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200g Mixed Reef - ProClear Aquatics ProStar 200 v2 + Apex Goodies

craftbrews

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Last Updated: 6/14/20

Hardware

Tank/Cabinet/Sump:
  • ProClear Aquatics ProStar 200 v2

Lights:
  • LED: Reef Breeders Photo 50-V2+
  • LED Apex Mod: Reef Breeders Apex VDM Integration Kit
  • T5 Hybrid: Aquatic Life 61" Hybrid
  • T5 Bulbs: ATI 60 Inch Blue Plus x 2; ATI 60 Inch Coral Plus x2
  • T5 Hybrid Mod: Reefbreeders T5 Hybrid Endcap / Mounting Mod

Filtration:
  • Filter Roller: ClariSea SK-5000 v2
  • Skimmer: Reef Octopus Regal 200SSS
  • Macroalgae Reactor: Reef Octopus LR-200
  • Carbon Reactor: TBD? – don’t know if I need this
  • Dry Rock: 50lbs MarcoRock Aquamaxx
  • Dry Rock: 35lbs MarcRock Foundations
  • Dry Rock: 120lbs MarcRock Shelf
  • Live Sand: 80lbs CaribSea Arag-Alive Special Grade Sand
  • Bio Media: Brightwell Aquatics Xport BIO – Plate

Pump/Powerheads:
  • Return: Neptune COR-20
  • Powerheads: 2x EcoTech Marine VorTech MP40wQD
  • Powerhead Battery Backup: EcoTech Marine Battery Backup

Plumbing:
  • TBD – I want to replumb the whole manifold but need to plan this out better; will list final parts here

Heater:
  • Primary: Hygger 500W with LED Controller
  • Secondary: Hygger 500W with LED Controller

Controller + Goodies:
  • Controller: Neptune Apex
  • Controller Board: Marine Depot Standard Controller Board
  • Power Supply: Neptune Systems Energy Bar

Salt / Water System:
  • Salt: Tropic Marin Sea Salt (switching to Pro Reef when back in stock)
  • Auto Top Off: Neptune Systems ATK V2
  • RODI: Bulk Reef Supply 6 Part Water Saver (150gpd)
  • RODI Booster Pump: Aquatic Life Smart Buddie Booster Pump
  • Water Storage: Brute Cans (looking to switch to 65g Ace containers)

Cycling:
  • Bacteria Start: Microbacter Start XLM 500ml
  • Ammonia Start: Microbacter QuickCycl
  • Water Clarifier: Microbacter Clean 500ml
  • Corraline Algae: ARCReef Purple Helix Coralline Algae

Additives:
  • Dosing Pump: Neptune DOS
  • Dosing Reservoir: Neptune DOS Reservoir
  • Dosing Tube Holder: TBD
  • 2 Part: TBD

Testing (Manual):
  • Salinity: Milwaukee MA887 Digital Salinity Refractometer
  • Alkalinity: Aquaforest Alkalinity TestPro Test Kit
  • Calcium: Aquaforest Calcium TestPro Test Kit
  • Magnesium: Aquaforest Magnesium TestPro Test Kit

Testing (Auto):
  • ORP: Neptune Apex
  • Salinity: Neptune Apex
  • pH: Neptune Apex
  • Probe Rack: Neptune Systems Magnetic Probe Rack

Aquascaping:
  • Rock Cement: E-Marco 400
  • Coral Glue: IC-Gel Insta Cure

Maintenance:
  • Algae Scrapper: Algae Free Hammerhead Float Plus
  • Vacuum: Python 20"x2" w/ 10 ft Extension

Wishlist:
  • Leak Detection
  • Auto Water Change
  • Monitoring Camera
  • UV Sterilizer
  • Trident - Automated Testing for Ak, Ca, Mg

Mods:

Livestock

In Display:


In Quarantine:


  • 2x Black Ice Clowns
  • 4x Blue Green Chromis
  • 1x Purple Dottyback
  • 2x Emerald Crab
  • 1x Banded Coral Shrimp
  • 1x ORA Red Tuxedo Urchin
  • 8x Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab
  • 1x Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab
  • 8x Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab
  • 5x Zebra/Orange & Black Hermit Crab
  • 1x Babylon Snail
  • 8x Nassarius Snail
  • 2x Banded Trochus Snail
Dead:
  • 1x Blue Green Chromis (died in quarantine)
  • 2x Two Spot Goby (died in quarantine; bullied by Dottyback)
  • 4x Sexy Anemone Shrimp (died in quarantine; dead after bacteria bloom from overfeeding)
  • 2x Nassarius Snail (DOA)
  • 5x Margarita Snail (DOA)
  • 4x Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit (DOA)
  • 3x Banded Trochus Snail (died in quarantine)

