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.
Have I said how much I love this sand? I love this sand soo much that I want to take it behind the high school and get it Pregnant.
Heres the fuge with some not so dry rock, Im think about throwing some Chaeto in there but I dont know too much about macro. I still have to get a small PH for the Fuge and more Rock ruble for the whole sump, I want to slowly pack the sump with rock more surface area more bacteria
Future mantis home. if she makes it, that is. Im sure Im going to regret putting a mantis in there one day, but I don't like to think about consequences of things.
So Im looking at about 35lbs of Live Rock from primo deco live rock,live rock n reef for now.
Its a little expensive for the rock but the pics on the site look ridiculous and the reviews are great, Im not too sure how easy it will be to aquascape with it though.
And then I found this cool site : : : : Indo-Pacific Sea Farms : : : : their live sand activator looks like something that would be great to help cycle the tank.
I will be following along too on this one. Very cool tank. I love that you have made every part of it yourself. That is something to be very proud of! Are you putting the Mantis Shrimp in the sump or display?
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