A 'reefing need not be expensive' 130 gal build

Wave Whisperer

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I'm still new, started out in this hobby about a year ago with totally zero knowledge on saltwater aquaria.

And its still zero today. Lol!

My point is, our hobby is ever evolving and there's still so much to learn out there. From chemistry to lighting, most of us face multiple challenges in getting the results we want in replicating the habitat that we desire. For me, its thru extensive research and countless hours of reading and not to mention trials and errors during my year or so journey in the reefing hobby. I've been thru 3 tanks(this current build included), each with own sets of issues that are invaluable in allowing me to learn thru my mistakes and making me a better aquarist.

Another thing is cost. Without a doubt, our hobby is not something light on the check book. My friend once told me, you want a cheap hobby, go and watch grasses grow (honestly, I tried. Its more painful then watching paint dry). But when there's a will there's a way. Not everyone has deep pockets or huge disposable income to waste on dying frags. Of course, I do dream of having a setup with all the fancy bells and whistles but to me if it works, it works. Thus I seek out the most cost effective way of achieving the desirable results without affecting the well-being of the animals under my care.

This brings me to my build thread. Its not a build thread per se, as it has already been about 90% built and running, but there are still a few items that I want to add on (AWC and so forth) and will keep updating within this thread. Pardon for lack of pictures as I did not planned on documenting my build previously. Most of my equipment and the tank are used and bought from fellow reefers locally. From where I'm from (Singapore), we have a small but strong community of reefers alike where we can get used stuffs at a bargain. This has brought my costs significantly lower then starting a build with fresh equipment.

CURRENT BUILD

5x2.5x2 feet back overflow 12mm glass
3 ft sump
Custom DIY T-Slot Aluminium Stand
Total water volume is around 650ltrs (170 gal)

SKIMZ SM251 Skimmer
Bubble Magus ARF- G2 Large fleece roller filter
Daibao 5000l/h Return Pump x 2
Hailea 1Hp Aquarium chiller (its sweltering hot here in Singapore!)
Glamorca Gyre
Jebao Wavemakers
Aquatic Exclusive ATO
Jebao DP-4 Dosing Pump
Kamoer X1 Dosing Pump

ATI Sunpower 6x54W running;
3 x B+
1 x C+
1 x P+
1 x Actinic
and
2 Orpheks OR2 LED supplements

I run a small Chaeto refugium and GFO in a reactor.
Due to minimal aquascape, I have a few Maxspect Bricks in the sump as well to help with nitrates.
I started out a year ago with dry rocks and live sand. For this current build, all rocks was brought over from my previous tank but with fresh new dry coral sand.

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I'm using 3030 T-Slot profiles for my stand. I designed and went to a local supplier and gave them the dimensions for them to cut. All was left to do was for me to assemble it together. Thought about using 4040 but that drove up the costs significantly. In the end I went with 3030 but load was distributed among 8 vertical profiles resting on adjustable rubber feet.

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Completed the stand.


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Hey not the nicest, as long it doesn't leak. Lol!

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Stand was leveled and ready for the tank and sump to be placed. This will be skinned using laminated plywood in the near future to maintain a clean and uncluttered look.

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This is my DIY light hanger and plumbing. I decide to go with similar T-slots for the light hanger as its modular so I'm able to go with any lighting configurations in the future and adaptable to my needs. Yes pardon my kid's bike. He insisted it for to be in every photo.

I opted to try out T5s this time around as I enjoy the simplicity of it being just plug and play. Previously I was using LEDS, Maxspects MJ165 and Kessils H80 (which as of now its has been placed in the sump for frags). I enjoy the pop and shimmer of LEDS, but figured that I just need to try out T5s after reading posts and results of others with similar setups. This is so that I can gain my own experience on which benefits me the most with regards to lightings. The Sunpowers are supplemented by two 2 ft Orpheks OR2. It was from my previous tank, hence the spilt.

I run 40mm Herbie overflow and 20mm dual returns with dual return pumps for the plumbing. Main drain is thru a ball valve (the pain in fine tuning, I know) and into my Bubble Magus fleece roller. The emergency is just a straight unrestricted pipe back into my return chamber at a raised height so I know if I'm having issues with my main drain. Planning to tee off a manifold to run UVs and reactors from one of the return and the other constantly running to the chiller so I wont affect the flow rate to the chiller. Currently I'm keeping temp at a constant stable of 27C-28C. I know its rather high, but my ambient run into a max of 36C on certain days. Without a chiller, its almost impossible to keep a saltwater tank here. Unless specific species where temps are a non-factor. The bane of living so close to the equator. My inhabitants so far has been adapted to the temps as well.

I purposely run an oversized skimmer (rated for 1000l-3000l) as I have a heavy bio load and I do heavy import. I can't bear to see my fishes starving. Depending on how my nutrients will stabilize in the new tank, my skimmer is on a Wifi Smart plug so it can be timed to be switched off to prevent over stripping if it needs to.

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And so here it it is. Completed after the transfer and all. I did not manage to document the move as I did not plan on starting a build thread from the get go. So far the 'new' tank has been going on for around 3 weeks and no casualties suffered from the transfer thus far, fingers crossed.

Oh yeah, total cost for all this excluding my livestock ran around SGD650 (USD 485). My ATI Sunpower I got it at a crazy bargain of SGD80 (USD 59) with spare T5s bulbs and ballasts to go along. My Skimmer at the same price as well. Don't get me wrong, Singapore is as an astronomically expensive place to live in, but with plenty of patience, luck and knowing where and what to buy, we can save a ton of cash.

This will be an ongoing thread and I will update accordingly. I still have a DIY AWC system, DIY controller cabinet and 36W UV planned out. My cable management is horrendous with such a tight space.

Feel free to comment or input any suggestions that you may have. In the meanwhile, Cheers and Happy Reefing fellas!
 

Cycleguy0623

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Very slick! I might have to steal that stand design for my next build. T slot is so easy to work with.
 
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Wave Whisperer

Wave Whisperer

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Very slick! I might have to steal that stand design for my next build. T slot is so easy to work with.
Thanks! Indeed it is simple to work with. You can build almost anything with proper design and planning. It is both practical and modular. Then again, another reason I went with T-slots is because the original wood stand for my tank was not able to fit my apartment door. Lol! :face-with-tears-of-joy:

I'm planning to skin the stand with laminated plywood in the near future. Will post updates!
 
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Wave Whisperer

Wave Whisperer

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Gonna need some updates here!!!
Tbh I am anxious to add on to the build as well, but unfortunately I'm currently quite engaged with my work. Requires me to be away for a few days at times. Furthermore, heading towards the end of the year there are some other commitments that need to be prioritised.

Most probably, next up I plan to skin my stand and try to fully automate my system as much as possible. Wifey enjoys the tank, but doesn't enjoy meddling with it. So at least with some additional automation, I have some peace of mind while away.

I recently just got a Jecod auto feeder though, Lol! No worries, any additions will be updated. Excited and looking forward to it!
 

Minifoot77

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How are you liking the daibao pumps?
 

Caring for your picky eaters: What do you feed your finicky fish?

  • Live foods

    Votes: 46 28.9%
  • Frozen meaty foods

    Votes: 122 76.7%
  • Soft pellets

    Votes: 33 20.8%
  • Masstick (or comparable)

    Votes: 13 8.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 13 8.2%
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