Current Wishlist:

  • 1x Bubbletip Anemone
  • 4x Sexy Anemone Shrimp
  • 1x Dwarf Lionfish
  • 1x Coral Beauty Angel
  • 1x Purple Tang
  • 1x Powder Brown Tang
  • 1x White Tail Bristletooth Tang
  • 1x Royal Gamma Basslet
  • 2x Blue Mandarin
  • 2x Ruby Red Dragonet
  • 2x Fire Shrimp


Coral

In Display:
In Quarantine:
Dead:
Current Wishlist:



About Us

Our names are Maxine and Geoff and welcome to our build thread for our ProClear Aquatics ProStar 200 v2!

We've been working with lo-tech and hi-tech freshwater tanks for close to 8 years and have been dreaming about making the leap to saltwater when the time was right. Fast forward to 2020; quarantine hits and my wife and I pull the trigger on diving in headfirst with this new 200g setup.

This is our first saltwater tank and our first tank above 100g so we’ll be using this thread to document the journey and all of the successes and mistakes that we make along the way.
 
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Big C

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Hi all,

Our names are Maxine and Geoff and welcome to our build thread for our ProClear Aquatics ProStar 200 v2!

We've been working with lo-tech and hi-tech freshwater tanks for close to 8 years and have been dreaming about making the leap to saltwater when the time was right. Fast forward to 2020; quarantine hits and my wife and I pull the trigger on diving in headfirst with this new 200g setup.

This is our first saltwater tank and our first tank above 100g so we’ll be using this thread to document the journey and all of the successes and mistakes that we make along the way.

View attachment 1533153

Tank/Cabinet/Sump:
  • ProClear Aquatics ProStar 200 v2

Lights:
  • LED: Reef Breeders Photo 50-V2+
  • LED Apex Mod: Reef Breeders Apex VDM Integration Kit
  • T5 Hybrid: Aquatic Life 61" Hybrid
  • T5 Bulbs: ATI 60 Inch Blue Plus x 2; ATI 60 Inch Coral Plus x2
  • T5 Hybrid Mod: Reefbreeders T5 Hybrid Endcap / Mounting Mod

Filtration:
  • Filter Roller: ClariSea SK-5000 v2
  • Skimmer: Reef Octopus Regal 200SSS
  • Macroalgae Reactor: Reef Octopus LR-200
  • Carbon Reactor: TBD? – don’t know if I need this
  • Dry Rock: 50lbs MarcoRock Aquamaxx
  • Dry Rock: 35lbs MarcRock Foundations
  • Dry Rock: 120lbs MarcRock Shelf
  • Live Sand: 80lbs CaribSea Arag-Alive Special Grade Sand
  • Bio Media: Brightwell Aquatics Xport BIO – Plate

Pump/Powerheads:
  • Return: Neptune COR-20
  • Powerheads: 2x EcoTech Marine VorTech MP40wQD
  • Powerhead Battery Backup: EcoTech Marine Battery Backup

Plumbing:
  • TBD – I want to replumb the whole manifold but need to plan this out better; will list final parts here

Heater:
  • Primary: Hygger 500W with LED Controller
  • Secondary: Hygger 500W with LED Controller

Controller + Goodies:
  • Controller: Neptune Apex
  • Controller Board: Marine Depot Standard Controller Board
  • Power Supply: Neptune Systems Energy Bar

Salt / Water System:
  • Salt: Tropic Marin Sea Salt (switching to Pro Reef when back in stock)
  • Auto Top Off: Neptune Systems ATK V2
  • RODI: Bulk Reef Supply 6 Part Water Saver (150gpd)
  • RODI Booster Pump: Aquatic Life Smart Buddie Booster Pump
  • Water Storage: Brute Cans (looking to switch to 65g Ace containers)

Cycling:
  • Bacteria Start: Microbacter Start XLM 500ml
  • Ammonia Start: Microbacter QuickCycl
  • Water Clarifier: Microbacter Clean 500ml
  • Corraline Algae: ARCReef Purple Helix Coralline Algae

