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Unread 02/27/2011, 05:36 PM   #1
urbaneks
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Viewpoints – A Photographic Journal of my Reef Tank

Viewpoints – A Photographic Journal of my Reef Tank

My Personal Experience
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved aquariums. My first aquarium was a 10 gallon freshwater tank that I setup in Junior High. I followed the hobby into high school where I also found myself working at a local fish store. It was during this time that I decided to make the jump from fresh to salt water. I would eventually grow my passion for the hobby into an aquarium maintenance business that helped to supplement my income through college. After graduating, I left the business and hobby while I worked to establish a family and career. I remained inactive from the hobby for the next 14 years but would never pass up the chance to visit a local fish store or sit and stare at a tank at the doctor’s office.

Two years ago my brother called, raving about a tiny reef tank that he had seen at a customer’s home. I spent the next 2 months researching nano reefs and the new techniques that had evolved in the 14 years I had been away from the hobby. I decided to reenter the hobby and try my hand at reefing with a 28 gallon Nano Cube. The tank provided me an inexpensive option to determine if my family and work schedule would support the demands of a reef tank. Long story made short, one year later my reef was featured as the Tank of the Month at Nano-Reef.com. In the 16 months that I’ve been back in the hobby, I’ve realized how much I enjoy the hobby and the creative outlet that reefing provides me.



My Nano Cube at 16 Months - December 2010 TOTM at Nano-Reef.com

The Next Chapter
While my nano reef is great, my desire for a larger tank, better equipment and my obsession with SPS, has led me to a new adventure. Enter “Viewpoints”, my new reef tank in the making. The new tank will be dominated by SPS with some very select LPS and clams. I’m planning on a disciplined bacteria/carbon dosing program. I’ve read countless threads on both Zeovit and Vodka dosing and have decided to start with Vodka/MB7. From my research I feel like both programs offer great results but the cost and availability of product makes the Vodka/MB7 a more attractive option. An additional goal for this aquarium is to have a setup that is free from clutter. This means tight wire management, cleanly installed plumbing and a place for everything under the stand.

Why Viewpoints?
First and foremost, I want to create and photograph a reef that is beautiful from all viewpoints. Through my journal, I hope to pull many different viewpoints on reef keeping from the members, moderators and guests within this community. The journal to follow will be a written and photographic document of my experiences with the new aquarium. I am hopeful that many will join me in the journey, so subscribe, contribute and enjoy!

Equipment
- Display Tank - 48x30x18, Rimless, Starfire Aquarium - Manufactured by Cad Lights
- Lighting – 48” Geisemann Infinity – 2x250Watt Metal Halides and 4x54Watt T5s
- Stand – 48x30x30 Artisan Stand – Manufactured by Cad Lights
- Sump – 30x18x16 Acrylic Sump with a built in ATO Reservoir
- Skimmer – Reef Octopus 150 Pinwheel
- Heater – Finnex Digital 300 Watts
- Return Pump – Sicce Syncra 3.0 – Rated at 714 GPH
- Circulation Pumps – (2) Vortechs - MP40W ES with Battery Backup
- Controller – Neptune Systems Apex Controller



My equipment has arrived 3 weeks ahead of the tank and stand, it's going to be a long 3 week wait



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Unread 02/27/2011, 07:58 PM   #2
Acrotrdco
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Nice tank!


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Unread 02/27/2011, 09:18 PM   #3
urbaneks
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Viewpoints - Equipment Panel

Equipment Panel
As I mentioned one of my goals for this aquarium is to have a setup that is free from clutter. With all of my equipment arriving 3 weeks before the aquarium, I’ve had plenty of time to work on a panel to hold and display my equipment. Once the tank and stand arrives, this panel will be mounted to the back wall inside my stand. The equipment panel should keep all of my wiring maintained and easy to work with.

Equipment Panel - Built to Keep the Wire Management Clean and Organized


The panel is made out 1/4" MDF Board from Home Depot. Cost on the board was less than $3. The board was cut to accommodate the size of components and inner dimensions of the stand. Once the board was cut to size, a single coat of black paint went on to cover the MDF and match the stand. Once the paint was dry, the equipment was laid out and holes were cut where cords needed to transition to the back of the panel.

