Introduction Greetings everyone. About 2 years ago I jumped into saltwater fish keeping with both feet and in that time I learned a lot. The biggest lesson I learned is nothing in this hobby happens fast. I am they type of guy that loves instant gratification and when I started it drove me insane. Fast forward 2 years I still love instant feedback but it bothers me less now. I look at it as a form of therapy on multiple fronts. First, it seems to help with my PTSD so that is a plus. Second, it teaches me to slow down and wait. So let this be a warning everyone, this will be a slow build.
There is a lot to do so I am going to take the approach of how you would eat an elephant, you would do it one bite at a time. This will hopefully serve as a journal, it will help me keep thoughts straight and chronicle the progress and give an outlet to get help or to help, vent frustration, or maybe show something cool. I will lay out more in the next post on what the plan will be (most likely tomorrow) but there will be some pretty cool things I am going to try to do.
These first few post will be living documents, they will be updated regularly. This is the key that I will use: REDHave problems\Missing Parts (Sentence enhancers have been deployed) GREEN Complete\Purchased BLUE In progress
The plan is to stand up a reef tank with a refugium in the sump on a wall that is 90 degrees to the original one. This is an option now because of the great big screen TV massacre of 2018 in the scriptmonkey household. Placing it here will have multiple advantages. First and foremost, I will have access to water and a drain very easily. Second on the back side of the wall it is on is a unfinished laundry room so the backside of the wall is open. So I can add outlets, brace for possible floating canopies and stuff like that.
To be successful there are certain requirements I want to meet or exceed. They are:
Must be automated to an extent and this will be accomplished with the help of an Apex. The following items will be automated at this point:
Water changes. (Not Complete)
PH stabilization via CO2 scrubber actuation. (Not Complete)
Skimmer daily cleaning - will clean neck and skimmate in cup. (Not Complete)
Auto Top Off: In the tank and also the RODI holding tank. (Not Complete)
Must be redundant as much as possible. The following items will meet this requirement:
Two dedicated GFCI circuits will be installed (Needs to be done)
2 Apex Power Bricks, one on each Circuit. (Need to Purchase Second)
Two Heaters, one on each circuit (Need to Purchase after figuring out wattage)
At least 2 wave Pumps (Need to Figure Out if I will use my Gyre XF230's or buy new)
Plan for now is run two return pumps concurrently(this may change)
Single points of failure will be:
Main power. It is mitigated by a Honda EU2000i generator dedicated for it.
Apex. Will have to deal with this.
Me. Will train one of my minions in the art of fish husbandry.
Skimmer. The show will go on without it, been doing it for 18 months and the world hasn't ended. (Big screw you to Aquamaxx)
House. Yeah right! Like I am going to build a fallback position for the fish if let's say my house gets hit by a toilet seat from the International Space Station falling from space. Hmm...
Currently in my 75, I have about 110 lbs of TBS live rock and about 120lbs of their "Sand". My plan is to transplant the live rock and I am not sure I am going to bring over the crushed sand bed. I may just start that over and buy some sand and put some of the existing crushed media in the fuge. All this is depending on my Triton ICP test coming back not horrible. If I am seeing heavy metals or some funkiness then I will punt and start from scratch if I cannot salvage it but I rather not.
Inspired by @flex13 's build, I really liked his dimensions of his tank so I used them as basis for this tank. After much back and forth between numerous tank builders I decided to go with Crystal Dynamic Aquarium (CDA), Zoya there was amazing to deal with. The tank specs will be the following:
60"x25"x21" with 1/2" Starphire glass on 3 sides
Modular Marine 18" external overflow in the center
Bottom perimeter bracing
Reinforced vertical seams
Overlapping double top brace
Ideally I would have wanted to go 30" depth but 25" was about as wide as I could go because it will be at the base of my stairs going into the basement. Euro-brace was chosen because in the process of domestic bargaining a requirement was levied by the wife that it must have a lid. So If a lid must be used, then kind of defeats the purpose of a rimless and I really didn't care one way or another. One issue I still need to work out is getting into the basement, our townhouse has the stairs from hell to get into our basement. It is a double pie design shaped like an unused staple.
