Honeymoon Reef 2.0


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After a 6 year hiatus I am back! This build will be the biggest I have ever attempted. My wife got me a 4' 150 gallon tank today as an early birthday gift. It will take me quite a while before I can even fill this tank since we are likely moving in a month or two. I also want to get good equipment on this tank without breaking the bank.

The tank is reef ready with the return plumbing and fittings intact. The seams are about as immaculate as one could hope for especially since it has been in a storage shed since last winter. It is slightly loose in one small spot towards the top. The structural silicone has 2 small air bubbles total for the whole tank.

The aquarium had some sort of paint on the back and on one side. It looks and feels like an acrylic paint of some sort. It is peeling off so I started removing it tonight. Once that's done I am going to work on the stand that came with the tank and fix a few issues I saw once the tank and stand came in the house. The stand itself has an off-center center brace. I'll leave it intact but cut and install a second one to balance it out. There is also a vertical support in the back that's way too short so I will cut a new one and install it as well. Since I am going to add a sump I might build a cabinet to go on one side. I might also add sump space in back.

As for the sump I am thinking 10 gallons. I might do a 20 tall though. I want to run an algae scrubber in the sump so I think I will do a cabinet on the side. Then I'll have room for lighting for the sump and algae scrubber.

This build will be damsel dominant as far as fish go. I am going to try for a mixed reef but I know all too well that corals and allelopathy go hand in hand. I will probably stay away from mushrooms and leathers as a result though zoas and xenia will happen.

Despite the fact that I kept reef tanks before I am relearning the basics especially with such a large tank. I figure it would be best to do everything with my time so I get it right the first time.

I am going to post some pictures of the new tank. I will also take plenty of pictures as the build progresses.


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https://www.dropbox.com/home/Honeymoon Reef 2.0/Reef Central Pics?preview=20210928_222240.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/home/Honeymoon Reef 2.0/Reef Central Pics?preview=20210928_222313.jpg


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I just tried to post a pic of the back but it must be too big or something. I will get it figured out. Tomorrow there will be more pics.


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Thanks to Petsmart and their Columbus day sale I got Reef Crystals and a 40 lb bag of Caribsea Special Grade sand. Last night I got a 5 gallon bucket full of dry sand and a second 5 gallon bucket about 1/4 full.

It has been a bit busy lately so I still have to work on the stand. My wife offered to let me put the guppies I have in my 45 tall in her 55 so I could use my 45 as a sump. I am very fortunate to have an amazing wife. Not only is she letting me do that, but she is the one who surprised me with my 150.

This build will be my best yet. Part of what will make this build my best yet of course is that I am starting out with the intention of doing an SPS dominated tank. The other part is that I am going to get the right equipment from the beginning. I will do my best to show that it IS possible to have a healthy SPS tank without breaking the bank. So far, including the cost of the tank and stand, it has cost only 200 bucks if not a little less than that. It takes patience and some hard work to not spend a fortune on gear but it can be done.

As for filling the tank it will be a will be a week or two still. I need to clean the tank out and redo the stand that came with it. I also need to get the plumbing done. Since I will get to use the 45 as a sump I can redo the plumbing that came with the tank. My return will come from under the stand as opposed to coming from a sump that fed three different tanks like the original owner did. I got a trashcan like one would keep in their kitchen Friday night. That will be home to my algae scrubber to be. It is surprisingly well made. I am pretty sure it is a 13 gallon can.

My plan is to have the overflow feed the scrubber which would then drain into the sump. As for the return I will either tap it for the calcium reactor and charcoal reactor or I will get a second pump to handle the reactors. I might get a small skimmer too as a backup to the algae scrubber.

I am going to keep the scrubber lit 24 hours a day while the tank goes through the cycle. I will leave the main tank with only ambient light. That should help encourage algae growth in the scrubber. Lights for the main tank will come last but likely be the one piece of equipment I will spend the most on considering how important lighting is.

I know I will use MH lighting on this tank. I am not sure what color temp I want but 6500k to 14000k is the range I am considering. I am hoping to redo the stand this week. After that I am going to address the plumbing and clean out the sump-to-be. I also need to buy a return pump. It will probably be a mag drive 12 or equivalent.

Hopefully I'll have the tank filled to just below the overflow holes to aid in cycling the tank. I figure it can't hurt anything but it could help quite a bit. I will hopefully be able to get some dry and live rock in the aquarium in November. With the cycle already started die off from the live rock should be relatively minimal.
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Well I started disassembling the stand in the hopes of saving as much wood as possible in order to rebuild the stand taller. I also wanted to level it better as it was off an eighth. I expected some issues but there were large cracks in the wood in places that were not easily seen before disassembly. Water damage was visible. As I got about halfway through disassembling the stand I noticed clods of soil in between the two wood frames in front. It is likely that the wood sat outside a while before the original owner built the old stand. I therefore decided to cut my losses and discard it and build a new one.

Today I went to Lowes and got a good deal on 2 x 8 x 8s. At $6.77 per board they were less expensive than their 2 x 6 x 8s. I could have used 2 x 4s but they are usually cupped, bowed, and cracked (at least at our location) so I decided not to mess with them.

The first picture is of the wood pile that will soon be a new and improved stand with room for a sump underneath.

The second picture is of the 150 on its side. Soon it will be thoroughly cleaned with a vinegar/water mixture.

I hope to have the stand built and the tank placed on it by Sunday. Hopefully I can get it filled by Monday or so.

I made a trip to the LFS as well today and bought 10 lbs of dry rock and about a pound of live rock which is in a 5 gallon tank I set up last night. It will serve as a qt once it cycles. The third pic shows the live rock in the still somewhat cloudy water. The water was made and added a couple days ago but I added the sand last night. The small acropora skeleton came from a not-so-local LFS about 40 miles west of us.

The last couple pictures show the dry rock. I am going to try gluing the dry rock together so it is stable and interesting. I also want to minimize dead spots and have it look as natural looking a structure as I can create. This will be the first time I have ever used dry rock in a setup. I intend to use J.B. Waterweld to glue the rock together, at least where I need the strongest bonds possible. I would think it easiest to control the J.B. because it can be molded and placed exactly where needed without it dripping everywhere. It is also probably the most expensive solution too but I want to get this right. I do not need to have the bonds break and a rock fall killing all my corals an maybe even breaking the tank. 150 gallons on the floor would make a nightmare seem like utter bliss. If anyone reading this has a better suggestion (and I will research this more also) please let me know. I still have about 100 lbs of dry rock to buy and glue and 50ish lbs of live rock to buy and glue as well so I need to know the best way to go about this.


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I started building the stand tonight. The bottom frame is dry fitted together as are two parts of the legs as seen in the attached pictures. Later on this morning or early afternoon I will be doing a marathon building session due to the fact we are getting four inches of rain Sunday and Monday. In fact it will be raining most of the week off and on.

I am extremely fortunate that my wife is supporting me in this endeavor. In fact if not for her I wouldn't have the tank. As you can see in the pics I have all the tools where I am working and the wood is taking over the living room. My wife has been really good about it.

I have been binge watching reef related videos lately. I was sure I wanted halides for this build but after a video I watched about reef lighting I am not so sure now. I want the best lighting for the corals and if possible I want the shimmer effect also. Coral health is my priority however. Thankfully I won't need to decide tonight but I hope to figure it out soon.


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