42's 220g build - v.01

Forty-Two

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Hi there,

Ive decided to open a thread as I think things are starting to come together enough to indicate a build *might* actually happen at some point in the next year or so.

A little background:
I kept a freshwater aquarium for a number of years when I was younger. I had numerous different types of fish and different configurations etc. At one point in the late 80's/early 90's I convinced my parents to buy me a fluval HOB filter for my 20G so that I could keep a saltwater aquarium instead. The tank was moderately successful for all of about 6-8 months after which time my anemone died, followed by the clowns (I only had 1 anemone and 2 clowns in the tank). No internet made keeping the tank much harder to figure out what was happening - as information was harder to come by, and the LFS couldnt offer a lot of advice. Suffice to say, after that I packed it up as it was too expensive and I didnt know enough.

Fast forward many years, and I now have several kids of my own. They are at the age where they have started to want to have pets, and bring pets home. Generally speaking my wife and I will not allow pets in the house (I've owned dogs, cats, rabbits, fish etc) as the kids cant take care of them yet, they can be destructive, and we have our hands full with working, and caring for children. The compromise is a salt water aquarium. I personally dont want a fresh water as I find them uninteresting, and more a chore than enjoyment (as the one doing the work I wont be motivated by a fresh water aquarium). A functioning reef tank however can be quite enjoyable and relaxing (if one can ever make it to that stage - which Im willing to try).

The challenges:

Presently we live in a relatively remote mountain in Israel. We moved here around 2 years ago for health reasons primarily, but also financial and lifestyle. In Canada I get around 250+ migraines/year which was really starting to take a toll on my body (and has already damaged my eyes significantly), whereas here I get around 40-50/year. I can go several months without a migraine which is a big relief - however, I dont speak the local language, which makes it challenging to get services performed and to figure things out. In addition, reef keeping is not a big hobby/business here, so while there are services they are harder to come by - nevermind the time we're spending figuring out the various systems and how to live life day to day.

Many of the items Ill have to order internationally which will increase the time and expense.

Plus Im not "handy", like at all. Im mostly a software guy.

The housing here is interesting and not what Im used to. Its mostly stone/cement - which makes changing things around difficult. Housing typically does not come with a basement or an attached garage - so this logistically speaking will be a challenge to work around.

The good news is that a solid concrete floor provides a lot of stability and strength - so there isnt an issue there.

The plan:
The plan is a 220G tank, and a Royal Exclusiv Sump. Ive chosen this route for the following reasons:

- I dont have a lot of spare time - which means I dont have time to fiddle with things that either dont work together nicely, or have to be continually modified DIY'd to make them work
- Eventually I want as much automation as possible
- I primarily want to eliminate guesswork. As someone who spends a good chunk of the day troubleshooting - I find it best to narrow down possible causes of issues with a proper setup to begin with. I feel the Royal Exclusiv sump - while expensive allows me to eliminate certain issues, and focus on a narrower set of issues.
- I wanted to eliminate the need to 'upgrade' as I dont like the idea of investing in something, and having to replace it at a later date to get a size that will accommodate certain setups/livestock. This put me in the 120+ ballpark from the start. Getting a higher quality sump with the features I wanted put me into the 200+ range (due to length requirements)

Tank & Stand
I've worked with various tank vendors over the last several months. Initially it was supposed to be built locally, but the vendor pulled out which left me looking at various options. I looked at the RedSea series, but eliminated it due to the stand - which has a divider below and that means Im stuck with their sump (which I dont like - no offense to anyone who uses it). Same with the Waterbox series. I ordered a 270, thinking I could remove the divider, but when I asked them they confirmed it cannot be removed. Innovative I couldnt order from (not sure why). That lead me to Miracles.

