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Old 12/14/2017, 11:26 PM   #1
sam.basye
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30 Cube Foam Rockwall Reef Tank

I have decide that its now time to start a thread for my new build!


I recently bought a used 30 gallon cube Oceanic glass aquarium to replace my potentially leaky Aqueon 26g bow front aquarium that has been set up for the past 3 years. This was my first attempt at a reef tank and I wanted to do something a little different. I created a foam wall. I saw a thread on a foam wall before I set up the tank and knew that’s what direction I wanted to go.*


I have since created a thread detailing and highlighting the do’s and don’ts of creating your very own foam wall. So technically, this will be my third foam wall build. I decided not to make this one as in depth as the other two regarding how its made, so I have included both links if you are interested in learning more.


Any all all questions are welcome via any of the three threads!


26g Foam wall build:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2457621


Complete How-To:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2611894


**Pictures are still viewable on mobile devices using Tapatalk. Thank Photo bucket for bending me over it’s knee...


30 cube Build


This tank has a fun story!


I determined the 26g had a slight leak, but I had no idea where it was coming from. Slight as in the bottom plastic rim randomly collecting water. Not sure where it was coming from or if it was the hob skimmer overflowing.. don’t know.

This prompted my search for a new tank.

I had been searching the Craigslist for a tank when I stumbled upon a drilled Oceanic 30g cube that came with a 10g sump, return pump, Reef Octopus nw10 skimmer, UV sterilizer, trickle filter and a couple pumps. A stand was also included although in rough shape.








Here’s the fun part!

I live in Lynchburg, Va and the tank I found was located in Richmond, Va which is about a 2 hour drive one way. I really didn’t want to have to drive 4 hours to get it and bring it back, sooo I flew there to pick it up and bring it back!

For those who don’t know, I am a flight instructor and what better way than to have my student fly me, especially since we were going to KRIC anyways. The guy and his son selling the tank were only able to meet the evening we had planned ahead of time and when the time came, a big storm was starting to roll into Lynchburg from the West (Richmond is to the East). There was some heavy precipitation and thunderstorms that were soon to hit and my student and I decided to go for it. We split the tasks during the preflight and got the plane started and ready to go in record time, got our taxi clearance, and we were able to takeoff and head towards Richmond with the big storm behind us!





We made it to the airport as planned and we were able to get a crew car (free courtesy car offered by the General Aviation building we parked at). We got the Mercedes instead of the Honda! We then drove to the predetermined parking lot where I met the man and his son, who’s tank it was, inspected the tank and equipment, paid, and started loading it into the Mercedes. Then it was time to load the stand into the trunk... It didn’t fit! We ended up leaving the stand behind since it didn’t fit and we had doubts it would even fit in the plane. We drove off with a smile on my face and got something to eat before returning to the plane. I asked the receptionist when we got back if I could drive out to the plane to load a fish tank and she said yes with a smile. I’m sure that was a first. We managed to cram it through the doorway behind the front seat and set in the rear seat of a Cessna 172 for the flight back. All the other equipment and the sump went in the rear baggage area and off we went!







Fast forward a month with the tank sitting on the floor in my small 450 sq ft house... my wife wanted the accumulating pile of fish stuff to move off the floor. SO what was my solution? MOVE! haha


It was about time for us to move into something bigger anyways. Now we are renting a 2 bedroom house with a full basement! It’s going to be nice having a washer/dryer, driveway, and central heat/air. We’re almost completely moved in now and the fish room/spare bedroom without a bed, is starting to get organized, well.. I still have fish stuff everywhere all over the floor


The move was definitely sketchy... I ended up getting most coral removed from the wall of the 26g and into baggies or directly placed into one of the three 5g buckets for transport. I couldn’t get the RBTA’s to let go so they ended up dangling for over an hour out of the water. I would try to splash them to keep them wet periodically. Being 30 degrees outside didn’t help! I put it into high gear when I started loading all the live critters into the back of the 4Runner. Then the 10 min ride to the new house and the scramble to get everything inside and wet again. The RBTA’s were cold and very dry when I sat the tank on the floor of the spare bedroom. I then dumped the 15g in with the bags of coral. I now had to quickly mix 10g of new saltwater for the remainder of the tank (nems still out of water). I finally got everything set up temporarily and everything, including the nems, made it and have bounced right back!


