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nishal
02/14/2017, 01:16 AM
Ask your friends to name your tank and you get Reefy McReefface.

I am pumped (pun intended) to start a reef in my new home in California. I want to show my progress here and welcome any and all of your thoughts. The last time I had a salt water tank was just before my son was born in 2011. It was an all in one Red Sea Max 250 version 1 with mixed corals.

My main thoughts behind this reef are all focused on experiences it can inspire:

1. Simple and beautiful tank plus hardware to fit in well with our interior decorating style (meaning sanctioned by the higher power)
2. Reminisce about my days as a molecular biologist and expose my son to the sciences and design thought
3. Minimalist scientific philosophy plus IoT to create a thriving, colorful, textured ecosystem that evoke feelings of wonder for family and friends and memories of living in the Caribbean.

Apologies in advance if I post too many updates even with a slow build.

I decided to go with the 116 gallon total volume Red Sea Reefer 450 Deluxe with a white cabinet because it is the only tank I could find that fit into our home design style without being a distracting monster. The tank is a bit taller than I would have liked but for me at this level of quality, it isn't such a big deal...more room to grow upwards, right? I chose the Deluxe version because the tank is drilled to seamlessly incorporate mounts for 3 AI Hydra 26 web connected LED lights. The tank has a stand, lights, sump, ATO, filter socks, and simple plumbing. The overflow design gives me some confidence also to minimize the potential of flooding, but I am deathly afraid of if/when that happens. All other equipment is up to me and I have ordered.

nishal
02/14/2017, 12:35 PM
I supported my local fish store by purchasing through them. It was delayed for a week as the wrong tank was send. Felt bad about it for the store but also a little disappointed...first world problems!

This tank apparently came on a huge pallet and was heavy. They guys at the store broke it down and brought it to my home. Reefer 450 must be in reference to how to thank your friends and delivery peeps for lifting an at least 450 pound package. The stand might be Ikea style assembly but 10 times heavier and 20 times better built and looking.

The tank was put next to the spot where the cabinet will be. Yep that's a 2 foot deep media hole in the wall for a receiver for full house ceiling speakers, but I don't use them. It will be used to house equipment and my power source (found out my house is 20A wired, so yay!).

https://flic.kr/p/S7AaG6

Here is what my office looks like with all the tank parts and equipment. There are more pieces and boxes hiding in the corners and the closet. Tank came in around 8PM and I spent the next few hours assembling the slick and heavy as hell cabinet.

https://flic.kr/p/S3ZwCU

VGT
02/14/2017, 12:54 PM
Nice, good luck with it!

Will be interested to see what sort of IoT integrations you come up with. Got a bit of a smart home myself, but I've stuck with an old ReefKeeper controller for the tank.

nishal
02/14/2017, 01:00 PM
I supported my local fish store by purchasing through them. It was delayed for a week as the wrong tank was send. Felt bad about it for the store but also a little disappointed...first world problems!

This tank apparently came on a huge pallet and was heavy. They guys at the store broke it down and brought it to my home. Reefer 450 must be in reference to how to thank your friends and delivery peeps for lifting an at least 450 pound package. The stand might be Ikea style assembly but 10 times heavier and 20 times better built and looking.

The tank was put next to the spot where the cabinet will be. Yep that's a 2 foot deep media hole in the wall for a receiver for full house ceiling speakers, but I don't use them. It will be used to house equipment and my power source (found out my house is 20A wired, so yay!).

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3847/32892403785_fd1fa4734a_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/S7AaG6)[/url]

Here is what my office looks like with all the tank parts and equipment. There are more pieces and boxes hiding in the corners and the closet. Tank came in around 8PM and I spent the next few hours assembling the slick and heavy as hell cabinet.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2326/32851695836_7a36cbe821_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/S7AaG6)[url=https://flic.kr/p/S3ZwCU]

Tiresome stuff...I'm getting old.

nishal
02/14/2017, 03:24 PM
Late night assembly and late night photos. That doesn't look right, something must be missing.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/342/32524015020_c33921b854_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Ry35xE)

Photobombed by a flower. The quality and fit of the Red Sea Reffer cabinet is awesome. The mat is high quality and glued down both on top and in the sump area. Awesome cutouts in the top and back for plumbing and the back of the right section isn't closed off like the other.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/484/32524016220_ce28733d02_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Ry35Um)

Even the doors aligned! The white matt finish on this cabinet is awesome and looks really modern and high end. The wife said so! It also surprisingly easy to move on the plastic supports underneath on hard tile...it's not that easy actually given the weight but still easy enough.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/614/32904163495_f525781a21_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/S8CrrH)

Is that too much detail?

nishal
02/14/2017, 03:28 PM
Nice, good luck with it!

