75 gallon. Trying to build it right the first time!

Discussion in 'New to Saltwater & Reef Aquariums? Post Here' started by Magee324, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Magee324

    Magee324 Member

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    I've been reading and watching A LOT of videos. I've seen most of the BRS videos on setting up a tank and have the general idea about how to do it but everything varies so much by tank size and other factors it's hard to now exactly what size items (piping, sump, pump, etc) I need for my specific tank. I really tried doing the research so I wouldn't have to bother anyone, but at this point I'm really looking for some tailor made direction/advice if you guys don't mind.

    About me and the tank:
    I'm planning on having a reef tank, but really only plan to keep fish and soft corals. I'm middle class and frugal. I would like to get good equipment the first time and avoid buying cheap; and getting the good stuff later spending more overall in the long run. Basically, I don't want cheap stuff, but I'm not looking for "top of the line" when something more affordable will perform just as well. I am a woodworker and plan to make my own stand. The tank will be backed up against a wall.

    So far, I have:
    - 75 gallon Aqueon {$160 from LFS} (48½ x 18½ x 211⁄8). LFS told me the back was not tempered. I don't have any non led screens to check :(
    - Eshopps Eclipse L {$107 on Amazon} (I'm concerned about the low water level issue)
    - 15# of Pukani rock on the way from BRS {$51.85 from BulkReefSupply.com}

    My plan is:
    Step 1: Drill the tank. I've watched a lot of videos on the process of drilling and think I'm ready. What size hole should I drill for my return?
    Step 2: Build a stand.
    Step 3: Install pre-made sump, pump and plumb the tank
    Step 4: Introduce live sand and dry rock to start the cycling process
    **Adjust as necessary**

    I'm looking for recommendations on:
    -Pre-made sump
    -Return pump (is DC worth the extra price?)
    -Protein Skimmer (I see Reef Octopus 110INT mentioned a lot)
    -Heater
    -Lights (I'll probably have to save up for good lights from what I'm seeing)

    I will update regularly including prices and post pictures as I go along. I'm hoping this will also help out someone like me that's just looking for a step by step guide on how to build a 75 gallon reef tank.

    **Full disclosure, I had a 30 gallon reef about 15 years ago but never took it too serious, rarely did water changes and used all cheap hang on equipment; Treat me like a newb**

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  2. nautical_nathaniel

    nautical_nathaniel Goby Whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    If you already have the overflow then drill according to the manufacturers specs. You'll need to meet the outside diameter of the bulkheads at least. Don't buy a cheap diamond bit either, spend some money and get a good one.

    I would add a step: "Step 3.5: Leak test the new tank for a couple of days before adding saltwater". You always want to be sure all of your plumbing and parts are solid before going too far.

    The type of sump you get will depend on what sorts of equipment you want. You already mentioned a skimmer, so you at least need something big enough to fit it in there. You also need to consider things like if you're going to have a refugium, media sections, and other equipment inside the sump.

    DC pumps are pretty cool. I use a jebao and while it doesn't feel like the most solid pump out there, it does the job well and has a good amount of adjust-ability.

    I recommend the Eheim Jager heater, never had a single issue with mine, they're calibrate-able, and they're affordable. What more do you want? haha

    Lights depend on what you want to do. You mentioned soft corals but some zoas and mushrooms need a bit more light than something like a basic leather coral. If you're on a budget and looking for a good light, I'd go with a SB Reef Lights fixture or a Mar's aqua fixture. Those two lights are very affordable and have good performance. I myself have a SB Reef Lights 16" w/ Timer and it grows SPS really well and has enough power to cook my little 20 gallon if I turned it all the way up.

    Good luck with your tank build, seems like you already have a good idea about what you want to do, I'm sure it will turn out great if you continue to work hard on it and do plenty of research!
     
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  3. Derek Kennedy

    Derek Kennedy Member

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    I like DC pumps because of the quiet operation. As far as the skimmer goes, you can't go wrong with a ReefOctopus but I would go a little bigger. I run a 110 on my 65 and I'm about to upgrade to the int150. For drilling, follow the instructions on the overflow box. The diameter should be in there. Glasshouse.com sells pretty decent diamond hole saws for not too much.
     
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  4. Magee324

    Magee324 Member

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    Thanks for your response! I have been looking at the Jaebo. Seems to have great reviews and it's barely more than an AC pump.

    Jager heater is what I've seen come up over and over. I'll probably go with that.

    Leak test. Yes! I'll make sure I do that.

    I think I'm set on the overflow, but the return is what I need to figure out. I don't know what size bulkhead I should use and what size hole to drill. All I know is loc line looks fun
     
  5. primo21

    primo21 Well-Known Member

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    you don't have to drill for the return, you could go over the top.
     
