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nbd13’s return...150g Custom Barr-bottom SPS/Angel/Modified Triton Method Reef

2700 Views 22 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  nbd13
Hi everyone,

I am not sure how active the forum is anymore, but I remember how active it was 10-15 years ago. I was a long time contributor here and over on RC many years ago. I started this hobby in high school with a 70 gallon mixed reef tank, upgraded to a 180 gallon SPS tank in high school and then in college upgraded to a 250 gallon custom SPS tank. Due to life events and having to pursue educational interests, I got out of the hobby about 12 years ago. I knew I would be back, just unsure when...

Well fast forward to the present, my oldest son (3 1/2 y.o.) has been fascinated with BBC's documentaries Blue Planet, Blue Planet II and many more. So much so, he would rather watch these than cartoons. Needless to say this was the perfect excuse for me to get a tank. Something we could do together and I could teach him things along the way. It was an easy sell to the wife!

BUT, WOW! Have things changed in the hobby! Equipment, methods, forums and jeeze have prices skyrocketed! So, I started researching equipment again and was going to go with a standard 120 gallon, but convinced the wife another foot wasn't too bad. Just before Christmas I ordered a SCA 150 gallon starfire glass tank. Here's the list of what I have going:

SCA 150g (5'x2'x2'), starfire glass
16" Synergy Ghost Overflow
2x 3/4" Return Bulkheads
Black starboard bottom

Custom, made by me

Synergy Triton TS44 with refugium section

Automatic Top Off Reservoir:
Matching Synergy 10 gallon tank

LifeReef SVS3-30 powered by a Neptune Cor20 Pump

Return Pump:
Neptune Cor20

Water Movement:
EchoTech MP40s x3
EchoTech MP10 x1

Main Tank Lights:
Radion G4 Pros x3

Refugium Light:
Kessil H380

- Neptune Apex System
- 2 x EB382's
- 2x DOS/DDR setup for dosing Triton Core Elements
- FMM x3 (ATO, Leak Detection and Flow Monitoring)
- Lunar Simulator Module
- MarineDepot Controller Boards x2 (Regular and Deluxe Models)

Automatic Top Off:
Neptune ATO

UV Sterilizer:
Pentair Aquatics Smart 40w
Ran with Cor20 with flow sensor to adjust flow

Eheim Jager 250w x2 controlled by Apex


So, with my profession, I am pretty busy with that and family life. Hence, I wanted a tank that was low maintenance and gave me peace of mind. Right before I got out of the hobby "Zeovit" was just coming into play, I toyed with that and did 10% weekly water changes and had a huge calcium reactor...this go around I am going to give Triton Method a go.

I've also learned from my time in the hobby previously, good equipment cost money. With my limited time, I can't have equipment breaking and going down. So, I took my time and complied a pretty decent list. Hopefully, with the Apex controlling it all this will help.

My goal is a low maintenance SPS tank, going to give it a go with a calcium reactor. Also, one of my other passions if anyone from the old days of here and on RC still remembers me, is ANGELS! I love them! I also learned the importance of quarantining properly as I lost many fish back in the day, an expensive lesson I would like to avoid making again. So, I will be following HumbleFish's methods.

Honestly the best part has been watching my son enjoy this, he loved helping paint the stand and canopy! Actually, did a pretty decent job for a 3 year old.

Here's where I'm at today:
- Plumbing 90% done, waiting on a few parts to be here this week
- Apex wiring and system setup
- Have LifeRock that's been cooking in a tub for 4 weeks and in water for 8 weeks prior at the LFS
- Have 2 Davinchi clowns and 3 Borbonius Anthias in QT, doing great and have another 3 weeks to go
- Goal is to get the tank wet next weekend, get the rock in there!

More to come, but first some pictures of the process so far, should have taken more, but oh well...

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Tank being delivered

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Still have to clean up the wiring a little and plumb the UV sterilizer.

More to come as I get the tank wet and aquascape it...

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Looking forward to the build. Ive been a member on here for a long time this forum has definitely dropped off. Im over on Reef2reef but honestly its super clicky and I don't really care for it.
Thanks. Yeah seems like R2R is definitely more clicky. ***** cause it's so busy over there.

