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Old 10/27/2018, 01:20 AM   #301
Michael Hoaster
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I'm hoping that getting all the pieces close together will help me figure out what to do next…

I'll never go 30 again. 24 inches deep is perfect, I think. I'd like to have a tank 4'x8'x2'. And rather than 3 feet off the floor, go 2, so I'm not looking up at my tank from the couch. And easier to work on/in.

Despite the snail's pace, I'm getting excited about the dawn of life soon to come, in my aquarium.

Next up: THE GOOD PART.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 10/27/2018, 08:20 AM   #302
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I have enjoyed 'the snail's pace' part because of what I have learned. Thank you Michael for documenting it.

I am really excited for THE GOOD PART!


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Old 10/27/2018, 10:55 PM   #303
Michael Hoaster
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Really? You've learned from this? That's great! Thanks Dawn!

Today I got the zip-ties done. Very challenging, physically. I'm going to need a hot tub.


New fake wall, secured with zip-ties, before I bonded it to the tank wall.

I got it bonded to the wall - I think. I'm leaving it to cure overnight. If it worked, it's a big step. I may remove some of the thickest foam at the right edge of it, to reduce buoyancy. Next, the transition, to hide the corner.

The big question mark for the next part is the planned foam addition to the back wall. I wanted to add some overhang, for a dramatic effect, and to put some of the back wall in shadow. The more I look at it, the more I think I'll need more foam. To really do it right, I'll need to cover more area than I originally planned. And I'll have to work around several gramma caves. Or, I go the other way and go minimal, just to work with the transition.

More staring and thinking…


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 10/29/2018, 10:41 AM   #304
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Instead of more foam, why not secure rocks with adhesive? It won't add buoyancy and will look more realistic. Just a thought.


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Old 10/29/2018, 11:49 AM   #305
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks for the suggestion, McPuff!

That could work, but since there are no rocks in my walls, adding some now probably wouldn't look right. One thing I could do with rocks is put some on top of the light diffuser, under the sand, to help weigh it down.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 10/30/2018, 06:56 AM   #306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McPuff View Post
Instead of more foam, why not secure rocks with adhesive? It won't add buoyancy and will look more realistic. Just a thought.
I like this suggestion for perhaps someday if I do a fake wall. Thanks!


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Old 10/31/2018, 10:39 AM   #307
Michael Hoaster
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Using rocks in fake walls is a good idea, both practically and aesthetically. Done well, they look like a real reef wall.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/03/2018, 04:05 PM   #308
Michael Hoaster
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A little more progress!

I've decided to go minimal and just do the transition, rather than opening another can of worms with adding overhang to the back wall. I just think it will add more time and complexity than I want right now. I need to get this done!


Here you can see the egg crate skeleton for the transition.


Another view of it.


With the foam in place. I'll let it cure overnight, then sand it down tomorrow.


Another view of it.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/03/2018, 06:34 PM   #309
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Each step is 1 step closer to adding water to this bad boy. I am excited that you are getting so close!


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Old 11/04/2018, 05:45 PM   #310
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Well, it's tomorrow and I didn't get it sanded. I had another house project to do first, and I strained my back, so I settled for a hot tub instead.

It's going to be brutal, sanding inside the tank, but it gets me closer to the FUN PART.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/05/2018, 10:12 AM   #311
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Sorry, for not providing feedback recently. I was away on vacation.

You've made a bunch of progress and it looks terrific. Sorry to hear about the back strain.

As far as the overhang goes, if I remember right, the macros growing near the top last time really gave you that effect anyway, unless you're looking for more.

One option, if you wish to enhance that, is that perhaps you can do something like a floating island type thing and find a way to stabilize the structure from the top, then when macros grow on it, it will give you more shade in the tank. I remember a guy that constructed a cave with a stalactite...maybe if you can find that thread, then it could give you ideas.

But, like I said, the tank will look great as is currently planned, and even more so when you add life to it


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Old 11/05/2018, 11:23 AM   #312
Michael Hoaster
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Hey Kevin! I hope you had a great vacation. I have made a little progress. My back is feeling better. It seems to come with every house project I do!

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about creating overhang with plants. It worked well before, and it didn't impinge on useable real estate for the grasses. And, as you mentioned, there are other options.

One of the things I noticed, when considering the overhang, was that it needed to be bigger than I originally thought, in order to look right. If done the way I think it should, it would add a great, dramatic affect. However, this would come at the expense of the useable space for the seagrasses. Since seagrasses are my primary focus, I think I'm going to bail.

I never intended the fake wall to take 'center stage'. It was really meant to provide vertical habitat and housing for Royal Grammas, as well as a wall that I'd never have to clean. I will file the overhanging wall concept away for another tank that has more room, front to back.

The reason I wanted the overhang in the first place was to put the back wall in shadow, so the seagrasses would 'pop' visually and for photos. I might never have thought of it, if it weren't for the overhanging plants.

I'll admit my eagerness to get this project done is also a big factor. It feels lame to have a thread for a tank that isn't even wet yet…


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/05/2018, 12:31 PM   #313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
One of the things I noticed, when considering the overhang, was that it needed to be bigger than I originally thought, in order to look right. If done the way I think it should, it would add a great, dramatic affect. However, this would come at the expense of the useable space for the seagrasses. Since seagrasses are my primary focus, I think I'm going to bail.
That makes sense. Sometimes, simplicity is the most effective and attractive option. Your concept, after all, is basically to let nature take its course. You can achieve that with this approach and still get that look you desire

I had someone check on my tanks just to call me if something went wrong. I used auto feeders that worked great. All of my critters are OK. But man, did the algae ever take over the front glass of both tanks. My fish seem bigger and fatter two, and they've rearranged some of the cover. I'm not sure if I like what they did, but they seem to. I cleaned the glass of my fish tank, and the water is gin clear, fish are active, and everything looks good (sigh of relief was felt last night).


