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    Glassbox Update | Building a Pinnacle Rock Structure

    I know–an update on the glassbox has been overdue. The tank has admittedly not gotten much attention until recently. Over the past few weeks I’ve engaged in a glassbox ‘audit’. If a rock or coral did not ‘add positively’ to the tank it was either rearranged or removed. It was a difficult process, but this […]

    aquascape reef tank

    I know–an update on the glassbox has been overdue. The tank has admittedly not gotten much attention until recently. Over the past few weeks I’ve engaged in a glassbox ‘audit’. If a rock or coral did not ‘add positively’ to the tank it was either rearranged or removed. It was a difficult process, but this weekend I made the last major removals and changes.

    The biggest change was a large rock near the very front of the aquarium. I was never thrilled with the structure and it did not allow the coral placement or depth that I desired, as such it was banished to the sump.

    After drafting some designs I settled on a pinnacle style coral head. Visually I was looking to create a structure that stood 15″ tall to place a tabling Acropora on top. At 15″ the structure will partially block the curving aquascape behind it, visually increasing the depth from front to back. (Interestingly the height also corresponds to the golden ratio when applied to the height of the actual aquarium — 24.00/14.83=1.618)

    To do this I went with dry rock. This has the benefit of being light weight and easy to manipulate. Thankfully GBD contributor Mike Clifford had hundreds of pounds of this, which allowed me the opportunity to cherry pick. Before working with the rocks they were soaked in a 10:1 water and bleach solution and aggressively scrubbed. The rocks then sat out for 4 days to allow the bleach to evaporate and subsequently soaked for 48hrs in RO/DI water. Despite appearing clean, dry mined rock can hold plenty of nutrients and dried detritus.

    To see this vid in full size, check out the GBD channel on Vimeo.

    When using dry rock epoxy works extremely well. Typically superglue is not needed, but I use it for extra precaution. Remember that superglue is a surface adhesive and it will not fill gaps–that is what then epoxy is for. After 24 hrs the bond formed using epoxy and super glue is stronger than the porous calcium carbonate rock. This is an easy and affordable way to implement stable, creative aquascaping into your aquarium.

    Sidenote: A key when building vertical structures is continuity in the rock–meaning they should look like they go together in some manner. A recent trend has been the use of rock towers using plastic rods. I have used this method in the past and it can work quite well, but it is much more difficult than dilling rocks and stacking them. Many images I’ve seen of this method online border on a rock snowman and/or a kabob! In some cases corals blend rocks into one another and or make them invisible to the viewer; however, where they are not, be conscious of shapes and textures.

    In the next couple weeks I’ll be wrapping up the last bit of aquascaping left–a large overhang. Till then…

    15 Comments

    1. March 15, 2010 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

      Looks awesome Eric, well done! Love how fast you worked to ensure the epoxy didn't harden on ya 😉

    2. Tom H
      March 15, 2010 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

      Great change. Definitely adds more depth with the visual obstruction in the foreground. How far is the pinnacle from the front of the glass?

    3. Mark Poletti
      March 15, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

      Very nice Eric. What are you feeding your fish? They all move so fast 🙂

    4. nicholassadaka
      March 15, 2010 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

      Very impressive, Eric…boy I wish I had that kind of artistic ability/creativity. Something you or the readers might be interested to see-if anyone receives Coral magazine and got the calendar they offer, this months picture is an absolute PERFECT example of this naturally on the reef.

    5. jmaneyapanda
      March 15, 2010 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

      YES!!!! Love it! And I agree 1 gadillion percent about the snowman and kabob. Another look I detest if the “flintstone house”, with two round rocks with a flat shelf sitting on top. Blech.

    6. jmaneyapanda
      March 15, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

      Is the marcellae a picker too? Hmmmm, I didnt expect that.

    7. March 15, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

      Hi Tom, it's roughly 5″ from the front glass. Unless looking from the side it appears much closer.

    8. March 15, 2010 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

      Prognathodes love coral slime, rarely does the Marcellae go after polyps. Moving the rocks around and bumping into the corals made all the butterflies snack (slime) happy.

    9. ziyaad
      March 16, 2010 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

      “nd/or a kabob!” very true

    10. jmaneyapanda
      March 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

      Good point- I assumed he was targeting polyps, but I guess I was wrong. My butterflies used to LOVE going after the slime/mesentary filaments after a heavy feeding/water change/ manual contact.

    11. Matt
      March 18, 2010 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

      “the golden ratio”, ROFL!

    12. Chase
      April 21, 2010 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

      Eric, what did you shoot/edit this with? Amazing video!

    13. Chase
      April 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

      Eric, what did you shoot/edit this with? Amazing video!

    14. April 22, 2010 at 12:55 AM | Permalink

      Hey Chase–I’m glad you enjoyed it. The video was shot with a canon 500D @ 1080p using Canon EF 85mm f/1.8. Editing was tediously done in iMovie… no FCP @ the home mac. HTH!

    15. April 21, 2010 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

      Hey Chase–I'm glad you enjoyed it. The video was shot with a canon 500D @ 1080p using Canon EF 85mm f/1.8. Editing was tediously done in iMovie… no FCP @ the home mac. HTH!

    One Trackback

    1. […] a small Aragolite Arch. It takes just minutes to assemble and is quite sturdy. As we showed in the pinnacle aquascape video, using epoxy and superglue on dry rock like this will strengthen the structure even […]

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