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  6. Magee324

    Magee324 Member

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    I've wondered about that. Most I've seen were drilled. I understand why the overflow is better drilled, but is one better than the other for the return?
     
  7. nautical_nathaniel

    nautical_nathaniel Goby Whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    For a 75, I would think a 1" bulkhead for the return would be enough for the return. I'm sure others would know more about it than I do however.

    I restored a 100 gallon that had a 1.5" hole for the return and it was easy for me to find a bulkhead for that. You always want to use fairly standard and easy to find sizes for pipe and keep spare connectors in a box somewhere in case something goes wrong. Usually doesn't but it can go wrong and when it does it will be at the most inconvenient time ever haha
     
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  8. Blue Carbon Reefing

    Blue Carbon Reefing Well-Known Member

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    I would drill your return line hole once you decide what your return pump will be. Different pumps have different input and outputs. I would match the hole you drill to the output of the pump you choose. 10X turnover is 750 Gallons per hour is typically what you will shoot for. You will not likely find a pump rated for 1000 gallons per hour with a 1" output. I would check out the Ecotech S1. It is rated for 1400 gallons at zero head pressure. I am going to assume you will need to look at a pump that will give you 600GPH to 900 GPH at 4 to 5 feet of head pressure and I think this pump will be perfect for that. The output of that is 3/4". It is also controllable which means you can always increase or decrease your flow if you are getting too much or not enough.

    That being said it is also $275 and there are a lot of pumps that will work for your application in the $100 to $200 range. Based on your first post I like an option that would allow me to change things later as your system grows and flow requirements may change. Something that will not be undersized and cause me to go out and buy a new pump. You could buy a less expensive pump and put a gate or ball valve on the return line to fine tune the flow that way as well.

    +1 on the 150INT Skimmer. I think it is rated for 160 gallons. With a sump I am going to guess your water volume will be over 100 gallons. You can't go wrong with an oversized skimmer. I personally have the 150INT and used it through 3 upgrades. It is a beast.
     
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  9. a6walter1

    a6walter1 Well-Known Member

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    I noticed in your original post that you only have 15 lbs of rock coming from BRS. I would recommend more rock than that. What I am doing for my new 125 build is I bought a bunch of rock, using the pieces I like to build the structures, then using the remaining pieces in the sump. Live rock is one of the most beneficial forms of biological filtration.

    As for return pumps... DC pumps are great, but you want to get a reliable pump, seeing how the return pump is on of the most critical pieces of equipment in the tank. In order to get a "good" DC pump you will be spending quite a bit of money. I would recommend getting a simple Danner Mag Drive pump, they are reasonably priced and nearly indestructible.

    I always use Finnex Titanium heaters, they have been running for over 3 years with zero maintenance.

    Look into Ocean Revive lights. You could get 2 of the T247 for the 75 gallon tank and be very happy with them.
     
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  10. Rob77

    Rob77 Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I would rather have a couple of cheaper jebao pumps and have one put up for spare just in case ...... just my opinion
     
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  11. Magee324

    Magee324 Member

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    Since pumps don't last forever, wouldn't it make more sense to go with a hole size that allows for upgrades? I'm worried I'll drill it to small or large and be sol down the road
     
  12. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award SCMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Drilling for the return = good idea IMHO. I think it looks a lot cleaner than going over the top, and I've done both. If you're gonna drill anyway, might as well.

    On the sump, I highly recommend a sump from @geo's Reef! I love mine!
     
  13. Ruffrider

    Ruffrider New Member

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    I drilled a 75 gallon Das aqarium and put in one of those overflow boxes. Here's my best tip for you. You NEED NEED NEED a gate valve on the line before the sump. Otherwise it can overflow on you, or will run so fast that you hear this NASTY gurgle all the time.
     
  14. Blue Carbon Reefing

    Blue Carbon Reefing Well-Known Member

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    My Opinon, you will upgrade your tank to a larger size before you will need to upgrade to a 1" return hole. Under pressure a 3/4 inch pvc pipe can handle over 2100 Gallons per hour. That woudl be almost 30X turnover of the tank. If anything you will be adding some wave makers in the tank for extra flow. I would keep researching return pumps. That is the exciting part of a new build. You get to make all of the choices.
     
  15. LJLKRL05

    LJLKRL05 Well-Known Member Louisiana Reef Club

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    So how did this turn out? Drilled OK? How does that overflow work?
     
