Early planning stages. Also known as the slowest build thread ever

kwjones

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Hi. I'm Kevin, and I'm a recovering saltwater aquarium addict. I had a 75-gallon FOWLR about 15 years ago and sold it shortly after my son was born. Between work and family, there wasn't much time for the tank. The kids are older, and I've changed jobs to something closer to home. I've been wanting to set up a tank again for a while. I entertained the idea of a low-budget, low-tech 40-gallon breeder LPS tank, but my heart is still with the big tanks. I've been measuring a corner in the living room where my wife's roll-top desk is. An aquarium would look really nice there. 180 is my dream tank, but I don't know if my old farmhouse floors would deal with it for 10+ years, so I'm looking at setting up a standard 120 or 125. I always worried about the 75 because it was sitting parallel to the floor joists, even though it was a load-bearing wall. This spot is on a load-bearing wall as well, but perpendicular to the floor joists, which is less worrisome. I could crawl under the claustrophobia-inducing crawl space and put jack stands under the floor, but I hate crawling under the house. Maybe when I win the lottery and have a fully poured basement slab.

I'm still trying to decide on the tank size. I think a 6' tank opens up some stocking options for things like tangs that I probably wouldn't put in a 4' tank. I hated the footprint on my 75 for aquascape. It's just too narrow front to back, and a 125 is just a longer version of the same footprint. Hence the reason the 180 is my dream tank. The other thing is lighting. I'm pretty sure I could get away with 2 Kessels or Primes on a 120 for LPS. I'd probably need 3 for a 125 unless I want to have a purposeful dark area in the middle or on one end of the tank. Might be cool looking. Outside of that, all the other equipment should be the same. I do know that I really don't want a "Reef Ready" tank with overflows that go through the bottom glass. Been there, done that, hated the maintenance. I'd rather get something that can be drilled and install a low-profile overflow box in the back corner. I've been looking at tanks on FB Marketplace. Most of them don't look well taken care of, so they're pretty sketchy in my book. I'd hate to go pick one up and find out the back glass is tempered. I have a few LFS around me (northeastern corner of Maryland), so finding a standard-sized aquarium that can be drilled is going to be the biggest challenge. I hear Aqueon and Seapora are using randomly using tempered glass on the back of their tanks? That's mostly what the larger LFS carry around me. Not sure if the budget will ever allow for a custom-built tank.

Two things really stand out to me as I dive back into researching equipment. The first is how ridiculously more expensive everything is. The second is no matter how much things have changed, some of those old-school reefer ideas stay the same and become popular again. I see the bare bottom/sandbed debate continues... So my plan is to purchase all my dry goods as my budget allows. The tank and stand will probably be the last purchase. When I first started my impulse purchased 75 on day one it was a tank, stand, unfiltered well water, crushed coral, a wall of base rock boulders, a few pieces of TBS live rock, and a canister filter. Thankfully the LFS made me wait until it was cycled before selling me fish. That evolved over time into a reef-ready tank, with compact fluorescents, RO/DI, a DIY sump, a protein skimmer, a sand bed, etc. I could have saved so much money if I had researched everything first and purchased the best equipment for the best job. Aqua-C Remora Pro HOB skimmer is all I'm going to say...IYKYK.

So, plans...
A big LPS tank
Sump - Probably a 40 breeder with a fuge for chaeto. Not sure which light I'm going to use for the chaeto.
ATO - Right now, the Red Sea ATO and jugs are looking good.
Roller mat - I don't think these were a thing when I got out, but I know me and filter socks and filter floss didn't have the best relationship when it came to maintenance, so I'm definitely looking at a roller mat.
DC return pump - Not sure of the brand yet. All of them have problematic reviews. For the price, I kinda need to get this one right. Keep in mind, I come from an era of Mag pumps and Maxijet powerheads.
Skimmer - I still have my old Octo skimmer in storage that I replaced my Remora with. I think it was rated for a 200-gallon tank. I paid way too much money for it to sell it with the tank, but I like what I'm seeing for some of the new ones. They seem way easier to tune.
Wavemakers - As much as it pains my wallet, 2 to 3 MP-40s. I need a clean install this time.
Lights - I like the simplicity of the Kessels, but I'm good with Primes. I'd like to add some AI blades as well.
Aquascape - I'm going for minimalist rock in the display. Maybe 50 to 80 lbs of dry rock turned into a few negative space structures. Ceramic media in the sump to make up for biological filtration. Sand, but not a deep sand bed.
2 QT tanks - One for fish, probably another 40 Breeder, and one for corals and inverts, probably a 20-gallon tank.
Critters - Obligatory clowns and a royal gramma for the wife. She wants a blenny or a goby as well. I'd like a tang or two if possible for algae control. Maybe a Scopas. Purple firefish. Mandarin after the tank has been up and running for at least a year and I know I have a thriving pod population.
Maintenance and testing equipment. Hanna checkers are on my radar.

