ShaLin's Biocube 29 "Rebirth" Build

Discussion in 'All In One Aquariums (AIO)' started by ShaLin, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    So I though I would start a thread on the "rebirth" of my Biocube 29 here. Any thoughts, recommendations, insight, and criticism are appreciated.

    Current Equipment (my path to this will be described below):
    Coralife Biocube 29G
    Ecotech MP10w ES Powerhead
    InTank Media Basket (using Filter Floss, Seachem Purigen, and Chemi-pure Blue)
    Tunze 9001 Skimmer
    Tunze Nano Osmolator ATO with 2.5G DIY tank setup
    Cobalt MJ1200 Return Pump
    Kessil A80 Tuna Blue Light (with Mini Gooseneck)
    Kessil Sprectral Lighting Controller

    So some quick background...
    Growing up in Fl my entire life until I joined the Navy after 9/11 at the age of 22 I have always loved spending time diving on the reefs. My 13 year Navy career was never conducive to caring for a reef. My last 3 years in the Navy I was fortunate to be stationed in Hawaii and experience some amazing reefs there. This was how I was able to get my new wife to gain a love for reefs. After separating from service we wound up in STL and I now had the time to commit to keeping a reef tank.

    My first tank, my wife got me as Christmas present, was the Jellyfish Art Nano tank. That thing is awesome. I get some requests I may start a thread to share what mods I have done to that tank, maintenance, and how my 3 jellies are doing. Really easy tank to take care of.

    My jellyfish tank was really what got the itch going for more. So I looked around and I knew that the Biocube was a good starting tank. I looked around the area and I found my LFS, The Corner Reef in Columbia, IL. They had a used Biocube 29 with stand for $150. I jumped at it and picked it up the week after the 4th of July.

    The first things I did was order an InTank Media Basket, a Cobalt MJ1200 (came with the Mainland MJ1200), Tunze Nano Osmolator for a DIY ATO setup, and a Tunze 9001 skimmer. I got some CaribSea Arag-Alive Into-Pacific Live Sand (reminded me of Hawaii), about 25 lbs of Live Rock from my LFS, and 30G of Water from my LFS.

    I ending up having a cycle after about a week and had a fairly decent diatom bloom going. I went back to my LFS and picked up a CUC, Chemi-Pure Blue, Purigen, and some Filter Floss. A couple of days later I went back and picked up a used MP10 powerhead, some coral (Favia, Acan, GSP, Zoas, Duncan, and Clove Polyps) and fish (Black Oc Clown, Oc Clown. I had my water tested and so I picked up some Dr Tim's One and Only bacteria and some Doc's Phyto. This was just the beginning of my battle with Nitrates and Phosphates (this is towards the middle of July 2016) until the last week. Towards the end of July I picked up some Peppermint shrimp, some hermits, an Emerald Crab (had some bubble algae pop up), a Green Chromis, and a Lawnmower Blenny.

    Middle of August comes around and my wife and I have to go out to Colorado for her best friends wedding. We had a friend house sit for us. No issues there as I was feeding Hikari Mysis at this point and had cut some up in small cubes for her to feed and LRS Reef Frenzy (I didn't have her mess with that) After we got back I noticed my Lawnmower Blenny wasn't doing too well and he went to hang out with Davy Jones. At some point along the way I picked up some more coral pieces (a Wellso, a Lobo, Gold Leptastrea, Hollywood Stunner Chalice, Hairy Mushroom, Assorted mushrooms, 2 Florida Ricordia, Thick Finger Leather, Green Sinularia Finger Leather, Gorgonia, War Coral, and a Blasto. I also had added a replacement Emerald Crab, a cleaner shrimp, a pistol shrimp, a Yasha Goby, a Black Sailfin Blenny, and a Bicolor Blenny (has lost its "bicolor".

    PO4 was going back up and down and once I thought Nitrates under a control....BAM...high as hell again. My corals were starting to die, and I was losing snails. I was adding Dr Tims Waste-Away after my weekly 5 gal Water Changes and using Phosphate-Rx.

    Sometime in September I pretty much lost all my coral (with the exception of Shrooms, Leathers, Blasto, and Gorgonian) and my cleaner shrimp. At this point I was at a lost and started to just let the tank go. I stopped cleaning the glass and was close to calling it a failure, but, I'm not a quitter.

