Erik's Red Sea Reefer 170 Build - a Return to Reefing

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Erik’s Reefer 170 Build

After a many many year hiatus and a shelved plan for a completely custom tank, I’m making my return to the hobby with a Reefer 170 (the largest tank I could get buy off from my SO for….for now ;) ). The goal will be to do a SPS dominant mixed reef…though I imagine it will be quite a long while before I actually add any SPS to the tank.

The tank is temporarily living in the corner of our living room until I can install a dedicated socket in the hallway where it will have its final resting place. I have it filled now just for leak testing purposes. I was pretty pleased with how easy the stand was to assemble and the construction quality. Goes together like a piece of Ikea furniture, though the panels themselves are much heftier than anything Ikea sells.
Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 3.58.33 PM.png

I’m in the process of putting together my equipment list, here’s what I have picked out so far (I have only purchased the tank and return pump so far, so suggestions and critiques of this plan are very welcome!). I’m very pleased with how quiet the MightyJet is btw.

Tank Red Sea Reefer 170 (34 gallon display, 9 gallon sump)
Lighting Radion XR30 G5 w/ Reeflink controller
Return pump MightyJet DC 538
Controller ProfiLux 4 (Mega Set 6e)
Doser GHL 2.1 Doser SA
Power control GHL Powerbar 6E-PAB - 6 outlet + American DJ POW-R Bar - 10 outlet
DT Circulation 2x Tunze Nanostreem 6040 w/ Tunze Safety Connector for battery backup 2X Ecotech MP10
Heaters Cobalt Neo-Therm 200W (in sump) + Finnex HMO 200W w/ Autoaqua smart temp (backup in DT overflow)
Skimmer Eshopps X-120
ATO Tunze Osmolater
ATO Reservoir Custom 5G Reservoir in cabinet outside cabinet
RODI BRS 7-stage, 75 GPD (not in cabinet)
Leak detection GHL Leakage interface + leakage sensor
Live Rock: 60lbs Tampa Bay Saltwater 40 lbs MarcoRocks + 20lbs Gulf Live Rock
Sand: 15lbs Tampa Bay Saltwater Gulf Live Rock live sand + 20lbs Caribsea Special Grade Arag-alive
Salt: Red Sea (Blue Bucket)

I plan to fit all of this equipment (and then some more) in the cabinet, including the 5G ATO reservoir - so it’s going to be quite a game of Tetris :)

There are a couple of decisions I’ve wrestled with.

I went back and forth on Apex vs. Profilux and while there are pros and cons of each it looks like the feature sets are mostly comparable. In the end my decision to go with Profilux was based on the perception of better reliability (my top concern) and the aesthetic/geometry. I personally prefer the more utilitarian, rectangular design for the Profilux components. One feature that has me a little hung up is the lack of a “heartbeat” feature. I’m not really loving the idea that I need to keep my entire wifi on backup power to enable an email notification in the event of a power outage. I’m curious how other Profilux owners approach this.

For power heads - I really wanted to get MP10s….but setting the tank 2.5” off the wall was a dealbreaker for me.
Hoping that 2x Nanostream 6040’s are sufficient for SPS supporting flow.

Decided the MP10 spacing off the wall just isn't that big of a deal...

I’ve been struggling to find a skimmer that is powerful enough yet small enough to fit in the sump where I want to position it. I want to put the skimmer off to the side near the overflow return to free up more space for a larger refugium or additional equipment expansion in the desinated “skimmer section”. The Eshopps X-120, rated to 120g, is the highest capacity skimmer I’ve seen placed here. I’m definitely interested in other suggestions if anyone has them to share.

Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 4.00.40 PM.png


I still have some equipment selections/decisions left:
-DC Battery backup solution for Tunze+Profilux​
-Refugium lighting solution​
-dosing reservoirs​
-cabinet LED lighting​
-test kits​
-refractometer​

I’ll hopefully be putting in the order for the remaining equipment over the next couple weeks and then can start building out the sump cabinet. Super excited to be getting back into the hobby.
 
