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Old 04/08/2016, 03:22 PM   #26
PIPSTER
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You're livin' the dream.
I really like your over flow because it doesn't intrude into the tank at all.


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Old 04/08/2016, 03:46 PM   #27
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Epic build and I think the black silicone looks better than clear. On the stand, I have a similar issue with a non custom stand from DSA. The lip is just a little too high and the issue is that your magnetic scraper will hit the stand and not allow you to properly clean the glass.. sucks, but I deal with it and I would not want deeper sand either. IMHO it looks like you would really need to trim the top rather than the bottom.. to keep the aesthetics and balance of the design more appealing. I think if you trim the bottom, it will look like it was trimmed vs. the top where you have more meat to work with.
If you notice I have black silicone on the side seams, but the top is clear. The only issue I have with clear silicone is that it will yellow over time. I went with clear on the top so the silicone for the eurobracing wouldn't stand out so much. I would have prefered clear on the sides as well, but if it ever starts to yellow I can pull out the eurobracing and re-silicone it. That's not so easy with the sides.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 04/08/2016, 03:48 PM   #28
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Wow!!! Nice setup...Love that sump from AA!


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Old 04/08/2016, 10:32 PM   #29
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Thanks for all the updates. I'm debating skimmers and would like to know what factors went into picking your lifereef and what supplier you bought it from ... thanks!


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Old 04/09/2016, 12:04 PM   #30
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Thats an awesome looking tank, can't wait to see more pictures when you have made more progress!


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Old 04/09/2016, 05:10 PM   #31
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Thanks for all the updates. I'm debating skimmers and would like to know what factors went into picking your lifereef and what supplier you bought it from ... thanks!
When picking a skimmer I took several things into consideration. I originally bought the LifeReef for my 120g. I found one issue with the skimmer itself which I haven't come to terms with. Its venturi is loud. The air sucking through it makes more noise that I wanted for my 120g which is located in the kitchen/family room area. Also, the Vectra M1 puts out a good amount of heat and that tank probably runs at about 75 degrees in the summer without a heater. Adding the M1 took it to about 80 degrees. I ended up pulling it out and using a Nyos there. My 260g is in the basement which is typically cool year round. I'm hoping I can use the M1 with the LifeReef without it being too hot.

The LifeReef is a very scalable skimmer. You can use whatever pump you want. I chose to use a DC pump, the Vectra M1, so that I could fine tune the flow. I chose a skimmer model that I could add modules to so I could increase the height if necessary. That will be very helpful as I use it in my new 260g. I also bought the extra large cup so I wouldn't have to empty it as often. I read a lot of reviews in these forums from people I trust who have used LifeReef and they all like Jeff's skimmers. The only complaint I've seen from multiple people is that they can be loud.

The LifeReef skims very well. I was getting great bubble activity and excellent skimmate very soon after running it. It's a very flexible skimmer, Jeff likes to talk a lot about his design. Give him a call. I bought mine direct from him.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 04/11/2016, 12:10 AM   #32
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100 lbs of the TBS rock came in on Saturday. It's about half of what I'll need. It was shipped via Southwest cargo and I drove out to Midway to pick it up. Very easy to do, and the shipping cost of 100 lbs was $175. I probably picked out 50 crabs and still have a few that made it in the tank. There was one urchin, several sponges and snails, a couple sea cucumbers, lots of little feather dusters and one tiny shrimp so far.









Now that I got the live rock in the tank I needed some light so it was time to setup the Spectra.









I put in some Zeobak to get the bacteria started. I also put in some Sponge Power in hopes I can keep some of the sponges alive.

I pulled out the Reeflo Hammerhead and got the new RD3 installed. Pretty simple swap. The RD3 is dead silent and doesn't vibrate at all. Runs cool to the touch. Everything the HH did not do. I also turned on the LifeReef with Vectra M1. I still need to tidy my cabling and mount the controllers.





Tank temp went up a degree after running the lights and skimmer for several hours. That's not too bad but hopefully I can keep a good steady temp and not need a chiller.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 04/11/2016, 12:14 AM   #33
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Here are some quick shots I took of my 120g. I'll take some better photos of it before I start breaking it down.








