I promised some pictures, and although this isn't much of an update, and I'm really dejected by how slow this project is going, I am making headway at least on the aquascaping part. Here are a few pictures:
The first 2 pictures show the oysters (fully matched and glued) that are ready for me to glue to the reef. I will make several smaller cultches to eliminate gaps in the reef between the cultches. I will also allow for some caves and tunnels between the cultches. I've eliminated the cement blocks. My thinking is that there will be enough surface area for biological filtration in the tank, and if I use "live rock", it will be in the sump. Matching the oysters and then gluing them was a very long process that started late last summer.
The next few pictures show the reef as it is today. You an see that I've already created a few smaller cultches that bridge the larger ones together. The measuring tape shows the height of the tank at 18", and the plywood base that the oyster reef is sitting on has the 36"Lx 36"W dimensions (it is actually the side of the tank stand that I'm using as a work platform). The tank is about 101 gallons or so.
This first picture is from the front view of the reef:
This is a closer view of the right side of the reef, the main reef. I plan to add oysters to make this about 6" taller toward the rear of the tank when done.
The same view, but showing the left side too for perspective.
I still wish to have this tank set up and running this summer, that is the goal. It all depends on financing (how much money we have left after our family vacation for equipment that I need).