T’s 29 gal AIO budget softy tank

fotuskyt

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Hi everyone. I’ve been in the reefing hobby since July of this year. It all started this summer when my adhd brain said “let’s get a fish.”

Growing up I had a betta fish here and there but if my memory serves me right I was not the caretaker of the tanks but rather my wonderful parents because we all know a ten year old doesn’t have the best sense of responsibilities. So that was the original plan, “I’ll get another betta fish, how hard/expensive could it be?”

I’m cheap. I’m not ashamed that I love to save money where I can and I did what cheapo’s do best. I went straight to Facebook marketplace looking for a pre owned tank but what did I end up finding? A lovely couple moving out of state that couldn’t take their saltwater set up with them, for the very low price of $80.

4919BE52-A81B-4949-87D3-9D89D04714C5.jpeg


I figured for the money I would spend on all the equipment for the betta, this set up was a steal and a lot cooler than any betta fish I would likely buy. So I bought it. Aaaaand then I found R2R and before I knew it I ordered an IM Nuvo 15, cycled it and moved everything over. It’s been since the beginning of august that the tank has been up and running. Within that time I’ve also added various snails and this past weekend I went to reefing USA to which I walked away with a variety of soft corals and a skunk cleaner shrimp. And then I thought to myself “hey let’s build another tank” so I hopped back on good ole marketplace and found this AIO, stand and AI prime for $300 and 2 buckets of base rock for $50.

Current set up:
  • Innovative marine 15 Nuvo AIO
  • Stock return pump
  • Mag tool ATO
  • Innovative marine media basket
  • 50 watt adjustable heater
  • AI Prime light
  • 10 lbs live rock
472D8DE0-6816-4B5E-A73B-52BCB47C9236.jpeg


Equipment for New Build:
  • 29 gal Marineland Exhibit series AIO with stand
  • Upgraded return pump to MightyJet 326
  • AI prime HD
  • 50 watt adjustable heater
  • MagTool ATO
  • 30 ish pounds of base rock
  • Filtration: the tank came with a media basket, filter cartridge and bio wheel to which I will probably only use the media basket with filter sponge, chemipure blue and seachem matrix
Livestock for New Build
Fish
  • 2 clowns (haven’t decided what kind)
  • Tailspot blenny
  • Royal Gramma
  • Blue Green Chromis
*honestly I would rather have 4+ clowns instead of other species but know it’s unlikely it would workout in the long run. if you have experience with this, let me know*

Inverts
  • Skunk cleaner shrimp
  • Various snails (trochus, cerith, astrea)
Coral
(I know some of these aren’t the most beginner friendly ie. the Torch but the majority of these frags were a gift)
  • Leather toadstool
  • Elegance
  • Duncan
  • Kenya Tree
  • Cyphastria
  • Green Psammacora
  • Birdsnest
  • Firework clove polyps
  • Zoanthids
  • 2 hammer corals
  • Torch
  • Fungia plate
  • Pagoda cup
Here’s the current Aquascape that I came up. It’s a tad taller than I would like so I have the following two options:
D59E9DE5-B42B-4688-A2A3-F7AE68800B45.jpeg



I either plan to remove this portion
CD699F20-43DA-4355-8E54-A8A4D539B89B.jpeg



Or strictly put my corals in this highlighted portion.
D261EA4E-95F5-4B17-865E-BF16D84A15E3.jpeg


I also worry about dead spots so if anyone could give recommendations for powerhead placement that would be great along with powerhead suggestions. (The more specific the suggestions, the better. Bonus points if you draw where the wave makers should go) Looking to have 20x turnover rate as I’ll mostly be keeping soft corals.

I will continue to update this thread as my build goes on but would love some feedback :)
 

Peace River

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There is a lot to like in your plan. I agree that the height of the rocks could be an issue. Among other things, it limits the height and placement of corals. I like the interesting shaped hook piece on the top left. Is it possible to lower the rocks on the right side?
 
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fotuskyt

fotuskyt

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I agree, I love the ledge on the left structure so I went ahead and just removed the right structure completely. I’m thinking of building off this one and maybe adding a small island where the other rock was
 

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fotuskyt

fotuskyt

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Here’s what the updated scape is looking like. Will probably sit on this for a few days because I have a feeling I’ll find something I don’t like. As always, advice is appreciated :)
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Gumbies R Us

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Here’s what the updated scape is looking like. Will probably sit on this for a few days because I have a feeling I’ll find something I don’t like. As always, advice is appreciated :)
21682A2F-4D73-4552-B7FC-BA6017C828CC.jpeg
I like the aquascape!
 
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fotuskyt

fotuskyt

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made a rough sketch of coral placement but won’t be set in stone until I rent a par meter from LFS. May add some more little ledges for increased placement availability, haven’t decided yet!
 

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fotuskyt

fotuskyt

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And just like that - she’s filled with water!
D59B6DC9-675E-4B11-A47A-21614171CE0F.jpeg

I did go ahead and reconstruct a little bit of the scape and I’m thankful I did because the rock would’ve been sticking out of the water if I hadn’t.

I’m doing a fishless cycle using dr Tim’s one and only along with his ammonium chloride. This time around I didn’t follow the “4 drops per gallon” rule that I did the last time I cycled a tank which ended up stalling the process for weeks on end. I ended up only doing around 18 drops of the ammonium chloride which brought me to 2ppm and then poured in the bottle of one and only. I used 20lbs of caribsea Fiji pink live sand, around 25-30lbs of dry rock, and 5 lbs of seeded live rock from my other tank. I will also be using MB7 daily for added bacterial population.

On another note, I went ahead and bought a Nero 3 (not a budget build anymore lol) so I added that in there because I was too excited and wanted to play with it lol.

Here’s to hoping this cycle won’t take forever but being patient if it does! BCAF235D-FE95-43D1-8E3A-ADF98BD44AD1.jpeg
 

Resetting your reef: Have you ever had to unstack and restack the aquascape?

  • I have re-aquascaped the entire tank.

    Votes: 55 59.1%
  • I have re-aquascaped part of the tank.

    Votes: 25 26.9%
  • I have not ever re-aquascaped the tank.

    Votes: 19 20.4%
  • Other.

    Votes: 2 2.2%
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