Michigan Reefers banner
1 - 20 of 132 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings all,

I've been away from the reef forums the past year or so as family and business demanded all my available time. I've finally reached a point where I have some time to devote to the reef-keeping hobby (addiction.)

Over the past 20 years, I've built and kept a variety of smaller reef tanks including a series of rather "unique" desktop tanks. I finally have an opportunity for a larger build. This system is being placed in the living of my home with ATO and CWC equipment directly below the tank in the basement. It should end up around 325 gallons.

Here's the current equipment list:

  • Tank -- GLA 270 (96" X 30 X 22) 1/2" Starphire, open top w/clear cross bracing fitted with a BeanAnimal style internal overflow (3X1.5" drains)
  • Sump -- GLA 72X24X18, 135 gallon glass sump, center return with 30X24 refugeum
  • Lighting, Display tank -- Kessil 360Wes, (5-7) controlled by the Apex
  • Lighting, Sump/Refugeum - YTBD
  • Return Pump -- Fluval SP6 135W @ 3434 GPH feeding return, refugeum and manifold
  • Controller - Apex Aquacontroller, w/various modules.
  • Skimmer -- Bubble King Double Cone 250 Speedy RD3 DC Pump, Vertex Vectra Engine 250 neck cleaner
  • Calcium reactor -- GEO 612 w/Tropic Eden and NeoMag. Aquarium Plants digital regulator
  • Kalk Reactor -- 40Gal still well fed by ATO peristaltic pump.
  • Saltwater Make-up and storage - 2X200 gallon Norwesco 30X72" tanks, fed and mixed by Waveline 12000 (backup for return pump)
  • Continous Water Change (CWC) - Cole-Parmer Masterflex w/dual peristaltic pumps
  • ATO -- Osmolator water sensor using Cole-Parmer peristaltic pump.
  • Water movement - 2X MP60ES, 2X WP60s, eductors on return lines
  • Rock -- BRS Pukani, Marco and shelf
  • Substrate -- 1.5"-2" Tropic Eden Reef Flakes
  • Heaters -- 2X 300W Eheim Jager
  • GFO/GAC -- YTBD (Vertex or MR1) dual reactors running HiCap GFO and ROX .08 GAC as needed
  • BioPellets - YTBD
  • UV - YTBD
  • Ozone - YTBD
The tank was ordered 12/16/13, expected tank and stand build time about 6 weeks. There's a lot to get done in the interim including,

- Relocate 2 existing tanks, remove hung LED lighting, repair and paint
- Remove carpeting, and tile tank area
- Complete water RO/DI storage, Saltwater mixing, CWC and ATO station in basement

I expected to have to do some floor strengthening, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was not necessary. I had the tank location reviewed by a structural engineer. The tank will sit perpendicular to 5 2X10 joists spanning only 48" between the poured basement wall and steel I-beam. Nothing additional was recommended as the intended location will support 5500lbs.

Lots of decisions still pending including final decisions on lighting, overflow and sump design. This will also be my first attempt as hard-plumbing. I figured I'd start with the saltwater mixing station hoping to make the beginner mistakes there rather than on the tank.

For those that might be wondering about the "Big Blue Wall" thread title -- I'm planning on painting the wall behind the tank a cobalt blue (the rest of the room is white.) As the Kessil pendants put out an incredible amount of shimmer, and this tank is open-top, I'm hopeful it might turn the entire wall into an interesting, shimmery backdrop for the tank.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all the questions and advice I'll no doubt be asking for.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As for the plans for this tank, I'm largely undecided. I really enjoyed the time I spent learning about planted tanks, Iwagumi in particular. I'm thinking about trying to incorporate some of those design cues into this tank - especially the use of negative space. Here's an example of the hardscape I created that I likes so much, it sits dry and as-is in my living room...



Obviously a reef tank will look dramatically different, but I bet I can find a way to incorporate some of the "feel" of it. I've got a couple hundred pounds of pukani and shelf that I've accumulated over the years to choose from.