Will be interested to see what sort of IoT integrations you come up with. Got a bit of a smart home myself, but I've stuck with an old ReefKeeper controller for the tank.

My whole house is IoT to the point of taxing my bandwidth. Also, when one thing screws up, a lot of things screw up. Alexa is playing a much bigger part now though. I'll have more on IoT for the tank beginning with a Neptune unit and of course integration with the house IoT ecosystem as much as possible. I'm also interested to see where this goes.

VGT
02/14/2017, 04:20 PM
Yeah, my house is littered with Echo Dots, talking to my Vera hub through a virtual computer :) Those things screw up once in awhile, which is why I've stayed away from bringing the tank online. Will probably go that way eventually, but I've had this controller for years and its still ticking.

That stand looks great. Keep the pictures and details coming.

nishal
02/15/2017, 10:52 AM
Yeah, my house is littered with Echo Dots, talking to my Vera hub through a virtual computer :) Those things screw up once in awhile, which is why I've stayed away from bringing the tank online. Will probably go that way eventually, but I've had this controller for years and its still ticking.

That stand looks great. Keep the pictures and details coming.

Thanks! I've been following your build and looking forward to your updates. Very inspiring use of 3D printing btw.

nishal
02/15/2017, 11:07 AM
A buddy came by and we were able to lift the tank and put it on the stand. Wasn't too bad at all.

Added the first vertebrate to the tank. He's a fighter!

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/752/32794874951_8cba5b3a8e_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RXYiLt)

Some other views of the tank. Space to take some angled shots is tight.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/559/32918619295_84936264aa_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/S9UwDD)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3801/32918618505_e53b312e57_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/S9Uwq2)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/339/32794874421_eb7e4cfac5_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RXYiBk)

nishal
02/15/2017, 01:17 PM
About to lay some pipe.

What I love about Red Sea tanks is that the plumbing is so easy and doesn't require me to know how to lay pipe well, and is simply just a few turns to lock in the right hole. This is all the plumbing I need except for flexible tubing from the return pump to the return pipe that I will purchase.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/366/32794793181_064b65f057_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RXXTsD)

nishal
02/15/2017, 09:10 PM
So I didn't lay pipe. I installed the sump first...ehm...according to the instruction manual. The sump is a beautiful rimless tank and surprisingly it was packed on it's side.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2452/32794789281_287aa628e6_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RXXSip)

Top view before installing and by installing I mean pushing it in the cabinet.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/419/32765142032_88b2cf223f_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RVkVcW)

Other views of "installed" sump. That's a float switch to the left that attaches to a rimless glass container as an auto top off system. I still have to add the glass container...but after laying pipe, for real this time.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3736/32765145532_56e983caed_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RVkWfh)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2653/32765143882_f3e43bee94_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RVkVKQ)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2683/32765144702_55a976c7aa_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RVkVZY)

Man, I need to work out.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2494/32765142862_3300b73e3c_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RVkVsf)

Reefer525XL
02/15/2017, 09:35 PM
Beautiful tank... Question though, did you happen to see a sticker on one of your stand pieces with a date on it? I just received my tank today and like yours mine is white but the interior is black. I know red sea change this a while back because customers wanted a black interior so just wondering that the date on your set is.

Still need to get my doors installed.

https://s15.postimg.org/atusk1bfv/IMG_2383.jpg

nishal
02/15/2017, 09:59 PM
Beautiful tank... Question though, did you happen to see a sticker on one of your stand pieces with a date on it? I just received my tank today and like yours mine is white but the interior is black. I know red sea change this a while back because customers wanted a black interior so just wondering that the date on your set is.

Still need to get my doors installed.

https://s15.postimg.org/atusk1bfv/IMG_2383.jpg

Congrats on the XL. It already looks awesome against that great wall color. I don't see a sticker on mine but it could be on the back where I can't see it. When I talked to Red Sea about the 450 vs the 525XL a month ago, one of the differences was that the white XL stand is black on the inside while the non xl is all white. The wife didn't approve of that even though I thought it was cool. Do you have a build thread so I can live through you?

