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Old 05/26/2018, 09:02 PM   #1
Peckoltia
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Alex's 8x3x2' Australian Reef Build (340gal)

Hi

After along lay off from having a reef tank, I made the hard to decision to sell all of my freshwater stingrays and set up a new reef tank!

The tank is in our front lounge room that backs onto our double car garage. I picked this room of the house, as it was easy to drill through the brick wall and turn half the garage into my 'equipment' room.

The tank itself is a 8x3x2' (LxWxH) glass, black silicone and starfire/low iron front and sides. The stand I had professionally welded by a local fabricator, and powder coated 'satin' black. I picked a Satin finish (low gloss) as it gives a bit more of a 3D feel rather than matt black that very much looks 2D.



The stand is all open and won't be cladded with anything. I think the height and sleekness of the stand being open gives the tank an illusion of being taller than it is at only 60cm/24". Also having a bracket made and finished the same as the stand that will go over the tank for the lighting to hang from.







The tank was also drilled for a Synergy Ghost Overflow, and has been plumbed as a bean animal system to reduce noise as much as possible.



The idea is that no plumbing will be seen from the front when viewing the tank and the pipe work will go through the wall and all that will be seen is an open stand with the wall and back of the tank also painted black. The idea is to black everything out; back glass, stand and wall and try get as much focus on the colours of the fish and corals.



The quarantine tank also sits in the garage in the equipment room. The QT tank is bigger than what most people would use, but I had it from one of my FW set ups and the tank was pretty much brand new. QT is 4'x2.5'x1.5' approx' 400L/100Gal - and will be filters by an Aqua One Nautilus 2700. I also like the idea of being able to quarantine decent amounts of fish at a time. The rock in the display is Carib Sea Life Rock, a combination of 'shelf' and 'shapes'. Ordered online to try it out and see if I'd use it on the display.



Sump - 4'x2.5'x1.5' and is approx' 400L/100Gal. I have already bought my skimmer, ended up going with the Nyos Quantum 300. I got this skimmer as it had some very good reviews, came recommended and seemed to be reasonable value for money.


I will keep this thread updated as things, change and things should come along pretty quickly. Next up is to get the back of the tank painted and the wall drilled and painted to get the tank moved back onto the wall!




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Old 05/27/2018, 06:22 PM   #2
Peckoltia
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Attached the RODI system to the wall. This RODI system has a duel inbuilt TDS meter (TDS of pretreated and treated water), actually surprised to see the TDS of my tap water around the 400ppm mark. The treated water coming out is at 0ppm, so working nicely. Still need to fix the tubing to the wall to make it a bit neater. I have started filling the QT tank with RODI, then it's time to add salt and start the cycle.

I am quite impressed with how the Carib Sea Life Rock looks when wet under lights. Some nice purple/pink without being over powering, I think Carib Sea have done a great job with the finish of this rock.












Last edited by Peckoltia; 05/27/2018 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 05/29/2018, 07:46 PM   #3
Peckoltia
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Quarantine tank is filled and cycling. I know the Carib Sea Life Rock is coated in bacteria (not really sure how effective this is), but what is everyone's go to product for 'bacteria in a bottle' to give a tank cycle a helping hand?




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Old 05/30/2018, 02:22 AM   #4
pauloshannassy
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I'm setting up a tank at the moment - almost exact size as your QT tank. Filled with RODI + red sea coral pro salt..

I also used caribsea life rock (about 2 boxes) and shortly after added 240ml of dr tims one and only. - followed by the recommended dose of ammonia chloride.. (that was on the 15.05.18..)

Ammonia got up to about 1.2 mg/L.. and hasn't really changed since...

Thinking about adding some live rock from another tank

Cheers


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Old 05/30/2018, 02:38 AM   #5
Peckoltia
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Hi Paul

I used the Red Sea salt too, just used the regular and not the coral pro being a quarantine tank. I've just used a raw uncooked prawn/shrimp as an ammonia source rather than using Ammonia Chloride - not as precise but does the job.

Let me know how you go with DR Tims.

What are your thoughts on the life rock? I think it looks the part under lights and wet (didn't think much of it dry). Probably the negative is the price, it is more expensive for me to buy than high quality live rock collected from the Abrolhos Islands. Still tossing up whether to go down the live rock path like I have in the past and deal with the pests - last time around I had a bit of a rough time with large growing crabs and mantis shrimp. I also don't think the Life Rock comes in large enough pieces for the 8x3x2' display.


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Old 05/30/2018, 06:31 AM   #6
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I like the plan so far. Looking forward to seeing how you complete the build.


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Old 05/30/2018, 07:09 AM   #7
Peckoltia
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McPuff - Thanks mate. A lot of time and effort has gone in so far (I'm sure everyone can relate!), will be interesting to see if I can execute the image from my mind into reality.