The stand is being redone and upgraded with a plywood backing and a new rear extension fame in the back. I’ll need to come up with a new light hanging rig since I bought another 16” ever grow fixture because the 24” is too wide for the 30 cube.


The 30 cube has a custom overflow installed new by an aquarium shop in Richmond that the guy I bought it from, bought brand new along with all the equipment


I decided to ditch the trickle filter for a filter sock. I’ll be testing the flow with the UV sterilizer to see if I want to keep that on not. I’ll be running two 3/4” discharge nozzles up top and my MP10 on the right side.


This time I decided to foam directly through the eggcrate to the glass as opposed to foaming the eggcrate outside of the tank, trimming it, then re-installing it. I still siliconed where the foam meets the display glass all around to keep critters from picking away at it, etc. I also made a special 6” deep sand bed in the back right corner for hopefully a garden eel! I put a bunch of shells at the base of it so Snappy, my Caribbean pistol shrimp, doesn’t try to make it through to the DSB..





I threw on some fine Charleston beach sand after foaming while it was still wet and finished it off with brushing contact cement on the dried foam and tossing a mix of CaribSea sand and Charleston sand for texture and color.


I plan to add RO water in a couple days to flush it out, then repeat for a few days, then get it salty. If all goes to plan, I’ll have it cycling for 2 weeks setting it up for livestock on Jan 1!


Leak test



If you have any questions, fire away! I'll be updating the thread as the tank progresses and I’m open to any suggestions.


__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall

Last edited by sam.basye; 12/14/2017 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 12/14/2017, 11:44 PM   #2
sam.basye
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Here is the new screen top I made with screen door parts from Lowe's.



This is the eggcrate frame I made for the wall all set in place. They are held together with zipties.



Adding lace rock for a more realistic looking wall.
I decided to foam directly to the tank glass this time.





Wear gloves! I knew better, but didn't have any and wanted to get to foaming! This stuff doesn't want to come off for days.



Foaming complete!










__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall

Last edited by sam.basye; 12/15/2017 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 12/14/2017, 11:47 PM   #3
sam.basye
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In the bucket is some very fine beach sand from Charleston, SC that I mixed with some CaribSea live sand that I used to coat the wall after brushing on some contact cement with a cheap paint brush. The contact cement helps to seal the foam, but not completely since I brushed it on lightly. Mostly just to get the sand mix to stick for added texture.





I apply the contact cement in small, manageable areas, then toss the sand mix over the wet area by hand.










I had some crushed coral sand laying around from the last tank that I'll be using in the new cube.




To hide the ugly eggcrate on the sides, I used some 5% tint from Walmart for a clean, blacked out look.





Currently the 26g is temporarily set up on the floor untill I can transfer everything to the new cube.




__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall

Last edited by sam.basye; 12/15/2017 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 12/14/2017, 11:49 PM   #4
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I am reworking the stand I have been using for the past 3 years with the old tank.

The rear of the stand was a cardboard sheet, which to my surprise, was a major part of the structural integrity of the stand.



After removing it, the stand was very loose and would sway 6" left to right. I replaced it with a ¼" thick 2' x 4' sheet of plywood, painted it, nailed it back, and now it's super straight and even more solid than before.





I'll be cutting out port holes for access behind the tank and for equipment to enter this week.

I also built a larger rear brace for the added depth on the next 30 cube using 2x4's and 2x6's and painted it white except for the top which I clear coated as to match the stand.



Today, I filled the tank with RO water to cycle out some potential chemicals from the contact cement, foam, and sand dust.





I'll drain and refill it a couple times before adding salt.

