300 gal reef re-do


New member
Hi everyone
I have begun to overhaul my 300 gallon and will post my progress for any suggestions. I have enjoyed many threads on this forum and have seen many incredible tanks. My current tank has been up and running for about 3 years. It was a mixed reef with poor choices in it. What I hope to accomplish is this:

1. re-arrange my rockwork
2. build new light rack
3. Change plumbing configuration in and out of sump
4. Improve RO/DI storage, top off and salt water mixing
5. Change location and plumbing for chiller
6. change cabinetry that surrounds tank
7. build DIY calcium reactor
8. better choices when stocking

Here are some photos when I was installing it. It is built into my family room wall which backs up to my garage. The tank is bumped out into the garage section and the fish room is down in my basement directly under the tank.




My old 90 gal in front




New member
Here is it now after removing the corals to a friends tank and constructing the new rockwork. The 2 pilars are live rock on PVC framework attached with zip ties and thorite.



New member
Looks like you have a great starting point to work off of. With a little work you can turn a very nice tank setup into a great one. I would suggest trying to incorpotate as much water volume as possible into your sump area. Also I would add a sizable refugium if that is a possibility for you. There are a number of possibilities for large plastic storage containers that are very affordable for their size.

I really like the in wall look and the dual pillar design, is that the rock work you will be going with? If so, it might be nice to have some horizontal ledges as those can look really nice in pillar rockwork.

In the sump room it would be nice to enclose the electrical area with some simple sidings and doors to keep water out of the way.

As mentioned by jnarowe in my thread it would be best to keep the manifold above the tank so that draining tanks won't be a problem.

Good luck and have fun. Let me know if there is any advice I can help you with.


New member
oh and I would move the chiller outside. Please also post some more information about your sump room and filtration system along with what you hope to accomplish. That will help.


New member
Thanks guys
Tom, the electrical is all coming out and being moved. Also wont be able to move the manifold above the display. The fish room is in the basement below the tank. I have to leave enough room in the sump for my overflows to drain. I will also PM Jonathan to get his input on the manifold.


New member
Heres an equipment list. Some will be from my existing system and some is on order.

Tank: Tenacor 300gal 96x24x30

Sump: 55gal AGA

Skimmer: Aqua-c EV400

Main pump: Sequence Hammerhead, on order

Loop Pump: Gen-x mak5

Powerheads: 2-Tunze Streams

Mixing Pump: Mag 24, my old main pump will be used to mix and move new salt water

Chiller: Pacific Coast 1/2 hp

Controller: Medusa, to be replaced by Neptune.

Lighting: I have 4 400w Hamilton, 4 175w ballast and bulbs from another tank. Not sure how many I want to use in the new light rack. Also 320w VHO actinic with Ice cap ballast.

Water: Spectra Pure RO/DI with Liquid Level Controller for top off

Calcium Reactor: DIY


New member
Jonathan is definetly the guy to ask... he's passionate about his manifold :D

Nice collection of equipment.

What are you trying to do with this tank? SPS, LPS, another Mixed? I'm assuming with all that lighting you are trying to go the SPS direction. You said you made some poor choices before with coral selection so knowing what direction you want to go in makes a big difference, especially in equipment choice.

I would also suggest going with a bigger sump if possible, not only to handle the extra drain from the tank if the pump fails but also so there is room for all your equipment (and the equipment I'm sure you will look into in the future) plus you have the increase in water volume.


New member
I want to go mainly SPS especially the 2 column formation in my rock. I want to include some LPS also on the lower portions. I have to replace my maroon clowns anemone. His carpet did not make it with all the moving around. I want to get him a bubble tip. I didn't like the carpet anyway. It moved faster than some of my fish. Ha ha.. I will seriously limit my choices on softies. I had some mushrooms and star polyps that spread faster that algae. As far as the lighting, I'm not using all those MH. I was thinking 2 400w placed over the columns of rock and maybe a 175w in the middle for the trench formation.


New member
Oh, and the sump. I'm trying real hard to see if I can at least fit in another 55 as a fuge. Space is limited to where it i now. I run my cabinet shop out of that space also. Worried about having more salt water evaporate down there too. I really have to keep up with the rust on my machines.


New member
Got to tell you I love the upper part of that stand. :D

Looks to me like you have room for a 200g sump or sump/fuge. I know it means mainatining more water volume but that will be helpful for stability too. You can run a reef with no sump if you want, but I don't recommend it, and that 55 is way too small to deal with. When your bio-load goes up, then you'll want a bigger skimmer....

So what I would consider is putting a couple powerheads in the tank and tearing out your entire sump area. Plumb the chiller to the outside as stated above, move the electrical up high and out of the way, drop in a 200g farm tub, put in short wall along the oil tank, and build your next level using the wall top and the back wall for mounting.

On the next level I would put your RO/DI and SW mixing tanks, and any reactors that should drain into the sump below. Gravity is good. Use it wherever you can!

A picture or drawing of how the tank is plumbed might help regarding the manifold, and by the looks of it, I think your piping may be too small. It's hard to tell the size from the pic though.

Isn't this fun?? :lol:


Active member
Everyone tells me the same thing with the sump size. I went from a 55 to using my 75, (I am still in planning stage) but I would really like to use a 125 and then use my 75 for my fuge. I don,t have room for a fish room so trying to fit everything in the wall.

How long was your tank up and running? Did you have any major problems. It did look really nice. I cant wait to see how it will look in the future.


New member
Jonathan- good idea about the wall around the oil tank. I'll have to play around with some ideas. Once I do that I can see the room I'll have for a bigger sump. About the chiller. The only concern I have about moving it outside is when its 90 outside and its still 70 in my basement that the unit will be working harder.

Eric- The tank was running for almost 3 years. My biggest problems were plumbing and stocking. The plumbing and pumps were undersized to fight all the head pressure from the basement. My chiller was running off a closed loop with the pump in the basement. My main system pump was submerged and added heat to the water. My drains gurgled. Oh, and I siphoned and carried buckets for water changes. For stocking I want to avoid the evasive softies. I had some star polyps and mushrooms that really took over.


New member
The only concern I have about moving it outside is when its 90 outside and its still 70 in my basement that the unit will be working harder.

This is always a tough decision, and it usually is different in various areas of the country. Seeing that you are in CT, that does make a difference as during the Winter months you won't be needing as much cooling either. Tough to say, and a ground loop would probably freeze during the Winter.

Keeping it in the basement will also probably prolong its life span too.


New member
OK. So I gotta do what I gotta do. I will find room to incorporate a large sump. Here is the idea I had for sump/fuge and plumbing. I'd like to keep the sump baffles to a minimum so I was just planning 1 to separate the skimmer from the sand bed and a bubble trap at the end. What do you think?