Bruttall's 96x24x31 300gallon glass cage

Bruttall

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I've had this big tank for a minute, it's been freshwater while I owned it but was a FOWLR tank when previous owner had it. I fell in love with Salt this spring when I set up the 75g I have currently and decided this big tank deserves to have a Reef inside it!

Some of the challenges I am working with are low ceilings in the basement, I'm 6'3 and my head almost brushes the floor joists. Tank is 63 inches tall from floor leaving me with only 16.5 inches clearance above tank. Also this tank has a 22 inch wide 1/2inch thick cross brace in the middle that does NOT amplify light in any way, it diffuses light and 1/2 inch corner bracing.
20230304_070716.jpg
Tank weighs 1000lbs empty.
the Living room in my basement measures 12x24. the tank room measures 12 x 6.5 feet. I built a wall in front of my tank out of old barn-wood.
20230125_115756.jpg
I'm going to move this tank forward about 6 feet, making my living room 12x18, and giving myself an actual Fish Room behind the tank, 2 foot of tank in a 6.5 foot room, not a lot of space to work.
20230314_055959.jpg

I got started on some of the Rock-scaping for this build, I looked at thousands of pictures (ya all got some amazing reef tanks here!!) and I started to get discouraged, looking at how well so many of you have re-created what the GODS created in Nature for us to marvel at because I realized I am entirely to OCD and I tend to build things in symmetry. There is no way what I create will ever look Natural, so instead of trying to do what the GODS did, I get to Play God a little myself. I decided I am going to make a reef wall that I like the looks of, and if it looks to symmetrical to have been created in nature so be it, it will still be a ONE OF A KIND! So I bought some Marco Rock, mostly Base and Foundation. I am not a big fan of marco shelf,not only because of the cost, but I like the cave like feel Foundation rock has when you flip it up-side-down and use it as a shelf. I think it gives my negative spaces more of a natural cave feel, in a very un-natural formation, the irony is not lost on me!


20230317_145127.jpg
Just getting started making shelves.


20230317_145237.jpg
Foundation I glued together to make longer shelves.


rock01.jpg
I took some old pink house sheathing and made a footprint 94x22 the size of the bottom of my tank and started laying things out.
Here is all but 1 piece of the rock laid out on my pattern.


rock02.jpg
This is pretty much it. I will not say for sure I will not add more shelves, or spurs as I call them to this, I have a little bit of foundation and some base left over, hence the "islands" of coral not connected to the structures!

This is going to be a Build in Progress type thread, I will update as I go. I hope!

I already have an Eshopps ES300 sump, eliminated the socks and hung baskets in there instead.
Vectra L1 return pump
Vortech MP40 wave makers, I have 2.
Hydor 3100gph power head
RO Buddy 50gpd 5 stage water filter which I plan to upgrade to a 100gpd unit by end of summer.
Lots of Seachem Matrix bio media, tons of Polyfil pillow stuffing I use for mechanical filter. Activated carbon and spare media bags, etc.

I will be needing to upgrade my lights. I have Aqaumai LRM LED on my 75g. At 100watts they are a nice "little" light in 16 to 18 inches of water depth but don't provide nearly enough illumination in 30 inches of water. I have been looking at the Radion XR30 G6 Pro, since I run Mobius App already, was also looking at the Orphek Atlantik Icon lights. Now I am looking into the Kessil lights, and I am starting to lean towards the x360 light. I'll be doing more research and no doubt asking ya all for feedback!

The only other equipment I want for this, and I could DIY it, is a Skimmer. I have a DIY on my 75g. It works better than I expected. I made it more as a Joke to try and prove Joey the DIY King wrong, and I failed. it does work!! Just not sure it would handle the bio load I anticipate having on that 8 foot tank!
Any feedback you all can give on a decent skimmer, trying for something rated for heavy bio load at 240 gallons, light load at 500g. in that range! I'd like it to be less than 23 inches tall if poccible, but that's not set in stone, I can always locate it to the side of my tank and not under it!

When I do these threads, I don't just share my build, I am sorry for this but ya all get a look into my life also. Up's and downs.. we all have them. So sorry if I drift off Topic occasionally, I will do my best to circle back asap!
More to Come as my adventure unfolds.

20230316_171611.jpg
Thought maybe I'd include a picture of the Experiment that got me thinking about converting that big tank to salt. this is my 75g fledgling tank. Been up and running since end of January. The how and why of me having a 60day old tank like this is a topic for another discussion I think. But staring at this is what convinced me to convert that 300!
 
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Gumbies R Us

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I've had this big tank for a minute, it's been freshwater while I owned it but was a FOWLR tank when previous owner had it. I fell in love with Salt this spring when I st up the 75g I have currently and decided this big tank deserves to have a Reef inside it!

