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Unread 02/24/2015, 12:34 PM   #1
ReefRescue
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Thumbs up Fully automated 500+ gallons, 225gal Mixed Reef, 50gal Seahorse tank

Last February I drove up to Northridge in CA after responding to a craigslist add to get a tank. After a couple of interesting exchanges my girlfriend and I decided to make the drive.
Once we got there and I purchased the tank the owner asked me a couple of questions about his newly built setup and since it was dark I looked at it briefly to realize that someone had assembled a supposedly high end setup like a kinder-garden kid with his first Lego set, accept the kid would probably be more creative due to his curiosity and interest.
So after a few minutes of looking He asked me what I think? The original question was "If You could look at my chiller and tell me why itís not working?"

I had to bluntly reply that "he is probably not interested in what I have to say." Considering I could see that he had spent thousands to get an absolutely dysfunctional system.
After he insisted, I told him that whoever worked on his tank wasnít qualified to even touch it and doesnít have the knowledge and experience necessary to set up and service a reef thank.
I showed and explained to him a few things that were just mind boggling. Then he asked me if I would be able to fix the problems and to get things functional.
Knowing that I live about an hour away without traffic and that I am absolutely stumped with work and short of time I told him that I wonít be able to. Instead I offered to come and look at the system more carefully during the day to give him a better Idea of what the problems were.
On my next trip there I realized how bad everything was, oceans motions set up 15' away from the tank with flex barb lines, 90 degree elbows, and metal fasteners that leaked on every joint.
A 1850 gallon return pump going through a chiller, not primed, blasting in the middle of the tank from the overflow, facing the front, it started spilling and splashing water off the top after being primed.
I felt really bad for him, and I also got excited by the challenge of building his system properly. Since he had already paid a lot of money for service on his previous tank, and when I saw that his corals were all brown, unhealthy and full of hair algae I decided to make him a deal.
I told to him that I will find the time to take care of the built of his tank under one condition:
Only if he committed to become a more active hobbyist, start learning and understanding how a reef tank functions, as well as the equipment needed.
He agreed, seemed enthusiastic, we shook hands, I already had ideas and knew this was going to be a big project.
I started to do a lot of research and gave him his first homework, Randyís Reef chemistry. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-03/rhf/

This is how began the saga of the 225gal rebuild. After a year it has become a 500+ gallons system with the 225gal mixed reef display tank, 50gal seahorse tank, 80gal refugium tank, 80gal live rock filtration tank, 45gal frag tank, and an 85gal sump.


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Unread 02/24/2015, 12:52 PM   #2
woodnaquanut
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No pictures, didn't happen!

Just saying...




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DT 120G. mixed reef w/ lots of automation + assorted FW and SW tanks.
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Unread 02/24/2015, 12:57 PM   #3
ReefRescue
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will post pics tonight they are on the PC at home.


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Unread 02/24/2015, 01:19 PM   #4
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I will post the whole build over the next few weeks.
Here are some pictures of what I walked into.


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Unread 02/24/2015, 01:22 PM   #5
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Can't wait to see the pics


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470G Display - Build Thread

Current Tank Info: Retired - 470 Gallon Mixed Reef (120x29x31")
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Unread 02/24/2015, 01:33 PM   #6
ReefRescue
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Trying to post some pics now but I am getting a security issue with website. will post tonight.


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Unread 02/24/2015, 02:35 PM   #7
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Better to use a dedicated web image server like Photobucket, Flickr, etc. and then link the images back here on RC.

Dave.M


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Unread 02/24/2015, 03:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
Better to use a dedicated web image server like Photobucket, Flickr, etc. and then link the images back here on RC.

Dave.M
Yeap I use http://postimage.org/ for forums.

Really simply and clean.