Geisemann Ballasts Mounted to the Panel - Holes Cut to Allow Cords to Transition to the Back of the Panel.


I used a #7 metric bolt, 1/4" spacers and matching hardware to mount the equipment to the panel. The 1/4" spacers allow breathing room underneath the equipment. I'm hopeful that this will help with heat dispersement and allow heat to escape from underneath the individual pieces of equipment.

Neptune Energy Bar - Mounted to the Panel. Note 1/4" Spacers Under the Equipment and the Gap it Creates From the Panel


I underestimated the total weight of the equipment, especailly the ballasts and battery backup (the weight of the battery back up is 20lbs alone). As a result of the weight, the 1/4" MDF was very flimsy and was not going to last without some modification. Rather than rework the entire board, I used some 3/8" acrylic to create a border around the outside of the panel (see first photo). The acrylic helped to solidify the panel and dresses it up a bit. While I'm happy with the end result, if I had to do it over again, I'd use at least 1/2" MDF.


Vortech Controllers - Mounted Mid Height to the Equipment Panel to Allow Easy Adjustments

The cost on the panel ended up being under $15 and took me about 5 hours to complete. Most of that time was wire tying the cords to the back of the panel. This was accomplished with zip ties and tie clips. As a finishing touch, I used colored wire labels to label each cord and the corresponding outlet on the controller. This will ensure that cords are plugged back into their programmed outlets on the controller. The colored labels can be seen throughout the photos embedded above.


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Unread 02/27/2011, 09:35 PM   #4
dvanacker
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very impressive so far.!


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Unread 02/27/2011, 10:16 PM   #5
pepnarok1
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Thumbs up

Wow! very nice , neat and clean


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Unread 02/28/2011, 12:44 AM   #6
WXB
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GREAT Attention To Detail! I love it.


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Unread 02/28/2011, 01:11 AM   #7
Sisterlimonpot
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No kidding, great looking panel. Can't wait to see the rest.


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Unread 02/28/2011, 01:16 AM   #8
SPSEMPIRE
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That's some nice equipment! Hope you like the Apex. The Apex controller is by far the best invested I made on my system.


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Unread 02/28/2011, 04:55 PM   #9
urbaneks
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Viewpoints - 2/28 Responses to Feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acrotrdco View Post
Nice tank!
Acrotrdco - Thanks for the comment on the photo of my nano cube. I'm hoping to have an even better display with my new tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvanacker View Post
very impressive so far.!
dvanacker - Thanks for the view and the comment, the feedback is appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pepnarok1 View Post
Wow! very nice , neat and clean
pepnarok1 - Thanks for the neat and clean comment. I've have training in LEAN Manufacturing and those are a couple of buzzwords from LEAN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WXB View Post
GREAT Attention To Detail! I love it.
WXB - Thanks for the view and comment, I'm excited to see this coming together. It helps drive me to keep the same attention to detail when others take note.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisterlimonpot View Post
No kidding, great looking panel. Can't wait to see the rest.
Sisterlimonpot - Love the screen name! Thanks for the kind words, stay tuned, there will be lots more to come. I'm just getting started with the project and plan to keep my journal up to date.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPSEMPIRE View Post
That's some nice equipment! Hope you like the Apex. The Apex controller is by far the best invested I made on my system.
SPSEMPIRE - Thanks for taking note of my equipment list. I'm sure that I over researched the equipment options as I spent the last 8 months reading. So far, I'm loving the APEX and I'll I've really done is turn things on and off with my PC and Phone. Very easy to use up to this point.


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Unread 03/01/2011, 12:31 AM   #10
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Viewpoints - Lighting

Lighting

MH/T5 Combo or LEDs – A Difficult Decision
Aside from the dimensions of the aquarium, the lighting was my most difficult decision. I had it narrowed down to the Geisemann Infiniti and Aqua Illumination. While the cost for the two lights was very comparable, the pluses and minus could not be more different. Just when I was set with LEDs, I would see another beautiful aquarium with a MH/T5 combination. Then just when I was set on MH/T5, I would flip back to the power consumption and heat concerns. I must have made this decision five different times before placing my order. I ultimately chose the Geisemann for the proven performance, finished look and extensive features.


