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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after several years in the freshwater hobby, I took the plunge into salt water. But first I thought I'd mention my 55 gallon African cichlid tank. In it I have:

8 Electric Yellows (4 adults (2m,2f) and 4 babies)
2 Bumblebees
2 Sunshine peacocks (1m, 1f)
3 German red peacocks (1m, 2f)
1 Demasoni
1 Jacobfreibergi (m)

2 Magnum 350 canister filters
1 Hydor 300W in-line heater
50 lbs Texas Holey Rock (this stuff is great for cichlids!)

I had a male red zebra for over 3 years which killed 10+ of my other cichlids in his tenure with me. Recently, I gave him to a friend of mine with a warning that he was mean. Recently, he told me the red zebra killed all of his cichlids (heh heh). Don't ever buy these guys!!!

The first pic is my tank. Second is my female electric yellow carrying eggs in her mouth. Third is one of the baby electric yellows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
April 2006

After reading a lot on the web at www.nano-reef.com, I took the plunge and bought a 24 gallon 2006 Nanocube DX. Unfortunately the first one broke in shipping but www.petsolutions.com was really understanding and sent me a replacement very quickly. It was broken in the corner most likely from shipping.

The replacement was fine and I filled it with 20 lbs aragamax live sand and 28 lbs Fiji LR from www.premiumaquatics.com They have really helpful staff and the best quality LR I have found yet. After the initial cycling, I had a crazy algae outbreak. Because of this, I added the popular fuge mod to my tank.

I made a run to Home Depot and picked up the Hampton Bay Desk Lamp (#207142) for $20. I found the floor lamp you refer to for $35. After a quick inspection, I found both lamps used the same 27 Watt, 6500 K compact fluorescent bulb manufactured by Lights of America. Naturally, I bought the cheaper desk lamp, thinking I'll be able to engineer some way to place the light.

After unpacking it at home, I found the light arm and base are two separate pieces that attach by a single screw. I made a second run to HD for a corner bracket to mount the light arm to the back of my NC cabinet. All I had to do was drill 2 holes in the back of my cabinet and an additional two holes in the bracket to mount the light arm. This method works out well, b/c the light is still very adjustable. Then, I cut the black vinyl from my 2006 NC, exposing the middle chamber using a ruler for a straight edge and a swiss army keychain knife.

It was an easy mod, and it's still fairly clean. Plus you don't need much space between your NC and the wall.

Total build cost:
Desk lamp - $19.99
3" bracket - $3.79
Nuts & bolts - $0.98
Flat washers - $0.72

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
June 2006

After winning the battle against algae with snails, hermits, and a fuge, I began adding critters:

Royal Gramma
Pair of gold banded maroon clowns (I fell in love with these 2 when I saw them at Cap Bay)
Blue neon stripe goby

Fighting conch
Peppermint shrimp
Misc. hermits and snails

Fluorescent green leather
Fire & Ice Zoas
Random mix zoas
Green mushroom
Lime green ricordeas
Flower pot coral (goniopora)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
June 2006

The flower pot coral died on me. Guess my water quality and light level wasn't up to par. I should have read Drs. F&S first, b/c they give it a difficult rating. That was a nice waste of money.

Added some other coral frags. Bought six from www.scientificcoral.com with the ARC power buy:

Green Halo Pocillopora damicornus (died on me within a week)
Chocolate Sinularia (I really like this guy, but a slow grower)
Fluorescent Green Galaxia
Giant Green Palythoa grandis (really cool to feed this guy mysis shrimp)
Pavona decussata (really odd growth structure)
Yellow Cup Coral Turbinaria reniformus Smooth

Bought some other frags from webdr. Thanks man! I have these cuttings in the shot glass until they're securely attached to LR rubble.

2 Kenya leather cuttings
2 Orange montipora frags (they look pink under my lighting though)
Xenia elongata cutting

Other frags aquired:
Bright green zoas (free from mojo - Thanks man!)
Yellow colony polyps
Blue mushroom (really cool looking, almost like gasoline shimmering on water)

I also added CCFL moonlighting to my hood. The green leather, rics, mushrooms, and monti all look awesome when they fluoresce under this lighting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
July 2006

I've caught the coral bug, so I bought some frags off Ebay. I got a pack of 10 different types of zoas and 1 fluorescent green leather (similar structure to kenya leather). The guy that sent me the green leather ripped me off. Claimed it was 2-3 inches in the description. The frag I got was about 0.5 inches. You can barely see it in the pic below. Oh well....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
July 29, 2006

I got a steal of a deal on an Oceanic 30 gallon cube including stand, PC lights, Maxijet 400, 20 lbs LR, HOB filter, visi-therm heater, and 20 lbs live sand. It's temporarily set up in my room until I can transfer everything out of my nanocube. I put my crappy Seaclone skimmer in there to try to save the LR. The tank was pretty neglected when I got it.

I built an acrylic sump to go in the stand. I designed it myself with a little aid from http://www.acrylicsumps.com/ That guy does good work. I hope he doesn't mind that I "borrowed" all my ideas from him. The poor guy at Lowes spent over an hour cutting two 24" x 48" sheets of 1/4" acrylic into 20 different sized pieces. ha ha ha. I should have tipped him. And of course, I had to buy some tools to work on it. :) If anybody's thinking about doing a sump, cut the acrylic with a table saw. If you don't, set aside a lot of time for sanding!

First pic is my new Oceanic cube. Second is my sump taped together. Third are my new tools. Wee! My room is a total wreck now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
August 4, 2006

It turns out there was an encrusting coral on one of my pieces of live rock. I think it's a blue ridge coral, but people on the forums said it was porites. Either way, it will look cool when it recovers and regrows all over the rock. I can already see regrowth at the white fringes in two week's time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
August 14, 2006

I finally built the sump and put it into action. It's tricky getting all the tweeks just right with the overflow and sump so that power failures don't give you wet floors. It turns out a Mag 9.5 with a hydor and SCWD will overpower a Lifereef 700 GPH overflow box. I have to valve off the flow to about 80% so that my return pump doesn't overflow the top of my overflow box.

Even though it has the silencer on it, my Lifereef overflow box makes all kinds of noise. I have to turn it off at night to sleep. I can't wait until I get this outta my room!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
September 11, 2006

It's been a while since I updated my blog so here's what's been going on with me.

I decided to sell my 55g African cichlid tank. I really liked the tank, but I never sat back to enjoy it. So I'm selling it on Ebay. Whoever wins is in luck, because both of my female electric yellows are carrying eggs right now. In a few weeks, they'll have at least 20 fry swimming around. I just hope they know how to raise them.

I bought 25 lbs of live rock for my new Oceanic 30g tank. I got a good deal on it, but I didn't realize until I got it home some of it was covered with hair algae. So until that clears up, I can't move everything from my Nanocube into it. ARRRGGG. Stupid algae.

I got some new corals recently.
1) A sweet monti with purple rim and green center from webdr. It looks great!
2) Bought a neon green monti from Cap Bay. Just couldn't resist.
3) Bought a purple branching monti from Kappaknight today. Looks pretty sweet. I'll take some pics soon.
4) My blue ridge coral is looking really great. In one month's time it's practically doubled in size, although the polyps rarely come out anymore. Maybe the Mag 9.5 is too much flow?
5) Bought a greenish plate coral from Cap Bay. It's got a reddish underside and blue mouth. It's doing well and eats mysis shrimp.
 
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