Additives:
  • Dosing Pump: Neptune DOS
  • Dosing Reservoir: Neptune DOS Reservoir
  • Dosing Tube Holder: TBD
  • 2 Part: TBD

Testing (Manual):
  • Salinity: Milwaukee MA887 Digital Salinity Refractometer
  • Alkalinity: Aquaforest Alkalinity TestPro Test Kit
  • Calcium: Aquaforest Calcium TestPro Test Kit
  • Magnesium: Aquaforest Magnesium TestPro Test Kit

Testing (Auto):
  • ORP: Neptune Apex
  • Salinity: Neptune Apex
  • pH: Neptune Apex
  • Probe Rack: Neptune Systems Magnetic Probe Rack

Aquascaping:
  • Rock Cement: E-Marco 400
  • Coral Glue: IC-Gel Insta Cure

Maintenance:
  • Algae Scrapper: Algae Free Hammerhead Float Plus
  • Vacuum: Python 20"x2" w/ 10 ft Extension

Wishlist:
  • Leak Detection
  • Auto Water Change
  • Monitoring Camera
  • UV Sterilizer
  • Trident - Automated Testing for Ak, Ca, Mg
Can’t wait for the build pics!

Looking forward to the filter roller mod. Might have to earmark part of that stimulus check after you get done with yours :)
 
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craftbrews

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Tank is going in the front entry room where we used to have 6x 12gal Freshwater shrimp tanks. I'm nervous that I didn't add additional electrical outlets. I have two but I was too lazy to figure out if they were on the same breaker - probably a good project for next weekend.

IMG_20200321_160246.jpg


Shrimp tanks had to move upstairs in preparation. Was a good opportunity to change out the buffered substrate as well (need to do this every 2-3 years with these Bee shrimp tanks).

6 freshwater lo-tech shrimp tanks cycling again upstairs using the SL-Aqua approach:


IMG_20200412_213216.jpg


The ProStar 200 v2 arrived on 4/16 via FedEx freight. I didn't get any pictures - not sure what I was thinking; too eager to move it inside I guess.

The new v2 ships stacked - e.g. the tank is boxed and placed directly on top of the cabinet which is boxed separetly.

The 155g display tank weighed close to 400lbs we think - their site listed significantly less but 4 in-shape guys (we used social distancing and masks) in their mid-30s struggled to lift it. Furniture dolly was definitely a must. Thankfully we only had ~30 ft to move it. We used 4x 8" Glass Suction Cups to move the glass.

Cabinet was heavy as hell too - sump comes mounted and bolted inside cabinet. Guessing cabinet was around 350lbs; easier to carry than display.


IMG_20200417_142343 (1).jpg


Wife didn't like the final resting place so I am slowly pushing it to be more centered on that rug...

No major damage to tank that we can see yet - will be doing a water test in it sometime in next few weeks. Cabinet was damaged in transit, though. 2 feet were cracked and 1 foot was missing. Doors are also not level - hoping this will be fixed after water goes in and leveling of feet occur - @Big C mentioned in his build thread that this fixed it.
 

Big C

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Tank is going in the front entry room where we used to have 6x 12gal Freshwater shrimp tanks. I'm nervous that I didn't add additional electrical outlets. I have two but I was too lazy to figure out if they were on the same breaker - probably a good project for next weekend.

IMG_20200321_160246.jpg


Shrimp tanks had to move upstairs in preparation. Was a good opportunity to change out the buffered substrate as well (need to do this every 2-3 years with these Bee shrimp tanks).

6 freshwater lo-tech shrimp tanks cycling again upstairs using the SL-Aqua approach:


IMG_20200412_213216.jpg


The ProStar 200 v2 arrived on 4/16 via FedEx freight. I didn't get any pictures - not sure what I was thinking; too eager to move it inside I guess.

The new v2 ships stacked - e.g. the tank is boxed and placed directly on top of the cabinet which is boxed separetly.

The 155g display tank weighed close to 400lbs we think - their site listed significantly less but 4 in-shape guys (we used social distancing and masks) in their mid-30s struggled to lift it. Furniture dolly was definitely a must. Thankfully we only had ~30 ft to move it. We used 4x 8" Glass Suction Cups to move the glass.

Cabinet was heavy as hell too - sump comes mounted and bolted inside cabinet. Guessing cabinet was around 350lbs; easier to carry than display.


IMG_20200417_142343 (1).jpg


Wife didn't like the final resting place so I am slowly pushing it to be more centered on that rug...