Hopefully get the tank painted this weekend and the mixing station plumbed.


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Old 05/30/2018, 10:37 PM   #8
Peckoltia
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Seems like every week there are multiple packages arriving in the mail, which is like the adults version of Christmas!

The postman brought me a new Red Sea Refractometer and another Ecotech MP40.



Did get some bad news today though, the ETA on my skimmer has been pushed back to the 18th of June which is a bit of a bummer, but it does give me a chance to really pull my finger out and get all the odd jobs done.


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Old 05/31/2018, 02:15 AM   #9
pauloshannassy
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Hi Paul

I used the Red Sea salt too, just used the regular and not the coral pro being a quarantine tank. I've just used a raw uncooked prawn/shrimp as an ammonia source rather than using Ammonia Chloride - not as precise but does the job.

Let me know how you go with DR Tims.

What are your thoughts on the life rock? I think it looks the part under lights and wet (didn't think much of it dry). Probably the negative is the price, it is more expensive for me to buy than high quality live rock collected from the Abrolhos Islands. Still tossing up whether to go down the live rock path like I have in the past and deal with the pests - last time around I had a bit of a rough time with large growing crabs and mantis shrimp. I also don't think the Life Rock comes in large enough pieces for the 8x3x2' display.
Yeah this is the first time i've used dry rock to start with (also sick of crabs + other hitchhikers etc..).

The life rock looks great so far - i used mainly the shapes and some shelf rocks. You would need quite a few boxes to fill a 8x3x2 tank - i wish i had that problem!

Will let you know how the cycle goes (i also added a cube of frozen mysis shrimp and a piece of live rock from my other tank - which might speed things along?). I started to get some nitrite readings yesterday so should be working.


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Old 05/31/2018, 02:27 AM   #10
Peckoltia
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Paul - How many Kg's come in a box?

I just bought whatever the online store (The Tech Den) had left in shapes and shelf - what you see in the QT is 10kg of shelf and 4kg of shapes (14kg/~30lb total). I found the shapes is really good, as it looks like you get a lot more with the hollows etc. The shelf looks the part too, probably my only gripe is that the bottom of the shelf pieces is dead flat. Which in my case was good as it was going on the barebottom, but when you prop it up to create a cave effect the bottom edge is completely straight and does look a bit odd.

I was thinking of I went down the life rock path - 30Kg base, 30Kg shapes, 10Kg branching and 10Kg shelf for a total of 80Kg (176lb) should just about cover me.

Good to hear you are getting some nitrite readings and things are progressing, bit strange it took two weeks.


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Old 05/31/2018, 05:20 AM   #11
pauloshannassy
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Paul - How many Kg's come in a box?

I just bought whatever the online store (The Tech Den) had left in shapes and shelf - what you see in the QT is 10kg of shelf and 4kg of shapes (14kg/~30lb total). I found the shapes is really good, as it looks like you get a lot more with the hollows etc. The shelf looks the part too, probably my only gripe is that the bottom of the shelf pieces is dead flat. Which in my case was good as it was going on the barebottom, but when you prop it up to create a cave effect the bottom edge is completely straight and does look a bit odd.

I was thinking of I went down the life rock path - 30Kg base, 30Kg shapes, 10Kg branching and 10Kg shelf for a total of 80Kg (176lb) should just about cover me.

Good to hear you are getting some nitrite readings and things are progressing, bit strange it took two weeks.
Hey mate,

The 'standard' and shelf boxes are 18.2 kg (or 40lb) each. The 'shapes' are 9.1 kg (20lb) each.. i used about 1 box of shapes and half a box of shelf and half standard (will take the rest back to the LFS). Will send a pic when i work out how to do so.

I know what you mean about the flat bases - my tank is barebottom and having a bit trouble making it look natural in some areas

At a guess i think you would have it about right with 80kg (30 Kg of shapes will go a long way).


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Old 05/31/2018, 10:11 PM   #12
Peckoltia
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It is possible to potentially glue the two flat bottom sides of two pieces of shelf and create a very large shelf piece, which is something I may try. This will also remedy the issue of the flat bottom, depends how big a piece you want to create. Did you drill yours at all? Seems fairly brittle, not sure if a masonry bit would make it crumble or leave a nice clean hole? for a rod to be inserted into for aquascaping purposes.

On a side note, has anyone used the Red Sea refractometers before? I used mine straight out of the box last night, and has my salinity through the roof 40ppt +. I then calibrated it with RODI water and had my salinity sitting at about 33ppt, which is where I was expecting it to be. Anyone else noticed that this refractometer needed calibration straight out of the box?


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Old 06/01/2018, 05:35 AM   #13
pauloshannassy
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No I didn't drill mine.. they stack together pretty nicely..
also as a coincidence I also bought the Red Sea refractometer a couple of weeks ago - and had the same issue .


