Category Archives: Pets

Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – We’re there!

Nitrites are almost at 0, and nitrate’s not so bad at all! Cycle is pretty much done! I’m ready to start stocking!

I’ve just serviced my 4-stage RO/DI unit (reverse osmosis and de-ionisation unit) replacing all 4 filters. This will make sure I don’t introduce unwanted chemicals from Sydney tap water into my tank.

Years ago I bought a 4-stage RO/DI unit from PSI Water Filters who are associated with the Marine Aquarium Societies of Australia Forums. I gave them a call, they still had me in the system and in an overnight bag I was sent all 4 filters to replace and get my unit up and running again, with discount! Love it that they’re still around! Service was amazing.

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – inTank Media Basket

inTank media basket on left, stock basket on the right.

It came with a clown fish sticker and a fishy lolly (I was confused initially thinking it was fish food?!), random!

Almost blew up the house with overflow water dripping down a power cable into the powerboard on the floor. Me bad! No drip loops! One of the first aquarium keeping lessons… I’ve now mounted the powerboard up high.

My inTank media basket came in the mail today. Lovely little thing. Very well made, nicely designed too. It holds a lot less media than the flimsy stock basket, but the flow through the media is bang on now!

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – It’s Still Cycling


Big boy.

Added 2 tiny little hermit crabs which I found in a rock pool out at Little Bay today.

Top down shot. Hammer coral is hating life, but hanging in there!

I’m finally seeing some algae! I’ve been doing water tests and I’m still getting readings of ammonia and nitrite, but the ammonia is going down, and nitrite is spiking right now. The cycle is almost done! The tank is definitely going through the ugly phase right now but my clean up crew (CUC) are loving it, the turbo snails especially who are at least trying to do a pretty good job of keeping the back glass clean.

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – UltraBrite LED

The LED unit is actually built into a factory Fluval Edge hood so that it looks exactly the same as the standard set-up.

The hood flipped to reveal the LED unit, with built in fan and splash guard underneath. Above it is the LED controller, which comes with software to program your sunrise to moonlight on a PC.

The old LED unit came off pretty easily.

The LED Controller (which can be hidden in the back of the Fluval Edge, out of sight).

All LED’s on.

Full tank shot. Crazy bright in comparison to the stock unit. Horrible shot though. I’ll have to shoot a video, the rippling water surface and the LED’s shining through it make for a really nice effect.

Today I received my custom built Fluval Edge UltraBrite Reef LED System which I upgraded with an automated controller that sets the unit to go from sunrise to sunset then moonlight over a 10 hour light period. SO COOL!

It’s so much brighter than the stock LED unit. I should be able to keep just about any coral that needs light to thrive. What’s especially awesome about it is that it looks no different to the OEM unit. IE: From the outside, nothing has changed. I’ve seen people go without the hood altogether and really cut up their Fluval Edge tanks which IMHO defeats the purpose of having a Fluval Edge!

These guys don’t have a site, but you can find them on eBay.

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – Waiting Game



I’ve got 4 shrimp in the tank and I’m now waiting for the tank to cycle. I’ve got some new gear on the way though; fresh test kits, a wavemaker, lights and more (couldn’t help myself!).

Alk: 13 dKH
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH: 8

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – Impeller Mod

AquaClear 20 impeller on the left, and the new larger blades on the AquaClear 50 impeller in the middle.

I’ve owned a few of these AquaClear hang on back filters over the years and they’re really easy to modify. Just by changing the impeller to one from a more powerful unit increases the flow from 350 litres/hour to 550 litres/hour

After a bit of research I ordered an AquaClear 50 impeller (number 634), and a spare shaft in case (I didn’t end up needing it at all). It popped right into the pump and as soon as I switched the power back on it was clearly evident that flow was up 2 fold!

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Rock Pooling

Shot a little video of this octopus.

He was actually pretty big!

And super aggressive attacking my net more than a few times.

I saw this shrimp move like a roach, it looks a lot like a pistol shrimp (but with 2 long claws).

Hands down the nicest star fish I’ve ever seen in a rock pool.

There were heaps of these big slugs too.

Collected some more natural sea water today and couldn’t help but do a spot of rockpooling, (which was one of my fave things to do as a kid!). It’s amazing what you’ll find in rock pools if you’re patient enough to wait for creates to present themselves.

Today I played with an octopus, who kept attacking my net as I was trying to catch shrimp!!! He was damn strong and almost took the net off me at one stage!

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – Oops!

Aquascape #1.

All my probes have gone bad. Temp reading with a glass thermometer in the tank reads 26 but the digital cheapie is out of whack, the Ph meter probe is out of whack too and reads way low (new probe on order).

OK, my bad. Everything is dead due to my impatience, and lack of experience with such a small tank.

It started mid last week when the fishies killed the shrimps and ate them all. Water was crystal clear though, and fish were doing great. One of the pieces of live rock had a lot of aiptasia on it (I assume as the water quality has been improving they’ve all started to show). I made the call to try and rid the rock of them with Joe’s Juice. There were a few of them, 5-6 of them and by the time I was done squirting the juice with a syringe I think the tank started to crash.

I made a decision to remove the piece of live rock with all the aiptasia on it anyways. I removed the 3 fish and I started aquascaping with leftover base rock I have from my old setup. Stirring up the sandbed doing so (adding to the crash for sure).