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TankStop - Fish and Coral

470G Display - Build Thread

Current Tank Info: Retired - 470 Gallon Mixed Reef (120x29x31")
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Unread 02/24/2015, 03:56 PM   #9
ReefRescue
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Here is shot underneath the tank from last Feb






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Unread 02/24/2015, 03:59 PM   #10
ReefRescue
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I can post through tapatalk on my Iphone this is really goofy.


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Unread 02/24/2015, 04:02 PM   #11
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Here are a few shots of the pipes going outside underneath a built in cabinet through the upstairs bedroom wall to the patio.

The return from the sump through the cabinets to the reeflo that was connected to the oceans motions




Last edited by ReefRescue; 02/24/2015 at 04:04 PM. Reason: misspelling
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Unread 02/24/2015, 04:05 PM   #12
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the smaller pipe underneath the orange bucket was the intake of the High pressure return that went through the chiller and then blasted in the middle of the tank.


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Unread 02/24/2015, 04:07 PM   #13
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The pumps were in use for less then a month. Have a look at the salt creep from the leaks.






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Unread 02/24/2015, 04:08 PM   #14
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Unread 02/24/2015, 04:11 PM   #15
ReefRescue
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All the pipes were fastened by metal fasteners, already rusted and full of corrosion after a month.






Last edited by ReefRescue; 02/24/2015 at 05:06 PM. Reason: repeating
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Unread 02/24/2015, 04:23 PM   #16
ReefRescue
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I will track pictures of the actual tank and post them later.
The scariest part was, that two of the returns from the oceans motions, in the middle of the tank were coming through the soft pipes underneath, getting connected to the oceans motions outside 10' away.
So the connections were holding about 100gal of pressure. In case of any failure with the fasteners there would be a 100gal of water in the bedroom upstairs.



Last edited by ReefRescue; 02/24/2015 at 04:48 PM.
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Unread 02/24/2015, 04:24 PM   #17
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Yikes!


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TankStop - Fish and Coral

470G Display - Build Thread

Current Tank Info: Retired - 470 Gallon Mixed Reef (120x29x31")
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Unread 02/24/2015, 05:03 PM   #18
ReefRescue
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Have a look at the fastener in this picture below.I was able to move it with my hand after examining the source of the leaks, and I realized they were all loose. I could not believe my eyes. This was done by a company in the valley, they were also servicing his previous 150gal tank doing two water changes a week with 5gal buckets up and down the stairs.

I don't understand how these people stay in business.(for 5 years)




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Unread 02/24/2015, 06:22 PM   #19
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Wow that's insane good thing u got there when u did keep us posted on the progress


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Unread 02/24/2015, 10:09 PM   #20
ReefRescue
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A little taste of what's to come.

The preparation for the sensors in the sump.




And the almost finished section.




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Unread 02/24/2015, 10:31 PM   #21
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subscribed!


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Unread 02/24/2015, 11:07 PM   #22
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When using that type of hose clamp (the ones that were loose and rusting) you need to make sure the gear housing is marked "SS" for "Stainless Steel" to ensure you have the kind that won't rust. The kind that were used in your photos are intended for air hoses, not water hoses.

Dave.M


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Unread 02/24/2015, 11:22 PM   #23
ReefRescue
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Yes, you are absolutely right Dave.m. But that was the least of the problems in that system. Tightening them would have been a good start as well as balancing them and making sure they are centered not crooked.


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Unread 02/25/2015, 10:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
When using that type of hose clamp (the ones that were loose and rusting) you need to make sure the gear housing is marked "SS" for "Stainless Steel" to ensure you have the kind that won't rust. The kind that were used in your photos are intended for air hoses, not water hoses.

Dave.M
Just had our feeding tongs I use for putting rocks with nori in our tank just snap.

Naturally the wire had rusted through.

Just bought some SS tongs...


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TankStop - Fish and Coral

470G Display - Build Thread

Current Tank Info: Retired - 470 Gallon Mixed Reef (120x29x31")
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Unread 02/25/2015, 10:22 AM   #25
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Really cool story! Definitely tagging along...


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