How to Aquascape a Reef Tank | A planner's dream!
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How to Aquascape a Reef Tank | 1st planner’s dream!

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How to Aquascape a Reef Tank if you are a planner!

It has been a dream to get my thumbs wet again!

To aquascape a reef tank was the first great creative thing I did with my second tank ever. This is my story, the things I overdid, the things I underdid, and all the fun I had!

I started with the measurements of the tank. A Waterbox 220.6. They did not have online true inside measurements so I did some math and I extrapolated from photos the exact location of the overflow tower.

Things you need to know first!

  • What are the inside dimensions?
    • If you know only the outside dimensions subtract the size of the glass twice over (both on the start and at the end of measurement there is glass)
      • This you do for both the width and the depth of the diminutions.
    • Approximate how high is your waterline, from the inside
      • this is tricky as not enough details are there before you start filling it up
  • What kinds of corals are you planning to house?
    • What are their final sizes according to your tastes?
      • If staghorn sps’s are to be housed you need a lower aquascape, lower than half the waterline
      • Is you plan to do zoagardens, anemonies, mushrooms, sinularia dura, or other such low height corals you can go upto 3/4 with no problems
  •  Have you checked out similar (in size and budget) tanks that you like?
    • Please take account of your budget, a lot can be done with unlimited funds… but I would guess that you do not have that possibility , same as me.
    • Very small and very big tanks can be very deceptive in their planning unless you have almost the same size.

Then start your choices! I will talk to you about mine. I started by hand drawing several plans:

I tried to look out for 3D planning but it seemed impossible. How to Aquascape a Reef Tank became a new project!!!

You can see I drew both the top down view and the front side too. This helped a bit, but I could not really plan for rock sizes and the enjoyment of anyone that is not immobile and centered. Also side views would not be planned this way.

So I tried to make a tiny replica… I am not good at this kind of thing… but here it is.

How to Aquascape a Reef Tank | A planner's dream! replica

This would not do either… so I moved online. No suggestions anywhere! So I remembered my time planning my kitchen! An online 3d planner might do the trick! And it did! You can do the same for free here https://www.tinkercad.com/dashboard

And here is a video I did of the entire process – in Greek for now, but if you need a translation I could do that… write a comment bellow, here and/or in youtube.

Ok now, let me get you through my thought processes to make the choices I made.

  • I want the entire thing to be based on rocks that sit levely on the floor pane. So I had some rocks sliced to make them flat at least on one side.
  • I want the entire thing to be removable, so even though I glued everything, I glued it in 14 different pieces.
  • I want to be sure not to damage the bottom pane, so I added a thin -1mm- acrylic pane on the bottom.
  • I wanted a 3D look so the the entire thing has several different heights, 3 in the front, 2 in the middle and 4 in the back. and every side can be seen as having different levels.
  • I wanted to have large corals -mostly softies, so most of the rockwork is low, 1/4 the height.
  • I wanted the back pane to be covered in clove polyps (maybe another encrusting coral too) so I led the the rockwork to touch the back pane in 3/4 of its length.
  • I wanted sand, lots of it, so I added about 2 inches of sand (fine and medium sizes ATI aragonite)

Well, as you can see I want a lot! This is why it was importan to my to know How to Aquascape a Reef Tank!

And here comes the final result of How to Aquascape a Reef Tank | A planner’s dream!

One final note. You will see that in the middle of the right side there is a low area, a lagoon. In there I did something different, a removable frag thingy… gimmie your opinion of it!

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