View Full Version : Doing it right... from the start (for a change)

01/18/2006, 08:18 AM
Well opportunity has presented itself (yet again) to upgrade my reef tank. This time though, it was not by my own initiation, motivation nor inclination... the fact of the matter is, my old tank sprung a small leak. Now I know what you're saying.. there is no such thing as a small leak when it comes to the habitat of your miniature world, but I waas fortunate that it didn't come crashing down all at once.

01/18/2006, 08:38 AM
I had noticed some salt creep on the stand to my 29g reef one day, and when I went to wipe it away.. sure enough a drip soon followed.. then another about every 5 seconds. I thought "this can't be good.. the sides and edges of the tank were all dry, until I looked in the plastic framing around the bottom of my tank, which had water in it all the way around the tank. So deduction brought me to the conclusion.. the leak is in the worst place.. the very bottom of my tank.

On a positive note.. the leak was slow.. not even a couple gallons a day (I rigged up a temp. water catching pail, which I would empty back into the sump at the end of each day.

Furthermore, an upgrade was already being contemplated.. though I was hoping to put it off another year or so. guess not.

Many of you saw my 29 here:


and several suggested that it was just too small, and a larger one would be more fitting for the room (go figure) so here goes it. I am replacing it with a custom 120

At first I was going to go even larger, say 210, but I figure I would do this in steps, and am planning for the future (as far as equipment, and stand construction) that an upgrade down the road would be a snap.

The 120 is going to be an AGA with dual overflows, drilled for a closed loop, and built in wall.

so what happens to the inhabitants of the 29 while the new project is underway? well fortunately, I have another 120 in wall FOWLR on the other side of the house, which is serving as the corals temp. home.

I really only had mostly mushrooms and zoos in the 29:



But plan to do a mixed reef with the 120, with a total water volume on the system of about 225 gallons.

01/18/2006, 08:50 AM
I had to rig up a temp means of hanging the halide (175w) over the FOWLR so my corals would survive while I worked on the new project, and it isn't pretty with wires, cables, cords and hoses going all over the place, it seems to be working, and should be fine for the next month or so.

I had started planning the stand construction for the new tank in another thread:


where I received some useful advice, because as I mentioned I was going to oversize it in the event I want to upgrade tto a larger tank even further down the road.

01/18/2006, 09:01 AM
Quick rundown on proposed equipment and specifications:

-120g AGA with dual overflows (on order), and drilled for closed loop intake.. built in to the wall.

-Reseal the old 29g and convert to a refugium

-Sequence Dart on an Oceansmotions 4-way (On order) for closed loop

-90 gallon sump with blueline 70 for both return and refugium supply

-30 gallon auto top off with kalk reactor

-Deltec AP851 skimmer (to cover any future upgrades)

-lighting: dual 250w single ended 15k XM, electronic ballasts, with dual 110W VHO URI super actinics on icecaps. (retrofitted into an old aluminum hamilton hood from years back) (On order)

-Calcium reactor: TBD (am open to lots of input/suggestions as to brand/model, etc.)

01/18/2006, 09:20 AM
Well I wait for the tank to arrive, and funds to magically manifest for the equipment, I had been following several threads here on RC, including the build up of Sean's DIY tank


where he described doing his own tank drilling. I found this thread also:


Which further describes a cheap, easy way to drill tanks, so I thought I would try my luck last night and drill the 29g for the 2" overflow (which will become my refugium)

Holy crap it was easy.. and way cheaper than the 30 bucks the LFS store charges to drill!





I'm going to drill my old 90 gallon tonight which will become the sump

01/18/2006, 11:18 AM
Just followed the steps outlined in the threads, and it took less than 10 min to cut the hole (I used plumbers putty instead of modeling clay to build the water dam around the hole location)

01/18/2006, 07:30 PM
Good choice on the skimmer and CL hardware. Why are you going single ended on the metal halides? Do you have some hardware you are trying to reuse?

Calcium reactors...check out Geo, myreefcreations, and Schuran. I don't think you'll go wrong with any of them.

Do you have an RO/DI unit?

01/18/2006, 09:56 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6533688#post6533688 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by javajaws
Good choice on the skimmer and CL hardware. Why are you going single ended on the metal halides? Do you have some hardware you are trying to reuse?

Calcium reactors...check out Geo, myreefcreations, and Schuran. I don't think you'll go wrong with any of them.

Do you have an RO/DI unit?

regarding the lighting, I already had an old hamilton hood all set for single ended bulbs, I suppose DE wouldn't have been too hard to retrofit into it, especially since I'm putting in spider light reflectors, but I feel the SE set up will be more than adequate.

As far as R/O units, I have a Water General 100GPD R/O DI unit in the laundry room, hooked up to automatically fill both a 20 gal. top off container, and a 42 gal. salt mixing container.
i'll get some pics of that set up later, after I get all my dirty laundry outta there...

01/18/2006, 10:14 PM
Speaking of lighting, the MH bulbs/ballasts, spider reflectors, timers, VHO bulbs/ballasts arrived today from www.hellolights.com (http://www.hellolights.com)


Very good prices, excellent company to deal with, and super fast shipping.

Tonight I spent the evening cleaning out the old 90 gallon which will become the sump.. what a mess. it's been sitting in the garage for 5 yrs.. filled with crud, fish waste and completely coralline encrusted sides :mad2:



I would have put money on it that it still held water, but being approximately 15 yrs old, and sitting empty for over 5 through multiple MI winters, I decided to re-silicone the seams.

My hats off to anyone who does this for a living, it is such a pain getting all the old silicone completely off.. went through about 2 and a half hours,10 razor blades and a bottle of rubbing alcohol, scraping, washing, scraping, washing..
I know how important it is to get it all off, because new silicone does not stick to old, in the end, it came out really well IMO. will have to pick up some tubes of silicone next time I'm at the LFS.


I also drilled the end of it for the return pump bulkhead tonight, while I still had all the tools out.


That's all that was accomplished tonight.. Probably won't get much else done until Monday, going to be in FL this weekend.


01/18/2006, 10:38 PM
Great looking setup and house. Tagging along for a fellow michigander!

01/18/2006, 10:52 PM
demeyer2 Thanks you! glad to have you along, not only a michigander, but I'm a fellow spartan) (alumni '99) Go state!

one last pic for the evening; showing the quick-rigged state of my other 120 when I had to move all my corals over. Hopefully they can wait out this project...


01/23/2006, 10:53 AM
Got back from Florida, and my Oceans Motions 4-way arrived.. I purchased 4 of the 1" swivel outputs as well as an additional drum (so I have type 2 & 3) I will try them both once set up to determine which flow control I like better.

Since I am going to be running the closed loop off a Reeflo Dart, which has a 2" intake, should I have the tank drilled for two 2" intakes, joining to the one pump so the suction isn't too strong to pull fish shrimp, etc or will I be alright with one 2" intake?

01/24/2006, 09:42 PM
Here is my Oceansmotions 4-way.. pretty excited from all the talk here on reef central about how well it performs.



Also, I started work on the light canopy. I had to modify the old hood by moving the ends out 1/4" each to fit the VHO end caps in.



The aluminum channel that runs along the back of the canopy to contain the lights, I installed two pulleys from the RACO bicycle storage kit (which will be used to raise and lower the lights)
for $30 it is a great piece of equipment,

Dero Bike Racks (http://www.dero.com/ceiling_images.html)

and can hold up to 50lbs. (I can't see this weighing any more than 15 or 20 when all is said and done)



Here it is so far with the halides, reflectors, and VHO's installed... I still have to purchase a moonlight or two, which will be mounted therein as well and wire up the whole thing.



