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Old 12/13/2004, 09:33 AM   #1
Jamesurq
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Smile Rebuilding the Reef - Log of a 90 Gallon Restarted

As some of you may know, my 2 year old reef suffered a catastrophic meltdown due to a tripped breaker from what was later determined to be the Rio pump running my skimmer.

The tank was a mixture of all types of corals, clams, a couple small tangs and other fish and probably the most active sandbed I’ve ever seen – I look back at the time, love, and effort I poured into the tank I get that annoying little lump in my throat.




Over the next couple of weeks I'll be updating this thread with my progress. I have the majority of the pictures on my home PC so I'll have to get home tonight to update on the progress so far.

I was going to wait until I was done to put this thread out there - but I'm getting some good progress and I figure having this thread may help motivate me to finish.

Stay tuned.


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Old 12/13/2004, 09:38 AM   #2
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taggin along

sorry for your loss


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Old 12/13/2004, 07:33 PM   #3
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OK. Here we go:

The only thing salvageable besides equipment was my rock. In the breakdown phase, the rock was moved into dry tubs for a day and then has been sitting in saltwater cooking for a few weeks.

I was amazed to find some residual life remaining. A couple of snails, and some peanut worms. I actually even saw an amphipod – yippee.. I had set up a couple of Rubbermaid tanks to house the rocks temporarily and when I got home I realized it wasn’t nearly enough room. So I quickly threw this elaborate ghetto setup together with a couple maxijets, a large aqauclear and a mag 7. This setup has proven rather reliable actually – since the rocks as of this moment are still in the tubs.





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Old 12/13/2004, 07:39 PM   #4
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looking good, :


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Old 12/13/2004, 07:41 PM   #5
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the aquarium itself was damaged too?


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Old 12/13/2004, 07:43 PM   #6
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Sorry about your tank, hopefully you can rebuild it to it's original potential. Good luck.


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Old 12/13/2004, 07:47 PM   #7
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In my rebuilding process, I had 4 main goals:

1. Upgrade the lighting – Current lighting was 2X175W Ushio 10K’s and 2X65W PC actinics. Since I had a 400W Radium and a 430W HQI ballast I figured I should just add it to the middle. Which meant removing the centerbrace to allow the Radium to shine without shadows. Hacksaw, piece of acrylic and some plastic wingnuts and we're rolling.




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Old 12/13/2004, 07:48 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. And no - the aquarium and all other equipment was fine.


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Old 12/13/2004, 07:55 PM   #9
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Back to the priorities:

2. Upgrade the circulation – Current circulation was 2X MJ1200’s and 1X MJ900. Running the maxijets was the option that made sense at the time – and worked fine for the blend of corals I had (probably 20% SPS). The upgrade is to an Ampmaster 3000 on a closed loop.



On the return pump, I obviously had a significant increase in head pressure so I’m running an old and busted LG 4 (about 1400 gph – about 650-700 with head factored in). This will run through the standard AGA 1” overflow and ¾” return. I ran it all with 1.5” pipe to allow upgrades in the future.

Couldn't find a picture of the pump - but I'm sure you know what a rusted old POS pump looks like.


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Old 12/13/2004, 08:02 PM   #10
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3. Upgrade the filtration – Prior filtration was accomplished by a small 7 gallon or so in-sump segmented refugium and an in-sump Excalibur SV1 skimmer. Although this filtration was adequate and I had REALLY good luck with what I consider to be an excellent little skimmer, I felt it was time to step up to something with a little more power. I purchased a used ETSS 700 with a Mak4 pump. A little dirty - but at about 3 feet tall - it's more than sufficient for a 90 gallon.




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Old 12/13/2004, 08:07 PM   #11
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4. Make it QUIET!! – It was only after the old tank was removed from my old house that I realized how loud it was. A mag 7 in the stand running inside a 30 gallon sump and a couple of Radio Shack fans in the canopy made the overall hum very significant. To combat this noise, I planned on adding a remote sump in a room in the garage about 30 feet away.



Instead of the 30 gallon sump I had previously used, I purchased this custom built 90 gallon Inter-American pre-drilled sump from reefcrazed.



I also plan on rebuilding my canopy with more height (to allow for the additional heat from the Radium) and new MUCH quieter fans.


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Old 12/13/2004, 08:12 PM   #12
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& to think I thought my used reefdevil was a overkill for my 90g reef

looking forward to see how it turns out for you, losses are never fun. A few yrs back I lost a FO 150g with lots of big stuff in there. Anyways..... I usually setup a battery backup (car/motorcycle battery & boat bilge pump) system on all my tanks, something I will need to make again in the near future


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Old 12/13/2004, 08:14 PM   #13
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The first step was to find a spot to put the tank. This wasn’t that difficult as the wife had already decided this for me. It is on the opposite wall as my tv – which I’m afraid may cause some glare (even on a non-glossy projection screen) – but we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.

The next step was to figure out how to get the 4 1.5” pipes run into the crawl space. (1 return, 1 overflow, 2 for the ampmaster closed loop). The natural choice would be to drill holes or cut a square from the wood floor. Needless to say I would have been in a world of hurt if I had done this. Better choice? Make a hole in the drywall and drill down through the framing.



This is where the project halted for a while. We decided to refinish the floors since they were in pretty bad shape and moving the tank wasn’t going to be an option. So basically we had a hole with 4 pipes sticking out of the wall for about a month…


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Old 12/13/2004, 08:20 PM   #14
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Painting the back

Easiest thing ever. Put the tank on it’s front on a nice soft carpet. Cleaned it quickly with some isopropyl alcohol and spread 1 thick coat of black oil-based paint on the back glass.

Here's the stuff I used:


Here's the result:



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Old 12/13/2004, 08:27 PM   #15
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Drilling the tank.