Another absolute luxury I'm still trying to wrap my head around is the pure amount of space available both in the tank and sump. Equipment wise, it allows me to go with whatever is desired without worrying if it will fit. As for stocking, it will be SPS dominant. Fish selection itself will be a lot of fun as I've never had the luxury of an 8'X30" of swimming space. The only sure thing is I want to find a female companion for my Red Mandarin (George) who has been with me for more than 4 years. All the rest will have to be decided with my daughter Tori probably having final approval power - Anthias, a pair of Picassos, it will be fun choosing :) I suspect the king-of-the-tank will likely be an Achilles, but that won't happen until much later.

A bit of an update -

It seems I underestimated the amount of room these twin 200 gallon tanks and associated mixing/CTW plumbing was going to require. As a result, I've had to remove a series of storage racks and turn a rarely used second guest room in the basement into a permanent storage facility.

I completed a rough design and placed the plumbing orders from Savko, USPlastic and Cole-Parmer. It took far more hours to think through the saltwater mixing station design than I anticipated and then even more to figure out each individual plumbing component. No doubt it contains lots of newby-plumber mistakes, but I think it will be functional. I stepped down from the 2" tank outlet to 1 1/4 to match the inlet/outlet size on the DC 1050 pump. I'll post a picture (trying to develop some Sketchup skills) otherwise it will be simple drawing with hopes someone with more experience can critique.

The storage tanks should arrive next week - Let the plumbing learning curve begin :smash:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've largely decided on the sump design, I'm going to enlarge the below uncleof6 design that will provide a 20X24X10 skimmer area, 18X24X9 for the return pump and 30X24X12 for a fuge/frag area. This should be about 75 gallons in operational volume and allow for about ~50 gallons in overflow when the return pump is off (I'll use a wye check valve on the return, but never trust them.)



All that needs to be added is a manifold and slight rerouting of the siphon and trickle drains to incorporate the occasional use of filter socks. I'll create a 5 tap manifold for the GFO, GAC and BioPellet reactors and a couple spares.

I think I've also changed my return pump selection, deciding to go with the Waveline 12000. It provides more flow and head pressure than the Diablo. The only inconvenience is the intake is larger (1.5") requiring some plumbing changes to the saltwater mixing station.

Still researching GFO, GAC and bio pellet reactors. I've had lots of flow issues with the BRS reactors over the years, so perhaps Vertex or NextReef MR1s. I'd like to use a manifold tap to drive the CaRx, but I've had such great luck with the Cole-Parmer - I'm not sure I want to fool with it.

I also decided on a Vertex Alpha 250 as it will run happily in 10" of water. Perhaps the greatest challenge will be fitting all the "Dry" equipment into the remaining 22X29 space in the cabinet.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As I sit here researching equipment for this build, It dawns on me....

We struggle, spending dozens of hours researching just the right LED's to reduce electrical needs and limit heat (at least radiant heat) from entering the tank...

We use the latest, most energy efficient DC pumps to save energy and reduce the amount of heat being added to the tank.

We use Killawatts to tabulate every watt leached by every ancillary device to create the most "green" environment possible... All so we can,

Buy MORE, LARGER, energy sucking HEATERS that are now needed to compensate for the missing Metal Halide heaters (poorly disguised as lights) and all the cold, energy sipping devices we just paid a huge premium for.

Somehow, with all the smaller tanks I've had over the years, it never really hit home. It's interesting what you pay attention to when you realize you how many Watts are needed to heat ~375 gallons of saltwater :blink:

And do so gladly I might add :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,479 Posts
Yea I am right with you. I switched to LEDs and Vortechs to reduce heat and now my heaters run at least twice as often. Im pretty sure I saved some on the electric bill, but not 100% sure how much.

On another note, I have the Nexreef MR1 Reactors and they are very nice. Easy to install and maintain. They are quality made and hold a ton of media. I had issues with my BRS reactor just like you said and these are great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
I personally haven't had a need to consider this - but with larger systems, I often wonder why inline heating solutions are not considered - especially those using gas for efficiency.

As I sit here researching equipment for this build, It dawns on me....

We struggle, spending dozens of hours researching just the right LED's to reduce electrical needs and limit heat (at least radiant heat) from entering the tank...

We use the latest, most energy efficient DC pumps to save energy and reduce the amount of heat being added to the tank.

We use Killawatts to tabulate every watt leached by every ancillary device to create the most "green" environment possible... All so we can,

Buy MORE, LARGER, energy sucking HEATERS that are now needed to compensate for the missing Metal Halide heaters (poorly disguised as lights) and all the cold, energy sipping devices we just paid a huge premium for.

