310g - Building an Ecosystem

astreck827

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Hey R2R Fam,
I finally decided to start documenting my new build that I’ve been planning with my SO for a few months. A little bit of background: I’m currently on my third system. My first was a 75g with a 20L DIY sump that was started about 7 years ago. It ran for about a year and a half and was doing great by my standards at the time. That system was shut down when I moved, and I transferred most of the inhabitants into a rimless 60g cube with a 10g sump. It was never the same and I shut it down within a year as I lost interest. I did not keep another aquarium until early 2021; I inherited a derelict 55g with convict cichlids that I rehabbed and eventually moved into a 125g. I really enjoyed having an aquarium again, and the itch for a reef tank came on strong. I picked up a used 56g tall and set it up with a 40b return. Soon I added a 75g display fuge, 75g rubbermaid sump, and a 45g frag tank. The system is thriving. Unlike my first go around, I have a great job and a supporting partner who is just as into it as I am, and the hobby has turned into a lifestyle for us. As great as our system is now, it was not planned out with expansion in mind. It’s a bit haphazardly assembled and is rife with design flaws. Fortunately we have diligently documented our progress, and each mistake has been a lesson learned.
Now, looking to the future, we have the framework laid down for a new system. Almost everything is tentative and subject to change, but the pride of the system will be a Planet Aquariums 310g external overflow glass tank (96” x 30” x 25”). I welcome and encourage those reading this to point out problems, potential oversights, and ways to improve form and function. My goal is to update this thread weekly at minimum. Specifics to come in future posts… I hope you will join us on this new endeavor!
 
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astreck827

astreck827

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Update 7/11: No physical progress on the actual system, it's a slow go, and I've got plenty on my hands with the current setup. I wanted to start listing out the general plans here though. I'm going to lay out the tank inventory here and try to give a general blueprint of the system.

Tanks:
  • Main Display: 310g Planet 96" x 30" x 25"
  • Display Fuge: Unsure - we have a drilled 150g standard, but we also have been looking out for a 120g or 150g tall, as it will give us a bit more wall space.
  • Frag tank: 80g low custom 48" x 36" x 12"
  • Sumps: I have 3 50g acrylic tanks that came from a teardown that we am going to put in succession, connected to each other by 2x 2" PVC. We will likely use the first one as a skimmer chamber, and the last one as a return. This allows us to put water we don't want to be skimmed into the middle section and bypass the skimmer.
  • Rubbermaid Tubs: We have 75g and 100g rubbermaid tubs that we're going to plumb in for added water volume, live rock filtration, and pod/microfauna breeding grounds.
  • Breeding/Timeout/Tinker tanks: we have 2x 80g - 96" x 17" x 12" divided acrylic tanks to give us 8 ~20g sections. we plan to use these for projects and curiosities and whatever else we feel like tinkering with.

These are our definite inclusions. We are also considering using our current frag tank, which is a 45g lowbow rimless as a secondary lower light frag tank, since we plan to blast the hell out of the 4'x3' with light from halides and T5s. Another consideration is a dedicated "equipment tank," which we would run a manifold off of for reactors, dosing, etc. Everything is going to be designed to easily add more down the road if we want to. Would love to put a fiberglass trough in at some point down the road if we really get the frag tanks cranking.

The two display tanks would be in the main room of our semi-finished basement, with all the rest of the tanks residing in the adjacent room. We are probably going to run the two displays off of one pump, and the remaining tanks off a second pump. It should be in the neighborhood of 1000 total system gallons.
 
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