Im in the process of working out a purchase from them for a 220G tank and stand. The stand will be a steel frame with removable wood panels. There will be a valence/canopy at the top of 19 inches (built on an aluminum frame). I wanted at least 15 inches from the top of the canopy to the water in order to accommodate various lighting options - in addition I KNOW my kids will try to throw things into the aquarium (I have some at a young age) and this should solve that problem as well.

Shipping could potentially be a big expense in the thousands of dollars. One option is to ship it by boat - this will be cheaper and allow us to avoid taxes (we get a certain number of tax free container shipments upon moving to Israel - and we have 1 left which expires in the next year)

Sump

The sump will be a "custom" Dreambox Filter system 3.0. It will have the rolling fleece filter system - this was a requirement due to having a pretty bad back and an inability to do a lot of bending over. Im also not into cleaning socks every 2-3 days - I have enough kids socks to clean. The 'Custom' part was the addition of a second Media Filter - which gives more options to stabilize the tank. All of the pumps from Royal Exclusiv are controllable and come with a panel to manage them.

The sump will also come with a reservoir to do auto-top-off, and a sensor built into the sump which will trigger the pump when the water is low.

Lights

Im not settled on this yet - right now Im leaning towards Orphek Atlantiks. Likely 1 to start and then the addition of a second one down the road. This was the reason for the 15 inches of headroom on the canopy/valence. BRS seems to recommend 15 inches b/w the light and the water in order to optimize the spread. I also considered Metal Halide for both the cost and the effectiveness - however Ive moved away from that because I dont want to deal with the heat, shorter light schedules and I dont plan on putting in a chiller. I may re-visit this as I havent made a purchase here yet - so Im not tied to anything and I think Ive left myself enough options.

Automation Equipment


At the moment Im leaning towards the Profilux. The main reasons are - I've heard its a better quality unit with less issues, and its made in Europe which should making getting one with the right plugs etc a bit easier. I know that the Apex is available in an electrical configuration we have here in Israel - however the quality issue still remains for me regarding Apex.

Filtration/Rocks/Sand

Right now the plan is to get a mix of Live Rock and Dry Rock.

Dry Rock:
Im planning for the Dry Rock to be Indonesian - which I can get fairly easily in large quantities. Indonesian - according to studies done - is some of the most porous reef rock available so I think that this will be a good candidate as long as the Phosphates are low. I plan to order a small amount in advance to test it. Im thinking about 150lbs of Dry Rock. Initially Ill likely order 50 lbs and see how it goes.

Live Rock:
According to the vendor Ive spoken to - they do have Live Rock for sale. What this means - Im unsure. Ive confirmed t here is at least 70lbs of it available (most likely Im thinking 50lbs) - but whether this is from existing tanks or not, or actual reef rock I havent been able to clarify as of yet - again language is a bit of a barrier. There could be surprises here. If there are I likely plan to get a few rocks from the ocean. Its not far, and Ive heard that this could help - even if they arent reef rocks.

Sand:
Caribsea Aragalive is likely the brand Ill buy if I can get it. Everything is a bit of an 'if I can get it' here.

Salt:

Tropic Marin will be the salt of choice....if I can get it. This is inline with my philosophy of eliminate as many possible issues by using higher quality gear where possible

RODI:

Im thinking likely a 7 chamber system due to the water here. It seems to have a high calcium content - but I havent tested it.

This is where things start to get a bit more complicated. With a bad back I cant be schlepping water around. Ive consulted a plumber, and there is a line we can bring in from the outside to feed into the back of the house. From here it will run to the RODI and I'll likely get a solenoid valve. I'll use the same area for a line for the RODI drain - as there is a drain already installed at the back of the house. There are a large number of question marks around this area for me as Im not a plumber - and again - language barrier b/w myself and the plumber.

Heaters:

Shego titanium heaters. Royal Exclusiv has holders for them - I've ordered two - so this should be largely settled except for a heater for the mixing reservoir. I havent figured that out yet.

