My 4ft Peninsula Tank Journal

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Gedxin

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Specs:
Tank Brand: Red Sea Reefer Peninsula 500
Size: 49.2” x 23 .6” x 23.6”
Volume: 105g display, 27g sump
Lights: 2x Radion G6 Blues, 4x T5s (2x Blue/2x Actinic)
Pump: Siccee SDC 7.0 (tried Simplicity, but it has a noticeable hum and was made backup.)
Filter Roller: ClariSea SK-5000 Gen 2
Refugium: AI Prime 16HD w/ Chaeto and Xenia (extra light I had, we’ll see how well it works.)
Powerheads: 2x Ecotech MP40s
Canopy: White PVC
Controller: Reef Pi combo by Robo-Tank.ca, automated with Home Assistant
Heater: 300w Finnex fail safety with Inkbird temp controller
Battery backup: 1100VA UPS
Rock: 30lbs KP Aquatics Premium Aquacultured Live Rock

The purchase and setup​

I'm sure just about all of us have experienced the "I need to go bigger" bug. Well here I am, its latest victim. I posted on my local forum (SoCaliReefs) in early May inquiring about anyone selling a 4 foot peninsula tank. I was shocked by the amount of messages I received (6 different sellers, some out of state.) It gave me pause about buying anything custom considering how many of these sump-ready systems were just sitting around waiting to be sold. I’m impatient, purchasing something new seemed too much of a wait and a bit out of budget. This tank will likely only be online until I move to a new house/state in a few years, so let’s not go for our ultimate build out yet. Among the sellers, there was a best option (the location helped, and shoutout to @timb000 for the referral!) I bought a couple glass suction cups, rented a trunk, roped in my brother for strength and prayed to Kratos we could, with the help of the owner, move the tank. After much stress and struggle, we managed to get the tank/cabinet in the pickup and drove home. But managed to get it off the car and onto a cart, wheel it inside. A few minutes later, with my pregnant wife helping protect the near by piano, we managed to get it in place! Of course the next day I had to get a neighbor to help me move it over 4ft, but we’ll ignore that effort.

Here it is the second after we got it setup. My bro and I are thrilled and completely exhausted.
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And here it is a day later cleaned up and moved to its final resting place.
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On the same day as tank pickup, I also received a delivery of live rock from KP Aquatics. Bringing it home from the airport, I opened, inspected briefly (the smell was just like the ocean, and the rocks looked amazing,) then transferred everything to a 33g brute can full of Instant Ocean saltwater. There were a few bristle starfish, crabs and pistol shrimp that fell off the rocks. I grabbed all starfish and left the crabs/pistols (sorry little buddies.) The ammonia spiked pretty hard while in the brute (I know the volume capacity wasn’t ideal), and I needed to get the new tank cleaned and ready for water asap. I measured the ammonia at 2ppm the next morning, changed the water, finished the tank cleanup and transferred all rocks in to the peninsula.

May 18th, the tank is wet! Here’s a shot:

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Taking ammonia readings daily and I was still measuring roughly 1ppm. I did my best to change water every day, but ended up more like every other day, and replaced about 1/3 of the volume. This continued with 1ppm readings each change, slowing the ramp to that specific concentration with 2, 3 and 4 days between.

Sump Setup​

I finally got all the necessary parts and finished the plumbing for the sump. The original owner had modified the plumbing to accommodate a Clarisea SK-500 Filter Roller. I’ve never used one before, but figured I’d try it out. Easy guide to installing a new roll was found on Youtube, and a few union screws later (original owner did a solid job with the plumbing), we’ve got it running.

Next was the return pump. I’ve been wanting to try a Simplicity pump for a while, it’s half the price of other pumps! The worse case scenario, I can keep it around as a backup. Got a Simplicity 1600, flexible hose, 1” plastic clamps and fired her up. Works well, remembers state if you power it off (which I do via my controller.) There is a significant con, and it was enough of an annoyance that I eventually bought something else. There’s a noticeable semi-high pitched audible hum that’s being emitted while the pump is running. No one in my family seems to mind the noise, but it bothers me enough that the Simplicity is getting demoted to act as backup.

Next I bought a Sicce SDC 7.0. I’ve been satisfied with my other Sicce pumps, this seemed like a worthy risk. Not a big fan of the capacitive touch controller, it’s clunky and I’ve accidentally pumped it a number of times. I do like the magnetic mount though, that was convenient. And the best part is it doesn’t have a noticeable hum, or at least the hum is minimal/low and white noise.

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I’ll note that the additional water volume of the sump helped the ammonia spikes significantly.

