Brand Spankin' New [was 75g, now 120g] for a Newbie

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Holy buckets! A little over a month ago, I inherited a 40g salty from some friends who were moving. It rekindled an interest, and now we're off to the races!

My goal is a 75g reef tank. I'm hitched to a carpenter, so I have an advantage when it comes to the custom work - I've sketched out a plan for a stand that will support the 75g tank, while allowing space underneath for the 40g to become the sump. It'll also accommodate a 10g QT tank and some storage space for all the fishy gear.

I scored about 120 lbs of reef rock (Craigslist) and have everything to do a "rock reincarnation" before I cure it. The previous owner said there were some minor questionable wormy parasites, so I'm going to try to harvest some of the coralline and then basically "reset" the rest. I'm looking forward to the aquascaping bit of this project. Also thanks to Craigslist, I have an immaculately maintained 75g tank on hand!

After my first trial run with the reef chemical test kit, it became clear that my local water wasn't going to work for a reef setup. My carpenter is presently at work building a basement "wet lab" - we had an old, yet-to-be-installed utility sink and a lower cabinet unit salvaged from a bathroom remodel. With the addition of a Brute garbage can and a BRS RODI, it's on track to be a pretty sweet little setup. After tank maintenance today, I'm super stoked about the new space and all of the extra storage for chemicals and equipment.

I've got some drywall/paint to do before we build the stand, but I have most of the components for my sump, as well as my reef rock, live sand, and a few clowns to get things going.

Will share photos and updates of the journey. Can't wait to see where the next six months takes me!
 
Maxout
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Well, it's a start. First day of progress on the basement "wet lab"!

IMG_20200829_205218.jpg
 
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Productive weekend! Got the water lines a bit more organized and fastened down, installed the float valve and spigot on my RODI brute, and left the dead rock to soak in bleach water.

Picked up paint for the back of the tank and the parts to make the sump overflow. I can't bring myself to spring for what seems to be insanely overpriced overflow boxes, so I'm going to try a DIY PVC option first.

Also noticed what appears to be corraline algae in my current 40g (a pleasant surprise). Huh.
 
AS
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
What I'm calling my basement "wet lab" is finally up and running. This was the first tank maintenance day (on my current FO 40g) since it's been set up and it was awesome! I have a reservoir (Brute) with RODI water instead of hauling buckets from the local artesian well across town. I have an old utility sink for washing tools and equipment, rather than using my bathroom sink. Plenty of bright light, work space, and storage! SO glad to have this set up before I get going on the reef tank build!

MVIMG_20200906_185027.jpg
 
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Wahoo! I've got about a hundred pounds of rocks and rubble, fresh out of a 10-day bleach bath. My E-Marco mortar came in the mail today and I'm looking forward to some aquascaping! Plenty of time to play with it, though, since we still have the stand to build...

IMG_20200909_170049.jpg
 
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Progress on the tank setup is slow while I finish some home construction, but I *did* make an upgrade to my basement wet lab today! I figure that if anyone will appreciate this, it's this crowd. Instead of mixing salt water at every water change, I decided to add another Brute to my setup so I can keep a freshwater tub and a saltwater tub at temp and ready to go. Pretty freaking sweet, if you ask me.

PXL_20201114_214850425.jpg
 

DC Reefer

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
423
Reaction score
581
Location
Boulder
Nice set-up. I would be careful of the metal valves on the containers. Many will leach metals into your water and can be very bad for corals and fish. I use only plastic valves on all my water valves for my tanks. Here are pictures of a couple I use. The black one is from BRS and the white one from Home Depot. Both have worked fine for a number of years.

Looking forward to seeing more build pictures:)
IMG_2220.jpg
IMG_2221.jpg
 
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Nice set-up. I would be careful of the metal valves on the containers. Many will leach metals into your water and can be very bad for corals and fish. I use only plastic valves on all my water valves for my tanks. Here are pictures of a couple I use. The black one is from BRS and the white one from Home Depot. Both have worked fine for a number of years.