I re-introduced the fish to a holding tank within the display tank and instantly realised they were at the surface gasping for air. I used marine buffer to up the Ph and did a 50% water change. 2 fishes died a few hours later and the goby died the day after.

So now I’m back to square one, pretty much. I’m disappointed in my impatience (the fish and shrimp didn’t need to die!) and I’m also quite surprised at how sensitive such a small amount of water is. For example, I put a Koralia 1 I had lying around in the tank and the temperature went up by 2 degrees within an hour.

In some ways I’m glad this has all happened now. I’m tempted to start work on an overflow box and sump for more water volume and gear to hide in the sump (skimmer, carbon/phosban reactors etc), but I’ve decided to try and stick with the concept of a simple nano with weekly 20% water changes for now.

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – NSW

Low tide was at 8am so I thought I’d drop past the boat ramp down the road from my place to collect some natural seawater (NSW) for water changes. I used to do this often when I had my old 6ft tank. It’s actually a really satisfying thing to do, and it’s also great exercise carrying the 2 20litre jerry cans of water up the hill!

I also managed to catch a couple of glass shrimp.

And here’s a shot of the goby (middle), who likes to colour and flare up whilst looking at his own reflection!

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Nano Reef – Fluval Edge 2 – Cycling the tank

A few pieces of live rock to cycle the tank from B&C Aquariums. That heater is just a few millimetres too big to fit in the hang on back filter. Last night I impulse bought an even smaller 50W heater on eBay which I will be able to hide in the filter (which of-course will make the aquarium look much cleaner).

Trying to keep things neat, this cable tidy wraps 3 power leads into one.

A few fish from a local rock pool to help cycle the tank (I realise fishless cycling is the thing to do these days, but hey I’m old school and have always done it this way).

A few pieces of live rock from my old tank which I found in from a big foam box in my backyard.

So I’ve decided to go marine! I’ve got quite a lot of gear left over from my old marine tank so I figure it makes sense, and you know, nothing beats marine (once you go marine you can’t ever go back?!).

Yesterday I bought a couple of pieces of live rock to help cycle the tank. I didn’t expect any hitchhikers to survive as the water in my tank is so new. A coupe of turbo snails fell right off the rock when I put it in the tank (shocked from the different water parameters most likely), but last night, with a torch in hand, I spotted a large bristle worm, and unfortunately a few dreaded aiptasia (pest anemones).

Today I thought I’d do a bit of local rockpooling in search of glass shrimp (also known as ghost shrimp). I looked all over my house for my fish nets and failed to find them, so all I had was a tiny triangular nano tank net which I bought yesterday with my live rock. I managed to find a few shrimp, but failed to net them as my net was too small AND the wind was picking up so much that I couldn’t see past the agitated water surface.

I did get a couple of fishes though and also one goby. I acclimatised them slowly as the temperature in my tank (26) is way warmer than the water in the rock pools. It’s been 4hrs since they’ve been released in the tank and all 3 fishes are doing amazing. I’m dead set sure they will take to flake food tomorrow.

So the cycling has started and the tank will stay as is for at least a week. I’ll do some water testing soon. It shouldn’t be to long until I’ll be ready to stock the tank (with what I’m not so sure!).

Plans. I’m starting to geek out about this build already (no surprises there, right?!). And I’ve been thinking of a few set-ups. They’re outlined below.

1) FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock): No corals thus no need to upgrade the flow of the tank or the lights, so this would be the easiest and cheapest setup to run. Lots of different fishes to choose from, interesting crustaceans too. There aren’t too many amazing looking FOWLR tanks out there IMHO. The ease of maintenance, low cost and challenge to create something special with only rock and fish makes this option tempting.

2) Upgrade the lighting: Lots of people out there have modified these tanks with much more powerful LED lighting in order to grow fussy plants and corals. There are a couple of guys on eBay selling LED kits for these tanks (with the option to control the lights from your phone even!). If I upgrade the lighting I’ll be able to not only keep some hardy corals, but they should actually grow and thrive.

3) Go all out: My 6ft tank started life like this, then I went bonkers on it and in the end, thousands of dollars later, it was a work of art. I can see the same thing happening here to be honest. The wall behind the tank is made of gyprock. I could very easily punch a hole through that wall, throw out the current filtration and put an overflow box on the back and run all pipes through the hole into the kitchen (which is the room behind this tank) into a sump which would hide all the gear (heater, skimmer, filter media, automatic top-up unit, dosing units etc. I could literally run the same set-up as my 6ft, all hidden away behind the wall behind the tank.

I found this saltwater conversion kit designed and made by an Australian guy who’s marketing to the US. It’s designed specifically for my tank, but at $800AUD I’m hesitant to impulse buy it. I’m not suggesting it’s a rip off. By the time you add up all the items the kit comes with you can see where the money goes (amazing lighting unit and a great skimmer not to mention a custom design and more water volume too.

If I was to keep hard corals I’d need more flow too. The top of the line VorTech wave makers I had on my old tank are still around, but they’ve been refined and are apparently much more quiet now. That’s a good thing! At $400 for one unit (all I would need) it’s pretty pricey but they’re the best (a cheap China unit is cheap at $40 but it’s larger, uglier and nowhere near as programmable or effective).

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