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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Building a 120: critique my system design (nicely)

After having accumulated literally tons (mostly Southdown) of aquarium equipment, and a realization that I'm no longer using most of it, I've decided to reduce the number of systems that I run. I'm going from a basement-filling prop system and 6 "display" tanks down to 3 tanks/systems.

I recently bought an AGA 120 RR (old-style corner overflows).
I'd like this to be an 'SPS' (though I hate that term) tank. I'd like to keep things as relatively simple as my nutrient control needs, desire to automate, and gadget addiciton will allow.

Here're my present intentions for this tank: (All equipment on hand unless otherwise noted)

TANK: 120 AGA RR (48"x24"x24")

SUMP: Drilled 40B (36"x18")

MAIN RETURN: Not sure. Probably a ReSun (Sen/Sedra clone) submersible, 900GPH, about 650GPH at design dynamic head

ADDITIONAL CIRCULATION: I'd like to avoid powerheads in the tank. Closed loop (T4, about 1000GPH in my intended installation) and a Borneman surge device (toilet valve style) T-ed off return... had been considering Tunze Streams, but they're ugly, huge, and $700 for the set w/ controller. If you think that they're worth the $, convince me.

SKIMMING: Present plan is a EuroReef ES8-2 (replaced by model RS8-2) _AND_ an ASM G4X . Both. Really. Seriously. :)

CHEMICAL (MEDIA) FILTRATION: Phosban Rxr (I might try RowaPhos when the PhosBan's gone), Coralife chemical reactor (absolutely identical to the Phosban Rxr, BTW, other than color) w/ carbon (run 24/7/365), probably occasional use of PolyFilter

BIOLOGICAL FILTRATION: About 75# of Tonga, Kaelini, and Vanuatu LR in the tank, I've had all but about 10# for 5+ years, + about another 50# in the sump.

CHEMICAL SUPPLEMENTATION: ReefTek Aragonite (Ca) Rxr, ARM media spiked w/ a few grams of dolomite (to help maintain Mg balance), Kalk dosing ala the Randy Holmes-Farley Method (Dosing pump drawing from a Rubbermaid storage bin filled w/ supersaturated kalk, no mixing). Nothing else unless I need to adjust the gross buffering system, then maybe HCl, Calcium Chloride, and or BiCarb.

SUBSTRATE: Undecided... though not a DSB for this type of system. Likely sheet HDPE or acrylic w/ bits of rubble cemented on. Effectively BB.

TOP-OFF: Tunze Osmolator and the H2O that comes in with the kalk.

LIGHTING: I keep changing my mind on this one.
With stuff on-hand, I could do:

1) a 2x150 Aquaspacelight (w/2x 24w actinic PC) + 2x150 Giessemann Nova II pendants,
2) Or 4x54w T5 in a TekLight and 4x150 SLS RO3,
3) Or should I try just the AquaSpaceLight and 2x54w BluePlus in a Tek Retro?

Again, I already have everything, just trying to decide what to keep and use, and what to get rid of, so expense isn't an issue.

I'll be using Sylvania AquaArc 10K DE lamps .

I'm also using a 7w incandescent (controlled by ACII) moonlight, and 6x 300ma Blue LED night lights (only on during night viewing)

HEATING: The T4 and 2x150w EboJager heaters

COOLING: Tank's in a poured concrete basement, 1x4" fan over sump, 1x4" and 2x3"IceCap thermo-controlled fans blowing across the water surface.

CONTROL: AquaController II. I really like playing with it. I'm a Geek. :D

OTHER: 100mg/Hr Ozonator w/ controller. I'll probably only use it as the tank cycles or if something goes badly wrong quickly later. I also have a 30w TMC UV that I could use...

Corals: Though I've propped and fragged 'SPS' for years, I've never really had a display of several large colonies. I'm open to suggestions.

Other Inverts: An 8 year-old red serpent star, a CBS or pair, and?, though I don't really find clams all that interesting. :( .

Fish: A school of 5-6 Chromis (verdis ), as many of the various dwarf angels as I can get to peacefully coexist (probably one, a coral beauty), a yellow tang, a six-line wrasse, and a pair of yellow watchman gobies.


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Personally this is way to advanced for me and I do not even know what half the stuff you have listed even means. I consider myself average to slightly above average when it comes to tanks but I think there are only a couple people on this site that could give you feedback that would be something that you don't already know. I could blow some smoke up your [email protected]# and say, "Yeah that sounds great" and not have a clue what you are talking about, but that isn't going to help as far as a critique goes.
EDIT: I do like the BB idea though

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Just a thought


I will be going to a 120 shortly and am in the same situation.