Lighting​

There’s two things I wanted with lighting: a hanging system and a canopy. I’ve enjoyed running my lights on the bluer side for that extra color pop and a canopy significantly cuts down on the obnoxiousness. While looking for a mount, I stumbled on Aquatic Life’s 48” hybrid setup for Radion lights. I’m already using a Radion XR15 for my office tank and have been pleased, so Radions, especially with the new G6 just released were the winners. With the current plan being to keep a mixed SPS tank, I think I could do fine with two XR15s and four T5 lights. Measuring par with T5s on and two Radions at 40% I’m getting ~180> on the sandbed and ~250 near the middle. Those are peak values and only lasts 2 hours out of the entire lighting period. This will likely increase as I fill in the tank with corals.

Lights are mounted 10” above the water. Photo is blue blue blue. Canopy please help.

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I rinsed special grade caribsea sand profusely and added it to the display (~1” max height but mostly very thin [~1/4”] all around.) My water change throwaway was used to do all the rinsing. Really glad I took the advice of other reefers to rinse the sand even if it’s bought new. There’s so much dust, and I don’t need any of their ‘bacteria.’

Canopy​

This is done, but I need a better photo. Stay tuned!

Refugium​

Now that the sump is done and the end game lights were installed, I could set up a refugium. I had a used AI Prime 16HD sitting around (note: this was lighting the tank for the first two weeks just to keep coralline growing while parts came in.) so I mounted it below. A supply of chaeto was coming in with an upcoming ReefCleaners delivery.

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I’m not sure I want to keep this AI Prime in the refugium. It’s growing an awful lot of algae. I’m wondering if a dedicated refugium light would be better.

Flow​

Bought two used Ecotech MP40s from the owner of the tank. Both are mounted about 2/3 up on the overflow sides. These are pumping out plenty of flow for the moment. We’ll see about needing/getting more on the opposite end in the future.

First Invertebrates!​

My office tank’s anemone split about two weeks before the tank delivery and I did not have any room for it. So I either needed to nem box it or find a new home before it stung more animals. The peninsula tank has been cycling for two weeks at this point. I decided it was worth the risk. I turned off the flow for 30min and placed it on a random rock.

I also added three nerites from my office tank.

May 30
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First Added Coral!​

As you can see above, I also added a Duncan from my office nano. It has grown from one head to nearly 30 in the cube tank and had started to shade just about everything around it. The corals would grow better if it wasn’t around. So to the peninsula it goes!

Things are looking pretty good over the next few days. Duncan and anemone are thriving.

First Fish!​

After careful consultation with my wife, we decided on a school of six pajama cardinalfish from Live Aquaria (first time I’ve ordered from them, was definitely a little worried.) They arrived all healthy, and after a long ~4hr bucket acclimation (LA’s specific gravity was 1.020!), I plopped them in the tank. They’re all still alive and well (added them on 6/2.)

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HitchHikers​

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Blue light ruins this photo, but you can see there’s some sort of worm on the algae. Definitely not your standard bristleworm. Could potentially be fireworm? I eventually am able to grab this with tweezers and remove.

I’ve got a tiny mantis shrimp somewhere. I had been hearing clicking sounds just about every night and I assumed it was a pistol shrimp because I found so many in the KP aquatics water. But after staring at the tank one afternoon I noticed a small lobster-like animal darting in/out of the rocks and after close examination I’m 99% sure it’s a mantis. My wife is terrified, especially after reading The Oatmeal’s - Why the mantis shrimp is my new favorite animal. Not sure what I’m gonna do about it at the moment, but thankfully it’s still tiny, like less than an inch.

There’s two camouflaged crabs with white claw tips. One’s very small, and the other is a little smaller than a quarter. I’ve read gorilla crabs typically have black tips. I’m not sure if these are bad yet. Debating on getting a photo and posting in the forums.

Also pretty sure this is an urchin of some sort.
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Saltwater Mixing Station​

Keeping a 33g brute can AND a 10g RODI can in your house/laundry room (on the floor) is not great. I won’t go in to the details why it sucks, you know. So why not rearrange the entire side of the garage to accommodate a saltwater mixing station? I’m all in on this hobby, let’s do it right. My dad’s a handyman as well, so I knew if I could just design something, we could build it. So I went with a slight variation on numerous other inline pump-driven setups, but I don’t see a lot of people stacking their tanks. I think there’s huge space savings if you can manage it! I bought two 65g bins (23” x 43”) and proceeded to build a stand. Designed a ball valve-controlled mixing station and cemented it all. We had to cut 1/4 of it the next day due to small leaks coming from the bulkhead bushings (I didn’t use enough teflon, ugh!) Next, we installed a piece of plywood against the garage wall and mounted my 6 stage RODI BRS system. Drilled a hole in the top bin, installed a float valve, plugged in to a pre-installed faucet in my garage (thank you previous owners) and voila! we’ve got mass water storage!

