Please help New to Saltwater and building new tank/stand everything

ReefNewDude

New member
Hello,

This is my very first post. My name is Mike and I live near Modesto, CA. I love aquatic life and currently I have 3 planted tanks that I've had up and running for nearly 2 years now. I have 2 - 55 gallon tanks and 1 - 20 gallon tank all using the Walstad method and thriving. I successfully bred blue dwarf gourami and sold them recently and so I'm onto my next challenge :)
Since I work at home full time, I finally decided to take a big leap and get into the Saltwater world specifically reefs. I think I got a great deal on a like new 135 gallon long on black stand and includes Tom Rapids Pro Filter RP3 protein skimmer pump with 3.5 gal. reservoir tank , two powerheads, heater, two stage lighting hood, stand has small water damage but not bad at all. He was asking $200, but ended getting it for $150. Was this a good deal?

So here I am today:

Here is my tank pics and sump. I'm in a HUGE dilemma and can really use expertise as I build out both the stand and tank. So as you can see my tank which actually comes out to be 140 gallon 72" long x 18" wide x 25.5" tall has no overflows built into it....not sure if this is a good thing or bad yet lol. It came with the Kollercraft Tom RP3 sump which I haven't even used and HATE IT already :) .
My cabinet in the pics I attached is still being built and I have some middle supports to add but not sure if I should entomb a large sump/refugium all in one in there that I won't be able to get out or move the supports to make room for a smaller sump/refugium? I can still change things if I have to. It measures 74" long x 24" wide x 28" tall. I used 2x4 in the construction of it and will still be putting up the walls in all the way around with 2 smaller doors on either end and 1 large door in the middle. My question is this. I don't like the RP3 hang on back and not sure how you all feel about it, but I want to get rid of that sump and put the largest refugium/sump all in one below. With legs in the way the largest measurement of a tank I can put in the would be 37" long x 19" wide x 16" tall so that's almost a 50 gallon tank which I would love to do but not sure. I can maybe go 18" tall but I would basically have no room to reach in there because the top 2x4 would be in the way. So my other question is should I cut new 2x4's that are taller to raise the table higher than 28"? Also, can I build my own refugium/sump from scratch and buy a 40 gallon tall or 50 gallon long tank from Petco when they have the $1/per gallon said and then glue in my own glass chambers etc? Or is there a better way like ordering the kits I see on ebay that I could put in my tank?
I should probably add that I'm doing something crazy and adding 4 (I wanted to add 6 casters but my neighbors said I'm way over killing it and 4 would be fine lol) - 6" caster wheels that each support 650 lbs. because I will need to move this in a few years when I replace the floors in my house or decide I want it somewhere else. So currently with casters it will stand about 34.5" tall then the tank on top of that which is another 25.5" inches.

Since my tank is glass, how can I add a MUCH BETTER pull and return water line with new pumps? Should I do that or what else would you suggest? I was thinking 1.5" pvc painted black one on each side, one of them will be suction and the other the return and I was looking at getting 2 of the Jebao DCP-5000 or DCP-8000 and then some type of system that monitors both motors so that if 1 fails it will kick them both off to prevent flooding. OR do I go to a local glass shop and ask them to drill 1.5 or 2" holes at the bottom and if so approx. what would that run? I don't feel safe drilling glass at all.

I'm not in a hurry to build this, and want to build it right. So PLEASE tell me what I need to do :) Do I raise the stand higher? Do I pipe it the way I'm thinking? And how do I prevent the refugium underneath that I want to put from overflowing?

I know I rambled on and on and appreciate everyone's help! As you can see my mind is ALL over the place and I just needed to stop for today and stop stressing and hopefully hear back from someone tomorrow morning when I wake up to start again and you all can give me good solutions.

PS. - BTW is that metal bar in the top middle of the tank suppose to be there to hold the tank together as it gets filled with water? My neighbor says that's crazy and the previous owner must have made it himself and I tried to tell him it's normal to have that for a tank this size, but I am wondering a little if I'm right and is it ok to have that bar?
 

ReefNewDude

New member
Pics of my Build so far

Pics of my Build so far

Here are the pics so far:
 

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thegrun

Team RC
Hi Mike, Mike here also. You have a lot of questions in your post, let me try to answer a few.
Personally I would drill the tank (assuming it is not built of tempered glass, there are youtube videos explaining how to test to see if your glass is tempered), and incorporate a sump. Drilling the tank sounds difficult, but it is fairly simple to do. If you decide you don't want to drill your local fish store probably will. I've built a lot of stands, I like to use removable center braces so you can remove the sump at a future date if necessary. I really do not like the caster idea at all, figure the tank, stand, rock, sand and equipment are going to weigh about 2200 lbs, maybe more. As such you are close the the maximum rating of the wheels. Do you really want 2200# sliding around during the next earthquake? You would be better off installing adjustable screw type feet on the bottom of the stand that hold the stand up an inch or so off the floor. That way if you do need to move the tank in the future you can use a pry bar to raise the stand a little at a time until you can roll furniture dollys under the stand to move it.
The stand overall height is somewhat up to your own taste, but I like a 40" tall stand for both viewing and to allow as much head height inside the stand for maintenance.
If I understand your post correctly, you are considering using one pump to raise the water up from the sump into the tank and another to draw water from the tank and pump it into the sump. That set up will not work. Here is a good website with overviews of the three most common drainage systems: https://blog.marinedepot.com/educat...225092013&mc_cid=34f5ed6366&mc_eid=aa9aa1ebdb
 