Some of the challenges I am working with are low ceilings in the basement, I'm 6'3 and my head almost brushes the floor joists. Tank is 63 inches tall from floor leaving me with only 16.5 inches clearance above tank. Also this tank has a 22 inch wide 1/2inch thick cross brace in the middle that does NOT amplify light in any way, it diffuses light and 1/2 inch corner bracing.
20230304_070716.jpg
Tank weighs 1000lbs empty.
the Living room in my basement measures 12x24. the tank room measures 12 x 6.5 feet. I built a wall in front of my tank out of old barn-wood.
20230125_115756.jpg
I'm going to move this tank forward about 6 feet, making my living room 12x18, and giving myself an actual Fish Room behind the tank, 2 foot of tank in a 6.5 foot room, not a lot of space to work.
20230314_055959.jpg

I got started on some of the Rock-scaping for this build, I looked at thousands of pictures (ya all got some amazing reef tanks here!!) and I started to get discouraged, looking at how well so many of you have re-created what the GODS created in Nature for us to marvel at because I realized I am entirely to OCD and I tend to build things in symmetry. There is not way what I create will ever look Natural, so instead of trying to do what the GODS did, I get to Play God a little. I decided I am going to make a reef wall that I like the looks of, and if it looks to symmetrical to have been created in nature so be it, it will still be a ONE OF A KIND! So I bought some Marco Rock, mostly Base and Foundation. I am not a big fan of marco shelf,not only because of the cost, but I like the cave like feel Foundation rock has when you flip it up-side-down and use it as a shelf. I think it gives my negative spaces more of a natural cave feel, in a very un-natural formation, the irony is not lost on me!
20230317_145127.jpg
Just getting started making shelves.

20230317_145237.jpg
Foundation I glued together to make longer shelves.

I took some old pink house sheathing and made a footprint 94x22 the size of the bottom of my tank and started laying things out.
rock01.jpg
Here is all but 1 piece of the rock laid out on my pattern.
rock02.jpg
This is pretty much it. I will not say for sure I will not add more shelves, or spurs as I call them to this, I have a little bit of foundation and some base left over, hence the "islands" of coral not connected to the structures!

This is going to be a Build in Progress type thread, I will update as I go. I hope!

I already have an Eshopps ES300 sump, eliminated the socks and hung baskets in there instead.
Vectra L1 return pump
Vortech MP40 wave makers, I have 2.
Hydor 3100gph power head
RO Buddy 50gpd 5 stage water filter which I plan to upgrade to a 100gpd unit by end of summer.
Lots of Seachem Matrix bio media, tons of Polyfil pillow stuffing I use for mechanical filter.

I will be needing to upgrade my lights. I have Aqaumai LRM LED on my 75g. At 100watts they are a nice "little" light in 16 to 18 inches of water depth but don't provide nearly enough illumination in 30 inches of water. I have been looking at the Radion XR30 G6 Pro, since I run Mobius App already, was also looking at the Orphek Atlantik Icon lights. Now I am looking into the Kessil lights, and I am starting to lean towards the x360 light. I'll be doing more research and no doubt asking ya all for feedback!

The only other equipment I want for this, and I could DIY it, is a Skimmer. I have a DIY on my 75g. It works better than I expected. I made it more as a Joke to try and prove Joey the DIY King wrong, and I failed. it does work!! Just not sure it would handle the bio load I anticipate having on that 8 foot tank!
Any feedback you all can give on a decent skimmer, trying for something rated for heavy bio load at 240 gallons, light load at 500g. in that range! I'd like it to be less than 23 inches tall if poccible, but that's not set in stone, I can always locate it to the side of my tank and not under it!

More to Come as my adventure unfolds.
Love the aquascape idea!!! This is going to a fun tank to follow!!!
 
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Bruttall

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Little better? closer? different! pic of part of my reef. The top is actual shelf and while I am going to use it, I really liked how the bottom shelf made of foundation turned up-side-down looks much better. 20230317_110048.jpg
 

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I think a lot of people overthink the scape. A big pile of rock is going to look great covered in coral pretty much every time. And you don't have to worry about it being perfect; in fact it might be better if it's not because then you won't feel bad when you have to tear it apart to get out a fish or to move an encrusted coral.

IMO for a tank that size you need a lot more rock, but if you've hiding a massive sump somewhere all that swimming space will be amazing.
 
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Bruttall

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I think a lot of people overthink the scape. A big pile of rock is going to look great covered in coral pretty much every time. And you don't have to worry about it being perfect; in fact it might be better if it's not because then you won't feel bad when you have to tear it apart to get out a fish or to move an encrusted coral.