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Dang - color is way different than the pictures. Not sure how I feel about the baby blue. I wasn't totally sold on the blue to begin with (not that color is the main reason to buy a skimmer...but it sure is nice if it can look good as well as function).
Screen Shot 2020-09-04 at 9.07.49 PM.png
 
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Made a simple Portable RODI station yesterday/today. I don't really have space in my house for a dedicated water change setup so I need to be able to tuck this away and bring it out when I need it.

Cut it from a single 24"X24" piece of 1/2" plywood. I have screws joining the two pieces directly, but I added some 3" L-brackets on both sides just to beef it up a little. Added a handle on top for easy carrying and then gave everything a coat of white epoxy spray paint to give it some moisture protection (not my finest work, but after some light sanding, my poor paint job looked a bit better). Some 1/4" bolts secure the RO and DI sections together to the support. I have silicone rubber feet on the bottom left over from a variety pack I ordered for another project. Still have a little work today on the TDS meter wire and tube management, but otherwise this setup is ready to go.

Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 4.16.16 PM.png


The toilet in my guest bathroom has an easily accessible hose, so I added the valve below between the 3/8" hose fitting that goes to the toilet. Unlike the tee fitting in the BRS kit, this one has an on/off valve for the 1/4" push to connect so I can unplug as needed.


Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 4.16.06 PM.png
 
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Made a couple change of plans.

Ended up returning the Tunze Nanostreams and went with 2x MP10s. I decided moving the tank a little further from the wall wasn't that big of a deal in the end - and probably good anyways to have some space for better ventilation and less chance of salt spray on the wall (sure it will happen anyways though).

Also decided to order 40lbs of MarcoRocks (probably more than I'll need in the end) to supplement a smaller qty of TBS live rock that I'll be ordering in the future to seed the tank. The MarcoRocks has more interesting geometry and looks to be more porous compared to the images I've seen of TBS. I got inspired after watching a BRS video of aquascaping with it - the marketing totally worked on me hahaha. I'm squarely in the camp of wanting as much biodiversity as possible, but I think I'll still be happy with end result as long as I have ~20lbs of TBS in the mix.

I'm still in the process of laying out the cabinet (waiting on my GHL controller and associated hardware still). In the mean time I'm starting to cycle the DT/sump with a block of marine pure. I cut the 8X4 block so that it could fit next to my return pump, with the remaining fragment near the DT overflow return for the moment. I'll likely use the smaller piece to supplement filtration in my quarantine tank when it's ready. I'm debating putting a sold divider between the Marine Pure and the pump to reduce flow over the media and create more anoxic regions for denitrification. I've heard that if the flow is too high you don't get sufficient anoxic volume for nitrification, but I don't have a great sense of what "too high" is.

I'm separately cycling the MarcoRocks in a 40g rubbermaid roughnecks bin next to my garage. I've heard rumors of phosphate leaching (though I'm not sure what the source would be since there isn't any life on the rock), so I figure it's safer to cycle separately and I'll transfer the MarcoRocks into new water once it's complete. Once everything if fully cycled, I'll order the TBS live rock and live sand and assemble the TBS and MarcoRocks into my intended aquascape. I imagine glueing the rock would have been a fair bit easier while the rock is dry, but I wanted to build up the filtration ability in advance (and leach out phosphates, should there be any) to minimize any cycling once I add the TBS. I used Dr. Tims Ammonia Chloride and BIO Spira to kick off the cycling for both the MarinePure and the MarcoRocks.
Screen Shot 2020-09-20 at 6.22.21 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-09-20 at 6.21.36 PM.png

Over the next few weeks I'll hopefully finish building out the cabinet and be ready to kick this into high gear once cycling is over in (hopefully) a few weeks. Until then the tank is going to look a little sparse!