Water Changes:

This is one of the riskier areas imo - because again I cant really be schlepping water around. Im hoping to get away with minimal water changes and dose trace elements from Tropic Marin (Tropic Marin A & K) - but I have a more realistic plan as well.

Short term I plan to get 2 X heavy duty 'cart's' - basically a 4 wheeled unit that a large trashcan/reservoir will sit on, and Ill mix the water in another part of the house and wheel it to the tank to change water. One for draining, one for topping up. I'll need some spare pumps for this work - I havent investigated this area yet. Since Im in a bungalow this is less of a problem as there are no stairs to traverse.

Long Term: Im thinking through having a cabinet - the space I have is around 36 inches wide, 60 inches high and 30 inches deep to put in some small sized reservoirs. Perhaps a water volume sensor in the fresh water reservoir - and when it reaches the high point - water will be pumped to the salter water mixing reservoir - which can then be used for 10% water changes on a monthly basis. Still more thinking on this area required and investigation as to what is available.

Test Kits:

The plan is to check with the local LFS (I havent asked yet) but most likely Id like the Hanna digital kit. Easier to use, faster and more accurate. Sounds like what I likely want to use.

Water Flow:

Most likely 2XMP40's to start. I dont think this will be sufficient in the long term - but in the short term it will be enough.

Plumbing:

Im not a plumber, and I have very little experience in this area. One option is getting the LFS to do it - the owner seems like a perfectionist - He's sent me pictures of several of his jobs - and they look good. They have said they will do the work. The other option is to hire the plumber to do it, or I could try it myself. The issue may be again - getting the parts. Going to the local hardware store to pickup a missing union or elbow isnt an option here - and the wait time to get the parts could be weeks, otherwise possibly driving for hours to get the parts - however I dont speak the language so that could be tricky.

Caveats:

At any time this whole enterprise may stop or fall apart. It will hinge on a number of factors I dont have control over - if it does Ill try to update the thread if I really think that its dead and it wont move further.

Feedback is always welcome. It will be a long ride.
 
Fritz
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Forty-Two

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Update: The latest is Ive placed a deposit down on the tank from Miracles.

It will be 72X30X24(h) with a stand and canopy/valence (20 inch panels to give me 17 inches from the top of the canopy to the water (this will take into account the Orphek Atlantik thickness to give me 15 inches). It will have armored seems, and Eurobraced. Given the shipping distance, I think more durability makes a lot of sense even though it will cost a bit more.

The lead time will likely be around 8 weeks plus shipping - whatever method is chosen. Miracles - being very helpful and communicative in all of the steps - is investigating shipping options. I'll also investigate options - and likely the cheapest (not the fastest) will win. If it goes by boat it might take a couple extra months.

Question for the experts on plumbing to check my data/math regarding the holes to be drilled.

The Royal Exclusiv Sump has 3 intakes - 40/40/32(all in mm)
and 1 output - 40mm

Ive asked for 3 holes coming from the overflow (Tank ---> Sump) - 40/40/32 (they are providing 41/41/33)
2 holes for the output from the sump back to the tank (Sump ---> Tank) - 40mm each. (they are providing 2 holes 41mm each)

Does this make sense? Id rather be over cautious because once its shipped, its not like I can drop it off to get fixed.

We discussed the cabinet - I was hoping for closed at the back - because I dont want the kids getting into it. He was happy to put some panels on the back at no charge- however they have suggested this might cause issues with humidity. I didnt consider that so I agreed and we decided to go sans panels.

The sump will likely be done this month - probably in the next 2-3 weeks I would guess. That means Ill have a sump but no tank. Again Im in no hurry so no big deal there.

Next steps:
The goal of the next step is to get some Indonesian rock and test it for phosphates. For that I will need:
1) A large tub or garbage bin to mix salt in and put the rocks in to test the water
2) Testing Kits. I will likely see if I can get the Hanna digital test kits - for ease of use and accuracy
3) A heater - Recommendations please? I need 220v keep in mind. Shego heaters will go in the sump - however for the mixing 'tub' I imagine I dont need something as fancy?
4) Mixing Power head. Recommendations please?
5) Tropic Marin salt
6) Indonesian Dry rock

Timeline for next steps: Whenever. Perhaps in the next month or so.