Here’s what it looks like at completion.

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Predrilled bulkheads on the bottom and top of each bin for ease of plumbing. Peabody engineering, the manufacturers, really outdid themselves. Reasonably priced bins and if I recall only took ~4 weeks to build. SoCal local pick up as well!

Pump is a 20-RXT Iwaki. Regret here is I didn’t go one size bigger. Pumping saltwater to a tank ~50’ away takes time and I wish it would be a smidge quicker.

One more regret, next time install the pump the lowest you possibly can. I can really only ‘mix’ the salt when the bin is full. There’s not quite enough water gravity to mix if the water bin’s level sits below the pump’s level. Pumping externally seems to work just fine at any level thankfully (likely because I don’t let the saltwater get too low.)

Here’s what it looks like down lower after I added an easy hose adapter.

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It might be worth redoing the majority of the plumbing at some point, mounting the pump lower would be best. For now it’ll do.

Gravity-fed Auto Top Off (for both my tanks)​

I’m not a fan of lugging gallons of RO water every few days from the garage. Not only do you have the laborious part, but it’s also difficult to remember to do it in the first place. I wondered, isn’t there a way I can get gravity to do this for me? I live in a single story home and my RO storage bin sits ~4ft above the ground. If I could run a line from the bin in the garage to the tanks in my office/garage and then create a syphon, shouldn’t that work indefinitely? Physics, right? Well, hours of attic fishing and 1/4” tube cutting, I finally had a cable going from my RO bin to my office tank (Peninsula tank came a few weeks later.) How do I prime the syphon? I use a Sicce Utility pump with a hose 3/4” to 1/4” push connect, and proceed to pump RO water in to the line. Wait for the pump to push water completely through the hose, and use a ball valve to stop flow on the tank side. Use another ball valve near the RO bin, disconnect hose from the pump, place this same hose in the RO bin. Flip both ball valves, you should now have a gravity-fed syphon to your tank. A few weeks after doing this for my office tank I added a T connecter and added a line to my Peninsula. There is some nuance here to starting the syphon and it will also fail if I open both tank’s valves at the same time. So I solved that with A) a check-valve near the RO bin to prevent water from back flowing (and restart the syphon more easily) and most especially B) An RODI Auto Shut Off Solenoid by XP Aqua. When the unit is not powered the valve is closed, so I just have both units off by default and turn them on at different times of the day to open/continue the syphon drip. In addition to the XP Aqua shut off, I have a float valve at the end of the drip line. This is the first line of defense, if the float breaks and the RO water keeps filling, the XP aqua will trip and stop the flow. No more lugging buckets of RO water to the tanks ever again! Great success.

A few more corals!​

Jumped on a recent sale and grabbed a few random pieces. 4 acros (yup, totally understand this is a huge risk given the age of the tank), branching cyphastrea (which I promptly broke and mounted the fragged piece) and a rainbow monti.
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Controller Closet​

Brains: Reef-pi w/ Robo-Tank

After significant debate, I decided to go with Reef-pi again (my office tank is also reef-pi) for my controller. Apex/GHL were my other top contenders, but at the end of the day, I didn’t feel like the cost/value matched my needs. I really just want to be able to turn on/off things, dose, and monitor pH and temperature. The reef-pi system can do all that (and more), but only costs a fraction (~$400.)

Top left of the photo, on the controller board, you can see the reef-pi 3dprinted box and ‘brains’ of the operation. pH, temp, and power bar plug in here. On the right of the mounted controller board is the 3d printed power bar. In front of the power bar on a shelf is a BRS 1.1 doser. Below on the floor of the closet is a 2.5L dosing container with all-four-reef. To the very right of the photo you see some plugs, those go in to a Z-wave (smart home) power bar.

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I also added a carbon reactor off of the return pump manifold (pre-installed ball valve from the original owner.)

Thanks for reading all, I'll be sure to take/post a few more photos and add details about the canopy soon.
 
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Jedi1199

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Awesome build thread. Congrats on the new tank and the new addition to the family "pregnant wife".

Looks like you have done your homework here and have a solid foothold on what you are doing and where you are going.
 
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blaxsun

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I think that's a pencil urchin. The first image of a worm is definitely a regular bristleworm. Not sure about the second as I'd need to see it under white light (if it's bright red it could be a fireworm, in which case you don't want it). Good luck with the tank!
 
