A Living Room Reef: 120 Gallon Upgrade

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G-B_Reefing

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Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my next chapter and the start of my upgrade and continuation in reef building.

Sadly my upgrade does not come because my reef has outgrown my display. But it has slowly filled in some over the years from the dry-rock I started with at least.
Here is some info on my current 90 gallon display that I will be transferring to the 120 gallon upgrade.

Current Fish Stock List:
- Clown fish pair
- Yellow Watchman Goby & Pistol Shrimp pair
- Randall's Watchman Goby & Pistol Shrimp pair
- Yellow Tang
- Royal Gramma
- 3 Yellow Striped Cardinal fish

Circulation:
Powerheads - 2 Ice-Cap 3k's on each top/end (1 on Ice-Cap emergency battery back-up supply)
Display Return - Sicce Syncra Silent 2.0
Refugium Return - MJ600

Sump: - remote through the wall into the garage stairwell closet.
Ecosystem Pro 36x12x18
- Reef Octopus 160INT with 1 neck extension
- 2 Eheim Jager Heaters (150w & 200w)
- Thin mesh filter socks just to grab anything big and not changed very often. Mostly to stop any splashing / spray from the drain pipe.
- ATO is gravity fed dosing Kalk as my primary supplementation.
- AWC is run by my Reef Angel computer and pumps currently at 1 gallon per day for the 90 gallon system.

75 gallon remote Refugium: - remote through the wall into the garage stairwell closet next to sump.
- deep sand bed with additional rock suspended above the sand bed on light-rack shelves and macro algae floating at surface above all that.
- Fuge Light - 1 ViparSpectre 300w dimmable LED

Display Lights:
- DIY Rapid LED - (2)24 inch heat sinks currently 3/4's full of chips. I'm planning to fill out the panels sometime during or just after the upgrade process. I've already purchased chips and just need to find the time to take down the lights & do some soldering work to re-wire and fill out the panels.
- LET Lighting HO Miro t5 Retrofit - Yet to be built. But was purchased to provide supplement fill to my LED panels. I am currently trying to figure out how to build them so they can be easily adjusted from the 90 gallon to the 120. They may just go directly to the 120 upgrade as front/back fill.

And coming up, a few pictures of the current state of things. I've already done some work by moving my ATO barrel out of my closet fully into the garage. In the upgrade process I'll be building a more organized and better spot for my ATO & AWC brute cans. So the closet/sump area and water barrels have already entered into the disarray of the upgrade. Right now I'm part way through wiring my NewSeaWater barrel's float switch to alert me when it's down to it's last few days of water. Then I'll wire the ATO for a similar low-level alert.

Anyway... on with a few photos.
 
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G-B_Reefing

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G-B_Reefing

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And then all the ATO/AWC stuff threw up out here so it can run through the corner wall into the closet. It's a disaster area right now. But I plan to build a platform rack for the barrels and RO/DI filter area. As well as eliminate on of the barrels by running my AWC-out line to a drain rather then collecting it.
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G-B_Reefing

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I've got the 2x4 frame all built and assembled already for the stand on the new 120 gallon.

It's just awaiting the 3/4 inch plywood back panel and platform. Then I'll be ready to set the tank on the frame and do a integrity / water test on it before starting to work on the trim & finish work.

I'll drop some more shots of that stage of the build here soon.... Framing the stand...
 
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G-B_Reefing

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It's been a bit as life has slowed down some recently. But things are still going on with the stand and upgrade.

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Off to get some wood for the stand:
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The frame of the stand all cut-down:

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Assembling corners and top/bottom frames (kreg-jig & pocket holes assembly):
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Going up! Guide rails and adding the top frame:
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I'm getting some help installing the cross-bracing to help prevent racking. Current plans are for an internal, center overflow. So the bracing leaves room for the plumbing:

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I'll be adding a 3/4 inch plywood back panel to the stand as well to help reinforce against racking. I currently have a glass-framed 120 gallon tank to sit on this frame. But I am planning on attaching a 3/4 inch plywood platform on the top as well to aid in trimming out the stand and add further weight & stability to the frame.
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All 4 corners of the top of the frame are smooth and level:


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Checking for level across the span of the frame with a 4 foot level (sitting on an area rug & drop cloth on garage floor)


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The top down in the center of the frame is looking good!



Next up I'll be attaching the plywood back and top platform to the frame.

Then it's onto an integrity test of the stand and tank with a water test!!!
 
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G-B_Reefing

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Time to put on the back panel and top platform. Here are a few shots of the process.

