A Modern Take on an Italian Classic: ELOS Pool 70 Reef Tank Build

AquaCave

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
Welcome to my Build Thread!
Follow me on Instagram @pnwreefing and send me a PM if you like my work!





Some Background:

I first became a reefer when I picked up a used 16 gallon Coralife Biocube for 20 bucks back in March 2020, right on the verge of the pandemic. I bought some CaribSea Live Sand, a small box of Instant Ocean salt, and a single piece of live rock from Petco along with two baby black ocellaris clownfish who were about half an inch long. Since setting up that tank, the past couple years have been an INSANE journey filled with ups and downs, losses and gains, times of joy and times of mourning. Ever since I joined Reef2Reef, I have wanted to post my very own build thread... however I never really felt like any of the 15+ tanks I've owned have really justified a BUILD thread. I loved them all, but they were stepping stones for me.



Everything I have learned over these years has lead to to this tank. This masterpiece of Italian design and engineering. This classic that set the trend of rimless tanks back before anyone was building them. This is the first tank I have felt truly deserves a build thread.








The Tank's Story:

My first time hearing about ELOS was when I was at the home of a local reefer in early 2021. I was in awe as we admired his nearly 200 gallon Red Sea Max tank, seeing all the brilliant corals and beautiful fish. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a cube-ish tank on a clean white stand. I asked him "what's that"? He replied with "Oh that's my ELOS tank, top of the line. A bit old, but it's going to be a beautiful SPS-filled system one day". He told me about it's incredible 98% clarity, but at the time it was empty yet still beautiful.

I came across this ELOS Pool 70 while browsing OfferUp one day, searching for deals. I just recently graduated from university, so I have never purchased a brand new tank, so I would find tanks and equipment on OfferUp, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace (or Meta Marketplace, whatever Zuck). The glass and overflow were absolutely COATED in coralline algae, the sump was filthy, and the plumbing was dirty with rusty metal hose clamps holding things in place... The hinges were completely rusted out, the door was sagging... but it was an ELOS... and it was quite an enticing price! So I messaged the seller, and asked him if there were any scratches and he told me he never saw any. I asked if we could leak-test with freshwater + a few gallons of vinegar in the hopes of getting the coralline algae off and making the cleaning process easier. He obliged and the tank was run for two days with just freshwater, and one day with a couple gallons of white vinegar added. The seller sent me some photos of the tank at the end of the day he added the vinegar, and WOW it was looking a lot better. In fact, it reminded me a lot of a tank I had seen about a year prior... My friend's ELOS. I messaged my friend to ask him how his tank was doing and guess what... he had sold it! He said he just didn't have time for two tanks, and he upgraded his other tank to compensate... so then I go back to the seller and find out that this tank was indeed my friend's old ELOS! Seller was selling it because he was moving, and lucky me... I was the buyer! Since the day I bought it, I wanted to start a build thread for it, but things got crazy so better late than never, right?

Fast forward to after I picked up the tank and I begun to do some deeper research into owning an ELOS, especially an older one. There was such a small amount of information online, but I was able to deduce that this tank is an ELOS Pool 70, 55 gallon tank. I found overwhelmingly positive reviews across the board regarding elos in general, and that's when I came across trmnl5 and his beautiful ELOS build thread and YouTube videos. His build inspired me to make this tank work and put my faith in it. I also got to know Francois from ELOS America, when I introduced myself to him over Messenger. We had interesting and informative conversations about ELOS, my tank, and my plans in general, he was SO helpful and kind. He told me that my tank is OVER 10 YEARS OLD! I did find a few miniscule scratches on the glass in a couple places, but they are absolutely unnoticable with how clear the glass is. Yes there were some flaws, but that's what makes this tank project a BUILD and not just a set-up. I started to plan the build from here. At the time, I had a Red Sea Reefer 425xl 120 gallon system, and a Red Sea Reefer 170 40 gallon system, both in my home office, so I had no room for the ELOS. I planned to sell those tanks first and then set up the ELOS, so I had time to prepare properly. Because these ELOS tanks are so rare (and/or not many ELOS owners make posts about their beautiful art piece aquariums) I figured I would take the time to fully document as much as I possibly can about this tank and my process. Also, it will be nice to look back at this forum post in a few years. I have no plans to ever get rid of this tank, so I hope I have it then. I wanted a tank small enough to move with me, and big enough to grow with my growing knowledge and interests in the hobby, and unique enough to stand out in it's own way... and I think this tank fits the bill flawlessly.






The Goods (and The Bads):

This is what I purchased with the tank:


1. ELOS Pool 70 Aquarium


  • 6mm 98% clear "Diamond" glass
    • Incredibly clear, more so than any aquariums I've had in the past, even my numerous past Red Sea aquariums. Pictures don't do it justice at all. Yes all glass is clear, but I frequently forget there even is glass separating me from my miniature slice of ocean when I look at the tank. It's truly incredible... ELOS is serious.
    • Some scratches on the glass, but they are so few and practically invisible so considering this tank is over ten years old according to the expert Francois himself, I'd say the glass is in excellent condition.

