Dcj's Weird 26 Gallon Reef Build

DCJ

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Hallo sweet forum!

Even though I'm still finding my feet after 8 months with my first nano reef tank, here I am plotting a second! and I thought Freshwater MTS was bad!

I'm coming to you guys with questions. Behold, the 'odd tank'

63R8MAW.png


FI0ztAp.png


It looks ugly because I had just brought it home in those pictures, plus it's ugly. It's currently set up with Neolamprologus Brevis and some Endlers, but I have been eyeing it up lately with thoughts of changing it to a reef tank. I acquired this aquarium for free from my LFS who had updated their fish room and had these tanks waiting to go in the skip; I don't know if it's very visible in the pictures, but this tank has two holes drilled at the top at the back where the pipes for the shop's massive filtering system ran through. This gave me the idea to try and turn it into a reef tank.

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CONS:

Number one straight off the bat, the thing is blue... but I'm not too bothered because a) it'll be corralined up eventually and b) it'll be obscured by rockwork and honestly, isn't TOO terrible when it's full.

Number two, because this is an ex display tank the thing is a bit battered. It's made of acrylic and the front is scratched up in places (you can't see it in the pic, that's sand), not really enough to distort viewing but enough that the display will never be crystal clear. It works as the Freshwater tank at the moment though, so I've made my peace with that one.

Number three, kind of a con, you can see that there's only a 'letterbox' style opening at the top of the tank and that's that for access. It makes getting things in and out a little tricky but nabbing fish, etc, is okay

Number four, it's got a weird shape. After some careful calculations it holds roughly 26 US gallons (100 litres), but of course the top is 24"x 14" and the base is 24" x 20" - I currently get around the gas exchange situation by not filling the tank too high and using two air sponge pump doohickeys as filters


PROS:

That weirdo slanting front pane soaks in the light; I don't know if the blue colour helps, but even with the lights in the tank off I can still see into the tank, something I can't do with the other standard flat faced tanks in my room.

Second, it's an odd shape, but perfect if I wanted to build up some rockwork at the back and then slope down to a sandbed on the front, maybe big enough for a trachy? Or a fungia? Or *gasp* a scoly? Hide your wallets.

Third, it's already drilled in the back for a sump. This is a major issue which I will get into in a moment, but for the time being, the holes are there and waiting.

Fourth, it's not as small as my 13.5 Evo but not so huge that I'll be holding up the bathroom with my RODI unit or going broke trying to keep the thing in supplements and salt. I know the other side to that is less wiggle room for swings in parameters, but I'm pretty used to nano and pico tanks, even though they're FW, and it's already bigger than my Evo

Fifth is, of course, that making this tank reef-ready isn't going to cost me as much as it would to a) buy a new tank or b) convert the large Freshwater tank in my living room to a Saltwater tank. That's a big concern when you're doing things on a shoestring budget.

--------------------------------------------

So! The real question I've come here to ask you all is this: do I need a sump?
The thing isn't an AIO like my Evo so I'm in the realm of very little knowledge right now.
I was trawling eBay to see what kind of sumps were available (and my eyes watered at the cost) when I came across this:

Essentially a HOB refugium, but for a tank of 26 gallons I wondered if you more knowledgable peeps thought that it would suffice in place of a more traditional sump? I'd have the floss, carbon, chaeto, etc in there, and that version come with a media reactor (although I can get the tank on it's own for half price, so I may do that)

Do you think that would be sufficient?

Second question, do I need a protein skimmer on a nano tank of this size? I don't run my Fluval with one.

I think that's everything (!)

Thanks for letting me pick your brains dudes!
 

Tony_097

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A sump and skimmer isn't neccesary but does help a lot you could just put a hob and keep on top of your water changes and you will be fine but if you do get a sump thoose cheap 10 gallon tanks will do where you can build the sump for a tank that size
 

stella1979

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No, you don't have to have a sump. You could make due with a large HOB like an Aquaclear 70, but perhaps the HOB fuge you linked would be better, simply because it's larger.