Im guessing I dont need bacteria for this phase as Im not culturing them at this point - just testing for phosphate leakage.

Oh and here's a picture of approximately what the tank should look like when its done. The canopy will be higher and I dont know what size this tank is.

Niagara Nocella w valance(1).jpg
F936B29D-D6D9-4E0F-BF51-A21F398148FE.jpeg
 
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Forty-Two

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Wow sounds like a real challenge to the get tank out there, I would be driven insane with the wait and possbile damage to the tank, if you get it and it’s damaged that would be a nightmare

yes - its a significant concern. The original plan was to have this done locally, and I had a vendor signed up to do it - however he backed out a few months ago citing lack of materials (glass) to do the job.

I spoke to another vendor locally and he told me no one here could do it - the equipment and know how doesnt exist because there is little/no demand for it.

On the positive side - Miracles has told me they have shipped to the UAE before so they have done it successfully, and there will need to be insurance. Regardless the number of risks is pretty high.

One other interesting thing to note - the cost difference b/w doing it in Canada and shipping it isnt much different than the cost I was quoted to have it done locally.

Re: Wait time - it doesnt bother me. It helps me work on my patience, and I more than have my hands full with other things (work, kids, Torah, etc).
 
Fritz
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Forty-Two

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Some small updates to be made:

The RoyalExlcusiv Dreambox is completed, and paid for. It will be shipping by boat (to reduce costs). The timeline has not yet been provided, but I expect it should take 2-3 weeks.

I have gone ahead and purchased a good portion of the testing equipment I need.

This includes the following:
7 Stage PRO Plus 200 GPD Water Saver RO/DI System
16oz One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria - Dr.Tim's
2oz One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria - Dr.Tim's
Alkalinity DKH Colorimeter HI772 Hanna Checker - Marine Water
Marine pH Colorimeter HI780 Hanna Checker - Hanna Instruments
Phosphate Low Range Colorimeter HI713 Hanna Checker - Fresh & Marine Water
Nitrate REEFER Test Kit - NYOS
HI98509 Checktemp 1 Digital Thermometer - Hanna Instruments
MA887 Digital Seawater Refractometer - Milwaukee
Red Sea Calcium Pro Test Kit
Ammonia Low Range Colorimeter HI700 Hanna Checker - Fresh Water


I'll likely also by the High Range Nitrate Hanna Checker as I see some good reviews regarding it, and it would be helpful.

In addition, Ive also ordered:
3X600W Schego Heaters (2X for the sump, 1X for backup/Mixing)
1XSchego Tr-2 Temperature regulator
1X Hydor Koralia Evolution 4400 (for mixing)

The purpose of the above is so that I can order some of the Indonesian Dry Rock, and put it in a bucket and test it for Phosphates.

Next steps:

Find Tropic Marin Salt
Find appropriate bucket/bin/holder. I had wanted the Brute Rubbermaid but it doesnt seem like I can get it here. I'll have to figure out what to do about that as the cost of shipping due to is bulky size is a bit prohibitive.

Then: Drive down to the store and get rocks, test.

That should take me a few more weeks to sort it out between receiving the above packages, and getting other items straightened away - likely in time for the Sump to arrive and then I can see when the tank will be completed.

Some other Decisions:

I’ve largely decided on some other components over the last few weeks. They are as follows:

GHL profilux - I’ve decided to get this much earlier than I had anticipated. The reason being is that I will likely get two temp probes and let it control the Schego heaters. In addition I need the dosing pump earlier than planned, so it made more sense to go this route earlier to gain faster stabilization of the tank.