  • Older style QuietDrain corner overflow (not like anything I've ever seen on the forums, their site, or anywhere)
    • An overflow lid.
    • A plastic textured panel that covers...
    • A rectangular block of solid plastic that's had a hole bored out of the wider side near the glass for the main return (3/4" Loc-Line adapter), a small hole populated with the secondary return, a hole and 90 degree bend bored out of the narrow side ("front" facing) for the main drain (1 1/4"), and another section bored out straight down from the top (1" in diameter), which is situated less than 4mm below the top of the glass. I assume this hole is the emergency drain, but if water is coming down there... With this design, it's about to be one hell of an emergency...)
    • Wider side of overflow has the Loc-Line line return about an inch from the top of the glass, as well as a cone-shaped return nozzle underneath the Loc-Line output that is fixed in place pointing straight out.
    • Narrower side of overflow is covered by a removable panel with 4 large stacked circular shaped weirs from the bottom to the middle of the tank, and a singular large circular shaped weir aligned perfectly with the bored drain hole (1 1/4" in diameter). Pulling the overflow lid off reveals that behind this panel, there is about 1/2" of space between the panel and the overflow itself, allowing water to travel in through the lower and upper weirs and drain into the main drain hole.
    • the majority of the overflow is hollow, although water NEVER enters the hollow portion unlike the VAST majority of overflows out there. Instead, in the hollow portion you can see the schedule 80 pipes for the return, main drain, and emergency drain as they go down from the moulded plastic piece to the bottom of the tank where there is...
    • Another rectangular block of solid plastic that serves as the bulkhead, with BSP (British Standard Pipe) threads on the bottom for only the return line, and the main drain. If water goes down the emergency drain, it's going to end up all over the sump and also on the floor! This had to change.

  • Acrylic-reinforcement panels / internal acrylic euro bracing on the bottom glass
    • This was super strange / cool / exciting to see. It has about an inch-wide 1/4ish" thick black acrylic lining the edges of the bottom glass, and on the side where the overflow is situated, the acrylic extends out nearly 10" from the edge of the tank! It made me happy to see the attention to detail ELOS puts in their tanks, and their emphasis on strong build quality. Form AND function! Remember, when this tank was new, rimless without any kind of bracing didn't exist, so this was incredibly impressive. I have never seen another tank with this feature and I'm not sure how much it ACTUALLY helps hold the tank together, but it's still cool.

  • Black silicone between the panels
    • The only reason I am including this is as documentation, and to attest to the quality of the silicone. ELOS says that they have an incredibly strong proprietary silicone sealant that they use, and I really hope it stands up to the hype. Understandably, my largest and most worrisome concern about this tank is it's age. While it's impossible to tell it's age just by looking at it, this tank is over 10 years old and typically aquariums are not designed to last that long. The silicone appears to have held up extremely well over the years, but one corner does appear to show a bit of wear. That being said, I knew that if I wanted to increase this tank's longevity, I will need to make some upgrades... reefing fam, if you're reading this, please wish me luck and pray that the silicone never busts on this tank.


2. ELOS POOL 70 Stand
  • Marine-grade laminated Melamine board (1" thick!)
    • 2 full-height panels for the sides, two ~6" strips at the top and bottom on the front, a top piece that doesn't extend to the full back of the tank by design, a third ~6" strip at the top after that, and lastly a back piece that neither sits on the bottom nor allows the tank to rest on it at the top. Such an interesting and unique design.

  • Bottomless
    • This design is an interesting choice. ELOS says this is to minimise the noise created by reverberating vibrations and humming noises of numerous pumps and pieces of equipment in the sump, and I've found it to work really well so far. I did want to make sure no water gets on the floor at all since I have the tank in my home office on carpet. More on that later.


3. ELOS POOL 70 Sump

  • Showing some age
    • This sump is the only place this setup was giving me an idea of it's age when I bought it. It came with a very old style of sump that was used frequently in the past, but it's very well-made and has a semi-rigid plastic bracing / frame surrounding the whole bottom, rimless top

  • 3-chamber filtration and skimmer / return section
    • The design allowed water to drain into a series of 3 small glass sections attached to one side of the sump, before draining into the main section which is large enough for a skimmer and return pump, as well as any other equipment. This is nothing like the gorgeous sumps you see today, and didn't allow me the flexibility to do what I wanted to do, and run the equipment I wanted to run. It also didn't fit the ultra clean, modern, and sleek aesthetic of this beautiful aquarium, so I know something had to be done...

  • Fittings, FlexPVC, soft tubing, and stock return pump
    • The stock plumbing of this tank consists of a Schedule 80 Male BSPT x Female NPT fitting into a Spears NPT x Barb fitting for the 1 1/4" main drain, and a BSP x Barb and 3/4" fitting for the return. The drain barb fitting is attached to a length of FlexPVC pipe that drains into the first of the small chambers in the sump. The return is fitted with some silicone tubing that connects straight to the included return pump.
    • The stock return pump was never the best from what I read in the limited information I found online, and I had already planned to replace it.


