125 build thread after almost 2 years

Auquanut

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I'm a little apprehensive about starting a build thread after so long, and especially after viewing the incredible builds our members have achieved. But my system has evolved so much in the past two years and I have no documentation. Hopefully I can give an accurate account of the tanks progression so far. Be warned. It's pretty low budget.
Here we go.

May 2017:
Purchased a used 125 gallon 72" tank on craigslist.

It came with:
the stand
aquaticlife MH/T5 lighting fixture
Iwaki 1300 GPH external return pump
30 gallon wet/dry filter
mixing tub and mixing pump
misc plumbing
about 60 lbs of live rock

Purchased:
BRS 4 stage 75 GPD RO/DI unit
Simplicity protein skimmer
50 pounds of BRS dry rock
Caribsea argonite substrate. (way too much!)
a couple of cheap power heads
Heaters that had to go into the overflows, because there was no room in the filter.
probably more, but I can't remember.

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I put the live rock in a brute trash can with a power head and an old T8 light fixture on a timer to keep it alive. Painted the back of the tank black. Lined the bottom of the tank with egg crate. I knew I wanted engineer gobies, so the rock work had to be solid. I used flexible hose to plumb the system because the lid on the wet/dry filter had to be removed for maintenance.

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On July 4th 2017 I turned it on for the 1st time. No leaks!

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First lesson learned: I shouldn't have put it so close to the wall. It's really hard to get back there. One good point is that the back of the stand is open, allowing for decent air exchange under the tank and what I can't reach from the top and sides, I can generally reach from the bottom.

I used shrimp in stockings to cycle the tank. Didn't use any bacteria in a bottle. The system cycled surprisingly fast. I was growing a nice crop of diatoms, hair algae and coraline algae in less than a month.

Well, that is enough for now. Not trying to write a novel. Keep in mind that my system today hardly resembles what I started out with. Will continue the journey soon. My wife says I've been a good boy and we're going to the LFS today.
 
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jsker

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Very nice setup:)

I am looking forward to see the setup as it is now.

Have fun at the LFS:rolleyes::D
 
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Auquanut

Auquanut

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Very nice setup:)

I am looking forward to see the setup as it is now.

Have fun at the LFS:rolleyes::D
Thanks. Trying to be as accurate as possible so I can include lessons learned along the way. Steve at the LFS is having a special on Walt Disneys. Always wanted one. Fingers crossed!
 
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Auquanut

Auquanut

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Okay, so I'm back. And I did get my Walt Disney.

I'll try to condense this as I can see it getting out of control if I don't.
A few early lessons learned:
1. I really like the 72" viewing area of the tank, but the 18" depth forced me to stack the rock work against the back of the tank, thus restricting water flow around the rocks. I have two engineer gobies that help with keeping that area clean. I don't think there's a scrap of sand left under the rocks.
2. The stand is 40" tall and the tank is 24" tall, putting the top of the tank just under eye level. It's great for viewing, but not as great for maintenance, most of which is done from a step ladder. All in all, I'm happy with it. The look of the taller tank and added vertical space in the cabinet outweigh the whole step ladder thing.
3. It didn't take long to realize that the wet/dry filter had to go. Nitrates were always very high and would roller coaster with my large weekly water changes. I was running a BRS carbon/GFO reactor (that came with the tank) and PO4 would go from near nothing to way too high depending on when I changed the GFO. Also, the skimmer was in the return section, causing micro bubbles to go into the display. Lastly, I had to disturb my plumbing every week to change the filter pads in the filter. I did NOT like this filter. In May or June 18, I replaced it with a Trigger systems Crystal 36 sump.
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20180624_134523.jpg

4. I really liked the MH/T5 lighting fixture, but I had to replace a ballast and three bulbs almost right off the bat. The main problem was heat. As I said, the tank is tall, and it's in a basement with a drop ceiling. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't keep the temp down where I wanted it. In February 18 I replaced it with 4 cheap used black boxes that I got from the LFS. This was the most gut wrenching change I made because I already had softies, LPS and a few "easy" SPS corals. To my amazement, everything reacted well to the change.

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This really is exhausting! I know I'm leaving a lot out. I'll get back to livestock, corals, dosing, fuge, etc... later. Gotta give my brain a rest.
 

jsker

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Thanks. Trying to be as accurate as possible so I can include lessons learned along the way. Steve at the LFS is having a special on Walt Disneys. Always wanted one. Fingers crossed!
ahhh, just through some picture up there:eek:;Jawdrop;Hilarious;Hilarious;Hilarious this is me practicing patients:D

This really is exhausting! I know I'm leaving a lot out. I'll get back to livestock, corals, dosing, fuge, etc... later. Gotta give my brain a rest.
I like the setup, simple:)
 

jsker

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Take a breath
go lie down or have some coffee.

Your tank looks great.

my new tank will be 24 inches high on a 30 stand. I think I am going to try one of these. I am not tall. Getting shorter too.
That is a good idea
 
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Auquanut

Auquanut

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I am looking forward to see the setup as it is now.
ahhh, just through some picture up there:eek:;Jawdrop;Hilarious;Hilarious;Hilarious this is me practicing patients:D
Here are a couple of pics taken this morning. One is unfiltered and the other is through my wife's sunglasses. How pathetic is that?
thumbnail_20190526_130415.jpg
thumbnail_20190526_130530.jpg


I gotta learn to take pictures! It looks a lot better in person.
 

jsker

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Here are a couple of pics taken this morning. One is unfiltered and the other is through my wife's sunglasses. How pathetic is that?
thumbnail_20190526_130415.jpg
thumbnail_20190526_130530.jpg


I gotta learn to take pictures! It looks a lot better in person.
Beautiful
 

Flippers4pups

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I like your set up, @Auquanut! Welcome to the 125 club!

When you said "Steve" and "Walt Disney" I thought about a LFS. What part of the country are you in?
 
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Auquanut

Auquanut

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When you said "Steve" and "Walt Disney" I thought about a LFS. What part of the country are you in?
Central Missouri. Steve owns The Corner Reef in South County St Louis. It's a 2 hour drive, but he pretty much gets all of my business.
 

Flippers4pups

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Central Missouri. Steve owns The Corner Reef in South County St Louis. It's a 2 hour drive, but he pretty much gets all of my business.
Well hello neighbor! You out of Columbia?
 

Flippers4pups

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Mexico. It's about 40 miles northwest of Columbia. Oh yeah, Howdy neighbor.
Lake Saint Louis here. I just bought a fire digitata and a acan colony from Steve a couple weeks ago!

Great little shop!
 

Flippers4pups

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If your ever this way again, your more than welcome to have some corals from my tank. Torch, candy canes, montipora cap (red, green), birds nest, blue digitata. Free.

Just pm me when and I'm sure we can set a date and time.
 
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