No major damage to tank that we can see yet - will be doing a water test in it sometime in next few weeks. Cabinet was damaged in transit, though. 2 feet were cracked and 1 foot was missing. Doors are also not level - hoping this will be fixed after water goes in and leveling of feet occur - @Big C mentioned in his build thread that this fixed it.
Correct.

I first leveled the tank empty, them at 1/2, then full and adjusted doors after. When it was 1/2 full they seemed to align better. I think @Master of Cloak had this issue to.
 
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craftbrews

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Hooked up @Big C 's recommended sump lighting mod. Made a world of a difference - can actually work down in the sump now.

Here are the sump measurements and pictures:

Sump Overall: 37.5"L x 20"W x 18"H

IMG_20200419_123219.jpg


Compartment 1 (overflows top of baffle): 3.25"L x19.5"W x 13"H

IMG_20200419_124330.jpg


Compartment 2 (underflows bottom of baffle): 4.75"L x 19.5"W x 12"H

IMG_20200419_124338.jpg


Compartment 3 (overflows top of baffle into fuge): 14.75"L x 19.5"W x 8.5"H


IMG_20200419_124345.jpg


Compartment 4 (underflows bottom of baffle): 13.75"L x 7.25"W x 8.5"H

IMG_20200419_124411.jpg


Compartment 5 (no overflow): 13.75"L x 12.5"W x 11"H


IMG_20200419_124421.jpg

Auto Top Off: 18.75"L x 6"W x 6"H

IMG_20200419_124444.jpg


Here's a more detailed view of the cabinet from a distance:


IMG_20200419_123237.jpg
 
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Here are my quick thoughts after two days of puttering around in the cabinet/sump and dry fitting in the gear we have:

Cabinet Pros:
  • Exterior construction is slick and looks nice
  • Interior feels sturdy and is plywood; so slightly sturdier than MDF
  • Aluminum frame gives me peace of mind
  • Leveling feet are a nice thought; haven't messed with them yet but look to be easy to use

Cabinet Cons:
  • Cabinet doors are mounted incorrectly by the manufacturer - the french doors should be on the sump side to give you more working room but instead they came installed on the electrical side.
  • Cabinet doors don't arrive leveled - my OCD is kicking in really bad on this; I know I need to be patient and wait for water before leveling
  • Pre-installed power strip is directly above the sump. I would rather this be mounted on the electrical side of the cabinet to prevent corrosion or accidents. I won't be using it but I found it strange.
  • Damaged feet from shipping; lots of issues with the feet from the shipping process
  • Sump is bolted down so you can't clean below it and a bunch of dust has settled in the crack below - again OCD here

Sump Pros
  • Large glass sump that is plug and play for a less hi-tech gadget centric build
  • Pre-installed sump - pro is that it's plug and play, con is that if you want to remove it you would have to remove center cabinet brace (looks easy IMO)

Sump Cons
  • Plumbing is weird non-standard specs; will do a separate post about the replumb project but i'm dreading it.
  • Chamber arrangement is non-ideal. Refugium is in the back of the sump behind the return chamber - I would personally swap the fuge and return chambers
  • Refugium size is too small to be useful.
  • Skimmer chamber is oversized - would have rather had more room for fuge and return sections.
  • Recommended water levels are really low.
  • ATO unit is awkward and gets in the way - will replace this eventually with ATO and AWC lines which will run from garage water change stations

I'm not a fan of the sump and will be making the following modifcations:
  1. Replumb of the entire underlying manifold
  2. Combine Chamber 1 and Chamber 2 by removing the center glass baffle to fit my Clarisea SK-5000 filter roller in
  3. Move Chamber 4 and Chamber 5's center baffle towards the front of the cabinet to increase the size of the refugium and place the Macroalgae Reactor back there. Or I may just put the return pump in Chamber 4 and run the Macro Reactor out of the intended sump space with a larger soft hose/pump feeding it from the skimmer chamber.
 
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I think I have a huge cavity below our staircase. I remember doing some plumbing back there when we had a slab leak a few years ago.

Kicking around cutting a pilot hole into the wall to the right of the tank that I can crawl through to take a look and see if we could turn that area into a water change room.

This is a bad-good idea. I think I will do it.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

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nice another pro star build! I have been really thinking about them. not that I need another tank :/ was looking in to there 90 for a project build. but not so sure on the only 1 drain.

wired that the sump was bolted to the stand? how is it bolted? can you show pics?
I to like the glass skin on the stands I have been thinking of doing that for years on a DIY.

keep the updates coming be nice to see what you guys do with this!
 

