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Howie1207s 4x2x2

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Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby Howie1207 » Sat 05 Jul, 2008 9:29 am

As the case with a lot of people I have been meaning to start a tank journal ever since setting up my tank. So here goes – Sorry for a mammoth first couple of posts..

I have been keeping Cichlids in a standard 4 foot tank for over 10 years. It was always an understanding with my wife that upon us buying a house, I can get a marine tank. We bought a house in April 2006 and in Janaury 2007 my friend Adrian who had a marine tank for years pointed me towards MASA and thus I started researching Woo hoo!!! Thankyou to all the people who answered the many questions that I asked. And I assure you all, there were many. The best advice was – read, read, read before you spend any money. I’ve spent a scary amount of money, but I would have spent more without that advice.

My mates tank was an established (5yo) standard 4 footer with in tank DSB and a couple of powerheads. His skimmer broke 12 months before, thus no skimming. His tank was humming along with zero nitrates etc. He was moving house, thus packing his system up and the plan was for his livestock to go into my tank. Thus I wanted to have my tank up and running 3 months before the transfer to ensure inhabitant survival.

So after all the reading, with my mates tank as a baseline, I came up with this plan:
TANK - a mixed reef/fish eurobraced 4x2x2 tank with offset centre weir.
FILTRATION An in tank DSB with liverock (modelled on my friends tank).
SUMP - A DIY sump underneath with skimmer, heaters and return and a section for running carbon and stuff like rowaphos.
CABINET - A DIY cabinet with the modern look that fits in with my other furniture
PLUMBING - A straight through 25mm siphon with a backup 32mm stockman standpipe. I put valves (group buy) to limit the flow on the siphon to approx 95% of the total throughput. Thus the stockman takes a tiny bit of flow resulting in the removal of the flushing toilet sound. The water only falls about 2cm into the weir, thus nice and quiet. I also installed an extra pipe out of the siphon that connects straight into the sewer under my house (easy for water changes)
SKIMMER - Reef Octopus NW-200
HEATERS – 2 x 300w one set a tad lower than the other
RETURN PUMP – OR3500
LIGHTING - A Sun Sun 2x250W MH, 2xT5’s and moonlights. I replaced the ballasts with the masa groupbuy, thus my house shouldn’t burn down.
POWERHEADS - 2xTunze 6045’s
COOLING – evaporation with 2 desk fans installed over tank.
TOP-UP - Tunze Osmolator using Tap-water only.
·Due to $$$ spent so far, there was no chiller or RO/DI filter for topups.

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So I ordered my 4x2x2 and once it arrived I designed the cabinet to fit the tank and skimmer height. I followed the plan in ReefCulture magazine and modified it for my purposes. The cabinet was made from 70x35mm and 90x35mm structural pine with a shrouding of 16mm Tasmanian Oak for walls, doors etc. One end is held on with magnets and the front doors use removable hinges. The structural pine was glued, clamped and screwed together. There must be at least 100-200 screws, all countersunk and covered with putty. I used a router and biscuit joiner to make the shrouding and doors. I stained it with a dark stain and sealed it with 4 layers of carbothane. The inside of the cabinet was painted with leftover exterior house paint.
The hood was also made from pine and Tasmanian Oak. If anyone wants my plans, PM me. The only thing I would have done different is to make more space between the braces under the weir. It’s a massive PITA to tighten the bulkheads and the ball valves underneath.

While making the cabinet I was also doing major renovations on my house i.e. ripping up the floor to lay floorboards. While the floors were up I installed extra bracing and a duragal adjustable pier under the tank.

I made a simple DIY sump from 8mm glass to fit perfectly in the cabinet. It consisted on a skimmer section and a return section. On the return side of the baffles, I installed a section to put carbon/rowaphos.

On 1/7/2007 the stand was bought in, tank put on top and a fresh water test done. With some tweaking of the valves and general tightening of connectors, it was all systems go. I tested for a power outage. Hmmmmm I had calculated for the water in the wier to siphon to the sump, but not the display. i.e. The display siphons down through the return hose to the level of the bottom of the return bulkhead. Before disaster occurred I turned everything back on. Some quick calculations indicated that a power outage would result in 27L of water on the new floor. So I changed the baffled in the sump and increased the height of the siphon pipe in the weir. Thus at power outage, the weir only siphons about 1L and the sump would now take the display head.