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Gedxin

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Awesome build thread. Congrats on the new tank and the new addition to the family "pregnant wife".

Looks like you have done your homework here and have a solid foothold on what you are doing and where you are going.
Thank you! I've definitely learned a lot in the first year of owning my nano tank.

Great start to the tank! I need to make a rodi/saltwater station in my basement. Any additional tips for the plumbing? I’ll be using brute trash cans.
Thanks! Unions are your best friend. Add as many as you can afford. It's almost inevitable to make a mistake or want to improve in some way, and unions can save you a lot of time. Get one model up pump than you think you need. Feel free to shoot over any other questions as you start to design/build!


I think that's a pencil urchin. The first image of a worm is definitely a regular bristleworm. Not sure about the second as I'd need to see it under white light (if it's bright red it could be a fireworm, in which case you don't want it). Good luck with the tank!
Agreed on all accounts.

And now for an update on the canopy and most recent tank shots:

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The canopy is build out of 3/4" Expanded White PVC board. At the moment it's just resting on top of the glass (weighs roughly ~30lbs.) I really want to hang it, but haven't figured out a good solution yet. Taking ideas that let me easily feed/work in the tank.

Things are a bit too blue photos to do the tank justice. Finally got out the Orphek filters for my phone:

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Also, @jhuntstl, in case you didn't see I posted yet. :D
 
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saltyhog

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Great build thread! Definitely a pencil urchin and a fire worm. Only issue with the fire worm is some discomfort with stings from unintentional contact. If you catch the mantis I would get a small tank for a species tank!
 
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jhuntstl

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You went silent for a while there...and I was admittedly worried. I thought the dinos and gha might have chased you away.

It all makes sense now. You've been BUSY!

Nice score on the peninsula! And good choice with the KP rock. You can get lost looking at all the life on ocean rock. Also a big fan of the shallow scape you've gone with!! So much room for growth and your fishies have open water to enjoy.

What other fish are you considering?

So why not rearrange the entire side of the garage to accommodate a saltwater mixing station? I’m all in on this hobby, let’s do it right.
My favorite part. I can relate. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
 
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Gedxin

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You went silent for a while there...and I was admittedly worried. I thought the dinos and gha might have chased you away.

It all makes sense now. You've been BUSY!

Nice score on the peninsula! And good choice with the KP rock. You can get lost looking at all the life on ocean rock. Also a big fan of the shallow scape you've gone with!! So much room for growth and your fishies have open water to enjoy.

What other fish are you considering?


My favorite part. I can relate. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
I'll admit, my office nano is very exhausting to deal with. It's still full of GHA and the dinos will not go away (there's only a little left, but they're persistent.) The GHA is so bad it's starting to negatively impact my two torches. Unsure what next steps to take, snails won't survive the dinos and I can't get rid of the GHA by regular pullings.

That said, loving this new peninsula tank. KP live rock is amazing and I feel made things instantly readily for coral and fish.

Speaking of fish, I just bought 6 more from Dr Reef. I'm getting anthias, three ignitus females and one male. Also getting two wrasse, a Lineatus and Katherine's (also happens to be my wife's name.) Peaceful temperament across the board with these six I think.

From there in a month or so I'll grab a bristletooth tang and possibly a yellow tang. That be it for fish stocking.
 
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jhuntstl

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I'll admit, my office nano is very exhausting to deal with. It's still full of GHA and the dinos will not go away (there's only a little left, but they're persistent.) The GHA is so bad it's starting to negatively impact my two torches. Unsure what next steps to take, snails won't survive the dinos and I can't get rid of the GHA by regular pullings.

That said, loving this new peninsula tank. KP live rock is amazing and I feel made things instantly readily for coral and fish.

Speaking of fish, I just bought 6 more from Dr Reed. I'm getting anthias, three ignitus females and one male. Also getting two wrasse, a Lineatua and Katherine's (also happens to be my wife's name.) Peaceful temperament across the board with these six I think.

From there in a month or so I'll grab a bristletooth tang and possibly a yellow tang. That be it for fish stocking.
3 day blackout did the trick for me in my frag tank. Dinos have not returned since. I tried UV with no luck. I do have a major bryopsis issue though. =( Messing with elevated mag levels using Brightwell Hydrat-MG. I have GHA as well, but my CUC keeps it in check.

I would consider a Tomini as well. I added one to the frag and it's been hard at work. My bristletooth in the DT seems much more interested in mysis than micro or macro algae. Every fish is different though!
 