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Old 11/05/2018, 11:50 PM   #314
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Glad to hear your tanks are all good, Kevin. Good job on your vacation prep!

My back is getting better, so I expect to do some sanding asap. It's hard to believe I'm almost done with this project! I've just got to get through the sanding and some other finishing touches. Next, I'll test the the pumps and plumbing. While the tank is full I'll buff out the scratches. I'm sure a few other things will pop up, but it won't be long before I can focus on the living elements. WOOP!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/06/2018, 09:01 AM   #315
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Yay! It's fun when things start coming together the way that you envisioned.

Is your tank acrylic?


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Old 11/06/2018, 09:23 AM   #316
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I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. Is the end really near? I guess I'll believe it when I can't think of anything else I need to do!

Yes, my tank is acrylic. It's easy to mod, easy to buff out scratches, and a better insulator, among other things. I've scratched glass tanks and you can't fix it. I like having a tank that I can work on myself.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/07/2018, 12:56 AM   #317
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So I was skimming through that other forum and found a link to an article about macro algae. The most interesting thing they noted was that macros could attain nutrients from the substrate. Not with roots, like higher plants, but from being in close proximity to high nutrient pore water in the substrate.

I already planned to start my new ecosystem with a rich substrate, for the foundation of life and the seagrasses.

This is where the fun starts!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/07/2018, 01:16 AM   #318
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I was reading another oldie and good articles a few days ago, and then I figured out why the reds and purple in my tank turned more vibrant after the changed of LED and addition of actinic light. The articles can be found here. You might find the article on seagrasses useful too.

http://chucksaddiction.thefishestate...t%20Three.html
and http://chucksaddiction.thefishestate...art%20Two.html

We are still learning new things about the weeds and that's what makes it interesting!


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Old 11/07/2018, 08:02 AM   #319
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Michael, what do you use to clean your front of your tank? My worry, with regard to my new tank that is acrylic, is cleaning the front of the tank at the surface of the substrate, that sand will sneak into my sponge and scratch everything. I never worried about it before back in the old days when using dolomite gravel, but sand is a different story. Thanks.


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Old 11/07/2018, 09:16 AM   #320
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Michael, what do you use to clean your front of your tank? My worry, with regard to my new tank that is acrylic, is cleaning the front of the tank at the surface of the substrate, that sand will sneak into my sponge and scratch everything. I never worried about it before back in the old days when using dolomite gravel, but sand is a different story. Thanks.
You may try a two-pronged approach. Tunze car magnet for the panels near the substrate (use the plastic blades of course) and then use the mag scraper in the "upper" portions of the panels. Or you could go with a hand held scraper for the lower portions and just do them less frequently. Even on my glass tank I have the same fear so I use the exact approach I described above.

Michael, it is very true about glass stratches... I have a few small ones on my starphire tank. If they are not filled with algae it's not bad. Have to scrub them out about 4 times per year (not bad). The clarity on acrylic is amazing but you just have to be so careful and not let coralline grow on it! Glass is just so worrisome for other reasons (blowouts, weight, weight, weight). :0)

When is this getting wet? Next week???


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Old 11/07/2018, 10:41 AM   #321
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Thanks for the links, cksss! I love the Chuck's Addiction stuff! I've read these before and they are a great source of info. Now that I'm approaching startup with my tank, it's great to read them again. We should all post more links to good articles!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/07/2018, 10:59 AM   #322
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Kevin, pretty much what McPuff says. My 'plague of snails' also helps quite a bit. I have a mag float for the day to day film removal. These can pick up sand grains, so I avoid going all the way down. I have a long handled scraper for the heavier stuff. These can go down to the sand surface, just be careful to release any sand before you pull up with it. And you want the plastic blades, rather than metal ones. I use sand paper to sharpen them, keeping them useful for a good while.

The beauty of acrylic is that you can buff out any scratches, right in the tank, with everything still in it. So if you do, you can fix it immediately. I've had no problems with coralline algae. It scrapes off like anything else, just a bit more difficultly.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/07/2018, 11:05 AM   #323
Michael Hoaster
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Thank McPuff! Great points.

I'm not sure when we get to wet time. I'm chomping at the bit! I'm getting down to the end of my list, but I fully expect another major hurdle to pop up. We'll see!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/07/2018, 12:34 PM   #324
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Thank you Michael and McPuff, I appreciate your insights. I need some snails. I guess another collecting trip is in order .

Other than sanding, what else is on your to do list? Just sanding? Or, do you have more steps? Your tank is going to be so cool, so it is worth the wait to get it the way you want it.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 11/07/2018, 12:56 PM   #325
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Good question! Let me see…

Sand and finish work on the new fake wall.
Get UV plumbed and set up with canister filter.
Set up all the cables associated with the wave box.
Fill tank and wet test plumbing and pump function.
Make any final adjustments to pumps and plumbing.
Buff out front and right side viewing 'glass'.
Drain tank.
Make final floor jack adjustments to level the tank.

So, not a lot left to do! The sanding and buffing steps are the two biggees. The rest should be easier. And then there are the things that inevitably pop up, that I haven't thought of yet. I'm trying not to get too excited, because I know from experience something else will come up. But I'm close!

Next up: building the foundation of a living ecosystem!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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