IceCap Kalk Strirrer: I’ve decided to add in Kalkwasser fairly early on in order to provide stability to the tank and ease overall setup. It seems to me that change often causes issues in Reef tanks and I’d like to limit change as much as possible in the short - mid term.

Pacific Sun Phytoplankton Reactor: I’m leaning towards getting this gear as it seems to me from reading that phytoplankton are a key part of a healthy reef. You don’t need to have them but it sure seems to help. I’m still investigating this and want to ask some questions of the vendor as I want to automate phytoplankton as much as possible - and it seems at least plausible at this stage.

I think that’s it for now.
 
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Forty-Two

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Latest Updates.

Bulkhead drama. Miracles contacted me much earlier than expected and told me the tank would be ready within a week. This was great news - although unexpected, and I set about figuring out the remainder of the build in more detail.

This is when I noticed that all of the return bulkheads for a 40mm hole require a....42 or 43mm hole drilled in the back of the tank, not 41mm which is what I have. (que sad music)

Anyhoo after a few days of scrambling and searching on the interwebs - I thought the problem was solved as there are return bulkheads that fit in a 41mm hole - however they are slip bulkheads on the 'tank side' - which means - there are no threads coming into the tank (see the image below - but d1 is the side that would go into the tank).

I could solve the problem by solvent welding in a threaded reducer, which I did find (female threads on the inside) - but with all of that water pressure coming up the 40mm pipe and slamming against the reducer - I started wondering if this was a smart course of action. Its not like I can get Miracles to come and replace the glass if there is a problem later, or to find some other solution. I would be up the creek without a paddle.

So the latest is Im waiting for a response from RoyalExclusiv on the bulkhead (pictured below is the one they sell) and whether they have seen a use case where its used in the back of a tank with a reducer. I doubt it can be, and even if they said it was fine it would be a tough decision to move ahead.

Im considering just asking them to re-do the back panel of the tank, re-drill the holes and re-temper it and suck up the cost of it.


On the other front - all of the gear I have ordered is currently lost in the mail. Israeli Post is.....problematic, and it looks like all of the European countries use DHL to ship to Israeli post (which I didnt know) - so it could be lost in the mail for months.

Overall - things are NOT progressing well - however I needed more time anyways, and I havent even investigated shipping the tank from Canada to Israel.


On the Sump front - it should be delivered near the end of August. Currently its on a boat. Should take about a month to get here.

1628058742367.png
 
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Forty-Two

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The latest:

I've ordered the IceCap Kalwasser reactor - 200 (it looks like it takes 220v as well). The 150 looks to be up to 200G, and around 250G Im not sure it would suffice- even though the 200 is 300+g.

The good news is Im starting to see some of the items I ordered getting through the Israeli post. They havent arrived yet, but they are showing that they are moving forward and I can track them.

Regarding the BulkHead issue -this is still not sorted. Ive asked the vendor to test the 3/4" bulkhead to see if it will fit in the return holes - but I havent heard back from them yet. Im hoping this will work and then I can reduce down from 40mm to 3/4" and then nicely fit the Line-loc in the 3/4" female threaded bulkhead.

On the QT front - I think Im going to have to bite the bullet and get a 20G tank. Im going to head down to the LFS to look for an all in one that I can setup. I figured I would use this to test the Phosphate on the Indonesian dry rock as well.
 
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Forty-Two

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Sadly we may be coming to the end of this attempt at a build, I have to think about it over the next few days.

Essentially what's happened is I attempted to import test kits (Amonia, Nitrate, Phosphate, Salinity etc), RODI filter and some basic items that are needed to get things started. I was shocked to find out that if the cost of the goods on import is over $1000 USD - there is a 50% tax applied from Customs.

When I start doing that math; for example - the sump its on the way from Germany - Im going to pay about $3000-4000 to import the sump, it starts becoming too cost prohibitive to continue this project - especially when I add in the import of lights, tank etc.