Reefer525XL
02/15/2017, 11:08 PM
Oh ok so that's where I was confused. Only the XL have the black interior. I actually really like it and it will work great with what I'm doing to the sump. No build thread yet but will be making one soon.

nishal
02/21/2017, 03:05 PM
Oh ok so that's where I was confused. Only the XL have the black interior. I actually really like it and it will work great with what I'm doing to the sump. No build thread yet but will be making one soon.

Looking forward to your build and sump.

nishal
02/21/2017, 03:13 PM
Just some of the toys that need installing. There are more somewhere. Everything is taking so much time I don't have and I still don't have the right attachment to make RODI water. I think I'm just going to replace the faucet since it's probably 20 years old.

Can you guess what's in the can?

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2889/33040223795_c1c2084c78_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SkDMqX)

Nice packaging gyre!

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2766/33040224835_456be826fc_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SkDMJT)

nishal
02/21/2017, 03:22 PM
This is the Red Sea Reefer 450 Deluxe. The Deluxe part means that the tank is drilled on the back to accept light mounts for AI Hydra HD 26 lights. I think these lights are great and the low profile integration of the mounts is aesthetically pleasing. The stands and lights came in Red Sea branded boxes.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2203/33040227415_d3f9c293ac_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SkDNvn)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/699/33040228575_1cf0963f3f_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SkDNRn)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2032/32884372352_cafcb2895d_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/S6T1e7)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3847/33040226135_389447b749_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SkDN8i)

nishal
02/21/2017, 03:23 PM
Also, the lights can be easily moved out of the way for tank maintenance and a possible rain maker install if I ever get around to it.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2293/32998556636_d949c463a3_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SgYeeE)

Reefer525XL
02/22/2017, 10:13 AM
Looks very nice!

Reefer525XL
02/22/2017, 10:16 AM
Are you going to be using sand or bare bottom?

nishal
02/22/2017, 02:28 PM
Are you going to be using sand or bare bottom?

Thanks dude! I really like the look of pure white and fine sand but don't like it blowing around like in my last tank. This time around, I am going to use 60lbs of CaribSea Special Grade Arg-Alive which is heavier according to everything I've read. I plan to have lots of sand sifters and inhabitants. It should give a 1-2 inch layer and apparently works well for sifters and diggers like a blue spotted jawfish, one of my favorite fishes. Here is my previous guy.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7032/6763243147_e2f735262f_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/biDoyt)

VGT
02/22/2017, 02:52 PM
Man, the Red Sea Hydra mounts are so much nicer than what AI offers. Wish they were sold separately.

Reefer525XL
02/22/2017, 03:22 PM
Thanks dude! I really like the look of pure white and fine sand but don't like it blowing around like in my last tank. This time around, I am going to use 60lbs of CaribSea Special Grade Arg-Alive which is heavier according to everything I've read. I plan to have lots of sand sifters and inhabitants. It should give a 1-2 inch layer and apparently works well for sifters and diggers like a blue spotted jawfish, one of my favorite fishes. Here is my previous guy.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7032/6763243147_e2f735262f_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/biDoyt)

I was planning on using that sand but I came across Tropic Eden Reeflakes and I'm so glad I did. Grain size is 3mm but its consistent and has almost zero dust. I would seriously consider it over the carrib sea. Here is a close up shot.

https://s18.postimg.org/9x2rgwf5l/IMG_2441.jpg

There is also a smaller grain which I believe is 2mm. Overall I think the quality of tropic eden is far superior.

kto17
02/23/2017, 12:01 AM
Looks like a great start. I just got a reefer 250 Deluxe.

acesq
02/23/2017, 12:29 AM
First of all. Best thread title ever. Secondly, this will be the first thread I read specifically for the humor. And finally, LOL.

Nice tank.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

nishal
02/23/2017, 02:12 PM
Looks like a great start. I just got a reefer 250 Deluxe.

