112 Gallon Mixed Reef Build

innovusaquaculture

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So let's start with a bit of an introduction:

I manage a print shop in Yucca Valley, California. I love salt water reefs and it has long been my goal to have a large display in our lobby. Also to grow live phytoplankton and copepods and other food for my reef. I don't really do anything small scale, so I now have over 100 gallons of phyto and copepods growing and I am selling it through the local LFS.

So I started my reef tanks small, with a 55 gallon long that someone gave to me. I've had a bunch of struggles. I get distracted a lot, so one I turned it into a fresh water tank by leaving the top off on over the weekend, I've struggled with getting flow and lighting right, getting things plumbed correctly. Not planning where I'm going to put things and having space for them. Having ideas about what I want to do and then changing my mind.

Here is the conclusion I've come to: I'm never going to be done in this hobby. It's just going to keep growing. That is why when a man showed up at the door and said "I was told you like aquariums. I am cleaning out a rental and there is a large tank that I need to get rid of. Would you like to come pick it up?" I responded with: "Of course".

So I went a picked up the 54" long x 20" wide x 24" tall 112 gallon tank. I've never done a build thread before, but I've decided to take a shot at it now. I'm probably a bit late to the game to start, but we'll pick up were we are now. My next post will be what I've done so far and what equipment I've put in, but here is where the tank stands at this moment. I've got a 1 micron filter running to clear up the water from the sand. The tank sits just behind my desk in my office.

IMG_20210207_071908_2.jpg
 
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innovusaquaculture

innovusaquaculture

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When I acquired this tank it had a 1 1/2 drilled hole in a "custom" over flow in the center. The previous owner had tried to completely block off the overflow, has they did not have a sump. The tank came with 10 goldfish living in about 1 inch of water in the bottom all of which are now happy living in my gold fish/solar panel cooling pond outside.

I have reopened the overflow and found that the overflow leaked. I re-siliconed to overflow (which still has a small leak) and plan to build a 40 gallon fuge/return below.

All the other equipment will run external, skimmer, media reactors, etc. I have three other tanks that will eventually be interconnected with this one. I acquired a 450 gallon tank recently for our lobby and that will be the next project. I also have a 150 gallon frag tank I want to set up when I move a few other things around.

I had Ken, (across the parking lot) who is a fantastic metal worker, build me this custom stand for $200.

I like having everything exposed. I want people to see what it takes to keep a tank going. Every wire pipe and hose. Some day I may change my mind on that. If I do everything is designed so I can skin it with any material I want.

One thing I have learned is that moving things and changing things is easy if you have time a patience.

I started with "live sand" to give the tank cycle a bit of a boost, but dry rock. It will be a few months before anything goes in to it in terms of fish or coral, so I have time to custom build a sump which will be my filter sock, refugium and return made from a 40 gallon breeder tank. For now just and empty 40 gallon breeder.

I set the tank 4 inches away from the wall to let me plumb behind it. I decided not to drill any more holes in it. It is 3/4" glass. My glass guy didn't really want to and I didn't blame him.
 
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So this week I temporally hung the first set of lights while the lighting frame is being made and I plumbed the lower tank, which I haven't decided what I'm going to do with yet. Since this tank will be connected to all my other tanks I really don't need a sump. I'm thinking about a live rock culture tank where I can grow out live rock for new reefers. If I light is correctly I can grow coralline algae on the live rock in the bottom tank. Since I'm going all out and QTing everything I already have and letting all my existing tanks go fallow for 80 days I should be completely disease free. I'll trade them some of their new dead rock for disease and pest free live rock. That will give new reefers a good jump start.

I've plumbed this tank for two matched return pumps and the out going line to connect to the other tanks and a line to go to an external skimmer and media reactors that will sit beside the tank.

I'll be removing the 1 micron filter tonight and continuing to let the tank go about it's cycle for the next few weeks. I plan on getting a few tester corals into a QT tank next week that will be ready to come out by the end of March. I'll also order a few fish to go into QT this week that will come out of QT at the end of February.
 

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innovusaquaculture

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It has been a month. Nothing has happened with the tank. It is cycling.

A word of advice for anyone in the hobby. You have heard it said over and over again. "Nothing good happens fast in reefing." It is true. It also helps to have other tanks to look at. Maybe the right approach is to set up a small tank to get your feet wet (pun intended) with really easy to care for bullet proof life that you can satiate yourself with while you take the time you need too with your main display tank. Then pass it on to a new reefer when your bigger tank is perfect.