Somehow, with all the smaller tanks I've had over the years, it never really hit home. It's interesting what you pay attention to when you realize you how many Watts are needed to heat ~375 gallons of saltwater :blink:

And do so gladly I might add :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·


RO/DI and Saltwater tanks are in place. Each hold 200 gallons (30"DiaX72"tall) I've started roughing out the plumbing and the Waveline DC12000 should get here Monday along with a few missing plumbing components.

I'm estimating ~7 GPD evaporation. I'll rig a latching float system with the Apex which will automatically fill the RO/DI tank. Other than monitoring and periodically changing RO/DI filters, resin and membranes, The ATO system should require very little maintenance.

The plan for the AWC is to use a Masterflex pump driving 2 peristaltic pumps to replace about 4 GPD. This should yield a ~40% monthly water change and require refilling the saltwater tank every 6~7 weeks.

I am having some second thoughts on the tank dimensions. I initially decided on limiting the tank height to 22" so I could reach the substrate with the tank sitting on a 36" tall stand. I'm now thinking that perhaps I should just go with the 320 and gain the additional 4" of height.

Decisions, decisions...:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
549 Posts
Think about reaching into the tank, the 4" would be great visually but might make landscaping and rearrangements difficult. I installed a GLA 245 that is 30" wide behind the wall and scaping the front is not possible without an extension which can be a real pain. I'd go to GLA and see how far you can reach inside both options before deciding.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys, I think i'm going to stick with the 22" height. I'm looking forward to the 30" depth for aquascaping, but it will be a pain to reach.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,489 Posts
.

Looks like a great build. Here are just some of my lessons learned with this type of tank.

Mine is 96X30X26. I dont think the kessils will be enough light if you go with higher light demanding corals like SPS. What is interesting about your tank is that it has a big foot print but shallow. On mine I am running 6 evergrow and 4 Apollo and 4 250W radiums and get perfect coverage for SPS. I think with the Kessils you will have a spread issue. Id go with 8 value fixtures which will give you flexibility to squeeze in more in the future.

Also for the heating solution I installed a open loop to the hotwater heater and it has worked flawless for the 2nd winter so that can help you cut.

For flow 2 mp60's will give average flow. If you go sps your ill need more powerheads. Another thing to think about is the noise. I am running 2 mp60 and 2 mp40 working from home I have to turn them off to take a conference call. No doubt they are the best but I don't think the perform better than 4 wp60's and those are half of the price. I am running an experiment on 2 wp60's and if the corals do well I will add 2 more and get rid of my mp60's and mp40's.

Finally, if your going with all those reactors Plumb in your reactors to run off of your return pump which will save you in the long run but do you need them? I stopped using GFO some time ago and float carbon in a filter sock and the good recirculating bp reactors are self contained. So to be honest id run a few maintenance ports but depending your objectives may not need all of those reactors.

Good luck and nice to see a big build on here!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow, really the only thing I can say is..Wow. Looks like one of the better systems I have had the pleasure to envy lately, lol. Please keep us updated.
Thank you, I'm excited to see this one come together.

Looks like a great build. Here are just some of my lessons learned with this type of tank.

Mine is 96X30X26. I dont think the kessils will be enough light if you go with higher light demanding corals like SPS. What is interesting about your tank is that it has a big foot print but shallow. On mine I am running 6 evergrow and 4 Apollo and 4 250W radiums and get perfect coverage for SPS. I think with the Kessils you will have a spread issue. Id go with 8 value fixtures which will give you flexibility to squeeze in more in the future.

Also for the heating solution I installed a open loop to the hotwater heater and it has worked flawless for the 2nd winter so that can help you cut.

For flow 2 mp60's will give average flow. If you go sps your ill need more powerheads. Another thing to think about is the noise. I am running 2 mp60 and 2 mp40 working from home I have to turn them off to take a conference call. No doubt they are the best but I don't think the perform better than 4 wp60's and those are half of the price. I am running an experiment on 2 wp60's and if the corals do well I will add 2 more and get rid of my mp60's and mp40's.