    This month, October 2016, I started searching the forums, ordered a Flipper Nano Scraper, and put my "REBIRTH" plan in place on how I was going to give this tank a rebirth. My Scraper arrived and I got all the algae off of the glass (it was REAL bad). Grabbed my turkey baster and blew off all my live rock (tank got real cloudy and I was amazed at how much detritus was on the rock...realized that I probably should have done this sooner and that I need to do this on a daily basis going forward). Tested my water and Nitrates were at 80ppm. Did a 5G water change and added some Waste-Away (currently adding Waste-Away every 2 days). Added 3 capfuls of Doc's Bytes Live Phyto. That night I seeded the tank with Doc's Eco-Matter (live Pods). The following day I added Dr Tim's Eco-Balance Probiotic bacteria (currently adding after weekly 5G water changes). I also switched my food from LRS Reef Frenzy to Doc's Super Eggs (the Reef Frenzy is great but is very easy to over-feed the tank with and the Super Eggs are so easy...shake it up and start putting drops directly over the MP10 and just watch the tank go crazy).

    On Veterans Day I tested my water...PO4 were 0 and Nitrates were between 20 and 30 ppm (still high but a lot lower than what they have been. I went to my LFS got the first piece of equipment for my "rebirth" plan, the new Kessil A80 (along with the mini gooseneck and spectral controller). I removed the lid of the tank and mounted the Kessil (this thing is awesome and perfect for the Biocube). That night I also took out my MJ1200, Skimmer, flow director, and MP10 and gave them some much needed maintenance/cleaning (the MJ1200 really needed it). Added some Waste-Away and Phyto. After the lights went out I seeded the tank again with some Doc's Eco-Matter. This morning I added the Eco-Balance Probiotic bacteria per my schedule. The tank is responding really well. My blasto, which I think may have had a week left before all the remaining 2 heads died, is really happy again

    The lighting schedule I am using is the "Unofficial Official Kessil Schedule" that I found in a thread somewhere. We are night owls and like to enjoy the tank while we are watching TV at night.
    Time Color/Intensity
    12A 40/50
    2A 0/0
    4P 0/15
    6P 20/50
    8P 50/100
    10P 75/100

    My plan is to test the water tomorrow when I get home from work and see what the tank is doing. Hopefully my nitrates will be less than 10ppm and PO4 will be between 0 and 0.08ppm. I really want to get some new pieces.

    As for the remaining pieces of the "Rebirth" plan:
    Aquamaxx HOB-1 Hang on Back skimmer off of Chamber 1
    InTank Fuge Basket with Chaeto in Chamber 2 (next to media basket)
    MiniMax All-in-one Reactor with Biopellets (until I know that absolutely have no issues with Nitrates spiking again and then switch over to GFO) in Chamber 3
    Depending on how my tank temperature does with the lid removed (lid on I was 80 degrees via a stick on thermometer) get the Cobalt Neo-Therm 100W heater.
    I'm also going to remove the rim for a rimless tank look (really like the pictures I have seen of this) and possibly paint the stand and remaining black portions of the tank white to match the scheme of our interior decorating.

    Here are some pics at 72% Color/96% Intensity using my Nikon D3100 (Disclaimer: Still need to research how to take great pics of the reef and aquarium)
    FTS
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    Side View
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    Florida Ricorda
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    Gorgonian
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    Blasto (was very close to being gone...has recovered well since the "rebirth" plan...you can see a dead head at the bottom right which is starting to get some growth back)
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    Thick Finger Leather Toadstool (****** off because my Emerald Crab has been nipping at him)
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    Hairy Mushroom
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    Mushrooms
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    Bangaii Cardinal
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    Black Oc Clown
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    Platinum Clown
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    Kessil A80 Tuna Blue (This thing is highly Recommended so farad sexy...been 3 days so far)
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    Back Chamber Setup (Chamber 1 (top): empty, Chamber 2: InTank Media Basket (Filter Floss, Purigen, Chemi-pure Blue) and Tunze 9001 Skimmer), Chamber 3: Cobalt MJ1200 and Tunze Nano Osmolator ATO Float Switch)
    fullsizeoutput_ff0.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016

  2. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Cyber Monday Sponsor Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Nice job and looking good!
     
