50 Gallon Cube - New Reefer aiming for SPS (In need of suggestions)

Robo_Reefer

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Hi all,

I'm an Aussi from Cairns living in Sweden. I had a reef tank when I was a kid, but that was 20 years ago. I figure its time to dive back into the hobby since I'm beginning to miss the warm tropical reefs, especially being that I'm locked down in cold Sweden.

I recently quit my job and I'm now self-employed, which gives me plenty of time and freedom to get into reefing. I'm keen to get into it, but I have very little knowledge on the topic, so I'm likely about to make many noob mistakes along the way. I thought the best way to learn from others would be a build thread here on R2R. I'm hoping that this healthy reef keeping community may save me from walking into obvious mistakes, and give me suggestions as I blindly stumble through the early stages of learning this complex and exciting hobby. Attached below are my aspirations and some of my initial plans, all be it just ideas for now. Please push me in any direction that may save me and my tank from errors or potential catastrophe along the way.

Overall goal: To eventually arrive at a happy and healthy SPS dominant tank. I enjoy high-tech gear and automation, part of the fun will hopefully be the systems and equipment.
Stretch goals: I think "floating reefs" look absolutely awesome. I'd also love to be able to keep a sand-dwelling anemone and clowns if possible, although I guess these can harm the SPS?
Long term goals: To be able to use some of the nice gear and lessons from this tank to start a new, larger tank in the future.

Set-up: Note that the red text is an item that is just a guess for now. I have not yet purchased these items so they can be changed if need be.
  • Tank: Nuvo INT 50 (fifty gallon Cube)
  • DIMS: 60 x 60 x 50(h) cm (23.6” x 23.6” x 19.7(h)”)
  • Stand: Nuvo INT 50 with a custom made door and (if possible) a sliding floor for easy access to clean the sump.
  • Lighting (Display): Two 2x24W T5 (4 total T5 bulbs) plus a Kessil A360X
  • Lighting (Sump): Kessil h160 Tuna Flora
  • Return Pump: Sicce Syncra 3.0 (maybe this is overpowered, I'm not sure if I should get the 2.5 or the 3.0)
  • Sump: 44cm x 52cm custom made plexiglass with light-sealed refugium (see draft blueprints below)
  • Sump Reactor: Space for a Nyos TORQ Dock + Body 1.0 (I wanted to save the space to add this latter - only if necessary)
  • Skimmer: Nyos Quantum 120
  • Electrical automation: Unknown
  • Water chemistry testing method/system: Unknown
  • Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium dosing equipment: Unknown
  • Auto top-off: Unknown
  • Heating/cooling: Unknown
Drilled Overflows:
  • 3x - 1” Pre-drilled “BeanAnimal” Internal Overflow [Primary Drain, Emergency Drain and Secondary E-Drain]
  • 1x – ¾” Pre-drilled Return Hole
  • Laser Cut Black Acrylic Weir w/ Slot Cut Rear Glass Panel
Attached below is an image of the tank and a blueprint of my sump. My first challenge will be to decide on the final design for the plexiglass sump. I like the current design (below) because it has a big light-protected refugium and room for both the skimmer, and a potential reactor (if required in the future). I'm guessing that leaving space for the reactor may be overkill (since I perhaps don't need the reactor) but I'm a bit of a gearhead and I'd like to play with different reactor options so that I know them well before I move into my next-gen (larger) tank in future. Overall, the sump is just a random guessed design from the top of my head, and I am super newbie, so I'm happy to change it in anyway that will save me trouble.

I'm looking forward to any advice, as this hobby can be pretty daunting when you first get started. I'm happy to make baby steps and I am in no rush. Buying the gear slowly over time is totally okay, and moving slowly from easy corals and fish, step by step towards the more difficult ones is fine by me. I'm also expecting some mistakes or crashes along the way. Hopefully together we can keep them to a minimum. :D

Thanks for any advice and looking forward to making some new friends, both living in my tank, and on the R2R forums too! ;)

1623842143136.png

The tank in warehouse storage. Waiting to find its new home in my office.


1623842476500.png

Rough draft of the sump. I'll likely swap the Kessil for a pair of Tunze EcoChic 8831.
 
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Robo_Reefer

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While reviewing this post (after posting it) I just realized my first rookie error. If the sump begins to flood, and the water level goes over the top of the sump lid, then the first thing that will happen is the Kessil H160 will get wet and electrocute everything. :oops:

I guess I will have to mount the Kessil H160 higher, but this will disrupt my ambition to prevent light spillage into the rest of the fuge.

Another option to solve this would be to use a couple of waterproof lights in the fuge such as the Tunze EcoChic 8831.
 

PeterC99

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Running Refugium with Chaeto, you may not need the reactor. Would recommend a DC return pump that is adjustable (like Jabeo). Will let you dial in optimized flow and can quiet the overflow noise.

Seeing that you need to still buy some equipment, can you buy it used? Summer is a great time to buy used as people upgrade their systems or leave hobby. Make sure to ask if they bought new or used, how old, and why selling.
 
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Maybe if I don't need the reactor for other things I could (in the long term) try a small calcium reactor in this spot. It may be overkill, but I might like to trial something like this here so I learn the lessons and hardware before building a bigger tank?
 
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Robo_Reefer

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After some advice here and there, below is my final design for the sump.

I will send this to the plexiglass custom builder likely this weekend. This is my first time building a sump so let me know if anyone sees any obvious mistakes. :D

The current plan is for one or two Tunze EcoChic 8831 in the refugium.