That's as far as I got tonight.

01/24/2006, 09:45 PM
so let me get this right ur goin from a 29g to 120 thats a hell of an upgrade

good luck

old salty
01/24/2006, 10:50 PM
Nice thread!! Good to see you doing a lot of the work yourself.

01/25/2006, 12:23 AM
Looks good..........
......and you are local too.!!!!


01/25/2006, 01:44 AM
Looking good and GO STATE!!!!!(class of 2000)

01/25/2006, 10:54 AM
Thanks for your comments all, I hope this proves to be an informative thread for all to learn from (especially me).

NanoManMaster: When I first got the inclination to build a reef aquarium, I was told "start small and work my way up" by a LFS employee who I won't mention...(I now know the opposite is true, as larger systems are much more stable).
Well the way I look at it, the 29 gallon did take a lot of work, but if I could be sucessfull with that one, I should be successful with any size tank, putting forth similar diligence in maintanence. I had always said if I was sucessful with the smaller tank I would upgrade down the road. well I am officially on the road :rollface:

01/26/2006, 12:45 PM
Alright... just spent $140 on plumbing supplies from Savko (www.savko.com), Ordered my pumps, heaters moonlights, and loc-line fittings from Marine Depot (http://www.marinedepot.com), and ordered 3 caulking tubes of All-Glass aquarium sealant from Pet Discounters (http://www.petdiscounters.com), for resealing the sump and refugium, as well as attaching the baffles in the sump (once I measure for them and go to a glass shop)
I surpassed my "accomplish one thing on the project each day" goal.

Now.... where's that TANK!!!! :mad2: (time to make a phone call)

01/26/2006, 01:05 PM
What i dont get is how come people with glass tanks spring a leak, thank god it wasnt a bigger problem then it already is, and go out a by another glass tank? And a more expensive one at that. So next time it leaks it costs twice as much (when u throw it away) and its twice the size so its harder to move everything into another tank when that one leaks also. I would do it once probley but after one leaks and after hearing storys, i wouldnt do it again. I wouldnt be able to sleep at night. Is a glass tank leaking not a big deal?

01/26/2006, 03:15 PM
wish i were at steel point, west end today...been there...'bout as nice as it gets

01/26/2006, 08:27 PM
integlikewhoainteglikewhoa: glass tanks don't normally leak, But there are always exceptions to the rule. What I don't understand is people who buy acrylic tanks, scratch the heck out of them, then go out & buy another acrylic.
Many glass tanks last 10 yrs+.... long after the clarity of an acrylic is gone and it's scratched to bejezus..... now I know there are benifits to both, but in all my years of both glass and acrylic aquariums (up to a 250 FOWLR).. one leak is not going to deter me... Glass/Acrylic is a debate that may never end, but it comes down to personal preference. if it makes ya happy either way.. go for it I say.

travismcgee : Yes it is paradise down there isn't it?? spent 10 days bareboating and diving the islands last Feb. and dyin to go back... good eye! (and I will own that house one day) :o)

01/26/2006, 11:30 PM
I agree it might take owning 2 tanks for one of them to leak. But i still find they do leak alot. And a scratch is easy repaired. Matter of 10 min actually. Takes about the same time to do a water change. A leak usally means a new tank like in your case. But i can sleep at night with a scratch not a leak.
It might be also beacuse i expect earthquakes over here. Good luck with the tank and keep us posted.

JE's Reef
01/28/2006, 12:38 PM
Hey Blair,
Whats up? Looking real good. Cant wait to see it when your done.
Best Wishes

01/30/2006, 09:20 PM
Not much new... Called on the tank today.. Found out there was a "discrepency" i.e. 2 more weeks... I'm glad I'm not waiting on a heart transplant from this store...

Anywho.. got my box-o-plumbing parts today from Savko (http://www.savko.com)


I think there there might be an elbow missing..... :lol: :lol: :lol:


now if I can just remember what is supposed to go where...

01/31/2006, 08:52 PM
The location of the new aquarium.....


Note that the old reef was in place before the walls were painted, and the new floor was put in. Since the new tank will be built into the wall, approximately 1 foot out from the old one none of these overlooked details will be noticeable.


(Also note, the charred spot on the wall where a return hose on the 29g had come loose from the sea swirl awhile back, dumping water onto my wave-timer and causing a small fire) oops. :eek1:

I was able to get the bottom frame support started tonight before I got too tired. Only so many hours in the day.



02/01/2006, 09:01 PM
I got my pumps today!! (Panworld 70hd and Reeflo Dart)


Also, I made a little headway on the stand (this thing will be able to hold up a car.. I always over engineer things)




02/02/2006, 09:01 PM
A little bit further tonight....




I used what I could from the old stand, hence some of the 2x6's are black.

I still have to put the corner legs in place, and there will be a plywood bottom and top, before painting and sealing... I calculated the volume of the lower base once the plywood floor is in, and it will be able to hold 45.5 gallons of spillage (minus the space occupied by the sump, skimmer, etc..) hopefully I will never have to test out that capacity.

02/02/2006, 10:24 PM
Looking really good! That stand looks very sturdy!

02/03/2006, 09:20 AM
Thanks Gabriel, I have to say I've read through your build up, and have utilized several of your ideas into my overal plan. (you know what they say; imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

02/03/2006, 03:22 PM
Glad I could help!

I have told the joke from your sig line a few times now. :)

02/06/2006, 09:30 PM
Made a little more progress on the stand, but was out of town for the weekend. Hopefully I will be able to finish it up this week, in anticipation for the tank to arrive next week.



I temporarily put the 30gal. refugium in place for the photos.

02/06/2006, 11:00 PM
Tagging along with a few questions..

I only see one electrical socket in the window-side wall, will you be adding a line?

What are your plans for the baseboard heat? You've cut the frame around it, so I assume your stand will be "heated" during the winter? Just wondering what you've decided about it, as I'm sure you've considered it during planning and construction.

I like the refugium placement, next to the display, instead of under it. Do you have a drawing/plan of your plumbing? :)

Wish I had the time/space/money for an unintentional upgrade! :p


02/06/2006, 11:07 PM
Agree about the electrical outlet. I only see one. I think more will be required but if your not useing a chiller you just might get away with only one. Just something to think about if you already havent done so.

The Reefer91
02/07/2006, 06:35 AM
i'm gonna tag along. another thing you should do is use foam under the tank when you put it on it's stand. helps correct evenness on the stand

cool gizmos by the way. i plan on ordering from hellolights too

02/07/2006, 07:06 AM
Looks good so far.

I'm anxiously awaiting word on how well the pulley system works for the canopy!

02/07/2006, 08:19 AM
Regarding the eectrical, it will be run off 2 separate circuit breakers from the main house, which will come in through the single outlet shown and routed to the power panel I am building.


As far as the plumbing... well I have it all on paper, but here is a quick VERY ROUGH sketch.... (all unions, ball valves, gate valves have been omitted because I am at work and need to be doing other things right now)... :lol:


The Reefer91 As far as foam, I have heard both sides of the story, but am not going to use it.. I wrote to all-glass and they told me directly that contrary to what people believe, they don't recommend it for their tanks. The top of the stand will be covered with 3/4" plywood, so that should account for any minor flaws, though the stand is very level and even. (I started a thread on here somewhere about whether I should use foam.. just search for foam and all-glass)

Fish'InMN With regard to the base board heat, I am going to wrap the portion that extends into the stand with insulator, and with the help of two exhaust fans that will be mounted on the celing inside the enclosure, blowing any excess heat outside, I don't think I'll have a heat problem (my other built in tank has hot water pipes running through the enclosure with no insulation on them, and the temp isn't really an issue.

reverendmaynard As soon as I finish framing in the enclosure (tonight or tomorrow) I will be installing the pulley system on the celing... sorry to keep you waiting


Thanks for the comments everyone!

