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Ares' 2x2x2 Updated 17 Janaury 2010 - new pics

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Ares' 2x2x2 Updated 17 Janaury 2010 - new pics

Postby Ares » Fri 02 Jan, 2009 11:43 am

Ok, well, the time has come.... yes... it is finally here! I am actually going to set up my tank. Firstly, a very big thank you to all those as MASA & MASOV who have given me so much advice, with a special thanks to Tone, Kranky and mgrav. You guys are awesome :thumbsup:


Introduction:

Ever since one fateful day, when I was 7, on a trip to an aquarium, I have dreamed of keeping marine fish. Despite people telling me it is too hard to keep, I decided to give it a shot anyways, as I am not one to shy away from a challenge!

However, looking into the hobby I discovered it was a damn expensive hobby, and I quickly realised that I would need to find a way to keep costs as low as possible. So, I have gone for a 2ft cube, as I believe it is large enough to support the kind of colourful system I have in mind, whilst being able to keep costs under control.

System Objectives: To create a colourful mixed reef tank, with vibrant life and activity.

System Type: Mixed Reef, starting out with FO, and once water quality is maintained, moving on to softies suited to 150w


Display System:

Strike up Date: seriously commenced setting up November 2008

Display Tank: 60cm cube, 10mm glass, with corner weir, full siphon, and backup external durso

Display Lighting: 150w MH, 14,000k. Will upgrade with T5s if necessary.

Stand: Home made custom wooden stand, 60cm wide, and 90cm tall

Hood: Home made custom wooden hood, fully enclosed with breathing space at the back, and a ‘door’ at the front

Sump: 45cm cube.

Refugium: Possible remote DSB

Refugium Lighting: NA


Support systems:

System Water: Natural salt water

Display Water circulation: 3,000lph guppys, and 1,000lph Eheim compact

Return Pump: 2,000lph Eheim compact+

Skimmer: Custom skimmer (pretty sure it’s an Aquatica Australia), driven by a 3,000lph Eheim compact+

Evaporation Top Up: Manual at this stage

Current Water Chemistry:
Ammonia 0 mg/l
Nitrates: 0
Phosphates: 0.0ppm
Alkalinity: 8 dKH
Calcium: 420ppm
Salinity / Specific Gravity: 1.027
Magnesuim:

Estimated time of setup: commenced cycling, waiting for ammonia spike to begin with...


Obstacles to date: Although this is not a standard section for a tank journal, I would like to share one of my biggest hurdles to date, which has been - obtaining a working, and trustworthy tank.

Attempt 1:
My first purchase of a second-hand tank ended in tragedy after I noticed that there was an unfortunate crack in the bottom corner. After seeking advice on the forums and from friends regarding the integrity of the tank (or lack there of), it was pretty clear that the tank would either leak, or hold, but no one could guarantee either way.

There was no joy speaking to the seller either, who informed that “the onus is on the purchaser... etc etc”. Much to my disappointment, in the end, I only managed to get a 30% refund from him.

Attempt 2:
My second attempt at a purchase was through the ‘friend of a friend’, who purchased a brand new 2 ft cube at commercial prices. However, upon loading the tank in my car I noticed an almost IDENTICLE (it was seriously freaky) crack in the bottom corner. After many exclamations and sheer disbelief, we aborted the transaction. The tank maker, did not take responsibility for the tank, and my friend’s friend was stuck with the tank.

Attempt 3:
My third attempt at a purchase was also not without its mishaps. Upon pickup of the tank, I noticed that the cross brace covered the weir almost completely, which made it impossible to access/service, let alone fit a stand pipe (of any kind!!) down there. Following advice on these forums, I contacted the tank maker who informed that it was ‘not standard to make room to access the weir’ and that if I wanted access I should have specified. After some negotiation and many annoying phone call to him, we negotiated a solution where I could remove the cross brace, and move it up 7 cm (thus creating enough room to access the weir) without voiding the warranty. This process went fairly smoothly, and all appears well…. FINALLY! (...hopefully)

Lesson: be VERY VERY thorough with your equipment when purchasing, to avoid getting screwed!
Last edited by Ares on Sun 17 Jan, 2010 8:30 am, edited 15 times in total.
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Postby Tommie » Fri 02 Jan, 2009 12:30 pm

Sounds like it's going to be a great little tank.
can't wait for the pics :poke:

:cheers:
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Postby Ares » Thu 08 Jan, 2009 9:28 am

8/01/09 update:

Have been continuing work on my stand. Although the stand has now been re-inforced, I am now in the process of re-painting it, and staining the wooden panels and the hood (to make sure it matches the furniture in the house and to make the keeper of finances happy!)

