Ash's 400 Gallon Reef

Ashish Patel

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Hi Fellow Reefers,

This is my first build thread and it's about time I contribute to R2R forum. I started of like everyone else with a goldfish in a bowl then my first Fish only saltwater in (1997). As a Kid I worked odd jobs just so I had money to buy fish. Its crazy to think about it but I've had a saltwater tank for all but 2 years since 1997 and been a reefer since 2007. My first go at SPS did not work because my lack of understanding of their requirements and lack of patients. In this hobby there is so much to learn and I find its best to master one skill at a time. My current tank which was setup in 2017 was my first SPS dominant tank and for this one I was determined to make it work. I ran into a lot of challenges early on but after the 1 year mark things just took off.


Miracle Aquarium 400Gallons 84"X36"X30" (40" external glass overflow box, armor seams, eurobraced)
Flow: 2 xMP60s, 1 Closed Loop feeding 3-4 points in the tank, 3 seaswirls and 1 seasweep.
Sump: 240 gallon Polypropylene tank (Basement sump)
Skimmer: Super Reef Octopus
Lighting 4 Radion Gen 5 pro + T5 Lighting supplementation.
Filteration: Cryptic zone, Cheato zone, Skimmer Zone, and carbon.
Return Pump: To be determined.



Below is my tank before I had to tear it down and the room the tank will be in

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Reef Chasers Aquaculture
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Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel

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So the tank sat in the garage for months because no one would take the job. I got help from my brother in law and we figured it out.

If anyone is in a similar situation where they can't find anyone to take the job please msg me - its not as difficult as it looks, I did it without hydraulic carts! Just good old foam, 8 suction cups, and converted a pallet into a large cart. 2 regular size men could lift a 850LB tank from one side without much issue while foam was being put in each side. (special shout out to Than from Tidal gardens for putting that moving a large tank video the week of my move, never would have thought this was possible until I saw his video)


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Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel

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I intend to go barebottom and will silicone 1/4" starboard to the bottom and do my best to create a structure that is visually appealing to me, functional for fish and coral. I bought up all the large pieces of Tonga rock from Aquacave and very fortunate I did, one of the piece is 40" across and 50lbs alone.

While I like Marco rock since its clean its not that porous and for this reef I will be drilling holes in the rock and adding every coral to a removable frag plug. This will give me flexibility to move corals that may be placed in the wrong spot.

Another thing I observed from my previous tank is I did not have enough distance between acros and they grew into each other before they where even 3" big. When i added some Realreef Tonga I was able to spread them out more efficiently and they did far better at different levels. I feel the flow they got being on a branch allowed them to grow symmetrical and having good height spacing is beneficial. Some of my favorite aquascaped tanks are WWC 900/500 gallon tank.

Below is amount of rock I have.

Marshall island: 200LB
Tonga Rock - 200LB
Fiji - 80LBs+
Haitan rock - 25LBS



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Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel

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Building the cart and planning took weeks - But we actually moved the tank in less than 20 minutes. I had 4 people scheduled to help with the move not show up, luckily my landscapers came to the rescue :) .

Below is the foam used to prop up the tank one side at a time until at 40".;)


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Click to watch best scape method in 5 easy steps!
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Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel

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So I figured Id post some picture of my tank teardown and setting up a new frag/holding tank in the new house basement. Moving was hectic. Besides movers moving the tank and stand I did everything on my own.

Some of the steps I took to avoid any loss to corals.

1. Vat / tank same size as my existing tank.

2. Before the move every other day I did a 30 gallon water changes, transferring 30 gallon to the new house 3 times in a week. I'd say I had at least 80 gallons of tank water at the new house on moving day. With the transfer water I did not even need to make new saltwater.

3. Once I removed the life support I knew the clock was ticking. It did not help that the weather was in the 40s. I was up all night removing my equipment and driving 30 minutes to the setup the basic lifesupport. In all I made 4 trips and took buckets and coolers of corals and fish.

4. By morning I was out of time, the movers had arrived and I still had 50% of larger pieces of rock and coral in the tank. Time had run out and I had to unload everything into totes and put some pumps in buckets. Knowing this day would come I ensured all my aquascape was easily pulled out so just through everything into buckets of water.

The Stress level was unlike anything I have seen - I can confidently say I did not lose any corals from the move. I did lose a few colonies after 3-6 months of the move but those are from Alk swings. But I made a good amount of frags so even the colonies that died I still have a few smallers pieces.

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Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel

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Basement is pretty much mine so my fish area will be as large or small as I make it. I figure its best to keep it kind of small to save on energy in the winter but for now will take up about 300 sqtfeet.

I added a piece of plywood above subfloor for the tank to sit on and had my wood floors installed around it.

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Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel

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I have to reinforce the floors, build a stand for my sump, and get the plumbing done. As far as cabinetry I want this to be one of a kind look along with removable side paneling for easy access. Lighting I will hang about 15" above waterline and closed loop pipe will be going at least 14" above waterline toward front. Originally I was planning on a peninsula and this was my solution for getting flow to the far corners without adding pumps. I still like this method because I essentially get 6 months without servicing a pump + 1 cord, + 3-4 water return outlets.

Since my vectra L2 will working against only 2 feet of head pressure I feel I can get 2600 gph on 2 sea swirl and 2 more areas in back should crush it. This is all new territory for me and will know once I have water but I can always add a stronger pump to increase flow. Cleaning 2 MP60s monthly is doable and I feel will keep my flow stable. Not cleaning my current MP40s monthly I notice a 30% drop in flow by 2nd and 3rd month so cleaning pumps frequently ensures stability.
 
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Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel

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My sump should be arriving this week and its way larger than I need it to be so coming up with ways to make compartments. Figured Peninsula style would be best given the 48" dimensions.
  • Dimensions: 65"L x 48"W x 18"H

Drain 10"X24" - Skimmer section 15"X24"- Refugium 20"X24" - Cryptic Area and Sand 20"x48" - Fish and Coral holding 45"X24" - Return pump

Here is the idea:
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Top Shelf Aquatics
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Ashish Patel

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That would be my next dream tank!! heads up!!

I've been dreaming about this tank for 10+ years and I am glad I learned a lot of lessons in smaller tanks so hopefully dont repeat them in this build.


1997 (Fish only tank). complete with tap water and fluval canister filter. The excitement I got from setting this tank up at 12 years old can never be matched
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Lazy's Coral House
Chemi-pure.com - All-In-One Aquarium Filtration
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