A journey begins with the first step. I purchased 18 lbs of dry rock on Sunday. At this pace, it could be a year and a half before I even start filtering RO/DI water to start curing and cycling the aquascape. Slowest build ever. And I'm cool with it.
 

revhtree

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Welcome to your new home for saltwater reef aquarium resources and fun! Welcome to the family! :D
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Bruttall

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Welcome to R2R.

I like the larger tank idea you're playing with. I have a 8ft Oceanic and like to encourage people towards larger systems. Dilution is the Solution. :)

You mentioned Budget in the same paragraph and some really expensive, and in my opinion, inferior lights.

Most "quality" lights offer a 24 inch x 24 inch foot print and they like to try to make you pay about $900 for that coverage. You would need 3 of these type lights, Radion xr30, Kessil 360 or 500 I believe.

Or you could get a better light, with a better warranty (3 years), more wattage output (270 total) at about half the cost of radion (205watt) or kessil (a360 = 90watts).

With only lps you might get by with just 2 of these lights, 3 of them above your tank would grow any type coral you can find. I run 4 of these on top of my 300g 8ft tank at 116 watts of the 270 watts available during peak on mine. 100par on the sand bed in 27 inches of water.


Picture of my light schedule and coloration.
1716303328519.png


What ever you choose, I wish you success in reefing.
 
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kwjones

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I think lighting is potentially one of the biggest upfront costs in the hobby if you want to grow coral. There's just no way around it. Tons of options. I "think", and I could be wrong, that I want to hit somewhere around 25-50 par on the bottom of the tank for some of the LPS I have in mind (micromussa, blasto, favia, etc.). So if I can get a light that I can dial down the intensity in the beginning and hit that number, and potentially dial it up later if I decide to grow some SPS that need the par, I'd consider that a good option. I like SPS a lot, and there are some lower-light SPS that I really like (cyphastrea, which I guess is debatable if it's SPS or LPS), which may be a possibility a few years down the road. I've always wanted a Bali green slimer and some of the encrusting montis. I still need to get an overall idea of what specific LPS I want and then plan where to place them. If I go brighter, I may have to just move things around so they're happy.

I'm not planning on using a controller. While I'm a gearhead, I'm also a curmudgeon who doesn't want to overcomplicate things if I can help it. Less to troubleshoot later. They've definitely built in a lot of bells and whistles to all these connected devices. I could easily sink $5k without thinking too hard about it into what I would call a simple build but would have to spread it out over a few years. For now, the budget is just a few hundred a month until I have to start getting big-ticket items. I'm pretty sure after buying all the equipment and upgrades to my 75 I was probably in for close to $4k, and I was only growing diatoms and hair/bubble algae.
 

cdemoss01

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Hi. I'm Kevin, and I'm a recovering saltwater aquarium addict. I had a 75-gallon FOWLR about 15 years ago and sold it shortly after my son was born. Between work and family, there wasn't much time for the tank. The kids are older, and I've changed jobs to something closer to home. I've been wanting to set up a tank again for a while. I entertained the idea of a low-budget, low-tech 40-gallon breeder LPS tank, but my heart is still with the big tanks. I've been measuring a corner in the living room where my wife's roll-top desk is. An aquarium would look really nice there. 180 is my dream tank, but I don't know if my old farmhouse floors would deal with it for 10+ years, so I'm looking at setting up a standard 120 or 125. I always worried about the 75 because it was sitting parallel to the floor joists, even though it was a load-bearing wall. This spot is on a load-bearing wall as well, but perpendicular to the floor joists, which is less worrisome. I could crawl under the claustrophobia-inducing crawl space and put jack stands under the floor, but I hate crawling under the house. Maybe when I win the lottery and have a fully poured basement slab.