Yes, if you can get that HOB fuge connected to the tank, it would suffice for a sump, and I think it looks pretty nifty. No, you don't have to have a skimmer on a tank that size. A refugium will serve the same purpose, as both 'things' are for nutrient export.
 
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DCJ

DCJ

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Tony_097 thank you for your help! I'd like to put a sump in but I don't have the room to place anything underneath the tank. I could try one to the side, but it would have to be smaller and it would be hard to access and whatnot - I've gone with the HOB refugium but I'll have to check that it fits before I install it. Here's hoping!

stella1979 Stella! Thank you for dropping in on this I'm hoping the HOB fuge will fit, fingers crossed. Otherwise I'll be back here crying lol
Great news about the skimmer, I don't really like them. Thanks so much for your help, as always



Otherwise, I'm still in planning stages while I wait for the fuge to get hit for a fit test; I really want to try my hand at a trachy, I don't know if I'll have the sandbed room for a fungia. Maybe some various euphyllia? Acans? Coral dreams...

Non-coral wise I've been considering

- chromis (1 or 3... I'm undecided because 3 would pretty much stock the tank, correct? But I know they like groups... )
- quintessential clownfish
- tail spot blenny
- pink streaked wrasse (pseudocheilinops ataenia)
- neon blue goby

I was looking at a black cap basslet but decided it would be too aggressive, I want to try to keep things peaceful

Out of that list I really want the tail spot blenny.
My sister (who bought the fuge for me) would love a chromis
I'm not married to the neon blue goby, I've just seen them readily available in my LFS's, whereas I've yet to find a pink streaked wrasse, although I love the look of the guy
And then the clownfish, which would be nice to have

For CUC I wanted to get a blue tuxedo urchin and halloween hermit crabs. Maybe some nassarius for the sandbed but not too many algae eaters, I want to leave that to the urchin. I know I'm going to have to glue down all my rock for them both.


Just wanted some feedback/opinions/comments on the possible stocking list. I'd love some first hand experience re: keeping a single chromis if anyone can offer any? And the same for the pink streaked wrasse?


Thank you for taking the time to comment!
 

Culprit

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DCJ said:
- chromis (1 or 3... I'm undecided because 3 would pretty much stock the tank, correct? But I know they like groups... )
- quintessential clownfish
- tail spot blenny
- pink streaked wrasse (pseudocheilinops ataenia)
- neon blue goby
If you have a good refugium going in that HOB thing, I'd say you could keep all those fish. I'm assuming your only keeping 1 clownfish from the way you said it? I would not do the chromis... they're damsels like clowns, and will create a pecking order and find the lowest member on that and just pick pick pick until they die. But, if you leave out the chromis, you could do a clownfish pair, tailspot blenny, pinkstreaked wrasse, and a neon blue goby.
 
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DCJ

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Culprit
Culprit! Thank you for adding your advice!

I do only want one clownfish, yeah. After reading up about chromis and clowns and just chromis in general I agree, it'd be a bad idea to keep any in this tank - I'll have to break the news to my sister.

That's brilliant and surprising news about the rest of the stocking list though

If I keep to a single clownfish, do you think I could add a Randall's goby? I wanted one in the 13.5 gal but I thought a smaller shrimp/goby pair would fare better in the smaller tank. I'd imagine that he and the neon blue goby would occupy different areas of the tank and so remain apart enough that quarrels wouldn't break out, but I could be wrong.

Failing that, I may do a clownfish pair, one black and white and one normal, maybe a morph of some kind if I see one I like, I'm not fussed

Thanks again!
 

Culprit

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DCJ said:
Culprit
Culprit! Thank you for adding your advice!

I do only want one clownfish, yeah. After reading up about chromis and clowns and just chromis in general I agree, it'd be a bad idea to keep any in this tank - I'll have to break the news to my sister.

That's brilliant and surprising news about the rest of the stocking list though

If I keep to a single clownfish, do you think I could add a Randall's goby? I wanted one in the 13.5 gal but I thought a smaller shrimp/goby pair would fare better in the smaller tank. I'd imagine that he and the neon blue goby would occupy different areas of the tank and so remain apart enough that quarrels wouldn't break out, but I could be wrong.