Proven Performance
Throughout my research there were three different aquariums that were influential in my lighting decision. Each thread had one thing in common, the Geisemann Infiniti. It was very difficult for me to pull the trigger on LED’s knowing the success that was being had with the Infiniti. In all three aquariums, I felt like the growth and color of the SPS was superior to other fixtures that I had researched.



With the 2x250W MH's and 4X54W T5's, the Fixture Offers Countless Color Combinations

A Finished Look
My aquarium is being installed in a finished library with traditional furniture. With the décor of the room, the finish of the fixture was very important to me. In my opinion, one of the downfalls of the Aqua Illuminations is the unfinished look when mounted to the hanging kit. The Infiniti on the other hand is a beautiful lighting fixture that fits right into the room. From the sleek lines, grated metal, and soft painted finish, Geisemann did an outstanding job finishing this fixture.



The Finishing Touches on the Infiniti are Outstanding. Geisemann's Attention to Detail is 2nd to None.

Extensive Features
There are a few other factors that I really liked about the Infiniti. The antiglare properties is one that I’m really excited about. My tank will be rimless and the light will be mounted about 10 inches above of the aquarium. The way the Geisemann is built the T5 bulbs point inward and the MH bulbs are slightly recessed. This design keeps the light directed into the tank instead of towards those viewing the tank. I was sold on how quiet the Geisemann operates. The light disperses heat without fans so the actual light operates silently. The only noise that is put out by the Geisemann comes from the ballasts and it will not be heard once they are installed in the stand. Last, I liked that the Geisemann came standard with a hanging kit, one less expense in an already growing equipment bill.



The Geisemann Comes Standard with a Hanging Kit and Operates Silently



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Unread 03/01/2011, 08:33 AM   #11
nvdiz
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nice setup


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Unread 03/01/2011, 09:45 AM   #12
Sisterlimonpot
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Good choice. I'm still on the fence with LED's as well. They have a couple more years of proof before I'm convinced.


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Unread 03/01/2011, 05:39 PM   #13
coralreefdoc
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Looks great so far Brad. The equipment panels attention to detail is inspiring, I like how you used the 1/4" spacers and color coded the wires. Not to mention the strategic placement of the ballasts, at the top of the panel, in order to dissipate heat upwards away from all the other components. This is sure to be a killer system, look forward to seeing it


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Unread 03/02/2011, 12:25 AM   #14
urbaneks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvdiz View Post
nice setup
nvdiz - Thanks for the view and comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisterlimonpot View Post
Good choice. I'm still on the fence with LED's as well. They have a couple more years of proof before I'm convinced.
Sisterlimonpot - I appreciate the vote of confidence on my lighting decision. It's good validation to hear others are in the same boat. I know that I did not come right out and say it but I am definitely not sold on LEDs yet. I'm sure that I will one day run LEDs but like you I think they are a couple years away from matching the performance of MH/T5 combos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coralreefdoc View Post
Looks great so far Brad. The equipment panels attention to detail is inspiring, I like how you used the 1/4" spacers and color coded the wires. Not to mention the strategic placement of the ballasts, at the top of the panel, in order to dissipate heat upwards away from all the other components. This is sure to be a killer system, look forward to seeing it
coralreefdoc - Thanks for coming over to RC and checking out my new project. It will be great to compare notes as the two of us start our new aquariums up at about the same time. I appreciate the kind words on my equipment panel. I'm glad that it has spurred some inspiration.


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Unread 03/02/2011, 11:37 AM   #15
sahin
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Hi there dude, I'm sure we've posted on each others thread on Nano.reef before. Nice seeing you here.

This is a very nice thread. Subscribed.

That panel looks awesome. You really put a lot of thought into all of this. I just know that your tank will be something really great.

Good luck with the build and keep us posted regularly. Will be keenly following this build.


