View Full Version : Montana 300 gallon build

10/03/2016, 12:49 PM
This will be a slow moving project.

I purchased a used 96"x24"Wx30"H 1/2" acrylic tank. It's about 7-9 Years old. It was used in a school to keep trout, and then was sold after 3 or 4 years to the guy I bought it from. He had it for 4 or 5 years. The owner kept arrowanas, catfish, pacu, and bichir.

The seams look perfect, there is a little bit of crazing but it doesn't look bad. It was full when I first looked at it.

It came with a nice 60 gallon acrylic sump. but the tank isn't drilled. The overflow is vacuum and does come with a pump to keep it primed. However, I think for safety I'll drill it. The return pump is 1800gph.. I'll have to look at the brand later.

The original stand was a massive steel stand.. much larger than the tank itself. It was too big to get into my basement so I opted for the stand he built (He couldn't even fit it in his doorway) His stand is 10 3x6" posts with 2x6's to hold it together, 1/2" plywood, and he put the top of the old stand on top, heavy oak. the 3x6s look to be in good shape, but the 2x6's some are cracked throughout I think I should replace those. I'll need to redesign the stand so the sump will fit under it. (He had it next to the tank). It was also too tall, 32" 3x6's, I'll cut that down by 6" I think.. 24" tall stand.. I'll need to do some measuring.

The acrylic doesn't have any deep scratches, just very fine surface scratches that keep it from appearing as clear as it could. I ordered some Novus 1,2,3 and I'll get it polished up.

I'll need to drill 3 holes for a bean animal overflow.. - looking for suggestions here on which overflow to buy.

Right now I'm leaning toward using just the 60 gallon sump, first compartment will have calurpa in it(maybe an algae scrubber), 2nd compartment will have the skimmer, and 3rd will be the return, which I figure I'll leave the same, just the 1800gph.

I like the way sand looks I'll probably do a 1" sand bed, should take about 120lbs I think. -I am considering going deeper if I want to get something like a leopard wrasse, but I think the sand will get moved into piles anyway..

None of this is purchased yet, I'll take feedback/suggetions:

Skimmer: Reef Octopus Regal 250INT

circulation: 2x maxspect Gyre xf250 one on either end, I might pick up a pair of spares as well as I see they are relatively cheap now. (Mine have been rock solid, had them since they first came out)

Controller: Apex - The latest $800 one seems a bit spendy, not sure if I need that. I might go with the classic.

Lights: Can't decide on LED or MH... This will be purchased in the spring (income tax return time).. so I have a lot of time to decide.

ATO: I'm not sure here, i looked at a couple of systems... I might just do a DIY system.

RO/DI: I need a new system, my 50gpd isn't going to cut it. looking for suggestions on a 150gpd system. (I wonder how easily I could modify my existing one? I'd just need to add a 2nd RO stage and switch to 75gpd membranes I think)

The sump has a built in filter sock holder so I'll likely pick up about 15 of those to change out every other day and then wash in the washing machine monthly.

I will keep the stocking relatively light, Right now I'd like a pacific blue (hippo) tang, a sailfin tang, and a 3rd tang which I haven't decided on yet. Other than that several smaller fish, haven't decided on those either.. pair of clowns which I already have.

Should be mostly SPS tank, there are a few LPS I like (such as open brain) that I'll probably put in there as well.

I'll post pics as things progress.

10/03/2016, 02:20 PM
Really the only input I have is on the RO/DI - I just purchased the BRS 4 stage 150 GPD system and I am really happy with it. Great price with the amount of add/on's that come with it.

10/04/2016, 09:48 AM
Go Skimmer first compartment then Caulerpa 2nd. This removes solid organics before they need to be removed and will keep it running more efficiently. Will keep reading but that is a change you should make.

Also Novus works wonders with a machine if you have one! Otherwise alot of elbow grease!

10/04/2016, 10:53 AM
Does it bow out much? I would think 1/2" at 30" tall would be a bit too thin

10/04/2016, 03:18 PM
it does, he mentioned it, I forgot to look before he drained it. From reports form other people with same dimension half in acrylic almost an inch, I'll have to see how much this one bows. It has a solid top on it with just 2 holes cut out on top, so it might be better than some that just use bracing.

I'll experiment with the sump arrangement.. it has the last panel up high and a gap at the bottom, it was designed so water would go through the bio balls from top to bottom. My concern would be if calurpa got sucked up into the return pump. I wouldn't be able to make a refugium type setup in the middle compartment as sand and critters would make it's way to the pump. I don't believe it matters where the calurpa is, I could have it in the display and it would work just as well.. however, if the middle compartment can't maintain a high enough water level I might have to put the skimmer in the first chamber anyway.. which will likely be the case.. I might need to modify it..

Any advice on the overflow? where to buy? how long to get? I was thinking of this one:


put it right in the middle of the tank, with the gyres on either side it should get a good amount of flow to it. I might just get one of the less expensive just a box style and buy my own stuff, but I thought that looked solid/fool proof.

10/05/2016, 06:30 PM

picture of the tank, still needs a good microfiber/water wipedown to clean it out.. I just got the Novus 1, 2, 3 so I'll be working on that tonight. If the 3 doesn't knock down the scratches I'll be doing some wet sanding.. 2000 grit should do it. That cat loves jumping into the tank.. she usually sleeps on top of my 40g light fixture.

10/06/2016, 07:00 AM
ReefSavvy ghost overflow. http://reefsavvy.com/the-reef-savvy-difference/
Will accommodate beananimal style

The more I read the more I like the sounds of an LED/MHI - LED/T5 hybrid system. I have yet to try it so grain of salt there. I can tell you I am experiencing shadowing problems with some of my SPS with the radions set 24" above water level.

10/09/2016, 01:28 PM
since the reef savvy one says 6 weeks delivery I figured I might as well go with the synergy reef shadow overflow.. http://synergyreef.com/product/16-shadow-overflow/ it also wont be delivered till mid november, but, it's discounted down to $139.99 and looks like it should be good.

11/29/2016, 06:29 PM
I told you this was going to be a slow build :)

2x maxspect Gyre XF250 pumps for water circulation
1x Regal 250-INT reef octopus skimmer
2x Eheim jagger 300 watt heaters.
1x BRS 150 gallon per day RO/DI unit.


Still waiting for my overflow, but I expect I'll have it soon. I'm not in a rush for it though, decided I had better finish my other project first (replace all carpet in my house with laminate flooring).. and still deciding on how to build the stand.. leaning towards 2x6s following the DIY stand thread model.

I still need a return pump.. The one it came with i'll use as a backup.. looking at a new jebao or octo varioS-6.. I'd prefer something I can run at like 3/4 or 1/2 speed... After that i'll order some sand and dry rock and salt.. build the stand, do the plumbing.. and I'll be ready to fill it. probably this spring. I'm not sure when I'll buy the lights, either this spring or next. (I have some options for low-medium light corals, doubling up a couple of my old 48" setups)

I've finished cleaning and polishing most of the tank. just a little bit left to do. My cats have been scratching it, but mostly the top and bottom, so I guess I wont worry about it.. I sealed it up so they can't climb in anymore at least.

11/29/2016, 09:11 PM
the skimmer sitting next to a 10 gallon aquarium: