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Old 04/26/2017, 02:02 PM   #1
WLachnit
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Will's 300g Mixed Reef Re-Boot

I recently re-built my 300g, mostly from scratch. I would like to share what changes I made and why I made them. (I have posted some of my progress on our local club website, but thought that by sharing with a broader group, I may be able to gain additional learnings). My original tank build was finished in 2008 and had been running continuously since that time, albeit only partially successful towards the end. The result of that build is shown here in a very dead thread. Thread is only worth going to if you are interested in woodworking and how I built the cabinetry.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...y#post13823164


I learned a lot from that build and I realized that as the hobby evolved as well as my own knowledge/experience, that a lot of improvements could be made. I had purchased that tank new. It was an acrylic TruVue 96 x 24w x 30h. The dual corner overflows were undersized with only one 1” Durso standpipe in each overflow. I considered turning it into a Herbie with one corner being main overflow and the other being the trickle. But, that would not work well since each one would be in a different overflow. The other challenge I had was that I did not have enough lineal overflow. There were also a lot of dead spots which over the years built up a lot of detritus. I had the LR setup in a way that made it tough to get good flow everywhere. I had built a foam rock wall along the back which I believe contributed to phosphate buildup. Although admittedly, I did neglect it for a couple of years which I'm sure gave the LR plenty of time to accumulate PO4. Anyway, I finally got to the point that I needed to tear it down and re-build it.


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Old 04/26/2017, 02:09 PM   #2
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So, I started by pulling LR out of the tank (in batches) to treat it with LaCl3 to get all of the phosphates out. And as with a lot of things in life, what started as a smaller project fully bloomed into a complete re-build. I then decided to replace acrylic tank, which by now had a good share of scratches. This gave me an opportunity to start from scratch so to speak and have a Starfire glass tank built to replace it. I will try to capture all of the changes I made or will make based on my experience with the past setup.

I wanted glass because I was so tired of not being able to clean the front of the tank without risking scratches. After almost 10y of cleaning it, I do have surface scratching which then makes it harder to keep the surface clean. I did consider emptying and polishing the tank, and even though I have all the tools to do that myself, there were still other things….such as the slight bowing of the front panel since the tank is only ½” think, the undersized overflows, the small openings at the top, and finally knowing that it would just get scratched up again.

So, I went out and got a few quotes for a 3 sided starfire tank with the same dimensions. I ended up going with Trent at CDA. It is ½” front/side panels with ¾” bottom, ¾” eurobracing, and reinforced seams. We also at the last minute decided to install a top metal brace to make it even stronger (given that there is a canopy over it, the brace would not be seen.

I had it drilled for dual 20” Synergy ghost overflows and four returns because I wanted a lot of lineal overflow. At the time, the C2C overflows that I saw had external boxes that took up too much room behind the tank. In hindsight, I could have built one myself out of acrylic to fit my dimensions.



This angle shows where the four holes were drilled for the returns in addition to the 1 1/2" bulkheads holes for the ghost overflows. The holes for the returns were sized for 3/4" bulkheads.




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Old 05/16/2017, 01:14 PM   #3
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This is a summary of the changes I made.

BEFORE AFTER
1. Tank:
Before: TruVue Acrylic
After: *CDA Starfire

2. Overflows:
Before: Dual Internal w/ 1" Durso
After: *Dual 20" GhostSynergy w/ BeanAnimal

3. Returns:
Before: Two 3/4"
After: *Four 3/4"

4. Return Pump:
Before: Reeflo Dart
After: *Vectra L1 and DC Current 1500

5. Flow:
Before: 2 MP 40s, two MJ1200
After: *Three MP40s, Two Gyre XF150s

6. Lighting:
Before: 3 250w MH + 2 T5
After: *6 Kessil 360we + 2 T5

7. Alk control:
Before: Manual dosing
After: *Neptune DOS & 2 Part

8. PO4 control:
Before: GFO, macroalgae
After: *GFO, macroalgae

9. NO3 control:
Beofre: DSB
After: *MarinePure Ceramic blocks, BioPellet Reactor

10. Aquascaping:
Before: Foam wall and stacked LR
After: *Glued and doweled LR. More open space

11. Skimmer:
Before: Internal ASM 250
After: *Recirculating Reeflo 250EXT


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Old 05/16/2017, 02:22 PM   #4
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awesome upgrade. the new set up will be much easier and efficient to maintain. just remeber glass scratches too


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Old 05/17/2017, 11:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthv247 View Post
awesome upgrade. the new set up will be much easier and efficient to maintain. just remeber glass scratches too


Thanks. Have just learned that about glass and realize that I will still need to be careful.


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Old 05/19/2017, 10:35 AM   #6
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Will's 300g Mixed Reef Re-Boot

I decided that my first task was to get rid of PO4 buildup in the system. I setup a 2 reactor system so that I could drip LaCl3 (PhosFree) using an IV bag through the reactors and catch the precipitate.





The amount of LaPO4 precipitate was staggering. The white gunk sitting on top of GAC was presumably LaPO4. I would switch this out every week.




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Old 05/19/2017, 10:39 AM   #7
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At the same time I removed about 1/3 of the LR and put it in a bin with a powerhead and LaCl3. I would swap the water out every ~10d and measured the PO4 with a Hanna checker. I was able to get it down to ~0.1 – 0.2 ppm in about 6 weeks. Since I had a light to medium load in my DT, I figured that taking out 1/3 of the LR was a safe bet. To be sure. Doing this also gave me an opportunity to finally get rid of aptasias and majanos.



I also added a ceramic Marinepure block to the DT sump just to make sure my nitrification/denitrification stayed in check.



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Old 05/20/2017, 05:23 PM   #8
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rebuilding sucks but also fun as hell right lol... looks like a solid reboot..

i am curious why you took out a 3rd tho?? especially if your trying to lower leaching phosphate, cause the other 2/3s will still be leaching....


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Old 05/21/2017, 06:56 PM   #9
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Will's 300g Mixed Reef Re-Boot

Double post


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Old 05/21/2017, 06:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
rebuilding sucks but also fun as hell right lol... looks like a solid reboot..

i am curious why you took out a 3rd tho?? especially if your trying to lower leaching phosphate, cause the other 2/3s will still be leaching....

Yes, once I made the commitment to go all in with the re-boot, it made a lot of things easier, I mentally justified all of the increased expenses, d then it was fun indeed.

I was going to do half the LR at a time, but then I got concerned there wouldn't be enough LR for my fish load. Then I realized I could add the Marine Pure block which helped a lot. So, once the the first third was finished, I pulled out the second third but didn't put the first third back in. With the Marine Pure block it was fine. If I were to do it over again, I would pull out half at a time, much easier logistically.


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Old 05/21/2017, 07:09 PM   #11
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Will's 300g Mixed Reef Re-Boot

Once I had the LR treated and ready to go, I started the aquascaping phase on a table in the garage. I used acrylic rods, epoxy putty and super glue. I did not use any hydraulic cement. In hindsight it would have made it much easier.






Once I had most of the rockscaping done, I kept the rock cured in a bunch of brute cans.






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Old 05/21/2017, 07:17 PM   #12
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Can't wait to see more!


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Old 05/24/2017, 01:18 PM   #13
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Will's 300g Mixed Reef Re-Boot

I also decided to rebuild my original sump.



I wanted to increase my overall volume from ~80g to 90-100g. I wanted to be able to access my skimmer more easily. I had built it such the return section in the back was really narrow with ineffective baffles and it was loud as the water went from the skimmer section to the return section. So I cut it up and salvaged as much of the acrylic as I could.









It was 54" instead of 48", only 18" high for easy access and much improved baffles.




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Old 05/24/2017, 01:21 PM   #14
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I installed the sump and it functioned really well. BUT because a month or so later (while I was still waiting for my new tank to arrive), I made a decision to have CDA build me a steel stand. Which meant that I most likely needed to build the sump yet again to accommodate the dimensions of the new stand. A 54" sump would not be able to slide in under the stand because of the middle leg of the stand. This also meant that I had to dismantle my cabinetry and remove the wooden stand I had built years back.
















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Old 05/30/2017, 02:24 PM   #15
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I then took down my 300 DTand set it up temporarily on the floor with it partially filled to keep all of my fish alive. I had a number of Tangs that I have had for these 11 years so it was important that they make the transition.




I had my coral frag tanks going, but I also picked up an old 135g tank off of Craigslist to maintain all of my coral during this transition. Now I had 3 large setups on both sides of the family room floor. ...and a very supportive wife!



I then gutted the cabinetry and stand.



I picked up the stand and moved it into position, leveled it and attached a 3/4" ply bottom.





I was finally ready to take delivery of the tank!


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Old 06/01/2017, 12:01 PM   #16
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Next came move in day. There were 8 of us and we needed everybody.












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Old 06/01/2017, 12:02 PM   #17
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Once we got it to the front door, we had to carry it because we didn't want to risk denting the floors with the cart wheels.
This was one heavy tank!








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Last edited by WLachnit; 06/01/2017 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 06/08/2017, 11:42 AM   #18
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I only used one of the external Synergy Reef overflow boxes because it is going to be a lot easier managing one BeanAnimal rather than two. So, the right internal box is plumbed to drain into the left external box. I had to drill a hole in the external box to fit another bulkhead to make that happen. While it took some effort to not have the bulkheads on the right internal box not leak (since it did not have an external box), having just the one external box is making life easier. So far, I have learned that with these Synergy ghost overflows, that the water needs to be pretty high in the external box, otherwise you hear the water flow loudly as it goes from the internal box to the external box. And I really like having the larger amount of lineal overflow that the two boxes provide.


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Old 06/08/2017, 11:45 AM   #19
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Getting the 2 sumps in place. Because I decided that I wanted a little more overall volume, I went back to a slightly taller sump. Not quite as ideal from a maintenance perspective, but now I will have a large refugium.







Drilling for the two bulkheads to attach the two sumps together.






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Old 06/09/2017, 06:27 PM   #20
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On a spur of the moment, I decided to use some eggcrate that I had lying around to organize all my cords, power bricks (13+), controllers, and Apex. I think it should work pretty well…certainly much better than how I had it organized before. Also using a couple of DJ8 power strips for my items that don’t need to be plugged directly into the Apex EB8.




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Old 06/13/2017, 11:46 AM   #21
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Since the tank sits at 42", I had to setup a scaffold between 2 ladders. This made it a lot easier to scape compared to when I first set the system many years ago. However, I now realize that with the leveling feet and 1" ply base, the tank sits about 4" higher than I wanted. Which is disappointing since all my SPS will be at top and hard to see from an above angle to see all of the colors.

I forgot to take pics while I was scaping, but I should point out that even with all the pre-work I did on aquascaping, some of it didn’t stay together and I forgot how some of it went together. So, It doesn’t look quite like what I had anticipated. I had tried to follow the rule of thirds, the golden rectangle, etc., when designing the scape,. But, now that it is altogether in the DT, I see that I broke a lot of these rules.




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Old 06/13/2017, 11:47 AM   #22
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Here is a FTS from a few months ago. I did lose a couple of colonies during this process....my CITR Red Dragon and a big red Monti Digi. I think when I moved them to my temporary holding tank for a couple of weeks, my lighting was not dialed in, which then also impacted my Alk. So, they both RTNd.




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Old 06/13/2017, 12:12 PM   #23
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Why did you not keep the same size fuge and just drop it in before you put the tank on and or put the stand down over it?


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Old 06/13/2017, 01:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Why did you not keep the same size fuge and just drop it in before you put the tank on and or put the stand down over it?
Good question. That was my original plan, but the sump was 3/4" too wide from front to back.


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Old 06/13/2017, 01:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Good question. That was my original plan, but the sump was 3/4" too wide from front to back.
Dam that really sucks


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