My SPS Waterbox Peninsula Mini 15

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Hi all. Long time member (I think I joined right around when R2R started or took off years ago) but got out of the hobby for about 6 years and now I am back! I don't see many build threads for the PM 15 (mostly the 25) so thought I'd share my journey here. This post will be a bit behind initially since I've already started my build. Once caught up this thread will roughly track my build thread on our local reef clubs website, WAMAS (link here). If you're in the DMV area, please look into joining a great group of people. The posts will be sequential but officially posted all at once. Thanks for reading!

So...It's been almost 8 years (February 26, 2013) since I started in the hobby. I unfortunately had to back away as life just got too busy. With my kids older, some extra time because of working from home and an almost obsessive need to be challenged, I'm back and going full force. Most people go bigger for their 2nd tank but I went smaller. There's a lot of reasons for that but the bottom line is that I believe there can be a ton of beauty coming from smaller tanks. I've seen great examples here and elsewhere and I use them as precedents. Apparently a lot has changed in the hobby and I'm trying to catch up.

Arrival!

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I debated between the Waterbox or an IM 14g and went this route because I thought the tank looked better and a bit more volume is always helpful. When I left the hobby I don't think this company was even around but glad I found it. The cabinet I chose is not specifically made for mine but I like the extra ledge it provides. The cabinet is pretty sharp and well done. I am impressed.

There are some bad reviews about the cabinets and their instructions so I was prepared for the worse. But there is an online manual and once the box was opened, I realized that it's basically an IKEA furniture. So if you've built IKEA furniture's before, this will be a breeze. Unlike IKEA, this is built much better, better wood, better laminate/finish and much better hardware. It's built solid. Took me a bit over 1 hr to do it.

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Although I'm still debating some of the equipment and livestock choices here is what I have that are known so far:

Equipment:
Tank/Stand - Waterbox Peninsula Mini 15 and PW2418 cabinet
Lid - Kraken
Controller - Reef Angel monitoring PH, Salinity, Heater, ATO and maybe dosing.
Return Pump - Tunze Silence 1073.008 (I decided to ditch the pump it came with)
Skimmer - Tunze 9001 DC (not planning on installing at first)
Light - AI Prime HD
Powerhead - AI Nero 3
ATO - Avast pressure switch and pump
Doser - BRS 1.1ml (only have 1 right now)
Light hanger - I plan to use 80/20 aluminum bars attached to the stand and cantilevering out over the tank. I do have the AI tank mount but 1) it likely won't fit with my skimmer in the middle compartment and 2) I prefer to not have anything that sticks up and out touching the tank (other than cords/tubes of course). The 80/20 may allow me to mount an auto feeder when on vacation too and perhaps a camera.

I don't plan to use any of the filter media the tank comes with except for the filter socks but only at certain times as part of my water change to get more detritus out. I have more than enough rock and still new in bag sand from the previous build. I will be chiseling and attempting some kind of NSA. Not 100% sure yet. Edit: I decided to get a Kraken media cup for more flexibility. The plan is to use it sparingly (floss or carbon).

Overall concept:
Since the tank is small, I want to limit movement to just the livestock. I won't put any moving corals like torches, frogspawn, etc. The idea is to have the corals be the canvas for the 2 clowns and the BTA as the sole movement in the tank (sexy shrimp and rock 'nem too but not so much). I feel like too much movement in a small tank is just too busy and you're also constantly fighting for space.

Livestock:
Pair of clowns (I'm leaning towards designer)
BTA Anemone
Sexy Shrimp
Rock Anemone
CUC

Corals:
Plan is to be SPS dominant with a garden of something at the sand. Right now I'm looking at Zoas but it could be others like encrusting SPS, favias, etc. Still TBD here. Besides the main NSA, I will have smaller rocks on the sand to allow for growth and encrusting.

Finally:

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First Choice
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howaboutme

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My 80/20 order for the light hanger is in and coordinated:

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I am taking a risk (future risk) of putting the hanger on a "finished" side even though it will be against the wall. I wanted to put it on the back but there is no easy way to attach the aluminum. At the end of the day, this fits the aesthetic better as the light is cantilevering out from the same end as the peninsula is sticking out. This product wasn't cheap but hopefully worth it. Ironically, it wasn't until after I placed the order, the design support person sent me a note to say there's a cheaper way to do this. Oh well. I need to wait about 2 weeks (hopefully less) for this to get in before I can get the tank wet.

Will start aquascaping soon:

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I have more rock than I'll need but since I'm chopping away, I anticipate needing more scraps. Hopefully I have enough glue and kicker.
 
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Some updates.

I have my aquascape done. It turned out okay. I think it'll grow on me. I think I just had too many must have's for this to be uber successful. I wanted the 'scape to be:

- NSA (or something like it)
- Provide access to the sand
- Only touch the bottom of the glass once
- Provide ample room for corals
- Have as much as possible to help with the biological filtration

I very much realized that having a small tank makes this difficult. Successful NSA's usually have a few touchdown spots to create those cool arches, etc. I couldn't/didn't want to do that so I tried some cantilevers. Of course, the more you cantilever one end, you have to brace it on the other end to balance. At the end of the day, I think what I have is fine and once filled with corals, all good. I do wish it was taller but, again, if taller, I would need to go out more and I don't have any more room. If you look at the top view, I do have a good amount of space for corals. Boy, is the glue accelerator awesome! It makes doing this easy. The below is approximately 7 lbs only.