Since I had never drilled a tank before I figured I’d practice a little first. I purchased an appropriately sized diamond drillbit from E-bay for roughly $40 with shipping. I had a practice run on my old sump (which will probably become my daughters tank when she’s ready.

It took quite a while to do it – but essentially, it was rather easy to drill. I knew the 90 would be more difficult since it’s about twice the thickness – but I figured it would be a breeze.

It was.

I drilled 2 1” holes in the middle of the back pane for the intake of the closed loop. In hindsight, I could have drilled all of the returns too – but, no regrets.




In hindsight - painting AFTER you drill is better. As you can see it chipped a little. Nothing a little touchup can't take care of.


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Old 12/13/2004, 08:48 PM   #16
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Cleaning and recoating the stand.

Quick hand sanding and a coat of polyurethane took care of some of the saltcreep that had occurred from my sloppy tank work.

For me, this has been the most difficult part of the project. I had to move the water from the sump to the tank through 30 feet of crawlspace. And yes – you HAVE to crawl for all of it. There are minimal crouching capabilities in this crawlspace. The other concern is that with so much plumbing running in the back of the tank – and the location of the tank being by an open wall, the distance from the wall would be an eyesore. Based on the 2 – 1” closed loop feeds with elbows and the 1.5” closed loop return, it seemed like the tank would have to sit out pretty far.

Here’s how I solved this:
I mounted the 1” closed loop returns flush with the back of the tank – and angled them into the stand into a central 1.5” pipe. Putting this central pipe IN the stand took care of half of the issue:




That left the closed loop returns to contend with. I had a brainwave – hell, if I cut holes in the wall for the main pipes, what’s a few more holes? The wife disagreed, but when I told her the outcome would be a tank that wasn’t sitting 5” from the wall, she changed her mind.

At first I cut the top hole and the bottom hole thinking I could plumb the top and bottom separately.



To fit onto:



Then I realized even with a helper it was impossible to hold the pipes in the precarious position that they were and keep them solid on the back of the tank. Then I grabbed the holesaw again. - you can see in the first picture where I essentially opened up the wall to get the vertical pipes in there.
This allowed me to plumb the pipes on the tank – then move it into place.

This resulted in an overall distance from the wall of exactly 1" (because of the 1" pipe running up the back. With a 1/2" quarteround trim on the baseboard - this is about the best I could hope for.....



Last edited by Jamesurq; 12/13/2004 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 12/13/2004, 09:01 PM   #17
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Closed loop circulation

For the in-tank circulation I went with 4 outlets. The first 2 on one side of the tank facing to the overflow side. The third on the left side facing back to the right and the fourth straight down under the return pipe and behind the rocks. When I had this tank setup before, the left front became quite a deadspot – and with this new configuration I am hoping 3000 GPH will keep anywhere free from detritus. Just to let you know I will be utilizing a shallow sand bed. Say what you will – I like the look, and I love the diversity.

4 pipes - 2 on the right for the AM3000, 2 on the left are return and overflow.



Pile of pipes, ready to plumb:



In the tank plumbing.... Allright I got too lazy to fix the paint on the back.. It's gonna be behind the rocks anyway.



Right side:



Left side:



And the "behind the rocks" circulation (this is 3/4" - the rest is 1")



Yeah, yeah - it's dirty, I know...


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Old 12/13/2004, 09:19 PM   #18
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Like what you have done so far. Can't wait to buy a house so I can hack into the walls just to make my tank look better. Keep us posted.


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Old 12/13/2004, 09:31 PM   #19
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Talking

Finishing the plumbing in the stand was a feat that left my arms and my brain aching. I only hope to God the damn seals are good – Everything is slip fitted so it’s all about the saw if any redo’s are in order.

Here's the completed plumbing under the tank. Still have to get the Ampmaster hooked up in the crawlspace.... Should be nice and quiet. Once the pump is hooked up - plumbing is complete.


Picture of the finalized undertank plumbing.


And a closeup:




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Old 12/13/2004, 09:34 PM   #20
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Looks great so far. I love the color on your stand. Is it DIY?


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Old 12/13/2004, 09:35 PM   #21
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Stay tuned for the next steps:

Water test
Adding saltwater
Adding the rocks
Adding the sand
Rebuilding and upgrading the lighting/fans/canopy – which is currently in pieces in the garage.
Hooking up the auto-topoff system
Building a Kalk reactor
Adding back the few surviving corals
Using my Dr. Mac birthday gift certificate (thanks Dad)
Hitting up all the people that offered frags to me when my old system was destroyed

Tearing it all down again and upgrading to a bigger tank…. Just kidding honey..



Meanwhile – if anyone has any questions about what, where, and how – I’m all ears…


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Old 12/13/2004, 09:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by dbrown
Looks great so far. I love the color on your stand. Is it DIY?
Thanks - no it's actually an AGA modern series stand in cherry finish. I'm redoing the canopy - adding about 10 inches to the overall height of it. All Glass sent me a small bottle of their stain so that I can match the color on the new wood... That's a couple weeks away...

I move slow...


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Old 12/13/2004, 11:33 PM   #23
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looks great and gives me an idea for when i eventually own a home....only 15 yrs away...i cant wait


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Old 12/14/2004, 06:21 AM   #24
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Nice stuff James. Looking forward to tracking your progress.

BTW, Now listen to me...Jo-LENE. I've got an army to raise and I must get to Nicaragua. I require a window seat and an in-flight Happy Meal AND NO PICKLES. OH, GOD HELP YOU IF I FIND PICKLES.


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Old 12/14/2004, 06:24 AM   #25
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Thanks. Just as a side note - a little drywall and what I've done is easily hidden to a prying landlord. I say go for it if you have 15 years in the rental. What's the worst they could do? Take your security deposit?


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