I've been adding different bacteria to develop different strains. I decided on this tank I would add bacteria from every manufacture, within reason, for the greatest diversity.

I grow my own phyto plankton and pods, so I'm at the stage where I am starting to dose those to establish cultures of those in the tank.

The "Tang Gang" is now in QT and will come out at the end of April. 1 powder blue, 2 purple, 1 Gem Tang, 1 Sailfin and one Blue Eye Kole Tang. Before the "Tang Police" get to my door with the cuffs, remember that I require very specialized medical care that is very expensive, so be prepared to provide that in "Tang Prison" for me. (I also will be spinning up a 10' 450 gallon mixed reef tank, which I already own in the next year.)

Since I am quarantining EVERYTHING the invert cleanup crew is in QT and will be for another 3 months.

I got a bunch of coral on the WWC sale and it is in QT tanks waiting for this tank to be ready. Got to see that coralline grow!
 
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The sun hit the right side of the tank in the morning for just a few minutes. There is a little brown algae growing in the tank.

The inverts are in QT and will be for another 60 days.

I have a couple of tangs in QT, but I would like to add all the tangs at the same time and could not find the right size purple tangs, so I need to wait on them. That will set the addition of tangs back by 45 days. I suppose that means I need more QT tanks.

Timing is everything.

We will see. This is a very fun learning process. It will be great to be able to help others get started with fully quarantined systems after I have learned exactly the timing to getting it done.
 
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Today I started raising the salinity of the tank. I'm adding salt water and letting evaporation do the work. The Hanna salinity checker said the mixed new salt water was 35.2 ppt and the tank was 30.6 ppt after filling the sump.

(This should do for the bonus entry into the Hanna give away!)

I've turned on lights and added a bunch of Copodes and Arthropods to develop their populations over the next 4 weeks.
 
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It's been a while, but we're getting closer. Things will start moving faster now. Lost of growth of some algae on rocks and stuff. There was a bacterial bloom that I added a UV to take care of. It is a temporary one I move around to different tanks as needed. I will eventually plumb a permanent UV into the tank as soon as I add fish to the tank in June.

So, It might be ready!

Coming out of QT at the end of May:
2 Purple Tangs
1 Gem Tang
1 Powder Blue Tang
1 Powder Brown Tang
1 Orange Fin/Tomini Tang
8 Lyretail Anthias

I have in QT (all ready at the end of may):
1 Sailfin Tang
1 Foxface
1 Blue Eye Kole Tang
1 additional Powder Blue Tang
1 additional Powder Brown Tang
1 additional purple tang
6 Blue Green Chromis

I could put these in the 112, but the top list is my initial stock list. I will put the stock I don't use in the 112 in my new frag tank or my main display systems.

Today I am sending all the samples (7 in total) for at the QT tanks and the 112 to Aqua Biomics ( https://aquabiomics.com ) for testing to make sure I have eradicated any pathogens from the QT tanks and that the microbial community is ready for fish. I'll share all the results when they come back in a couple weeks! These guys have been great in walking me through their process. I am going to add them to my QT protocol!

I'll be ready to start the 10 foot 450 gallon mixed reef next month!
 

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I've decided to completely rebuild the sump area and go with external pumps. Fortunately the pumps I really like run either submerged or external.

I'm running one submerged as the return and one as a closed loop on my new frag tank.

Since I designed this tank for dual return pumps and I've purchased 3 extra of these pumps as backups for all my systems I will pull the one that is currently submerged and move it to be the secondary on my main system and then replace the two in the box over the next few months.

I'm rambling here a bit.
 
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OK an update: I've ventured into the world of live streaming! Here is a YouTube live stream from the inside of the 112 gallon reef. (Yes! The camera is actually inside the tank!)

Of course there is nothing in it yet, just rock, sand, water and a bit of brown algae. But not you'll get to follow along. I'll post here when I'm going to add stuff and you'll get to see it live!

http://live.innovusaquaculture.com

Here is the YouTube Channel if the like above has expired: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCntfi88Rlpt8Lr7Z_aIdQ4Q

I would really appreciate it if you would subscribe to this channel. If I can get to 100 subscribers I can register a custom URL, which would be kinda cool! You all could help me get there!

I would really appreciate some advice on how to make the stream better.

I am working on higher resolution and some other new features, like feed the fish remotely and watch!
 