Next on the list is to start the plumbing for the sump!


__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall

Last edited by sam.basye; 12/15/2017 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 12/15/2017, 12:54 AM   #5
kampo
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very cool. i'm setting up a similar sized tank. curious where this build goes.


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Old 12/15/2017, 01:07 AM   #6
sam.basye
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Thanks, kampo.
It will probably look similar to my last build, but have better equipment. Especially since I'm transferring all my current livestock.

Got a build thread??


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}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/15/2017, 02:26 AM   #7
kampo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam.basye View Post
Thanks, kampo.
It will probably look similar to my last build, but have better equipment. Especially since I'm transferring all my current livestock.

Got a build thread??
not yet just collecting parts right now. build starts after xmas, waiting on stands to be built by someone in my club (I suck at wood work)

plan is I think kinda cool I got 2 20in cubes. getting 2 identical stands built. one is going to be a high tech planted (planted tanks are my thing in the hobby so far) the other is going to be a reef tank for me to learn on. Diying matching lights one fresh one reef and more or less will look identical other than light spectrum and of course whats actually in the tank. prolly will get the salt setup and cycling and focus on the planted first, and once that's set get the reef going


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Old 12/15/2017, 08:03 AM   #8
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Cool tank. I wish I had thought about doing the background like that

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Current Tank Info: 55 gallon rimless saltwater reef tank and many more
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Old 12/15/2017, 08:30 AM   #9
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Great tank pick up story! As I followed along, I had The Doors' song "Riders On the Storm" playing in my head. That must have been some pitch you made to your student! "So all you have to do is outrun this storm, so we don't die, then you pass!"

Another master class in foam wallery! Looks great. I love that you even foamed the teeth of the overflow. You are, without doubt, the best fake waller I've seen. Period. The new equipment looks solid. Good stuff. Now prepare the balls…

I have two concerns: if the new tank has a smaller footprint, but taller, then it seems unlikely you be able to add any new corals. You'll just be pruning. Are you cool with that? A garden eel? In a little square in the back corner? With anemones? How will that work? It sounds cool, but aren't they too iffy for aquariums? From what I recall, even dedicated species tanks are very challenging. Maybe you've found some info that supports this idea? Balls sore yet?

If the timeline was 1) new tank, 2) new house, then maybe you didn't anticipate having more room, for a bigger tank. It sounds like now you have a fish room! Or will it be a nursery? With your skills, imagine what you could do with a 120!

Don't hate me! We're twins, remember?


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Macro Algae Lagoon
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Old 12/15/2017, 08:45 AM   #10
sam.basye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kampo View Post
not yet just collecting parts right now. build starts after xmas, waiting on stands to be built by someone in my club (I suck at wood work)

plan is I think kinda cool I got 2 20in cubes. getting 2 identical stands built. one is going to be a high tech planted (planted tanks are my thing in the hobby so far) the other is going to be a reef tank for me to learn on. Diying matching lights one fresh one reef and more or less will look identical other than light spectrum and of course whats actually in the tank. prolly will get the salt setup and cycling and focus on the planted first, and once that's set get the reef going
That's a pretty cool idea. Definitely post a link here when you get it all going so I can follow along!
Have you though about combining the two and having a display refugium or even seagrass instead of the fresh water and still have a reef tank next to it?
You might be able to plumb them together if you went that route and challenge yourself with saltwater plants.
Just a thought!

What kind of lights you making??


__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/15/2017, 08:46 AM   #11
sam.basye
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Cool tank. I wish I had thought about doing the background like that

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
Thanks, fabulousfavia!

It's never too late... Haha


__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/15/2017, 08:47 AM   #12
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Yeah that's a consideration it's a pretty cool design

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I'm an impulse buyer, I need this, this, and this, oh and this would look nice with these zoas

Current Tank Info: 55 gallon rimless saltwater reef tank and many more
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Old 12/15/2017, 09:30 AM   #13
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Sam, really cool. Those foam walls provide all kinds of options! It is something I may consider if/when I create another (bigger of course) tank. :0)

I noticed that the foam is not completely covered in some places. Is that going to be an issue?