IMO for a tank that size you need a lot more rock, but if you've hiding a massive sump somewhere all that swimming space will be amazing.
If I am correct on my thinking the "recommended" amounts of Rock and Sand, 1lb per gallon of each, is just to give ample space for the Nitrifying bacteria to establish and live. Based on that assumption, I figured I could go with 240lbs of rock as long as I make up for it with 360lbs of sand, or vice versa. I also run about 20x the recommended amount of Seachem Matrix in my sump. Not knowing any better I bought the 4 liter pail. 4 liters and matrix suggests, i think, 750ml for my 300g tank. If I am wrong on this please explain to me how and why I am wrong.

HOWEVER......I kind of been looking at what I have done and thinking I need to add more, so I am thinking a couple of "tree's" in the gaps between the structures them selves and maybe one on the far left side of the tank between the smaller structure and the glass. Also I have all that rock in my 75g I will migrate over, for the algae and stuff growing on it if nothing else.
 

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The rocks do a lot more than just hold the beneficial bacteria. Having a decent amount of rockwork provides fish with their own territories and safe places to sleep. Even the big open water swimmers need somewhere to nestle down at night.


Your more cryptic fish will also be a lot more comfortable and active if there's enough " protection " in the form of hiding spaces within the rocks.

But hey, you do you and if you really like the look of a minimalist space, then go for it!
 
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Bruttall

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The rocks do a lot more than just hold the beneficial bacteria. Having a decent amount of rockwork provides fish with their own territories and safe places to sleep. Even the big open water swimmers need somewhere to nestle down at night.


Your more cryptic fish will also be a lot more comfortable and active if there's enough " protection " in the form of hiding spaces within the rocks.

But hey, you do you and if you really like the look of a minimalist space, then go for it!
you bring up a good point, hiding spots for the denizens of the cage.
 
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Bruttall

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One of the nice things about how I am building this reef is that it is kind of modular, here is another combination, leaving a lot more room at the left side for ........MORE ROCK!!
That structure is about 63 inches long and 19 inches tall. I feel like I need to do something about that first pillar on top from the left, it needs a shelf of some kind, or something!

20230320_164740.jpg
 
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Bruttall

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Might not get a chance to update for a couple of days, I'm headed 1 1/2 hours north of Omaha Ne to replace the radiator in my 1998 Peterbilt 379EXHD.
Hope my mug don't scare any of ya all, I should really put a warning label on that face!! :")

20221019_083852.jpg
pete.jpg
pete2.jpg
 
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Bruttall

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Repairs Completed, such a relief to have my main source of income functional again. Not exactly aquarium related, unless I turn the Cab into a fish tank, there is an idea!! LOL! Think I'm going to head over to Fish Freaks in Omaha today, harass the owner a little. He is a great guy, if ya get a chance, stop in and say hi to Mike. Plan is to pick up a little bit more Marco, and add to what I thought was a "Fairly Complete!" scape :)

20230321_100800.jpg 20230321_155320.jpg
 
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Bruttall

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keep the shiny side up my man, keep rolling
unfortunately discovered head gasket let loose cuz she got to warm, joy of a Cat Motor at 215 degrees + they like to blow them. So, looking for prices on head gasket and rods and mains. I was supposed to start moving 15k tons of gravel tomorrow too; x

It will get better, right?
In the meantime, the coralline algae I ordered long enough ago that I forgot I ordered it, showed up in a Live Box still warm inside from the heater they packed. Got to add that to my 75g today. I know I don't really need it, but I think it helps speed up the pretty algae process. At least it seemed to for my buddy when he did his. Before fish and coral would have been the ideal time I am sure. But better late than never.
 
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Bruttall

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Update, got good news on the truck, water pump, not headgasket. $1500 in repairs not $15000, so only delayed this build a week or two, not the couple months I was fearing!!
 
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Bruttall

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Well, the news on my truck is as bad as it gets. Needs engine so that phase of my life has ended.

On tank news, finally some good stuff. This Sunday I am draining the tank, taking all those 40+ Mbuna's to my LFS for re-homing. I'm a little excited to get started on the retro-fit. More to come this weekend!
 
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Bruttall

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So I got started this morning. It's been a long time since I saw that side of the stand. Pretty amazing that wood is at least 20 yrs old the tank is sitting on.
 

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Bruttall

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I have Lights. ViparSpectra 300w and 3x 165w. Gives me a frag tank light if I ever need one. Starting to really come together. Now to get to work moving that tank and cleaning it out!!!
 

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Bruttall

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Before and After. I'm almost 55 years old and probably should not have moved it by myself, but I am just tall enough that I can hold the bottom of the tank and straiten up and it just barely takes the weight off the stand on the end I am on, so I can slide it. It got a little easier once I got it off that ratty old carpet. That's got to go! Now let's just hope I wake up and my back isn't fubar'd!


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Mixing an (un)intentional concoction: Do you know what you are adding to your reef tank?

  • I am aware of every item that is added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 35 55.6%
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  • I am somewhat aware of the items that are added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 6 9.5%
  • I follow the directions of others when adding items to my reef tank.

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  • I randomly add items to my reef tank.

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