02/07/2006, 08:22 AM
Oh, and I forgot to mention there will be an auto top off system added in the plumbing scheme, but haven't figured out exactly how it is going to be hooked in, so I omitted it from the above sketch... happy reefing!

02/07/2006, 08:47 PM
I was able to finish the framing tonight, as well as build the shell of the power panel. All I have left on the stand before painting is to put in the center piece of ply on which the display will sit, as well as the floor of the stand on the bottom. I am quite happy with the results.





Does anyone know of a good paint that will seal the stand (white) without having to prime the whole thing first?

02/08/2006, 07:56 AM
Also, does anyone know where one could find a taller square-shaped resevoir I can use for top-off, with a base no greater than 15" x 15" and a height under 30" It is an odd shape I know, but with a 90 gallon sump, space underneath the display is actually going to be limited.

02/08/2006, 09:59 AM
Not sure of any glass, but if it comes down to it acrylic comes in any shape or size. What happens if you have to do any matanice to the back of the tank. Pluming cleaning or anything along those lines. Even that FUGE don't look like your going to be able to get to much of it. And with that way that pluming is on the FUGE you couldn't even slide it out if you had to. Seems like you could do pluming a lil different so you could at least slide it out to do any matince on it or the back of the tank.

02/08/2006, 10:53 AM
I think I found the perfect reservoir at lunch.. I found it @aquatic ecosystems...


Should fit / work perfectly (but have to cut it out myself...

As far as your comments regarding access and maintanence integlikewhoa I have planned it so it is quite accessible as follows:

Refugium: There is 15" of access above the top of the refugium, which is plenty of room to access the far back if needed. Furthermore, as of the above photo, the plumbing is just test-fitted together, there will be 2 unions on the drain into the sump (one right after the bulkhead) so removal of the drain is a snap. In the event the tank needs to be replaced, I simply drain it, remove the bulkhead, and slide it out.

The main display will have 18" of access above the top, which is more than my other in-wall 120gal. and I have no problem reaching in to the very back of that tank. There will be 5 doors (practically the entire wall) allowing access to the sides, top and stand of the tank. Here is a modified photo showing the door placement (they won't be pink, I promise)



02/08/2006, 10:55 AM
I can't count.... 7 doors. Is it Friday yet?

02/09/2006, 11:01 PM
Little bit of work on the power panel tonight... going to switch into electrician mode from carpenter mode soon....



The 6 outlets will be for the two heaters and four light timers, while the DJ power strip will handle the pumps, skimmers, doo-hickeys and misc. gizmos...

02/16/2006, 08:17 AM
THE TANK HAS ARRIVED!!! (well at the dealer... now I just need to find someone with a truck/van and a couple hours to spare... did I mention I pay in beer???)

Anyways have made a little progress on the rest of the system. I decided I didn't want to worry about power issues, so I ran two dedicated 20A lines to the house panel for the new reef. Tha t should cover everything I could possibly think of for the system.

I also finished up the power panel and installed the pulley system for suspending the lights above the tank. I think it turned out well, and adjusting the height of the lights is as easy as pulling on a rope.






Also, Doug at Deltec was able to ship my skimmer (AP851) out Monday, and I got it last night as well! what a piece of craftsmanship, and all those praises about him and his company, are all true. what a great company to deal with.



It fits perfectly under the stand, (right in front of my reservoir) I can't wait to hook it all up.


02/16/2006, 08:42 AM
Everything is looking real nice. I can't wait to see it running! Might I make a suggestion though, I think it's time to move that lamp hanging from the ceiling. EEEEEGHHH :uzi: (place lamp here) You've probably been hitting your head on it anyway. :rolleyes:

02/16/2006, 08:47 AM
That fixture is either going to be tossed all together or replaced, but eitherway I do plan on doing something with it. I have banged my head on it sooooo many times while working on this project, I forgot my own name.

02/16/2006, 08:54 AM
"I have banged my head on it sooooo many times while working on this project, I forgot my own name."

:lol: I would have bet on it! :lol:

I forgot to mention, your progress pics are really appreciated. It's much easier to follow a thread when you know exactly what's going on. I like.

02/18/2006, 05:55 PM
SOO I found a friend who was able to be paid off in beer to go get the tank today!!! What's the first thing you would do with a brand new tank at home???

Drill it full of holes of course!










Easy as pie, but went a lot slower than drilling the refugium (thicker glass) about 20 minutes per hole.

I also hooked up the 130w aqualight with dual 65w power compact bulbs for the refugium today.


Won't be long now 'til we're wet!!!!

02/18/2006, 06:33 PM
Looking good. Nice job on drilling the tank. Cant wait to watch this thing threw. Keep them comming.

02/18/2006, 07:29 PM
You got some mad skills my man. Drilling, electrical, carpentry and plumbing. Not bad for a lawyer. Looking good.

Do you go to that lfs over there at 15 and ryan(I forget the name)? I like that 600g reef they have in the back. That anenome with the maroon pair is huge in that thing.

Do you have a picture of your fowlr?
Can't wait to see this thing with life in it. Keep up the good work.

02/20/2006, 12:11 PM
Thanks Sean! (and kudos to another parrot head!) The work is all a life-long learning process for me, but I get a great sense of accomplishment from doing as much I can myself...

I was just over at that LFS (Aquatic Discoveries) today @ lunch;
that reef in the back is amazing (biggest anemone I've ever seen)

I like their 700g one up front with the shark as well. They usually have a good variety of stuff to choose from and Lee has always been so helpful. (Join the Fish Club there if you get the chance)

I don't have any pic's of my FOWLR other than the one earlier in this thread where it is serving as my holding tank for all my reef animals, with the wires an hoses streaming out of it.. (it is not real pretty to look at right now, but that will all change nce I get this new tank up and running.
Right now I guess it's a: FOWLRSAATHFFMRIOATTSAL)
(Fish Only With Live Rock Serving As A Temporary Holding Facility For My Reef Inhabitants Of A Tank That Sprung A Leak) for those who have trouble with acronyms. :lol: :lol: :lol:

02/20/2006, 01:54 PM
awesome thread man. (i havent checked in for a few weeks and WOW holy progress batman). Cant believe the progress so far- piks are great to follow along. The gameplan was well thought out and you will soon be tipping an oberon with a s*** eating grin looking at your proud workmanship. I need to get over there and check out myself!!

02/20/2006, 06:44 PM
Looking good Blair!

It's good to see that you are using your skills for good this time, unlike with some of your previous projects... ;)

Wish I could see it in person.


02/21/2006, 07:58 AM
Thanks guys..

Ben you live?!?!?!?! (and with a new screen name.. I like! (this thread is being taken over by parrot heads)

can't wait to go down to FL and see ya in May!

JE's Reef
02/21/2006, 09:06 AM

JE's Reef
02/21/2006, 09:06 AM

JE's Reef
02/21/2006, 09:07 AM
Its looking great. I thought that greenwoods was going to do the drilling for you. How is the skimmer doing. Does it do laundry?
See ya at the bar

02/21/2006, 09:51 AM
Nice Power Strip Blair- mine have been the most welcomed edition to my tank ..