I'm still trying to decide on the tank size. I think a 6' tank opens up some stocking options for things like tangs that I probably wouldn't put in a 4' tank. I hated the footprint on my 75 for aquascape. It's just too narrow front to back, and a 125 is just a longer version of the same footprint. Hence the reason the 180 is my dream tank. The other thing is lighting. I'm pretty sure I could get away with 2 Kessels or Primes on a 120 for LPS. I'd probably need 3 for a 125 unless I want to have a purposeful dark area in the middle or on one end of the tank. Might be cool looking. Outside of that, all the other equipment should be the same. I do know that I really don't want a "Reef Ready" tank with overflows that go through the bottom glass. Been there, done that, hated the maintenance. I'd rather get something that can be drilled and install a low-profile overflow box in the back corner. I've been looking at tanks on FB Marketplace. Most of them don't look well taken care of, so they're pretty sketchy in my book. I'd hate to go pick one up and find out the back glass is tempered. I have a few LFS around me (northeastern corner of Maryland), so finding a standard-sized aquarium that can be drilled is going to be the biggest challenge. I hear Aqueon and Seapora are using randomly using tempered glass on the back of their tanks? That's mostly what the larger LFS carry around me. Not sure if the budget will ever allow for a custom-built tank.

Two things really stand out to me as I dive back into researching equipment. The first is how ridiculously more expensive everything is. The second is no matter how much things have changed, some of those old-school reefer ideas stay the same and become popular again. I see the bare bottom/sandbed debate continues... So my plan is to purchase all my dry goods as my budget allows. The tank and stand will probably be the last purchase. When I first started my impulse purchased 75 on day one it was a tank, stand, unfiltered well water, crushed coral, a wall of base rock boulders, a few pieces of TBS live rock, and a canister filter. Thankfully the LFS made me wait until it was cycled before selling me fish. That evolved over time into a reef-ready tank, with compact fluorescents, RO/DI, a DIY sump, a protein skimmer, a sand bed, etc. I could have saved so much money if I had researched everything first and purchased the best equipment for the best job. Aqua-C Remora Pro HOB skimmer is all I'm going to say...IYKYK.

So, plans...
A big LPS tank
Sump - Probably a 40 breeder with a fuge for chaeto. Not sure which light I'm going to use for the chaeto.
ATO - Right now, the Red Sea ATO and jugs are looking good.
Roller mat - I don't think these were a thing when I got out, but I know me and filter socks and filter floss didn't have the best relationship when it came to maintenance, so I'm definitely looking at a roller mat.
DC return pump - Not sure of the brand yet. All of them have problematic reviews. For the price, I kinda need to get this one right. Keep in mind, I come from an era of Mag pumps and Maxijet powerheads.
Skimmer - I still have my old Octo skimmer in storage that I replaced my Remora with. I think it was rated for a 200-gallon tank. I paid way too much money for it to sell it with the tank, but I like what I'm seeing for some of the new ones. They seem way easier to tune.
Wavemakers - As much as it pains my wallet, 2 to 3 MP-40s. I need a clean install this time.
Lights - I like the simplicity of the Kessels, but I'm good with Primes. I'd like to add some AI blades as well.
Aquascape - I'm going for minimalist rock in the display. Maybe 50 to 80 lbs of dry rock turned into a few negative space structures. Ceramic media in the sump to make up for biological filtration. Sand, but not a deep sand bed.
2 QT tanks - One for fish, probably another 40 Breeder, and one for corals and inverts, probably a 20-gallon tank.
Critters - Obligatory clowns and a royal gramma for the wife. She wants a blenny or a goby as well. I'd like a tang or two if possible for algae control. Maybe a Scopas. Purple firefish. Mandarin after the tank has been up and running for at least a year and I know I have a thriving pod population.
Maintenance and testing equipment. Hanna checkers are on my radar.

A journey begins with the first step. I purchased 18 lbs of dry rock on Sunday. At this pace, it could be a year and a half before I even start filtering RO/DI water to start curing and cycling the aquascape. Slowest build ever. And I'm cool with it.
Welcome to Reef2Reef!
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Tang fastic

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Hi. I'm Kevin, and I'm a recovering saltwater aquarium addict. I had a 75-gallon FOWLR about 15 years ago and sold it shortly after my son was born. Between work and family, there wasn't much time for the tank. The kids are older, and I've changed jobs to something closer to home. I've been wanting to set up a tank again for a while. I entertained the idea of a low-budget, low-tech 40-gallon breeder LPS tank, but my heart is still with the big tanks. I've been measuring a corner in the living room where my wife's roll-top desk is. An aquarium would look really nice there. 180 is my dream tank, but I don't know if my old farmhouse floors would deal with it for 10+ years, so I'm looking at setting up a standard 120 or 125. I always worried about the 75 because it was sitting parallel to the floor joists, even though it was a load-bearing wall. This spot is on a load-bearing wall as well, but perpendicular to the floor joists, which is less worrisome. I could crawl under the claustrophobia-inducing crawl space and put jack stands under the floor, but I hate crawling under the house. Maybe when I win the lottery and have a fully poured basement slab.