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This tank has a big overflow right in the middle. I got this tank from a guy that was clearing out a house and it was left behind. I decided it would be perfect behind my desk in my office and it does sit there right behind me and I get to turn around and daydream looking at it. I have the stand built at just the right height that I can put my feet up and lean back and really get a restful view of the tank.

Anyway, back to the overflow. I'd like to put some lower light plating monty type coral on the corners of the overflow and the back. Any suggestions from anyone?
 
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I've decided to completely rebuild the sump area and go with external pumps. Fortunately the pumps I really like run either submerged or external.

I'm running one submerged as the return and one as a closed loop on my new frag tank.

Since I designed this tank for dual return pumps and I've purchased 3 extra of these pumps as backups for all my systems I will pull the one that is currently submerged and move it to be the secondary on my main system and then replace the two in the box over the next few months.

I'm rambling here a bit.
So, I decided to do it and never got it done. It is still on the list of things to do. I'll get there. No rush.
 
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Yesterday I built the auto water change system for both my main systems (that include the 55, 75 and tide pool tanks) and this 112 gallon. I had been delaying because I was 1. LAZY, 2. Didn't have a plan for draining the old salt water, and 3. Didn't have a plan for what I would do while new salt water was mixing.

The solution to 1: Get off my butt and get it done! This week I committed to changing water on the main system every day. By the end of the week that actually happened once.
The solution to 2: I decided to put the dose pump up above the door frame and run the drain line along the ceiling of my "lab" room to the sink.
The solution to 3: I added a 45 gallon Brute can as a salt water holding tank to my mixing station. The dosing pump drawn from the holding tank and the mixing tank can mix salt water to it's heart content, even if I don't get exactly the right amount of salt in it. I can now mix exactly the same amount of water every time, if I want and it can mix for 24-48 hours before use.

Yes, I am using a Jebao Programmable Auto Dosing Pump DP-4. At $55 on Amazon I can do both systems and if it fails the replacement parts are easy and inexpensive to get or to replace the entire unit, which I have one one hand as a backup, I can do 12 times for the same price of 2 Neptune DOS's. As for accuracy? Well, we're just doing water changes at the rate of 100ml per hour and I have two salinity probes in each system monitoring the salinity and level sensors on the sumps to make sure systems don't over fill or get too low. If the constant water change (every hour) fails for a day or a week it won't effect the tank stability very drastically. The object here it to spend money on really mission critical stuff and figure out where points of failure can be backup be redundancy or necessity.
 

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Ready? Set! Go.....

Today I'll be releasing the school of 8 Lyretail Anthias in to the 112 gallon tank! These will be the first inhabitants of the tank, besides the micro-fauna. They are currently sitting in a bucket next to me drip acclimating.

It's been 3 months of putting this group together with all the Uronema issues. Testing came back from AquaBiomics and shows these gals and this tank completely parasite free!

If you want you can join the live, in tank stream and watch these gals (and one turning to a guy) discover their new, forever home! Here is the link to the channel:


http://live.innovusaquaculture.com
 
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Hey Dad! Could we get on with this already. This feels like fish jail.
That was really amazing to watch. I took about an hour for them to come out of hiding and start exploring the tank. What a privilege to be able to sit and watch what God has created.
 
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The tangs are making a mess of the tank so I added a canister filter. I currently have a 1 micron filter in to, but I will use it as a media filter long term. At the same time I plumbed the permanent space for the UV.

I'm not a pretty plumber and half way through I realized there was an easier way to go about this, so my whole plan was for not, but it is done. I guess I like doing things the hard way.
 

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Today I added 2 Reefbrite LumiLite 50/50 strips to each side of the back of the tank. The main lights were just not quite covering these corners of the tank. These small lights really make a difference. I will get the 0-10 volt power suppl from Reefbrite and ramp them for the middle of the day.

I'll add the XHO Violet and Blue strips to the front of the tank to get a better sunset and nighttime look. I may build a red strip of my own to be able to mix a really cool sunrise on some days, just for fun. We'll see.

I used to do stage lighting, so the fun is in the colors!
 
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Yea! The tank got a skimmer today! I had bought a open box Octo 110 external from BRS about a months ago and intended to put it on. Well, I got a used Precision Marine skimmer and tried to get it to work a couple days ago and just couldn't. So because I had plumbed everything I just switched them out.

The tank is clearing up, so the live stream is looking much better!
 
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