grade sand, red sea blue bucket salt, ammonia, and Zeobak/food/starter and sponge power to start Zeovit (sans media) when I cycle.

That should give me everything I need to start cycling while I set up the tank.
 
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Provided the old gear still runs pretty much the only equipment I will need to get up and running is a heater with a controller. I have several Eheim true temp heaters but would like the additional peace of mind.

Something I am eager to learn: will my Eheim 600 (158 gph) return pump plus my Jaebo WP-10 will provide enough flow? I suspect that I will prefer to replace them with a more powerful dc pump because I don't want visible cords/powerheads but I will save the money for now.
 

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That more or less brings us to a couple of months ago. I knew that, in reality, we weren't in a position where we could start up a new tank. It is possible that we will be moving again to a new city once all the craziness of the world settles back down. But I wanted to be prepared in case this new place fit the bill. I started making spreadsheets and saving all sorts of R2R threads and bookmarks. I was planning my (current) dream tank. A full DIY low iron rimless 40x30x20 ~100-gallon display.

But finally, about a week ago, it occurred to me that we might be able to pull off a nano tank, something like what my wife was thinking about. And what I could do with this tank is make it a scaled-down version of my dream tank. To test out my DIY abilities and get a fuller grasp of all the systems at play (though I know that the smaller system will be less stable than a larger one). And, if we have to tear this down in 6-ish months in order to move, I would be okay with trying that with a small system.

Bonus: we have most of the equipment to build this theoretical system, and that should keep our costs down some.

So here is the high-level plan:
- 12x12x12, 7.5 ga dt with 10x19x12, 10 ga sump. Total water volume probably around 14 ga.
- Drill tank, build overflow.
- Re-build sump.
- Plumb.
- Cycle in tubs.
- Transfer to tank, potentially with the first corals (wait 45-76 days before adding fish if using live-rock or sand or adding coral).
- QT then add fish: Clown Goby, Firefish, and sand burrowing goby.
- Once stable, start adding clam and sps coral.

Diagrams:
Full Nano Set Up - 02.JPG

Full Nano Set Up - 03.JPG

Full Nano Set Up - 04.JPG

Full Nano Set Up - 05.JPG

Spreadsheets:
PHASE 1.JPG

PHASE 2.JPG


I still need to work my way through all our old equipment, that is my first task and probably will be my next post!

Thanks for reading (its a lot), I look forward to rejoining the community and building this little system!
~Matt
Thanks for sharing, I'm building similar tank the display tank and was wondering what type of lighting are you going with
 
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thatsruff

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Thanks for sharing, I'm building similar tank the display tank and was wondering what type of lighting are you going with
Of course, we will use one of the lights we bought for our previous set up, at least for the time being. We have two Reef Radiance lights, the DM155e (55 3w LEDs) and the Nano 60 (20 3w LEDs). At this point the brand seems to be barely hanging around, but I would equate the DM155e to a 165w black box. We got the Nano 60 specifically for one of these tanks, it is a more attractive red box, and we never actually ran it, so that might be the way we go. It feels like a bit of a waste to not use the big light though so, tbd.
 
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thatsruff

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That looks great!f. Love that stone wall in the background as well!
Thanks! I think a bit more rock is warranted in there but I want to keep it minimal. This basement is working quite well as a fish room, fully trenched with sump pumps and a tap available right from the well pressure tank.
 
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It is a small thing, but I am happy anyway. I got the pressure gauge and two in-line TDS meters. Set them up and tested it out. ~40psi. ~250 from tap, ~250 into RO, ~5 into DI, 0 out.

I haven't run much water through it but it is a cheap system and it just sat around for quite a while so I didn't know what to expect. But I am pleasantly surprised. I think that I will replace the filters anyway ($50) because they were sitting around wet and unused for several years, just to be safe. But I am sticking with the cheap system and considering it good for now.

Onward.
 
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I like the second option. Just my opinion.
Love that you have an actual plan with a budget setup. Wish I had made a list what I actually needed when I started. Still missing stuff because I never write anything down.
Thanks! They are actually the same scape, just one is the side view. I like that view too, it feels a little steep to me but I am trying to think about what it will look like when stocked and I can imagine it working out well.

Yeah, I usually don't either but feel like with some better planning we wouldn't have let our last tank down. Added benefit of knowing into what and at what stages the money needed to be invested.
 
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I went to buy new filters and I slipped and upgraded to the 100 gph unit. Still only $67. I know 'you get what you pay for' but I am okay with this for such a small system; when I need to push enough water for a bigger, ~100-gallon tank, I will probably upgrade to a more professional unit.
 
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