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  3. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    Thanks...now if I could just get it to look as good as yours! :D
     
  4. aythatguy26

    aythatguy26 Active Member

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    Nice cube! And starfish
     
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  5. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    Thanks. It's been a struggle and a learning curve, but I think I figured it out.
    My wife wanted a starfish and she named it RuPaul (yes...after the drag queen) because it is a SUPERSTAR. HAHA
     
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  6. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    So I just checked my Nitrates and PO4 and realized I forgot to turn my skimmer on this morning to run while I was work in between bacteria adds.
    PO4 is 0 ppm on the Hanna
    NO3 is a solid 20. Same exact color on the card. No hint of red in it for the first time in a long time. (It was 80ppm 2-3 weeks ago)

    So I went ahead and added another batch of Dr Tim's Aquatics Waste-Away (this stuff is awesome...really glad my LFS turned me on to this).
    Anyone think I should be doing anything else?
    Thinking about moving my Thick Finger?/Devil's Hand?(it is a green color when happy) Leather to an area of higher flow. It currently sits directly under my MP10. Thoughts?

    Next time I take photos I'm going to put my GoPro in the tank to get some underwater shots.
    Have a Happy Reef
    P.S. About to start typing up my Jellyfish Nano Tank Thread...stand by for the life and tribulations of Boris, Ouchie, and Deadpool.
     
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  7. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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  8. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    Checked my NO3 and PO4 today.
    PO4: 0 PPM
    NO3: <20 PPM (still some orange but a little bit darker than 10 PPM on the card)

    Did a 20% water change afterwards. Going to check NO3 tomorrow again and see where I am at.
    Added DrTims Aquatics Eco-Balance Probiotic Bacteria and my daily addition of Doc's Eco-Bytes Live phyto.
    Going to turn my skimmer on and let it run continuously here on out.
    Hopefully I can find a good deal Black Friday on an AquaMaxx HOB-1 skimmer.
    Once I'm below 5 PPM NO3 I'm going to start stocking back up on coral.

    Moved my Finger Leather Toadstool to get more flow and light. I also moved my Blasto to get more light (it was being shaded). I also rotated it so I didn't see the dead heads from when I started to lose it because of the high nitrates.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  9. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    Checked my NO3 today (day after water change).
    NO3: 10 PPM

    Added DrTims Aquatics Waste-Away Bacteria and my daily addition of Doc's Eco-Bytes Live phyto.
    Tunze 9001 skimmer has been running since this morning. Emptied the cup when I got home. It had some foam coming out the overflow holes
    About to order the Aquamaxx HOB-1 skimmer. Marine Depot has it for $195 as part of their Black Friday Sale.
    Between Marine Depot, BRS, and Amazon I'm also going to pick up Red Sea Pro Test kits for Ca, Mg, Alk, & NO3, Red Sea NO3:pO4-X, AquaForest Ca, Mg, KH, Vitality, & Amino, and going to get a Cobalt Neo-Therm 100W Heater

    I noticed my Pencil Urchin was sitting on top of where I have some Mushrooms. I got some baby mushrooms there, 1 that was a morph between some, and they are gone. Anyone have an issue with this?
     
  10. October Sky

    October Sky Active Member

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    If you're looking for a light for the refugium, I went with this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q2W4X76/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s03?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It's apparently what inTank used to sell as their preferred light. I've only had mine up and running for about 2 weeks with the chaeto, but I'll let you know if it seems to be useless. Side note, it does produce heat (in my hand, never notice additional heat in the tank). I'm in Upstate NY in a drafty house, so I don't mind things that produce heat, come summer I may have issues. I run it 24 hours as I have a very small batch of chaeto I'm trying to grow. After it grows, I'll switch to the opposite of my light cycle.

    Other note: The cord is stupidly long, but the light was cheaper with the longer cord. I just leave it all wrapped up. Apparently bulbs can be easily had from Home Depot or Lowes, so that's a huge plus

    EDIT: I'm not that reviewer that points out everything I pointed out, but I do think we came to the same conclusions.
     
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  11. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    Thanks. I'll definitely check it out. Keep me up to date please. Holding off on the fuge for right now as my phosphates are 0 and I'm going to dose nopox to get my nitrates down the rest of the way.
     
  12. October Sky

    October Sky Active Member

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    I'm at the fish only stage, here's what I have, which is very much what you have.