Screen Shot 2020-09-20 at 6.21.51 PM.png
 

FortLivingRoom

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I like your idea with the portable RODI station. I just picked up a used 170 today and I'll be trying to do a ULM following the videos by BRS. Been ten years since my last tank, seems like so many more equipment options, or I just have more money to blow lol. Looking forward toseeing the progression. If your SO gave you the OK for the tank/stand costs...don't show them the other equipment costs lol
 
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I like your idea with the portable RODI station. I just picked up a used 170 today and I'll be trying to do a ULM following the videos by RDS. Been ten years since my last tank, seems like so many more equipment options, or I just have more money to blow lol. Looking forward toseeing the progression. If your SO gave you the OK for the tank/stand costs...don't show them the other equipment costs lol

Thanks! The station has worked out well so far - easy for making water in my bathroom and quick to pop down to the garage to fill my Rubbermaid bin.

I'm in a similar boat as you - my last tank was nearly 20 years ago and I was doing it on college kid's budget. Built my own lights, zero automation, no sump/just HOB skimmer. There have definitely been some advancement on the equipment side....and most certainly I'm more willing and able to spend money this go round. I'm definitely prioritizing low maintenance as well. I travel a couple weeks at a time for work (during normal times) and I need a setup that can accommodate that.

And no joke on the tank/stand vs. equipment cost. I knew up front the tank/stand was just a small fraction of what I'd spend. I had a tally going just to keep track for my own information/records, but I've given up at this point (and I don't even have anything living in tank yet hahaha).
 

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Erik’s Reefer 170 Build

After a many many year hiatus and a shelved plan for a completely custom tank, I’m making my return to the hobby with a Reefer 170 (the largest tank I could get buy off from my SO for….for now ;) ). The goal will be to do a SPS dominant mixed reef…though I imagine it will be quite a long while before I actually add any SPS to the tank.

The tank is temporarily living in the corner of our living room until I can install a dedicated socket in the hallway where it will have its final resting place. I have it filled now just for leak testing purposes. I was pretty pleased with how easy the stand was to assemble and the construction quality. Goes together like a piece of Ikea furniture, though the panels themselves are much heftier than anything Ikea sells.
Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 3.58.33 PM.png

I’m in the process of putting together my equipment list, here’s what I have picked out so far (I have only purchased the tank and return pump so far, so suggestions and critiques of this plan are very welcome!). I’m very pleased with how quiet the MightyJet is btw.

Tank Red Sea Reefer 170 (34 gallon display, 9 gallon sump)
Lighting Radion XR30 G5 w/ Reeflink controller
Return pump MightyJet DC 538
Controller ProfiLux 4 (Mega Set 6e)
Doser GHL 2.1 Doser SA
Power control GHL Powerbar 6E-PAB - 6 outlet + American DJ POW-R Bar - 10 outlet
DT Circulation 2x Tunze Nanostreem 6040 w/ Tunze Safety Connector for battery backup
Heaters Cobalt Neo-Therm 200W (in sump) + Finnex HMO 200W w/ Autoaqua smart temp (backup in DT overflow)
Skimmer Eshopps X-120
ATO Tunze Osmolater
ATO Reservoir Custom 5G Reservoir in cabinet
RODI BRS 7-stage, 75 GPD (not in cabinet)
Leak detection GHL Leakage interface + leakage sensor
Live Rock: 60lbs Tampa Bay Saltwater
Sand: 15lbs Tampa Bay Saltwater + 20lbs Caribsea Special Greade Arag-alive
Salt: Red Sea (Blue Bucket)

I plan to fit all of this equipment (and then some more) in the cabinet, including the 5G ATO reservoir - so it’s going to be quite a game of Tetris :)

There are a couple of decisions I’ve wrestled with.

I went back and forth on Apex vs. Profilux and while there are pros and cons of each it looks like the feature sets are mostly comparable. In the end my decision to go with Profilux was based on the perception of better reliability (my top concern) and the aesthetic/geometry. I personally prefer the more utilitarian, rectangular design for the Profilux components. One feature that has me a little hung up is the lack of a “heartbeat” feature. I’m not really loving the idea that I need to keep my entire wifi on backup power to enable an email notification in the event of a power outage. I’m curious how other Profilux owners approach this.

