Bonsai SPS Reef Build

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
Ok well not really a build, more like a rebuild...

The back Story:
My Son and I built a 60g cube some time ago, and had a great time doing that together. Since this was his first tank, I let him decide the direction for everything, and he did a really good job.

We bought this tank used, and the tank and stand were in pretty rough shape. So we set out to build what we needed to make it as cool as we could on a limited budget. He insisted that it have an external overflow, and minimal inner weir. So we set out to incorporate that into the build too.

Here is what it looked like in the beginning.

IMG_2756.JPG


Fast forward a couple years, him growing up and going off to join the Navy, and that left me to care for his tank.

I had a bout of LARS for a while (lazy *** reefer syndrome) and things got a little out of hand.
Aptasia had totally taken over, and a pocillopora had spread everywhere - even growing on the glass!!:eek:

This is what it looked like shortly before the reboot!
1605392338894.png


One day (must have been especially motivated that day) I thought that I've had enough, and decided to redo/rebuild the tank.
I went into this rebuild with a few objectives:
1. When we built the tank we set the overflow too high and water would sometimes get over the side - it's rimless. I intended to fix that.
2. Minimize a few scratches and haziness in the glass (did I say it was used? Yeah bad idea).
3. I wanted to start fresh with no pests, and especially no APTASIA!!
4. I wanted to do a Bonsai scape and SPS dominant.

So the challenge was upon me and the story begins. If you're still reading I appreciate you sticking around for the ride.
Hopefully my Son will get to follow along with all of us (wherever he is). This build thread is as much for him as it is for anyone.

My first objective was to clean things up and get going on fixing some stuff.
Here's the tank with water and HCL to clean things up - this makes short work of getting coralline and all the old growth out of the tank!;) I even through the skimmer in there so it would be completely submerged.

1605393587304.png



Here I'm in the midst of using a polisher and Cerium Oxide to polish up the glass as best I could.
This really did a pretty good job, although not perfect. It's a lot better than it was.
1605393366530.png


Next I needed to tackle lowering the overflow. For some reason I didn't take any pics of that process, but in this pic you can see that the inner overflow is missing - cuz you can see straight through!

1605393871239.png


Plumbing getting installed...

1605394073339.png


Like I said before - I neglected to take any pics of replacing the weir - so here's a pic of what it looks like now. It's just a DIY acrylic box, attached with silicone to the inside back of the tank.

1605394361866.png


So now on to the scape...

For the longest I had been inspired by Bonsai Reefs that you see featured here and the other sites.
Something like this:
1605394596504.png

If you know who's this is I'd be happy to give credit for the tank/pic, this is one of my all time favorite Bonsai reef pics!

I had always wanted to try something like that and this was my chance.
This is what I came up with. It's not exactly the same as what I had seen before - intentionally so - I wanted something that was my own, and to experiment some.

From the front:
1605395004078.png


From the left side:
1605395053567.png


And the Right side:
1605395102197.png


Hopefully someone likes it (like my Son - since he didn't get to give his opinion during the rebuild).

Here it is on day 1 getting wet!!
1605395440410.png




This is 5 days in and I already had to through a frag in there!
I know what you're thinking - but have no fear - no corals were harmed in the making of this build thread!:cool:
1605395639005.png



Thanks for following along:):) More to come soon!!
 
OP
TMB

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
For lighting I decided to go with an EcoTech Radion G3 Pro. Since there’s a hood and no access to the rim for mounting. I decided to fire up the 3D printer and Fusion360 and make my own mount,
Here is what I came up with in Fusion. I made it to hang on a bar that was existing in the hood, and be able to pivot so I could aim the light slightly toward the read of the tank. I felt like this would avoid light spill and maximize the light toward the rock work.
2A1B27E8-B3DD-4B57-8F98-3028261C48D9.jpeg


And here it is printed and mounted to the Radion. It really didn’t turn out too bad for a DIY solution!
4996D443-AC68-4FD3-A3AD-0FF124B390BF.jpeg



And finally mounted in the hood
0BEB453F-6048-4023-92B7-C16FBCADF57F.jpeg


The light next to it is a DIY light I used temporarily while I worked on the Radion mount.

Next up I needed to work on the Sump and all that goes with that. Filtration will be basic as I can make it, I’m really shooting for simplicity with this build, but we’ll see how long that lasts. I normally over complicate things as I seem to have an equipment fetish

I figure I better throw in a few teasers of SPS eye candy just to keep you coming back.
Enjoy!!


BC Rainbows in Spain / AKA Spainbow
2A1C750B-DFBE-4187-98FB-9473C7E1B1CB.jpeg



JF Vino
BE6DAF8F-85C7-49CB-A65A-E3589E42A96A.jpeg


More to come... Questions, comments, input always welcome!
 
OP
TMB

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
Time to tackle the sump and filtration for this build. I really tried to keep this simple as I said before, I really didn't want to over complicate things this time. I was looking for just the necessities. Here's the list of what I came up with as must have's:
Sump and return pump(obviously)
Heater
Skimmer - Bubble Magus NAC7
Dosing Pump for nutrient control (carbon)
Apex Control

I really think of Apex as part of the life support of the system. So that's why it's listed here. It has so many more critical functions than just light timers, or pump control/feed mode. The Apex will be controlling the ATO - so control over salinity. It controls the Temp -heater control. It monitors PH - which I feel is an under rated aspect of tank health. Apex will also be controlling the calcium reactor that I plan on putting on this tank. Being that this will be an SPS dominant build, I knew going in that I would be using a calcium reactor to do the heavy lifting on big 3 replacement (Alk, Ca, Mag).