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3 day blackout did the trick for me in my frag tank. Dinos have not returned since. I tried UV with no luck. I do have a major bryopsis issue though. =( Messing with elevated mag levels using Brightwell Hydrat-MG. I have GHA as well, but my CUC keeps it in check.

I would consider a Tomini as well. I added one to the frag and it's been hard at work. My bristletooth in the DT seems much more interested in mysis than micro or macro algae. Every fish is different though!
I'm very tempted to go the 3-day blackout route. I imagine it will help the GHA loosen its hold as well. I worry how it will negatively impact my acros now that they're finally growing.

Added a Tomini to my watch maybe list, thanks for the suggestion!

Purchased a dozen new corals from @CherryCorals recent live sale. Expect an update when they arrive tomorrow!
 
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Corals are here! I went a bit overboard, but the sales were oh so sweet, I couldn't pass up the opportunities to get so many named acros.

Tank is doing phenomenal (especially in comparison to my office tank.) All corals are noticeably crusting, even one or two of the @CherryCorals I received Tuesday morning. Here's a list:

CherryCoral PhotoMy Photo
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ORA Red Goniopora #11
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CC Gold Tip Hammer #5
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BC Magic Wand
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Space Invader Pectinia
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Torch
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RR Starfire
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ORA Red Planet
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CR Eternal Flame
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CC Nuclear Sunset Milli
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BC Ultimate Table
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CC Voodoo Majick
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WWC Pink Passion
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RR Pink Cadillac
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Zs Prize
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CC Blood Moon Table
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Tyree Pinky the Bear
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ARC Fireworks
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BC Bubblebath Unicorn

Cherry doesn’t label their corals, so this table is as much as reference for me to remember what corals looks like and their names.
 

jhuntstl

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Corals are here! I went a bit overboard, but the sales were oh so sweet, I couldn't pass up the opportunities to get so many named acros.

Tank is doing phenomenal (especially in comparison to my office tank.) All corals are noticeably crusting, even one or two of the @CherryCorals I received Tuesday morning. Here's a list:

CherryCoral PhotoMy Photo
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ORA Red Goniopora #11
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CC Gold Tip Hammer #5
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BC Magic Wand
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Space Invader Pectinia
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Torch
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RR Starfire
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ORA Red Planet
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CR Eternal Flame
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CC Nuclear Sunset Milli
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BC Ultimate Table
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CC Voodoo Majick
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WWC Pink Passion
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RR Pink Cadillac
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Zs Prize
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CC Blood Moon Table
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Tyree Pinky the Bear
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ARC Fireworks
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BC Bubblebath Unicorn

Cherry doesn’t label their corals, so this table is as much as reference for me to remember what corals looks like and their names.
Love love LOVE that red goni!
 
OP
Gedxin

Gedxin

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Short photo update. I took the advice of @Coral Euphoria and made my own frag mounts while also drilling holes in my rocks. This will allow me to move around acros so I can find best placement as well as color coordination. Yeah it's a bit of an eye sore with the white discs, but coralline is going rampant elsewhere, I bet they'll be purple in a month or two max.

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Avast
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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Thanks for the comments you two!

Here's a photo/coral update. I got in on @Reef Raft USA July 4th sale and received the corals last week. Mounted my 'last' acro frag yesterday. I think I'm officially done buying acros for the foreseeable future! Any more will have to be mounted directly to the rock as I have no more holes drilled. I'm pretty happy with the 40 acros purchased the last two months, but RIP my wallet.

Still a few coral to mount. Still figuring out my euphyllia garden color scheme, gonis, space invader and branching cyphastrea. So many options on placement!

99% of everything is doing well, so I won't even mention the hiccups. Acros are encrusting, that's all that's important to me! Heh. Algae is...not great but manageable. I have a fish order coming in from Dr Reef's this Thursday, along will come a few more CUC members to help.

A few tank shots taken today:
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Nutramar Foods
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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Cannot figure out where to place them yet, especially with best flow (and protected), I'm blasting the tank a bit.

Left to RIght
NY Knicks, God Torch, Malaysian Banana, Black Light (old frag from other tank, recovering decently), Green Torch

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Annnnd a few acro close ups. Still working on photography. Top down maybe some day.

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AquaCave

How have you used eggcrate in or around your aquarium?

  • Aquarium lid

    Votes: 65 30.1%
  • Frag rack

    Votes: 113 52.3%
  • Skimmer stand

    Votes: 69 31.9%
  • Sump Divider

    Votes: 41 19.0%
  • Other (please describe in the discussion)

    Votes: 33 15.3%
  • I have not used eggcrate in or around my aquarium

    Votes: 56 25.9%
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