02/21/2006, 10:32 AM
Stick with a bunch of live rock and a Protein Skimmer and it can be fine. JD

02/22/2006, 10:18 PM
I got the stand primed and painted, as well as got the under tank lights hooked up... Next step is plumbing.




That powerstrip is a godsend, I recommend it to anyone. John, I haven't got the skimmmer running yet but hopefully it will do dishes as well as the laundry. I originally was going to have the tank drilled by the retailer, but if you remember the mix up in ordering the tank, (which delayed it 3 weeks) it would have been another month if I wanted All-Glass to drill it for me.. so I just did it myself.

02/23/2006, 02:13 PM
I dig the under-stand lighting- nice touch. I am going to copy that idea at some point... the old Mag flashlight routine ive been doing is getting SOOO old.

02/23/2006, 10:11 PM

I didn't do Jack. Maybe tomorrow. :lol:

02/27/2006, 11:21 PM
updates comming with pics!!!!
got the tank in place, and have been tackling the plumbing...

goal: have water in it this weekend!

03/02/2006, 07:00 AM
Well I'm not quite as far as I would like to have been at this time, but have definately made some progress. There are always little hang-ups that come along unexpectedly which slow a project down.

The first one was the baffles I ordered for the sump were cut to the wrong size, so it took a couple extra days to get them replaced. They are now fine and all glued into place.




The second thing was, I couldn't find anyone around when I was ready to move the tank into place. So while I was ready to get going on the plumbing, it was another two days before the tank was installed. Nevertheless.. it is in!




As far as plumbing goes, I started out kinda back-asswards and decided to plumb the closed loop first. The only reason being, I wanted a break from crawling under the stand :rollface:


To support the 1" flex-outputs that I ordered with the OceansMotions (www.oceansmotions.com) 4-way, I cut triangles from some 1/4" acrylic stock I had lying around, and positioned them in the corners.


I don't think I need to secure them in any way because thy are held in place by the plumbing, but if need to, a couple dabs of silicone should hold them while still allowing for removeability in the case of maintanence or repair.


I did also start the return plumbing manifold as well, but didn't get a chance to snap any pictures because it was too late. They're comming next. Let me know what you guys think so far!

03/02/2006, 07:06 AM
Looks great! How many gallons is your sump?

03/02/2006, 07:28 AM
Thanks! The sump is a standard 90 gallon, (an old display tank I re-sealed) hence the back is painted black too

03/02/2006, 07:30 AM
That's great. you will have plenty of room in there. I have a 30g sump and it is driving me crazy. I can barely get my skimmer in there.

03/02/2006, 10:32 AM

03/02/2006, 05:28 PM
A few more plumbing pictures... I still have to do the drain for the refugium, and the 3/4" secondary drains. I also have to finish up the closed loop, but ran out of 1" PVC (time for trip number 1 billion to home depot)







I received my two phosban reactors from Drs. Fosters & Smith (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/Shop.cfm?N=2004); one for phosban media and one for carbon. They have a sale, so I figured why not. I may use one or both depending on the water conditions. Most likely I will at least run carbon constantly. Can these be hooked up in series, or should I run them independently?


The last few photos below show the plumbing for the skimmer. I am running it gravity feed off one of the drain lines.




03/08/2006, 08:23 AM
Well, I started to fill the system (pictures to follow...) on Monday, and of course there were some inevitable leaks :mad2:
I pretty much expected them, as I am no professional plumber by far. The first leak was in the tank return (an O-ring was missing from one of the unions) this was a quick fix.

The second leak was from the closed loop intake (luckily by the pump and not behind the tank) where one of the unions was not tightened enough. I also have a very slow drip from the Dart (closed loop) output at the threaded fittings. I have always been nervous about over tightening, but I thought I really snugged that bad-boy down, and used LOTS of teflon tape. Does anyone know just how tight these fittings should be and how much tape to use? I don't want to crack the housing. Other than that, everything else seems to be fine so far.

The filling is a slow go, because my RO only produces about 65 gallons per day, and I didin't want it filling while I was at work or sleeping. right now as it stands, the substrate has been all rinsed and is in the tank, the sump is full, and the tank about 1/3 full.

Any help/advice with the pump leak would be appreciated.

I also ordered two 10K XM bulbs (gota love gift certificates) to replace the two 15K XM bulbs after reading the article on PAR output showing how low the 15K's fare as far as PAR.
I love the color of the 15k's but just like me leaving out the O-ring, just didn't think they were all that bright. :) Hopefully with the VHO actinics, the 10K's won't look too white.

03/08/2006, 08:35 AM
Great work on the tank!!

Love you attention to detail and Im sure it will be a killer system.

Let me know when you want to fill the tank up with frags ;)

Beartooth Ranch
03/08/2006, 10:59 AM
Um Yeh, I think some duct tape over a gererous glob of silicone should stop the leak. They you won't have to wory about the wood floor..

Tank looks great.

I wouldn't wory about leaving the water filling while you are not home.

At the Beartooth Ranch, we've upped our standards, so up yours!

03/08/2006, 11:40 AM
Thanks Sunny, I can't wait to get all the kinks out and get rolling!

Beartooth Ranch.. <ahem.. Graham...> [welcome]

Somehow I don't know about the whole duct tape job... tryin to stay clear of the ghetto-fabulous look.. but thanks for playing.

03/08/2006, 11:54 AM
Oh, and graham... how are those guppies doing in your slimy bowel? ha ha ha

(sea monkeys are a nice touch as well) :fish1:

03/08/2006, 01:09 PM
great set up. i can't wait to see what it looks like when you finish. You are a jack of all trades

Beartooth Ranch
03/09/2006, 06:27 AM
We have a very nice crop of sea monkies all living happily in the "Sea Monkey Flooded City". One might even argue that they are a salt water invertibrate...Not as much care required as real reef tank, but you do have to feed them, give them light, if the water all dries up, you have to put more water in (up to a year later, according to sea monkey experts) in order to bring them back to life. The biggest challange is keeping the cat from drinking all the water and marine life...

03/10/2006, 08:32 AM
Those sea monkeys can be a real hand full, I know. :)

03/10/2006, 03:02 PM
Sweet setup!
I'm in the planning stages of a 120. You are definatly giving me some ideas.

Keep up the great work!

03/13/2006, 08:15 AM

Well I finished the rest of the plumbing, and working out the leaks... nothing too serious thankfully and all is up and running, and no more leaks!






I then started work on my auto top-pff system, by cutting an access in the top of the reservoir with a jig-saw. I then installed the Kent float valve (which will be fed from my RO unit in the laundry room.



I then drilled an outlet port on top of the reservoir where water will be drawn out of a 1/4" hose by the peristalic aquamedic pump.


Eventually it will feed through a Kalk reactor into the sump, operated by a relay-dual float switch assembly I am currently building on the side, but for now it will simply feed RO water into the sump to maintain the levels.

03/13/2006, 08:29 AM
I then washed all the substrate out, and added it to the tank via 3"diameter pvc, to prevent a sand-storm... worked fairly well IMO)




The sump and bubble trap worked great, in I had no microbubble troubles with the blue line pump on full, pulling approx 1400 gph through the sump.




The Deltec started pulling crud out (gravel dust, pvc shavings, etc) right off the bat and I couldn't be happier with it.