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Very nice build. Did you modify the tank for the ghost overflow yourself?
Thanks. No SCA had the tank already drilled for it. They have stock tanks driller for them.

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Well...tank is wet! Aquascape is done....fixed 1 leak. Have to run to the hardware and fix one more today.

Here are some pictures. How in the heck does everyone take good pictures in their iPhone with Radions??? Mine come out so blue and you can't edit them to make them look any better!

Any thoughts on the aquascape? Wanted an open look. "Stag island" will be in the right. Tanking corals will grow from the left island toward the right island.

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Thanks everyone.

Bare bottom with textured black starboard.

It’s so hard to take picture with the radions and the iPhone. Come out soooo blue.


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Did some editing. This is a little better.

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Update time!

This week has been fully of ups and downs with getting the tank fine tuned. Having all this high tech equipment is great, but boy what a PITA! Finally got it somewhat running!

So like I said before, I the rock has been cured for 8 weeks, but after getting the rock in the tank I threw 4 oz of Fritz Turbo Start 900 just to be safe. Crazy I already see pods on the glass!!

Anyways, so I had to wait 5 days after to turn the skimmer and UV on. That day was today. Fired up the LifeReef skimmer, got it tuned. Have a Cor20 running it at 100%, so with head pressure maybe 1600-1800 gph? Anyways interested to see how this thing does. It's way oversized for my system...which is great because I love fish!

Also, got the UV fired up. Have it in front of sump, only place I could put this 40w beast. Have a Cor20 running that too, with a flow sensor. It's over powered for sure, but it's a spare pump in case the return or skimmer goes down. I'm running about 110-120 gph through it.

FINALLY have the overflow dialed in. What a pain that was...the noise then bubbles, but thanks to some help got it dialed it. Have flow sensors on each return line, again a Cor20 for the return...2000 gph puts out about 200 gph to the left side (farther away) and 250 gph to the right side. The flow sensors are about a feet below the 3/4" bulkhead.

Had some issues with the Neptune automatic top off, but seem to have that figured out as well.

Installed the LED strip that came with the deluxe MarineDepot board in the front of my stand instead of in the board. This gives me some light in the sump.

Got some chaeto in the fuge too. Slowly ramping the Kessil H380 up to not kill it. Question for everyone...does everyone's chaeto sink to the bottom? Mine just sunk and stayed there. Hopefully I don't get small pieces in the display!

On to the good stuff some pictures!

I came up with this idea to hide the MP40 cords, I made the canopy a little longer and put some hooks on the sides to run the cords up and around to the back:

The sump area, kind of like the ability to change the LED colors, red and white seem to fit with my theme:

The drain and fuge section:

Center skimmer section:

Return section:

Misc shots:

That's it for now. Have 2 davinchi clowns and 1 borbonius anthias left in QT (lost 2 borbonius). Not sure why I lost them, but boy was my 3 year old son upset haha.

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Did a little work today...

Messed with the radion settings a little. The coral AB+ setting was kind of "blue" for me. I'm more old school and like the Radium 20k or Phenoix 14k look.

I turned the white channels up to 45 and like the look better.

Have a PAR meter and will get that in the tank in the coming weeks to get some readings. 3 radions are at 50% now.

Also, made a little custom bracket for my Neptune automatic feeder. Turned out pretty well. With my canopy setup the way it was the bracket it came with didn't work so had to modify it a little:

It will be nice to be able to feed the fish while on vacation and my work schedule can change at the last minute so it will be nice to feed them if needed during the day.

I'll still feed frozen food 2 times a day at least. I like to feed 3 times a day to keep the fish happy.

That's it for now...hopefully have some more fish coming this week too.

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Small update....

Stopped by my LFS and got some hermits and snails as there is some light algae starting to grow on the rock-work.

Couldn't resist and had to get my first SPS...so far so good. Will see how this test drag goes before getting a plan together for stocking with SPS.

Have 2 davinchi clowns who are a few days away from graduating from QT.

