Hey everyone, my wife and I just moved in to our first house and of course now would be the time to setup a nice reef tank/ fish room.I have been meaning to get this thread up for a while but I have been too busy with a new job and house, so most of the actual build is already finished. But that means I can fast forward boring stuff.
So that being said I'm building most of this setup myself. The display tank, the sump and the stand/ light cover were all made by me over the course of the last 4 months. For the display tank I decided on a rimless with the dimensions 24"x24"x18", giving me roughly a 45g “cube". I ordered the front and side panels to be 3/8" starphire while the back and bottom are regular annealed glass, and I had the bottom drilled for Sch. 80 1" and 3/4-inch bulkheads.
After sealing the tank I let it sit for a few days, then I scraped all the excess silicone off and cleaned up the seams, this also took me a few days because want I to get it as clean as I could.
So once my OCD/ADD induced scrape fest was finished I was pretty happy with the outcome, a clean tank, and clean seams.
Then came the scary part; the leak test. I filled it up (SLOWLY) added the “Good Luck Test Duck" and let it sit with RO/DI water for 3 long nervous days while I finished the overflow.
The overflow is black acrylic with a 1" Durso stand pipe for the return and a 3/4-inch supply split and connected to loc-line fittings.
Next I installed the overflow, painted the back panel black, then filled it full again, rigged up a sump with a 10g tank and a Mag 7 then I let it run for about 3 months. (I really wanted to make sure it didn't leak)
Fast forward a few months of endless house hunting.... See glad I waited to write this? And BAM! I have a new house with nice empty wall that has a utility room on the other side. Perfect. Now I can have a “Fish room". Which is a great place to put this ....
A 75gpd RO/DI Mixing station. The greatest thing about this mix station is that I have the supply hooked up to my well and the waist drains to my basement sump. (Not an aquarium sump) were it pumps back out to my lawn. So I have really no waste water and all I have to pay for is the power to pump the water from the well and salt!
It's plumbed so that the left bin fills with RO/DI water, then I can transfer that to the other bin where I add the salt and mix it together by recirculation the water in the bin. Both bins can be isolated from each other and/or the pump. I also set it up so I can either gravity feed the water in to small buckets for top offs and such, or you can do a super fast W/C by pumping the water to the tank's sump with this hose I made; it uses a PVC union fitting to connect to the mixing station.
I installed 2 float switches as well; one that shuts off the RO/DI unit when the bins are fill and the other shuts off the power to the Blue Line pump when the water level gets too low.
I built the sump after that, it was an easy build and saved me a lot of cash, which then just ended up being spent somewhere else on the tank. (I have a DIY for the sump if anyone is interested.) Nothing fancy it's an acrylic 36"x18"x16" simple sump/refugium with 3 chambers, an intake/ skimmer chamber, Pump chamber, and a fuge
. The sump can hold almost another 45g when full, but I plan on only having about 25-30 gallons in it when running.
Once both the tank and sump were leak tested, I had time to build my stand. I'm not the greatest at wood working so I kind of dragged my feet threw the stand building process. I took me almost another month to cut, stain, sand and put it together. I anchored the stand to the studs and cut a hole in the wall for plumbing the sump in the “fish room".
During the stand build, I picked up some goodies.......
Vortech MP10W ES
Reef Octopus Extreme SX 160 Protein Skimmer
Blueline 20 HD External Water Pump by Pan World
Current USA 18" Nova Extreme T-5 Fixture (Over Kill for a Fuge
, but it was on sale d*mn it!)
Aqua Illuminations SOL Super Blue Modular LED
Aqua Illuminations Base Controller
I said before that I wanted the pendant look for a light and I was going to make the LED lighting myself but then I saw the AI Sol and how awesome their controllability is and I said screw it I'm buying the lighting machine. But I did make my own “hanging kit" for the Sol; I used a pendent light kit I bought from Lowes for around $15. Gutted it and ran the Sol's power cable and a steel wire down the pole and mounted it from my ceiling. I then made a light cover box to match the stand and tie it altogether.
The last thing I still had to do was the plumbing, I made it as simple as I could and tried to leave room for easy expansion of the system if I decide later to add reactors or other equipment. Also remember the PVC union fitting I used to connect the hose to the mix station pump; I add one on the return pipe so I can pump the water out for W/C as well.
Once the plumbing was finished I filled the tank and sump full of RO/DI water and turned everything on to clean and do spot checks.....
It sat like that for almost a week, during that time I ordered my sand for the display. On the advice of a friend I went with 40 lbs of Marco Rocks' Bahama Aragonite sand, the Fine grain size, I couldn't be happier with this sand. I wanted somethig fine and clean looking; well FINE is an understatement this stuff was like flower when I opened the bag. After I rinsed the sand and cleaned everything out, I added the sand to the main, CC, dry rock, and rubble to the sump/fuge