BUT>>>>>>> Speaking of PVC shavings... one managed to find it's way up into my oceans motions, and jam the rotating drum!!! I noticed it when I heard this loud clicking every 10-15 seconds, and noticed the flow was not changing between the output heads... :mad2:

So I took the motor off, and removed the drum (which was really jammed!) and saw the magnetic drum drive wheel was striped from the motor spinning within it.



I called up OM and they said they'd rush out a replacement Monday morning. In the mean time, I just re attached the cover to the OM without the drum inside so I could still maintain the Closed Loop circulation, the only difference is it's diverted to all 4 outputs temporarily instead of just two at a time. Ah well, no biggie.

03/13/2006, 08:38 AM
Once all was well (with the exception of the OM magnet) I moved the live rock over from my other tank, meticulously removing any unwanted algae from each piece and using a 2-bucket dunk, shake/swish and rinse for each rock from salt water that was in the established 120 gallon. I couldn't believe the crud that came off these rocks, but am thankful to have the oppertunity now to clean them off.

Here they are in their new home...




sorry for the crappy pictures, I am still learning the art of aquarium photography.

So with the exception of adding some Chaeto algae and a little live rock rubble to the refugium tank (has been sitting in my laundry room in a 10 gallon tank with nothing but a 60 watt light bulb and an airstone since December when I tore down the 29 gallon) that is where I stand so far



03/13/2006, 08:41 AM
Lookin' good!

03/13/2006, 09:53 AM
I forgot to mention, I am not married to the aquascaping as it stands, though I am quite impressed with the numerous caves, AMPLE room for fish to swim, an d tons of places for future coral placement...

Also, the rubble on the sand in the foreground are all Zoo frags which will be mounted once a suitable location has been selected, but for now they are just soaking up the rays of my new 250w suns.

03/13/2006, 10:36 AM
So how do you like the Megaflow overflows? I have heard that they are really loud? Whats your opinion? I am trying to decide if I should order my 120 with them or without?

By the way, Very nice setup!

03/13/2006, 10:46 AM
I don't find them that loud at all (compared to any other overflow) Any overflow will get noisy as you apporach their max flow capacity. The megaflows are designed to handle 600 gph each, or 1200 total. I have mine running somewhere between 900-1000 total, (the rest of the pump output is diverted between the refugium and an excess flow loop back to the first compartment of the sump to allow the flow through the tank to be regulated.
With the durso pipes in place you have to be right over the overflows to hear any noise from them. The ones i have heard are loud are when people (myself included) have tried to max out the overflows. (from my own personal experience on my FOWLR 120, the megaflows can handle about 1500gph total, but like I said all that water is going to bring some noise, and is not necessary to run through the sump anyways. HTH!

03/13/2006, 01:41 PM
very clean setup. i like it.

what's the fish in the pics?


03/13/2006, 02:22 PM
Thank you very much! That's one of my two 'die-hard' chromis; I've had them for years, so I thought I would treat them to being the first guests into the new home.

03/13/2006, 02:42 PM
Following along. Starting to like the 120 setups. Nice work here.

03/13/2006, 02:57 PM
i thought it looked like a chromis, but then thought it looked to big.

when do the doors go on!

03/14/2006, 07:27 AM
Hopefully won't be too long before I can finish up the face/doors of the aquarium. (waiting for my tax return, I'm over budget on this project)

I still have to find a way to run the RO feed from the laundry room to the tank enclosure, so I can finish off the top-off system. right now I just have 35 feet of RO hose runningacross the hall, through the study and into the sump for top off. I can't run it up through the attic and back down, because of the possibiity of it freezing, I am thinking of possibly running it along the corner of the celing in the study, and concealing it with either crown molding (which I was going to do in that room anyways) or use that cord hiding conduit they sell for lamps and such.

Once that is accomplished, I can start looking for a kalk reactor, and lastly a calcium reactor, and the project will be done (yeah right... does that ever happen?)

03/15/2006, 12:32 PM
I introduced the foxface and my two percula clowns from my other tank to the new set-up. after acclimation, they seemed right at home!

03/15/2006, 10:02 PM
Just read the entire thread, very impressive. I was wondering where you got that resevoir for the RO. It looks like it's made of HDPE which is very easy to work with (cut and drill). I could really use something like that in my setup, so any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and congratulations on a great setup thus far.

03/16/2006, 08:52 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6694585#post6694585 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mille239
I think I found the perfect reservoir at lunch.. I found it @aquatic ecosystems...


Should fit / work perfectly (but have to cut it out myself...

Reefarchitect that is what your were looking for. It was on page 2

I like what you ahve done so far ! I hope I can use some of your design in my new project. Good work

03/16/2006, 09:55 PM

Thanks. Thats what I get for reading a thread at midnight!

03/17/2006, 06:22 AM
Just when things were going smoothly... the inevitable happens...
Murphy and hais darn laws!! hit me twice!

first, I was working on the auto top off system, behind the sump, when I felt it.. a drip! (murphy's first law: just when things are going smoothly something wrong will happen)

upon further research, I found the source: the right hand side closed loop bulk head, was leaking where the PVC connects to the bulkhead (it's a slip fit too.. I have never had a slip fit connection leak!!) Murphy's second law: if something goes wrong, it is in the most difficult place to access, requiring the biggest inconvenince to fix.

Well, I know what my Saturday will be spent doing: move all the rock/inhabitants to the sump/ FOWLR; drain the tank water into what ever temporary holding tanks I can find; (might just go out and buy a couple large trash cans) unhook the plumbing from the tank, pull it out and set it on saw horses; then replumb the closed loop feeds, let PVC cement set up a couple hours, then reverse the whole process. Sounds like a fun way to spend a Saturday, yes? well, I have heard since it was such a slow leak, that some type of patch would work, but I know that PVC shrinks and expands, so eventually the patch would fail, so I would rather fix it properly, while the tank has only been set up a few days.
Wish me luck all!

Reefarchitect: thanks for the compliments! I have nothing but good things to say about that reservoir; sure a little pricy, but strong, easy to customize, and just the size I needed.

Opiy: thanks for the kind words and helping Reefarchitect out with the link.

The Reefer91
03/17/2006, 07:10 AM
HOLY CARP THAT'S ALOT OF VALVES!!!! cool setup, very impressive plumbing design too.i'm gonna feel guilty because my system will have like 1-2 ball valves and such. i know i'll be thinking" i need more control, more valves" :lol:

03/17/2006, 07:15 AM
This may sound terrible but the leak may go away on its own. If it is really slow, the salt creep will plug it. I had a very slow drip on a bulkhead in an impossible spot to get to. I put a cup under it and waited. 3 days later no more drip and it hasn't started again since.

03/17/2006, 08:04 AM
Heya Gabriel, I've heard that too, and have my fingers crossed that it may plug itself. I don't know how long it's been leaking, the tank has been filled with salt water since Saturday, and I noticed the drip Wednesday evening. I will check again tonight, and tomorrow morning before I pull it all apart. I know I'ts going to be a PITA, but I think I'd feel better knowing I fixed it right, rather than have a salt plug that could come out sometime down the road once the reef is established. Thanks for the heads up!

03/17/2006, 05:19 PM
Hopefully, you don't have to tear it all down. :( Nonetheless, very nice job on everything... I'm liking the size of the 120 gal. tanks more and more. :)

03/17/2006, 09:46 PM

If I may offer some advice with your leak. First, if possible, temporarily cap the intake to the bulkhead which is leaking. Second, if possible, undo the union at the end and drain that line. It does not have to be fully dry. Apply a generous amount of rain-or-shine PVC cement from Home Depot. It will cure in 2 hours with wet conditions. I have used this method several times and it has not failed me yet.