Looking forward to seeing more build pictures:)
IMG_2220.jpg
IMG_2221.jpg

Ooh, good call! Feeling a little silly that I didn't even consider the possibility.. especially after I noticed the oxidation on the older spigot when I checked the measurements before going back to buy another set for the other bin and wondered about alternatives. It would be a whole other project to swap them out at this point, but I wonder if I can get away with a little flush before I fill my buckets for now? My tank is still FO while I get the larger tank set up. I guess being able to connect them to a garden hose seemed convenient when I started, but really, the only reason I would ever do that would be to drain them..
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

DC Reefer

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
423
Reaction score
581
Location
Boulder
I you are going to use them make sure you run carbon on the tank and keep it fresh (I swap mine out every two weeks). It will help, but note that the rock and sand may absorb some of the metals and may leach out for a long period after you stop using them.
 
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Well, this feels exciting! I took some time today to work on my rock scape. I played with the stacking approach, but found I was particularly into the negative space stuff BRS does - just had to convince myself it was okay to break all my nice big rocks and put them back together again!

I measured out a cardboard template - it might be hard to see in the video, but this setup is for a 75g tank and everything is at least 2 inches away from the wall on all sides. The tallest points are no more than 2/3 of the total height of the tank. I'm hopeful that it'll allow for plenty of flow and, while I still have to do the mortar, I'm confident that it'll be sturdy.

Any feedback is welcome! This is my first attempt and I'd love to not have to fix it any time soon!
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20201121_011640573.mp4
    76.4 MB · Views: 0
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Aquascape looks really nice. I'm assuming the cardboard is your tank, I would move the rock off the back wall to be able to get a magnet back there, but that's just my preference.

Thanks! The rock is sitting on the cardboard with the base dimensions of my tank. The black background was just a piece of poster board I put behind so you could see the rocks that are otherwise the same color as the wall behind them. Everything is at least two inches away from all tank walls, so I shouldn't have any problem with access.
 
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Plugging away - I was gifted a 30g tank, which isn't as big a sump as I was planning, but I can certainly make it work. Picked up some plexiglass and started to cut baffles before remembering that my bro does CNC machining and can make the finished product look much nicer with less physical effort. The finished product will have 2 - 4" filter socks, a bio-pellet reactor, protein skimmer, refugium, and potentially some additional media trays before the return pump. At least the smaller size will allow for the future installation of an ATO inside the tank stand.

I also made some "final" tweaks to my aquascape, bought the Current USA LOOP Bundle (*so many* mixed reviews, but I like that I'll have my return pump, power heads, lighting, mounts, and controls at an affordable price for my first build), started to gather materials for a screen top, and really dug in on my stocking list research.

By the time I finish painting the wall and building the stand, I should be ready to set this thing up! *Fingers crossed!*
 
Maxout
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
So, that changed. I've been working on my scape and gathering components. After I painted the 75g, I found a used 120g that's also 48 inches wide and figured it couldn't hurt to upgrade now. :D

Also picked up some t5s, another pump for dual returns, an ATO, and a carbon reactor. I seriously need to put some water in this thing before I decide to find something bigger and need to upsize all my components..
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20201211-173458.png
    Screenshot_20201211-173458.png
    982.4 KB · Views: 3
OP
ShrimpBandit

ShrimpBandit

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
Location
Ashland, WI
Thanks! The rock is sitting on the cardboard with the base dimensions of my tank. The black background was just a piece of poster board I put behind so you could see the rocks that are otherwise the same color as the wall behind them. Everything is at least two inches away from all tank walls, so I shouldn't have any problem with access.

Well, now I'm swapping my 75g for a 120g, so these will definitely work with the space! ...and maybe even leave a little room for islands. :D
 

Are you currently running a reactor and media on your reef tank?

  • Yes (please tell us what in the thread)

    Votes: 110 39.1%
  • NO but I run media from time to time

    Votes: 85 30.2%
  • NO I don't use filter media

    Votes: 80 28.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 6 2.1%

Online statistics

Members online
1,612
Guests online
5,375
Total visitors
6,987
oceansgarden.com
Top