Teddy's embarkment on the 55gal reef boat. Lets sail away!

teddyzaper

New member
Hey guys, so i've been poking around a bit here. Many moons ago I was fairly active here (not so long when you look at some other people on here) and now i'm back, and going bigger! My last 2 salty tanks were what i'd consider a failure. I believe this was really due to my lack of effort and a very restrictive budget. I now have a paying job and no one telling me no, so lets go crazy!

I thought now would be a good point to start a build log as it's pretty close to getting wet (hopefully next week). To catch you guys up, so far i've picked up the 55gal from petco $1 per gallon sale, built a frame for it, and purchased most of the hardware. Still looking for dosing pumps for 2 part dosing, and test kits (thinking salifert).

The plan for the coming week is do plumbing, pick up salt water from LFS, and get rock/sand in her. I just want a very thin sand layer, so not much sand and probably 40-50lbs to start with. The nice thing with buying rock at the LFS is that i can pick the exact pieces. Not sure whether i'll go 100% LR ($5/lb is a good price) or maybe a mix of LR and dry.

Anyways, here is my parts list, still waiting on things to come in the mail.

Reefkeeper lite plus
syncra silent 2.0 return pump
osmolator nano 3152 ATO
BRS reactor
reef octopus NWB-110
eshopps eclipse S overflow kit
2x Hydor Koralia evo 600gph
Bashsea 30x10x14 bio-Fuge sump BLUE
Eheim Jager 250w
2x Marsaqua 180w full spectrum (they arent actually marsaqua, but same thing)

One thing i quickly realized is that my heater is huge. I'll be returning it and getting a 125/150w one. This one doesn't even fit the sump. Also the reef octopus is left over from my previous tank. I managed to lose the pump for it, so a new one is on its way...

Here are some stuff to look at.

I'm ordering custom sized italian boards for the front/sides so thats why the stand is nice and ugly. Part of the benefit of just covering it all up is that i don't have to care what it looks like! I also applied silicon in all the gaps so no water can sneak in. The tank has the Koralias in it. Plan is a white background, but waiting for the overflow before that.

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Osmolator and BRS reactor. Probably will put carbon in it for the first bit, then GFO/carbon mix later on.

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One of the requirements for the tank was for it to be as quiet as possible. I went for a nicer pump (biggest that fits in the sump) so hopefully it would be near silent.

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And here is the beauty. The bashsea sump is actually really nice. I like that they opted not to use the traditional baffle system as this saved me a TON of space. By having this bubble catcher it basically gives me a huge fuge. I'm debating between going for macro algae or just some marine pure blocks and other bio media in the fuge section. I'll probably go for the macro algae as i think it may be fun.

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A cool thing is that bashsea sent a top down acrylic viewer and a tshirt. To bad i'm a medium and not an extra large. guess it can be a shirt to do aquarium water things with!

Don't know whether i want to spend the extra money just for blue tubes, instead of just getting home depot schedule 40. It does look awfully nice. I am by no means on a real budget, but $10 on colored tubing is a $10 frag im missing out on!

Any thoughts on cleaning that skimmer?

Also looking for a good ATO reservoir, ideas? Thinking about going to the container store to look around, or look around at home depot when i go for plumbing fittings.
 

jonnyu

New member
I would do the blue tubes. Either ways your month or more from frags. Now for skimmer run it in vinegar. That seems to work the best for cleaning. Are you going dry sand dry rock?


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teddyzaper

New member
I would do the blue tubes. Either ways your month or more from frags. Now for skimmer run it in vinegar. That seems to work the best for cleaning. Are you going dry sand dry rock?


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I'm still not sure on blue tubing. I priced it out and its actually about $40 more for the blue. I'll definitely be doing schedule 40 fittings as schedule 80 would nearly triple the price for something i don't really care about. Schedule 80 for anything visible though.

By run it in vinegar you mean like actually running it with a pump and all? I don't have that much vinegar! Time for a dollar store trip. Should i mix the vinegar with water? Like 50/50?

Live sand for sure, just a very thin layer so i don't need much. As for rock, i think it will be 80% LR and then 20% dry. My LFS has LR at $5/lb which is a great price, and it all looks decent. It supposedly has no serious pests, and from just looking at it i haven't seen anything negative about it. They also have some dry branch rocks which i want to try out, so i'll grab some of those.

