90 Gallon Phoenix Build

Stlrfan88

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Several of you may have already read my Meet & Greet post ‘Reef Tank or Divorce – Last Chance’ so I am not going to bore you with that again. Thank you to all that replied and were very helpful with suggestions and encouragement on the new tank build. Seems like the main under lying factors are PATIENCE, LET THE CYCLE RUN ITS COURSE, and CHEMICAL FREE. I agree that those 3 traits were absent from the previous attempt and resulted in the demise of the tank. Lesson learned.

Since this is a New Day, New Friends (R2R Community), New (better) Advice, and a New Tank I thought it was only fitting to call this build the 90 Gallon Phoenix so I can raise the dream tank I have longed for out of the ashes.

I have sent the wife out with her girlfriends for the day with the last little bit that is left on the credit card, some adult beverages getting cold in the fridge, 80’ music jammin’, and a date with a 90 Gallon tank, rock and sand. If that’s not living I don’t know what is.

Back up a couple months for those that have that old tank in the basement that is begging to come back to life. Here is how i broke down the tank to get it ready for today. I may have taken the long way around to get here but I am over cautious now on this build due to my past expierence. Time will only tell if I did enough to erase the past.
  • Emptied the tank of all Rock
  • Drained the tank and the sump
  • Got all of the sand out
  • Filled the tank with water straight from the garden hose and a liberal amount of white vinegar. I want to say a gallon if not 2 but don't really remember, it was a while ago.
  • Left all of the equipment in the tank (probes, heater, everything)
  • Ran pump, powerheads, and skimmer for a month to break down and clean all the coraline out (it was all over everything)(didn’t know corline was a good thing so apparently my tank was pretty stable when I was told / advised that it needed to be broken down and bleached….but I am not bitter at all:mad::rolleyes:o_O).
  • Drained the tank
  • Filled it back up with water for the garden hose and ran it through everything for a month
  • Drained and re-filled again and ran for another month
  • Drained the tank and let it air dry for another month.
  • Wiped it all down with a damp lint free soft cloth (no cleaning chemicals)
  • Took apart and inspected all the pumps, etc and gave them one more good cleaning.
  • Here we are today ready to go
If there is anything left from the old tank still living then I guess it is meant to be there.

Tank and Stand Specs:
90 gallon 48x18x24
Blacked out 2 of the 3 sides - wanted to be able to see into the tank from the side as you enter the room
I built the stand out of 4x4 posts and used 3/4" birch plywood to enclose it all (not a carpenter but it is level) Weight tested it with the frame to my 72 Bronco - Odd but fun

EShopps Sump

My wife found 2 old windows in her grandmothers house that we put pinao hinges on and used for doors
She used some mirror paint (or something) on the glass to keep light out and so you couldnt see the Sump.
She then lined the inside with shelf paper so it would look nice :rolleyes: if some one opened the doors to look in. I do have to admit it is super easy to clean salt creep out and glad she did it.

Equipment hangs on the side of the stand out of sight and not in the sump where salt could get to it.

She then went and bought a cheap trunk from a big box hobby shop for the ATO tank. I just run a hose around the back of the stand and into the sump.

It is in our main living room where we entertain quite a bit so we wanted it to look good and hide as much as we could. I am sure there will be some type of tree or something behind the chest before it is all over with.
We think it is a nice clean look.

Side Note: Just food for thought before setting up the tank. If there are any thoughts of painting or new flooring where the tank will be, do it BEFORE putting the tank in. Do it while your curing rocks or buying equipment. Thats what we did so we are good for several years on painting walls and before having to move the tank to replace the carpet. Lord help me when that day comes.

Off to do some aquascaping.

Tank.JPG

Tank Side.JPG

tank Left Side.JPG

Sump.JPG
ATO Tank.JPG
 
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KyOsIBa515

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Sweet start! Looking forward to the build. Being the tank is on new carpet you may want to put a check valve on the return and have a good ATO with good fail safes. I have had my sump overflow in a power outage due to not piping in a check valve on the returns. I have also had the float stick on an old ATO and flood my floor. I don’t want your carpet getting wet.
 

