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Tank Time IM Encore Update

Since this build is actually two separate 10 gallon tanks, we are going to do a saltwater and a freshwater side.  Below is all of the gear we are using, and we will specify if it’s for the salt or fresh side.

IM Nuvo Concept Encore 20 Pro Bundle

This is a really cool build, and perfect for a beginner.  Basically you get two 10-gallon tanks for the price of one.  So you can build two saltwater tanks, make one side a quarantine and the other side a hospital tank, salt & fresh, or two freshwater tanks.  

The filtration is completely separate on each side, so the sky is the limit!  Here are the specs:

APS Cabinet Stand by Innovative Marine

Innovative Marine makes an aluminum stand just for this tank.  It’s lightweight, and comes with an optional shelving unit to help store your gear.

3) Lights

Kessil A80 Tuna Blue (Saltwater)
Kessil A80 Tuna Sun (Freshwater)
Kessil Mini A Series Gooseneck

Since one side of our build is freshwater, and the other side is saltwater, we need two different lights.  We are going to use the Kessil A80’s, Tuna Blue for the saltwater side, and the Tuna Sun for the freshwater side.

Just make sure you also purchase the Gooseneck Mount for each so you can attach the lights to your tank.

Hydor Koralia Nano Circulation Pump 240gph (Saltwater)

Depending on your livestock, you may not need this wavemaker.  But some corals like a bit higher flow rates, so if you find you just aren’t getting enough umph from the included DC return pump, give this wavemaker a try.  It’s super budget friendly and will do the job just fine!

CaribSea Life Rock

Live rock provides the backbone of biological filtration for any saltwater aquarium, as well as providing beauty, hiding places for fish, and locations to place coral.

I like this live rock because it comes 100% pest free, and with a natural looking coralline color that makes it pop under the blue lights. 20 lbs will be more than enough, and you can even break up some of the bigger pieces to give you more options.

Canyon Petrified Stone From Lifegard Aquatics

I’m going to be 100% honest here… I don’t know anything about the freshwater side!  These rocks were recommended to me by Marine Depot, so I’m going to use them, along with some wood, to try my best at a freshwater scape!  Marine Depot has a whole bunch of other freshwater rocks available, so check them out!

7) Wood (Fresh)

Zoo Med Spider Wood
Mopani Wood

I’ve actually used the Mopani wood before in a Betta Fish tank I built a while back, and I think I even made a YouTube video about it!

It’s beautiful, and even left some nice tannins in the water (which I hear you can mitigate with boiling the wood and using activated carbon).

Once again, I don’t know a think about freshwater scaping, but these were recommended to me so I’m going to give them a shot!

Fiji pink sand in 20 lb bag with close up of grain size
CaribSea Fiji Pink Sand

This is often my go-to sand.  It has a nice color to it, and the grain consistency is quite uniform.  It’s probably a good bet for a lower-flow tank like this IM build.  For higher flow tanks I go with the CaribSea Special Grade,  mainly because the slightly larger grain size prevents it from blowing around your tank.

For this 10 gallon build, the 10 lb bag will do just fine.

CaribSea Super Natural Torpedo Beach Sand

Once again, I had to rely on some of my freshwater aquascaping friends for this recommendation.  They told me it looks great and can be used with plants!  The 20lb bag will be more than enough!

Eheim Jager 50 Watt Aquarium Heater

The Eheim Jagers have been my go-to heaters for many, many years now. You’ll see they come in #1 on my Heaters Gear Guide.  They are affordable, last a long time, and I just have a proven track record with them.

The 50W size will be perfect for this build, and make sure you get 2 of them, one for each side.

Kent Marine Pro-Scraper II

I’ve used various versions of this handheld scraper for years, but with this size tank, I think the 12″ is perfect.  Yes, this build does come with a magnetic algae scraper, but sometimes there are places it just won’t reach.  

Just be sure to rinse this Kent Marine Pro Scraper out with freshwater after each use, and you should get many years of use out of it!

AquaMaxx NF-1 Nano Protein Skimmer

While certainly not essential for a lightly stocked tank, if you really cram in fish and corals, I would consider picking this skimmer up.

It’s rated for a 20-gallon tank with a heavy bioload, so it’s hyper powered for this build.

It does fit in the second filtration chamber, just barely, and you have to remove these little rubber pieces at the bottom, all of which takes about 5 seconds!

Gravel Vacuum
Aqueon Siphon Vacuum Gravel Cleaner

Just another one of those water change essentials, I think the 5′ Mini will work just fine!

Innovative Marine Accudrip Acclimator For Drip Acclimation
IM AccuDrip Drip Acclimator

You don’t need this for the acclimation process, but it’s just so handy that I’ve used mine for probably five years by this point.  There is a plastic U-shape at the end which fits nicely inside your tank, and a rolling clamp to adjust the flow.

Marina Fine Nylon Net

Nothing fancy, just a simple and inexpensive net to catch your fish!

front view of api saltwater test kit in original packaging
API Marine Saltwater Master Test Kit

This is an inexpensive saltwater test kit that will monitor your ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, basically letting you know when the cycle is done.

If you start adding corals, you will probably want to pick up another test kit that checks for calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium.

API Tap Water Conditioner

On the freshwater side, you can go one of two ways.  The easiest is to use this dechlorinator for your tap water.  It neutralizes the chlorine and chloramines that might be in your water, as well as the heavy metals.

I’ve used it successfully with my Betta Fish, and it’s worked great.

You could also use RO/DI water, and add back in the minerals using Remineraliz Mineral Balance from Brightwell Aquatics.

AquaMaxx Refractometer

I still think a refractometer is the most reliable way to test the salinity of your saltwater.  Sure, it costs a bit more up front, but it’s so much easier than playing around with a hydrometer. I’ve had my refractometer for over five years, and it’s still like new.  Just make sure to rinse it with freshwater after each use.

AquaMaxx Refractometer

I actually wish I would have bought this TDS meter sooner, mainly because it also has a thermometer.  Here I was, using a TDS meter and a thermometer separately for years!

Always handy to have on hand, a TDS meter measures the total dissolved solids in your RO/DI water, and let’s you know when it’s time to change your RO/DI filters!