My First Tank! Aquatop Recife 40 AIO

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miltonkl

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Hello all! I'm brand new to the hobby and working on starting up my first tank! I'm on a budget, so planning to take it slow and watch for some deals to pop up. I just picked up the tank as step 1, which is a used Aquatop Recife 40 AIO.

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I've since stood up that Ikea Kallax with board games on it and emptied out the bottom two shelves and left about a foot and a half of space on either side of the tank so I have room to get on either side comfortably and not have the games in splash range.


It came with the some little boxes that go in the back but they're empty. Here's the stock photo from Aquatop for reference:

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Let me know what you think I should have in them right away, if anything. I'm currently planning to leave them empty and just fill them with media as I run into issues and find myself needing something.

The protein skimmer pictured did come with the tank but that little hose piece that sticks out of the top under the collection cup is missing and I believe that's needed to actually tune the thing so I'm guessing it won't work correctly and is junk. I might list it on ebay for parts and I'll just run without one for now. Measuring the chamber it looks like the Ice Cap K1 would fit but isn't rated for a tank this size. Again, I'll probably get the tank started without a skimmer and add it after I have 2-4 fish.

I've ordered a Python No Spill which comes in tomorrow so my next step is to water test this. I feel like the stand is mighty flimsy (MDF or something) for such a big fish tank and want to stick a 2x4 or some L brackets in it or something, but it's a purpose made stand so I'm probably worried about nothing.

Assuming the water holds, my next step is waiting for the 6 stage RODI unit at BRS to go on sale (assuming here around black friday it will) since my city treats the water with chloramines. I'll probably go ahead and order some dry rock while I'm waiting so I can be figuring out an aquascape. I want to do one of those negative space scapes following the Tidal Gardens method with the thin glue and sand/powdered dry rock. Anyone have experience with that?

Excited to get started in this hobby!
 
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Nburg

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I think a tank size of 40g doesn't really need a skimmer, and that tiny skimmer will be harder to get tuned in correctly than any real benift. Nothing water changes and some GAC/GFO or Chemipure couldn't handle if needed.

In the back, maybe some of those ceramic biosphere balls or blocks for now and save room for active media down the line.

One thing I would recommend on a taller cube style tank is to make sure your rocks are secured with fiberglass or acrylic rods or some sort of mortar. You really don't want a rock slide in that tank.
 
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miltonkl

miltonkl

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No major changes with the tank, yet, but I'm almost ready to get some water in it! I filled it with tap water and it held the water just fine over a few days with no leaks.

I ordered 35 lbs of dry rock plus two of the small foundation pieces which came in last week and two bottles of Gluemasters (using the R2R discount code!) that came in yesterday. I'm planning to smash them up this weekend and work on building a scape. I mocked up a replica of the display side of my tank so I can kind of build inside there to have a good grasp on how far it'll be from the top and sides and such. I assume this will take a couple of weeks.

I also wound up randomly finding someone on Facebook who bought a storage locker full of aquarium gear which I bought from him because he didn't know what to do with. Now I'm sitting on like 6 dry rock pedestals, 21 bags of calcium reactor media, some light fixtures (no balasts), and some partially damaged but fully viable sumps. Now I've got to work on selling this stuff off to fund the next steps on the tank.

In that sale I also got two 4 stage 75GPD RODI units so I'm at least ready to make some water! Time to figure out what to make the water in, given my limited space.
 
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miltonkl

miltonkl

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Almost ready to get this thing cycling!

I made my aquascape this weekend using the rock dust and Gluemasters method. It was super easy to do and the glue lasted longer than expected; however, making enough dust proved to be the hardest party. Definitely need a big sturdy mortal and pestle or a sledge hammer or tamper or something besides my 4 lb hammer for that if I do it again.

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I really like the way it turned out but the left side is a little empty and it could use a cave for fish to dark in. Plenty of overhangs and once it has coral on it it'll tighten up the spaces though.

I might build add another couple of pieces to it. I put some marine pure pieces in one of the chambers in the back for some added filtration and another small island in the back in the middle of the archway as well just to get some extra rock in the tank. This picture isn't the best angle for all the little platforms this thing has but I think it's going to be pretty great.

I ordered some Ocean Direct sand and a bucket of Instant Ocean salt which should be here by the end of the week and started making water in a brute. My PSI is only 30 so it's not very efficient. The booster pump I had apparently isn't working so I need to look into a new one before I make future batches.

Hopefully I'll have this full of water and cycling by the weekend!
 
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miltonkl

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I got the ocean direct live sand and water in last week along with some BioSpira to start the cycling.

My wave pump wound up blasting the sand out of the corner in this position so I moved it up higher and aimed it more towards the surface but it still keeps that left side of the tank with a real thin sand bed. More concerningly, it also seems to periodically create this mini whirlpool thing like a bath tub drain right above it from the surface. It'll droop down about an inch 2-3 times a minute but doesn't last but a couple of seconds each time. It's a Sicce XStream 5000 which is rated at 1320 GPH. Plus the return pump which is supposed to be rated at 475 GPH. Together that's 1,795 GPH or 45x my total water volume (which includes the water in the AIO chambers in addition to the display. Looks like the standards recommendation is 20-30x so I'll probably just take this out and grab a cheap amazon option to supplement the return and save this for salt mixing or put it up for sale.
 