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Top:

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I ended up switching 1 of the 2 smaller rocks out with a larger one once I put it in the tank. The scale felt better to me. The 2 loose rocks are meant to be islands of zoas, etc, not 100% sure yet. The main rock is reserved for SPS.

In the tank:

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It's hard to see the true volume and depth from the photos. The main cantilever is pretty dramatic.

This allows me to get access to the sand for cleaning, etc and provides good swimming room under the main "terrace" for the corals. I don't know where the future rock 'nem will go though as I have read they like to hang out where the rock meets the sand. I don't have much of that with good light.

As for next steps, I have at least 2 more weeks until my 80/20 gets here so I can't wet the tank at all until I get that and install the light mount. So I started to organize the inside of the cabinet. It's a sea of wires now and that'll be fixed. Everything is on velcro for easy access. I didn't realize how much wall space all of this takes. If I had a sump, I'd have to take this all outside.

The Reef Angel relay and modules are on the left as well as a utility power bar. I will be plugging in an old android tablet mounted to the cabinet door for the controller on the strip and that's also where I will plug a small pump for water changes. The controller head unit is on the right and the Avast ATO (and pump) are below that with the wifi attachment sneaking out to the outside wall for better connection. The ATO jug will be just below that.

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I have zip ties, hooks, etc to manage the wires and it'll end up being clean.

This came today:

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Love the size! It's so small inside. Hope it turns out okay.

Since I can't even get my tank wet for maybe 3 more weeks, I've decided to cook my rocks in a brute and get the nitrogen cycle started. Since I'm using dead "live" rock from my previous build I believe there is nothing on it do die off. It's been sitting dry for 6 years. That said, I will run it for 2 days and do a NH3 test to see if there is any die off. If not, I will start to ghost feed. Once tank is ready, I will move the cycle into the tank. I anticipate the rock being out of water for 15 to 30 minutes during the transfer from brute to tank. I'll likely continue to cycle a bit longer until I call it done. Progress but not fast enough!
 
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My patience is being tested. For a hobby that needs patience, I have none. Just a few more deliveries....

I tested the Nero 3. It connects to the app, works fine. We'll see how it goes in the tank. Between the return and this, I should get good flow.

The rocks are cooking! I started to ghost feed to get the NH3 started. I'm on day 3 on that. Despite my initial thoughts of not needing to test that often, I've tested NH3 every day. Amazing what you're able to accomplish working from home and having a lot of extra time.

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More preparation:

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I use the smaller ones for coral dipping. First one is w/ the dip solution, 2nd to clean/rinse and if needed a 3rd for final rinse. The larger ones will be for more intense acclimation (if needed), particularly inverts that may require drip. I also use the smaller ones to transport corals from your house to mine (local club buy/sell/trades).
 
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Some updates! Been busy the last few days with work but did get a bunch of stuff in to finally finish the pre-wet build. My 80/20 came in as well as my Kraken lid.

Started to put the 80/20 light rack onto the stand:

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Nice and level but do you see what is wrong? Hint, look at the screws.

I bought one-way screws and didn't even realize!
:ohmy:
What a brain [email protected] It's one thing to get it wrong at the check out of Home Depot, it's quite something else to not notice as I drilled in the screws. Yes, I did this for all 8 of them. So out comes my Dremel to cut a groove for my flathead to fit in. The 8 screws come out and in go the stuff I should be using.

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What you see above is what they call a bearing plate. I have 2 of them to hold the vertical post up. The white part are the "brake pads". The handle is what they call the "brake". A quick 180 degree turn and the pole is loose and will slide up or down as needed. As an example, the one at the bottom is locked while the top is loose. It's very clean and I like them. Let me tell you, this 80/20 stuff is strong! If you search around some people use it to build stands. The online coral shop Tidal Gardens uses them exclusively on their tanks.

Here all locked in and against the wall. There is enough room to do the 180 for adjustment:

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Then I had to figure out how to attach the horizontal part of the AI fixed light arm. For those of you that know, it is a thin slotted metal piece. I thought it would be turnkey but it was anything but. The screws that go into the T-slot are too thick so I had to figure out how to widen the slot. Out comes the angle grinder, sorry no photos. It was messy work and very much not pretty but the arm sits higher than eye level so I'm not too worried. I sanded as best as I could.

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The slots are nice to hide cords, a big plus. Here you can see the Kraken Lid too. I highly recommend them, very nicely done.

Now with some momentum and thinking that getting this baby wet is a day or two away, I continued to try and figure out how to manage all of the darn cords.

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This is everything that needs to go up and into the tank. I'm temporarily putting them in the display so they aren't falling back down. This is all going to make sense in the next day or so.