For power heads - I really wanted to get MP10s….but setting the tank 2.5” off the wall was a dealbreaker for me. Hoping that 2x Nanostream 6040’s are sufficient for SPS supporting flow.

I’ve been struggling to find a skimmer that is powerful enough yet small enough to fit in the sump where I want to position it. I want to put the skimmer off to the side near the overflow return to free up more space for a larger refugium or additional equipment expansion in the desinated “skimmer section”. The Eshopps X-120, rated to 120g, is the highest capacity skimmer I’ve seen placed here. I’m definitely interested in other suggestions if anyone has them to share.

Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 4.00.40 PM.png


I still have some equipment selections/decisions left:
-DC Battery backup solution for Tunze+Profilux​
-Refugium lighting solution​
-dosing reservoirs​
-cabinet LED lighting​
-test kits​
-refractometer​

I’ll hopefully be putting in the order for the remaining equipment over the next couple weeks and then can start building out the sump cabinet. Super excited to be getting back into the hobby.
A little late but I have a Nyos 120 skimmer, fits nicely in sump. I have added a Skimz 127 auto zeolite reactor also in the same compartment, to do this I removed the glass that the sponge fits in since I don’t use that anyways. It’s worked out well.
 
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Have you considered auto water changes, and what is your intended plan as far as location of power/control modules?

I've considered auto water changes, but I don't think it's in the cards for me. The location of my tank is just too far from the existing plumbing in my house. Have a bit of a remodel in the near future, so I may scope out if there are easy changes I could make to enable it at that time.

For power/control modules, I was thinking something like this image. I'm still working out the details though. I my GHL order just shipped out so when it gets here I'll mock up with all the actual equipment and see how it fits. I'm debating whether to mount the ADJ strip statically or to a drawer that I can pull out for easier access to the cords behind. I am seriously reconsidering whether ATO reservoir in the cabinet is a must have for me. I think I can find a spot for it outside the cabinet and that would free up a lot of useful space and some more efficient equipment configurations. Still need to figure out where the dosing reservoirs are going to live.

I intend to have shelf/separator between the cords and remaining area in the sump to minimize salt spray etc. Probably also install a fan to provide some influx of outside air.




Screen Shot 2020-09-22 at 8.45.04 AM.png
 
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A little late but I have a Nyos 120 skimmer, fits nicely in sump. I have added a Skimz 127 auto zeolite reactor also in the same compartment, to do this I removed the glass that the sponge fits in since I don’t use that anyways. It’s worked out well.

Nice looking skimmer! It looks like it's probably a little too big to squeeze in front of the filter sock as I was originally thinking, but I'm debating whether or not I really want my skimmer located there anyways given it'll be a pain for accessing/changing out the sock.

BTW here's where I have my X-120 Axium skimmer located currently (nestled in front of the filter sock):

Screen Shot 2020-09-23 at 7.38.09 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-09-23 at 7.38.24 AM.png


I love how much space this frees up to the left, but definitely worried changing out filter sock/media is going to be a pain - particularly as the cabinet gets full of other equipment.
 
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How is your tank doing?
Making progress but still not up and running - my live rock order from Tampa Bay Saltwater was placed back in November and still not delivered (first delayed by weather and now Covid). Not clear when/if I will be able to receive it - I may need to look elsewhere. The Marco rock I plan to use as supplement is still curing in my garage and I've been periodically dosing with ammonia.

In the mean time, I've been working on designing/constructing my electronics cabinet. I plan to pump in fresh air to keep positive pressure in the cabinet area and prevent salt build up/corrosion. In end I decided to put my ATO reservoir outside the cabinet to free up a little more space. Still working through all the details but here is the plan as of now. I've ordered most of the parts/materials and am in the process of constructing (though on hold for a few weeks while I am out of town for business).

Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 6.09.00 PM.jpg
 

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Making progress but still not up and running - my live rock order from Tampa Bay Saltwater was placed back in November and still not delivered (first delayed by weather and now Covid). Not clear when/if I will be able to receive it - I may need to look elsewhere. The Marco rock I plan to use as supplement is still curing in my garage and I've been periodically dosing with ammonia.

