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FAQs about Commercial & Custom Tanks for Marine Systems By Manufacturer/Brand: AquaPod

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Too small to

Aquapod Lighting 11/06/09
Hi Crew,
< Stan >
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod with a 65w PC. Tank has LPS, candycanes, hammers and frogspawn.
< I would look into upgrading. >
I was thinking of adding another 65w.
< Good idea! >
As I have been searching around I started to consider T5's.
< Better idea!! >
I found a nice 96w T5.
< Should do nicely. >
What I can't seem to find is life expectancy of a T5.
< Manufacturers suggest from 10000 to 15000 hours but I would start replacing them at about 15 months. With the actinics being the last replaced. >
Is it similar to PC's?
Or how about MH at 150w (here we go, this hobby always seems to cost more).
< I would stay away from MH. They can lead to heat issues in smaller, nano sized tanks. >
Then I might have a heat problem.
< Very possible. >
Do MH bulbs just burn out?
< No, as they age they shift spectrum. Can cause nuisance algae blooms. >
They are reported to last much longer than fluorescent. Is that too much light for LPS?
< Would depend on the LPS in question but most would do fine with proper placement. >
Or can I have them on for less time during the day?
< If you are set on MH I would look into one of the MH combo units.
Limiting the MH to about 4 hours and using the supplemental lighting to finish up the lighting period would help keep the heat manageable. >
< For a tank your size, T5s are the way to go. More efficient , more bulb options, cooler running... GA Jenkins >

Should I Change My Setup/Reef Lighting/Growing Corals 10/20/09
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam>
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod and have been using it for 10 months and have been satisfied with it. It came (bought it used) with a hood with PC lighting (64w) and an alternate glass cover to be used for other lighting.
It also has a hang on skimmer. I had a 24 inch PC that has 65w so I decided to use it with the glass cover since I could not use the skimmer with the regular hood.
The skimmer hangs on a back compartment so that you can not use the hood. It may not be the worlds greatest skimmer but whatever it does collect I am glad is not in my system.
<Any skimmer is better than none.>
The main difference in the lighting is that the one in the hood is 12 inches and mine goes all the way across.
<Staggered lamp placement?>
The tank has one Candy Cane colony of about 30 heads, a hammer of about 10 heads, another hammer (not branching) about 5 inches long, a Favites about 4 inches across and a couple single heads of frogspawn. And in the fish category I have a Spotted Cardinal, a Neon Goby, a Clown Goby (just got him, yellow, about half an inch and really cute and doing well) and a Chalk Bass.
<Tank a little smallish for the cardinal and bass.>
And some snails, Astrea, Cerith and Nassarius. Algae is there but manageable. Glass needs to be cleaned once in 2 weeks and even then it is not really bad. Some hair algae spots and the back has some type growing on it looking like fuzz.
Last night I broke my glass cover as I was trying to clean it. So my question is do I simply get a new glass cover or should I remove the skimmer and use the regular Aquapod hood. It looks much neater with the hood but will I be giving up too much?
<Don't think so, both lighting units are 64 watts and should fill the tank with light.>
Also, would my setup benefit from more light. My corals are ok but they do not grow new heads.
<Definitely, the Candy Cane, Torch, and Frogspawn Corals all require moderate lighting.
I wouldn't consider 64 watts moderate, only averages out to a little over 2 1/2 watts per gallon which
is fine for softies, but for LPS corals in a 20" deep tank....Mmmm. May want to search BB's for a
clamp on 150 watt HQI or if room permits, another 64 watt PC strip light.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting and DSB'¦T5 vs. MH -- 03/17/09
Hello everyone.
<<Hiya Steve>>
I am looking into upgrading from an Aquapod to a larger system. The wife has 1 unchangeable limitation of length being a maximum of 36".
<<I see (dang women [grin])>>
So what I am contemplating is either a 36"x24"x24" which is 90 gallons or 36"x24"x18" which is 65 gallons.
<<Same footprint, eh'¦might as well go for the added volume then, especially if considering a DSB>>
Also she wants a canopy for her own aesthetic reasons.
I would like to be able to keep clams and various types of corals. I will be using at least 1.5lbs per gallon of LR,
<<Do be sure to leave room for the fishes to swim/corals to grow>>
refugium, sump.
<<Excellent'¦and both can be used to house live rock (if needed) to keep the display from being overcrowded re>>
I would rather avoid a chiller.
I live in Orange County Southern California and the normal temp is under 90 most of the time. I do have AC in the house. I would also like to keep my electric bill down.
<<Wouldn't we all'¦>>
I would rather have the 90 gallon tank of course and this brings me to my question. If I go with the 24" deep tank and 4" DSB would a 8 X 39 Watt T5 HO lighting system with 4 10k bulbs and 4 actinic be enough to penetrate <to> clams <and> corals at sand level or would I have to go metal halide?
<<With some caveats, yes'¦ I would recommend a 6 to 2 ratio of 10K and Actinic bulbs. I would also suggest 'individual' reflectors for the T5s if possible, along with placement close to the water's surface. Do also consider the careful placement in the water column of livestock based on species/lighting requirements>>
If metal halide should I use 2 175watts or 2 250watts?
<<The smaller wattage would suffice>>
Should I decide to go with the shallower tank then could I use the T5's?
<<Not necessary'¦especially considering the addition of the DSB>>
Also should I have a lid between the lights and water?
<<I would not place anything over the tank to hinder light transmission OR gas exchange>>
I also don't mind installing fans in the canopy if necessary.
<<I would figure on doing this'¦regardless of the lighting option you choose>>
Also if T5 setup is ok will it penetrate <to> the DSB?
My last question pertains to lighting as well; depending on what light setup you recommend the canopy is available in 2 different heights 10" and 12"?
<<If your preference is the T5 lighting, choose a canopy that lets you mount these closest to the water's surface (ideally, within 3-4 inches). If you choose metal halide, either canopy will likely serve>>
Thanks for all your help.
<<Happy to share... EricR>>

