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Old 05/23/2005, 08:41 PM   #1
bennerkla
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bennerkla's 5.5 AGA Nano Reef Diary (Lots of PICS!!!)

Hey guys. Well, I'm 17 and I really wanted to have a cool setup for my room which didn't take up a lot of space and was affordable. My main goal was to spend no more than $150 on drygoods. This was going to take a lot of searching and a lot of eBay. I visted my LFS to get the tank...

-5.5 Gallon AGA Tank : $12.99
-Aqua Clear Mini: $23.99

Then, I headed on over to eBay to get some more essentials...

-50 Watt Heater: $11.00
-79 GPH Powerhead: $10.59




Hmm, that is about 60 bucks spent already, and I haven't even bought my lights yet...

After 2 weeks of eBay'ing I came up with these lights...

-Coralife 12" 2x18 watt 50/50 PC: $43.00
-Mounting Stands: $10.00
-Moonlight LED lite:$21.00



I'm excited about these, because 36 watts should be plenty to have some awesome softies and LPS.

So I've spent about 135 dollars so far, and I still don't have any live rock. This is a corner that I don't want to cut, becuase it'll be my main source of filtration. I checked around on eBay and ordered LR...

-10 lbs. Premium Fiji Live Rock + Shipping: $43.00

Luckily, I'm taking live sand from my 75 gallon tank, so I won't have to buy any. Although I went over my money amount, moonlights are not needed and could be cut if you are following this procedure at home. Here are some things that I stumbled across...

-Should I turn my Aqua Clear into a refugium? Is it too small? I have a Aqua Clear 300 on my 75, and I could move it, would it then be too big?
-Did I completely overlook anything?
-Should I run the sponge and carbon in the mini? Or should I completely rely on my live rock for filtration?

My Live rock should be here sometime in the next week. I don't mean to keep you all on a dry tank, it'll be wet soon, I promise. My goal is to do a 1 gallon water change every Sunday. I'll let you know more about the details later on this week.

Here is my setup so far. What do you think?
I don't have the mounting legs or the moonlights yet. I'd love to have some opinions, and at the same time guide some newbies through my experience. I'm a newbie to nano reefing, so learn from my mistakes!

Take care,
Ben


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Old 05/23/2005, 09:38 PM   #2
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i have those lights over my 10 gal nano and love em. i've actually been thinking about consolidating my 10 into a 5.5, so i'll be keeping tabs on this thread...good luck


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Old 05/23/2005, 09:44 PM   #3
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Sounds good. I think that Coralife is very high quality. Welcome aboard!

I'll post my livestock plans later this week. Hopefully I'll get my stand and moonlights tomorrow...


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Old 05/23/2005, 09:45 PM   #4
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does that light fit perfectly over a 5.5? i don't know the dimensions of a 5.5


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Old 05/23/2005, 09:48 PM   #5
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No. the 5.5 is 16" and the fixture is 12". But the mounting legs will take care of the 2" on each side....

....at least I hope they will....

BTW here are the moonlights I will stick inside my fixture under the arcylic splash guard...


I'm hoping that if I am them up at the reflectors, it'll cast a smooth, even glow throughout the tank. Can't wait to see what they look like!


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Old 05/23/2005, 10:11 PM   #6
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Ben,
I am really looking forward to this thread! I love those lights - I may have to start a 5gal myself.
Nice job!

- Chad


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Old 05/24/2005, 01:21 AM   #7
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The mini is too small for a refugium, imho. An AC 500 fits well on the back, but I'd support it from the bottom, not let it hang with all the weight on the glass. Have one on my 5.5g and it leaves about 2" of room on one side. AC 300 would work too. If you think you can DIY some acrylic work, you could make your own CPR aquafuge with acrylic & pvc parts, then add a powerhead.


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Old 05/24/2005, 05:45 AM   #8
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I'll set up my Aqua Clear 500 to the back tonight and snap a picture, and we'll see how it looks.


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Old 05/24/2005, 01:10 PM   #9
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where did you get the moonlight ? that is very cool. i have a single, blue led that works great on my small tank, but want something a bit larger for my 180g. i think a couple of those may work.


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Old 05/24/2005, 01:24 PM   #10
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This looks like it's going to be a really great set up! That light should work out well. Post up some pics once you've gotten the mounting legs.


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Old 05/24/2005, 01:30 PM   #11
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You will regret putting the AC 500 on the back. I have a AC mini on my 5/5 and it has enough flow not to kick up sand. My sandbed is like 1.5 inches and if you go anymore than half the power it has... it will blow your sand. The 500 would kill sandbed. Don't worry about the AC fuge. It isn't worth it on such a small tank.


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Old 05/24/2005, 02:41 PM   #12
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Chad- Thanks! I can only hope you enjoy mine as much as I enjoyed yours.

mbunakeith- I got them from eBay, and they can be found all the time. There are two types; the one I got is the smaller of the two.
Moonlights Check that seller out because he usually has them for sale. I hope they aren't too powerful for my tank, but I thought it was better to buy too powerful than not powerful enough. I figure I can always wrap some blue tissue paper over the lights or something like that.

Sugar Magnolia-IT IS YOU!!! You're 2.5 gallon pico rocked soo much it was you and Chad that inspired me to make this nano!! I didn't know it was you until I checked your gallery. I saw that pic awhile ago and that is what started all this! How ironic... I will definately post pics once I get the mounting legs.

Jordan55- Yeah, I was definately worried about that. Do you think my 1 gallon water changes every week would be good enough for this tank? Should I run the sponge and carbon in that Aqua Clear Mini?