Although I can't do final cord management until I plug everything in, I did do some:

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Most if it is above the header and out of the way. The cords on the bottom are going to be plugged into the Reef Angel box and then tied up top to create my drip loop. On the left is an old android tablet to run the Reef Angel.

In the mean time, rocks are still cycling. I'm ghost feeding some yummy reef flakes daily. I guess they are going somewhere because I smell NH3 but not testing too much yet (API, .25ppm if that). I understand why people choose to dose to get this going but slow and steady wins!

Next steps:
- Cord management
- Get the Reef Angel ready
- Put main rock structure in
- Put sand
- Put the 2 island rocks in
- Add water
- Start return pump, ph and heater
- Continue cycling the rock and now sand
- Calibrate both PH and Salinity probes and insert into tank
- Install and adjust the ATO
- Final cord management
- Test, test, test!

Hopefully my next update is a tank filled w/ water and the AI prime turned on!
 
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It's wet!

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With light on generic setting:

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Some further progress below:

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Zip ties, velcro and command strips. My secret.

Still more work to be done w/ cords, etc. I will also say that my initial impressions in regards to the AI app is negative. But that's likely not a surprise given that a lot of people dislike it. The light is better as it uses wifi but the nero is only BT and connection is finicky at best.

Cycling continues...
 
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Day ~ 17 of cycling.

10 of those days were of the rocks in a brute. 7 days in the DT w/ new sand. After promising myself I'm not going to test every day. I am testing every day. How can you not? About a week into the brute cycling, a clear NH3 smell existed but API tests never showed a big spike. Now roughly 17 days later, I am stuck at the famous API .25/.5ppm color. Not much for NO2, and impossible to tell colorwise for NO3 but I think it's about 5. What I should have done is to test NO3 before I continuing the cycle in the DT because at that time I did essentially a 100% water change thereby eliminating any chance to see if there was a mini cycle in the brute. Meanwhile, I ghost feed daily a pinch of yummy reef flakes.

I have a Salifert NO3 test coming to help confirm NO3. If I see something there too I may consider my tank cycled but will continue to feed the cycle for a bit longer to make sure.
 
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Still cycling but I think I'm almost done.

I'm continuing to get the infamous .25/.5ppm for NH3 on API. I've never had anything above 0 for NO2 and am slowly getting my NO3 up the last few days. I'm now up to between 5 and 10ppm on API and between 2.5 and 5ppm on Salifert. In other words, the tank is moving along and likely "cycled". I do wonder why I don't get any higher numbers and I believe it's because I am exclusively ghost feeding and not dosing any additional NH3 (or adding other chems for that matter). I think it's because my tank is processing that little amount of reef flakes efficiently which is why none of my #'s are high nor am I getting any NO2 (I'm assuming the .25/.5 NH3 on API is a false positive). The raising of NO3 gives me confidence that I am where I need to go or be. We discussed this a bit in this thread with @brandon429 .

So, as I twiddle my thumbs I'm also continuing to do research. So much has changed (IMO) the last few years that I've been out. Did you know that NO2 (Nitrite) is now considered NOT toxic to marine fish? I thought it was a recent finding but sure enough, I found an article by RHF dated in ~2006 that stated just that. NO2 is toxic to fresh water fish but not to marine fish. How about that?

The above picture has the light at a very low intensity (less than 10%). This was for show but I am going to start turning my lights on at that intensity for 3 or 4 hours in the next few days. Reason?

1. To enjoy the tank.
2. To actually encourage some growth of algae.

Why? My plan is to first add some snails to kick things off. They will be in by themselves for at least a week, if not longer, as I continue to monitor the status of the tank. Since the tank started sterile, they've got to eat something! There's already some dust on the glass from the ambient room light (you can see in the pict above) that I won't clean and I wouldn't mind some more to keep the future CUC members happy.
 

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Wellllll, this tank looks familiar! I guess I can just follow this build thread!

Now it makes sense why I didn't see a light in the other picture. You don't have it connected to the tank! Looking good!

Following along since you have more techy stuff already. I can use your build to see what does or doesn't fit.
 
Fritz
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Wellllll, this tank looks familiar! I guess I can just follow this build thread!

Now it makes sense why I didn't see a light in the other picture. You don't have it connected to the tank! Looking good!

Following along since you have more techy stuff already. I can use your build to see what does or doesn't fit.

Haha, yes! I still may start a thread over there but maybe not as detailed. I don't mind sharing. Thanks for following along.
 
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Awesome job! Fellow WAMAS member here.

Love the idea of the bigger stand to have a place to set stuff on when needed. Excited to see the tank grow!
Thanks bro! Appreciate the kind words.

I'm pretty sure I'll catch up with you sooner rather than later. You've got some nice looking sticks that may end up in my tank one day! Your current FS thread is just a bit too early for me, but soon!
 

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Thanks bro! Appreciate the kind words.

I'm pretty sure I'll catch up with you sooner rather than later. You've got some nice looking sticks that may end up in my tank one day! Your current FS thread is just a bit too early for me, but soon!
Always more where those came from & I can always make a frag pack of your choosing. I held off from fragging anything for a long time (like 2 years) now my frag tank is bursting at the seams and I constantly need to trim more colonies.
 
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