300 dd in-wall build

jdiefenbaugh

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After a 7 year tankless stretch at home (thanks to kiddos being born), I have finally gotten around to doing another aquarium. The main focus for me was to make this extremely dependable, ease of use, and energy efficient as possible. I travel for work about 50%, and have limited time, so my hope is that if/when something bad happens, I'll know right away. I am getting ready to start the cycle this coming week, so figured it was a good time to start a build thread. I am limited on the space my wife will allow me to dedicate to fish, so we'll see how that goes lol.

Specs:
300 deep dimension marineland, with corner overflows removed and a ghost overflow installed on end.
150G rubbermaid stock tank sump
Red Dragon 3 Speedy 150 W from Royal Exclusiv
2 x VorTech MP60
2 x VorTech MP40 (opposite ends, alternating every 4 hours, horizontal gyre flow)
Regal 300INT protein skimmer from Reef Octopus
ATI 60" Powermodule hybrid 8x80 T5/led, installed with trolley/unistrut system for ease of getting into tank
DIY heat exchange loop with secondary/redundant temp. controller and titanium heat exchanger for temperature control
A slew of Apex controllers, too many to list
2 x 100G RO storage/seawater mixing station
~450 lbs. marco rock (foundation, reef saver, and shelf)
carbon reactor
PO4 reactor
6" Calcium Reactor from Bill Wann (will be ordered later this year), 20 lb. CO2 tank with aquarium plants regulator
programmable AC Infinity variable speed DC exhaust fan for temp/humidity control in the fish room
fish QT room is separate, and almost finished
fish room is sealed off from the rest of the house, epoxy floor paint, exterior paint on walls, all maintenance can be done by opening a valve, have hard plumbed a drain line to floor drain in mechanical room

Remaining projects to be completed:
battery backup system
coral QT
coral propagation area
separate coral lagoon added
final cord/cable management!

few pics

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Ghost installed


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Cant say enough good about these pumps. Absolutely 100% DEAD silent

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Heat exchange loop w/Taco recirculation pump


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Equipment panel. Build on a piano hinge, so the whole panel swings out if access behind is needed.

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Manifold with flow meters for PO4, carbon, CaRx and fill line for artemia/cyclopeeze drip feeder (to be added later)

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Fish room with water station

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now with water and rock. Top panel is also fully removable so front access is easily possible.

I'm sure there's stuff I have glossed over, but it's off to a nice start so far. Thanks for reading!
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting
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jdiefenbaugh

jdiefenbaugh

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Would love to see photos of the unistrut trolley system for the lights.

I purchased THESE trolleys, and used galvanized unistrut. You can also get fiberglass if you want to order and spend the extra money. There is just enough room for the light to completely clear the aquarium where I can work with it out of the way.


GetAttachmentThumbnail copy.jpg
 
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jdiefenbaugh

jdiefenbaugh

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I am upgrading to a 315 gallon system, and was eyeing the Reef Octopus 300 INT. Could you share your thoughts on this skimmer, thanks?

Well, the construction quality is great, and it makes a lot of bubbles, but I'm always concerned with longevity with Octopus skimmers. I originally wanted a bubble king, and will probably upgrade down the road, but couldn't justify the upfront cost at the moment. I could've bought 4 of these for the price of the BK. A former colleague has the same skimmer, and the pump crapped out after a year, and it's replacement a few months later, so we'll see. I've had issues, like many, in the past with their bubble baster honya pumps. I'm hoping these are better, but time will tell. Energy usage, and small amount of control are a bonus, as is the overflow safety switch. It is also extremely quiet.
 
AS
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jdiefenbaugh

jdiefenbaugh

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GetAttachmentThumbnail copy 2.jpg


Installed ATO and started dosing a mild kalk solution through one of the DOS pumps this week. Initially filled and cycled with Instant Ocean just for the cycle, followed by a large water change and a permanent switch to Tropic Marin, so levels are a little low. Will be adding CUC in a week or 2, and hopefully first round of fish QT. Tank probably ready for first tester corals at this point, as well.
 
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jdiefenbaugh

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Subsequently being furloughed due to Covid-19 at the end of March, I haven't been able to do much to the tank, but have a few minor updates. I was given a Zoo Med 50 gal low boy that had a blown out panel, and cut it down to size for the designated spot I had. Originally it was going to serve as a frag tank, but will likely end up as an LPS lagoon, as fish get added that like to eat fleshy corals. It's a little shallower than I originally wanted, but will work when I get around to finding a light for it. I had the weir boxes from the tank, so I cut 1 down and installed a Herbie overflow.
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I have added about 30-35 small coral frags, mostly acros. Ended up having to turn the LEDs down on the power module, as it caused some minor photo shock, but the affected corals seem fine, and on the way to making full recovery. No mortalities.

I was also able to do a small fish order, and have 8 more fish in QT.

V. Bella - was hoping for a pair, but 1 will have to do for now
bella2.jpg


and the tiniest emperor I've maybe ever seen
imperator.jpg


Also got a couple pyramid butterflyfish, a really nice yellow belly hepatus tang, and a couple others.

Started culturing baby brine as coral (and future anthias) food, and raising adults for the fish. The brine has already come in handy for that little emperor, as he is being pretty picky with foods so far. Will be going back to work in August, so hopefully will be adding more livestock shortly after things get back to normal here.
 
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jdiefenbaugh

jdiefenbaugh

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Could you elaborate a little about your "Heat exchange loop w/Taco recirculation pump"?

Here is the long version, I just used this design.

