Arin's first reef tank: Reefer 350 Build

phatduckk

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Hi folks,

Thought I'd share my Reefer 350 build...

A few months ago I knew nothing about salt water tanks; now after reading hundreds of threads here and watching God knows how many hours of YouTube videos I, probably, still have a ways to go - but the adventure has begun.

Here's the equipment list to start off and I'll post a reply for each of the steps:
  • Red Sea Reefer 350 Deluxe (with ReefLED 90 lights)
  • 2 Vortech MP40qd propeller pumps
  • Tunze ATO
  • Red Sea RSK300 skimmer
  • Apex + whatever the module is called for the MP40s
  • BRS Dual Reatcor for carbon & GFO
  • Reef Octopus Varios 4 return pump
  • Loc-line mod for return nozzle
Pretty much everything was purchased from @Bulk Reef Supply. Much thanks to the folks there that spent a bunch of time on the phone answering all my questions.

Their "how to setup a reef aquarium video" with the Reefer 250 was actually why I ended up shopping w/ them and going with the Red Sea tank. Thanks guys!
 
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phatduckk

phatduckk

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OK so first project was to build the stand. I took the day off to take delivery and wanted to get this thing built before the wife and kids came home =)

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The stand wasn't too much of a PITA to build but definitely not a walk through the park. The dang thing is super heavy - just dragging it from the garage to the man cave was a chore.

The hardware quality was "ok". I managed to only strip 1 one the screw things that connects to the cam - luckily they include exactly 1 spare LOL

The instructions were decent. The build could have been easier if each piece had an identification sticker, but whatever, its just like any other flat pack furniture.

It's quite sturdy when its finally all put together so all in all i'm quite pleased with it.

95% of it was just manual labor and keeping my drip stead... but aligning the doors was a headache. Initially the doors wouldn't close till I discovered the adjustment on the hinge. After that it clicked and I tweaked it a few times over the course of a couple days to get it "just right".

I got the stand build on Aug 1 and it probably took another 10 days before I was able to get a buddy over to help me get the tank placed.

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phatduckk

phatduckk

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The next step was figuring out my aquascape. I bought about 80lbs of Marco Rock from @Bulk Reef Supply as the thought of spending a few weeks to cure rock sounded like a complete drag...

I tried out a few ideas w/ the help of my daughter in the garage...

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I finally came up with a few structure I dug and did my best to document them so I could recreate them later:

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Next I gave them a long bath in a bunch of RO, let them dry out a few days and finally busted out a bunch of epoxy and glue to do the real thing:

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The process was stack, secure main contact points with epoxy & once it dried give it a good kick to see if its stable enough. After that I glued random rumble into any obviously exposed epoxy sections to try and tidy it up.

Here it is in my tank...

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phatduckk

phatduckk

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Next up - the sump.

The one thing that's been annoying has been finding heaters that are capable of heating ~90 gallons of water and fit in the sump. If you pop in the baffle to house a refugium the longest run you have is about 14" (I think - don't quote me). I got some Finnex heater that fits the bill but it has the lame, off-board, digital thing which just ends up being another thing I have to figure out how to tidily arrange.

So - if anyone has a heater recommendation, please hit me up.

Anyways - the plumbing was easy enough... there's a million videos on Youtube so I knew what I was in for.

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I didn't want to mount the reactor to the cabinet directly so I bought a white shelf from Home Depot and mounted it onto that.

Its a semi-tight squeeze but everything fits...
 
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So all that stuff above was the last 2.5 weeks...

Today I started working on the controller board. I should have taken more pictures but - whatever =)

The supply list is pretty simple:
  • 36" white shelf from Home Depot cut to 29" tall
  • scrap wood (for the back "legs")
  • 1" hole saw
  • 1" plastic grommets for cable passthrough
  • misc screws
  • Command strips
Here's the first hole. Super exciting, I know =)

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Getting the MP40's through was a bit interesting since the controller thing is huge and the main wire isn't removable. On a whim I opened it up and saw that you can unclip it pretty easily from the motherboard:

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Once that was solved everything else was pretty straight-forward. Here's a bunch of stuff not affixed, just set in place, to get an idea of what the end result will be:

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Looks pretty decent. I'm going to use the command strips for the MP40s remotes and the Tunze ATO thing. They're light enough, plus I'll be using the Apex to handle the flow stuff so I don't know how often I'll actually want to use the Vortech remotes.