The bare frame
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Back Panel in Place & Attached
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Since I plan to trim all of the frame work in with better wood. I started & cut my panels with a little bit of an over-hang on purpose.
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Then I used my flush-trim router bit to trim the paneling all up flush to the frame.
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Nice and smooth!
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Once everything was trimmed flush, I filled all my screw holes and sanded it all back smooth. Here's the back panel waiting for sanding.
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I used the same process to attach the top platform that the tank will sit on. The top panel sits flush over the frame on 3 sides and extends to sit on top of the back 3/4 inch panel making a perfectly solid top platform.

Here it is with the 2 panels installed and the tank up of the stand so far.
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Well, that does it for this step. It's feeling good seeing it up there finally!

Next up we can do a water integrity test on this much. Then it's onto filling out the bottom of the cabinetry and starting to finish the actual trim/hard-wood we plan to cover the 3 sides of the stand and eventual canopy with.

I hope you're enjoying it all so far. Feel free to comment with any thoughts, ideas, questions, or generally fun conversation as we go along the way. :cool: ;Snaphappy
 

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G-B_Reefing

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Real nice. Any updates? What did you do with the stand? Paint?
Hi there! Yes, I do have some updates as things continue to be in progress. Though everything isn't moving as fast as I'd like. I have done a few of the reef systems side projects to continue the over-all upgrade.

The current plan for the stand is to skin it (still deciding on final wood and cost). I'm expecting I'll add a 1/4" skin on the 3 sides, cut out the doors, and then add any trim onto that for the style. I'm also planning for a semi-large matching canopy at maybe 18-20" to give room for the lights around 15" off the surface. For the finish on the whole stand/canopy I think I'll coat any non-show parts of the stand in an oil-based white (so what's left uncovered of the frame, platforms, interiors, etc). On the show side wood we'll choose a semi-transparent stain and protect it all with clear-coat on top.

I also got a water / integrity test done on the stand and new 120 tank. I filled it to just below the overflow weir and left it sit for a week or two. The overflow stayed clean and dry and it all looked good to continue on. ;Joyful

A few of the upgrades for the system that kept me distracted from the stand progress were a t5 retrofit build and a wheeled water tower in the garage for my ATO / AWC barrels, Ro/Di system, and some peg board for storage.

So the stand only moved forward with a water test on the tank/stand. But I managed to upgrade a few other parts of the system overhaul.

I'll drop a few posts here following up with some pics of the projects I moved forward! ;Snaphappy
 
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G-B_Reefing

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First update, the water test...

I believe this tank was an Oceanic System that was never set up and had been in storage.

- The 120 has got 2 reinforced double glass braces. Since I'm planning to stay with a mixed reef, I can live with this shadow instead of a euro-braced tank for the price savings on a new box.

- With the glass bracing, is the frame a concern? With the large glass braces, from what I could find the plastic trim was to cover the glass edge and not structural.

 
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G-B_Reefing

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- My garage floor is not level, my stand is

- the other end at the same time

- get some shims for this 1st water test


- eventually filled to just below the return lines


- Overflow box stayed dry for the week or so I left the water filled in place and all seemed fine


That was it for getting a little water test done on the tank and stand. Let me know what you think of where it's headed. The next step from here is to start trimming out the stand, building the canopy frame, and adjusting the stand for the bulk-head plumbing for the tank.

Next up I'll drop in the 2 posts of the t5 and water tower builds for the system update These got put in place on the 90, but are part of the overall update to the 120 going on.
 
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G-B_Reefing

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Now for the update of the t5 addition...

Going from a 90 to a 120 I add a little bit of tank space front-to-back so I assumed I'd need to add a little light to help fill the new display. I picked up an LET non-dimmable t5 kit to wire up and add to the 90 until it moves to the 120 canopy.

Here's a few shots of the construction:

- Lighting parts:

- Frame assembly - I had some scrap wood pieces from other projects sitting around. So I framed up the new fixture on some 1x2's which I put a few coats of oil-based white to cover it:


- testing up the fitting and prepping the placement of the t5's:



...
 
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G-B_Reefing

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Now for the other system upgrade I built which started out with some scrap 2x4's I had left over...

The garage ATO / AWC / Filter tower.

- Platform frames:

- marking the plywood platforms

- Platforms are all ready to join to the frames

- Laying out a preview of where it's all heading

- Attaching the wheels to the lower platform frame

- Wheels on and ready to build it up

- Ready to add the top platform

- The framing is all complete and testing out the fit on a 32 gallon brute can.

There's just enough room for me to fit leaning over between the top of the barrel and the bottom of the upper platform for barrel maintenance and salt mixing. The lower barrel will be my AWC-NewSeaWater and the top will be my ATO container.

- Eventually I'll add some peg board to one side for extra storage space and my Ro/Di filters will be mounted on the opposite side


Time to put some paint on this thing before moving it forward.
 
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G-B_Reefing

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... continuing the water tower build ...