The short version: basically there is my tank supply line (in blue) that runs through the heat exchanger, where the hot water supply line (in red) runs counter current and adjusts the temperature as needed. It comes off a hot water supply line, and returns to my hot water heater through the cold water supply. It just recirculates hot water essentially. There is a triple safe feature built in, as this could potentially cook the entire tank quickly. First, the apex turns on the designated outlet as needed, which has a secondary temperature controller plugged into it. This supplies power to the Taco pump, and opens the electronic ball valve. The ball valve must be powered to operate, so it can't fail open. If it were to somehow stick, the pump must also be on to cause any actual heating. The odds of this failing are essentially zero. It uses 25W for the pump, and 1W for the ball valve. During winter and summer when the AC is running, my basement stays pretty cold, but the temp. rarely varies more than .6 degrees, and runs for around 10 min total every 2 hours. During this past spring, it didn't run much. Pretty efficient all in all.

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All the plumbing was done with unions, and valves, so I can remove the heat exchanger to service if needed, there is just fill in pvc that would screw in place. I worked at a medium sized public aquarium for several years, and this is the only way exhibit temperatures are controlled.
 

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Here is the long version, I just used this design.

The short version: basically there is my tank supply line (in blue) that runs through the heat exchanger, where the hot water supply line (in red) runs counter current and adjusts the temperature as needed. It comes off a hot water supply line, and returns to my hot water heater through the cold water supply. It just recirculates hot water essentially. There is a triple safe feature built in, as this could potentially cook the entire tank quickly. First, the apex turns on the designated outlet as needed, which has a secondary temperature controller plugged into it. This supplies power to the Taco pump, and opens the electronic ball valve. The ball valve must be powered to operate, so it can't fail open. If it were to somehow stick, the pump must also be on to cause any actual heating. The odds of this failing are essentially zero. It uses 25W for the pump, and 1W for the ball valve. During winter and summer when the AC is running, my basement stays pretty cold, but the temp. rarely varies more than .6 degrees, and runs for around 10 min total every 2 hours. During this past spring, it didn't run much. Pretty efficient all in all.

GetAttachmentThumbnail-6~2.jpg


All the plumbing was done with unions, and valves, so I can remove the heat exchanger to service if needed, there is just fill in pvc that would screw in place. I worked at a medium sized public aquarium for several years, and this is the only way exhibit temperatures are controlled.
Thank you for all the nice, detailed information! This is very interesting. But, aren't you concerned that heavy metals may eventually leach from the titanium and/or stainless steel? (I guess if this system is used at public aquariums, someone must have studied this possibility??)
Thanks again!
 
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jdiefenbaugh

jdiefenbaugh

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Thank you for all the nice, detailed information! This is very interesting. But, aren't you concerned that heavy metals may eventually leach from the titanium and/or stainless steel? (I guess if this system is used at public aquariums, someone must have studied this possibility??)
Thanks again!

Nope, titanium is saltwater resistant up to 500⁰ F or so. I use to clean old titanium plate heat exchangers occasionally, some in service for 20 years, never saw any corrosion. The welds inside that keep tank water separate from heating water would be a bigger concern, but it's easy to check for leaks prior to installation. I plan on upgrading to a 500 - 700 g in the future, so I may replace at that time, but I'm not too concerned.
 
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jdiefenbaugh

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Quick update, as the tank hit the 2.5 month mark, all fish moved into display and are doing great. On the negative side, I was seeing a lot of retracted polyps and general deteriorating acro health over the past 2 weeks. All paramaters are excellent, so I have been hunting for problems. As I was running out of options, I pulled my back-up temp controller probe, and found it corroding. I should've googled it a bit, instead of relying on manufacturer claims it was SW safe.
thumbnail_20200720_153534.jpg


I'm not entirely sure what all metals are present, but it really doesn't matter in the big picture. I have a high range hanna copper checker, and got .18 ppm off the initial test. I don't know the accuracy at low levels, but obviously an issue. Pulled the probe, changed about 200 gal. over the week, carbon, gfo, and cupramine all running and things seem to be stabilizing, and color improving. Copper testing out at .06 ppm today, FWIW. Just glad to see it dropping. 1 stag and a stylo lost a little tissue, but so far, looks like everything may pull through. Subsequently replaced the bayite probe with a plastic, SW safe version, and all seems to be fine there. So a quick cell phone video, but at least it's starting to resemble an aquarium now.

 

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Quick update, as the tank hit the 2.5 month mark, all fish moved into display and are doing great. On the negative side, I was seeing a lot of retracted polyps and general deteriorating acro health over the past 2 weeks. All paramaters are excellent, so I have been hunting for problems. As I was running out of options, I pulled my back-up temp controller probe, and found it corroding. I should've googled it a bit, instead of relying on manufacturer claims it was SW safe.
thumbnail_20200720_153534.jpg


I'm not entirely sure what all metals are present, but it really doesn't matter in the big picture. I have a high range hanna copper checker, and got .18 ppm off the initial test. I don't know the accuracy at low levels, but obviously an issue. Pulled the probe, changed about 200 gal. over the week, carbon, gfo, and cupramine all running and things seem to be stabilizing, and color improving. Copper testing out at .06 ppm today, FWIW. Just glad to see it dropping. 1 stag and a stylo lost a little tissue, but so far, looks like everything may pull through. Subsequently replaced the bayite probe with a plastic, SW safe version, and all seems to be fine there. So a quick cell phone video, but at least it's starting to resemble an aquarium now.

What probe is that? From which manufacturer? Thanks
 
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jdiefenbaugh

jdiefenbaugh

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What probe is that? From which manufacturer? Thanks

It is a bayite controller. Had I googled I would've seen a few posts about it not being SW safe, I just went off the manufacturer's recommendation.
 
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