Next, 60kg of substrate went in (I can’t remember what type) and the mission for collecting water was on. 3 trips to Swansea and the tank was running. The DSB was only about 6cm deep, So I ordered another 40kg. That left the DSB to be 12-14cm deep. About 10kg of liverock was put in along with the substrate samples people gave me (thanks again)

I ‘fed’ the tank while it cycled. The only thing we could see was a small anemone looking thing. After admiring it for a week or so we found it was aptasia. arrghhhh :o). On 18/8/2007 A lawnmower blenny, a few microhermits and snails were added. Grungefreek (Brad) gave me a BTA. I was so stoked to have some livestock. Thanks mate.

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1st September 2007

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1st Sept 2007

On 29/9/2007 the mission to my mates place in Sydney to pack up his tank and move the livestock into mine. His livestock consisted of about 30kg liverock, assorted LPS, SPS, a collector urchin, red legged hermit crab, maxima clam. All transported well to my place. All stock was put in tank to sit for a few days. Grungefreek (Brad) was there when it all turned up. It was a mission fitting it to lie low on the sand. My mate had old 150W globes, I had brand new 250W. After about a week I did some aquascaping. The only death I had was a yellow SPS. Not bad I thought.

Over the next few months I added a green hammer coral, a 6-line wrasse, torch coral, some purple firefish, a royal dottyback and coral beauty and an assortment of other things. One day I notice my lawnmower blenny was missing, only to find him 6 weeks later in the sump. I the meantime I had replaced him with a Gold Spotted Rock Skipper.

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14th October 2007

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17th October 2007

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In November 07 I started using bicarb and damprid for Ca and Alk.

I noticed some phosphate. So I ditched the insump rowahos and pulled out my old canister filter from the shed to run the carbon/rowaphos. Recently I have bought a fluid bed filter (SKIMZ FF-200 from truly fish) for the rowaphos. It works a treat. I think I must have been lucky as I received this item promptly from trulyfish.

About 6 weeks ago I started my current cyano outbreak. It has been doing my brain. I decided to get a RO/DI system from PSI filters for my top-up. This has been running since25/6/2008

My nitrates have never been at zero. And its never stressed me out. However now it is because I want this damn cyano to go away and perhaps it is a contributor!!! I’m thinking of ditching the canister and only running carbon/rowaphos in the fluid bed filter

So that’s where I’m at right now. Well done if you read this far. Thankyou everyone that has posted to my questions and run group buys. Without you my tank would be nothing like it is.

My lastest Water Parameters:
SG: 1.026
pH: 8.2
NO2: 0
NO3: 10
PO4: 0
Ca: 440
kH: 6
Alk: 2.1
Last edited by Howie1207 on Thu 02 Jun, 2011 10:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Guv » Sat 05 Jul, 2008 11:47 am

Howie1207 wrote:LIGHTING - A Sun Sun 2x250W MH, 2xT5’s and moonlights. I replaced the ballasts with the masa groupbuy, thus my house shouldn’t burn down.

Hahaha classic! :roflmao:

Looks great Howie. Love the progression.

Alkalinity seems a tad low, this would result in pH swings... you probably want to use some more bicarb to get the Alk and Ca back into better balance. (I have also found that low KH almost always results in a cyano outbreak in my system).

:cheers:
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Postby Grungefreek » Sat 05 Jul, 2008 1:10 pm

Guv wrote:I have also found that low KH almost always results in a cyano outbreak in my system


:withyou: Same happens with mine as well.

Are the Pictures working fine for others? I just see the code, not the pics themselves.

Looking good :thumbsup:
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Postby tOiletduck » Sat 05 Jul, 2008 1:14 pm

Really nice tank Howie, Great looking six line.

Well done. :thumbsup:
James.
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Postby starfunker » Sat 05 Jul, 2008 8:19 pm

While not being too packed tat is a really nice looking tank!

