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Thread: Nano Reef on the Cheap

  1. #1
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    Nano Reef on the Cheap

    So with some equipment that I've ackquired I think perhaps I may set up a 20 long reef tank, on the cheap. The tank I picked up for $20 and needed resealing. I actually bought it to fix for a friend but she may not actually want another tank like I was misled. The top and lamp are from my 29g which was bowing with a cracked rim frame. The live rock and lava rock came with my 80g when I bought it.

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    This is what I will use as a skimmer, a Sparkling Ice bottle top fits well into a Tim's orange juice bottle. The grey plastic tube is from a length of tube I bought to make spacers on my dethatcher/power rake. I'll silicone things together when I have the sizing for the tank finalized; the hole for the wood air stone will be drilled then as well. The air pump is a Marina 75 that also came with the 80g.
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    I considered power heads, but instead I'm going to run my spare Marineland c220 canister split into a few outputs to create current. The can will not have sponges, only the plastic bio balls and ceramic rings I think, thoughts on that?

    I picked up an almost full box of instant ocean at Value Villiage for about $5, still will need a heater but I can usually source one cheaply.

    So far I'm i to it for $20 for the tank, $4 for silicone, maybe $5 for the air stone, $5 for the salt. The stand I already own, same with the cover and the rest came with my 80g. Now, I may not set it up right away because I'm expecting a move in 2018 but I intend on having everything ready to go.

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    Do yourself the favor and pick up some full spectrum Chinese leds for bang for buck they can't be beat. They can grow EVERYTHING too.

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    I agree with Chris. For the price can't beat them.
    Even SPS!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Definitely on the "eventually" list. Until then I would be running only fish/snails/shrimp and the live rock, no living coral, anemones or sponges until I would have a proper lighting.

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    Keeping in mind that this is only 12 inches deep, 10 to 11 inches if you cound the sand that will be there, would a Reef Sun T8 set into the current hood not be adequate?

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    A t8 would be ok for fish. But your not going to get color on your rock very fast. Most coral would be out of the question aside from maybe a Kenya tree or purple mushroom.

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    Plan definitely would be just fish and snails or shrimp for a while, I don't want to spend loads on livestock and live corals etc if I have to sell them again in a year.

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    I was at Value Villiage and they had a fully equipped, minus gravel, 20g tank and in the tank was a powerhead. Looks like it could use a resealing so I'll do that and offer the tank, minus the powerhead, to the person who wanted my 20 long in the first place. Because of the seal, I got a discount on the marked price after talking to a manager. I'm sure after the sealant I can get what I paid for it whick means FREE POWERHEAD FOR CIRCULATION! Keeps with the trend of "on the cheap", plus I have something to offer them other than the precious 20 long.

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    Getting ready to re-arange furniture to be able to set this up. Once I get the wood air block for the DIY skimmer I'll be starting my cycle I think. I've never had this setup before so I'll have to research the best way to arrange the rock, I may need some suggestion for placement to make it look good. My final decision on flow will be the Maxi Jet 400, Marineland C220 run empty and a reduced flow AC500, also run empty, maybe converted into a Fuge later. The point of the can and AC beyond flow is the extra water capacity, being a small sumpless tank. The C220 has a media volume of 1.5 ish gallons, I know it can trap sediment and cause cycling problems but I intend on emptying and rinsing the can weekly as part of my weekly cleaning. With 20-25 Lbs of rock plus sand the 1.5 gallons might be close to 10% of total water volume, which would be handy if all I need to do is empty that and top up with prepared water.

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    I needed to find a bulb to replace one in my shrimp tank, 10w g4 style, so I robbed one from a Corona beer bottle lamp somebody had given me years ago
    This was the first time it ever left it's box. Upon disassembly, the lamp has bubbles with an adjustable air pump via rheostat. Guess what will be used as part f the diy skimmer? I figure the adjustable output will allow me to dial in the skimmer perfectly. I love redneck engineering!
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    I also found a nice heater at Value Villiage for $6, so this week will be my start of the breaking in. My wood air stone hasn't arrived at 1Fish yet, but I figure that the skimmer won't be needed for the first week of break in.

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    Here we are with 20 Lbs of dead corals arranged. I'm new to salty stuff, does this look adequate or should I rearrange?
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    If you need more rock let me know. i have some

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    I have a further 30 Lb or so of various rock, plus crushed coral, I'm trying not to over do it but don't want it too sparse either.

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    I would try and make some caves or hiding spots for your fish! They like to have their own spot and have a safe place. Would also suggest more holey and porous rock by the looks of it so you have lots of good bacteria growing.

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    Both the piles on the left and right are very porous, probably hard to tell by the photos but they are all coral. The pile on the right has a cave going in from the side and leading out throught the top, about 1.5 to 2 inches wide but I 'll re-arrange the one on the right to create a cave of sorts. Thanks

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    Is this more appropriate? Also here is a closeup of the smoother looking coral.
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    Looks good! Just make sure it is stable, don't want any falls! That rock is not real porous, but you are working on the cheap so it should work for what you are needing!

  18. #18
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    It is very stable, the parts all hold together tightly and fit into grooves and natural shapes. I've givn it a few HARD bumps on the stand and it hasn't moved. I added a few other smaller corals to it as well and I think I'm satisfied. That Maxi Jet 400 gives a lot of flow, I'm almost afraid of adding the Marineland C220, but I'll get the tubes that I need and get it running to get a final assessment of it. If it's way too much I'll modify my AC500 for lower flow and have a directed outlet so it doesn't waterfall, something like a tube running 45 degrees or so an inches below the water line.

    Right now I have a frozen shrimp ( I know raw is better but it's what I have) in there to get the cycle started. Once it's stable I'm picking up a few blue legged hermits and then when I'm satisfied that the new bioload is stable I'm thinking a pair of clownfish and calling it good, this IS a small tank after all.

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    Nice, can't wait to see it up and running!

  20. #20
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    I've filled it up and have a cocktail shrimp in there to kick start the cycling. I was concerned the Marineland C220 would have too much flow but it is just right I think. I'll be putting in something semi bouyant to check for dead zones so I can modify the current direction. I had to shorten up the intake and output so that it fits this tiny tank. Hoses are spare Fluval that I had, the rest is a hodgepodge of things I had in boxes.

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