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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 04/11/2016, 10:39 AM   #34
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Looking fantastic! I'm loving the super clean build.

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Old 04/14/2016, 02:57 PM   #35
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$1000.00

You got 50 porcelain crabs?...they go for $19.95 each in the stores here....so you got $1000.00 worth of hitchhikers......your in business man!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnseye View Post
100 lbs of the TBS rock came in on Saturday. It's about half of what I'll need. It was shipped via Southwest cargo and I drove out to Midway to pick it up. Very easy to do, and the shipping cost of 100 lbs was $175. I probably picked out 50 crabs and still have a few that made it in the tank. There was one urchin, several sponges and snails, a couple sea cucumbers, lots of little feather dusters and one tiny shrimp so far.









Now that I got the live rock in the tank I needed some light so it was time to setup the Spectra.









I put in some Zeobak to get the bacteria started. I also put in some Sponge Power in hopes I can keep some of the sponges alive.

I pulled out the Reeflo Hammerhead and got the new RD3 installed. Pretty simple swap. The RD3 is dead silent and doesn't vibrate at all. Runs cool to the touch. Everything the HH did not do. I also turned on the LifeReef with Vectra M1. I still need to tidy my cabling and mount the controllers.





Tank temp went up a degree after running the lights and skimmer for several hours. That's not too bad but hopefully I can keep a good steady temp and not need a chiller.



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Old 04/14/2016, 11:02 PM   #36
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You got 50 porcelain crabs?...they go for $19.95 each in the stores here....so you got $1000.00 worth of hitchhikers......your in business man!
Not all 50 were porcelain but the majority. I separated the good from the bad and threw the good ones in the tank. Thanks Rich.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 04/15/2016, 11:21 AM   #37
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Looking forward to continued updates...


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Old 06/02/2016, 11:35 AM   #38
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It's been a while and I've been very busy over the past month, not only with the setup of this aquarium but other things so I apologize for the delay in an update.

I received the second round of TBS live rock on April 15th.



I asked Rich for larger rocks and shelf pieces this round. I liked the live Pukani so much better than the Walt Smith 2.1 that I asked for all Pukani this time around. The Pukani has so much more surface area because of its structure there's no question it's the better rock. Now that all the rock has been in the tank for a month and a half I have also noticed that algae grew on the Walt Smith rock much more abundantly than on the Pukani. Not sure why, and I'll take current pictures of that later. The Pukani pieces Rich sent were HUGE! big, beautiful pieces with tons of life. A few of the pieces had flat sides so I used those for the top of my structures.

Here I just put in all the rock but haven't aquascaped anything yet. Based on the pieces I received my plan is two large rock islands with as much open under as possible.




Now I've started to position the rocks. From the left side you can see the large pieces which I positioned on top of smaller support pieces. This serves three purposes, to elevate the shelfs closer to the light, to allow more hiding and swimming space, and to allow for flow under the rock islands. I did not put an arch between the two islands, but I may do this at some point.



Here are some closer shots of the two islands.








Remember when I talked about 50 crabs in the first batch of rocks? It was much harder to shake out the crabs from these larger pieces. Here's one big guy who fell out onto the carpet before I put the rock in to the tank. Over a month later I can safely say there are likely 100+ crabs in my tank. Most of them porcelain which is a good thing, but there are still a lot of gorilla and unknown types. Over the past couple weeks I've been moving coral from my 120g into this tank and every day I will pull out a piece of coral where I see a crab hiding, and it's never a porcelain. I'm removing those to be on the safe side. I know there are some good crabs who will sit in coral, but my concern is it will be a bad one and he'll start eating it. I've tried the pop bottle method which has worked well for me collecting shrimp in the past, but I only end up with snails in it, the crabs haven't been biting. Also, whenever I see a gorilla or unknown in the rocks I try to grab him with forceps but they can be fast.