Well done!
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Postby Howie1207 » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 9:33 pm

So, I have ditched the old fluval canister and I'm now running carbon and rowaphos in the fluid bed filter.

My parameters today are:
SG=1.026
pH=8.3
Ca=400
NO2=0.01
NO3=3
PO4=0
Alk=2.9
KH=8.2

At this stage I'm not running a fuge. I'll watch my nitrates and perhaps in the future I'll redesign my sump.

Here is a picture of the bracing in my cabinet and how it interfered with the tightening of the plumbing.
Image

Image
Last edited by Howie1207 on Thu 02 Jun, 2011 10:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Howie1207 » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 9:39 pm

And here are a few more current pics. I don't know what some of the corals are, so help is greatly appreciated.

Front View 7th July 2008
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Torch Coral
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Unknown 1
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Dallas Acro Frag
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Right Side 7th July 2008
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Last edited by Howie1207 on Thu 02 Jun, 2011 10:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby dougie » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 10:32 pm

awesome tank!!!! where do u buy your livestock?
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Postby old_mr2 » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 10:48 pm

Hey howie great tank! We will have to swap frags sometime, im in Mayfield 8-)
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Postby Howie1207 » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 10:54 pm

Thanks for the nice words. I've realised how awesome the feature tanks must be. Mine looks excellent in real life, but the photos are only OK. The feature tanks photos are awesome, so they must be jaw dropping in real life.

Most of my inhabitants came from my mates tank in sydney. Since then I've collected stuff from Pauls, a bit from Warners Bay and Hunter Pets at Thornton.

Cool if people want to swap frags. Just PM me and we can work something out.

Some time in the future I'd like to order some stuff from 100% reefsafe. I droped into their house when on holidays in qld. Holy moley. I've never seen anything like it. When I do order, I'm hoping others want to chip in and we can go on an excursion to the airport to get some goodies.

Stay safe
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Postby old_mr2 » Thu 10 Jul, 2008 12:36 pm

Im keen to chip in for a reefsafe order. PM me when ready.
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Postby Howie1207 » Sat 23 Aug, 2008 11:18 am

So here is a quick update and new pics. I still have about 5ppm nitrates. I've done a couple of 180L water changes last weekend and I still have nitrates. hmmm. I'm thinking of redesigning my sump for a refugium

The cyano breakout I have is still present, although it only grows on one rock, not everywhere. So I think there is progress there.

I've started using a stock solution of damprid. I add about 120ml of this to the tank per week, straight into the sump. This keeps the Ca around 420 of so.

Lately I have added a Coris Wrasse (no pics yet, he's elusive), a yellow tang (he finally started eating) and a few corals.

Lenny the Lawnmower blenny decided to start eating my clam, again. So now he is in the sump (again) and today he's going back to the LFS. Sorry Lenny, we gave you three chances!!!

All is happy

BTA
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Purple Tipped Elegance
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Henry the Gold Spotted Rock Skipper
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Little Fern Things
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Mr Collector Urchin
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Purple Firefish
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Right Side View
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Tank Raised Goni
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Yellow Tang
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Stay safe everyone
Last edited by Howie1207 on Thu 02 Jun, 2011 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby land_lubber » Sat 23 Aug, 2008 1:58 pm

Nice looking tank. Those "little fern things" look like clove polyps :thumbsup:
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Postby Howie1207 » Fri 24 Oct, 2008 9:25 pm

Update time…. So since using RO water for the top-up, the Cyano has gone away. I was a skeptic of the RO water issue, however now I’m a believer. Money well spent. Thankyou PSI filters.

Tank Cooling: I originally planned my tank to have 2 desk fans blowing on the display water to facilitate evaporation. Last summer was exceptionally mild and I still had my tank get to 31.2oC. I don’t want to risk my inhabitants so I have purchase a CL-650 chiller from Guppies at a great price. The pump I have is a Hydor L35. At the moment it is running on the floor in the lounge room. The noise is a bit annoying, so I will be installing this under the house. I plan to cut holes in the skirting boards and run the inlet/outlets through that. I’ll post more about this when I tackle this problem.

