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Old 01/19/2006, 06:12 AM   #1
louist
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Louis' Cubic Adventure

I know I haven't actually formally introduced myself to the members of this board, so here's a little about myself: I a 21 yo student studying BEng Bioinformatics & BSc Medical Immunology & Microbiology at UNSW. I have always been passionate about nature, and nature photography is my favourite escape (some of yous would have seen the photos in the photography forum already). My family used to have a large FO tank when I was a kid, but in those dark ages of home aquaria, we had more death than live fish.

At the end of 2005, I was given 2 female fighting fish after they finished using them for behavioural studies at uni, this had me interesting in the little biospheres that we are able to create in our homes. So that started the reseach. Two month later, I finally took the plunge and started shopping for equipment.

Many thanks to the good folks here on RC, I didn't ask any Q's, but did plenty of reading (as my brother eloquently put it, "You are addicted"). Still working on finish reading all the RK magazines, on 2004 at the moment, getting there!

This is my plan:
* Tank is 30x30x35cm (WxLxH) cube
* AquaClear 70 HOB filter modded into a refugium + surface skimmer
* AuqaPro 50w mini heater (sits inside the AC70)
* AquaClear 50 powerhead
* AquaMedic Oceanlight 150w HQI 20K
* 4Kg of live rocks
* shallow sand bottom
* Hagen Master test kit
* 2Kg of activated carbon
* Refractometer
* lots of corals (stocking list is still under debate)
* 1 single fish
* shrimp(s)

I would like to thank Ben from Age of Aquariums for his great customer services and great prices. The packaging was awesome and efficiency unparalleled.

Task 1: Modifying the Aquaclear 70 HOB filter into a refugium
Firstly, I removed the plastic filter media tray, and cut it apart. I used a blade because I couldn't justify paying for a Dremel. The bottom piece is going to be used as a grating across the filter's return to prevent things in the fuge from going into the tank (i.e. Caulerpa).



1 of the sides is cut so and glued to create a baffle between the pump area and the fuge.


This is then glued in all the way to the bottom:


From the top it looks like this:


A hole was drilling into the plastic cover of the filter to allow the heater to go in. This heater is a mini sized one, it's only about 2/3 of the normal length of a 50w heater. Only 10cm needs to be submerged.


Everything in, water test!


Surface skimming attachment:




FTS (full tank shot):


The tank is currently sitting on my computer table. I still have to order the light. I am just waiting for some ans. from Simon and Rosalie of OceanReef Aquariums. Currently I am planning on attaching it to the underside of the furniture that goes over the top of the tank. Hopefully it will fit.

Any comments/critiques will be greatly appreciated!


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Old 01/19/2006, 06:12 AM   #2
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UPDATE: The tank is now populated with approx 4Kg of live rocks, aquascaping is almost there, but I couldn't see what I was doing, so I am sure it would be changed. Found 2 hitchhikers already, there's a small brittle star that's doing circuits around the tank, there's a tube worm of some sort, some pink sponge thingy and some sorry looking xenia.


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Old 01/19/2006, 07:33 AM   #3
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Very nice start. I like the idea of using the sides of the media basket to add the baffle to the AC filter. I cut a sheet of plexi for mine, and used the media basket as a screen to keep the macro from getting into the main tank.

Are you going to paint the back of that tank?


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Old 01/19/2006, 10:30 AM   #4
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very nice. what is the surface skimmer attached to? the powerhead or the AC70 intake?


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Old 01/19/2006, 04:00 PM   #5
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Currently I have no plans in painting the back, going to let the rocks and corals cover that from the front.

The surface skimming attachment is connected to the intake of the AC70. I had to fiddle with it, you can control it by controlling the amount of air trapped under the rim of the skimming part.


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Old 01/19/2006, 04:20 PM   #6
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VERY nice louist. I cant wait to see the progress on this tank. keep us updated


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Old 01/19/2006, 07:04 PM   #7
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I just ordered the light from Chris of Nanotuners. I got myself an AquaMedic Oceanlight 150w HQI with mounting legs. It should be here in a few days, I can't wait!

I will take some photos of the aquascaping when I get home tonight, hopefully the water would have cleared up nicely.

For the impatient ones, here's a photo of what it would look like.



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Old 01/19/2006, 07:12 PM   #8
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i hope you are going to have a huge fan blowing over that tank because i foresee a huge heat issue.


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Old 01/19/2006, 08:16 PM   #9
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Good luck louis.
look like a nice set up. And yes, the halide is gonna heat up the tank.


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Old 01/19/2006, 08:23 PM   #10
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150 watt wont give him huge heat issues. not with an open top like his will.

the light looks really cool - what spectrum bulb are you going to use? 14k?


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Old 01/19/2006, 08:38 PM   #11
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Thanks for the concern guys, I did consider that. I will install PC fans if needed, however it will be open top, and my fan in the room runs 24/7 during summer, so there will be airflow all the time.

I ordered the 20K light, it's the AB 20K DE, I'll see how I like it when it arrives. The selection of bulbs here in Australia isn't as good as it is in the States unfortunately.


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http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20070149 - Louis' Pico Come Back (LED mixed reef)
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-04/totm/index.php - ReefKeeping 2007 April Tank of the Month
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Old 01/20/2006, 06:43 AM   #12
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i was just speaking from experience. i had a 250w DE aquamedic oceanlight hanging 18" (a lot further away than yours) over my 29g w/ 30g sump/refugium (larger volume of water) and i had to have a regular house fan (the big ones like 1-1.5 ft in diameter) constantly blowing over the surface of the tank and my temp was still hovering around 80. just giving you the heads up.