Got a nice batch of 3 Borbonius Anthias today, they are replacements from the 3 that died in the first stage of QT last time. This batch is a little bigger and boy the biggest one is stunning. The pink at the tip of his fins.

First of many angels coming in about 2 weeks! Will leave that as a surprise...

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Where are you getting your fish from?
These are from TSM Corals. They've been great to work with.

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Small update:

- first fish in the DT, davinchi clowns went in yesterday.

- got a cleanup crew in as well along with a cleaner shrimp.

- got shipment from Adam @BattleCorals today. I'm not into names much but got a nice bunch.

1. Poletti Yellow Tip
2. Glass Slipper
3. Miss Scarlet
4. BC Secale
5. Shades of Fall
6. Excaliber Millie
7. Soft Pink Millie

- Also don't want to jinx it, but got this gem from Divers Den, fingers crossed it starts eating...hopefully settling in to QT today and will eat tomorrow . Perfect size at 2 1/2"!

That's all for now. Got the triton stuff for dosing and will be setting up DOS system this weekend.

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Quick update....

Since getting into this hobby 15 years ago, I dreamed about getting a conspic angel. I was young and in school, couldn't afford one, so settled for a blueline (was was an awesome fish).

Today as a birthday present from my awesome
Wife I got the go ahead and received my Captive bred Conspic Angel from Matt at POMA labs!!!!

What a treat! Matt was awesome to work with. He picked me out an awesome specimen! It arrived in a huge box for 1 fish:

Open the box to find this:

The "pull here" tab was awesome. It's always a pain to get the tape off from the lid. This tab took the tape right off!

Every fish comes with a certificate:

Matt took extra time to write a personalized note in their catalog which was very cool:

The fish was packed in a huge bag, with a ton of water.

Acclimated the fish and he's hanging out in my acclimation box for a few days so the tangs can get used to him. Sorry for the bad pictures. He's a little shy...but man is he FAT!

So excited about this!

Maybe this weekend when I have time I'll take some tank pictures and do a big update. More exciting fish coming too!

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Update time...

Tank has been so, so lately...been battling this algae, not sure what it is. Thought it was Cyano, was taking over my chaeto. The chaeto was growing like a weed, then slowed way down. I dosed some red slime remover just over a week ago with little effect. Maybe it's dyno's?

It's really too bad because besides that everything has been coming along nicely. Finally have this ghost overflow tuned. The only annoying this is whenever you clean anything and the return pump looses gph the overflow needs some tweaking. Which is very annoying.

We lost power for about 2 hours yesterday, everything was fine, but my wife suggested we get that whole house generator now rather than wait! She said she was worried about my tank haha! Knew I found a good one.

Still trying to locate a trident that should be the last piece of equipment I need/want for a while.

The all has been pretty stable at around 8.0-8.4 with dosing the triton method.

The fish list:

- 2 Davinchi Clowns
- Powder blue tang
- Purple Tang
- 2 borbonius anthias
- POMA Captive bred Conspic Angel

I have 4 more fish coming out of QT in about 8-10 days. Stay tuned for that.


All sps so far, except a hammer and torch coral. I envision more torches and some zoas to fill in the bottom of the tank and a few select chalices then the rest sps.

So far I've gotten 1 battlebox from Battle Corals. Adam was awesome to work with, but just not for me. So...

I'm taking a different path that 90% of people, instead of paying for expensive named pieces for a 1/2" frag I'm going mostly wild colonies. People probably think I'm crazy, but back when I used to do this 12-18 years ago there were few named pieces, frags were usually 1-3", now these are "mini colonies"?!?! Just can't get over it...these designer corals are insane. It's hard to even get an accurate picture or know which vendors don't alter pictures or take them under blue lighting.

Anyways, rant over. So, I got about 6 wild colonies 6-8 weeks ago and most of them have encrusted to their spots already. Then I just got 6 more a few days ago. Time will tell

A few full tank shots just to document. These are from my iPhone. Some are with no filter and then some are with the orange filter from polyplabs:

Anyways that's it for now.

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