4. Aquascape


  • Custom branching cemented aquascape
    • I was lucky enough to also get the aquascape that the seller had set aside. It's a beautiful cemented 2-piece aquascape, and I'd never made one before so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to make some modifications, upgrades, and reinforcements!

  • Huge bucket of dry rock
    • The seller also had a 50gal Brute trash can full of dry rock that I was able to take as well. He couldn't take it on his move so he passed it on to me. I was able to select some pieces from it, as well as from the tanks I had running at the time to plan my scape for this tank.




The Build:

This is what I did to get the setup how I wanted it to be:

1. Tank Support


  • My biggest concern with this setup, with it's age, is the constant worry that one of the silicone seams would decide to let go of the glass. I decided to take extra precautions to support the tank and provide it a comfortable, balanced, and level surface to sit on atop the stand.
    • I sourced a large, heavy-duty black rubber mat and attempted to cut it to the exact size of the tank with a razor blade. I'm glad I got more rubber than I needed because the first attempt was an absolute failure and it did not look professional at all. My second attempt was a LOT better and it was pretty close to perfect, however the rubber was still wavy in some areas. I decided to take it to the professionals at my local Home Depot, and after a pleasant conversation with one of the associates, he offered to attempt to help. We took the measurements and checked them several times before loading up the last remaining bit of rubber sheet onto the industrial-grade carpet cutter, and we managed to make the cuts necessary to achieve a perfectly sized piece! I was overjoyed and thanked him so much for the help. The rubber, I'd hope, would help ease any unevenness that the tank might have when atop the stand, and also help dampen the effects and noise of vibrations caused by wavemakers. I took the piece home, measured the rectangular plastic "bulkhead" piece on the bottom of the tank, added about 3/4" on either side, and cut into the rubber with my razor to create a rectangular cutout for the plumbing.
    • While at Home Depot, I picked up some white Flex Seal spray paint and had a piece of 1/2" plywood cut down to the dimensions of the tank. I wanted this piece to sit on the stand, with the rubber on top of it, to provide support to the front and rear glass since the stand supports neither. I took the plywood piece home and painted it with white primer, and then coated it with several layers of Flex Seal to waterproof it and provide the final finish to the piece. I then set the rubber piece on top of it, traced the cutout, and used hole saws, a Dremel, and various grits of sandpaper to create the same cut in the plywood and clean it up. I made sure to spray the exposed wood with more Flex Seal in case any water leaked from the bulkhead for whatever reason.

2. Stand Upgrades
  • The stand of this ELOS is of extremely high quality, however this particular tank stand had some drawbacks. The hinges were completely shot, and I also wanted a way to prevent water from accidently getting into my carpet should it drip outside the sump for whatever reason. I contemplated drilling holes in the bottom of the stand and installing steel threaded adjustable feet and I was very close to following through with it, however I did not want to potentially risk the structural integrity of my dream system before even setting it up. I also still would need some sort of tray for the inside of the stand to catch any water.
    • I decided to go with a nice strong platform for the tank to sit on for several reasons. Firstly, with the way the stand is designed, it would be somewhat structurally difficult to add shims to level it out if need be (and I suspected I'd need to, I have ridiculously uneven floors). It would be easier to adjust and level if I had installed those adjustable feet, but I just couldn't bring myself to risk it for the biscuit. Secondly, I would no longer need a tray to catch water that drips out of the sump! So...
    • At Home Depot, I picked up a piece of 3/4" plywood cut down to the dimensions of the tank, plus 1/8"to create a platform for the stand to sit on. This needed to be extremely durable, and also help raise the tank so that the carpet does not interfere with the operation of the front door, and 3/4" was able to accomplish both of those things. Like the tank support plywood, I also painted this piece with primer and several coats of Flex Seal to fully waterproof it.