I'd go with the metal halide lamps and not the T-5s unless you'll use them as supplements. I still don't believe they are as potent as mh. Just my opinion and I can not back it up with scientific evidence.

SPS corals - I have some tougher SPS to find but for my money, nothing makes a statement like the bright orange monti cups that are around. I have a couple in my system and all eyes usually go to those pieces. Besides that, they are super hardy and everybody seems to want frags of them. I know the blue torts are awesome and the purple monsters are show pieces but I love the orange caps...still my favorite.

Fish - I will beg you to come and take my six line wrasse out of my tank and put it in yours. You can have it, just don't mess up the rock work.
That fish is the meanest, toughest and smartest fish I have ever seen. Catching it is out of the question unless a tank dismantle is an option. I have tried everything including baiting a hook (I had it twice and it broke the tiny hook once and got off the second time...now it won't go near a hook). This fish kills any critter I put in the tank over the size of a pod. It will not let any animal rest until it dies. It is simply the worst addition to my tank including the mantis I have living in there somewhere.
After having so many problems with mine, I searched RC and what I found was that many, many people have had the same problems with this fish. Many people say their's was great for two years and then whammo! He kills everything. Many others say the fish is a sweetheart and of course the others say "just wait."
I would take any bf fish, pygmy angel, or any 50/50 reef safe animal in my tank before I add another 6 line. I hate that fish and I would chuck the sucker out into the front yard if I could catch it. Whew... I got a little overwhelmed there. Stupid fish.


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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I originally got the 6-line at the suggestion of Brian (Steve's predecessor, I believe) at Preuss, as a last ditch attempt to control pyramellid parasitic snails that were killing all of my Astreas and Stomatella... it didn't work, but my GF (now Fiancee) fell in love w/ the little guy. I've had him for about 5 years.

BTW... to get rid of the parasitic snails I had to quarantine the tank... no new Astreas (food)... so almost no algae control... for almost 2 years. :mad:

If I go w/ T5, it will be only as a supplement... but should I use 2 or 4 T5, in combination with 2 or 4 150w DE halides, and in SLS pendants, Giessemann pendants, or an AquaSpaceLight?

See... I really have accumulated too much crap.

I thought that someone would have commented on my skimmer super-overkill. :rolleyes:

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Well... heres my thoughts

75lbs of live rock doesnt seem like enough rock, that would only take up a pretty small hill in the middle, you might want to think about at least 125- 150 to make a good looking aquascape. I finally finished aquascaping my 75, and it took my 150-175lbs of live to satisfy my intentions. I ended up with two hills on each side, and a small divider on the back, and i still have room for 2 lps's and if i wanted i could add at least 2 reasonable sized clams.

Fish and inverts, im going to have to agree with shermlock on the 6 line, they can be mean, ive seen one keep a royal gramma in check, in a 180! Even after the two were in there 1yr+, but then again your right they can be good with helping control worms, but dont get any wrasses, grammas, or blennies. After him, also i would suggest adding the goby before him. Onto the angels, i think you could at least do 2 in there, and possibly 3 if you time it right, and do it all at the same time. But you also got to take into the consideration that they are only a few dwarf species that are actually "reef safe". I suggest a algae blennie if you dont go threw with the sixline, they arent that great with the worms, but they are good with keeping algae in check, as long as it doesnt get too badly out of of control.

Also on the rowaphos, i was browsing through the sps forum, and found a thread about it, and couple of people were saying that it was affecting their sps's. I couldnt remember though if they were complaining about growth, color, or bleaching. Might want to check it out. But if you have you sump light far enough from the tank, you might want to consider picking up some mangroves, and helping with the phosphates naturally.

I think i remember you mentioning a surge, mike (neo) on our site had one on his 180, back when he was first setting it up, i got to see it when he had a swap, i dont know my surges that well, but it was setup pretty simple with the acrylic box inside his canopy in his 180, and it was setup "toliet style" and had a mag 36 filling it up. It really was a neat contraption, i was thinking about trying it on my next tank.

Oh... and if you decide to go with one euro reef, dont hesitate to drop me a pm lol:D

Wow, i guess i was just in the typing mode tonight

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I use the conductivity probe on the Aquacontroller pro as a topoff swith

If Cond > 20.0 Then TOP OFF
If Cond < 15.0 Then TOP ON

my topoff runs thrugh a Kulk reactor in addition to a CA reactor.

If you don't have Aqua notes yrt try to find the 2.0 virsion. onlt $49.00. it runs fine on Windows XP

Good Luck
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