Thanks very much. The 250 deluxe is awesome. The light mounts and lights really are low profile and great looking. Do you have a build thread? Best of luck.

nishal
02/23/2017, 02:15 PM
I was planning on using that sand but I came across Tropic Eden Reeflakes and I'm so glad I did. Grain size is 3mm but its consistent and has almost zero dust. I would seriously consider it over the carrib sea. Here is a close up shot.

https://s18.postimg.org/9x2rgwf5l/IMG_2441.jpg

There is also a smaller grain which I believe is 2mm. Overall I think the quality of tropic eden is far superior.

Ah damn it! I already bought the sand :(. The Tropic eden does look awesome. Any much dust?

nishal
02/23/2017, 02:18 PM
Man, the Red Sea Hydra mounts are so much nicer than what AI offers. Wish they were sold separately.

It's pretty impressive. It doesn't route the cord inside but can't complain. The drilled glass was a bit scary before seeing that there are plastic inserts that extend all the way over the glass edge. Not so worried anymore.

nishal
02/23/2017, 02:19 PM
First of all. Best thread title ever. Secondly, this will be the first thread I read specifically for the humor. And finally, LOL.

Nice tank.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

That's a lot to live up to now! Thanks for the pressure (it can only go down from here)...and the compliments.

nishal
02/25/2017, 06:00 PM
So a note on these AI Hydra 26 lights that come with the Reefer 450 Deluxe...I can adjust the angle of the lights by 5 degrees. It's scary as hell though. What if I drop one of and a metal edge hits the glass bottom of the tank and the thing shatters?! You know the feeling, right? I would never want to get another tank especially after the high price tag here. I was on edge setting up each of these babies with a stomach full of centipedes.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3739/32300805773_e03723b077_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Rdj5dn)

From the pic above you can see I still need to adjust them a degree or two but only after I install the Neptune Powerbrick.I also realized I couldn't really turn them on without the App...probably had to press the one button for a few seconds, but I was too lazy to wait four seconds.

nishal
02/25/2017, 06:40 PM
Holes and IoFT:

Both you and I have seen those beautiful display of high end colorful tank electronics and amazing wires running with beautiful lines and curves. I never imagined cords could be so beautiful! Those/you guys are my heroes and I'll continue to admire your build photos.

My brain is minimalist (brain power too) and can't deal with clutter in a working space...closets are the exception ;). I mentioned earlier that there is a significant built in cavity in my wall behind the tank. That cavity houses the connections for the wires for whole house speakers and a receiver. The speakers sound great even though they are Bose (sorry Bose lovers, they aren't as great as you might think) but I'll wait to add a Sonos receiver to power and control those speakers in the future to incorporate into my current wireless Sonos speaker ecosystem.

For IoFT (Internet of Fish Things), I do plan to use the thunderstorm feature on my lights and couple that to speakers with thunder and lightning. Lame but it'll bring the giggly happiness to my kid, friends and I. Hopefully the fish don't hate it.

Anyway, back to the filling my hole with Neptune Apex stuff. I feel like I'll offend some people by hiding these beauties but it is what is it is. They aren't that good looking either...feel and look like oversized children's toys instead of a modern piece of IoT. That piece on the left looks like a blaster from a cheap science fiction show. Come on Neptune Apex, I can help you if you like. Lots of respect to the lab grade probes...well ok, I'll wait to comment since I spend 11 years using lab grade equipment 29 hours a day.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/750/32271348144_ece1205990_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RaH6ud)

The hole in my wall has a power outlet, so I want to hide most of my power management stuff there to be out of the way. Conveniently, the back one of the cabinets is open so I can get on all fours and reach though the cabinet, right into that hole to plug and unplug anything that needs electrical stimulus. The red sea tanks are great at limiting some common flood issues but I am still worried that water can splash and wet my hole and electrical. Don't want that. I really tried to think of how to mount the powerbricks and Apex Powerbar to plan for flooding, splashes and heat dissipation. I had no less than 4 ideas and only one worked after failing miserably 3 times. I had this piece of furniture which is rectangular, water resistant and slatted and the perfect fit for my boxy hole.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3891/32271349824_d8cea8d133_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RaH6Zb)

Another 3 times of trying to use this and failed again until I came up with this. It ain't as beautiful as the others I've seen but I'm satisfied with safety, easy to access, great for heat dissipation since it's standing up, and the fact that I got to use 15 of the hundreds of zip ties (I only needed 4 but screwed up a few times again!) I have in my garage. The other power bricks are elevated on granite pieces I had from our counter tops...they are cool and heat and water resistant.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3892/32733980230_051be03973_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RSAcTu)