This update is more about the evil Nitrates. My original design did not have a refugium for nutrient export. My mates tank only had live rook and a DSB and he had zero nitrates for years. I have never really been able to get my nitrates below about 10. So my project right now is a refugium.

I was tossing up the idea of making a whole new sump, however I thought it would just be a waste of glass. So I have opted for a separate refugium upstream from the return side of my existing sump. To make room I changed the top-up return from a 25l square one to a 20L slender one.

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For maxium space utilisation I moved the bottom powerboard up to the top of the cabinet. I turned the board upside down for better use of space

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To examine how much space I have for the refugium, I needed to slide the sump along. I emptied the sump and asked my wife to help me push the sump along. I didn’t notice it was pushing up against some of the PVC pipes…… suddenly…… crack….. arrggghhhh the main pipe from the weir snapped off (at 5.30pm on a Sunday evening). Lucky I had the new plumbing already purchased so with a bit of improvisation and swearing I successfully moved the sump along and got the tank running again. I replaced a section of the plumbing with a section where I can insert a T-piece for the refugium So I was then able to work out the size of the compartment to allow a refugium. The footprint was 395mm x 265mm.

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I need some storage space in the cabinet, so I have designed the refugium to have the upper edge about 80mm higher than the sump. A 150mm high ‘table’ will be made to sit under the refugium. Water will flow from the refugium via 2 x 20mm tank fittings. I will be making a backup overflow that will allow water to flow freely in the case of blocked outlets. This is the design:

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I will be installing the refugium this weekend, assuming I can get some water. Its been bucketing all week, so I'm hoping Paul at Tank Aquariums has some.

Stay safe everyone
Last edited by Howie1207 on Thu 02 Jun, 2011 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Howie1207 » Thu 06 Nov, 2008 7:57 am

My skimmer has been going terrible for weeks. Last night I cleaned the pump including the air inlet. hmmmmmm Now its working perfect. Its pulled more out in 2 hours than it used to in a week.

I'm surprised my corals are not dead. Although I have had problems with my acros lately. Hopefully with a water change this weekend things will get better
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Postby Howie1207 » Wed 19 Nov, 2008 10:06 pm

So I constructed the refugium from 6mm glass. I bought those cheap glass hole bits off Ebay to cut the holes for the bulk heads. I made the 'table' from scrap wood and bought about 4kg of live rock. I inserted the refugium into the cabinet and it fit perfectly.

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The refugium was made with a small overflow backup. A test run was performed by blocking off both bulkhead. bzzz. I didn't contruct the overflow wide enough. With careful maintanance, I should never get both of the outlets blocked.

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The light was installed by my electrician brother in law. The cabinet gets a bit hot, but not fatal heat.

Image

At this stage, all flow is coming from the outlet from my chiller. When summer has finished I will modify the plumbing to use the water coming from the weir.

This is a final photo of a very crowded cabinet.

Image

The refugium has been running for about 3 weeks. The weed has grown substantially, the nitrates have come down and the corals are looking happier. I'm hoping the nitrates will come down to zero soon.

Stay safe (thanks for reading). I hope this info helps someone
Last edited by Howie1207 on Thu 02 Jun, 2011 10:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby dougie » Wed 19 Nov, 2008 10:52 pm

looking good. congrats on lowering nitrates.
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ZERO NITRATES!!!!!

Postby Howie1207 » Fri 27 Mar, 2009 8:15 am

Finally, after nearly 2 years of running my tank, I HAVE ZERO NITRATE!!!!!

I'll put an update up this week.

Pretty much, the refugium is working well. Weed is pumping out. If anyone around Newcastle want some, just pop over. The chiller I installed under the house kept my stress levels down over summer.

My Yellow Tang has some tattered fins with some reddish bits in them. That is stressing me out just now.

Morphs are trying to take over, so I'm cutting them off and trying to let the heal in the refugium.

I'm now a full time student studying Pharmacy so my funds have diminished. Thus I need to propogate corals and trade them.

I'll post some pics in the next few days

Howie
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Postby Howie1207 » Fri 24 Apr, 2009 11:29 pm

So my nitrates are still at zero.