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Sump was screwed down in three places via brackets. Honestly, if you remove the center leg and those brackets, I bet you could have the sump out in <15 minutes.

1587347099309.png
thanks for pointing that out. just wanted to make sure there where not IN the sump and gonna rust.

carry on ...lol be nice to see this come together!
 
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Happy to help!

Got all my piping ordered from supplyhouse.com last night. Ended up having to go to BRS and SaltwaterAquarium.com for Red PVC since everyone else was trying to charge me freight shipping for it.

Tubes arrive early next week.

UPS left a present for us this morning, there was salt all over the porch and a trail leading to where the UPS truck had parked. One note - most of our orders we have placed from LiveAquaria have come damaged whereas none of our Marine Depot or BRS orders have...

IMG_20200417_152740 (1).jpg


Very excited for our @uniquecorals order of MarcoRocks that arrive this afternoon. Danny is dropping off 120lbs of shelf and 35lbs of foundation for us to start playing with.
 

Devaji

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Happy to help!

Got all my piping ordered from supplyhouse.com last night. Ended up having to go to BRS and SaltwaterAquarium.com for Red PVC since everyone else was trying to charge me freight shipping for it.

Tubes arrive early next week.

UPS left a present for us this morning, there was salt all over the porch and a trail leading to where the UPS truck had parked. One note - most of our orders we have placed from LiveAquaria have come damaged whereas none of our Marine Depot or BRS orders have...

IMG_20200417_152740 (1).jpg


Very excited for our @uniquecorals order of MarcoRocks that arrive this afternoon. Danny is dropping off 120lbs of shelf and 35lbs of foundation for us to start playing with.
man that sucks about the salt hopefully they replace it. that stuff is not cheap and your gonna need alot of it. have you thought about cycling it with a cheaper salt then changing it out over then next few months with WC?
 
Lazys Coral House

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man that sucks about the salt hopefully they replace it. that stuff is not cheap and your gonna need alot of it. have you thought about cycling it with a cheaper salt then changing it out over then next few months with WC?
Agree with this completely. I am using a cheaper salt still, ordered 400g worth of IO Reef Crystals to start and have Tropic Marin Pro Reef ready for when I use that up. Cycle didn't take as long as I would have thought. So about 100 gallons of IO salt left to go after 2 water changes. Saved myself some money for corals.
 

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Agree with this completely. I am using a cheaper salt still, ordered 400g worth of IO Reef Crystals to start and have Tropic Marin Pro Reef ready for when I use that up. Cycle didn't take as long as I would have thought. So about 100 gallons of IO salt left to go after 2 water changes. Saved myself some money for corals.
Did the same. When no livestock decided to save the money. Didn’t see any issues.
 
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Rock arrived. Most of it in picture but probably another 75 lbs of shelf in boxes haha... too much rock! Wife is starting to play with the aquascape; wants to do a shelf on the right side and transition to a more traditional reef on the left.

  • 50 lbs of Marco Rocks from Marine Depot
  • 120 lbs of Marco Rocks Shelf from Unique Corals
  • 35 lbs of Marco Rocks Foundation from Unique Corals
IMG_20200421_124441.jpg


Also, Live Aquaria was super good about refunds - 2 new buckets of salt are on the way.

Does anyone have any Aquascaping tips for working with the shelf rock? I know we should avoid 6 inches on all sides to make sure we can clean and to make sure we have flow.
 
Last edited:

Big C

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Rock arrived. Most of it in picture but probably another 75 lbs of shelf in boxes haha... too much rock! Wife is starting to play with the aquascape; wants to do a shelf on the right side and transition to a more traditional reef on the left.

  • 50 lbs of Marco Rocks from Marine Depot
  • 120 lbs of Marco Rocks Shelf from Unique Corals
  • 35 lbs of Marco Rocks Foundation from Unique Corals
IMG_20200421_124441.jpg


Also, Live Aquaria was super good about refunds - 2 new buckets of salt are on the way.

Does anyone have any Aquascaping tips for working with the shelf rock? I know we should avoid 6 inches on all sides to make sure we can clean and to make sure we have flow.
The Macro mortar works well to make some cool shapes. Just don’t make the mistake I did and mortar all 170 lbs together....
 
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