Elos Office Reef Build - Let the Trial and Error Begin!

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Manc57

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After 30+ years away from the hobby, I found this forum back in November of 21. The depth of information available here and the willingness of the members to help started me thinking (hard) about taking the plunge and getting back into reefing. With limited space at home I settled on building a reef in my office - which is where I spend most days anyway. I will try to chronicle as much of my experience as I can in this build thread and welcome any thoughts / insights on where I am headed with this thing.

A word of caution....I am probably about as cheap as they come....so most aspects of this build will be done on a strict budget. Hopefully the budget decisions that I make will not results in replacement equipment required due to a misstep.

First things first....I got a really good deal on an Elos tank and stand...good enough to get me off the sidelines. It came with a +/- 60 gallon display (39" x 22" x 19.5") a really nice stand
an Elos sump (which I will be replacing) a Sicce return pump and an older Maxspect R420r 160w 10k light (which will also be replaced)
All of the equipment has never seen water and is in like new condition.

The photos show the tank and stand and their proposed location in the kitchen area of my office.

Once the tank bandaid had been ripped off...I filled in the equipment list as follows...

Elos 60g Display and Stand
(2) Vipar Spectra 165 watt LED reef lights (Remember - I'm cheap)
Trigger Systems CRYS18C Sump - Bought direct from Trigger at a discount due to a factory blemish (what a cheapskate!)
Bubble Magus Curve 7 skimmer - Purchased used from a reliable source
Sicce Synchra 2.0 Return Pump
300W heater and controller
Jebao Cross Flow Gyre and Controller
DIY Screen Top from BRS

Wish me luck...will post more as I progress to getting this thing wet.

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Manc57

Manc57

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Smallish Update. Sump Arrived so I can start to think about plumbing in the next week or so.
Also the lights arrived and I got those hung and leveled. I'm starting them at 12" above the tank rim
but can easily move them up / down as needed. I'm finding the interface to be pretty intuitive on the Vipar units.

Lastly, I purchased and am building a Red Sea DIY screen kit. Frame is nice and fits pretty well, but the screen is lacking. Seems a bit flimsy but I will keep trying to see if I can get it tight.

Couple more items (RO, Lock down power in sump, etc ) then it will be time to get this thing wet!
 

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Manc57

Manc57

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Another small update,

Got the DIY screen from Red Sea sorted, really easy to work with and its tighter than I thought it would be. Also cleaned up the lighting supports / wiring and got the back of the tank painted. Went with Gloss White..hoping it helps reflect some of the light to help with spread and also...i just like the way it looks. Sump got set and plumbed. Went simple with flexible return and 1" drain line with a union in case I need to take anything out. BRS sending me a big package early next week so I hope to get started on my scape. Going with Marco dry rock and will let the tank mature at its own pace.
 

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Manc57

Manc57

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Progress!

BRS package arrived this morning. Banged out a scape that I kinda like. Feedback welcome. Also received the UPS from Amazon so got the sump completely set, heater and gyre controllers mounted, cords laid down decent...ready to get this thing wet. Really happy with the look and excited to get started!
 

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Neuratox

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This is looking good. If I can ask, are you going to do coral in the tank? The most important investment that I wish I made early on was a PAR meter... Over the years I figured I could use other peoples programs for my lights, or estimate what I thought my PAR was based on how well other "medium light" corals were doing... I lost plenty of frags. Way more in value than what a PAR meter cost. If you're doing coral then do it right, because it HURTS when you lose some of those beautiful pieces that you've grown attached to.
I like that you didn't go overboard with the scape. I know you're excited but I would wait for a few days. I typically spend a week looking at mine (5 without sand and 2 with sand - no water) before I decide that I'm going to go with it. I've absolutely changed things during this time in both instances. Consider your bioload and the amount of rock that you've included. It looks to me like you've added ~50lbs rock (just a guess). Personally I aim for about 1.5x the volume of water as lbs of rock. You can always put some in the sump too if you don't want it in the display. Are you doing bare bottom?
Good idea with the lid! My last suggestion is always have backups. Backup pumps and heaters at the very least, even if they're cheap... that way you won't have to freak out during an emergency.
Cheers man and welcome back!
 
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This is looking good. If I can ask, are you going to do coral in the tank? The most important investment that I wish I made early on was a PAR meter... Over the years I figured I could use other peoples programs for my lights, or estimate what I thought my PAR was based on how well other "medium light" corals were doing... I lost plenty of frags. Way more in value than what a PAR meter cost. If you're doing coral then do it right, because it HURTS when you lose some of those beautiful pieces that you've grown attached to.
I like that you didn't go overboard with the scape. I know you're excited but I would wait for a few days. I typically spend a week looking at mine (5 without sand and 2 with sand - no water) before I decide that I'm going to go with it. I've absolutely changed things during this time in both instances. Consider your bioload and the amount of rock that you've included. It looks to me like you've added ~50lbs rock (just a guess). Personally I aim for about 1.5x the volume of water as lbs of rock. You can always put some in the sump too if you don't want it in the display. Are you doing bare bottom?
Good idea with the lid! My last suggestion is always have backups. Backup pumps and heaters at the very least, even if they're cheap... that way you won't have to freak out during an emergency.
Cheers man and welcome back!
Thanks for the input. I will be doing live sand bottom, just waiting until its wet to get that in the tank. Def doing corals and will be investing in a par meter. I'm an electrical contractor so light quality / intensity interests me. Will be mixed reef, hoping for some zoas in the right front, some LPS and maybe an "easier" SPS or two. Agree 100% about not wanting to lose any along the way..inevitable..yes.. but planning to minimize losses is the way I'm headed. I have just over 40lbs of various Marco Dry Rock in there now. Planning on seeding further with some LFS live rock in the sump once its wet. Bio load will be light as far a fish / inverts are concerned. Working on stocking list now. Will take you advice on backups for return pump and heaters. Cheers!
 
