This will be the ongoing thread of my Aquapod 24 gallon aquarium from the very start of setting up the tank. I have had four years of experience with freshwater aquariums. This will be my first time at keeping a saltwater nano reef setup. I hope this joural will help all newbies out there like myself and hopefully answer some questions about start up with the AP 24. October 26, 2008 I always liked the appeal of a nano tank. Small and contained, its perfect for the condo I live in. I looked at the Aquapod 24, Biocube 14, and the Nano 24. I went with the AP because most people who had one were very happy with it, the tank was structurally reliable, it had the ability to be modded, and the price was $50 cheaper than other comparable tanks. I decided to stick with the stock hood lighting because I have cats. After about a month of deciding which Nano Aquarium I wanted, I took the plunge... I ordered the AP 24 online from Dr FosterSmith, the price was great, it was $100 cheaper than my LFS. I was a bit worried about ordering online though as I have heard and seen many stories and pictures of the AP arriving in the mail broken. The website I ordered from has outstanding customer service so if it did arrive broken, I knew I would be taken care of. After patiently waiting for a week, it finally arrived on my doorstep. The shipping box I thought was pretty well packaged. The Aquarium was in it's factory sealed box and put inside another brown box, and then put in another brown box with stryofoam. Tripled boxed, nice! I had high hopes it would be not shattered. I opened the AP box and I was surprised it was not broken! (whew!) Of course I took it out and inspected it all over looking for signs of cracked glass. I was pleased to see it had survived the shipping. I tested the lights and they worked fine. The cooling fans were a little louder than I thought. The tank came with sponges, bioballs and ceramic media all which I took out of the tank (i wont be using them). It also came with a loc-line Y splitter nozzle for the return. Now with the tank secured, I decided to take the next step. My girlfriend and I decided we wanted a nice stand that wouldnt look like an aquarium stand since the tank was going in our living room. We found a nice stand and color that we liked that actually looked like a piece of furniture and decided to order that. It was a bit more expensive than the other stands but we took the hit because why go with something we wouldnt be happy with? The stand was also made for a larger tank than my AP, so I felt a little more comfortable with the extra support. EcoCube espresso stand $199 I also went ahead and got some additional supplies from Dr FosterSmith, Target, and Home Depot. -Maxi-Jet 1200 $18 -Visi-therm Stealth 75w heater $15 -Refractometer $27 -Korailia 1 $28 -GFCI pigtail $20 -Two outdoor heavy duty timers with 3 prong cord $10 each -Belkin 8 outlet surge protector $25 I also decided that I wanted to start on the mods for my AP. This included an eggcrate media rack that would fit into the back chamber of the AP. The eggcrate I found was at Home Depot in the lighting section and it went for $10. The actual eggcrate is plastic found in lighting fixtures. In this case, it would become a nice rack for placing items such as filter floss, chaeto and bags of chemipure, carbon, etc. The sheet of eggcrate was a lot bigger than I thought. Unfortunatley, I didnt have a dremel tool to cut with so I just went with a standard pair of scissors and a pair of pliers to break off broken ends of plastic. I took measurements inside the back chamber and started to put the rack together. My plan was to have three shelves. I kept the middle shelf off for now until I know the size of the chemipure bag I plan to put in. Using non-toxic superglue, I glue the pieces of cut out eggcrate together. After letting it cure, I found the rack was sturdy and strong. I also wanted to upgrade the stock powerhead to a Maxi-jet 1200. I heard this pump was more reliable and ran cooler than the stock pump. However, the suction cup legs attached to the maxi-jet would not fit into the back chamber of the AP. I had to cut off the left and right legs and use the center for support. Two suction cups would be on the center. I used an exacto knife to make some cuts and was able to bend and snap off the legs. The return hose was also too big for the maxi-jet, so I found an adapter at Home Depot (in the sprinkler section) and silcone glued the piece on that would fit the hose) The AP has two cooling fans. These fans come on when the Daylight bulb is turned on. My plan was to turn on the Actinic lights an hour before the Daylights and turn the Actinics off an hour after the Daylights. That would mean the actinic lights would be running an hour before and after without the cooling fans. I've heard from other AP users to swap the Daylight and Actinic bulbs in the their fixtures so that when the Actinic bulb comes on first, the cooling fans would too. So I went ahead and swapped the bulbs. I was done for the mods I wanted to do for now. I decided the next step was to build the stand and get the electical grid set up with the drip loop. I created a simple diagram in photoshop of what I wanted to do. Having a GFCI was a must!!! This device would save my life should something ever should happen with electricity getting in the water and I put my hands in. I plan on getting a ground probe as well, this way the GFCI will trip immediately when a problem develops with any equipment. The drip loop would be easy, I could place the surge protector on the inside of the aquarium stand and feed the cables through the hole on lower back wall of the stand. I knew it would be dry and safe from water damage here. I could also hang up the timers too. With this setup, I felt comfortable I would be safe. *Some people suggest having two surge protectors and two GFCIs in case one of the GFCI trips while your away from home. The other surge protector with half of the other equipment would keep going and keep your tank going with lighting and flow. I decided I would do this setup later for when I plan on being gone for a long time*. I now decided it was time for the freshwater and equipment test run. This would allow me to check for any possible water leaks in tank, equipment failures, and to wash and pick up any factory dust particles. I went ahead and filled the tank up with faucet water and turned on the equipment. FTS Close up Eggcrate rack with temporary sponge to collect dust and other particles /> So far all is going well. No leaks, equipment is running fine. I am using a Hydor Flo on the return that a co-worker gave me instead of the Y splitter nozzle. Until I get my live rock setup, i'll use the Hydor Flo for now and it seems to circulate the water in all directions. The surface skimmer seems to be working fine and the water is flowing into the sponge. I will let this run for a day or two and will empty it out.