From 10 gallon to 24 Aquapod, 1/22/09 Hi Crew, <Hello> My 10 gallon (over 6 years old) has been very successful thanks to the crew. It has sand and rock , a clown goby (5 years), spotted cardinal (5 years) and neon goby (2 years) plus some snails. <Nice> Also have 65w PC's and candy canes. Filter is a mini penguin with a bio wheel. I will be closing down the 10 gallon. The Aquapod footprint is not much larger than the 10 gallon. The length is about the same. The width and height are larger. It has 30 pounds of rock (cured) and will be adding 1-2 inches of live sand shortly. The Aquapod just has a glass top so I will use my PC lighting. I tried buying an Aquapod cover with PC lighting but they do not sell it separate. I will try to place the coral along the path of the light and within the same distance from the light that it was in the 10 gallon. <Good> I plan on adding a firefish and possibly one more, a chalk bass or gramma. <I would not, the bioload capacity of the AquaPod is not going to be significantly greater than the 10G due to its depth.> But the gramma may be too much for the firefish to handle. <I would think so, especially in this sized tank.> The filter is simply a pump pulling water out of the tank through a sponge and shooting it out like a powerhead from 2 nozzles. The water flow is much stronger than my 10 gallon. I will be placing carbon behind the sponge. Any suggestions would be appreciated. <Adding a skimmer is always a good idea.> I am debating whether to use my 5 year old rock from the old tank. It is one piece about 10-12 pounds. I know it has life inside but it also has pest algae on the outside on about 1/3 of it which is impossible to get off other than chiseling it down. Is it worth it? <That depends on you, will save some money and bring in established rock, but the algae will most likely continue unless physically removed.> Thanks, Sam <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: From 10 gallon to 24 Aquapod 1/22/09 Hi Chris, <Hello> I do not understand the statement highlighted below. <Can't see the highlights on our mail system.> Isn't the bio load dependent on the volume? <That is only one factor, and a small one in my opinion. Surface area for gas exchange and the footprint for available territory, which just about every reef fish will attempt to establish, are much more limiting than volume of water. Even if you massively overfilter a tank to provide good water quality it you can still run into problems if you do not provide the necessary "living space" for the fish's needs. Fish need lateral space, which the cubic design on the Aquapod does not provide a whole lot of.> Thanks, Sam <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: From 10 gallon to 24 Aquapod, 1/26/09 Hi Chris, <Hello> Thanks. I guess I should have asked before I bought. Since I only plan on having the very small sized fish it should work out. <Depends on the fish, many would easily try to claim the entire tank for themselves, even if they are small.> One more question regarding moving to the new tank. The rock in the tank was cured before I bought it and I tested the water and both ammonia and nitrites are zero. Does that mean the rock can handle a bio load or do I need to cycle the tank (fishless way) before I put in my fish. <I would still give it time to cycle, it is impossible to tell how much bacteria is in place, and adding too much too fast could overload it quite easily. Besides, time to cycle allows for the critter population to establish itself before predatory animals are added,> Or maybe take a rock from the current tank and place it in the new one. <Would help.> Thanks, Sam <Welcome> <Chris>