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miltonkl

miltonkl

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Well, several changes since my last update.

I swapped out my wavemaker for a Jebao controllable one. It did ok and I was happy enough with it, but then I was selling some stuff on here and wound up trading for a Nero 3 so now I'm trying that out. I love having the app control, but really struggling to get the right flow. GPH wise, I'm at a good turnover rate but watching particles float around doesn't look as great as I'd like.

For a light, I picked up a standard AI Prime 16HD and opted to get the long gooseneck because it gave me multiple options for mounting it. That worked out great because my tank is jussssst barely too close to the wall to comfortably get this mount on the back of the glass so I mounted it on the side and the neck is long enough to reach and curve a little so that it's still centered over the display area.

For fish, I'm up to a single "fancy" clown (no specific name that I'm aware of), 2 banggai cardinals, 1 royal gramma, 1 diamond goby, and 1 pistol shrimp. I'm looking to rehome the goby as I didn't realize he wouldn't bond with my shrimp! He's full grown and really fun to watch, but doesn't fit my goal so he needs a new home. I don't ever see the shrimp right now but hoping once he gets a goby buddy I'll see it more. If not, I'll probably wind up rehoming that too.

I also picked up a GSP frag and won a Dynamite Chalice and an anemone of some sort from my local club which was super cool! The anemone has been moving around a lot trying to find where it wants to stay. Sadly, the clown hasn't found it yet. I also just got a couple xenia pieces from a club member but not sure if I'm going to successfully get them to mount to my rubble so I can put them in the tank properly. We'll see!

Last for the livestock, I picked up a random assortment of hermits and snails. I don't even know what I got, I just asked my LFS to put together a small collection for me. I think half the crabs are already dead though because the goby likes to pick them up and move them around.

Last, I picked up the 2nd gen version of the aquatop protein skimmer from their website. I had to remove a media box (I'm still only using one of those right now anyways, so not a huge deal but annoying) to mount it and so far it's really not making good foam. Doesn't even reach close to the collection cup. Hoping it just needs to break in but right now I'm wishing I hadn't gotten it.

Pic dump!



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JumboShrimp

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That is not a bad tank at all— I have a 24-ish gallon myself at my office. I don’t bother with the skimmer; but I have a tiny piece of filter floss on top of the sponge (that I change as it catches stuff coming in from the water intake grate), and I have two of the filter boxes filled with filter floss as well. The tank is crystal clear. Best wishes!
 
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miltonkl

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That is not a bad tank at all— I have a 24-ish gallon myself at my office. I don’t bother with the skimmer; but I have a tiny piece of filter floss on top of the sponge (that I change as it catches stuff coming in from the water intake grate), and I have two of the filter boxes filled with filter floss as well. The tank is crystal clear. Best wishes!
There is a guy here on r2r that makes media baskets to replace the sponge. I'll probably grab one of those as soon as he restocks. I hate that darn sponge but have kept it in just to hold up the floss like you do, lol.

I had crystal clear water till that goby stirred up my sand! Now it's constantly cloudy (I didn't rinse the sand.... won't make that mistake again). I have to change that floss every other day because it will get so clogged with sand that it won't let enough water flow and then my return pump is spitting water into the tank but not getting fresh water except from the ATO. I almost overflowed one day last week when I missed changing the filter, lol.

I hadn't kept any in the media boxes though. Was worried it would do the same there except I wouldn't notice. Honestly not sure what to put in those. I have one with some marine pure and 2 empty right now. Thought about putting some more marine pure in a 2nd one. Maybe I'll ditch the sponge and try out some floss in a box after the skimmer to see how that does. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

Char.toombes

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I have the same tank and I have the same issue with the 2nd gen skimmer. I’ve been looking into workable options in a few months and the aquamaxx hob 1.5 and the ws-1 are both options that’ll fit the original skimmer chamber I believe. Check ‘em out if you’re looking.
 
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miltonkl

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I have the same tank and I have the same issue with the 2nd gen skimmer. I’ve been looking into workable options in a few months and the aquamaxx hob 1.5 and the ws-1 are both options that’ll fit the original skimmer chamber I believe. Check ‘em out if you’re looking.

Hadn't seen the ws-1 recommended anywhere previously but have seen the IceCap K-1 nano skimmer suggested. I'm not sure I left myself enough room between the tank and wall for the HOB option, though that sounds like the best choice here. Let me know if you wind up trying any other skimmers out on this tank!
 
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The pistol shrimp is an amazing animal. You will hear a lot of snaping noises. Mine was wild, awesome noise. Also mine when he choose his home, started to take the sand from underneath the rock. Interesting animal. Very good start, following.

About crystal clear water, well up until now I havent managed to achieve that. And have a massive skimmer working ( my tank is 80g, skimmer is meant for almost 300g). Not overfeading, not overstocking and still cand get that amazing water. Maybe is not possible, idk.
 
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