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Old 02/17/2015, 08:38 AM   #76
rgulrich
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Kevin, for bright, shallow water simulation you might want to consider two banks of daylight/6500K t5s/ 2 or 4 bulbs each (depending on just how bright you want it) - and leaving a bit of space in the middle. A couple horticultural fixtures should work pretty well here. I'm using a 4 foot 6 bulb t5HO horticultural fixture on my 2 X 4 frag system, and it really packs a heck of a PAR punch, so you can, if you're not careful, over do the light with these, depending on mounting height and water depth.

Then supplement with a couple daylight LED spots to provide shimmer, either in the middle, the front, or both. Something as simple as a few of the daylight halogen replacements might work pretty well for this. Something like the MR16 LEDs from Homedepot might work pretty well (I've used these in the living room track lighting as halogen replacements and in the kitchen as task lighting - they pack a punch):
http://www.homedepot.com/s/mr16%2520led?NCNI-5
I'd try a 3000K and 5000K to see which works better for your application. That would bathe the bed with light and still provide a great simulation of daylight glitter lines. And you will be able to grow a substantial amount of algae with these as well while keeping the cost moderate to low.

Take a little time, draw things out, visit Home Depot or Lowes, re-draw things out (it might be worth a trip or two by the time things are said and done), and then try out a few of your more favorable options. And enjoy working on it!

You're doing a super job, man, and while we're all eager to get things done yesterday quite often, sometimes its much more fun to take a bit of time and make sure things fit before we fill them with water.

Cheers,
Ray (who, after shoveling the driveway while my significant other plowed the main drive and neighbors' with the tractor, is dreaming of snorkeling over a warm, sunny, reef...)


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Current Tank Info: 360 degree walk around 300 DD island–4 300W MarsAqua, 2 165W GalaxyHydro, 4 Kessil A350W, 2 A360WE, 3 XF150 Gyre on tidal wave cycles. Basement 150 gallon RubberMaid sump, RLSS skimmer, 3-panel waterfall ATS, Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid
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Old 02/17/2015, 09:05 AM   #77
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Thanks Ray!

I would like to simulate the solar/lunar cycle also...I guess I can do that with cheap timers and cheap blue LEDs too. That would save a ton of money compared to an expensive fixture/controller. I don't think the fish care much about fading light at the beginning and end of the day.

Where did you get your horticultural T5 fixtures?

I still need to shovel out my 100' driveway...ugh.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 02/17/2015, 10:25 AM   #78
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I guess something like these?

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lithonia-...4?N=5yc1vZc9h4

http://www.amazon.com/Apollo-Horticu...Gro+t5+Fixture

I like the looks of the second one the best, better reviews too.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump

Last edited by Chasmodes; 02/17/2015 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 02/17/2015, 11:53 AM   #79
rgulrich
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I've got the second one's bigger brother - the 6 bulb 4 footer.
Same place, too!


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Current Tank Info: 360 degree walk around 300 DD island–4 300W MarsAqua, 2 165W GalaxyHydro, 4 Kessil A350W, 2 A360WE, 3 XF150 Gyre on tidal wave cycles. Basement 150 gallon RubberMaid sump, RLSS skimmer, 3-panel waterfall ATS, Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid
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Old 02/17/2015, 12:46 PM   #80
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Really cool idea. I always wanted to do a cold water system like that


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Old 02/17/2015, 02:31 PM   #81
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Thanks Ray! I guess I'll give them a try, much more coverage of my tank if I buy two, and more than half the cost. Did you build a canopy or hang them?

Thanks Zombie!

On a related note, about lighting, years ago I experimented with my old fashioned fluoro light fixture, and made a mount that extended it outside the tank shining in, and man did the colors of my fish, mainly blue, really pop (the little blue spots on a flame angel, for example). If I just set the fixture on the tank, then it wasn't bad, but not nearly as cool. The only problem with what I did was algae grew on the front glass faster and I had to clean it more often.