I'm still trying to decide on the tank size. I think a 6' tank opens up some stocking options for things like tangs that I probably wouldn't put in a 4' tank. I hated the footprint on my 75 for aquascape. It's just too narrow front to back, and a 125 is just a longer version of the same footprint. Hence the reason the 180 is my dream tank. The other thing is lighting. I'm pretty sure I could get away with 2 Kessels or Primes on a 120 for LPS. I'd probably need 3 for a 125 unless I want to have a purposeful dark area in the middle or on one end of the tank. Might be cool looking. Outside of that, all the other equipment should be the same. I do know that I really don't want a "Reef Ready" tank with overflows that go through the bottom glass. Been there, done that, hated the maintenance. I'd rather get something that can be drilled and install a low-profile overflow box in the back corner. I've been looking at tanks on FB Marketplace. Most of them don't look well taken care of, so they're pretty sketchy in my book. I'd hate to go pick one up and find out the back glass is tempered. I have a few LFS around me (northeastern corner of Maryland), so finding a standard-sized aquarium that can be drilled is going to be the biggest challenge. I hear Aqueon and Seapora are using randomly using tempered glass on the back of their tanks? That's mostly what the larger LFS carry around me. Not sure if the budget will ever allow for a custom-built tank.

Two things really stand out to me as I dive back into researching equipment. The first is how ridiculously more expensive everything is. The second is no matter how much things have changed, some of those old-school reefer ideas stay the same and become popular again. I see the bare bottom/sandbed debate continues... So my plan is to purchase all my dry goods as my budget allows. The tank and stand will probably be the last purchase. When I first started my impulse purchased 75 on day one it was a tank, stand, unfiltered well water, crushed coral, a wall of base rock boulders, a few pieces of TBS live rock, and a canister filter. Thankfully the LFS made me wait until it was cycled before selling me fish. That evolved over time into a reef-ready tank, with compact fluorescents, RO/DI, a DIY sump, a protein skimmer, a sand bed, etc. I could have saved so much money if I had researched everything first and purchased the best equipment for the best job. Aqua-C Remora Pro HOB skimmer is all I'm going to say...IYKYK.

So, plans...
A big LPS tank
Sump - Probably a 40 breeder with a fuge for chaeto. Not sure which light I'm going to use for the chaeto.
ATO - Right now, the Red Sea ATO and jugs are looking good.
Roller mat - I don't think these were a thing when I got out, but I know me and filter socks and filter floss didn't have the best relationship when it came to maintenance, so I'm definitely looking at a roller mat.
DC return pump - Not sure of the brand yet. All of them have problematic reviews. For the price, I kinda need to get this one right. Keep in mind, I come from an era of Mag pumps and Maxijet powerheads.
Skimmer - I still have my old Octo skimmer in storage that I replaced my Remora with. I think it was rated for a 200-gallon tank. I paid way too much money for it to sell it with the tank, but I like what I'm seeing for some of the new ones. They seem way easier to tune.
Wavemakers - As much as it pains my wallet, 2 to 3 MP-40s. I need a clean install this time.
Lights - I like the simplicity of the Kessels, but I'm good with Primes. I'd like to add some AI blades as well.
Aquascape - I'm going for minimalist rock in the display. Maybe 50 to 80 lbs of dry rock turned into a few negative space structures. Ceramic media in the sump to make up for biological filtration. Sand, but not a deep sand bed.
2 QT tanks - One for fish, probably another 40 Breeder, and one for corals and inverts, probably a 20-gallon tank.
Critters - Obligatory clowns and a royal gramma for the wife. She wants a blenny or a goby as well. I'd like a tang or two if possible for algae control. Maybe a Scopas. Purple firefish. Mandarin after the tank has been up and running for at least a year and I know I have a thriving pod population.
Maintenance and testing equipment. Hanna checkers are on my radar.

A journey begins with the first step. I purchased 18 lbs of dry rock on Sunday. At this pace, it could be a year and a half before I even start filtering RO/DI water to start curing and cycling the aquascape. Slowest build ever. And I'm cool with it.
Happy to have you back as you said you were a recovering salt water addict
 

How much do you care about having a display FREE of wires, pumps and equipment?

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