I had expected to pay 17-18% VAT - which is what the customs site claims is applied on import - not 50%.

In the mean time - if anyone is in the vicinity of the Mediterranean and wants a nice sump from RoyalExclusiv - send me a note and maybe we can make some sort of deal. Its still in transit - so I could simply re-direct at the port and not have to try to recoup the import taxes.

Also if anyone is in Canada and is looking for a 225G Euro Braced tank with stand from Miracles....again - hit me up. Its not finished being built yet.
 
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Ive done some thinking on this topic - and Ive decided to press on. It will cost me a bit more but Im already invested in this.

The latest is all of the test kits came.

I now have the following test kits:
Ammonia
Nitrate
Phosphate
Alkalinity
PH
Thermometer
Salinity
Calcium

An additional flow pump came for mixing together salt water

Lastly - Ive purchased and will have shipped (from local) next week a quarantine tank. Ive decided to move forward with this - I didnt really want to but its good practice.

A ~20G tank with a mixture of live rock and Indonesian dry rock. Part of this purpose is to test out the dry rock to see if it will leak Phosphate (which I dont want) but also to see what the local live rock is like (which is also from Indonesia).

In addition there is a small skimmer (its cute), and a weakish LED and a stand for the whole thing. The LED I probably wont keep around but the rest is 'good enough' for a quarantine tank.

On the large tank front: I had them replace and re-drill the back of the tank to 44mm to allow a 1" bulkhead - which will solve a lot of the issues Ive had lately in planning the remainder of the tank.

Lastly the sump should be inbound later this month at which point I get to pull my hair out regarding the 50% taxes...again.

Lighting Im still trying to figure out. Since the canopy is open at the top - the latest Im considering is a combination of 2 X Giesmann Spectra's 600mm version (hung width wise), and 3XReefi's hung two length wise and 1 width wise. Something like the below. Its either this or 3XOrphek Atlantik V4's (Icon)



1629462713225.png
 
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Ok so the quarantine tank is up and running. It has a combo of live rock and dry rock (approx 50/50). Both rock types are Indonesian (which is I think the best option I have available here locally).

I still have some work to do to set it up properly as I was in a bit of a rush to make sure the live rock didnt die off too much while waiting for the tank to be filled with water. Bottle Bac is in as well as the sand - and its starting to circulate and settle nicely.

Next step in a few days/next week is to get some CUC and a couple of clowns.

Ive ordered a Kessil a500x for the tank. Its a little overkill given the size, but its what Im looking at putting in the 225G so I want to see how it fares.

No real conclusions yet on the MH vs LED front. Im waffling a bit there, and now considering the MH's again.

The real requirement here is to have the great lighting and shimmer from the MH's but a ramp up/ramp down from the LED's. The latter is my wife's requirements, she wants some pretty lighting effects, and given her tolerance and support of the entire project, I really cant deny her that so Im trying to figure out a way to work it in.
 

PICK the Most Tested & Least Tested Parameters of your Tank (Pick 2)

  • Calcium (most)

    Votes: 10 5.1%
  • Alkalinity (most)

    Votes: 141 71.6%
  • Magnesium (most)

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • Phosphate (most)

    Votes: 8 4.1%
  • PH (most)

    Votes: 22 11.2%
  • Nitrate (most)

    Votes: 20 10.2%
  • Nitrite (most)

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • Ammonia (most)

    Votes: 5 2.5%
  • (least) Calcium

    Votes: 5 2.5%
  • (least) Alkalinity

    Votes: 2 1.0%
  • (least) Magnesium

    Votes: 16 8.1%
  • (least) Phosphate

    Votes: 2 1.0%
  • (least) PH

    Votes: 9 4.6%
  • (least) Nitrate

    Votes: 3 1.5%
  • (least) Nitrite

    Votes: 60 30.5%
  • (least) Ammonia

    Votes: 80 40.6%
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