I have one big urchin and about 3 or 4 baby urchins that hitchhiked in and are doing well. I have one black striped Goby, my only hitchhiker fish, who has survived the cycle. I also have a lot of Pistol Shrimp, most of which I don't see. I did see one last night, and he was pretty big. Apparently Pistols also have not fallen for the bottle trick. They are loud as I can hear them clicking all the time. Babies will end up in the filter socks. Most of my sponges have died off despite my attempt to use KZ Sponge Power to keep them alive. I still have a few, mostly in lower light locations like under the rocks.

Over the past month and a half the tank has been going through a cycle of sorts. With all the "real" live rock I never had a large amount of ammonia, and my nitrites remained low to none. However my nitrates hit a very large spike, off the chart, and have now come down to about 25ppm. I've done a few large water changes and as of last week added chaeto and moved my GFO/carbon reactor in line. There was a large green algae growth spurt, especially on the Walt Smith rocks and a diatom bloom on the sand. Positioning of the pumps to increase flow over the sand has helped with the diatoms, but ultimately my nitrates have to come down. I'm going to do another large water change tonight, and maybe another this weekend. Coralline has started to grow on the Pukani which is helping.

I am almost finished moving my coral from the 120g to the new 260g. Nothing is glued in yet, I've been using holes in the Pukani to position everything until I know where the various pieces are happy. I moved some of the smaller frags about 3 weeks ago and am AMAZED at the difference in coloration and polyp extension, not to mention noticeable growth. I am 99.9% certain it is due to the Spectra MH/T5. When I pulled the pieces out of my 120 which has two Radion G3 Pros and two T5 as a lighting source, the pieces are pale when coming out of that tank and already deep rich coloration is appearing under the Spectra. I will show before and after photos in a couple weeks, although I suspect even more coloration and faster growth to occur over the next few months.

Once the last piece of coral is removed from the 120g I will move the fish. I have a pair of Melanurus wrasse that I'm hesitating to transfer. They, especially the male, are voracious eaters. They go after snails and I'm concerned they'll start eating the crabs. While it would be ok for the gorillas, I'd hate to lose the porcelains. Because of my current high nitrate issue I don't want to be feeding heavily and the fish will get hungry between feedings, currently 2x per day. I love the coloration of these fish, and they help by eating the bad things in the tank so I'm torn on what to do with them. Maybe I'll just risk losing the porcelains.

The pictures I posted are over a month old so I'll take some new ones of the tank and sump room. A lot has changed.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 06/02/2016, 11:49 AM   #39
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One more update regarding the tank and stand. The acrylic overflow cover from Miracles started to bow. I had a new one made which Miracles is paying for. The new one is made of 3/8" HDPE. Hopefully it's stiffer.



I also trimmed off 1/2" from the bottom of the skirt last weekend. I could probably trim off another 1/2" but since you can't put it back on I didn't want to remove too much. As the front piece is 88" long and there are 2 side pieces, all of which are not flat by design, it was a PITA to do this cleanly. I took it to a place with a large table saw. While it really didn't cost me anything to do this, it was an inconvenience and their decision to make height of the skirt so high should have been discussed with me. I will also take on some of that responsibility as I should have told them what I wanted the measurement to be. I had never had a tank and stand custom built before so I didn't think through all the possibilities, and trusted Miracles more than I should have.

Now I'll also have to drill and tap holes in the steel frame, and skirt to affix the skirt to the frame. This is another thing Miracles should have done. I've never tapped steel before so this will be new. Hopefully I don't screw it up.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 06/02/2016, 01:17 PM   #40
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very nice tank and stand. really like your aquascape too


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Old 06/02/2016, 01:20 PM   #41
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Just as with all your fish and corals, all live rock should be quarantined for several weeks before being trusted in the display tank. You can get some cheap kiddies' wading pools to do this in. It will provide you with more time to pull out any nasties that may have hitchhiked in on the rock.

Crabs are only the beginning. What if you have some stomatopods or fire worms in there? You will never see the babies until they begin to gow out, and that's when the damage begins.

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Old 06/02/2016, 01:37 PM   #42
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Just as with all your fish and corals, all live rock should be quarantined for several weeks before being trusted in the display tank. You can get some cheap kiddies' wading pools to do this in. It will provide you with more time to pull out any nasties that may have hitchhiked in on the rock.