Pics to come.
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Postby Ares » Wed 21 Jan, 2009 1:23 pm

21/01/09 update:

Still no pics :(

However, the stand is completed! Yay!

The stand and the tank have been moved into the house, and wife seems keen to get this baby running :pirate:

Over the weekend I re-attached a cross brace (for those of you who may remember, the idiot tank maker placed the braces over the entire weir, making it impossible to access & service) which will be completely cured by Monday the 26th.

So, until then, we play the waiting game. On Monday I commence the water test, to check for any leakages etc.
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Postby Ares » Mon 26 Jan, 2009 4:00 pm

Ok, so I started the water test, and then realised I should probably plumb the tank before I actually fill it with water :konk: :stupid:

Anyways, so here's some pics of me putting together the pressure piping, the half filled tank, the plumbing, and a pic of my little helper :thumbsup:

Image

Image

Image

Image


It's been a very busy weekend, so I haven't had a chance to stain the hood yet, but I can do that during the week.

The plan is that I fill it with REAL NSW and liverock next weekend.

Bought a refractometer, and all my test kits this weekend as well. The guys at Fastway Aquariums were very helpful.

:cheers:
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Postby Ares » Tue 27 Jan, 2009 9:47 pm

27 January 2009 Update:

Success!!! The plumbing worked, and I am now running full water circulation from sump to display back to sump with freshwater. At the moment I have only a single durso standpipe, but now that I know my plumbing DIY actually works (I am seriously DIY inept!), I will plumb the backup, so that I can have a full siphon.
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Postby AuS MaDDoG » Tue 27 Jan, 2009 10:33 pm

Looking Good!! Cannot wait to see it with some stock in it :thumbsup:
:cheers:
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Postby Ares » Thu 29 Jan, 2009 11:01 pm

:banana:

More success! I plumbed the backup, external durso, and now have a full siphon running, with the excess water going down the durso. Almost completely silent.

Looking forward to Saturday, when I fill this thing with water and sand... and a little bit of liverock.

:thumbsup:
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Postby Ares » Mon 02 Feb, 2009 9:34 pm

Ok, another update.

Things are going well, I had trouble with my SG (reading at 1.029), but after I found out that the LFS sells seawater at 1.030, I have now corrected the problem with some RO.

SG now reads at 1.026

Also, had a slight ammonia reading today (yay!), about 0.5 mg/l

Only thing I'm still find tuning is the skimmer... it feels like i'm nearly there, as I seem to be getting close to producing foam without the water :poke:


And...... here's some pics :thumbsup:

Tank
Image

Really cool piece of liverock (it's my pretend coral :) )
Image

Another shot I took
Image


:cheers:
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Postby coral1 » Mon 02 Feb, 2009 9:44 pm

all looking good
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Postby Ares » Sat 07 Feb, 2009 3:46 pm

Well... I was going to go to the LFS today to pick up 20kgs of livereock, but apparently they are all out until Wednesday. So, now I guess I have to play the waiting game.

Have been testing water all week, and it seems that the water quality has been perfect, except for calcium being a bit low at 360ppm.

Today I was super excited to see what looked to be some kind of soft coral growing off my livreock. That is until I ID'd it. Looks to me like aiptasia.

What do you guys think? Looks like i'll be investing in a peppermint shrimp at some stage :)

Might be a bit hard to see from the photos... but here they are anyways.

Image

Image
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Postby Ares » Thu 12 Feb, 2009 9:44 am

Update:

Picked up 20kg’s of liverock last night… and let me just say, this rock looks awesome :)

I am very impressed with the quality, and so was the guy at the LFS. I guess sometimes you just get lucky!

