120 Gallon Build Years In the Making.

tommy.douglas

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I am currently setting up my 120 gallon reef tank. A little background info first. 2 years ago I purchased a new 120 gallon aquarium with most of the equipment. I was running a 90 gallon in desperate need of a refresh. It is still limping along with the two external canister filters and T5's. Life happened and I went through a somewhat messy separation. The equipment and tank sat in the corner collecting dust. At the time I purchased two new Hydra 26 HD. I went to purchase 2 more a few weeks ago and to my surprise they are no longer being made so now I have to get two 32's.

So here we go. I decide it is time to get this think up and running. I am ready to get back on track and make this a fun build. I have made some progress so I'll get everyone up to speed.

Let's get started on the stand. Sure I could have bought a stand for a 120 gallon tank but why not build one. It will be way cheaper........... not. Let's not ask about the cost. Here is the inner frame. I could have built it with standard 80/20 but I decided to use solid extruded aluminum. I'm pretty sure it can support my house if I calculated it correctly. First mistake. I wanted a 36 inch tall stand so I had plenty of room under it. Dumb dumb the inner frame can't be 36 inches. I put a 1.5" oak top on it and leveling feet. Total height taller than 36 inches.
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Super tall stand after but I'm still happy with it. I definitely will not have to bend over to view the reef.
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I have to make the side doors still but that will be done soon.... Maybe hopefully. But hey it took 2 years to get this far. Drilling the tank was scary but I got it done. It was only scary the entire time the drill was cutting the holes besides that it wasn't bad :). Trust me the over flow is straight in the below image. It looks off but it's only the the photo. I painted the tank back black too. FYI I moved the tank on this 40 inch tall stand by myself. Actually I put it on the stand twice by myself. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Back surgery in my future.... hopefully not.
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My custom 40 gallon breeder sump. Yep that was purchased 2 years ago too. Plumbing should be easy. Just a few PVC fittings and some glue. No problem.

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Getting there. seems like more plumbing then necessary.

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After about 200 feet of PVC pipes and 95 fittings I think It's time to get wet. But remember when I said I moved the tank twice. Idiot me no way am I moving this thing 3 feet back against the wall with a 200 lbs. tank on it. The stand only weights about 400 lbs. by it's self.
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Second dumb mistake. I filled the tank up without installing the sump and back plumbing. I was planning on filling the tank up just below the bulkheads. The above image was around 9pm. I went to bed a few hours later. The tank level raised all of .1 cm during those few hours. With some basic math I knew I could go to bed and wake up 8 hours later and the water level would only raise another 1/4 of an inch. I woke up in the morning and found the water level only raised to my exact calculated level. Nope! Water was dripping out from the back of the bulkhead. I knew I should have shut it off but the better half of my mind did the math and no way will it get that high over night. Lucky it was only RODI and it is on carpet over concrete. A few hours, carpet shampooer, and fans later the issue resolved itself. Ok time to stop messing around and install the sump and back plumbing.

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I'm sure most of you have realized by now that I need to raise the skimmer about 4 inches. I knew I needed a skimmer stand but forgot about it in my excitement to turn it on after waiting for 2 year. It's on the list along with the side doors :). Below images is where I am currently at. Lights on, salt in water, rock in tank, and live sand being live sand.
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I do have the other front door made it's just not on. But you get a fair idea of what it looks like. I will finish the side door. I really will.
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The side looks blotchy but it really isn't. Just bad lighting. I'll get some better photos soon. Currently I am fishless cycling the tank with Dr. Tim's One and Only. I am using Fritz Pro Aquatic ammonia chloride powder. That stuff is crazy. Only need a little tiny tiny pit. Have a good scale the can measure two or 3 decimals in grams. 4.5 grams raised my ammonia up to 4ppm. It looked like about a 1/4 of a teaspoon. Let me know what you think. More to come and side doors too! 20210402_204917.jpg
 
MotorCityCorals
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tommy.douglas

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I have been struggling with a small leak between the overflow and the tank. For some reason the bulkhead nut keeps slowly loosening. I only hand tightened it. Tonight I will put a wrench on it and see if that helps. the plumbing is supported on the back so I don't think it is twisting the box. I have one gasket on the tank side and one in between the tank and the box. No gasket on the nut side. This is per the modular marine directions. I'll see if tightening it a little more will help. Otherwise I might put some pipe tape on the threads to prevent it from loosening itself.
 

count krunk

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You only need a gasket where you don't want water to drip from.

There's no need for a gasket inside the overflow. Best practice is to give it a lil 1/4 turn or so with a wrench. Or more if you can't get it very tight by hand.
 
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