Good luck.

03/20/2006, 07:17 AM
Reefarchitect: Thank you kindly for the advice, but I decided to suck it up and tear it down and rebuild the closed loop feed... (if anything I sleep better now) and I must say, it was the biggest PITA I've had since my introduction into the hobby many years back.
I began around noon on Saturday, first cranking up the heat in the house to 78 degrees. Then I started by draining the CL plumbing, unhooking the overflow drains to the sump, and removing the oceans motions. I then carefully moved my corals (nothing but zoanthids, ricordia, and mushrooms at this point) to a 20 gallon trash can with a powerhead for circulation, and moved all the live rock to the sump, so it could mainitain water moving through it. (the one thing I was happy about at this point was plumbing in that feed-back loop from the blue line pump so I could run the sump independently, with the tank valve closed.) Also having a lagre sump paid off big in this endeavor. I moved my fish, crabs and shrimp to a couple 5 gallon buckets hooked up to an air pump.

I then scooped out all the sand and placed it in two 5 gallon buckets with enough water to cover, and proceded to drain the water into whatever holding containers I could find.. (trash cans, old 30 gallon tank, even my recycling bin... (all lined with trash bags of course)

With the tank empty, I pulled it out from the wall and placed it face down on a couple of saw horses, and redid the closed loop feed plumbing, replacing the two 2" bulk heads in the back of the tank.

Once the plumbing was completed (I basically used an entire can of PVC cement and primer on this one portion to make sure it wouldn't happen again) with the help of my room mate, moved the tank back into place, and hooked up all the plumbing. got it running, and...... (drum roll.... NO MORE LEAKS!!!!) Once all was said and done, and everything was returned to the tank in opposite order, it was about 10:30pm. What a long Saturday. But I am happy to say everyone is happy, (including me) all livestock is doing well, and I even like the aquascaping I did with the liverock better than the first time! I have some pictures of the process, but didn't get around to posting them yet. Will get to them tonight.

Sunday I started working on the cabinet doors and facing the front of the enclosure. more to come!

03/20/2006, 07:32 AM
I am glad you got it fixed!

JE's Reef
03/20/2006, 05:32 PM
Just think how much money you saved from being at the bar. Hope all is well. I wish my set up was as nice.

03/21/2006, 08:04 AM
Kudos blair. excellent work. no new reef project is complete without tending to an impossible to get to leaky joint. UGH. keep pix coming for the stand.

03/22/2006, 09:58 PM
I would say that is definately doing it right.


03/22/2006, 10:01 PM
Ok, as promised, a couple pics, though I really haven't had much time to work on the cabinetry.

First off.. here are a couple pics of when I drained the tank, and redid the closed loop intakes:




Here is a picture of the set up now: (with the wood overlay in place on the frame, prior to sanding and painting) this will be the same color as the rest of the room


The first of the (7) door frames being assembled (these will be stained cherry to match the bar, rest of the wood in the room) I love that pocket-hole jig, sure makes this part of the project a snap!




Hopefully I can do a lot of work on it this weekend, would like to get down to the tank stocking!!!

I ordered my GEO neilsen reactor from The Reef Stop (http://www.thereefstop.com)

As soon as it ships out I can finish up the top-off system.

good night!

03/27/2006, 05:49 AM
Got sidetracked on the project this weekend with a new addition to the fam: say hello to PARKA!!



03/27/2006, 06:09 AM
Adorable! The dog is cute too. :D

03/27/2006, 08:23 AM
She(?) looks quite tough in those pictures! Very good looking dog, especially love the eyes!

03/27/2006, 08:57 AM
Thanks!! (lol) she's really as sweet as can be, but for some reason all the pictures of her come out ferocious looking! (I am referring to the dog) :lol:

03/29/2006, 11:03 AM

I got my GEO kalk reactor yesterday, (will post pictures) it's pretty sweet lookin, and designed for easy refilling and maintenance. I was thinking of locating it on a shelf attached to the wall above my refugium, but I think I can fit it under the display if I fabricate a little stand for it. I have read that Mrs. Wage's pickling lime is just as good as any aquarium grade kalk, but does anyone know where to find it? my Kroger doesn't carry it.

Also, it's time to start thinking clean up crew...(getting some diatoms starting to show up) I know I don't want any hermits, and I do want lots of nassarius snails for the sand bed. I have one monster turbo in there right now, but hear they can be a pain, knocking frags off and stuff. What are some good recommendations for other cleaners, and how many should I get for a 120 gallon? Anyone have experience with online companies selling clean up crews, which would sell a package instead of buying them individually from my LFS? recommendations please!

I don't think my diatom bloom should be too bad since all the live rock was from another tank, but since the substrate is new I suppose some is to be expected.

03/29/2006, 12:19 PM
Mrs. Wages.

Works great.


03/29/2006, 01:20 PM
I had a great clean up crew order from reeftopia.com with great prices/free shipping and everything arrived alive and is doing well.

03/29/2006, 02:54 PM
Here is a link to the page in my thread where I got my clean up crew. There are pics of them. I ordered from liverockandmore.com. I was very happy with them!


03/29/2006, 07:27 PM
I will second reeftopia.com The prices are pretty reasonable and you can buy in quantity for greater savings. They offer small sized astrea (turbo) snails in groups of 100 for $29.00. They also have nassarius and ceriths. The only thing that is a little pricey is the peppermint shrimp; they are cheaper at the LFS.

03/29/2006, 08:17 PM
Thank you for the recommendations guys! I do like both reeftopia and LiveRockandMore's prices. I think I will sleep on it tonight, and decide in the morning. If I order tomorrow morning, I can have it held at the Fed-ex holding facility to pick up after work Friday.

On another note, I found a crab the other morning, that I have never seen before! (I have not gotten any new live rock in over 3 yrs, and this is the first I've seen him)!!!!

I posted in another thread looking for an ID, but can't find the link, so here is the pictures... he's about the size of a quarter, and has orange markings on his carapace, orange/brown claws, and hairy legs.




I just can't believe I haven't seen him until now! anyways if you have any clue as to species, temperment, please feel free to chime in.. in the mean time he's chillin in the fuge as a precaution. :rollface:

Also, finished a couple more door frames, but ran out of wood. will have to make a home depot run this weekend. heres the progress so far.



lastly, here's my new GEO kalk reactor. I have to build a little pedastal for it, but it will fit into my stand nicely.. now I just have to quit procrastinating and wire up my float switches and top-off pump.



That's it for now.. tune in next time when I finish up the facing of the cabinetry, and get the reactor online.. (oh, and decide on my clean-up crew!)

03/29/2006, 09:53 PM
One last thing, from your guys' (gals') experience what are the best snails for working the rocks: I know nassarius are substrate dwellers, and thouh turbos prefer the glass, I am pretty maticulous at keeping my glass cleaned; I need some snails that like to stay on the rock work. opinions? Thanks in advance, and good night.

03/30/2006, 05:18 AM
I'd say I have a 50/50 split with astrea snails on the class and on the rockwork. Ceriths are great as well.

You might also want to get a tuxedo urchin or two. They are incredible algae eaters and do not have the nasty habits/traits of other urchins.

03/30/2006, 06:59 AM
My Astreas work on my rocks too, but my hermits are on them the most. If you have rock that is not touching any glass the Astreas are more likely to stay on them if you put them there. They don't like sand.