Here's a pic of the sump - just trying out a few configurations/placements before I decided where things would go.
1605961530332.png

Yes - that's a different skimmer than listed. That's a BM Curve 9 that I was just trying out to see if it would fit. I ultimately decided it was too big for this and put the NAC7 in there

Here's what it looks like now
1605961429442.png


Next up I needed to work on installing the Apex and decided to build a separator wall to hold the electronics, and help keep the controllers away from salt water. Here's the inside view (sump side) of that:
Apex mounted
1605961706655.png


And here's the other side where controllers will be mounted. Need to remove it and paint it too, but that will come in time.
1605962491569.png


I also got a magnetic probe holder from Octo Aquatics. I really love these, they're really well made, I don't think there is any way they could ever rust or muck up your system, and the magnets are super strong. Just a great product and highly recommended.
@cromag27 Thank you for these! I know this isn't the coolest setup - but thought I should tag you in and let you see us using your stuff :)
1605962269538.png


Next I need to work on wire routing and clean that all up. At least enough to be tidy - I'm not OCD on the wiring, just don't want it all over the place in a big rats nest.

Here's a full tank shot of what the tank looks like as of about a week ago. I know this is jumping ahead a bit, but I'm ready to start posting some SPS pics and keep track of progression. Just for reference the tank was setup and filled with water on 9/5/2020. Hope you like it - and again feel free to critique or comment. I'm up for whatever input anyone might have.
1605963019773.png

This is from 11/14/2020
 
OP
TMB

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
Looks good! Great things come when LARS is cured lol
Hey, thank you for that. Lol, you just reminded me that I said that, and that there's now a pic from before and now to compare. Pretty cool the difference too, it's taken a while but feels so worth it seeing the results!
Thanks for checking it out!
 
AS

Mbmarkus

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Messages
91
Reaction score
161
This is sick. You were right, very similar builds.
Both received in rough shape. What kind of 3D printer do you use? That was pretty awesome that you made your own mount. Much easier than having to use a dremmel like I did to mount my light.
 
OP
TMB

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
This is sick. You were right, very similar builds.
Both received in rough shape. What kind of 3D printer do you use? That was pretty awesome that you made your own mount. Much easier than having to use a dremmel like I did to mount my light.
Inexpensive printer - it's the Anycubic I3-Mega. It works pretty good though, I like it for what it is. Thanks for checking out my build, I'll be following along with yours.
 
OP
TMB

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
Happy New Year everyone!!! Welcome to 2021!

Wow time has slipped away from me a bit on updates to the build thread.

I spent most of December sick with Covid, and had no energy or ambition for my tanks. I had the worst case of this, it really kicked my butt, I was basically bed ridden for a whole month. The tanks all suffered a bit due to my illness, you just can't go 3-4 weeks without any maintenance at all. Well anyway that's all behind us now and I'm ready to get back to SPS reefing!!

Just before I got sick I had added a Calcium Reactor to the system to help keep parameters stable.

First up was to build a new gas regulator, I hate the ones that can be bought, and prefer to build from scientific/medical grade components. They're much better, easier to dial in, and rock solid forever after that. Here's the unit I built for this tank...
1609517384095.png


This is a Concoa 432 all stainless regulator body, SMC stainless valve, and Whitey Swagelok - micrometer handle needle valve. This is a very nice bullet proof setup!

The Calcium Reactor body is really nothing special, but does the job just fine. It's an older Reef Octopus CR140 that I've had for a while now.

Here's the setup with tank, regulator, and reactor...
1609517811253.png


I'm planning on taking some pics later today when the lights come on... Stay tuned for more!

Thanks for looking - and as always input is appreciated. :)
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
TMB

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
As promised - here are the first pics for 2021! Wow that sounds a bit weird, where did 2020 go?

Wild piece - unknown acro
1609523446238.png


RMF CandyLand
1609522969574.png


And here's the first FTS for the year - the rocks are darkening up nicely! They've been bone white for so long, it's nice to have them not so bright white.

Things are a bit washed out - while I was ill the nutrients dropped to zero, and light intensity bleached everything a little. I've since started feeding heavy, and lowered the light intensity by quiet a bit to let everything recover.
1609523242064.png
 
OP
TMB

TMB

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
1,155
Location
Mesa, AZ
I’m not sure how many feel this way, but I have grown to really hate filter socks. I also don’t like dirty sumps, and detritus everywhere. Thankfully the marketplace has delivered us a product that seems like it will help in both areas... the filter roller!

so I set out to read all I could about them, and their features to help decide which one I wanted to buy.

After a few weeks of reading up on them, I decided on the Bubble Magus for a few reasons.
1. It fit my budget
2. It fit my sump better than others (no built in sock holder)
3. Super simple with very little to fail
4. The size fit my space perfectly

So here it is, this is the BM medium size. Probably overkill for this tank, but I think that’s a good thing.
9B91BC7B-3C9D-4C8B-9B55-C82D6F27A910.jpeg


I have a few things left on the install to shore up. Like putting the clamps on the flex hose, and clean up the wire. But it’s in there and working!

So far I love this thing!! It works great! Seems really well built, and should last a long time.

As normal I’m up and doing this update before the lights are on, hopefully later today I can take a new FTS for everyone.

let me know your feedback on my build so far. If you think I should do something different, or have input I’d love to hear it.
Thanks for stopping by!
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Do you have reef tank aspirations and visions?

  • Yes (please tell us what in the thread)

    Votes: 133 86.4%
  • NO

    Votes: 19 12.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 1.3%

Online statistics

Members online
1,978
Guests online
5,490
Total visitors
7,468
Ecotech Marine
Top