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Old 06/03/2018, 06:30 PM   #14
Peckoltia
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Ended up buying another refractometer (ATC) from a local store called. Both are giving me the exact same reading, so the Red Sea is working it just appears it needs to be calibrated every single use. I guess having two to compare moving forward can't be a bad thing.

Will need to get some 35ppt calibration fluid rather than using RODI water for calibration.


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Old 06/06/2018, 06:09 AM   #15
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Tank painted by the boss, 33 weeks pregnant and done a really good job!


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Old 06/06/2018, 10:58 PM   #16
uclamatthew
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Looks like a good build so far. Looking forward to seeing more.


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Old 06/07/2018, 01:10 AM   #17
Peckoltia
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Looks like a good build so far. Looking forward to seeing more.
Thanks mate. Wall will be getting painted and drilled early next week, so will hopefully see some decent progress from then.

QT is almost cycled, so will hopefully start seeing the first fish move into it shortly to start a long quarantine process.




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Old 06/08/2018, 03:05 AM   #18
pauloshannassy
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Looks great. Your QT tank cycled pretty fast with no sand.. I've been waiting 3+ weeks.. ammonia just dropped to 0 today, nitrite still pretty high at 1ppm?

Cheers
Paul


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Old 06/08/2018, 03:42 AM   #19
Peckoltia
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Looks great. Your QT tank cycled pretty fast with no sand.. I've been waiting 3+ weeks.. ammonia just dropped to 0 today, nitrite still pretty high at 1ppm?

Cheers
Paul


Paul - I added a layer of sand ~1" (less in other areas) which is mix of aragonite and a local coral sand not long after the last QT tank picture was taken. Probably not text book quarantine set up with having sand, but it's only fairly sparse and want to get some wrasse into QT at some point so figured the sand would potentially reduce the stress a bit.

Cycle is going alright, traces of both nitrite and nitrate and ammonia beginning to drop. My definition of 'almost cycled' was probably a bit optimistic though, so I wouldn't stress. I'm probably 2 weeks away from adding fish at a guess. Good to hear you're almost there. Everyone knows how bloody painful the wait is!


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Old 06/14/2018, 12:25 AM   #20
Peckoltia
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Looks great. Your QT tank cycled pretty fast with no sand.. I've been waiting 3+ weeks.. ammonia just dropped to 0 today, nitrite still pretty high at 1ppm?

Cheers
Paul
My cycle is going well. Ammonia has almost dropped to 0. I used another bacterial product called 'Seed' by Aquavitro a little while back (I should have kept more accurate records and will be something i'll do with the display). The cycle didn't seem to be doing much then the day after dosing with 'seed' is when I started to see nitrite and nitrates show up. Could have just been the timing - but anecdotally seemed to work. Will definitely be using this product over something like stability for the display.

On a side note I ordered my rock today - ended up going with the Carib Sea 'life rock'. 50Kg shapes, 20kg base, 10kg shelf and 10kg branching. Figure 90kg (~200lb) should do the trick!


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Old 06/15/2018, 03:53 AM   #21
pauloshannassy
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90kg of rock! Looking forward to seeing the scape.

I added more live rock from my other tank last week and finally nitrite dropped to 0 today. Did a 80% water change to lower nitrates then will transfer a few fish over tomorrow I think.

Will your display be setup before your other baby arrives?

Cheers


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Old 06/15/2018, 05:02 PM   #22
Peckoltia
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Thanks Paul. Hopefully the rock arrives safely, without too much breakage.

My plumber who was meant to drill the wall has decided to go on holidays, which is my own fault for not being more organised. Have found someone else to do it though, and will be done by the end of the weekend hopefully, and the painter is already tee’d up. Should be quick once that’s done. So should be mostly done before bubs arrives.


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Old 06/17/2018, 06:55 PM   #23
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Update - got the mixing station mostly plumbed. All dry fitted then glued. Only a couple very minor leaks which I have since rectified. Pretty happy with it and seems to be working a treat so far. The left barrel is SW and the right RODI. I like the 'closed loop' on the left as I can turn the pump on and really churn the water to either mix salt or get the water full of oxygen before a water change. Each drum holds 220L (~60gal). All that is left to do is clamp a flexible hose on the reducer and install drill a hole for the float switch to plumb the RODI line into so I don't flood my garage.




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Old 06/17/2018, 08:07 PM   #24
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Looks great so far


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Old 06/19/2018, 07:59 PM   #25
Peckoltia
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Looks great so far
Thanks.

I crowed a bit early and have a very slow leak in one of the glued joins (first time that's happened to me) - so will wait until I do a water change on the QT and empty the barrel to rectify the leak. Luckily I used quite a few unions, saved me some major headaches.


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