Failing that, I may do a clownfish pair, one black and white and one normal, maybe a morph of some kind if I see one I like, I'm not fussed

Thanks again!
Yep! For sure. I would do a shrimp goby like a Black Ray Goby or a Yasha Goby, and a pistol shrimp. A Watchman will get too big for the bioload of a 5th fish. They're cool to watch, but pick them from they're personality. Try and get in their faces in the fishstore, make movements, watch them like you will in your tank. If they shy away and scare off they'll be really shy in your tank. But if they're bold, and watch you, and continue doing stuff they're a good pick.
 
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DCJ

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Culprit Thank you for the purchasing tips Is there anything else you'd stock if not a shrimp goby? I'd be happy with the 2 clowns, neon blue goby, pink streaked wrasse and the tail spot blenny, but it's nice to know my options
 
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DCJ

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Culprit it's the weirdest thing, I was thinking of a PJ cardinal beforehand.

Would a Royal Gramma be aggressive to anyone?

Current projected stocking is at
- orange & white clownfish
- black & white clownfish
- tailspot blenny
- pink streaked wrasse
- neon blue goby

Would the +PJ cardinal or +Royal Gramma make it overstocked?
 

Culprit

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DCJ said:
Culprit it's the weirdest thing, I was thinking of a PJ cardinal beforehand.

Would a Royal Gramma be aggressive to anyone?

Current projected stocking is at
- orange & white clownfish
- black & white clownfish
- tailspot blenny
- pink streaked wrasse
- neon blue goby

Would the +PJ cardinal or +Royal Gramma make it overstocked?
Yes. If you did one clownfish you could have one though

He might be aggresive to the clown but normally they will kind of stake out their little territory in the rocks and the clownfish will just avoid it.

Before you'd said
DCJ said:
I do only want one clownfish, yeah. After reading up about chromis and clowns and just chromis in general I agree, it'd be a bad idea to keep any in this tank - I'll have to break the news to my sister.

That's brilliant and surprising news about the rest of the stocking list though

If I keep to a single clownfish, do you think I could add a Randall's goby? I wanted one in the 13.5 gal but I thought a smaller shrimp/goby pair would fare better in the smaller tank. I'd imagine that he and the neon blue goby would occupy different areas of the tank and so remain apart enough that quarrels wouldn't break out, but I could be wrong.
and then
DCJ said:
Culprit Thank you for the purchasing tips Is there anything else you'd stock if not a shrimp goby? I'd be happy with the 2 clowns, neon blue goby, pink streaked wrasse and the tail spot blenny, but it's nice to know my options
So I assumed you were asking for replacements for the shrimp goby while still only keeping one clown.
 
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DCJ

DCJ

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Culprit
I'm sorry! I can see how that would be confusing, silly me!

Yes, I've opted for a clownfish couple, if only because I like the b&w but I want to get a 'Nemo' for my dad - the things we do for the ones we love

I'm happy with the 'current projected stocking' then, although I may swap out the wrasse for the gramma - I'll have to see how I go with availability and all that.

Thank you, as always, for your time and your knowledge, I really appreciate all the help
 
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DCJ

DCJ

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Hallo everyone!

So, I have a little update and a question for which I need some plumbing help

I received the refugium and it

My queries are-

1) would I need to put a sponge disc on top of the reactor? I wanted to have combined GFO and carbon, but I'd need to compact it for that (so that the carbon doesn't get pulverised) and I don't want excess flowing out of the reactor into the rest of my tank. Alternatively, for GFO or carbon on it's own, can it be run without a lid?

2) the intake pipe, the one that needs to be connected to a pump and is leading into the reactor on the inside of the fuge, is MUCH smaller than the hole in the back of my tank. I'm working a little strangely because the fuge will be plumbed right into the back of the tank in existing holes instead of actually hanging on the back - so now I have a problem wherein the intake pipe is dwarfed by the hole it'll be going into (the one in the back of the tank)

Can anyone handy explain how/what fittings I might need to make this work and be waterproof? I may have to go with a rubber bung and feed the tube through that - luckily it's the same size all along (ie it doesn't taper)

Thanks for your help, as always!
 