UPDATE
Just checked the mail today, still no moonlight or mounting legs I was hoping to get them today, but they should be in tomorrow. About 3 more days until the eBay auction for my LR closes, so I guess I'll have about 5-6 more days until I get this tank some water. My main concern right now is the filter and the powerhead. Is this enough flow for Xenia or other corals? I thought it would be perfect but I tested it in my sink and I couldn't even feel the water flow very well at all. 80 GPH and the mini pumps about 100 GPH, so maybe like 80 GPH with the media in it. That is like 26x flow. Hmmm....

I will get a black/blue background tomorrow as well. Stay tuned!

Cya guys...
-Ben


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Old 05/24/2005, 03:33 PM   #13
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very nice work keep us updated


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Old 05/24/2005, 03:33 PM   #14
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Wait, what if I used my AQ 500 on my nano, but used the mini impeller with it? The size of the filter wouldn't have anything to do with the flow, wouldn't this setup work for a refugium? Which is more important, a fuge or a sponge/carbon combo?


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Old 05/24/2005, 03:40 PM   #15
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Here is my Aqua Clear 500 (I think) that I have running on my 75 gallon. Don't really need it, it's just running a sponge and carbon. Could I use it on my nano? Nano is 16" across. I could use my AQ Mini impeller, just like what Magnolia did with his 2.5.




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Old 05/24/2005, 03:45 PM   #16
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Ben, the impeller on the 500 isn't swappable. (is that a word?) I'm going to have to disagreee with Jordan about the AC 300/70 not being a good addition to the tank. I've had my AC 300 running as a fuge for months now on my tank and it is definitely worth doing. You're looking at a small volume of water in a 2.5 or 5.5 and if you can add an additional volume of water, toss in some LR rubble and some chaeto you've got yourself a rather small, but functional excess nutrient removal system. Of course, sticking such a small fuge on a larger tank, say 10-20 galllons wouldn't offer the same benefits it does on the smaller tanks. Also take into consideration the water displacement due to the amount of LR in the tank. The tank's volume empty is 5.5 gallons. Add 10 pounds of rock and you no longer have 5.5 gallons of water volume.

I actually do run a small poly/carbon pad in my AC 300 to remove the gunk before it hits the main chamber and gets trapped in my macros. It's amazing how much gunk is produced on a weekly basis.


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Old 05/24/2005, 03:48 PM   #17
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BTW Ben, that's the 300/70 model you have.


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Old 05/24/2005, 05:11 PM   #18
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bennerkla - great tank setup, I'm going to be setting up a similar rig myself. How are the Coralife 12" working out for you?

Sugar Magnolia - Which brand of poly/carbon pad do you use in your AC300? Have you changed the impeller in your AC300, or is it running with the regular one?


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Old 05/24/2005, 07:30 PM   #19
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I second the pre-filter before the macro. I had built a fuge into the back 2.5" of my 10 AGA. Last night I shook it a little. The amount of crap in it was unbelievable.

I just went to a 10 with no fuge. Maybe I'll set this one differently.


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Old 05/24/2005, 09:00 PM   #20
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Mork-Thanks. The lights look awesome so far, but I can't tell until I get it setup. Very excited about them, though, but nervous how I'll fit the moonlights in it. Should be fun to see what they look like...

Sugar Magnolia- I would like to know exactly what Mork said. Did you alter your impeller? Where did you buy the poly/carbon pad?

Hopefully I'll get some goods in the mail tomororw. Until then, have a nice night.


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Old 05/25/2005, 06:29 AM   #21
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I use a millenium 1000 poly/carbon replacement pad. It slides into the left side of the main chamber, just to the right of the intake tube. In the picture below, you can see just a little bit of the blue poly sticking out - that's where the pad is. The only alteration I made was to use an impeller from the AC mini. Those can be purchased separately from most online vendors that carry the Aqua Clear filters.




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Old 05/25/2005, 10:18 AM   #22
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Quote:
Ben, the impeller on the 500 isn't swappable.
magnolia Is the impeller on the 500 not swappable, but the 300 is? Would I be able to swap it onto mine with my Aqua Clear Mini impeller?

I like the sound of this, I'll try it out and snap a picture of it tonight.


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Old 05/25/2005, 04:11 PM   #23
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Well, I got some good news and some bad news.

Good news first- my mounting legs and digital thermometer came in today. Also, my Aqua Clear mini impeller fits perfectly into my AQ 300.

Bad news...- The lights just BARELY fit on my tank. See for yourself in the pic below...


I stretched the lets as farrr out as they could go and they still couldn't completely get the 16" across my tank. Urgh, isn't working out too well so far.

Then it gets worse. I was so pumped that my mini impeller fit on my AQ 300, but once I put the AQ 300 on the back, the light situation went from bad to much, much worse.





The rear legs don't even sit on the tank at all, the light completely rests on the AQ filter. This sucks. Unless, maybe it doesn't matter? I figured the salt kreep would be horrible on the light if I were to do that. I don't have much real estate to work with.

The AQ Mini fits on the back under the lights. Therefore, should I try to work out this AQ 300 fuge, or just run an AQ mini with carbon/sponge? I need your opinion!

On a lighter note, here is my tank from my bed...


Thanks guys.


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Old 05/25/2005, 04:34 PM   #24
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If you do go with the smaller filter one thing you could try is to heat the bottom parts of the legs for your light up a bit and bend it out. You are very close to fitting so it wouldnt take too much!


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Old 05/25/2005, 04:45 PM   #25
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Not a bad idea. I looked at the tank again and don't see the harm of having the lights rest on the HOB filter. Of course, I would need to support the filter.

Mini or 300/fuge?


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