    Oceanic Biocube 29G (Note, this is the older version, but is generally the same)
    Jebao PP-4.
    Chamber 1 (currently heater, will be Aquatic life 115 skimmer as soon as tomorrow when I put it in).
    Chamber 2 InTank Media Basket (using Filter Floss, Seachem Purigen, and Chemi-pure Blue Elite); InTank Fuge with above listed light and Chaeto (going to add pods this week, just because my LFS sells cup fulls).
    Autotopoff.com dual nano ATO. This is coming tomorrow to Tuesday. I'm going to run it with a TOM lifter pump. I'm also planning on dosing Kalk when I get corals, but right now, will be running it as ATO with 2.5-3 gallon RODI container (whatever is on sale on BlackFriday at Home Depot).
    Cobalt MJ1200 Return Pump (thinking about putting a splitter on the return with loc-line piping).
    Stock lighting, thinking about going topless with the light you have.

    Additionally, I have 25lbs of sand, 20-30lbs of live rock. I bought it from a couple of different stores, so I don't even remember the actual weight. The last piece had hitchhikers of 2 clams, 3 sponges and some macro algae on it. It also has 2 glass anemone on it, so I'm planning on killing them, but determining the best method.

    For live stock I have 5 astraea snails, the above mentioned clams and sponges, a "Picasso" clown that I'm pretty sure is a hybrid with a platinum and I just added a Royal Gramma this evening. On Friday I'm hitting up my local stores to see if I can get a second clown (Snowflake or Da Vinci) and, if not, maybe score a couple nice invertebrates. I've just got my coral test kits in (Salifert) but my tank has been perfect with 5ppm Nitrate with API (that before weekly waterchages of 4 gallons).

    Tank has been fully up for about 2 month. I started with Fritz Zyme 9 (with ammonia added) and then put in Dr. Tims when I realized 1) I had it, and 2) my tank was starting to cycle again (Ammonia spike). Tested daily thereafter and it has been textbook.
     
  13. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    So my Aquamaxx HOB-1 Skimmer came in today along with AquaForest Ca, Mg, Alk, Amino Acid, and Vitality. I also picked up the Red Sea Ca, Mg, Alk, and NO3 test kits came in today. NO3 is coming out a lot higher with the Red Sea kit. I also got Red Sea NO3 : PO4-X today so I am starting to carbon dose with it now.
    Pulled out the Tunze skimmer. My LFS may have someone interested in it. If not I'll just list it on eBay.
    The skimmer was foaming big time after I added Waste-Away so I turned it off. I'll turn it back home when I get off of work tomorrow so I can keep an eye on it.
    The tank is a lot healthier and happier now appearance wise after I put in the Cobalt Neo-Therm 100W heater in a few days ago.
    Didn't realize how much that hood retained heat and limited evaporation.
    I'll take some pictures Sunday night after it calms down from the Thanksgiving weekend.
     
  14. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    So its been a couple of weeks and just wanted to give an update...
    The Aquamaxx HOB-1 skimmer was the best thing I have done along with the Kessil A80 light. Tested for NO3 last night and they were less than 5ppm with the API kit and I just finished a 20% water change. Going to test later on with the Red Sea kit to see what it reads. Still dosing the NOPOX and am going to continue doing so. Next month, when I am due to change out the Chemi-Pure Blue, I am going to switch over to BRS ROX Carbon and AquaForest Phosphate Minus and utilize those in media bags in my InTank media basket.

    With all that being said I am happy with where my parameters are at now. Nitrates are the lowest they ever have been, PO4 is 0.03ppm, and I am keeping Ca, Alk, and Mg level where they need to be for LPS (dosing AquaForest Ca Plus, Alk Plus, and Mg Plus. The AquaForest Amino and Vitality drops are also making a HUGE difference.
    Going to my LFS for a RO/DI refill when they open today. They said they were going to take care of me and replace some of my pieces I lost when I had my extinction level event back in August. Gonna go LPS dominant with soft ties for the time being until I get some good growth from them before I add in some Acros. So I am hoping they will replace the Wellso and Lobo I lost. Im also hoping they replace the War Coral Favite and maybe a Zoa and an Acan Frag. May use some Christmas money to pick up some Fire Rainbow and Solar Flare Acans they have. I will update and provide some pics this week.
    Happy Reefing!
     
  15. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    So yesterday I picked up some new pieces for the tank.
    • Lobo - 2 heads - Pastel Blue/Orange/Yellow
    • Hammer Frag
    • War Coral Frag
    • Gold Leptastrea
    • ORA Red Goniopora frag
    • Meteor Shower Cyphastrea - Placed on an old Coke bottle that I am hoping it will encrust over.
    Gonna go back later this week and get some new pieces as well. LFS has a nice shipment of large Yuma mushrooms. Going to pick up a few of those. Mentioned they should be getting a shipment of Bounce mushrooms in as well, hopefully this week. If so, picking up one of those babies. Want to get some nice Acans and some Zoas.