Crabs are only the beginning. What if you have some stomatopods or fire worms in there? You will never see the babies until they begin to gow out, and that's when the damage begins.

Dave.M
These are the perils we deal with. My 120g has aiptasia and bubble algae that I kept under control, but I did not want it imported to the new tank. Reading many many reviews about TBS live rock I decided it was the better choice, other than starting from completely dry rock. In hindsight dry rock might have been a better choice. Only time will tell.

I don't know how much QT of the TBS live rock would have helped. Maybe some but the nasties are good hiders especially in porous rock. I think adding the Melanurus could be a good thing. Unless they get eaten by the stomatopods.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 06/02/2016, 01:52 PM   #43
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Night is a good time to look for nasties. They seem unable to see red light, so you can use this to see what comes out after dark in your quarantine systems.

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Old 06/02/2016, 02:15 PM   #44
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Looks really good. Live rock always scares me but I'm sure the benefits of live rock outweigh the bad.


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Old 06/02/2016, 02:49 PM   #45
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The twin rock aquascape is very nice. Please give us an update later on the live rock.


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Old 06/02/2016, 03:24 PM   #46
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Quote:
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The twin rock aquascape is very nice. Please give us an update later on the live rock.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstephens24 View Post
very nice tank and stand. really like your aquascape too
Thanks. My last tank was a wall aquascape with branches shooting out on the ends and a cavity in the middle. While it was a great hiding place it hindered flow and was difficult to pull access fallen objects and flip snails.

This twin island aquascape is fully open in the back allowing for more swimming space and circular swim patterns. Much better for the fish.


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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 06/02/2016, 08:25 PM   #47
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coming along nicely


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Old 06/24/2016, 03:32 AM   #48
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With all the issues with Miracles, would you choose them again?

Looks like your overflow has toothed weir, but I thought I read that you were getting that changed!

How is the external box glued to the tank? Is it glass to glass siliconed! I recall reading somewhere that miracles puts something in between the tank and the overflow box and was hoping to double check with you on that ...


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Old 06/24/2016, 09:01 AM   #49
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With all the issues with Miracles, would you choose them again?

I would talk to other vendors and consider purchasing from another before Miracles. What I learned is that I need to be aware of every minute detail and make sure it's clear, in writing with a custom design. Now I know better. I don't know if another vendor would provide better service. I know there are others out there that are highly reputable, a couple in particular on the east and west coast that I received quotes from. Their quotes were significantly higher. Miracles was not the lowest cost, but they had a better reputation than the lower cost providers. In the end I suppose you get what you pay for. Was all the effort I put in worth the cost savings? It was at least a wash.

In the end Miracles still made a very good product. The tank and stand are beautiful. I had someone over the other day who commented on the stand saying they thought it looked like high quality furniture. That's comforting. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and while it's not perfect, nothing ever is.


Looks like your overflow has toothed weir, but I thought I read that you were getting that changed!

No, always a toothed weir. I like to buy my fish as babies so having it toothed helps keep them from flowing into the filter socks. It also helps keep light from getting into the overflow and growing algae

How is the external box glued to the tank? Is it glass to glass siliconed! I recall reading somewhere that miracles puts something in between the tank and the overflow box and was hoping to double check with you on that ...

Not sure how they glued it. I think it's silicone but it's a very thick bead if it is. When I had the overflow top replaced I asked Derek if a heavier top would cause problems for the overflow and he assured me it wouldn't so I assume it's glued on very tightly. I can ask him how they secured it.



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New 260g build thread: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2557715

Current Tank Info: 260g reef, Giesemann Spectra MH/T5/Kessil A160, Pacific Sun Calcfeeder Pro, Vortechs, Lifereef skimmer, Red Dragon 3, Apex, Genesis, Tangs, Clowns, Anthias, Wrasses, Angels, Cardinals, SPS, LPS
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Old 06/24/2016, 11:59 AM   #50
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Thanks for your candor John. I am considering an almost identical build from Miracles, and this is very helpful.

About the attachment of the overflow, I was interested in whether the box was glued directly to the glass, or bonded to something else. Is the back of your tank painted black, or is that something plastic glued to it?


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