So… much to the dismay of my wife, I spent most of last night inspecting rock etc for any nasties, and then putting them into the tank. Set up a spray bar under the liverock, which seems to be working a treat.

Got some free corals on the rock as well, hopefully they pull through. Haven’t ID’d them yet, but some of them are certainly zoas.

Lastly, after mucking around with the rock in the tank for a while, doing my aqua-scaping, I noticed a super quick little dark shrimp scooting around the tank, much to the detriment of this little guy he was foolish enough to hang around at the front of the tank, which gave me enough time to ID him as a notorious mantis shrimp. Lucky I had a piece of small liverock at the front, which he chose to hide under.

So, with great care, caution, and prayer, I put a glass into the tank, covering rock and the mantis. Then, I ground the glass into the DSB a few centimetres, grabbed a saucer, and carefully dug the saucer underneath the glass, and eventually lifted the glass and saucer out of the tank.

I tried to crush him with some tweezers, but they’re tough little things. In the end, I disposed of him in the backyard.
Last edited by Ares on Thu 12 Feb, 2009 11:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby KirTracid » Thu 12 Feb, 2009 9:59 am

Off to a good start, nice size too. Looks like you'v e put heaps of thought into this, good to see it coming to life =)
Lucky you got the mantis before livestock was introduced. Shame you couldn't remove him whole though, I wouldda taken him =) I think a mantis tank would be interesting, but definitely not in a reef, so good job =)
-Kirsty

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My 5x2x2 SPS dominated, ATI LED Powered ZEOvit Reef - basically discountinued
Where clams & Angelfish can live in Harmony :)
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Postby Ares » Thu 12 Feb, 2009 10:29 am

Hey Kirsty - thanks :)

Had I have known that you wanted a mantis shrimp I probably could have at least attempted to keep him alive for you. Didn't know that anyone actually wanted to keep these guys.

You'd have to keep it by itself in a plastic tank right?
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Postby 2revup » Thu 12 Feb, 2009 2:28 pm

Mantis are not the terrible creatures everyone makes them out to be they can and do co-exsit in many marine tanks... If you ever have another in your hobby and you feel you must get rid of it please put it up for free on the forums many people will take them including myself.

Nothing needs to die unessarly. Especially a slow dry death.

Not having a go at you, I know your taking advice of others which is great, but just dont kill them.

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Postby Ares » Thu 12 Feb, 2009 3:08 pm

Mantis are not the terrible creatures everyone makes them out to be they can and do co-exsit in many marine tanks... If you ever have another in your hobby and you feel you must get rid of it please put it up for free on the forums many people will take them including myself.

I wish I had of known this before, I was under the impression that they were the aquarist's bane. Anyway, I will certainly bear this in mind in the future.
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Postby Ares » Thu 12 Feb, 2009 11:54 pm

Starting cycling the rock... you should have seen the crud my skimmer pulled out last night... no wonder I could never get it working properly before, it didn't have much to do!

Alk is currently at 3 meq/l, and calcium was at 340ppm. As calcium is low, I added some calcium, which has now brought it up to 360ppm. Obviously some more work required.

Ammonia read at 0.5 today, a bit scary, so I did a 30% water change and it appears to have dropped down to under 0.5 (a bit hard to tell, but test kit definitely less green than before).

Lastly, as promised, here are some pics of the tank.

Overall pics of the tank:

Image

Image


And here's some hitch hiker corals, not in the best of conditions, but hopefully they'll pull through:

Image

Image

Image
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Postby mgrav » Sat 14 Feb, 2009 6:50 pm

Looking great Roald! :clap: First fish are only just around the corner. :thumbsup:
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Postby Ares » Sat 14 Feb, 2009 11:18 pm

Thanks Michael :D

Looking forward to the fish... family and friends keep asking me where the 'fish' 'in the fish tank' are :)
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Postby Ares » Tue 17 Feb, 2009 9:04 am

Woot - ammonia dropping! Nitrite rising :)

:banana:

Current Water Chemistry:
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrates: 0
Phosphates: 0.0ppm
Alkalinity: 3.00
Calcium: 420ppm
Salinity / Specific Gravity: 1.026
Magnesuim:
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Postby KirTracid » Thu 19 Feb, 2009 3:00 pm

Looking really good. I really like your cabinet in particular, really sleek.