I was wondering about setting the front light and angling it slightly to the center of the tank, just a few degrees, not much, and let the other lights shine straight down. I guess I really don't care about the cosmetics of the hanging light that much, but really would like to see those colors jump out.

Another thing that I could do is mount them hanging and shining straight down, and mount some sort of lighting fixture that I could turn on only when I view them that shines from the top/front of the tank in.

The striped and feather blenny males have a really bright blue spot on their dorsal fin, along with some other orange highlights. If they ever get frisky, I'd like to enjoy those colors!

Anyone ever do anything like that?


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Old 02/18/2015, 05:25 AM   #82
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Hey Kevin,
I am currently hanging the fixture, not using a canopy.

For hanging the lights on multiple angles, and possibly supporting other lights you might take a look at using http://eztube.com/ to build a custom light frame. A little drawing, a few experiments, and you should have something that meets your needs for either a frame that sits on your aquarium or one you could suspend that would hold the lights quite handily and still allow for adjustment.

Cheers,
Ray


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Current Tank Info: 360 degree walk around 300 DD island–4 300W MarsAqua, 2 165W GalaxyHydro, 4 Kessil A350W, 2 A360WE, 3 XF150 Gyre on tidal wave cycles. Basement 150 gallon RubberMaid sump, RLSS skimmer, 3-panel waterfall ATS, Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid
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Old 02/18/2015, 07:54 AM   #83
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Thanks Ray, that's really cool. I think that I might go with that...gave me an idea also. I could have a frame made for a canopy, or just hang them from a frame like this, supported from the back of the tank bolted to my stand, and also, have a frame incorporated to support my shadowbox background idea. I like this concept either way rather than hanging lights from the ceiling.

I've struggled with ideas on the lights and the approach to the shadowbox, and how to get this looking good. I might as well incorporate both in the design. I like the idea of not having the lights sit close to the tank so I can look down or gain access for maintenance, etc.

Or, use this for each project and keep them separate. I'd likely do that because the lighting is far more important to get going.

Another issue that I'm concerned about is how to build an overflow for this. My thought right now is to install an H2Overflow. The tank has bracing all the way around on all 4 sides. I could add a C2C/Herbie, but accessing once it's in place would be tough. I wonder if the integrity of the tank would be compromised by cutting access holes or not. The bracing is pretty wide. Cosmetically, the H2Overflow would hide the plumbing better, and make the shadowbox concept work. If I install a C2C overflow, and to use the shadowbox, I'd have to do that on one of the sides (probably right side), but then I'd lose a viewing plane with unsightly pipes.

I also took a look at the ghost overflow which might solve my problem if I go C2C.

My brain hurts.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump

Last edited by Chasmodes; 02/18/2015 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 02/18/2015, 09:24 AM   #84
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I meant to show a pic of the tank again.



What would you do for an overflow? The tank is 18" tall (17" inner measurement), so it's a shallow environment. I'd like the water level to be about an inch or inch and a half below the top of the tank if possible.


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Old 02/18/2015, 09:27 AM   #85
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Beautiful dimensions on that tank.


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Old 02/18/2015, 02:47 PM   #86
rgulrich
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Hey Kevin,
You might consider the C2C or somesuch, but external - keeping the plumbing to the corners as much as possible to minimize their visual impact. That said...(drum roll)....

I'd be almost tempted to do an internal Herbie with the intake and emergency both integrated into your oyster reef structure, preferably at two different areas of the aquarium. The return could be over the top in a corner, or again, integrated into your aquascape (a bit tougher). Remember - you will need to access this plumbing in case of an emergency or blockage or somesuch, so you don't want to tuck it back in a corner somewhere under the Euro-bracing. You also need to provide support to the entire bottom of your acrylic aquarium, so you'd have to be very judicious in your use of a hole cutter (to fit bulkheads and tighten/loosen them) in the wood supporting the bottom.

Sit down, preferably with a cold beverage of your choice and a pad of paper and pencil, and do some sketches. You know what you want to see and support in your aquarium, now "all" you have to do is develop the means to support it in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Be sure to review the sketches in a day or two to make sure you didn't leave anything out.