3. Sump Upgrade
  • Like I mentioned before, the stock sump that came with this ELOS over a decade ago had a design that definitely showed it's age. To stick with the "unique modern yet classic" theme, I decided to go with a very interesting sump...
    • I picked up the The Pro Clear Aquatics Frag Fuge sump, the signature sump of Thomas from Bulk Reef Supply's youtube channel! I have never seen this sump before out in the wild, and once again there isn't much information about it either, but I'm not sure why! Maybe there just weren't many made, or maybe not many sold, but I can be sure of a couple things: It's rare, it's unique, it's high-end, and it incorporates all the modern features I'd want from a sump into a very clean and aesthetically pleasing package that fits perfectly (and I mean PERFECTLY, just over 1/4" on each side with some space in the front) inside the ELOS stand. It has pre-drilled locations for dosing lines, as well as probes from an aquacontroller, has dual return bulkheads (one with a dedicated water silencer and another for emergency purposes, a preset section for frags and an included frag rack, dedicated sections for media and small pumps / equipment, a bubble catcher before the return pump section, and a return bulkhead, as well as lots of cable management cutouts and aesthetic features that elevate it's appearance and allow it to blend in with even the newest Trigger Systems sumps despite being several years old.
    • The particular sump I picked up had some marring and bubbling on the surface of the acrylic in many locations, and it was very cloudy in others, but I had an acrylic buffing kit specific to aquariums and it was just laying around, never used, so I figured this was the time to use it. It was my first time working with acrylic and polishing it, but with a several hours time spread across a week, I was able to polish the entire sump to near perfection. There are some slight dings and a couple deeper scratches, but they're in inconspicuous areas and would never be noticed.
    • After I finished polishing the sump to the best of my ability, I widened the hole for the return bulkhead to accept a 1 1/4" bulkhead. I did this using my Dremel and finished off the job with the sanding and polishing kit till it was smooth and looked great. I was able to slip a 1 1/4" bulkhead right through and it looks OEM!

4. Emergency Overflow Upgrade
  • The top of the solid plastic block on the overflow is literally within millimeters of the top of the glass, so if the water ever reached that level that would be extremely dangerous! Also, the emergency drain port on the bottom "bulkhead" wasn't even threaded like the return and drain ports, so I had to change that.
    • I decided that I would cut some channels into the plastic that would allow the water to enter the emergency overflow cutout if it was around 1/2" from the top of the glass, as I felt this is a reasonably safe amount of room remaining and the emergency drain is a whopping 1" which is plenty to handle a great deal of water.
    • I wanted to fit a Thread x Slip fitting in the emergency drain port at the bottom of the tank, so I got a 1" pipe tap, flipped the tank upside down, and used a wrench to rotate the pipe tap such that I was able to create threads within the thick plastic "bulkhead" piece. Now it's ready for whatever male threaded fitting I'd like to add.

5. Plumbing Overhaul
  • The plumbing that came with the tank is FINE I guess, but from what I read online it can be noisy. Also, ironically, soft tubing / FlexPVC doesn't offer much flexibility when it comes to adding new equipment and running it off a main return pump. I wanted this flexibility and since I intend to keep this tank as long as I am able, I wanted it to look amazing too and maybe get featured one day... so the clear choice is hard plumbing. I haven't implemented it yet and I'm still working out the details and intricacies, but with the help and advice of some semi-local reefers, I was able to pick up a lot of the Spears Schedule 80 fittings I need. Will include a full parts list if anyone is interested, let me know!
    • The most important goal I wanted to achieve with the plumbing was to have a manifold with several ports with individual ball valves to control the flow. I wanted to be able to run as much equipment as possible using my return pump which, as you will soon find out, is completely overkill for a 55 gallon display. I wanted to take advantage of how much power it's able to offer and run a lot of equipment with it!
    • I also wanted to be able to integrate a gate valve into the return plumbing to help me adjust the drainage rate ever so accurately so I can prevent any gurgling noises from the drain.
    • Lastly, I wanted to make sure my emergency drain actually drains into the sump because the way I got it, it appears as though if water were to ever reach the emergency drain hole, it would end up draining down and splashing all over the place! Thomas's Frag Fuge Sump has a bulkhead for a main drain as well as one for an emergency drain which will allow water to enter an area of the sump where it would make splashing noises, alerting me that the water level in the display is too high in case I somehow don't notice.

6. Cooking Rocks
  • The rock I got with the tank had long since dried, and wasn't in very great shape so I decided I would do something that I had never actually done before (total noob mistake, should have done this every time I started a tank honestly). I decided to "cook" the rock in a large black bin with fresh saltwater, and using Microbacter's Dry Rock Bacteria Starter Kit which I had stored in my chemicals drawer.
    • Prior to cycling the rock, I reinforced the aquascape structure I was given and built a couple additions to it using epoxy, super glue, and coral putty. It ended up looking quite awesome, but I didn't want to add too much as I still had rock from my other tanks that I wanted to add (they're covered in coral) and I still wanted to maintain the "negative space" effect from the sleek aquascape.
    • I got the tank and the rock back in March, and the same week I got it, I set up the bin and begun the cycle. I used some live rock and ceramic media from both of my established tanks to add biodiversity and jump-start the cycle, and eased into dosing ammonia with the supplied bottle. I used a wavemaker, a pump, and an in-line heater to circulate the water and keep it at a toasty 82 degrees Fahrenheit to encourage bacterial reproduction, and allowed it to cycle in the dark for months until I was ready to set up the tank. I will update this thread with the results, although they may be skewed considering I am using some pieces of rock from my old tanks as well (majority is the dry rock I got with the aquarium though.