Most people don't want a mantis in their reef tank (although some do if they enjoy watching their favouite fish get chomped) After seeing some on Youtube though I'm just intrigued, they're very intelligent creatures, with one of the best visual systems on earth. I'd keep it on it's own though, because I'm one of those people that doesn't want to risk that it could hurt a fish. I don't blame you for wanting it gone though. I found 2 fire worms (one was 30 cm long) and I left them in a tub of saltwater in my backyard and I had so many people telling me how horrible I was. It's your tank & you can have (or not have) whatever you want in it =)
-Kirsty

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My 5x2x2 SPS dominated, ATI LED Powered ZEOvit Reef - basically discountinued
Where clams & Angelfish can live in Harmony :)
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Postby kolzy » Thu 19 Feb, 2009 3:19 pm

KirTracid wrote:Most people don't want a mantis in their reef tank (although some do if they enjoy watching their favouite fish get chomped)


Some are spearers and they can have a go at your fish. Others are smashers and their into shells and such. Not into fish at all.

Nice progress Ares! :clap:
have a nice day!
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Postby KirTracid » Fri 20 Feb, 2009 6:00 pm

You learn something new everyday =)

FIsh/snails/hermits/etc. I particuarly wouldn't want to watch any of them get smashed, especially if I purposefully placed them in there.
-Kirsty

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Postby glennb » Fri 20 Feb, 2009 6:07 pm

Looking good, scallops and all
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Postby Ares » Sat 21 Feb, 2009 9:36 am

Thanks guys. :)

Looking good, scallops and all

Yea, I did several expeditions to the beach to find shells for my tank :)
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Postby Ares » Wed 18 Mar, 2009 7:49 pm

Ok, finally a bit of an update.

Around 3 weeks ago I purchased 3 chromis fish, mainly because I didn't have confidence to buy more expensive fish.

They are all doing fine, although they are a very stupid fish.

My alkalinity and calcium remain stable, with no traces of any nasties.

Although I had some pH issues, ever since I started using my home-made kalkwasser, everything has been going swimmingly.

All the free corals that came with the rock are still alive, and one is definitely thriving (the leather, compare the recent pic with an old pic!)

I had my first death, where a green coral goby flatly refused to eat (despite assurances from the LFS that he was eating well :furious: ). Although I never saw his body, I have not seen him for over a week now, so no doubt he is RIP.

I also purchased some star coral, and a plate coral, both of which are doing well.

My pride and joy however is a Chocolate Goby (aka the brown barred goby, sleeper goby, this thing has so many names), who spends all day taking small mouth-fulls of sand, eating the algae, and expelling the sand out through its gills. He also likes to eat brine shrimp on the side :thumbsup:

Ok, so here's some pics.


Full shot of tank:
Image


My star coral:
Image


Sandy, the Chocolate Goby
Image


Fungia plate coral with a free zoa that came with the liverock:
Image


The now very happy and growing leather:
Image
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Postby mgrav » Wed 18 Mar, 2009 8:18 pm

Looking good Roald, seems like your getting your head around the basic parameters. Keep up with those water changes and keep an eye on your fresh water top of and it will be smooth sailing.

:thumbsup:
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Postby coral1 » Wed 18 Mar, 2009 10:02 pm

Coming along well
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Postby glennb » Wed 18 Mar, 2009 11:11 pm

It's coming together. Still in algae phase.

I'll donate some black gutterguard to the cause at the next MASOV meeting if you like.
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Postby Ares » Thu 19 Mar, 2009 1:13 pm

Thanks for comments guys :)

I'll donate some black gutterguard to the cause at the next MASOV meeting if you like.


Thanks Glenn - the offer is appreicated... but... err, forgive my ignorance, but what would I use the gutter guard for?
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