03/30/2006, 08:02 AM
Well I decided to go with the Total Reef Care Special # 3 from Reeftopia (http://www.reeftopia.com)

Mainly chose them because the package does not include hermits, and they have free shipping.

The package includes:

100 Astrea snails
18 Nerite Tesselatta snails
48 Nassarius snails
24 cerith snails
4 emerald crabs
4 peppermint shrimp

I think that should be more than enough for my application, and may end up placing a few in my refugium and/or FOWLR. hopefully my friend below doesn't have a liking for escargot!


04/04/2006, 11:06 AM
Well it looks like all my snails survived, took a couple days, but are moving around and cleaning like crazy.

The nerite (I believe they are the right ones, that are claimed to be intertidal, and hang out above the waterline from time to time) went straight to the back of the tank, and laid several dozen white egg cases. Anyone else see this happen? I have pictures, but they're not all that good.. some are on the glass, but most are on the overflows, in areas where they completely cleared of algae first. pretty neat; free fish food when they hatch I see it.

Also, when I got my emerald crabs, 3 were a nice size, between 1 and 1.5 inches, but they threw in one MONSTER MO_FO! he must be 3 inches across with claws that could crush a small ford. I decided to put him in the refugium, because I had a feeling he would soon be interested in more than just algae. He and my unknown hitchhiker crab can battle it out for control in there.

JE's Reef
04/08/2006, 06:45 AM
Here is a pic of my tank.

04/08/2006, 07:56 AM
Sorry for the newbie question... but what is the debate with using hermit crabs? I thought the scarlet-legged hermits were fairly passive and reef-safe?

04/08/2006, 03:06 PM
John, you tank looks sweet! color me impressed!

ZOKU, having hermits in the reef is as big a debate as going bare bottom or having a deep sandbed; there is an endless number of arguments for both. Many people (myself included) have had hermits withot any problems, but decided to go without them because I know they can take advantage of a downed snail, and kill them for their shells. Since I have tons of snails, I didn't want to risk having hermits. There are also reports of them tasting corals and various polyps when they can't find enough algae, detritus, what not to eat.
So with that said, I will just say its personal preference. Thanks for checkin out my thread!

04/08/2006, 03:54 PM
Wow man, looks great and your aquascape is making me reconsider my idea of two islands, any bigger shots of it? My 120 is cycling with my new LR and i stand to transfer everything soon, possibly next satruday.

04/10/2006, 05:47 AM
Thanks new2u! I am really happy with the aquascaping; I will be sure to post some better tank shots tonight. any pics to share of your up and comming 120 system? I'd love to see it.

04/10/2006, 03:02 PM
I'll try and take some tonight, i'm nearly finished cycleing, but i cant seem to get rid of this obstinate little presence of ammonia, its been in the same place forever... Its going through its algea phase too, i'll go and take some.

04/10/2006, 03:29 PM
[QUOTE]<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7071907#post7071907 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mille239
On another note, I found a crab the other morning, that I have never seen before! (I have not gotten any new live rock in over 3 yrs, and this is the first I've seen him)!!!!

I posted in another thread looking for an ID, but can't find the link, so here is the pictures... he's about the size of a quarter, and has orange markings on his carapace, orange/brown claws, and hairy legs.


If you didn't get an answer to your crab question I think I have one.

I believe that you have a juvenile Shame Face Crab.

This can be a very nasty fella when it gets bigger. I had a FOWLR tank a few years back and my wife bought one. She thought he was soo cool. Only the shop she bought it from didn't tell us anything about it. I saw him when I got home and everything was fine. The next morning when I got up I noticed that a bunch of my rock had fallen and that my Yellow Headed Sleeper was gone. When I found the Crab he was wearing the Sleeper's head as a hat.

These things will kill fish, corals and knock down your rocks. They will be sure that they are the only thing in the tank and with them knocking down rocks you could always come home or wake up to a wet floor.

May be okay to keep in refuge for awhile but I would be ware.

04/12/2006, 07:53 AM
yikes. if that's the case, I'm glad I got that crab out of there!! thanks for the tip!

04/25/2006, 07:14 AM
Well it's comming up on 2 weeks with no updates, so I believe I am long overdue. (though you'll have to wait until tonight when I get home to post pictures)

I have the cabinetry almost completed, and it is looking really nice. Really compliments the room! I also got a few new frags including a nice looking superman monti (though small, will grow fast I hope), some fire-n-ice zoanthids, a few blue ricordias, and a green polyp monti which is spectacular, though I don't know the name of it.
All inhabitants are doing great, and with the lime-water reactor online with the auto-top off, my pH readings are a steady 8.16 in the AM and 8.28-8.35 when lights go out at midnight.

My softball sized wad of chaeto has almost completely filled the 30 gallon fuge now, in just over 3 weeks online. It is definately due for trimming.

Other readings:
Salinitiy = 1.026
Amonia = 0
Nitrites = 0
Nitrates= <5
Calcium = 390
Alkalinity = 9 dKh
(don't have a magnesium test yet)

Diatoms had come and gone in less than a week, and the zillion snail eggs have began to hatch (though I don't see any offspring, nor did I expect to)

The only last piece of equipment needed is the calcium reactor, but due to summer projects pending, will have to wait until fall.

I am soooo excited to really begin stocking this tank.. the next additions will be either a powder blue tang, or a school of blue-eyed anthias.

Anyone with a school of these anthias, I'd love to see a pic!

04/26/2006, 08:29 PM
Ok, finally some Pics!!!

First off the auto-top off I put together:









04/26/2006, 08:41 PM
Now for the facing of the tank enclosure!! (I still have the baseboard molding and the trim around the tank to install, but you get the idea)



A full tank shot:


Some coral and fish pictures (again, sorry for the bad photography):

My new green polyped monti:


My Blue Zoo's: (from old system)


More zoo's:






04/26/2006, 08:42 PM
My green and orange Monti cap. frags:


My new superman monti frag: (picture does NOT do it justice)


And lastly, my trusty ol' foxface:


Soooo what do you all think of the project so far??? (now I'm broke and can't afford to stock it... ha ha ha)

04/26/2006, 08:51 PM
Oh, and I have to throw in a before and after shot for comparison!!



04/26/2006, 10:21 PM
So, when are you having that tank-finished party? :celeb1:

Looks great! All those doors are deceiving, you'd think there was tons of storage space back there. Instead, you find the whole nine yards of goodies. :) Not that that is a bad thing, mind you.


04/26/2006, 10:27 PM
Wow! What an improvement! The wood work looks great.

04/27/2006, 06:45 AM
Thanks guys! It does give the impression there is a lot of storage space behind those doors but believe you me, it is packed!

Also I forgot to mention cooling: I installed two 4" 80cfm fans (virtually silent) from radio shack in the upper vents that are on a timer to go on when the halide lights go on, and shut off approximately 1 hour after they do. The temp. of the tank has not moved, is a constant 79-80. I have an extra bathroom fan I may install in the celing within the enclosure which would vent even more air into the attic (or better yet out of the house with minimal duct work) but I am going to wait and see how the tempertures fare going into spring/summer. Note I do not have central A/C, but the house stays fairly cool, reaching the upper 70's on the hottest days. I do have a window A/C unit I can also set up in the window right next to the tank if necessity calls for it.

04/27/2006, 07:03 AM
Great Job! Looks fantastic!

I'm surprised you got such a good shot of your foxface. Mine freaks out and hides when I get out the camera. Hell, he hides if I even look at him too closely! :eek1:

04/27/2006, 11:32 AM
and the party is next month Fish'InMN: free cover to those who bring frags!!!