7. Equipment
  • Here is the equipment list for this setup! You will probably notice a theme: Overkill. This isn't me going out and splurging on fancy shmancy equipment I assure you. I have built up this assortment of equipment since day 1 of becoming a reefer, by acquiring whole setups, running them, and eventually upgrading / trading my way to bigger and better pieces of kit. It took a ridiculous amount of work, but as with all tedious things in this beautiful hobby of ours, it was well worth it.
    • Return pump: Neptune COR-15.
    • Skimmer: Nyos Quantum 160.
    • Wavemakers: 2x Neptune WAV, 1x Ecotech Marine MP10QDW, debating adding 2x Tunze Nanostream and/or 2x Hydor Koralia depending on how the flow looks / if there are any dead spots.
    • Lighting: 3x Ecotech Marine Radion XR30 G4 Pro with diffuser kits, mounted to an RMS Rail kit.
    • Heating: Aquatop 300w Titanium heater with temp probe, connected to an InkBird thermometer / controller.
    • Cooling: JBJ Arctica DBE-200 1/4hp Chiller.
    • UV: 24 Watt Emperor Aquatics Style UV Sterilizer
    • Dosing Pumps: 2x Neptune DOS, 2x BRS 2 Part Doser to be added later.
    • Dosing Containers: Neptune DDR, and some generic acrylic containers with orange lids and fittings that fit the theme of the build.
    • Kalkwasser: Avast Marine K1 Kalk Stirrer.
    • Macroalgae: Pax Bellum Arid N18 (what I have is actually the pre-production version of the N18 called the N12, but it's basically the same)
    • Reef controller: You guessed it... Neptune Systems' very own Apex.
      • 2 pH probes instead of 1 pH and 1 ORP, because I wanted to monitor the saturation of the Kalkwasser solution in the Kalk reactor.
      • 2 EB832 Power Bars (I honestly don't like the EB832 compared to the EB8 solely because of the reliability. I have had several EB832s develop issues, and no it's not just because they're used. I did have to purchase a couple brand new units and they both developed issues within a year. I am actually currently working with Neptune's awesome customer support to help me get through these issues or warranty the gear, whatever's necessary. I have never had an issue with my...
      • 2 EB8 power bars that were purchased used and have worked flawlessly for the entire time I've owned them. They're incredibly well-built and appear practically industrial-grade with their powder-coated metal construction. The plethora of aquabus ports on the side made them perfect for the number of modules I have connected...
      • 2x DOS which we mentioned before, incredibly accurate and controllable dosing makes these some of the best dosing pumps to have. I took advice from an awesome semi-local reefer and attached some 1/4" x John Guest / Push-To-Connect adapters so I can use 1/4" semi-rigid tubing.
      • WXM module to manage the Radions (too bad Neptune stopped making these... I honestly prefer the WXM control through the Apex because instead of having a whole other app on my phone, I can access everything from Apex Fusion! Lights are set-it-and-forget-it anyways for the most part, and I know that if I have an app I will want to mess with my lights so keeping everything on fusion is nice. It also gives me the ability to turn the lights off if temps get too high for some reason, among other handy automation features.
      • LSM module for lunar lighting because I had it laying around and figured why not put it to use.
      • 2 FMM modules for flow monitoring, leak detection, and auto top-off with...
      • FS-100 1" flow meter.
      • 2 FS-50 1/2" flow meter.
      • LDK leak detection kit.
      • ATK V2 auto top-off.