You're doing all of this already, so I don't think you'll have too many problems getting there from here, man.


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Current Tank Info: 360 degree walk around 300 DD island–4 300W MarsAqua, 2 165W GalaxyHydro, 4 Kessil A350W, 2 A360WE, 3 XF150 Gyre on tidal wave cycles. Basement 150 gallon RubberMaid sump, RLSS skimmer, 3-panel waterfall ATS, Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid
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Old 02/19/2015, 09:06 AM   #87
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Center overflow could be cool


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Old 02/19/2015, 06:23 PM   #88
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Yeah, I've been racking my little brain over what to do about this...part of me wants to keep it simple and hidden but also have easy access.

I considered a center overflow and haven't ruled it out. The sump is not much lower than the tank, less than a foot, so plumbing through the tank floor would mean that I'd have to scrap my sump stand and build a lower floor stand, or set it on bricks or something. Plus, the sump will be plumped through the wall into my basement.

Thanks much for the ideas guys, I really really appreciate the input.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 02/20/2015, 07:46 AM   #89
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OK, I've glued all of my oyster matched halves to the structure. I think it looks great so far, just like I imagined it would. One of the issues with Gorilla glue is that it runs, so I will use my longnose pliers and any other tools that I can to clean excess glue off the oysters. In some places, I don't care if it's there, and maybe I don't need to do anything because eventually, algae and stuff will grow over it. But, I'm picky and I want it as perfect as I can. There is stuff to do still, but 99% of the gluing is over. Here is what it would look like from my view sitting in front of the tank (the picture size is about the tank size, if you can imagine that):


The remaining steps to complete these structures are:

1) create the base rock (DIY live rock) which will cover the PVC pipe (it won't stick out beyond the oyster cultches though, just enough to fill in the space and hide the PVC.

2) use Beckett's Pond Foam and more oyster halves to finish the oyster reef down to the sand bed, to cover the base rock and blend with the existing cultches. Those are the areas inside the green lines.

3) where the yellow area is, do one final cultch that won't connect to the others and will be free standing on its own frame, no DIY rock in it, just PVC and oysters. I'm toying with the idea of making a rock that looks like the ones that drop off Calvert Cliffs and embed shark teeth in it. That would give it that nice Chesapeake Bay feel. I may do both.

I think that I need about 40-50 more oyster matches to finish this right, and fill in gaps with unmatched halves.

To totally complete the aquascape, I will add some oyster cultches to hide equipment, etc. The area between the oysters will be a sand bed. I want room so that if I can catch a hogchoker, it will have room to bury in the sand and hang out. Here is a picture of the plan detailed above:



In the mean time, it's time to order equipment. When that stuff starts showing up at my door, then it will begin to feel like it's moving from my dream to reality.

Thanks for following along, and you comments too. Much appreciated!


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 02/20/2015, 11:53 AM   #90
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The National Aquarium in Baltimore has a tank very similar to the one you are working on. I bet they would be more than happy to talk with you about the parameters they keep theirs at. The Bay has a severe nutrient problem . My guess is Phosphates are very bad in the Bay. My understanding is that the water in the Bay used to be almost crystal clear due to the filering done by the billions of oysters present. It would have been something really cool to see.

Please post some pics when you are done. re you going to get a little blue crab, or some killifishes? Maybe a Small Spot?


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Old 02/20/2015, 12:49 PM   #91
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Thanks GBP! I really want to get up there and see that tank. When I do, I'll try and find someone to talk to it about. If not, I'll write them. I have seen some stuff on the web about it.

My inspiration came from the tank that they have at the Calvert Marine Museum.