I was going to try and start using kalk to keep up the Ca and Alk. I couldn't work it out and I don't have time due to studying Pharmacy. So I've gone back to Damprid and Bicarb. I have worked out it uses 4 tbsp bicarb and 300ml of a 300g/L Damprid stock solution per week. So I dose 2 tbsp bicarb and 150ml stock damprid on Mondays and Friday. I have been maintaining my levels nicely for over a month doing this. My SPS and clam are going great guns.

Recently I started with XM globes. They are a nice blue colour.

I bought a Mandarin Fish the other day and he is living the the sump for food trainging. He is eating blood worms quite happily. I'm going to try to track down some flying fish roe as he is getting a bit skinny.

Here are some pics.

Clam Mantle from one angle
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Clam Mantle from another angle
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Candy Cane Night
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Crab
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Frags April 2009
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Fuge April 2009
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Front Shot
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Helio
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Orange Morph
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Henry Sleeping
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Shrimp Shell
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Postby StripestheEel » Fri 24 Apr, 2009 11:35 pm

Looks unreal mate!
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Postby old_mr2 » Sun 26 Apr, 2009 11:00 am

Hey Mate

Lokking good! is that frag at the rear in the frag pic from me? Looks to be growing well! Want to swap some frags again? I have a nice blue milleopora and others ready to frag. Let me know mate.
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Sad Day

Postby Howie1207 » Fri 31 Jul, 2009 4:31 pm

Sad day..... my clam died :o(

He seemed to develop pinched mantle.... a fresh water dip didn't help.
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby danger_dave » Wed 03 Mar, 2010 10:52 pm

Any updates on this tank mate, would love to hear how its going
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby Savmel » Thu 04 Mar, 2010 12:53 pm

I love to see updates on the tank It look fantastic with the pics I was able to see
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby Howie1207 » Wed 01 Jun, 2011 10:46 pm

I have no idea why my old pics don't work. hmmmm

Soon I'll post some new pics of the tank. Running fine and well.. touch wood
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby Howie1207 » Thu 02 Jun, 2011 10:39 pm

WOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO. I fixed the pics. now for some new ones
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby Howie1207 » Thu 02 Jun, 2011 11:11 pm

I have recently changed the globes to the 14K andries globes. The actinics in you light housing stopped working so the tank looks a tad yellow. Unfortunately, 2 kids and a career change have limited the funds for my tank. Ah well

Here are some new pics:
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Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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Image

Image


I'm happy to swap frags if anyone wants to

Stay safe
Howie
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby Howie1207 » Sun 04 Aug, 2013 10:17 am

So after a few years of silence I have found a new enthusiasm for my tank.

Over the next few months I am doing some mods:
1. Start adding better powerheads - Adding 1x Tunze 6105 and a multicontroller. With a view to add another 6105 later
2. Moving my RO reservoir to under the house - and adding a system where the RO/DI filter automatically tops up the RO reservoir -
3. Start using Randy's Recipe or similar with Dosing pumps.

I recently received some Millipora, a Plating Chalice and some other acro from 100% reefsafe - awesome service.

I have started using Roof Roids and Amino Acid Supplements. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Here is a full frontal now: 3/8/13
http://s237.photobucket.com/user/Howie1 ... C.jpg.html]Image[/URL]

Front Right
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Front Left
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Clam and Branching Hammer (I bought him as 1 polyp)
Image

Stay safe everyone
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby priscacara » Tue 27 Aug, 2013 1:52 pm

Bits of color everywhere you look, love it!
Oh, how I wish for soothing rain. Oh how I wish to dream again. Once and for all and all for once, Nemo my name forevermore.

Paddling in the pool

3 Foot nano upgrade

The nano adventure - now closed down
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Re: Howie1207s 4x2x2

Postby Howie1207 » Sat 31 Aug, 2013 10:04 pm

Yeah, it was pretty busy a little while back. I have been trading heaps of frags in at a local fish shop to save credit for an Tunze 6155 and a multicontroller. Now to save for the second controllable powerhead.
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