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DCJ

DCJ

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So, I think I've solved the problem with the plumbing - I'm just waiting for some glue to dry and then I can do a leak test and post some pics- fingers crossed!

I'm still at a loss with the reactor though, so I'd appreciate any help anyone could give me on that one
 

stella1979

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Sorry! Been missing stuff here. Sometimes alerts just don't make it through, and sometimes, I just miss them. Please feel free to tag people in if you're ever left hanging. Unfortunately, we don't always have a good answer. I am not one that's greatly informed on equipment with my closed system nano. So, I can't help with reactors as I've never had one, but perhaps one of these other members can. thesoulpatch Jesterrace Wild Bill
 

thesoulpatch

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Get seachem seagel, I use it and it has carbon and seachems version of phosphate remover. It works quite well for me in my reactor.

MY reactor came with 2 sponges, one for the top and one for the bottom, they are easy if you wanna just buy a large foam chunk and cut to fit that works too. I've done it when I needed a new sponge.

I've ran gfo on a 10 gallon and gfo kept ending up in the tank, it was annoying. My seagel I leave in the tank and change it once a month. It keeps most of gha and the phosphates low. I just over feed which is on me but My skimmer and everything is pulling 90% of it out.

People may steer you away from seagel since they say it leeches things...ignore it. I've had it in my tank for 2 years and never had an issue with it... I've got through 4 tubs of the stuff so it works for me.
 

Culprit

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DCJ said:
Hallo everyone!

So, I have a little update and a question for which I need some plumbing help

I received the refugium and it

My queries are-

1) would I need to put a sponge disc on top of the reactor? I wanted to have combined GFO and carbon, but I'd need to compact it for that (so that the carbon doesn't get pulverised) and I don't want excess flowing out of the reactor into the rest of my tank. Alternatively, for GFO or carbon on it's own, can it be run without a lid?

2) the intake pipe, the one that needs to be connected to a pump and is leading into the reactor on the inside of the fuge, is MUCH smaller than the hole in the back of my tank. I'm working a little strangely because the fuge will be plumbed right into the back of the tank in existing holes instead of actually hanging on the back - so now I have a problem wherein the intake pipe is dwarfed by the hole it'll be going into (the one in the back of the tank)

Can anyone handy explain how/what fittings I might need to make this work and be waterproof? I may have to go with a rubber bung and feed the tube through that - luckily it's the same size all along (ie it doesn't taper)

Thanks for your help, as always!
Sorry! I've been missing stuff again.

I can't really help you with the plumbing, so hopefully you got it figured out like you said.

For the reactor, from what I've been doing and reading about running carbon and GFO, if you run GFO you have to run it so it has room to move, otherwise it will get compacted and harden into a useless block. If you run just GFO, you would leave it without a lid. If you run carbon, put a tight sponge on top and pack it in. You can mix both carbon and GFO, you just have to make sure they're evenly mixed and tightly packed in.

Usually with plumbing into a drilled tank you would use what's called a bulkhead. Check out this article It should be fairly simple. Then you can adapt it down to the pipe you need.
 
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DCJ

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Finally some pics of the actual set up!

Front shot:

ikF2Udn.png


You can see the refugium light at the back, the tank light there at the top, the intake pump (it'll be put higher up once I finish filling the tank) and the thermometer on the left, and the outlet pipe and pump on the right.

Front shot from above:
nK41vFN.png


Top shot showing refugium:
hbeKqYW.png


Refugium shot:
BbPNGGg.png


From left to right there's the intake tube from the pump, the fluid bed/reactor which has Phosguard in it, the middle section with the heater in it, then the outlet pipe and the fuge light. I've got biosediment in the fuge and I'll be moving some chaeto over from the Fluval 13.5

Now I just have to get the rock for this thing and add salt to the RODI water currently in there. Slowly but surely!

Tagging Culprit thesoulpatch stella1979 and Tony_097 if you wanted a peek
 

stella1979

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Nice! Can't wait to watch this progress, (and yes, of course I want a peek.)
 

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