I don't want to keep any blue crabs simply because they get too big and will eat the fish that I prefer. As far as a stocking list goes, this is what I had in mind:

Fish

Must haves:
several Striped Blennies
several Naked Gobies
1 Hogchoker
Killifish (some, but not many, maybe a few of each species)
several Skilletfish

Maybe (if I can catch them, or if they survive)
Silversides
Bay Anchovies
Feather Blenny
Seahorses (won't collect until the tank is established, and will go in my fuge)
Pipefish (won't collect until the tank is established, and will go in my fuge, plus might only do one, they typically don't do well, so I may not keep any)
Sticklebacks - if I can find them
compatible Exotics that I catch, if I can find them (like a Spotfin Butterfly)
maybe small spot...or two.

Inverts

Must Haves:
Snails
Limpets or slippers (if I can find them)
a few hermit crabs
maybe a decorator crab

Maybe
Red Beard Sponge (once tank is established)
Anemones
Gorgonians (if I go full salt)
A few Sea Squirts (once tank is established)
one or two Oysters or other bivalves (once tank is established, but probably not)

Plants
Ulva
Maybe some red macros

I may try several that I collect and see what survives.


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Old 02/21/2015, 04:07 PM   #92
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I just finished making 2 of the 3 DIY rock bases for the oyster cultches. I think the first one might be a bit dry, and the 2nd one a bit wet, LOL. We'll see. They're sitting in damp sand covered and I won't look for 48 hours. After that, if they're OK, then I'll begin the soaking/water changes for 4-8 weeks. After the 48 hours are up, I'll attempt the third one if the other two turn out OK. If they don't, then I'll smash them up and do it again

I have plenty of materials to work with at least.

My recipe was 2 parts crushed oyster shell, 2 parts sand, and one part portland cement, and a little water. The first batch was dry oat meal, the second was a little runny.

Why not do the third now? Because my molding/sand container is full with the other two, so I can wait.

My wife thinks that I'm a nut.

I need more oysters, but we're getting hammered with snow today. If it melts by mid week, I may try to see if I can get some from our local seafood restaurant. They have AYCE crab legs, so I may have to partake


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Old 02/21/2015, 04:29 PM   #93
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I can second you on the snow, Kevin...spent 3 hours plowing our lane, drive, and the neighbors' drives this afternoon...and it's still coming down hard up here in Marriottsville. Sigh.

I think you'll have a pretty fair sized collection in there with your list so far. You might want to keep a close eye on adult size across the board to make sure nobody gets out of hand (and decides the tankmates are on the dinner menu). Looking forward to seeing your next steps, man!

Cheers,
Ray (who broke out the cross country skis to go up the drive - after it was plowed this afternoon already - to get the mail)


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Current Tank Info: 360 degree walk around 300 DD island–4 300W MarsAqua, 2 165W GalaxyHydro, 4 Kessil A350W, 2 A360WE, 3 XF150 Gyre on tidal wave cycles. Basement 150 gallon RubberMaid sump, RLSS skimmer, 3-panel waterfall ATS, Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid
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Old 02/21/2015, 05:03 PM   #94
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Thanks Ray. I'm pretty sure the livestock list is OK. My biggest concern would be aggression of the blennies, especially H. hentz, they can get tough and very territorial. C. bosquianus are a bit more tolerable.

I don't plan on keeping them all. My vision is really a few of the gobies, about four to six striped blennies, and a few skilletfish, and some inverts. If I'm lucky enough to catch a butterflyfish, it will go in. I may or may not add the killies, but should have something to cruise the water column. Of course, I'd be adding livestock very slow, maybe starting with a couple skilletfish and killies after cycling. That said, a hogchoker will be cool. It all depends on what I catch first!

I also have a few 55 gallon tanks that I can set up if I need to that aren't being used, and a 75 gallon on the way that I want to make a stream/darter tank with.

Anyway, Marriotsville, huh? I've spent many a day wading the Patapsco for smallmouth bass over the years in that area. My last trip was the summer before last and it still was fun.

I'm just about 15 min South of Frederick. I haven't started shoveling yet. My day tomorrow will be spent doing that!