8. Controller / ATO / Dosing Cabinet
  • Lastly, something I have dreamed of having since the day I saw one online is an equipment cabinet. I have seen incredible setups both here, online elsewhere, and in person that have IMMACULATE cable management and equipment organization, and up until this point in my reefing career I have always just had a box full of spaghetti cables. If you have spaghetti cables now, don't be ashamed. We all go through that at some point but know that there is hope! There are lots of products online that help with cable management and equipment organization but honestly, they were EXPENSIVE to me!
    • I hopped on OfferUp and Craigslist to search for a suitable cabinet and I found some Ikea cabinets that someone was giving away for free! Can't beat that price, so I drove about 20min out to pick them up. The guy was very friendly and we made some good conversation, and he was very interested in my use case for the cabinets. I packed them in the car and brought them home, and this begun the build. Stacking the cabinets next to the tank turned out to be perfect, because the top of the upper cabinet aligned almost perfectly with the top of the tank and it looked amazing! That and the fact that the shade of white on the cabinets was identical to the ELOS stand really sealed the deal.
    • I now had to source some affordable melamine sheets to build the walls to which I would mount the equipment. I definitely didn't want to use the Ikea shelves for anything because well... they're glorified cardboard with plywood frames. Once again I made my way to Home Depot where an associate showed me a large piece of melamine that had a healthy chunk taken out of it in transport. He offered a hefty discount and it ended up being a lot more affordable than I anticipated, which I was excited about. I had the piece cut down to approximate sizes, and took them back home.
    • Now came the assembly. A friend of mine has a TON of power tools, so I asked if he was willing to let me use some. This build would have been infinitely harder / more expensive without his help, so big shoutout to him. I had a particular idea with this cabinet that I hoped would set it apart from the rest... I wanted to mount the Pax Bellum algae reactor in the upper cabinet and yet still retain the shelves for convenience and aesthetics, so I used a jig saw to cut out a U-shaped chunk from the shelf so I could slide the reactor right in. I also used a table saw to cut the melamine boards down to size and used a vibrating sander to clean up the edges. I left about 2" of space between the top of the mounting board and the top of the cabinet / shelving to allow for airflow and ease of disassembly if need be. I used an oscillating tool to cut out a small section of the mounting board above the reactor to allow it's little mounting piece to pass through to the back section where I can fix it in place. I wanted to cut some strips of melamine to use as support bracing for the cabinets since I anticipated quite a bit of weight to be loaded up inside them, but my friend suggested we cut up some 2x4s and use those instead for fear of the melamine not being strong enough. He had some scrap 2x4s laying around and we used a table saw to rip them into perfect 1x1x cabinet height rectangles, and we used the oscillating saw to cut notches in the shelves so, when inserted, the bracing would sit flush with the shelving. I then painted the bracing with several coats of water-resistant external-grade paint, and installed them in the cabinet. I took the melamine pieces home and spent hours planning and measuring equipment and the cabinet over and over again until I figured out (with an acceptable level of confidence) exactly where I wanted everything to go, and then I used melamine screws with white screw caps to mount the melamine boards to the cabinet. I then cut out cardboard stencils for all the equipment controllers and modules so I could test-fit everything before mounting anything, and I determined where I would want my passthrough holes to be based on wire lengths, and equipment mounting locations. I used 2" and 1" hole saws to cut the passthrough holes, and used the cardboard stencils to pre-drill holes for the equipment mounting screws. I found that truss head screws work perfectly for mounting all sorts of gear, so I stopped by my local wholesaler and picked up a bunch for a great price, and then proceeded to mount all my equipment. Then I spent hours routing the wires, and cleaning up the massive mess I created. It was such a time consuming and at times frustrating process, but wow. It was fun. It was educational. It was challenging. And the payoff was AMAZING. I am so so so happy I did this because now, everything is easy to access, fits well, and looks... well, you'll see how it looks!




As it Stands:

During the process of the build, I was also in the process of breaking down and rehoming my beloved Red Sea Reefer 425xl. I met an awesome local reefer who was looking for an upgrade for his home office, and he loved the tank and decided to make it his, so I prepped the tank the night before, removing non-vital equipment and some of the rock to make the breakdown process easier. I'm glad I had experience from breaking down so many tanks, but even with that experience, breaking down a 100+ gallon reef tank is no easy feat. He brought a friend with him and we worked hard on the day of, removing the rock, draining the water, relocating the livestock to appropriately sized bins, and moving the behemoth downstairs and into his truck. After that tank was out, I was able to have room to move things around and dedicate time to the first stage of the ELOS build (everything necessary to get it wet and running with livestock).

I finished stage 1, I spent hours breaking down my Red Sea Reefer 170, and setting the ELOS up, and filling it with a mix of old water from the 425xl, old water from the 170, and freshly mixed saltwater (Red Sea Blue Bucket). Then I spent a few more hours connecting the wiring and equipment, adding the aquascape, the livestock, and the Kalkwasser. Finally, everything was in the tank and I was able to power on all the equipment for the first time early last week and watch it come to life. It was such an amazing moment, the culmination of so much time, effort, planning, and knowledge. Knowledge grafted together from experience, amazing people, and the ever-wise (and often unwise) internet. It was so satisfying.

There are still a few more kinks to work out:

  1. Actively working with Neptune support to fix my ATK and FMM, as well as my EB832.
  2. Still need to get the hard plumbing ordered and assembled, and hook up the pertinent equipment to it (assembly is not going to be easy given the tank is now running haha but we love a challenge).
  3. I need a Neptune DOS power adapter (they're so expensive).
  4. I still have to mount the third Radion because the RMS bar I have is WAY too long, I got it with a 6' tank around a year ago. I also need to mount the LSM LEDs when I get the bar done.
  5. I need to get my Kalk dosage dialed in.
  6. probably a few more things I forgot...
I am so happy to have reached this stage of the process, and I hope that you all enjoyed reading this first post of my very first build thread. Thank you for stopping by! I look forward to seeing your comments, suggestions, questions, and whatever else you'd like to say. If you're a company representative and you like my work, feel free to sponsor me. It would definitely help, both now and in the future!





I will continue to update this build thread with photos, information, answers to your questions, comments, and more! Stay tuned, and happy reefing! Cheers!
 
Last edited:
Tidal Gardens
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- These are the original seller's photos, and they're what I saw when I found this tank! Just goes to show that sometimes there's more than meets the eye...

SmartSelect_20220526-103705_Lite.jpg

SmartSelect_20220526-103725_Lite.jpg

SmartSelect_20220526-103748_Lite.jpg
 
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- These were right after I unloaded the tank. When I went to the seller's place to pick it up, I had asked him to pre-fill the tank with an 80/20 mixture of water and vinegar to weaken the insane amounts of coraline algae, and I went to town cleaning the tank right then and there before picking it up. Once it was clean the owner helped me get it empty and loaded up to bring it home.