Oberst Oswald

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Hello & following. You are going to be the first build I'm going to watch from the beginning. My advice, besides don't give no advice (a dying man told me that), is watch every BRS video and don't stop reading all you can on R2R. Enjoy your journey even though you had a rough start.
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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Sweet start! Looking forward to the build. Being the tank is on new carpet you may want to put a check valve on the return and have a good ATO with good fail safes. I have had my sump overflow in a power outage due to not piping in a check valve on the returns. I have also had the float stick on an old ATO and flood my floor. I don’t want your carpet getting wet.
agree. happened to me on the previous attempt at this and made a no brainer for the detection system. Have an apex overflow detector for the bottom of the stand. Built in a little lip to the front edge of the stand and will be adding a rubber gasket to it to help as well. I have the luxury of working from home 90% of the time so when the alarm from the apex goes off I should be able to get to it fairly quickly. When traveling out of town I have friends and family on stand by to keep an eye on things.
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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Should have said this in the original post but didnt think about it. I am by no means an expert. Just trying to share how i did things and the results i got to maybe save someone else from my previous experiences. I am also going to try to point out where I think my first attempt went off the tracks and how I did it differently this time, I welcome ALL feedback, comments, critics, and suggestions so please don't hold back.

So the rock and sand are in.

Rock - Went with 75 lbs of Reef Saver Aquarium Dry/Live Rock - No complaints here. Everything fit together better than expected. I was a little worried that since I didn't pick out the rock that I was going to get a bunch of huge rocks that needed to be modified. not the case at. got a fairly good mix, i didnt make any modifications to any of the rocks but probably could have to get a little more intricate with the design. Tried to keep enough caves / opening as possible for better waterflow. I had 1 large piece left over that just took up to much space but all in all 2 thumbs up.

Glue - far as glue I did buy 1 tube of Juassic Gel - I didnt care for the applicator, I thought it was to small. Ran out about 1/2 way through. After doing some research I went to hardware store and bought LocTite clear silicone waterproof sealant. says on the packaging aquarium safe. I am thinking this is more of a rubber sealant for attaching glass panels and less of a super glue so this may stay more flexible than I want. I put a fair amount on at the contact points and the rocks locked together pretty tightly already with out it so I looked at this as more of a safety net than relying on it for structure and stability. I dont think it is going to cure out completely clear so I may bust up the 1 rock i have left and get another tube of Jurassic Gel or something and hide the LocTite bonding points. Fingers crossed I don't have an avalanche when I get the powerheads rolling.

Sand - I went with 40 lbs of CaribSea Aragonite dry sand and didn't use the entire bag. guesstimating I still have about 10 lbs still in the bag. (Reminder: Tank is a 90 gallon 48x18x24) Used a high tech gadget to measure the sand bed……..plastic fork and marked it at an inch……and took several measurements through out the sand bed. Average around an 1" in the entire tank. Will hold onto the remaining sand since I am sure it will settle and I will need to add some more. Only reason I did this was because I have 3 unopened bottles of Aquovitro Seed that needs to get used up. If I didn’t have that I would have gone with live sand again.

Water – I ‘re-purposed’ (aka: took out) the laundry sink in the laundry room and tied the BRS 4 stage RODI water system into the cold water valve and washing machine drain. Not a RODI issue but my water pressure S..T..inks at the house so I am only getting about 30 gallons of water in a 12 hour period so this will be a several day process. Water goes into a grey Brute 55 gallon barrel. From what I could read it looked like the white and the grey are food safe but I didn’t see any food safe logo on the bottom of the barrel. Since the laundry room is not near the tank I will have to use a submergible pump to pump it from the barrel through the kitchen and to the tank in the living room via a water hoses. Bought new water hoses to try to cut down on any contaminants in a used hose that would get pumped into the tank.

Once the tank is full and I am just doing top offs or water changes I will just use a pitcher and move it a gallon at a time.

Salt – went with Red Sea Salt and literally just now noticed that it is ‘ideal for SPS Dominant Systems’. I didn’t make a determination on which corals I was going to go with, which every is the easiest to start with, so I guess I may have to change this out through water changes over the next few months if its not correct. Since coral is months down the road this is not even on the worry/panic radar right now.

I thought about mixing the salt right in the tank but wasn’t really sure how well it would mix so I went with another measuring gadget ….red solo cup….. to add 1 cup every 30 minutes to the barrel. 7 full cups in approx. 30 gallons of water got me to 1.025 salinity. I put a small powerhead in the barrel and let it run all night to help keep the water moving and to hopefully mix the salt more thorough. I don’t see salt on the bottom of the barrel so thumps up here. I did not put a heater in the barrel since I will heat the entire tank up with a temporary heater in the display tank and the permanent heater in the sump. Temp Heater in the display tank will move to the 10 gallon ATO tank when the time comes.