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump

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Old 02/21/2015, 06:31 PM   #95
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At least I didn't spot a Northern Stargazer on the list...heh! Although, I have to admit, it sure would be interesting as all heck to have one in a species tank...
I remember wading through the mud flats on the backside of Ocean Isle N. Carolina as a kid at low tide, picking up an old boot sitting drying in the mud and dumping it into a bucket. Out flops an Oyster Toadfish/Opsanus tau just about the same size as the boot. That one was pretty neat, too. If I didn't have a big reef of pretty, flashy fish, I'd probably have a kiddie wading pool of a mud flat with fiddler crabs and these, among other things....you're having fun with this, I can tell!

We actually went tubing down the Patapsco a few times this past summer - harassing the fish and the watersnakes. Of course, there were the few portage requirements, but it was fun nonetheless. I live within hiking distance of the State Park, and made the trip many times to hike down and then along the river with a backpack lunch. Great area.

Enjoy the shoveling tomorrow - it might just be slush by then, but we'll probably be out in it as well with the old Kabota to clear the lane before it freezes over.


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Current Tank Info: 360 degree walk around 300 DD island–4 300W MarsAqua, 2 165W GalaxyHydro, 4 Kessil A350W, 2 A360WE, 3 XF150 Gyre on tidal wave cycles. Basement 150 gallon RubberMaid sump, RLSS skimmer, 3-panel waterfall ATS, Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid
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Old 02/23/2015, 07:59 PM   #96
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I grew up around the Chesapeake. I miss it all the time. If I lived close enuff I would build a brackish tank also. I'm following and day dreaming about the tank I could have . Cheers


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Old 02/24/2015, 08:22 AM   #97
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Ray: LOL, I've never seen a stargazer, but they are neat fish. I have caught toadfish, ugly but cool and efficient predators. Unfortunately, they eat anything that will fit in that gaping ugly mouth, and won't get near my blennies! It's funny that it was in a boot. You can bet that I'll be checking bottles and stuff like that for clingfish, blennies and gobies!

I'm sure that when I finally get the tank cycled and go collecting, I will be just like a kid out there! I am still sore from shoveling snow, and lost a day of working on my tank because of it

Scuba, thanks! Hopefully when this is done it's worth the wait. When it's stocked, I'll post videos and pics for sure.

Update:

48 hours passed and I pulled my DIY rock with the PVC frames out for a look. As of now, they're sitting on the side of my stand until I get home from work, and then I'll soak them for 6-8 weeks. Man, they are heavy, like a concrete block (duh) I have one more to make. I made the first two without salt, so I think that I'll try using salt this time in the mix to make the rocks a little lighter. If I like how those turn out, then I'll make new frames and redo the other ones.

Overall, I'm happy with how they turned out. The weight issue is probably no big deal since folks put hundreds of pounds of rocks in their tanks and sumps. Most people making DIY rock don't pat it down like I did so they get that texture. For me, it doesn't matter because most of what you see on the bases will be covered by oysters/foam. This way, I get the shape that I want. I was going to create a mold, but as it turns out that wasn't necessary.

After soaking them, the next step will be to use the pond foam to attach oysters around the base to fill in those gaps and make the oyster reef complete to the sand bed (which will be 2-3").

Showing the new bases:


One thing that I liked was the flat bottom, no chance of my reef collapsing. I may put egg crate under them to evenly distribute the weight. What do y'all think?



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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 03/04/2015, 12:02 PM   #98
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Eggcrate or HDPE cutting board material would be good. I've seen concrete pavers used as reef foundations without either, though, and there really isn't an issue as long as it's stable/doesn't rock back and forth.

Lookin' great-good work, Kevin!

Cheers,
Ray


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Current Tank Info: 360 degree walk around 300 DD island–4 300W MarsAqua, 2 165W GalaxyHydro, 4 Kessil A350W, 2 A360WE, 3 XF150 Gyre on tidal wave cycles. Basement 150 gallon RubberMaid sump, RLSS skimmer, 3-panel waterfall ATS, Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid
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Old 06/11/2015, 11:07 PM   #99
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Any updates?


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Old 06/12/2015, 09:48 AM   #100
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Following. Cool idea!!


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