ReefNewDude

New member
Hey TheGrun!! Thanks so much for the advice!! Man I honestly didn't think about screw type feet. Can you point me to a link for something that would support the weight cause I looked on Amazon and can't find anything that works lol.

Also, how do I install a removable center brace like you mentioned? Can you show me a pic or site that describes that cause I'd like that.

Do you think a 40tall or 50 long will suffice for a good sump/refugium for my 135?

Thanks for the great info!
 

mattgumaer

New member
I used some heavy duty leg levelers from Woodcraft for my 180. I'm not sure it was exactly these https://www.woodcraft.com/products/hafele-heavy-duty-leg-leveler-wide-foot but similar. Once everything was in place and level (I used 8 of the feet), I then adding blocking of an appropriate thickness periodically under the stand figuring this would be a good backup. This can't be seen as my tank is build into a little fishroom closet space.

In terms of height, I'd pick a sump (even if you're picking one to build out of a 40 breeder or something) and pick your protein skimmer before finalizing your stand. Big protein skimmers are generally tall and you need to remove the collection cup on top periodically so you want to be sure you have a sufficiently tall interior space to comfortably fit your skimmer and do other maintenance. Your also going to want to be able to remove your skimmer as necessary so you'll need sufficient space between the top of your sump and the top cross member of your stand to get it out.

Unlike most freshwater planted tanks (which I've had for years myself), with reef tanks, a sump is often the heart of the system. You generally keep all your equipment in it. In my sump, i have my mechanical filtration (socks or sponge depending), a protein skimmer, a lighted refugium, multiple heaters, probes to monitor temperature and alkalinity, auto top off sensor and line, dosing lines (pumps and containers in the stand but not in the sump), a pump to run water through a canister with carbon in it and a return pump.

For homemade sumps, the 40 gallon breeder is a classic. It's relatively big and also low so you can get things in and out of your sump as needed.

I would definitely drill the tank and add an overflow if possible. Over the top siphon overflows scare me.

Good luck.

Matt
 

thegrun

Team RC
I don't have a picture of the removable center brace, I sized my steel cross supports to carry the weight of my 4' 120 gallon tank without a center brace(s). In the past I simply cut a 2x4 the desired length and held it in place with small angle clips ad screws so it could be removed. The bigger the sump the better as long as you leave space for all your other equipment. I kept everything that has water in it above my sump to catch any small leaks. Here is a video of my current 120 gallon tank: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBruzRBurKY
 

ReefNewDude

New member
Ok so if I get a 40 maybe 50 gallon tank and I custom make my own all in one Sump/Refugium with the skimmer inside of the tank and the pump as well, what else would I need room for besides any controllers or power modules etc..which I would probably screw to the inside back of my cabinet wall.

Please let me know if I'm missing anything to be sure.
 

lapin

New member
You will want an ATO (auto top off) Your tank will lose water daily, but not salt, so you need to add fresh water everyday. This is a real chore for most of us. The ATO is a good thing as it adds water without us thinking about it. It usually is a controller and pump with a container to hold the water.
 

ReefNewDude

New member
Ok gonna change it up again and keep this exciting. I found in my local craigslist a guy selling a sump/refugium tank looks like it was probably made but looks good and is about 50 gallons for $100 he was asking $150. Measurements are 48" long x 18" deep x 14" tall. Is the height good or should I go a little taller I have about 28" I can go total if I move some things. I attached a pic. Be honest :)
 

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ReefNewDude

New member
Anyone? I plan on leaving in 1 hr. to go buy it lol and would like input.

He's selling it to me for $100 and the tank size works. I just want to make sure I can't find just the tank someone for cheaper? I've looked and so far nothing....any input would be appreciated.

Thanks all!
 

ReefNewDude

New member
Ok so here's a curveball everyone. Sold my Aquarium Masters tank that I picked up the other day. There were to many signs that I should probably buy new. The great part is the guy who bought it was getting it for his bearded dragon so I don't feel bad about it holding water for him :) I bought it for $150 orginally and had it for a few days and sold it to him for $215 not a bad deal. I managed to pick up a really nice and really heave (thick glass) 50 gallon refugium yesterday.

Now I'm looking for a new 125 or 135 (preffered) gallon reef tank with dual overflows. If anyone is located in central/northern California any ideas where I can go to get a good deal on one? I went to 3 LFS they are all the same price but always looking for better. They all wanted $499 for the 125 reef with dual overflow. Is this a good price? Or does anyone here have any hookups?