My plan as of now is to try to bring it down the stairs but the backup plan is to bring the tank in through a window at ground level in the back of the house through my small home office.
(Picture taken when my deck was being built..oh did I not mention it will have to be moved under my deck to get in the window) The windows are Silverline single hung contractor crap that came with the house so removing the glass from them might be a challenge so it might require a whole window replacement (So anyone reading this, if you have any idea how to get the panes out of the frame, I would be eternally grateful). So with the tank agonizing over and with a delivery date slated for the first or second week of April, lets move on to the tank stand challenges.
So we have established my stairs suck so I needed to come up with options because I wanted a 36" high stand (I am 6'2" and weigh 270lbs, I am not a small dude)so I can fit under it to work. So I constructed frankenbox out of Home Depot moving boxes and a roll of duct tape to test fitting it down the stairs at 60"x 29" x 36" (I really wish I took a picture of it, was pretty epic) and I could barely get it down. Barely. So started digging and found FramingTech and was intrigued so I started talking to the the tank builders. It turns out CDA has worked with Aluminum extrusions before and could build the stand out of it. So I am going the Aluminium extrusion erector set route and I will figure out how and what to skin it in when it gets here. All I know is I have a brand Kreg jig looking for something to do.
I have got a head start on buying so I have accumulated the following since Christmas when I decided to go for another build:
2 x Orphek Atlantik V2 Gen 2 Compacts (think I will need a third, but will pick that up after I test)
1 Gen 2 Orphek Gateway
Nyos Quantum 160 skimmer
Apex Controller ( I so want to put it in the 75 and play with it, I am trying to restrain myself)
PM1 and an additional temp probe, going to have one in the sump and one in the tank or overflow.
Clarisea SK5000. It was an impulse buy and I am not sure how I am going to integrate it into my system, but I had a 15% off coupon burning in a hole in my inbox and it goes along with low maintenance theme.
Another 100 Gallon per day add on kit to my MarineDepot.com KleanWater 4 Stage RODI system.
I also have some stuff that has been on standby in case it ever needed to be pressed into action:
Reef Octopus VarioS 8 DC pump (backup for the Current EFlux running my 75)
Reef Octopus Skimmate locker that was never used. (Thanks again Aquamaxx for the garbage skimmer)
I Still have a bit of stuff to get. I am TRYING to behave because the house is small and we are hosting a huge family get together at the end of March and I cannot have a bunch of boxes cluttering up my basement living area or it torn apart with construction. YET! I need to pick up or figure out the following:
Sump. I am leaning towards 44" Triton sump. I just do not see one that meets all my requirements. I looked at Crystal Reef Aquatics, Synergy Reef, and Trigger. Plus I complicated matters when I purchased the Clarisea and wanting to do some sort of Triton method hybrid.
I need to pick up another Apex Energy Bar 832 for the second circuit.
I need to figure out heaters.
I want to pick up the Apex PMM flow kit
I need Stuff for a ATO, might roll my own using the the spare ports on the PMM module.
Another VarioS 8 if I decide to use that for return duty and run two pumps simultaneously
A tank cover, I will use Matt at @ Octo Aquatics again, love the ones over my Marineland
Wave pumps, will I pick up the Neptune ones or keep my Gyres. One thing, the Gyres are pretty noisy when I crank them up.
Booster pump for RODI. I think I need one adding second membrane, house is 60psi which is borderline.
Some of the DIY stuff coming up is:
CO2 Scubber build. It will be from parts I scavenged off Amazon and based of mashing what other members have done together. It will have a 3 way/2 pole Solenoid powered and controlled off the Apex 24v port.
