Rebecca's Downsized Reef Build

Ravsta

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I got to spend some quiet time just observing the tank last night. I noticed a couple of good sized amphipods running around some rock, the little blue legged hermit crab moved into one of the empty shells I'd put in the tank over the weekend, the corals are all looking much healthier and the 3 astrea snails have been busy eating algae off the rocks. I will be adding a variety of snails as time progresses. The tank gets natural sunlight from 2 windows, one east facing and one north facing, in addition to the dual T5 lighting, so I'll be watching to see if algae growth becomes an issue. At any rate, I am very happy with the tank and am feeling the maintenance will be so much more manageable for me.
Manageable maintenance is key to thriving aquarium. I love the simplicity’ of water changes and a skimmer cup rinse. Glad to hear you’re happy with it
 
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showmebutterfly

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Well. After a discussion about pros and cons of my 2 ATO choices it turns out that my husband isn't pro-ATO, as nothing is fail safe even with built in fail safes and the new tank is situated in our newly constructed master bath above the freshly drywalled ceiling of his newly constructed small garage / John Deer Room. ;Stop
He asked if having a lid on it instead of eggcrate would help with evaporation - yes, but.... conventional glass lids / hanging light / shadows / corals conversation followed. We ended up at Menard's and left with a sheet of Lexan. He will cut it down to my specifications for a tank lid / lids. We'll see how well that slows down the evaporation or how much of a PITA is will be to keep clean from salt creep and if it causes any shadowing. If I don't like it, plan B is to order an ATO and have a smallish reservoir.
I'm very lucky that my husband is supportive of my hobby and helps with ideas and muscle as needed, but every now and then he does ask me to put on the brakes and / or take a detour. Since he's more of a think-things-through person and I'm more of a jump-in-with-both-feet person, I always try to hear him out and follow his advice, if it seems practical.
Now... on to do more research on protein skimmers. I'm looking at the Tunze 9004, Tunze 9001, Aquatic Life 115 and the Hydor SlimSkim for mini reefs. They all have good and bad reviews / pros and cons. Today the Tunze 9001 is in the lead, but that may change by afternoon. Have I mentioned that I'm a very indecisive person? ;Facepalm
 

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I was researching ATOs as well. I looked at the Osmolator and the 3152 Nano Osmolator. I'm holding off for now, but one thing that leaped out at me was the difference in reviews between the two on BRS. The bigger Osmo seems to be widely loved, while the Nano has a ton of similar reports of overflow and build quality problems.

Could you set up a reservoir of such a size that if the ATO completely failed on, it couldn't pump enough water to cause an overflow? You'll have to top up the reservoir more frequently but as long as your tank isn't kept full to the brim you should be able to get a decent amount of water in the ATO bucket.

Since he's more of a think-things-through person and I'm more of a jump-in-with-both-feet person
Does that ever ring true. Very similar dynamic in my family. The combination of my wife's wild enthusiasm and total disregard for practicality and my complete inability to do the simplest thing without months of analysis paralysis creates one semi-functional unit.
 
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showmebutterfly

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I was researching ATOs as well. I looked at the Osmolator and the 3152 Nano Osmolator. I'm holding off for now, but one thing that leaped out at me was the difference in reviews between the two on BRS. The bigger Osmo seems to be widely loved, while the Nano has a ton of similar reports of overflow and build quality problems.

Could you set up a reservoir of such a size that if the ATO completely failed on, it couldn't pump enough water to cause an overflow? You'll have to top up the reservoir more frequently but as long as your tank isn't kept full to the brim you should be able to get a decent amount of water in the ATO bucket.



Does that ever ring true. Very similar dynamic in my family. The combination of my wife's wild enthusiasm and total disregard for practicality and my complete inability to do the simplest thing without months of analysis paralysis creates one semi-functional unit.
Yes to the reservoir size. If (when) I get an ATO, that will be the compromise.

I have the combo of you and your wife's personalities. lol I want to rush in and do all the things! Sometimes I give into my impulse buying and have regrets. But, if I stop to think things through, then I end up overthinking. My poor husband. It's a good thing he's steady as a rock, because my mind changes course like a squirrel hopped up on Mountain Dew.
 
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showmebutterfly

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I've been playing with water and electricity for the main part of the evening.
This is how the tank looked before I started moving stuff around.

20200207_171803.jpg


And this is how it looked after I took off the Aqueon Quietflow 75 filter and AquaClear 50 filter (I'd added it last night to try it out), then added an AquaClear 70 filter (which may or may not stay), a Hydor Koralia circulation pump and the biggest live rock piece from the old tank.

20200207_212344.jpg


I still have one more small rock to add from the old tank and a duncan coral that is going to need to be broken off it's rock, then I can work on the aquascape. That's a project for another day.
 
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My husband and I took a break from putting up ceiling trim to go check out a nearby reef store and grab some lunch. I saw a few things I really liked, but resisted purchasing since the tank's not set up as well as I'd like yet. That's good motivation to get it done, for sure.
 
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Right or wrong, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a protein skimmer this morning. After much research, waffling back and forth and taking a couple of nights to sleep on the decision, I went with the Bubble Magus QQ1 hang-on nano protein skimmer. It's slightly underrated for my tank, but not by much. According to some of the reviews, we may need to modify my tank trim a bit for it to fit, but that's something my husband can help with. It's always good to make the spouse feel useful, right? ;)
I'll be off work Wednesday and hope to spend the day working on the aquascape, fitting the new protein skimmer and figuring out circulation pump placement and whether or not I'll use a filter on the tank.
 
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The aquascape in the new downsized reef tank is coming along. I'm not happy with the right side yet, but will leave it be for now.

02-12-20 Aquascape.jpg


My little zoas are doing better. The frogspawn has recovered and is all fat and happy.