Lighting, small SW, and wet-dry filter media  1/2/09 Hi Crew, <Hello Sam, Minh at your service.> I have a 10 gallon with 65w (10k daylight) pc lighting that is over 5 years old. I am moving up to a 24 gallon Aquapod and would like to use the same lighting fixture. <Congratulations on the upgrade.> The standard Aquapod cover with PC lighting is 64w (32 10k and 32 actinic). My corals are just candycanes (probably close to 100 heads in total). My watts per gallon will be going down but does it really matter as long as I concentrate to corals along the light path and move them to the upper half of the tank. Will my current lighting be better for the corals than the Aquapod or does it not make much of a difference. <The "wattage per gallon" rule of thumb has really hindered the way aquarists look at lighting properly. Instead, we should look at the units of lighting produced by a particular lighting set up in terms of PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) or PUR (Photosynthetic Usable Radiation) - detailed explanation of these terms can be found on Sanjay's Lighting Website (http://www.manhattanreefs.com/lighting). In your particular case, you are spot on in pointing out that although the watts-per-gallon ratio goes down as your water volume goes up, the PAR/PUR units will remain the same as the lighting fixture is the same. Furthermore, you've pointed out a great strategy in coral placement and aquascaping to maximize light penetration in a taller tank.> A second question relates to biological filtration. If I have 25 pounds of live rock, sand and a sponge filter media is that sufficient. I have read about the problems of ceramic or other balls used to increase the biological population and would rather not use them if the problems outweigh the benefits. <In terms of nutrient export, the problems can outweigh the benefits. Here is an excerpt from an article explaining the process in detail, "Nitrate in the Reef Aquarium" (http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/august2003/chem.htm): "Such filters do a fine job of processing ammonia to nitrite to nitrate, but do nothing with the nitrate. It is often non-intuitive to many aquarists, but removing such a filter altogether may actually help reduce nitrate. So slowly removing them and allowing more of the nitrogen processing to take place on and in the live rock and sand can be beneficial. It is not that any less nitrate is produced when such a filter is removed, it is a question of what happens to the nitrate after it is produced. When it is produced on the surface of media such as bioballs, it mixes into the entire water column, and then has to find its way, by diffusion, to the places where it may be reduced (inside of live rock and sand, for instance). If it is produced on the surface of live rock or sand, then the local concentration of nitrate is higher there than in the first case above, and it is more likely to diffuse into the rock and sand to be reduced to N2." I My current 10 gallon has a Penguin mini power filter with a bio wheel and I never found a spike in ammonia even when large snails died (which I did not remove because all critters deserve a treat once in a while). <It sounds like your 5 year old system has reached a natural equilibrium. I suspect your new set up should fare well based on the experience you've gained with your current set up.> Thanks, Sam <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Re: Lighting, sm. SW   1/4/09 Hi Minh, Just wanted to know if there is any real real difference between my lighting and the one in the Aquapod as noted below. <Sam, the performance should be similar between the stock Aquapods 2x32W SunPaq and your 1x65W Daylight. Obviously your 1x65W Daylight would be much brighter directly under the bulb as the Aquapods 2x32W splits between Actinic and Daylight SunPaq bulbs. However, the light spread on the 2x32W SunPaq has more coverage suitable for a cube tank's dimensions. Like you mentioned before, creative aquascaping along the path of the 1x65W lamp is an option. Another option is to add another 1x65W lamp using a retrofit kit for additional coverage as your corals grow.> Thanks. <Hope that helps. Cheers, Minh Huynh>