Thanks for the reply!
 

jonnyu

New member
I would do blue tubing and fitting just use the regular white schedule 40 and paint it black prior to glueing them. So it matches the sump. Yes 50/50 mix and just put it a bucket and let it run over night. It will be good to go after that. I really think live sand a great idea. Live rock bad idea. You will have all sorts of stuff growing all over it good and bad. Hitchhikers can cause you more headaches then it can be worth. I would buy dry rock and cycle tank. I like using fritz turbo start as I have looked at many differ type of bacteria products under microscope and only fritz have had live bacteria. Pick up some clear ammonia and dose tank will it's about 2-3ppm. Keep track of ml's used to get tank to that amount. Then dose same amount every time the tank gets to 0.0 ppm. When your tanks is 100% cycled it should eat through that doses ammonia in less than 24hrs. For reference I used 30ml for my 180.


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teddyzaper

New member
I would do blue tubing and fitting just use the regular white schedule 40 and paint it black prior to glueing them. So it matches the sump. Yes 50/50 mix and just put it a bucket and let it run over night. It will be good to go after that. I really think live sand a great idea. Live rock bad idea. You will have all sorts of stuff growing all over it good and bad. Hitchhikers can cause you more headaches then it can be worth. I would buy dry rock and cycle tank. I like using fritz turbo start as I have looked at many differ type of bacteria products under microscope and only fritz have had live bacteria. Pick up some clear ammonia and dose tank will it's about 2-3ppm. Keep track of ml's used to get tank to that amount. Then dose same amount every time the tank gets to 0.0 ppm. When your tanks is 100% cycled it should eat through that doses ammonia in less than 24hrs. For reference I used 30ml for my 180.


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I don't know what dry costs at my LFS so i'll check it out. I really like that fake purple dry rock, looks really real, but its basically the same price as LR. I really don't like that bright white rock at all. Do you have any opinions on other purple rock? So far i've found the BRS one, Marine depot, premium aquatics, and vivid pet supplies (my favorite).

With dry rock do i need to clean it? I live in a very small apartment where i don't really have room for a large trash can, or even many buckets really. Can i just spray it off in my shower and let it dry and call it good?

What would you think in terms of pounds for a minimal aquascape? I was thinking 50lbs of LR, but dry rock is much lighter right? Maybe 40lbs so i have some choices?

I'll do what you said with the skimmer, seems easy enough once i get the pump for it.

What do you think about putting some tigger pods in along with the fritz? I read it could help start a healthy colony in the tank.
 

jonnyu

New member
I would dose cycle tank first then do pods. So you don't kill them. Algae barn was pretty good service and in a couple weeks I can see them crawling all over the tank.
I would do the purple stuff. I went with white as I did Tonga branches. I think 40 lbs would be good. I went to WWC and they had some purple rock for sale and it's already cured. So that might be a option. I think $5 lb if I remember right. What kind of aqua scape are you doing ?
Here is a quick pic of mine when I was building.
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teddyzaper

New member
I would dose cycle tank first then do pods. So you don't kill them. Algae barn was pretty good service and in a couple weeks I can see them crawling all over the tank.
I would do the purple stuff. I went with white as I did Tonga branches. I think 40 lbs would be good. I went to WWC and they had some purple rock for sale and it's already cured. So that might be a option. I think $5 lb if I remember right. What kind of aqua scape are you doing ?
Here is a quick pic of mine when I was building.
52dc88d29ea6d438e706ea3f3e9095c6.jpg



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Thats really a beautiful aquascape, but doesnt leave much room for corals? Got a picture of it stocked?

I'd like to do an island style. I really want to keep xenia but i dont want it to take over the tank, so a xenia island, and probably a zoa island as well. I want lots of open space as i think that makes the tank really attractive (and keeps costs down since i dont need to fill all the rocks with coral). I'd also like a space to experiment with SPS, so something closer to the lights and relatively flat. I LOVE acroporas, so i think i'll do those and maybe a plate of some kind.

I live in miami, so WWC isn't really a super far drive (4ish hours), maybe i'll call them and see if i can pick it up with a nice little getaway trip. What do you mean by already cured?
 

jonnyu

New member
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WWC has it all in a holding container with saltwater and pumps. Their stuff is very light so it work out great.


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teddyzaper

New member
17d2670fc2b7c8eb56132bad58f0b336.jpg


WWC has it all in a holding container with saltwater and pumps. Their stuff is very light so it work out great.


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thats really cool! What you planning on doing with the frags on the sand? or is that their permanent home.