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Old 12/15/2017, 12:04 PM   #14
sam.basye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Great tank pick up story! As I followed along, I had The Doors' song "Riders On the Storm" playing in my head. That must have been some pitch you made to your student! "So all you have to do is outrun this storm, so we don't die, then you pass!"

Another master class in foam wallery! Looks great. I love that you even foamed the teeth of the overflow. You are, without doubt, the best fake waller I've seen. Period. The new equipment looks solid. Good stuff. Now prepare the balls…

I have two concerns: if the new tank has a smaller footprint, but taller, then it seems unlikely you be able to add any new corals. You'll just be pruning. Are you cool with that? A garden eel? In a little square in the back corner? With anemones? How will that work? It sounds cool, but aren't they too iffy for aquariums? From what I recall, even dedicated species tanks are very challenging. Maybe you've found some info that supports this idea? Balls sore yet?

If the timeline was 1) new tank, 2) new house, then maybe you didn't anticipate having more room, for a bigger tank. It sounds like now you have a fish room! Or will it be a nursery? With your skills, imagine what you could do with a 120!

Don't hate me! We're twins, remember?


Hahaha, riders of the storm.. I should’ve started singing in the airplane to that!
I had told him previously my tank pick up plan and he was down. I try to make critical thinkers out of my student and not promote ‘get-there-itis’ lol I really wanted to go, but suppressed those feelings and had my student make the final decision. He said let’s do it! It wasn’t by any means a close call, but had we taken any longer, we probably wouldn’t have made it out before the rain. Never saw a drop.

Thanks! The wall came out pretty good, I debated whether to do the overflow teeth or not, but ended up going for it.

The 30g is 20.5” wide, 18.5” front to back, and 20.75” tall.
The 26g is 24” wide, bowed 14.5” (center) / 10.5” (sides) front to back, and 20.75” tall.
So same height, more depth, but less frontal viewing area.
I filled it last night and it took 20g in the display.
Idk what I’ll be doing coral growth wise yet. Pruning equals $, so that’s okay with me. Lol
I tried to add more depth with the rock-work this time. Future pictures should show that.

Had I known I’d be getting a somewhat fish room, I probably would’ve tried to find a bigger tank. Lol this was only meant to replace the 26 in my tiny little house.
When I move again in 2 years, it’s going to be to Charleston, SC and I’m going balls to the wall for that one! At least a 60g, if not a 90 or bigger. Lol
Believe it or not, the last time I was at the beach I found a dirty used 120 for free! on Craigslist. Just no way to bring it back or store it..
I might look into getting a frag tank, but is it worth the never ending pain my ears will have to endure... lol my wife already says I have too many!
The “spare bedroom” will house my fish and a couple desks, but no bed. No nursery planned for the time being. At least not till we’re moved into own own house.


As per the garden eel, they pretty much don’t leave their burrow so it should do fine near the powerhead to get food as it passes by. I put the finer sand in the DSB to facilitate the eel. A lot of that decision was based on my LFS getting in a few months ago. Very cool critters that stay in one spot. They had them for at least 6mo before they sold them all. If they can keep them alive I’m sure so can I.. they were in the same tank as a ghost ribbon eel and some other fish with no special attention. I did some preliminary research on them, but nothing recently.
I love eels, the wife does not, so I decided on a more or less colored worm with eye balls. Lol That’s going to be one of those, Hey! How’d that get in there?? moments. Hahaha


__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/15/2017, 12:08 PM   #15
sam.basye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McPuff View Post
Sam, really cool. Those foam walls provide all kinds of options! It is something I may consider if/when I create another (bigger of course) tank. :0)



I noticed that the foam is not completely covered in some places. Is that going to be an issue?


Thanks, McPuff!