02-12-20 frogspawn.jpg


These have made a full recovery as well, green frogspawn and purple hammer corals.

02-12-20 frogspawnhammer.jpg


New reef tank goodies and new bath mat.

02-12-20 tank stuffs.jpg
 
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Last night my husband used his dremel to cut off a section of the tank's trim so I could fit the new skimmer over the rim. I had to raise the water level for it to work properly, but it's running like a champ.
Our clownfish and cardinalfish are hanging out in the 10 gallon holding tank with the extra rocks from the 65g. In sorting through all the shells from the bottom of that tank I discovered that one red-legged hermit crab and one nassarius snail had survived the GHA apocalypse. They got moved to the new tank and were happily checking out their new digs last night.
The equipment on the 29g, so far: Aqueon Quietflow 55/75 HOB filter, Eheim Jager 100W heater, Ink Bird temperature controller, Hydor Koralia Nano 565 circulation pump, Bubble Magus QQ1 protein skimmer, 36" Odyssea dual T5 light fixture with one actinic bulb (whatever brand that came with the fixture) and one ATI AquaBlue Special bulb. I think that's everything for now.
 
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Last night my husband used his dremel to cut off a section of the tank's trim so I could fit the new skimmer over the rim. I had to raise the water level for it to work properly, but it's running like a champ.
Was going to post a question about this exact thing, now I don't need to! Was wondering if it'd weaken the trim tank too much. (I'm going to add a 9004 internal skimmer which I checked out at your suggestion, doesn't look like it'll fit over the lid lip.)

Liking how yours is coming together!
 
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Was going to post a question about this exact thing, now I don't need to! Was wondering if it'd weaken the trim tank too much. (I'm going to add a 9004 internal skimmer which I checked out at your suggestion, doesn't look like it'll fit over the lid lip.)

Liking how yours is coming together!
Thank you!
He only had to cut out part of the interior lip and we left the rest of the trim intact. He did not think it would effect the integrity of the tank in any way. I had asked him about it and showed him what I was talking about before ordering the skimmer. I should have taken a pic of the mod, but was excited about getting the new skimmer in place. I will have to try to remember to take one and get it posted.
I may be adding a fish or two next week. I'm thinking a clown goby and a royal gramma, although probably not both at the same time. I don't want the clownfish and cardinalfish to have to stay in the 10 gallon tank too long, but I also don't want them beating up new fish. I'd like to add an azure damsel, probably last... although it may need to go in before the clownfish. He's gotten pretty ornery over the last 4 years. :rolleyes:
 
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We got a yellow clown goby yesterday. He's been exploring, but didn't eat last night. I'm hoping he'll start eating and fatten up a bit.

20200217_184718.jpg


The new skimmer has started producing some skimmate and the micro bubbles are starting to clear up too. So far, I'm very happy with this little workhorse.

20200217_184706.jpg


In other news, I've added 1 red-legged hermit crab, 1 cerith snail and 1 nassarius snail from the old tank, in addition to purchasing a blue-legged hermit crab, an emerald crab and 4 nassarius snails to add to the mix. The duncan coral from the old tank is starting to perk up and I'm hopeful it will make a full recovery too.
 

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Very nice -- it looks like it's going well! I definitely can understand your husband's worry about water damage in the house. I've had a few saltwater spills and it is never pretty. I do think an ATO is really important for stability and for your convenience as well. I would check out this ATO (link attached). It's well priced and has two float valves for redundancy.
 
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Very nice -- it looks like it's going well! I definitely can understand your husband's worry about water damage in the house. I've had a few saltwater spills and it is never pretty. I do think an ATO is really important for stability and for your convenience as well. I would check out this ATO (link attached). It's well priced and has two float valves for redundancy.
Thank you and thanks for the ATO link! :)
 

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I love this build! My frag tank is very similar to this tank, so I'm going to steal your eggcrate top design and likely that BM skimmer, too. I'd also recommend a lawn mower blenny. The one I have in my frag tank is VERY social. If not that, then I'd recommend a pistol shrimp/Watchman goby combo.
 
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I love this build! My frag tank is very similar to this tank, so I'm going to steal your eggcrate top design and likely that BM skimmer, too. I'd also recommend a lawn mower blenny. The one I have in my frag tank is VERY social. If not that, then I'd recommend a pistol shrimp/Watchman goby combo.
Thank you! Eggcrate is so easy to work with and customizable. I've seen it painted black and that helps it look more minimal. We bought a sheet of lexan to make a custom top, but haven't gotten around to doing that yet. I'm halfway keeping a look out for a lawnmower or a combtooth blenny. If I come across a healthy looking one when I'm out and about, it will probably come home with me. Which means I need to stay away from all the LFS until I'm ready to add another fish. lol
 
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February 12th, when I first moved my duncan coral to the new tank:
20200212_190944.jpg


Duncan coral today:
20200223_192251.jpg

You might spy my emerald crab and new lawnmower blenny hiding in the rocks.

I have 2 Hydor Koralia circulation pumps. Today I dug out my controller, cleaned it up and hooked it up to the pumps solely for the purpose of being able to easily shut off the pumps during feeding time. I have it set up to alternate the pumps at 15 second intervals. I'm not sure if that's optimal. Any advice on that would be appreciated.
20200223_192241.jpg
 
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I check on my aquariums and fish each morning. This morning I was sad to find my clownfish stuck to the filter in the 10g holding tank. Last night he was swimming around and eating well. I'd had him for well over 4 years and he's always been a healthy, if sometimes mean, little guy.
I did not have time to test parameters before leaving for work, but since I got the corpse out and there is plenty of live rock and media that was transferred over from the old 65g tank, I'm hoping the cardinalfish is not in any danger. I hate losing fish, especially seemingly healthy fish.
 
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