In the mean time, I've been working on designing/constructing my electronics cabinet. I plan to pump in fresh air to keep positive pressure in the cabinet area and prevent salt build up/corrosion. In end I decided to put my ATO reservoir outside the cabinet to free up a little more space. Still working through all the details but here is the plan as of now. I've ordered most of the parts/materials and am in the process of constructing (though on hold for a few weeks while I am out of town for business).

Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 6.09.00 PM.jpg
Dang, that’s a sweet plan! Do you work with some type of engineering? Impressive. I hear you on the slow progress. I got my tank in October, started cycling in December, and will finally be receiving my fish/CUC this Wednesday.

The cabinet is definitely tight. It seems so big at first when it’s relatively empty and I had plans for a nice manifold, but it just wasn’t practical with the small cabinet.

I think that’s a wise decision to go with the ATO outside of the cabinet. Especially if you’ll be out of town frequently you could always get a larger ATO.
 
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Dang, that’s a sweet plan! Do you work with some type of engineering? Impressive. I hear you on the slow progress. I got my tank in October, started cycling in December, and will finally be receiving my fish/CUC this Wednesday.

The cabinet is definitely tight. It seems so big at first when it’s relatively empty and I had plans for a nice manifold, but it just wasn’t practical with the small cabinet.

I think that’s a wise decision to go with the ATO outside of the cabinet. Especially if you’ll be out of town frequently you could always get a larger ATO.
Thanks man! Yeah I'm a mechanical engineer by trade - my job is pretty much to pack a lot of stuff in a small package hahaha.

Glad to hear your making progress too (slow - but faster than me!). I actually just checked your thread to see if there were any new updates. What do you have coming in? I'm excited for you that you'll actually have some inhabitants!
 
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Finally starting to make some progress.

Was out of the country for the first several months of the year - now back home and work is about to slow down a little, so have some time coming up soon to work on this project. I ordered some live rock and sand from Gulf Live Rock and it came in today - had it shipped air to minimize travel time.

It came pretty well packaged - double bagged with water and inside styrofoam coolers. I brought buckets and bags in case the package was wet, but it wasn't an issue.

Super excited by the amount of stuff on the rock - lots of sponges and coralline, macro algae, and even a few bits of coral. I hope I can keep it all alive. It's all sitting in my rubber made bin while I finish the rest of the tank assembly (which will hopefully be in the near future). I have my Radion mounted above with the light 150-250 PAR to help keep anything photosynthetic going until I get it into the actual tank.

Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 11.51.35 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 11.52.54 PM.png

My fiancé was not thrilled I used her pyrex to hold the sand hahaha
Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 12.05.24 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 11.54.28 PM.png

Lots of Macro..and some sort of limpet - not sure if it's reef safe.

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 12.24.24 AM.png

Coralline and what I'm assuming are various sponges


Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 12.08.58 AM.png

Maybe a little bit of Favia up top?

Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 11.54.01 PM.png

Is this a gorgonian of some kind up top? And maybe a little more Favia(?) at the bottom - got a little banged up on the journey so hopefully it pulls through.
 
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Making progress but still not up and running - my live rock order from Tampa Bay Saltwater was placed back in November and still not delivered (first delayed by weather and now Covid). Not clear when/if I will be able to receive it - I may need to look elsewhere. The Marco rock I plan to use as supplement is still curing in my garage and I've been periodically dosing with ammonia.

In the mean time, I've been working on designing/constructing my electronics cabinet. I plan to pump in fresh air to keep positive pressure in the cabinet area and prevent salt build up/corrosion. In end I decided to put my ATO reservoir outside the cabinet to free up a little more space. Still working through all the details but here is the plan as of now. I've ordered most of the parts/materials and am in the process of constructing (though on hold for a few weeks while I am out of town for business).

Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 6.09.00 PM.jpg
with what program was the plan made?
 
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