Automated Skimmer Cleaning. It will feature a neck cleaner and cup wash down feature if all goes well all controlled by the Apex. I have already started recreating the Skimmer lid in CAD and will modify it and 3Dprint it. (Fusion of two of my hobbies)
Skinning the Aluminum erector set so I get wife approval. I am looking to go with magnets to hold the panels on
Clarisea mounting. I have a feeling this is going to be problematic. it looks like it has a 1" inlet and I have a 1 1/2" drains so I can do a reducer. This will be my first attempt at Bean Animal so not sure how it will play into this. Stay tuned. But if push comes to shove, I will just 3D print my way out of the mounting.
Light mounts. Not sure if I am going to do a floated canopy, hang from the ceiling, or use some sort of arms mounted to a central pole that I can move for maintenance.
DIY battery backup for the Ecotech MP40's. *** added 9/15/2019
Now that I can log on (Thanks WWC!)I thought I would post a small update. Over the last week I have been playing and plugging away on the skimmer lid. I finally got around to printing one out as a test run, needless to say I was less than thrilled but learned some things:
I was going for speed and it showed.. was not the prettiest print ever but served the purpose. I learned I needed to split it up vs doing it in one big print. (see picture)
Second, Fusion 360 does not have NPT or MIP threads! what the heck?!?!?! So if you are ever faced with such a dilemma, grab a PVC fitting model out of McMasters-Carr and hack it down merge it into your existing body.
I really like playing with 3d printed test screws and nuts why I am on the phone working. Think I may do a run of them and give them to random people once I get through my current backlog-o-stuff I need.
My pup gets upset when I spend so much time in front of CAD software so I am printing him a name plate for his lair.
First Draft JG fitting fits! New, New.... New design Lift and Seperate. Lift and Separate For pup!
Was able to pick up a Neptune ATO and another 832 Power bar (for redundancy) this weekend. Wife aggro is high because parts pile keeps growing. Still fighting the urge to bust open the Apex and start playing...not sure how much longer I will last.
So at the moment, I have 2 DIY projects running. The CO2 scrubber and Skimmer automation. This weekend I am going to start relocating some RG6 cable, my in wall speaker wire central location then work on running 2 GFCI circuits to where it was. (oh and evidently cleaning out the drier ducting. Wife has a friends, uncle, adopted pets, mother, new owners, dad that had an issue. A small price for fish gear I guess)
Think that is all for now. Remember, people say love conquers all. They never seen an Apache helicopter fire Hellfire missiles at a target... Apaches conquer all.
So you will find one important thing missing and I need some help on that. I need some heaters. I bought 2 x 200w Ehiem Jager's and those suckers are LONG! Like almost 16" long. To use my holders, I have a little over 12" so I am looking for 2 suitable heaters of that length to I can still use the holders. I need suggestions.
I agree, they are. I might end up using the two I bought and just place them on the bottom of the sump, I have not decided yet, but would like to use the holders. Not yet... But sounds like I should. I was even thinking about using those titanium ones because seeing I have the Apex for control of them. I could always use my Inkbird as a secondary backup along with the apex. Just kicking around ideas.
My Fusion 360 model of the stand as built and from CDA. This is beast I am going to have to clad with wood or something domestically acceptable. I will post a real picture when I get a chance to pull it out.
Some things I would like to do is:
Add more support for the sump on the bottom.
Front will have two access panels, each side will have an access panel all held on with magnets. I am going to try do use no hinges as they are just another point that can rust. As of right now, the right side will have access for the electrical stuff. I need to mock up the sump and start the virtual build but it could make more sense on the left side.
In the right or left side of the stand take some space and build a electronics section. Should have about 10" of depth to play with.
Bottom will be from PVC board like this. I will come up the sides to make a tray to retain some water in case of a leak or spillage. The electronic side will have minimal exposure to we side if all possible. Not sure what to do with the DOS for dosing just yet it plays in both areas.