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20 Gallon nano reef build

7275 Views 28 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Mr. Fishy Man
So the plans a 20 gallon nano reef LPS / softies

I made a DIY stand that i still have to paint

Im going to go with 20lbs live sand and 25 lbs LR, The LR is coming from my 55 gallon FOWLR tank which has been up for 7 months so the rock has some nice color coralline algae and bacteria and life all over it.

For lighting i got a DIY rapidleds, i got the solderless ones because im not versed in soldering and didnt want to take the risk on messing up. I got 6 Cree XP-G cool whites and 6 Cree XT-E royal blues, each set of 6 will be run on its own dimmable nano driver so i can tweak the colors and acclimate new corals. All of this will get thrown onto a heat sink from a past project. Im probably going to run them without optics but i do have 80 degree lenses if i choose to put them on. I plan to buy some more LEDs in the future since each driver can run up to 10 leds each, probably get some red/greens and a couple more cool whites and royal blues.

For filtration im running a HOB filter. I removed the inserts and im going to put some chemi-pure elite and some filter fiber to polish the water. I might add some refuge rubble that i have just for added filtration.

In terms of flow i bought 2 hydor koralia 240s on top of the HOB which is another 200gph. This will give me about a 34 turnover which should be more than enough but i have pumps laying around so i can add more in the future if needed.

Most of the stuff should be shipped by this week hopefully. I want to get this thing up and running. The one thing im not sure about is if i will even experience a cycle since im using new LS and my LR that has been sitting in my 55 FOWLR. Maybe ill have a mini cycle but im not really sure if someone could provide insight on that.

Other than that pics will come soon, im sitting here at work bored so decided to post now haha :lol:

Post if you got questions, comments or ideas for me and my project.
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So below is the DIY stand i made. Pretty simple, just covered the outside in plywood and trim nothing to fancy.

Been thinking about stocking the tank for the future..

1 Clown or a pair - not sure what kind
1 royal gamma
1 gobie, probably a diamond watchman

Obviously CuC, snails and what not

As for corals... i was thinking about gettin the nano 5 polyp pack from to start but im not sure though. I know they are very good from what i hear but has anyone personally bought from them before?

My orders have shipped so i cant wait to get them and get started.


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Really you think i still will? Thought since i was using established LR and LS i wouldnt experience one atleast a full cycle
Painted the stand and added some 2x4s extended up from the stand and over the tank to hang my LEDs.

LEDs come in Monday and my koralias and LS come in by wednesday!

Cant wait to get this started. Having it set up and ready to go is frustrating when you have to wait on shipments but i guess its good they dont come in right away since i got finals all week. :lol:


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Thanks! Still cant decide what to do for livestock. Or if i should order the coral pack from, but i have plenty of time to decide.
Got it all put together. Still really cloudy though.

I doubt ill keep my rock work the way it is, im never happy with the way it looks.

Looking at it now i feel like i dont have enough water flow. Gotta wait and see though.

Pic below is 100%RB and 100%CW


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So ive had the tank up and running, i ended up having a mini cycle that lasted a week or so and had minimal ammonia around 1ppm. Since i set it up i added another power head for some more flow and then i bought 2 UV LEDs just to add more color.

I added a green chromis last week and yesterday i stopped by my LFS to get ro/di water and ended up walking out with 2 of my favorite corals. A torch and a frogspawn.

My params have all been in check except for my salinity which has been a little bit high around 1.027 but im slowly bringing it down.

Pictures arent amazing because i took them with my phone but they arent horrible.

Heres a picture from last week. This is before i added the UV LEDs and extra powerhead.

Heres the frogspawn

And heres the Torch

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hmmm idk why they wont show... lets try this again...


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Thanks, They have been open and looking good so far.
Probably going to be getting alot more corals this weekend since most of my LFS's are having memorial day sales hahah :lol:
Just got a few more corals...

A orange short tentacle plate

And three trumpet frags :)

The pictures don't do them justice, they are beautiful under my lighting, excellent color.


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Just fed the chromis in the tank some frozen Mysis and a rogue shrimp got caught by the plate and it already took it in so im happy its accepted food already.
So i bit the bullet today and just dumped the HOB. I had mixed feelings about it nd decided to drop it nd see how it goes. Im probably going to use it when and after i do water changes because i blow off my LR and since i only do less than 5 gallons at a time i cant siphon out all the waste that might get picked up so some filter fiber in the HOB will help clean it out.

I also went to my LFS after work and had bought a decent sized toadstool mushroom. It was an impulse buy which is never good but its healthy and isnt too large so it has room to grow out. Ill post pics tomorrow since its not fully opened yet.
Thats not a bad idea. One thing i did hate about the HOB though was that i kept getting mirco bubbles all over the tank so id have to see if the small skimmer would be worth it
Heres a picture of my toadstool I got, finally opened up and looking good.
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Some updates...

Got a nice colony of some fire and ice zoas. and then heres some pics of the tank today. Everythings open and happy. Just did a 25% W/C

A close up of some of the corals.

And a full tank shot

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Thanks. Yea im probably going to use the hob after water changes to clean anything i missed. I did a waterchange the other day and didnt use it but my waters pretty clean seeing how i do 2 small changes a week.
Ive been considering upgrading to a 40b already ahah, don't know if I should or if I should just wait it out.
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