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Old 01/20/2006, 07:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by louist
Thanks for the concern guys, I did consider that. I will install PC fans if needed, however it will be open top, and my fan in the room runs 24/7 during summer, so there will be airflow all the time.

I ordered the 20K light, it's the AB 20K DE, I'll see how I like it when it arrives. The selection of bulbs here in Australia isn't as good as it is in the States unfortunately.
Have you consider the phenix 14k? great bulb with a great price.
I ran AB 10k with Actinic before but just switched to 14k and the color is just amazing. I dont even have to turn on my actinic.


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Old 01/22/2006, 07:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Have you consider the phenix 14k?
I have actually, that would be the first bulb I get if it turned out I don't like the 20K. I am also going with a highef K rating bulb so the light won't be overly intense. i.e. 10K bulbs.

Here's the aquascaping. My apologies for the cloudy water, the LFS only just got these LR, so plenty of die offs but also lots of interesting critters


A red sponge. I got about 4 of these, they close their tubes when disturbed.


A clam of some sort. He's very shy, and will close if there's change of light intensity. If anyone has any info on this little critter I would really appreciate it.


Will try and locate the brittle star so I can get a photo, and there are also a few feather dusters (red and white).

I had to adjust the rocks a few times because the PH was blowing the sand everywhere. Now it's all good with the PH on full.
Any comment/critique appreciated.


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Old 01/22/2006, 09:19 AM   #15
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Off to a great start mate! You managed to get some great live rock - I was under the impression live rock was banned in Aust so im glad its not the case - I hope you have A/C as the temp fluctuations in summer may be rather large... ive heard of people modifying those cheap mini-bar fridges as chiller units...


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Old 01/22/2006, 10:38 AM   #16
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Have a look at this site: http://www.aqua-terra-vita.com

This guy has an awesome mini biotope


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Old 01/22/2006, 05:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
You managed to get some great live rock
Thanks, those rocks only arrived at the LFS that morning. I suppose the price I pay is the longer cycling time.

Quote:
I was under the impression live rock was banned in Aust so im glad its not the case
I think rocks from overseas would not be allowed since Australian quaranten laws are very strict. I've heard that the LR here are all from Queensland and Western Australia, so they are native.

Currently planning a cooling solution. I am either going to go with a chiller (most likely a AquaMedia Titan) or a DIY cooling element with peltier element.


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Old 01/25/2006, 08:56 AM   #18
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Some update: The scrubbing of the rocks turn out well.










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Old 01/25/2006, 09:26 AM   #19
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I like your setup......nice job on the AC70 mod

SBC


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Old 01/25/2006, 11:06 AM   #20
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lookin really good louist - that cube is hella-sweet


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Old 01/25/2006, 09:43 PM   #21
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Thanks SBC and Aural.

I am ordering a CookWorks IceProbe off Ebay and plumbing that into the HOB filter to chill the tank. It has 50W of chilling power, which should be enough for this tank. There's no plans for a temp control unit for the chiller yet, I am sure the heater + light will balance the chiller. I am going to plumb it into the lid of the HOB filter.

Draws 12V DC, ~50W of cooling power, able to cool 40 liters by 4 to 5 degrees C. Do you guys think that should be enough for the tank (~34 liters).


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Old 01/26/2006, 11:53 AM   #22
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my conversions arent great, but 34 liters is just under 10 gallons (i think), and the coolworks website lists that 1 chiller can drop 10 gallons of water 6-8 degrees. I'd say you will have plenty of chilling power.


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Old 01/26/2006, 08:10 PM   #23
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I just wanted to give you kudos for being bright enough to scrub the rock instead of letting it funk up the whole tank like I did when I got started.

Looks like a great start.

Carl


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Old 02/05/2006, 09:01 AM   #24
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Here's a small photo update:

The feared apstasia:


Unknown organism/sponge of some sort:


Closeup of a macro algae's leave:


Pearls of the Sea - the gaseous product of photosynthesis


I have installed a 8cm fan to blow across the water, it seems to counter the halide's heat pretty well. I've installed a "quick release" system for the fan so it can be removed when I need to take the light off for tank maintenance. Some photos will be following soon!

The little hitchhiking clam has moved out of his little den, and is now hanging out near the top, right in the path of the powerhead, smart little fellow. Fan worms are popping up everywhere, some with very funky "fans", and I spot a few tiny apstasias too.

Current tank specs:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 1.6mg/L
Nitrate: >110mg/L
Phosphate: 2.5mg/L
pH: 8.2
SG: 1.027


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http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20070149 - Louis' Pico Come Back (LED mixed reef)
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Old 02/08/2006, 05:40 AM   #25
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The cooler arrived today! Here's some photos, now I just need to figure out if I need to put a resistor on the fan's power, or is the little thing on the side already a resistor?







The 8cm fan I wired up with a 12V DC 300mA PSU. I used a little plastic nut to protect the wire joint. Each wire is insulated by hot glue.


The quick release made from velcro cable ties.



OK, anyone know what kind of (macro)algae this is? Their tips are blue. Bad or good?




No one has any comments?


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