Justens mangrove tank build


New member
Starting a thread to document the progress and get opinions.

I am based in Scotland so I do have access to most things however some items are very expensive. So I will be doing a few things abnormally from what I have done in the past when I was in the States.

The tank was bought used but looks to be about 10 gallons. As this is an experiment to try and spend money on only needed equipment I used a large pot to fill it. Hence I do not know exactly how much water I added.

It came with a return pump and heater. And it had a weak light that I have sense replaced.

The previous owner had cichlids and I kept the sand from his tank.

I then put caribesea live substrate Fiji pink on top of that.

The only filtration currently in the tank is from coarse filter material.

I then added the Nicrew 100 watt LED light.

i previously had a plant in this space so the light above that will be for the mangroves.

I ordered 2 red mangroves from eBay. The seller stated that they were currently in freshwater. So I now need to slowly add salt to acclimate them when they arrive. Advice on time frame would be greatly appreciated. My current thoughts are to raise the salt levels every 2 weeks at an extremely slow rate so it would take 2 months to reach normal reef levels.

I also will add a bag of carbon at that time.

I used just tap water for the initial fill as well as bio starter and water conditioner.

The pictures are showing a very blue tank, however in real life it’s much more white. I will work on getting this fixed for future posts.


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Premium Member
Looks really great.I did a similar thing with styrofoam to hold my mangroves. If you have or add an ATO , you could put weak salt water in it and then the increase would be automatic and gradual. Julian Sprung is really great with mangroves. Here's a link to his PDF guide:


I grew these under a couple 13w twisty fluorescent bulbs so you should have great success with the Nicrew. The pic was after they were pulled from the system and were getting a couple of spots. Yes it's winter outside in the photo. :p