Shouldn’t be an issue, the foam is safe once dry. I didn’t bother contact cementing the 2.5g because I didn’t have any. It can eventually wear down / degrade over time, but that looks pretty natural when it’s at that point.


__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/15/2017, 12:17 PM   #16
Michael Hoaster
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Whew! I was worried my questions were a touch harsh. I'll go ahead and remove the athletic cup. Thanks for answering! All good answers too. So garden eels aren't so hard? Hmm…they aren't Caribbean are they?

Again, the new tank is awesome, and I can't wait to see it up and running!


__________________
As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Macro Algae Lagoon
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Old 12/15/2017, 02:14 PM   #17
sam.basye
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You never know Michael... you better keep one eye open! Haha

I don’t think they’re very difficult, but I could be completely wrong. Lol I’m basing this off my LFS’s success... they’re good, but not that good.
Probably not Caribbean, but you never know.. I’ll have to look into it.

Thanks!


__________________
}<`SAM`;{°<

Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall

Last edited by sam.basye; 12/15/2017 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 12/17/2017, 09:53 AM   #18
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Reef hobbyist mag has an issue on garden eels they say as long as you have a 7 in sand bed and adequate food they will thrive. They also suggest minimal rockwork

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Current Tank Info: 55 gallon rimless saltwater reef tank and many more
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Old 12/17/2017, 06:05 PM   #19
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Thanks, favia.

From what little research I've done, they just start to parallel the tank bottom when they get that deep and I didnt put any rubble at the bottom.
The trick is hoping I get a smart one that finds the deep corner..

Tank process

Water is clear and going to drain/refill again tonight.





Been putting off the plumbing because the old landlady called the night before last saying she wanted the linen cabinet "fish stand" back. Lol I asked if I could buy it and she said she'd call back after talking to her husband. Haha
I may or may not have taken it without asking... Lol


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Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/17/2017, 10:38 PM   #20
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Can't wait to see it stocked! I know you're going to miss that landlord…


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Macro Algae Lagoon
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Old 12/17/2017, 11:16 PM   #21
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You and me both! I really want to transfer stuff after 2 weeks, which would put me at New Years, but I also don’t want to kill things because I rushed it. I will be introducing some of the sand from the 26g so hopefully the cycle will happen a little faster!

I forgot to mention I added the damsel that’s been living in the 2.5 over to the 26g when I made the move.
They all seem to be getting along, although I haven’t really been watching the tank much.

Miss them I will not! I’m liking the current hands off property manager.


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Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/18/2017, 09:34 PM   #22
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I am going to do a Rockwall on my ten gallon. Just ordering some dry rock.

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I'm an impulse buyer, I need this, this, and this, oh and this would look nice with these zoas

Current Tank Info: 55 gallon rimless saltwater reef tank and many more
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Old 12/18/2017, 11:33 PM   #23
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That's awesome!

Make sure to post your progress or any questions you may have in here.
Got any preliminary ideas for it yet?


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Foam Wall
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Old 12/18/2017, 11:53 PM   #24
sam.basye
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Location: Lynchburg, VA
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Tank progress..

Got most of the plumbing figured out. Gotta return some PVC fittings and buy a few 45° elbows and I'll be set to start gluing it!
The new sump layout is better than I had it set up in previously posted pictures. Even less mess, and I thought it looked good before. Lol

I might add a baffle or two now that I've created more room in the sump.
I won't have any filter socks or skimmer air silencer till after Christmas, but the tank will only be cycling till then.

Tank is still on the floor, empty now.

I still need to cut out holes in the back of the stand for the plumbing and surge protector. Once I get that done, I can set the tank up on top and crank it all up for the first time!


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Current Tank: 30 Cube build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2661418
26g Foam Rockwall build: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2457621
Foam Wall
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Old 12/18/2017, 11:56 PM   #25
kampo
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i'm super tempted to try a wall for my cube setup...was going to do the cliche island scape but kinda like this idea...hmmm really excited to see how this turns out.


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