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Unread 03/02/2011, 12:18 PM   #16
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Enjoy your thread, specially your devotion to detalis. Will follow it closer.

wish you the best


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Unread 03/02/2011, 12:31 PM   #17
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Awesome thread! I’m very, very impressed.


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Current Tank Info: Old tanks: 37gal mixed, 57 gal mixed, 120 sps. Current tank 18”x18”x18” rimless in the works.
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Unread 03/02/2011, 12:38 PM   #18
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wow, very clean and professional look...


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Unread 03/02/2011, 01:37 PM   #19
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Unreal start, cant wait to see the rest of it!


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Unread 03/02/2011, 01:54 PM   #20
Sisterlimonpot
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Looks like you set the bar pretty high and have a lot of readers following along. I'm pretty confident that you won't let us down. I can't wait to see more progress.


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Unread 03/02/2011, 04:25 PM   #21
urbaneks
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Viewpoints - Custom Sump

The Search for the Perfect Sump
Early in my research, I came across a sump at my LFS. I was immediately intrigued by it because of its size, built in refugium and integrated ATO reservoir. On the flipside, I was immediately turned off by the price of $370. From this point on, I didn’t spend much time researching sumps, however, I spent a great deal of time trying to find a cheaper option that measured up to the gold standard. During my search I found several alternatives with refugiums but never one with a built in ATO reservoir. In the end, I decided to pay the premium and get the custom sump from my LFS.


After finding this custom sump at my LFS, nothing else measured up



The Details
The sump measures 30x18x16 and holds 37 gallons of water when completely full. I estimate that the sump will hold 20 gallons of water when the return pump is running. The skimmer section is 17” long by 18” wide. This section of the sump will easily fit an oversized skimmer and a Zeo Reactor. The ATO reservoir will hold 6 gallons of water. With the reservoir being integrated into the sump, it only takes up an additional 6” under the stand. Without a basement or fish room for my equipment, real estate under my stand is precious. I’m hopeful that the reservoir will provide me 10 to 14 days worth of top off water but with the open top, I’m thinking seven is more realistic. An additional feature of the sump that initially excited me was the built in refugium. Since finding the sump, I’ve decided to use a Vodka/MB7 regiment, which from my research will eliminate the need for the refugium. I will see how my Vodka/MB7 dosing goes, if successful, I will use the refugium chamber as a small frag tank.


Custom Sump - Built-in Refugium, Integrated ATO Reservoir and a Huge Skimmer Section


Sump Layout
Water enters the sump through the inlet chamber and is forced through a baffle into the refugium. From the refugium the water is sent through vents and another baffle before it hits the skimmer/reactor section. After the water is skimmed it flows to the return chamber where it sent back up to the display. Due to the multiple baffles, micro-bubbles are supposed to be non existent with this sump. The ATO reservoir is connected to the sump and has a small opening for tubing to be ran between the reservoir and the sump.


Here is a pictorial representation of how the sump is laid out.



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Unread 03/02/2011, 05:20 PM   #22
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Nice sump. I like the ATO reservoir. On my 120 (4’x2’x2’) I evaporate at least 5 gallons a week (probably more like 10). Just something’s to keep in mind. Also, is there and reason you went with the octopus skimmer? Thanks.


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Current Tank Info: Old tanks: 37gal mixed, 57 gal mixed, 120 sps. Current tank 18”x18”x18” rimless in the works.
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Unread 03/02/2011, 07:21 PM   #23
Sisterlimonpot
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Acrylic sumps seems to be expensive don't they? But that is a real nice one, I like the idea of having an ATO tank incorporated into the design.


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Unread 03/02/2011, 07:24 PM   #24
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Nice setup. I also live in Arizona. What LFS did you get the sump from? The best I have seen locally are from About the Reef and Aquarium Arts. You will like the NWB150 skimmer. I have the older NW110 and it is great. I want to upgrade to the new NWB for the cone neck design and bubble plate.


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Unread 03/02/2011, 07:51 PM   #25
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Really like the equipment panel. I keep trying to get mine organized like that but never find the time. Setup looks great


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