Next Steps:
Set up equipment to get ready to run when tank is full
Brew up some more saltwater.

I know it’s a long post but they will get shorter as things get setup and rolling.
Rock Sand.JPG
RODI.JPG
RODI HookUp.JPG

Thanks again for all your feedback.
 

Oberst Oswald

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Phil D.

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Welcome to R2R, good start! Putting a heater in your mixing barrel will help it to dissolve faster and not precipitate Ca or Alk out. Here in Phoenix there are a couple nice LFS. AZ Reef Monsters in Mesa and Artistic Aquarium in Chandler and Ocean Floor in Phoenix.
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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Welcome to R2R, good start! Putting a heater in your mixing barrel will help it to dissolve faster and not precipitate Ca or Alk out. Here in Phoenix there are a couple nice LFS. AZ Reef Monsters in Mesa and Artistic Aquarium in Chandler and Ocean Floor in Phoenix.
Thanks for the heater advise. will definitely do this on the next batch
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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My input...

Rocks - Looks good.

Glue - Don't know. Should work OK

Sand - might have to add more in a section of the tank if you want to get a sand sleeping wrasse or jawfish.

Water - Get a RODI pump. https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/1-4-aquatec-8800-booster-pump-kit.html

Get Water Saver kit. https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/water-saver-upgrade-kit-bulk-reef-supply.html

Salt - Get yourself a scale. Eliminate all guesswork . Amazon won't show scale I have.
Thanks. I added the pump and water saver kit to the BRS wish list
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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What are you going to do differently this time around?
patience for starters and one thing at a time. I had way to many variables going on the last go round and didn't understand how they worked together or how changes effected them individually.

introduce / implement 'it', learn the impacts of 'it' and keep repeating the process until the tank is well underway.

i jumped straight into the deep end with a brick around my neck and could never recover. I also didnt know about R2R or the BRS videos when i jumped in the deep end. It would have saved me a ton of money let alone time. I could be sitting on a mature 2 year old mixed reef tank by now instead of glueing rocks together in an empty tank. :rolleyes:

Patience
Good solid advise
Ask Questions
Research
Less throw it in the tank and see if that works mentality
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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Just a quick update on the Loctite Glue I used. It has cured over night and the rocks are definitely bonded together. I can grab hold of the top rock and move the entire structure. didn't push my luck though, just enough to feel comfortable that the glue worked.

As far as the glue drying out, it did what I thought, dried out with a foggy transparent tint. Just like in the bottom of the tanks. I only have 2 spots where I can see it. no one else can see it but it will drive me crazy so I am going to cover the 2 spots with a piece of broken rock I had left over.

All in all the Loctite worked well just doesn't cure out clear. Maybe there is another Loctite product that is more of a glue and I used the wrong one but what is done is done now.
 

Oberst Oswald

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Don't worry about it. If all goes well it will be covered in Coralline algae which is one of the signs that you are on the right track.
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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It has been a while since my last update. Sorry no new pictures – Still just a tank of dry rock and water, nothing exciting.

Had a couple of hurdles that set me back.

1. My heater is two years old and has been sitting in the basement and apparently said enough is enough. So I didn't want to add anything or do anything to the tank until the water temp was correct. Still very gun shy from the last experience so doing everything I can to limit potential negative factors.

2. My water pressure at the house just flat stinks. 4 stage RODI unit barely got over 35 psi which from what I have read needs to be north of 50. So I ordered a boost pump and while I was at it ordered replacement filters (old filters were original from when I bought the RODI several years back (was in storage a large part of that time) for the RODI. No complaints here, worked like a champ two thumbs up.

You may remember from a previous post that I went with dry/ Live rock and dry sand because I had several bottles of AquoVita Seed.
I have dosed according to the directions and completed the 8 day routine yesterday.

I just wanted to get a base line of where the tank was to try to eliminate any issues prior to starting the cycle process after adding the Seed product.

Here are the current tank readings after 8 days of Seed:
PH 8.2
Ammonia -0-
Nitrate – Didn’t test for
Nitrite – Didn’t test for
Alkalinity 8
Salinity 1.025
Temp 78
Lights are off
Not running skimmer or filter sock currently

Here is the question I need some guidance on.
How do I get this cycle kicked off?