04/27/2006, 12:14 PM
Rrrrroad trip!

04/27/2006, 03:26 PM
Hey, I just had a question from way back on page 1.

I really like the aluminum box you have for your lights, but was wondering if having the VHOs running along side the MHs, & under the spider reflectors would interfere any with the reflectivity of the reflector. Or if they would suffer from the heat of the MHs, or if I am being overly cautious in my thinking.

04/28/2006, 10:23 AM
Thanks Travis!
The aluminum box I used for my lights was from an actual metal halide/flourescent combination I had from years back. The VHO actinics replaced standard output actinics, which were positioned pretty much in the same location, and the 250w halides replaced 175 watt fixtures. Originally the hood had no internal reflectors, other than the white finish, but I decided to retrofit the spider reflectors in it to enhance the reflectivity of the MH's. I am sure that having the VHO's running over the reflectors does reduce sa small amount of the reflectivity of the halides, but it is still superior to the stock hood having no additional reflectors at all. Hope this helps!

05/01/2006, 07:54 PM
Ok, I just got an inline dual TDS meter for my RO unit. I have readings of 8 after the membrane, and 6 after the deionizing chamber. I know zero is the ideal level, but is it time to change my filters, or am I ok for a while?

05/01/2006, 08:00 PM
WOO HOO!!! 500th post!! (Sorry, just an excuse to bump my thread)

05/11/2006, 08:43 AM
Have not updated in a while.. many other projects around the house taking precedence...

I will post some pictures of my new additions as soon as I charge my camera and take some shots, but I received an order from Liveaquaria (www.liveaquaria.com) including 2 Solomon Percula clowns, 6 Lyretail anthias: (5 females, one male), a Powder Blue Tang (Absolutely stunning, I was almost breathless when I opened the box) and a royal gramma (who unfortunately did not survive the shipping journey.

Fortunately Liveaquaria was extremely accomodating, and credited my account for the loss. Also one of the clowns is not looking too hot, kind of listing in the water and is being blown all over the place by the current. I hope he pulls through, but fortunately he is guarranteed for 14 days.

All the surviving new arrivals are eating well.

My existing 6 line wrasse has been a bit of a bully towards the anthias, prob. staking his territory. Hopefully he can work out his issues, otherwise I will pull him (if I can catch him) I think things will settle down though.

I snapped a couple pictures of my Cerith snails, spawning... they have been doing it frequently lately, with long trails of eggs on the glass... pretty common I know, but still neat in my book.

05/11/2006, 09:58 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7286326#post7286326 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mille239
Ok, I just got an inline dual TDS meter for my RO unit. I have readings of 8 after the membrane, and 6 after the deionizing chamber. I know zero is the ideal level, but is it time to change my filters, or am I ok for a while?

Sounds like it's time to change the DI filter. It should be able to take it down to 0, AFAIK.

05/11/2006, 10:02 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7345831#post7345831 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mille239
Have not updated in a while.. many other projects around the house taking precedence...

I will post some pictures of my new additions as soon as I charge my camera and take some shots, but I received an order from Liveaquaria (www.liveaquaria.com) including 2 Solomon Percula clowns, 6 Lyretail anthias: (5 females, one male), a Powder Blue Tang (Absolutely stunning, I was almost breathless when I opened the box) and a royal gramma (who unfortunately did not survive the shipping journey.

Fortunately Liveaquaria was extremely accomodating, and credited my account for the loss. Also one of the clowns is not looking too hot, kind of listing in the water and is being blown all over the place by the current. I hope he pulls through, but fortunately he is guarranteed for 14 days.

All the surviving new arrivals are eating well.

My existing 6 line wrasse has been a bit of a bully towards the anthias, prob. staking his territory. Hopefully he can work out his issues, otherwise I will pull him (if I can catch him) I think things will settle down though.

I snapped a couple pictures of my Cerith snails, spawning... they have been doing it frequently lately, with long trails of eggs on the glass... pretty common I know, but still neat in my book.

No QT? Tssk, tssk!:worried:

Yeah, any spawning is always neat. If you're lucky they'll even grow up! :D

05/11/2006, 10:21 AM
I know I know.. I am one of those non-QT types... I certainly understand the arguments for doing it, but I have always had great success with careful acclimation, and am of the thought that moving a newly acquired individual to a established tank with pristine conditions is the best thing for the health of a fish. In past tanks, I have even acquired fish with Ich from a friends tank that was crashing, and placed them in my FOWLR, to find the ich cleared up within days by itself. I believe a varied diet with vitamis is the best preventative cure.
I know many will shun me for this, but it works for me...

05/11/2006, 05:33 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7346379#post7346379 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mille239
I know I know.. I am one of those non-QT types... I certainly understand the arguments for doing it, but I have always had great success with careful acclimation, and am of the thought that moving a newly acquired individual to a established tank with pristine conditions is the best thing for the health of a fish. In past tanks, I have even acquired fish with Ich from a friends tank that was crashing, and placed them in my FOWLR, to find the ich cleared up within days by itself. I believe a varied diet with vitamis is the best preventative cure.
I know many will shun me for this, but it works for me...

I agree completely.

06/16/2006, 04:31 AM
I'm sorry for the poor quality on some photos, but here are some updated pictures of the tank.










06/16/2006, 04:33 AM





06/16/2006, 05:41 AM
Looking great!

06/16/2006, 08:26 AM
Thanks Gabriel.... things seem to be running smoothly.. (knock on wood)

06/16/2006, 08:28 AM
Good job. Is that light pulley system still working out as planned?

JE's Reef
06/19/2006, 07:26 AM
Looks nice, great job. Some of those zoos would look great in my tank. Dawn...hook blair up with some Oberon.

06/19/2006, 01:43 PM
The light pulley system is working fine, but in all honesty, I haven't had to move the lights since I aquascaped the tank. I have the light canopy abut 2" off the rim of the tank, and have plenty of room in front to access the tank. But it is nice to know I can raise them in the event I need to.

John, I think you should be the one hookin me up with a couple Oberon's if you want some frags... thanks for the compliments!

For some reason, though, one of my blue zoo rocks (you can see them on the lower left rock in the 5th picture down on this page) closed up about 5 days ago, and won't open back up. everything else is thriving!, I'm afraid if they don't open soon, they will start to melt away.... Any suggestions?

JE's Reef
06/19/2006, 04:58 PM
thats what I said. hook blair up with a ton of Oberon.

11/08/2006, 08:39 PM
How about an update? Where did you go?

11/14/2006, 11:21 PM
Nice looking Build.

Great Work.


03/09/2007, 01:37 PM
Dude, its update time!!!!! we want pix.

03/09/2007, 02:17 PM
It looks awesome Mille!!!

I had a question though. Is that radiator against the wall running? I'd be worried about catching your in-wall stand on fire if it is. Just a thought :)

04/05/2007, 01:05 PM
I just saw your thread about the frozen Fish. Sorry about that! Since we now know you are still around how about an update???

04/05/2007, 01:13 PM
Sorry everyone about letting this thread fall off the face of the earth... I'm happy to inform you the reef is doing magnificent! (though very few new additions have been made, due to other expenditures... (roof repairs, saving for a wedding, etc...)
I will update very soon with pictures, changes, and all that fun stuff we all love to read about on other people's build up threads...

Thanks for the condolences gkarshens, (I, guess Tessy my eel gets to keep his home to himself for another week or so.)