20220525_212355.jpg
20220525_212556.jpg
20220527_184416.jpg
 
Cyber Monday
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- After another quick cleaning, the tank made it's way upstairs where it sat for quite some time while I planned the build and decided on the best way to approach it. I would get excited seeing it empty every day knowing that soon it will be a thriving reef tank. I have never owned an ELOS before, but I noticed many interesting and unique things about this tank such as the dual-returns, single drain, reinforced floor, and strangely designed stand.
- Not pictured, but when I brought the sump up and closely inspected it, I noticed there were areas of acrylic that were extremely hazy and almost seemed as though they were bubbling. Luckily, I had an acrylic repair kit which consisted of a firm neoprene block and several sheets of extremely fine-grit sandpaper. A couple hours of vigorous polishing resulted in a near perfect sump!

20220526_113103.jpg
20220526_113122.jpg
20220607_165030.jpg
20220531_045217.jpg
20220531_045222.jpg
20220526_113129.jpg
20220526_113142.jpg
20220526_113148.jpg
20220525_202619.jpg
 
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- While I was planning the build, I decided to make some modifications to the original aquascape before dark-cycling the rocks with a variety of different live rock and media types from my established aquariums. I also used some old aquarium water to kickstart the cycle along with freshly mixed Instant Ocean, which is controversial but I figured it would be alright considering I have done it before. The photos really don't do the scape justice... I was pretty focused on the epoxy-ing and supergluing process!

20220527_183933.jpg
20220527_184003.jpg
20220527_184210.jpg
20220603_122911.jpg
 
Join the movement!
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- While I was planning the build, I got some hinges to mount the door. I tried a variety but these soft-close hinges from Blum ended up being the best fit, and were definitely a bargain compared to other nearly identical "aquarium-specific" hinges. I did have to widen the mounting holes to accommodate the hinges, however this was quite easy with a drill and some patience.
20220630_220516.jpg
20220622_010818.jpg
20220622_010831.jpg
20220630_220929.jpg
 
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- I was going to tackle plumbing next, however I quickly realized how deep of a rabbit hole plumbing can be and decided to work on the equipment cabinet first, since I can always use the soft tubing that came with the tank and make adjustments later. These are two Ikea cabinets I picked up... Build quality left a little to be desired but wow... I was pretty impressed with how the setup would look.

20220625_185410.jpg
20220630_221025.jpg
 
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- Planning how I wanted the cabinet set up was quite a challenge in and of itself. I knew I wanted to do something unique with the Pax Bellum macroalgae reactor, placing it in a highly visible area of the cabinet instead of tucking it away somewhere, so I cut away part of the shelving to accommodate the reactor chamber. I picked up some 3/4" thick melamine sheets from the hardware store and cut them down to size so I could have a strong surface to mount the equipment, and used melamine screws to mount the sheets vertically. Realizing the cabinets were becoming exceedingly heavy (and would become heavier still after the addition of equipment), I decided to add vertical cross bars for reinforcement. I cut these out of 2x4s and painted them with exterior-grade white paint. I had to cut notches into the cheap Ikea shelves using a reciprocating cutting tool which wasn't fun, but I think it turned out ok.
- Next came more planning... deciding exactly where to mount everything! You can see an example mockup I made, which I ended up scrapping most of. Making templates of the Neptune Apex modules is a MUST when building these things. Even with all the planning, I ended up having to re-drill a few holes and adjust mounting positions but all the flaws are hidden ;)
20220628_190736.jpg
20220721_223558.jpg
20220725_163711.jpg
20220726_184151.jpg
20220726_004707.jpg
20220727_014104.jpg
20220727_014126.jpg
20220727_183335.jpg
20220727_202316.jpg
20220727_235242.jpg
20220909_111524.jpg
 
www.dinkinsaquaticgardens.com
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- The setup didn't come with any sort of support between the bottom of the tank glass and the top of the stand, which was concerning to me. While I'm sure ELOS makes incredibly high-quality systems that stand the test of time, I wanted to minimize risk as much as possible so I picked up some 3/8" thick industrial-grade rubber sheeting as well as 3/8" thick furniture-grade plywood, and a few cans of white Flex-Seal (this stuff is awesome). P.S. routing those holes in the wood and rubber was TOUGH. Did not have the right tools for the job there and spent over 2 hours with the Dremel, routing away!
- The stand also did not come with a floor which was interesting. ELOS says it's to isolate vibrations and prevent them from reverberating in the stand, but I decided to do my own noise-isolation while using a 1/2" thick sheet of Flex-Sealed plywood under the tank. The stand has hard rubber feet so it isn't wood-on-wood, and I also used 8 large rubber furniture feet underneath the sump to further isolate the equipment from the wood while maintaining a floor for the system to prevent any accidental spills from causing damage to the floors.