Aquapod Pump/Water flow 4/11/08 Hi there, <Hi Alex.> I have one simple (hopefully simple) question. <OK> I currently have a Hydor Koralia 1 providing the majority of water flow in my 12 gallon AquaPod as well as the output from the filter that came with the tank. What I am looking for is something that will change direction and not constantly flow water in the same pattern. Is there something out there that perhaps toggles it's direction continuously so as to minimize the "dead spots" for grunge and build up? <Hmm, yes. SeaSwirls, Ocean Motions, SCWD, and WavySea are a few that work well. They are also large and expensive for a 12 gal (except maybe the SCWD). For your output on the pump look at the Hydor Flo Deflector. It is not the best, but it is cheap and works. You just need to clean it as part of your regular maintenance. You can achieve about the same results by directing the powerhead and pump flow at each other. This will give you a varied flow.> Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Alex
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Starting an AquaPod reef...  3/14/08 Hey Crew! Quick question...I've got a 12 gallon nano reef, up and running for 2 months now with one small clown, blood shrimp and 4 blue legged hermit crabs occupying this tank. Prior to putting the shrimp and clown in the tank I did my water tests and everything was perfect. Since putting in the shrimp and the clown and eventually the 4 crabs (who were supposed to be a clean up crew but as far as I'm concerned they make more mess than they clean - I'll be getting rid of them tomorrow and replacing them with smaller blue or red hermit crabs) my ammonia has shot through the roof to 2.0. <How much did you suddenly start feeding the tank when you added the livestock? The combination of the added livestock and food might have been too much too soon.> I know the obvious way to bring the ammonia down is to do more aggressive water changes or perhaps more frequently, but as I experienced last week; when pouring in the salt due to it's small nature of the nano the corals get burned from the contact with the salt (mental note....pre-mix)...can you recommend any piece of equipment that can help me with keeping the ammonia down? If it was a normal setup I would immediately purchase a protein skimmer but as I am now realizing, these nano tanks aren't all they're cracked up to be <Bingo. They're often without adequate filtration.> as there is NO space for a skimmer or at least not one that I can find. Any of the nano skimmers I have found involve me altering the hood which I am not confident in doing. Is there a nano skimmer out there that will help me, perhaps if I threw in a mangrove plant? <A mangrove won't help. It wouldn't do well in such a tank anyway. Honestly, there's not a whole lot you could do that wouldn't involve altering the hood to add filtration or drilling the tank to add a sump. This is the trouble with nano tanks systems. If you don't want to alter the tank, you'll have to find a way to do the heavy, frequent water changes (i.e. pre-mix your water, etc.).> HELP ME PLEASE!! Thanks so much! I've been a reader for over 5 years now and have enjoyed every minute of it! <De nada and good luck, Sara M.>

Re: Starting an AquaPod reef... 3/14/08 Hi Crew, <Hi> This is in response to the above heading in today's questions. The person has a 2 month old 14 gal nano and has problems with ammonia and one clown in the tank. I started a 10 gallon over 5 years ago and lost quite a bit of fish and critters during my first 6 months. Then I found the Crew. I still have the 10 gallon and 2 of my fish are over 4 years old. So if you follow the advice of WWM you can be successful with a nano. And rule number one is patience. You can't load your system with more than it can handle. <Indeed, this is true of any tank of any size.> Give your clown a break and ask the store to hold it for a while. The only reason I am responding is because the crew has the tendency to shrug off nano problems because they can be difficult to control. <Hmm, I certainly didn't mean to "shrug off" the writer's problem. The person who asked the question said he was reluctant to alter the tank in any way that would allow him to add equipment or water volume. He also said he was reluctant to do more aggressive water changes. Thus, I was at a loss to offer him any other solutions. Taking the livestock out would only be a temporary solution.> But if your advice is followed then people can have a good success rate. You can't cut corners. The systems are not forgiving. There just is too little water to dilute problems. <Very true and I thank you for writing in with your support/advice. In my opinion, the best way to keep a nano tank is with a large sump hidden underneath. It might be "cheating," but it works. ;-)> Thanks
Sara M.>

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