So whats the difference between cured rock and live rock? Thats a pretty big drive to do, so i'd really want to be certain i'd like it. I'll call and see if they can send me pictures or something i guess. Do you know if cured rock needs to be kept in water for the 4 hour drive? If so that could be an issue. With actually dry rock do i have to clean it?
 

teddyzaper

New member
Some more items recieved. Eshopps eclipse S overflow. 600gph. Comes as a kit, so drill bit, drill guide, bulkheads, and slim overflow. Looks REALLY nice and i'm excited since it looks like there will hardly be anything in the tank. Gotta drill soon! (probably friday, as its my next day off from work)

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Also less exciting, but still cool, got my pump for my reef octopus skimmer. I'll be running the skimmer through some vinegar soon (again, probably friday). did i set this up right? The airline is going to the front portion and the pump is screwed into the skimmer.

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Also planned out plumbing. The overflow plumbing is pretty straight forward. As for return i have a manifold with 2 empty slots in case i want to add on, and a place for my BRS reactor that goes to the right as i will be mounting it on the right side of the stand. I think I'll go with blue tubing and get some of the fittings from BRS and the rest from home depot. I'll be doing 1" for the overflow and 3/4" for the return pump plumbing. Going to go for 2 locline outputs, as well as schedule 80 for anything visible in the tank (basically just a T connector).

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jonnyu

New member
thats really cool! What you planning on doing with the frags on the sand? or is that their permanent home.



So whats the difference between cured rock and live rock? Thats a pretty big drive to do, so i'd really want to be certain i'd like it. I'll call and see if they can send me pictures or something i guess. Do you know if cured rock needs to be kept in water for the 4 hour drive? If so that could be an issue. With actually dry rock do i have to clean it?



Well the rock would be close to being fully cycled so you would not have to deal with it. I think you would really like the shop. I drove from Pembroke Pines to visit them. It's amazing store lots of cool stuff to see. There display tank is out of this world. I think you will be more than happy with there rock. If I ever did another tank it would be that rock.
For the frags in the Sand they are being sold off as it's stuff from another tank.


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jonnyu

New member
Your drawing looks good just valve should be on the short stand pipe not the tall one if you are doing herbie drain
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teddyzaper

New member
Your drawing looks good just valve should be on the short stand pipe not the tall one if you are doing herbie drain
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Right, that was what I meant, just drew it opposite. Thanks! Do you use a Herbie? If so do you think I should invest in a gate valve vs a ball valve? Ill probably go for it since its supposed to be much more accurate.

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jonnyu

New member
No problem. Gate valve the way to go. Very easy to fine tune it with a gate valve. I run a herbie with a synergy overflow and love it.


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teddyzaper

New member
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Just received the reef keeper. Lights come tomorrow and I'll make the hangers for it as well tomorrow. I'll be using painted galvanized conduit for it.

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teddyzaper

New member
Gotta say, i'm a bit disapointed in the build quality. Very cheap flimsy plastic and uneven seams. Thankfully it goes in the stand. Maybe i'll 3d print some casing for it, but that would take a long time. I'll probably leave it. Lets hope it performs better than its built.
 

teddyzaper

New member
So yesterday I drilled the tank, and.... Success!
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Got the back painted, overflow installed and got some ideas for light hanging. Also if anyone buys the wattshine led fixtures on alibaba, the hanging kits don't actually fit them and you'll need some keychain rings to get them hanged.

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Obviously will be painting this. Hoping it can hold like 40lbs since the lights are really heavy when they are 1ft off the wall

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teddyzaper

New member
Got more done today. Painted and mounted the lights. Looks great. Leak tested the overflow. It leaked. Retrying the bulkheads later. God an ATO container from the container store. Nice food grade thick plastic [emoji5] . Also got most of the fittings I need for the plumbing. The rest I've ordered from brs and also ordered the blue PVC. Should be full of water next weekend!

What do you guys think, should I do a freshwater test or just go all in. Getting the fresh water out would be a very difficult thing without buying an extra pump. Maybe I'll get that inline pump, but my sink is a good 25ft away...

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sayitfast

New member
I would dose cycle tank first then do pods. So you don't kill them. Algae barn was pretty good service and in a couple weeks I can see them crawling all over the tank.
I would do the purple stuff. I went with white as I did Tonga branches. I think 40 lbs would be good. I went to WWC and they had some purple rock for sale and it's already cured. So that might be a option. I think $5 lb if I remember right. What kind of aqua scape are you doing ?
Here is a quick pic of mine when I was building.
52dc88d29ea6d438e706ea3f3e9095c6.jpg



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Awesome!!! :dance:
 
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