20220729_125312.jpg
20220729_125245.jpg
20220728_204640.jpg
20220728_233552.jpg
 
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- At last it was time to move the tank into it's final position! I was working very quickly as I had just taken down another tank to make room for this setup, so I only snapped a couple photos of the progress.

20220729_224557.jpg
20220729_232449.jpg
20220730_152354.jpg
20220731_001949.jpg
 
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- After many hours of effort, I transferred all my livestock into the new system! I was so happy to finally get to turn the lights on... but there was more work to be done!
- Fun fact... I reused my YEARS OLD SAND! Another very controversial move, I know... but here's the secret... I dumped all of it into that black bin and rinsed it extremely thoroughly with old saltwater, and then with new saltwater until the water ran mostly clear! I probably could have been more careful and planned to do this several days before the tank transfer to prevent Nitrate and Phosphate spikes, however I didn't have many sensitive corals and only a handful of fish, and I also made sure to do a 25% water change the next morning. I also added plenty of nitrifying bacteria courtesy of Brightwell Aquatics, and my rock had been dark cycling for a couple months at this point.

20220731_052246.jpg
20220731_052213.jpg
 
www.dinkinsaquaticgardens.com
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- Fast-forward a few weeks and I decided to start running the Pax Bellum! I had just received a pair of quick-disconnect fittings for 1/2" tubing from BRS and installed them for ease of maintenance. I really love the look of the reactor in the cabinet when the lights are on.

20220903_154534.jpg
20220903_154544.jpg
20220903_154857.jpg
20220903_163225.jpg
 
OP
AceShadow_Reefer

AceShadow_Reefer

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Seattle, WA
- Fast forward a few more weeks and I finally got to cutting a 24" segment out of my old 6' RMS rail. My original plan was to have 3 XR30 G4 Pros running on this tank for overkill spread and par, but what I didn't take into account was how much better the setup would look with the rail as opposed to just the two arms. Radions are HEAVY and those RMS arms do sag a decent amount. Definitely much happier with the rail.

20220907_130333.jpg
20220905_203119.jpg
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

Broadfield

Red Sea Reefer Consultant... Non Affiliated
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
2,506
Reaction score
4,453
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Normal, IL

ssdawood

Valuable Member
Review score
+3 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 26, 2013
Messages
1,646
Reaction score
682
Review score
+3 /0 /-0
Location
United States
- The setup didn't come with any sort of support between the bottom of the tank glass and the top of the stand, which was concerning to me. While I'm sure ELOS makes incredibly high-quality systems that stand the test of time, I wanted to minimize risk as much as possible so I picked up some 3/8" thick industrial-grade rubber sheeting as well as 3/8" thick furniture-grade plywood, and a few cans of white Flex-Seal (this stuff is awesome). P.S. routing those holes in the wood and rubber was TOUGH. Did not have the right tools for the job there and spent over 2 hours with the Dremel, routing away!
- The stand also did not come with a floor which was interesting. ELOS says it's to isolate vibrations and prevent them from reverberating in the stand, but I decided to do my own noise-isolation while using a 1/2" thick sheet of Flex-Sealed plywood under the tank. The stand has hard rubber feet so it isn't wood-on-wood, and I also used 8 large rubber furniture feet underneath the sump to further isolate the equipment from the wood while maintaining a floor for the system to prevent any accidental spills from causing damage to the floors.

20220729_125312.jpg
20220729_125245.jpg
20220728_204640.jpg
20220728_233552.jpg
I bought a used Elos 120. I also didn't have any mat under the tank. Also the stand didn't have a bottom. Front of the tank was hanging half inch over doors.

It was 3 years old when I got it. I ran it for 3 years then sold it. Probably still running somewhere.
These are bullet proof tanks. When I heard about some tanks seams breaking it was news to me.

This thought was never in my mind because of bulletproof quality of Elos.
You can do upgrades as they are nice but that tank will run as is for years.

The new mat or foam used by new tanks are news to me.
I did put an acrylic tray in stand to collect any leaking water.

That's it.
Enjoy your tank.
 

ssdawood

Valuable Member
Review score
+3 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 26, 2013
Messages
1,646
Reaction score
682
Review score
+3 /0 /-0
Location
United States
I noticed that Reef2Reef didn't break my build thread up into pages... what's up with that?!
Yeah your first post is huge. Like the other poster said. Maybe R2R splits page by posts no quantity of material.
Makes sense
 
CLICK TO VIEW
AquaCave

Does it matter to you whether your fish are captive-bred or wild caught?

  • I only buy captive bred fish.

    Votes: 53 13.4%
  • It matters, but I will buy either captive-bred or wild-caught.

    Votes: 294 74.1%
  • I think wild-caught fish are the better option.

    Votes: 6 1.5%
  • I don’t care where the fish were bred.

    Votes: 44 11.1%
CWT Aquatics - Acrylic Sumps, Tanks, and More!
Top