Phantom Feeding
Ammonia Dose
Couple of Clown Fish and Mr Tim’s

Here is what I think I know
Phantom Feeding – drop 1 large shrimp in tank and let it rot.
Ammonia Dose - .33 oz (converted based on 120 total gallons w/ 10% Ammonia)
Clowns – 2 Clowns and a dose of Mr Tims

I am leaning towards the Ammonia dose because it is a measured ‘controlled’ test with a time duration to show when the cycle is complete and that fits my Type A personality.
My understanding is .33 oz of Ammonia absorbed in 48 hours = Cycle complete. Since I am already at -0- how much is the first dose of Ammonia to kick the cycle off? .33 oz?

However - It sounds like the Clown fish option may be the best way to go though. Since I travel out of town for work next week I don’t want to toss a couple Clown fish in and cross my fingers for the week. Is it better to just to let the tank sit idol until I get back to add the Clown Fish and kick off the cycle.

Not thrilled about tossing a shrimp in the tank to let it rot so this would be my third and last resort choice.

What do I need to do while the tank sits idol for the next week while I am gone? Add some food pellets to feed the Seed?

When should I add the filter sock and fire up the skimmer? I am assuming not until the cycle has some time to get going.

As always, thanks again for any advise, comments, corrections, and opinions.
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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You shouldn't use fish to cycle a tank.

What are your reservations with the shrimp? That is the best way imo to do it!
I guess just tossing something in the tank to rot, no real reasoning other than that. I didnt care for the clown fish idea for the fact i would rather not sacrifice fish for a test and that is why I was leaning to the ammonia dose.

So if I went the shrimp route...Just toss in 1 shrimp and then monitor ammonia. Do I need to let the shrimp completely decompose or pull it out at some point? Any issue with adding it today but being out of town for the week or should I wait until I get back so I can monitor the tank. Since I went the Seed route how do I know if there is enough bacteria in the tank to start processing the ammonia. I assume once the ammonia stops climbing and starts reducing the bacteria is at work.
Thanks
 

count krunk

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Letting the shrimp decompose in the tank for a week will work. Then you can remove it (if there's some of it left) and ghost feed the system until you're ready to add fish and coral.

I cycled my most recent tank with reef chili and the occasional pellets.

With my 40 gallon the rock going in it is already cycled (for the most part). I'm still using fresh sand so I will feed it some frozen to get things started.
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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Letting the shrimp decompose in the tank for a week will work. Then you can remove it (if there's some of it left) and ghost feed the system until you're ready to add fish and coral.

I cycled my most recent tank with reef chili and the occasional pellets.

With my 40 gallon the rock going in it is already cycled (for the most part). I'm still using fresh sand so I will feed it some frozen to get things started.
Thanks
 
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Stlrfan88

Stlrfan88

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So its been another week. I did not go shrimp, Ammonia, or Clown fish to kick off the cycleo_O.
Wife was not fond of the potential smell with the Shrimp idea, mixed reviews on the ammonia option, and not a big fan of sacrificing a fish, so we compromised and went with ghost feeding pellet food. Did a small pinch ground up and spread across the tank with the return off so it would settle somewhat evenly at the bottom of the tank. was going to do a little seaweed I had left over from last tank but wanted to see what pellets would do first.

After 7 days of ghost feeding here are the results.....
PH: 8.0
Sal: 1.025
Temp: 78.2
NH3: .2
NO2:.05
Not running Lights, Skimmer, filter sock, carbon, or anything. Just the return pump.

This is the test equipment I am using:

Red Sea Multi Test Kit Marine Care - Recommended by BRS - No issues. Really like it. Easy to use instruction on the back of each color chart so you don't have to read war & peace in the directions to get the test done

Milwaukee Digital Refractometer for Salinity - Love it - could not be any easier or any happier with it.

I still have a classic apex, from my first attempt of reefing, but currently only running the temp probe. Once I order some ph calibration fluid for it I will start using the Ph probe. Other probes I have are the Salinity probe but not planning on using it since I have the Milwaukee now and I have an ORD probe which I have no ide what it is, what it is telling me (or not telling me). May tackle it while tank cycles.

Hannah Checkers for Calcium, Phosphate, and Alkalinity

As you can tell I will like the digital read out stuff over the color charts.

I guess now we just wait for the cycle to complete.
Plan is to test every 3-4 days (twice a week) and monitor levels. Will post results after each test.
I am assuming the cycle has started since I do now have NH3 and NO2 present that I did not have present prior to the ghost feeding.

How do I know there is enough bacteria in the tank to absorb the NH3 and NO2? Levels start to drop over xx period of time.

Thanks again for answering questions, advise, and help.
 
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