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Hi everyone,
My first post here on ReefCentral, hopefully the start of what I hope will end with a nice new reef tank!

I've kept all kinds of things since I was a kid, terrariums, reptiles, all sorts of exotics, the ever-present goldfish and more recently, planted tanks. I've always wanted to stretch out into reefing, although circumstances dictated otherwise and now that I've finally moved into my own place it's possible, at last.

I started accumulating bits and pieces for the project in mid-2012, but like all projects that exist in the planning stage, it has ebbed and swelled. In my mind, it's been everything from a 3-gallon zoa tank to a 150-gallon full reef with sump and the works. I've finally settled on a 50-ish gallon shallow tank with a sump and refugium.

So far it's still in the planning stage but here's what I have in mind:

It'll be a long shallow piece, about 3ft long, 15in wide and 15inch deep, rimless design with a Calfo-style coast-to-coast external overflow box with a Beananimal setup. Dual returns will be powered by a Eheim 1262. Capacity will be roughly 30 gallon, sump and refugium will be 20 gallon. I'll be running live rock and skimmer (got a Tunze Nano Doc 9002) and possibly algae in the fuge.

Lighting is currently a Chinese-made ebay fixture, 120W LED with 55 chips, 30 10000k and 25 actinic blue, although I do have some questions on that in the pipeline.

I don't quite like the 'classic' look of a reef aquarium, which tend to be very deep and packed from top to bottom full of life - although it is stunning in its own way, of course, it's just not what I have in mind. So I aim to go horizontal instead of vertical and build a sort of sloping rock wall on one side that tapers off into bare sand on the other with mangroves sticking out on that side. Likely I'll have about 3-4-inches of sand to plant mangroves in the main tank, although I haven't decided whether to do a DSB yet for the fuge, might be a bit of sand overkill in that case.

The mangroves grow too slowly for nutrient export, but they're more of an interest/design point. Where I live (Singapore) I can go down to the beach and pick red mangrove propagules, but unfortunately the habitats are under threat from development. I aim to (slowly) grow them in my tank and re-plant them in the wild eventually, so it'll be giving back to nature in a very small gesture.

Here's a (very) rough schematic, figures are in millimetres. For now, I'm still prepping build quotes and trying to see if there are any theoretical kinks in the design, so I reckon it should be about a month or two before the real work starts. Would love to get some opinions from experienced reefers here, and all feedback is welcome.
 

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