Thanks!

Mike
 

lpsouth1978

New member
Ok so here's a curveball everyone. Sold my Aquarium Masters tank that I picked up the other day. There were to many signs that I should probably buy new. The great part is the guy who bought it was getting it for his bearded dragon so I don't feel bad about it holding water for him :) I bought it for $150 orginally and had it for a few days and sold it to him for $215 not a bad deal. I managed to pick up a really nice and really heave (thick glass) 50 gallon refugium yesterday.

Now I'm looking for a new 125 or 135 (preffered) gallon reef tank with dual overflows. If anyone is located in central/northern California any ideas where I can go to get a good deal on one? I went to 3 LFS they are all the same price but always looking for better. They all wanted $499 for the 125 reef with dual overflow. Is this a good price? Or does anyone here have any hookups?

Thanks!

Mike

If it were me, I would stay away from the RR tanks. They are ok, but the best you can do with them is set it up with both of the holes in the overflow as drains. One as the primary (full siphon) and the other as the emergency. This would require you to plumb returns over the back of the tank. Also the overflows in the RR systems take up a LOT of space in the tank.

I would look at getting a standard tank and either drilling it yourself for a coast to coast overflow with a bean animal, or find a LFS willing to drill it for you. Another option would be to get a tank that is designed this way from the start. You could look at SC Aquariums, they will custom drill the holes for you in a configuration that you want. Only downside to this route is cost.

I would just drill it myself. There are A TON of videos on how to drill a tank, and it really is not difficult.
 

Daddi0

Active member
I built a rolling stand for my 100 gallon tank. I built it on top of 2 furniture dollies rated at 1,000 pounds each - I love being able to move the tank without having to drain all the water. I added a 1"x4" "skirt" around the bottom so you dont see all the wheels.
Cheers! Mark
 

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ReefNewDude

New member
I built a rolling stand for my 100 gallon tank. I built it on top of 2 furniture dollies rated at 1,000 pounds each - I love being able to move the tank without having to drain all the water. I added a 1"x4" "skirt" around the bottom so you dont see all the wheels.
Cheers! Mark


Daddi0 so you did it!!! Can you tell me how and where did you buy the dollies? Since my stand is 72" long and real heavy without tank I'm thinking probably safer to use 3 dollies , 1 on each end and 1 in the middle?

Do you have any pictures of your build while you were build and after? How did you secure the dollies with bolt and nuts/washer or just big screws into wood?

Thanks!
 

ReefNewDude

New member
I would look at getting a standard tank and either drilling it yourself for a coast to coast overflow with a bean animal, or find a LFS willing to drill it for you. Another option would be to get a tank that is designed this way from the start. You could look at SC Aquariums, they will custom drill the holes for you in a configuration that you want. Only downside to this route is cost.

I would just drill it myself. There are A TON of videos on how to drill a tank, and it really is not difficult.


I'd love love love to get a standard tank and customize it with Bean Animal overflows, but I'm scared to buy new tank and ruin it or break the glass then I'm stuck with it.

Any advice I've seen lots of videos already and know how to check for tempered glass etc.. but still scary any direction you can provide.

Also....how hard is it to make my own Acrylic tank? Not a good idea?
 

lpsouth1978

New member
The first tank is scary, but it is a piece of cake. If I was to give any advice on drilling it would be:

#1 - Go Slow. I think it took me about 30 minutes per hole when I drilled my 40. The drill should be on a pretty slow speed and should do all the work. You are just there to support the drill, not to apply any pressure.

#2 - Keep water on and around the drill bit while drilling. I actually drilled mine outside with the hose keeping a constant supply of clean water on the hole. This keeps the bit and glass cool and washes away all of the glass dust to keep the bit from sticking.

#3 - Buy, or make a guide. I actually purchased a drilling guide on amazon for about $15. This was the best purchase I could have made for drilling tanks. I attaches to the glass with a suction cup and you can adjust the size of the hole to perfectly match the bit you are using. It keeps the bit from skipping across the glass when first starting to drill and makes getting the perfect hole alignment a breeze. You can see the one I used in the attached pic.
 

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Daddi0

Active member
Daddi0 so you did it!!! Can you tell me how and where did you buy the dollies? Since my stand is 72" long and real heavy without tank I'm thinking probably safer to use 3 dollies , 1 on each end and 1 in the middle?

Do you have any pictures of your build while you were build and after? How did you secure the dollies with bolt and nuts/washer or just big screws into wood?

Thanks!
I got the dollies from home depot. They are 30" long so I dont think yo could get 3 under. You could always get the 3rd one and steal the wheels off it and mount on your other dollies. I used 6 - 4"x6" posts with a 2"x4" frame top and bottom. "glued and screwed" together and onto the dollies. Then I glued and screwed 3/4" plywood and trimmed it out with 1"x4"
 

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