Here is a glory shot of the hole that's now mostly filled. Cabinet is pulled away from the hole (those plastic legs under the stand really make moving this stand and tank easy to slide for maintenance...one things go in the tank, I am not sure that will still be true:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/642/32733977810_7da91fdebf_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RSAcaL)

And this is what the inside of the cabinet looks like with a controller from my pump (Simplicity), skimmer (Simplicity) and Gyre. I'll have to do something just to get rid of that mess of cords, but I am so relieved to have space and less hazards, especially with a 4 year old around:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2912/32271351524_bb85ef717a_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RaH7uu)

Let me know what you think.

acesq
02/26/2017, 09:44 AM
Love it. Nice a clean. Do something about those cords and you will join the big leagues of of ApexOCDdom.

When does it get wet?

And how does your post count stay at 3?? You'll never be able to access the buy/sell forum to start collecting all kinds of useless reef stuff!!!

Blitzer
03/21/2017, 09:34 PM
Love the build! Any updates?

nishal
03/22/2017, 01:53 PM
Gye and Cabeling

It's been a while but some good progress. Here is the tank with lights up and a Gyre 230 installed.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/699/32733978840_eaac669929_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/RSActw)

I like the form factor of the Gyre and the flow that should cover the whole tank without factoring in rockwork, but I could just put that sucker on the back wall vertically to get a gyre going around the rocks starting in the back and circling round the rocks. The new controller is easy to use once you read the manual and understand what the buttons do and how long to press them for different functionality. If I need more flow, I can add another Gyre 230 and plug it into the existing controller without needing another. Sounds like a good investment to me.

Also, those wires were bothering me but I can't do the fancy stuff the other reefers can do. I just want it to be neat and out of the way. Bought these wire organizers from Amazon.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3835/33435878182_5f8a5aaaba_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SWBBGj)

They worked well. I'm happy.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2897/33209306050_3512b227c8_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SAAnGf)

Not too much on the sump, but it works again for me.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2855/33209307350_7acd89b460_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SAAo5E)

nishal
03/22/2017, 02:31 PM
Holy rocks

I don't want a wall of rocks like I did before. I don't want a lot of rocks but more space for corals to grow, fish to swim and a minimalist but balanced easy on the eyes tank. Totally awesome if I can pull it off. I am not concerned with making a beautiful rock setup to look at but the minimal infrastructure needed to hold corals that as it gets covered by corals is relaxing and impressive. After all, it's a reef in my house, it's a big commitment on so many levels and had better be impressive.

I liked live rock and the life on it, but didn't want to deal with unwanted hitchhikers. I had a bad experience with a ninja mantis shrimp that scared the crap out of me, the clicking, the mystery and sticking my hand in the tank. So I made a promise to myself that I would use dry rock the next time if I were lucky enough to have another tank.

I saw ReefCleaners (https://www.reefcleaners.org/aquarium-store/rock) ancient reef rocks that didn't need any special work except to wash the dust off and populate with bacteria. No leaching of phosphates also, which apparently can be a problem in the future with some rocks. I ordered 50 pounds for what will be about 110 gallons of H2O total after displacement. Good company and great rocks minus the poor delivery person dropping the box hard and chipping them.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2921/33435879922_043e5edf42_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SWBCdj)
Had a cardboard box almost the same size of the tank and experimented with some rockscape. I hate doing this part because in the tank, due to optical distortion, visually the 3d structure of the rockscape will be different after adding water, so I'm going to make the angles gentler, etc to compensate. I ain't talented enough to glue rocks underwater and also risk cracking the tank. If this cracks, I'm never getting another tank.

I used Reef Welder to hold the rocks together, a plastic that softens when in hot water and hardens when in cooler water. I like the purple, but you have to use hot water and have some tongs because you'll burn your fingers getting it out of the hot water. It worked but cooled down quickly with the dry rocks (no water as yet). I don't think this stuff will work with room temp water in the tank. Actually the only reason I got it was because it was cool...plastic beads that I can kneed into a paste...how is that not interesting?

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3780/33436059052_7bb2389a17_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SWCxsL)

Some islands in the tank held together will Reef Welder
https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3954/33463758111_180be270f9_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SZ5vqK)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3844/33436061462_16a5ce500d_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/SWCybj)