- All sparkly white in 2.5 coats of oil based paint

^^^ I added a cross bar on one side for mounting the Ro/Di filters

- The Ro/Di unit has been mounted on my garage wall next to the barrels sitting on the floor. This will compact the floor space needed for 2 water barrels and the filters to basically a 2x2 foot vertical area all in a mobile unit.

^^^ I have a standard 5 stage Ro/Di set up for chloramines. It's been running great since 2013/14 when I started my 90 gallon. Since I got it, I've added a 2-stage, inline, TDS meter (source water coming in, after Di chamber running out) and an Ro/Di by-pass valve for splitting out drinking water.

I also have on old Carbon/GFO reactor no longer in service since my 75 gallon established refugium is humming along. So I am mounting it below the Ro/Di here and will be converting my system to go Sediment Filter --> Carbon --> Carbon --> Ro Membrane --> split out Cation/Anion in the old dual reactor --> standard mixed be Di chamber --> out to storage

One day I plan to add the needed equipment for a water saver 2nd Ro membrane. So I laid this out with the expectations of having room to mount another Ro housing as well as a pump if it's needed to keep the pressure high enough for the water saver system.

Time to do some over-do maintenance on the system and reroute the lines for the new set up.

- My current and original Di cannister has a breaking thread/mount on the top making it difficult to change out the resin when needed. So I'll be replacing that cannister and doing some cleaning and updating of the original mounts. I added stainless steel washers below all the screws and some simple things like that to plus up the unit a little:



- re-routing some of the connection lines on the system to set up some new T-valves and by-pass controls all underneath the auto-shut off for the float valves in the barrels. Some of this will get some minor variations when I add in the split bed reason in the old dual reactor below.

- Di bypass t-valve here. Just after the auto shut-off I've cut in a Di bypass so I can filter standard Ro water to the right (short white stem) or send it through the Di on the left side. I'll stick a 90 into the Ro-only line and run a little 'fill line' down to the correct height for the standard 5 gallon drinking water barrels.

- I got a few pieces in to start converting the old dual reactor

- All cleaned up and re-routed ready to add in 1 more t-valve and connect the barrels!

....
 
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G-B_Reefing

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... Finishing up the water tower build for now and getting my barrels back in service ...

- Attaching some peg board to the side of the tower nearest the door to the sump closet. This was an idea to just add some extra storage space for things on otherwise empty space:

- This whole set up is replacing this area. The Ro/Di used to hang on the wall here:


- Putting the barrels in place on the stand and finishing up the filter connections to the float valves in each barrel:


- A close up of the connections out to the barrels. Here I've got it all split up, the bottom valve is the Di by-pass for splitting out drinking water or to the Di-reef water. The top valve is on the Di-out just after the in-line TDS probe (up=ATO, down=AWC-NewSeaWater)

^^^ I'll pick up a couple 90-to-tube connections to finish cleaning up the few connections that need them. Like going down to the Ro drinking water fill.

- The crude Ro drinking water fill set up until I can devise a better method to use a float and protect against the overflows that will happen this way.


- That's got it all in place next to my sump-closet door with just enough room for the peg board storage:


Next up and still to do in order to pretty finish this part off is replacing the 20 ATO gallon barrel with a 32 and adding in Low-level float valve alerts to my Reef Angel. The bottom barrel has a low-level float installed and is just not wired up yet. I needed to put the stand in place and get some quick-disconnects for the line. Then I can get some e-mail/notification alerts on my ATO/AWC and turn on/off pumps appropriately.

- My current 20 gallon ATO has sprung a leak on the threaded bulkhead connection. I tried to fix this recently and now it's just worse :) But not to fast to be a true issue at least. So I'll be stepping up getting my 32 gallon update in place now.


That's the latest for now on the 120 upgrade outside of keeping everything alive inside the 90 display tank!

Feel free to join in the discussion of the build and upgrade. I'd love to hear any thoughts or comments as I work on fixing things up, improving features, and trying my best to clean things up and really grow out the new system.

Thanks for following along on the journey so far!
 
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G-B_Reefing

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And to follow it all up... here's what I'm doing it all for :cool:

Here are some shots of a few corals in the 90 that will eventually be moving to the new 120.

- Leather



- Green polyp Leather



- My 2 Ricordea Mushrooms


- One of my Blasto's


- My Goniastrea and Green Zoas, Orange Mushrooms



- Another Blasto Colony


- One of my Favia Colonies

- The other Favia


- A mushroom rock with 3 different types colonizing it


- My purple lace sea fan (Gorgonian)



- Lobophyillia


- A few of some of the fish and others in there too. We can't forget them!



There is only 1 yellow tang in there. Along with a few other fish, snails, and things others as well.

But it gives you a taste of what we're watching in the display!
Happy Reefing!
 

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