  16. bo0sted2g

    bo0sted2g Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I have the same overflow, works well! I went with this one over the competitors product because the eclipse comes with the drill bit and is quite a bit cheaper. If you go this route make sure you read the instructions VERY carefully I had a small leak that I couldn't figure out coming from the back of the box... turns out they have a very specific order that the bulkhead gaskets have to go (which didn't seem like the common sense way they should go) but after getting them right its been running flawless for me.
     
  17. Magee324

    Magee324 Member

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    Update: I'm very slow. I have the Eshopps Eclipse Overflow Large installed now but no water. I also ordered a 3/4" return kit from Glassholes.com and installed it. Drilling it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I set the tank in my lawn, put a hose on it and drilled using the template. I just went really slow and it came out well. I have not leak tested yet. I installed it as high as it can possibly go and I'm worried the water level will still be too low. I've read I can adjust it with a gate valve though.

    I'm still building my stand but I'm almost done. My wife wanted it to match the other furniture that I built and I'm a slow builder (plus work long hours and have kids).

    So far I've bought:
    - 75 gallon Aqeuon Tank $160 at LFS
    - Eshopps Eclipse Overflow Box Kit Large $107 at Amazon
    - Syncra Silent 4.0 Pump $170 at LFS
    - 3/4" return kit $32.50 shipped from Glassholes.com

    I'm looking at:
    - Reef Octopus 150INT skimmer $240
    - Bashsea 30x10x14" Bio-Fuge Sump $280 (or building a cheap one to get me started since premade sumps are pricey!)

    Once the stand is done I want to get the tank on it, plumb it and get water flowing. I've even considered throwing an Emporer 400 on there just to get it going. I'm currently trying to figure out how to plumb the Ecliplse L Overflow. I've yet to find DETAILED instructions that apply to my specific setup. I'll keep you posted and at the end I'll post my summary and notes that I'm keeping for anyone who may stumble across this in the future trying to do the same thing.

    Let me know if you have any suggestions so far. Thanks for inquiring!

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  18. Porpoise Hork

    Porpoise Hork Active Member

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    It's looking good so far.

    For starters watch this video. He gives a lot of great info on plumbing for aquariums.


    Tools:

    Get one of these pvc pipe reamers. It will clean up the edges of your pipe cuts for better gluing.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0051XQS16/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2L1BNBOOEUEDN&colid=G68EH8JMK3SN

    Some type of high quality pvc cutter.
    Weld-On PVC primer and glue.

    For the plumbing, since you have the large overflow you can plumb up a beananimal style overflow. I would have the center pipe be the emergency overflow and then set the outer drains to be the primary and secondaries. some components you will want are 1" true union ball valves like these.

    https://www.pvcfittingsonline.com/1-flui-pro-pvc-true-union-ball-valve-fp-pro-tubv-st-010.html

    You will want at least 4 of them. One for each of your drains so you can tune the flow and noise of the primary and secondary and one for the return line for equipment maintenance or failures.
    You also want a check valve just above the return pump to keep your tank from draining down to the sump in the event of a power outage or if you intend on shutting the pumps down for feeding.

    https://www.pvcfittingsonline.com/1-clear-pvc-true-union-swing-check-valve.html

    Last thing you want to get are a bunch of these union fittings. You will want one for each line to go in just below the overflow and return line bulk head as well. You may also want to put them inside the lower sump area as well. This will allow you to remove sections of pipe if needed.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Homewerks-Worldwide-1-in-PVC-Slip-x-Slip-Union-511-14-1-1H/204202879


    Take your time and make sure to measure twice before you cut. Test fit every section and mark it before you glue it. This will ensure everything lines up correctly and most importantly does not leak.
     
  19. PatW

    PatW Well-Known Member

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    You can use a glass aquarium to construct a sump. You can cut your own baffles out of glass and secure them into place with, I think, silicon.

    Any sump you have will need enough over head space so you can access the sump and the equipment inside. You also need head room over your skimmer so you can remove and clean your cup.

    You will also want an auto top off and a reservoir for it to hold RODI water.

    Also, what kind of corals do you want? If you are thinking of corals with zooanthellae, commensal algae, you will need really strong lights to support photosynthesis.

    You also need to think about the power heads you will need.

    Another thing to think about is your source of saltwater and RODI water. You can get both at your local fish store. But hauling gallons of water can get tiresome and expensive. Making your own RODI means buying an RODI system and hooking it up to your plumbing. You will also need a reservoir to store the RODI water in. Then you will need a reservoir to mix and store your seawater in.

    And then you should set up a quarantine system for any fish you add to your display.

    It is one thing after another.
     
  20. Clayton Jessup

    Clayton Jessup Well-Known Member

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    Very nice , I am following along I am building a 75g as well ..

    Embarking the Journey by Clayton

    Look it up , when I attach the link it does not work for some odd reason .
     
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