1624001408223.png
 

Bouncingsoul39

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The lighting choice isn’t ideal for SPS. You’ll be hard pressed to nicely grow and color up some Acropora. The kessil itself, isn’t great for SPS. I’d check for a higher wattage led that has UV built in. An 8 bulb T5 would be a good alternative if you can find one that fits the tank dimensions. A single 250 watt metal halide supplemented with blue LED or blue T5 is another option.
 
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Robo_Reefer

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The lighting choice isn’t ideal for SPS. You’ll be hard pressed to nicely grow and color up some Acropora. The kessil itself, isn’t great for SPS. I’d check for a higher wattage led that has UV built in. An 8 bulb T5 would be a good alternative if you can find one that fits the tank dimensions. A single 250 watt metal halide supplemented with blue LED or blue T5 is another option.

Thanks for the good advice. I was thinking that this could be the case. I'm very unfamiliar with Metal Halide and the marketing is less obvious than with LED's and T5's. Some recommendations on which models, brands, types that may suit my tank would be great. Especially because I don't know how much extra wattage I would need?

The main reason I went for the Kessil instead of all T5's was that I'm a big fan of the shimmer. I figured if low par was an issue at any point I could always just get another Kessil. It may be a big expense now, but I'm sure they'd get their use in a larger tank down the road. I recently saw the new Kessil A500X too. That would definitely get some use in my next (larger and deeper) tank but it is likely overkill for this tank I guess though?

Also, god only knows how long it will be before I can buy an A500X here in Europe. I bet they will be hard to find.
 
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Also, here is my new update to the sump...

I had this idea that I can instead have the refugium as an insert box. Then if I get sick of changing filter socks, or if the refugium is too small to provide any significant impact, then I can later just remove the fuge and swap over to a roller instead later on.



1624011057645.png
 
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Thanks for the good advice. I was thinking that this could be the case. I'm very unfamiliar with Metal Halide and the marketing is less obvious than with LED's and T5's. Some recommendations on which models, brands, types that may suit my tank would be great. Especially because I don't know how much extra wattage I would need?

The main reason I went for the Kessil instead of all T5's was that I'm a big fan of the shimmer. I figured if low par was an issue at any point I could always just get another Kessil. It may be a big expense now, but I'm sure they'd get their use in a larger tank down the road. I recently saw the new Kessil A500X too. That would definitely get some use in my next (larger and deeper) tank but it is likely overkill for this tank I guess though?

Also, god only knows how long it will be before I can buy an A500X here in Europe. I bet they will be hard to find.
Not sure what brands you have access to in Europe. I’m just getting back into the hobby myself after a break. From my research the Philips Coral Care Gen 2 seems like a good option. Radium 250w is always awesome if you don’t need to worry about the heat. I’ve used 6-8 bulb passively cooled Horticulture T5 fixtures in the past there are some with good high polished aluminum reflectors out there’s for a fraction of the cost of our hobby ones. Hope that helps.
 
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The 2x2 dimmable T5's arrived today. Soon I will think about building the lighting frame. My plan was to build an enclosure to hold the T5's and a Kessil (I guess metal halide will be to hot/fire risk for and enclosed fixture).

I'm hoping I can build a lighting enclosure similar to the one here... It is a very sleek clean design, Brandon's entire tank is awesome too: https://www.reef2reef.com/ams/reef-...er-brandon-mchenrys-amazing-aio-sps-reef.799/

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I ran a 60 gallon sps dominant cube in the past. With 250 watt radium. I used a coral view jumen bright reflector and had the light 18” above the tank, with 2 fans running while HQI was on I was always riding the edge of my temperature extreme. If you want to put that metal halide inside a hood like that you will probably need to run a chiller. Big piece of equipment that produces allot of heat. Unless you can keep it in another room or remotely outside between the metal halide and the chiller the room where the tank is in will always be very hot unless your willing to keep you AC very low. Just my experience. The results of metal halide are amazing but there are some draw backs. You could go all t5, but take into account that technology is on its way out. Who knows how much longer you will be able to buy those bulbs or the metal halide for that matter. I’ve never been a fan of LED but took the plunge on this tank I’m setting up now. I’m currently running only 2 360x over the 120 but will add 2 more and am still deciding on what led strip I will use for supplement.
 

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So far getting decent coloration and growth.
 

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Robo_Reefer

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It seems like the drawbacks of the metal halide are a bit of an issue. Especially the heat/refrigeration. I'm hoping that two 360x and four T5 bulbs will do the Job instead.

Or one 500X instead of the two 360x's if I can ever find one before the end of 2021.
 
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This is my intial ideas for the floating reef. Pretty simple, just stick the perspex onto the angled rear panels. Then lay rock over the top by slotting the perspex into/under a few larger pieces of dry rock. Then add/glue more dry/live rock onto the larger dry-rock base frame.

The idea is that this will give me a fully floating reef look. Not sure if it will really work, but I've seen other tanks that have managed similar styles with incredible results. I'm guessing that this is pretty high risk high reward strategy and may likely fail. But I'm in this for the fun of it, so may as well have some fun with it. ;)

1624456436096.png
 
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I think if the rock mounting brackets are 0.5 to 1cm perspex it will be able to hold heaps of weight. The strength will depend on the bond to the rear panel. I think bonding with silicone will not work....

Instead I'm thinking of taking the risk and using a full molecular bond with Acrifix. https://interglas.se/shop/lim-till-plexiglas-679p.html ... Worst case scenario if it fails would be a couple of ugly edges on the rear panel (i.e. no great loss).
 
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