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Sweet build! Unique to see the overflow on the back left - must have been a custom tank at one point! Can't wait to see how you stock this beautiful setup!
Thanks Daniel,

Not certain of the origin, as I picked it up used. But I like it as well..its a bit noisy (I'm tuning as best I can) but it's also in my office so noise is not a big concern. Expecting a few items from BRS tomorrow to start cycle for real - but the plan is light stocking (goby - shrimp pair, a couple of clowns, maybe a court jester wrasse and some dither fish / high column swimmers) with sparse corals to let them grow in. Thanks for checking this out and commenting.
 
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The Jebao Cross Flow Gyre and Controller that I purchased (SCP-150) turns out to be WAY overkill for my tank dimensions. Even at the lowest speed it goes tornado mode on my live sand (bought Arag Alive special grade)...so smaller replacement pump is on its way. Thinking about stocking list - wanting to go with a light bio load for sure and have come up with the following list - fish and inverts only.

2x Clowns - Ocellaris - particluar to the old school look - probably steering away from Stormy Icy Long Fin etc.
1x Hi Fin Red Banded goby or similar
1x Randalls Psitol Shrimp
1x Rainfords Goby (thinking that this will ignore the pistol and is different enough from the Shrimp goby so as to coexist peacefully) welcoming input on 2 different gobies in a 60g
1x Flasher Wrasse of some sort - leaning toward McCoskers
1x Coral Beauty or Flame angel (not 100% on this one - may leave it out for a while and see where the tank settles)

Leaning toward pre conditioned / quarantined stock and captive bred where possible

:)
 
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New smaller gyre installed, much much better flow without sandstorm. Supplemented the Marco Dry Rock with 20lbs live rock from LFS, some in display at right side and some in sump. Started fishless cycle with Dr Tims - looking forward to first fish right around the corner. Gonna start with a pair of Ocellaris clowns - nothing fancy. :)
 

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Tank settling in nicely. Cycled and added a single clown fish and a couple of hermit crabs with an astrea snail.
Light dusting of diatoms, but I'm keeping lights off unless I'm taking pics. More CUC coming soon (snails and a cleaner shrimp) currently in quarantine. Liking how its going so far. Gonna wait out the uglies for a while longer, then think about adding my first coral....all the WYSIWYG online sales are hard to resist :)
 

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7 week (ish) update. Current stock is (1) Mocha Clown, (1) Firefish, (1) Hectors Goby a peppermint cleaner shrimp (2) blue leg hermits (one demoted to sump for eating small snails) and various snails. Fire Fish, hectors and CUC from Dr. Reef preconditioned / prequarantined. Diatoms gone, expecting the next stage of ugly, but things are pretty stable now. Blues on for 6 hours and whites for 5.5 each day. Thinking about adding a few zoa frags in the next 30 days if things stay stable.

Happy with the progress so far
 

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Manc57

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Small text only update. Working through some minor uglies as is to be expected. Some GHA has appeared, replacing the diatoms as they recede and I decided to dial back my intensity and photo period to slow it down some. Also starting to get some random flecks of coraline algae on dry rock from seeded live rock added to DT. Lost my firefish after only a few weeks. Was QT'd purchase from Dr Reef and arrived healthy and ate for a good while before it started decline. Tank is otherwise observably stable and no other occupants showing any signs of stress or disease. Added a small yellow wrasse and a small neon damsel to my clown and hectors goby, along with some additional CUC to help ease the uglies as best they can. Other than that, just staying the course, keeping on my water changes and planning first coral additions. Fairly happy with the experience so far. I will post some pics with next posting.
 
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4 months in. After a small burst of GHA / Diatoms about a month ago, tank has been clean and stable. Some photos of tank showing some nice pink algae starting in on Marco Dry Rock. Current inhabitants are Mocha Clown, Neon Damsel, Yellow Wrasse, Striped Blenny and Hectors Goby along with a Pep Shrimp a Blue Leg Hermit and various snails (Turbos, Cerith and Nassarious). Waiting on a Red Banded Goby / Candy Cane Pistol Shrimp pair from Dr Reef, which I think will complete the stocking. I have water changes down to a 25 minute process and get them down one a week, 10% volume.

I think I am ready to add some corals and will start to do that in the New Year. Loving having this in my office...staring at it really does mellow me out on stressful days :).

Cheers and Happy Holidays to all.
 

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Gumbies R Us

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4 months in. After a small burst of GHA / Diatoms about a month ago, tank has been clean and stable. Some photos of tank showing some nice pink algae starting in on Marco Dry Rock. Current inhabitants are Mocha Clown, Neon Damsel, Yellow Wrasse, Striped Blenny and Hectors Goby along with a Pep Shrimp a Blue Leg Hermit and various snails (Turbos, Cerith and Nassarious). Waiting on a Red Banded Goby / Candy Cane Pistol Shrimp pair from Dr Reef, which I think will complete the stocking. I have water changes down to a 25 minute process and get them down one a week, 10% volume.

I think I am ready to add some corals and will start to do that in the New Year. Loving having this in my office...staring at it really does mellow me out on stressful days :).

Cheers and Happy Holidays to all.
Tank looks good, looking forward to seeing how it progresses through the year!
 
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