    Just posted a new thread in the lighting section looking for a good schedule for my Kessil A80 to promote growth.
    Getting a Macro lens for my camera soon. When I get it I will get some pictures of everything.
     
  16. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    So I stocked up some more last Thursday:
    • Utter Chaos Palys - 2 polyps
    • Zoas - 2 polyps similar to Bam Bams (but not) that I need to ID
    • Orange Short Tentacle Plate
    • Solar Flare Acans - 3 heads
    • Toxic Cloves Colony
    • Crazy Neon Green Star Polyps
    • Ultra Yumas - 1 Orange with baby, 1 Green, & 1 Purple
    Need to take some pics...The Solar Flares and Plate bleached out after a couple of days. Looks like they were getting too much light. Moved the plate to the front corner and slightly shaded and the Solar Flares moved them down to the sand in the opposite corner. The Solar Flares are starting to get their color back after a day and the Plate coral is doing better and showing some tentacle extension (wasn't before when it was starting to bleach).

    Hope to take some pics soon.
     
  17. the_mac86

    the_mac86 New Member

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    Sorry to revive an old thread, but ShaLin: How is the tank doing with the A80? I've read in lots of places that the light wasn't powerful or capable enough to provide for a 29 like ours. I have the A80 running on a 10g standard right now, and I am very seriously considering cutting my light hood on my BC29 to allow the A80 to shine through while still controlling evaporation a bit. I live in a very warm climate currently and I lose a crap ton of water if I run topless, so if I run this light with this tank I am definitely going to be doing some cutting.

    I understand it likely wont be anywhere near as bright as the stock lighting, but my only concern is coverage. I can see that the back wall on your pics has dark spots near the return elbow and the upper intake grates, but there shouldn't be anything growing up there anyway. So how's the coverage on the bed?

    About how many inches above the water surface are you running currently? Would there be room inside the hood to mount this internally without it touching the water line or getting too close?
     
  18. ShaLin

    ShaLin Member

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    I've been playing with the lighting recently. I bumped up the intensity after researching a little bit and am starting to see some positive impacts from that. At first I thought I had too much light but that has turned out to be completely wrong.
    Mine is in the gooseneck you can buy for it and it sits about 6-8 inches off the water. I absolutely get full coverage. The shading may be a result of my aquascaping.
    I think I have seen people say something about a mount for inside the hood for it. You may want to google that and see.
    My main reason for going topless was that I wanted a bigger better Skimmer. I went with the Aquamaxx HOB-1. That just opened the door for the light. I never attempted to mount it in the mood so I can't really answer the questions regarding that.
     
  19. the_mac86

    the_mac86 New Member

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    Much appreciated for the fast response!

    I do still have the goose-neck and the "hood" mount angled piece of metal that came with for the A80. I just have to gut the florescent stuff out and see if it is enough off the surface of the water I suppose. I am hoping that by leaving the kessil on the outside of the hood that I will still be able to access the controls (no spectral controller yet) and that it would raise it off of the water surface level enough that it will give a better coverage.

    I am establishing my 29 on in a few days with my seeded live stuff from the 10G nano. So I want to do the modifications before I start adding water and things. Any further advice on the BC29 setup? I don't think I'll be getting a skimmer but everything else is pretty much on the table. I have a rather large feather-duster worm that I collected that is rather dependent on "dirty" water.
     
  20. the_mac86

    the_mac86 New Member

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    ShaLin, Just wanted to say thanks for paving the way with the A80 for me. I was seriously concerned about its power on a "large" tank like this (large for the A80 at least). Saved me from buying the A160. I finally got the spectral controller and I'm really enjoying my tank now. I ended up gutting out and modifying the stock hood do allow the A80 to sit on top and shine through from above. Seems to control some of the light scatter from the surface of the water, and I might add a reflective type surface to the inside of the hood to help redirect some back down into the water again.

    My next upgrades are going to have to be that lovely MP10 and the MJ1200 you have... I bought my tank second-hand and it had an Aqueon 1200 in it that seems to be struggling and a crappy Aqueon 500gpm powerhead that broke off its mount.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    IMG_1373.JPG
     
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