This random scrap wood came with the Reefer so I just repurposed it to serve and the "legs" for my board. The back is definitely not a looker but nobody's ever going to see it.

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The power brick thing and the wireless module will chill out back since I doubt I'll need easy access to it. Even then the whole thing is pretty easy to move around in the Reefer's cabinet's chiller section (not gonna need a chiller in the SF Bay Area).

So that's where we are now - I'll try to get the controller board done this week... hopefully.
 
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phatduckk

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OK - so I've been on & off worried about the power draw. I did the math (hopefully its right) and the tank will pull 6amps at max. I should be ok since the room has a dedicated 15amp circuit but I worry that if a beefy vacuum turns on etc then the breaker will pop...

This morning I started looking into pulling a new 20amp outlet to dedicate to the tank. Easy, peasy - the room has a wall that's literally on the other side of the break box (located outside the house). I called a few electricians and its not too expensive: the estimate range was $300 - $700 (SF Bay Area). Still more than I want to spend so I did the non-electrical portion myself:

I happen to have a bunch of left over Romex from a remodel so I punched through the wall and pulled the wire to the box myself:

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I'll see if someone can come out and finish off the job today - otherwise I'll just wait till my dad can come over and do it (he's an electrical contractor but lives about an hour away)
 
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Turns out Romex was the wrong call; electrician came out and got the job done right.

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Now I can delete this dumb spreadsheet that sums all the equipments’’ wattage and does the amps conversion for me
 
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May not seem like much but... I finally got sand in the tank!

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This is about 35lbs of Carib Sea special grade (not alive). I spent a really long time rising the hell out of it. Must have taken me almost 2 hours with the hose in a bucket method.

So i rinsed it out, removed as much water as I could, then covered it back up with RODI, added a couple drops of prime and let it sit a couple nights to make sure it was dechlorinated.

After that I dumped it all in a couple pillow cases and hung it up to dry out for another few days.

I have another 20lb bag of live sand that I’ll drop in as soon as I’m ready to pour the water in

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phatduckk

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Another pug person :).

Nice tank and I like the aquascape, I'll be following along.
thanks buddy. I appreciate it. I have a plumber coming today to install a tee in the plumbing in my garage for my RODI unit.

Initially I was thinking I'd just connect the RODI unit to the hose in the yard on a just in time basis... however, it eventually dawned on me that I'd need a reserve of RODI for my ATO. I figured putting together a mini RODI station would lessen the hassle. I'm currently planning on only having the station store RODI - not pre-mixed salt water. If making salt water the night before a water change becomes a pain I'll expand the setup.

I'll post pics once that's all setup (its essentially just gonna be a Brute can & a BRS RODI filter - nothing fancy).
 
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Still no water but we’re getting closer. Just built a small RODI station...

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Not doing a full on salt mixing station... yet. My current idea is to just have RODI available at all times. Got the BRS 5 stage unit with the auto-shutoff so. If all goes according to plan. The brute up top should serve as a fine, always-full RODI reservoir...

I’ll drill through the stand and the reservoir, connect some pvc to a valve and gravity feed RODI to the bin/bucket/jug beneath it. Any time I want to mix salt water I’ll just roll the bottom tub in, fill it up, then do the mixing elsewhere (somewhere with electricity for a pump & heater).

Trying to keep it simple but we’ll see how long that lasts.
 
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Sweet build. Im setting up my Reefer right now also. Could you elaborate on the loc line return nozzle mod? Im trying to get something similar to this but idk what will fit the reefer. The stock return nozzle is pretty disappointing.. as is the lack of a check valve but oh well
 
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phatduckk

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Sweet build. Im setting up my Reefer right now also. Could you elaborate on the loc line return nozzle mod? Im trying to get something similar to this but idk what will fit the reefer. The stock return nozzle is pretty disappointing.. as is the lack of a check valve but oh well
Sure thing. I essentially needed 3 parts. The Reefer to loc-line adapter, a lock-line Y and finally the loc-line hose segments.

A few notes:
  • The instructions claim the adapter doesn't need teflon tape
  • I bought random flow generators for the ends of the loc-line segments but one fo them got crushed as I tried to put it on and there's no way I'm spending about $20 (or whatever it was) to replace it.
  • i'm using 4 loc-line segments per side of the Y. you can probably get away with 3 per side...
  • I used 3/4"
I still don't have water so your mileage may vary =)
 

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