Finally, if your going with all those reactors Plumb in your reactors to run off of your return pump which will save you in the long run but do you need them? I stopped using GFO some time ago and float carbon in a filter sock and the good recirculating bp reactors are self contained. So to be honest id run a few maintenance ports but depending your objectives may not need all of those reactors.

Good luck and nice to see a big build on here!
Thanks very much for your input Tom - I really appreciate your comments, especially as our dimensions are so similar (and you've hit a home run with your tank.)

I agree the Kessils are a bit of a gamble. I'm actually more concerned about the 30" depth than the 96" in length. I'm prepared to increase the number of fixtures to gain the needed PAR and eliminate shadows. I'm betting the shallow depth will make it functional and with the goosenecks and adapters, I can stagger the reach, height and spacing of the LEDs. If all else fails, I'm planning an open style tank with lots of negative space. I think the design will incorporate some shadowing and still provide the desired look and lower PAR areas for some LPS.

I've been watching the developments with the WP60's, although not as "clean" an install as the Vortechs, it appears they provide superior flow and are quieter. I've decided to try 4 and see what happens.

I've planned for a large manifold as I should have more than enough GPH with the Waveline. The exception will be biopellets as I think the recirculating feature is important. Ultimately, I'm unsure if all the reactors will be needed, but I wanted to incorporate them into the design.

I'm intrigued by your hot water loop idea. I had initially written it off with the sump-in-cabinet design - I'm interested to lean how you managed it. I figure that will be a project for next winter.

Thank you again Tom - I'd love to chat sometime. I'll PM you my contact info, and hopefully in a few months I'll be looking for the mother of all Frag packs :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: tdb320reef

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
After much deliberation, I committed to the Kessils A360WE's and took advantage of a 10% off coupon through ReefGeek (not to mention the things are sold out most everywhere else.) With my shallow depth and the additional 15% output from the new "E" models, I'm hopeful they will end up being a great choice.


5 - A360WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light - Wide Angle Lens
5 - 90 Degree Gooseneck Adapter
1 - Control Unit Link Cable for A360 and A360W to Neptune Systems Apex
5 - Control Unit Link Cable for A360 and A360W KSL0103
5 - Gooseneck Clamp/Mount for A150, A350, and A360

I ordered 5 to begin with to see what 1 unit every 18" looks like. The gooseneck adapters should give me the ability to "stagger" the lights if needed to cover the 30" front/back.

Still searching for the Vertex Alpha 250 as they appear to be pretty scarce. Took advantage of other year-end sales and grabbed 4 cases of IO/RC, 300lbs of Tropic Eden Reef Flakes, another Apex system (so I don't have to cannibalize my existing setup which will be used as QT/hospital tank) and a second Waveline 12000 (same pumps used for return and saltwater mixing station.)

I also decided to roll the dice and try the Jaebo WP series pumps. I ordered 4 60's, and a couple 40's and 10's to test.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
471 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am looking forward to seeing this new tank build Tom. I am sure it will be very nice.
Thanks Chris!

Made a bit of progress (sorry for the cell cam pics)...

The first DC12000 arrived - it looks tiny next to the 200G tanks...


Most of the plumbing is mocked up - I'm missing one union to account for the 1 1/2" intake in the Waveline. I installed a 4X8 3/4" plywood wall that will be painted white upon which the water treatment equipment and electrical will be installed. A shelf will hold the Masterflex pumps. The 40 gallon brute will serve as a still reservoir holding Kalk for the ATO...



I picked up a 100g stock tank to aid in cleaning/curing the Pukani and will serve as a temp holding tank for my current livestock when I tear down the two existing tanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,910 Posts
If you need a hand with anything, let me know. I would be glad to help. Wouldnt mind seeing this in person either.

We are practically neighbors these days. Just moved north, to Whitmore Lake.

Side note-

I still have your tri-pod. Let me know when you would like me to bring it over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
If you need a hand with anything, let me know. I would be glad to help. Wouldnt mind seeing this in person either.

We are practically neighbors these days. Just moved north, to Whitmore Lake.

Side note-

I still have your tri-pod. Let me know when you would like me to bring it over.
I'll second that. When you have a delivery date for the tank, let me know and if possible, I'd be happy to help.

Sir Patrick....Whitmore, eh?? The three of us are super close now. Time to meet for a drink I think.
 
1 - 20 of 132 Posts
Top