First build attempt. Wish me luck.

birdman1989

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So...where to start. It started a few years ago when I was stationed in Guam. While I was there I decided to take a diving class. Instantly I was hooked. The feel of being underwater. The silence of the ocean. After the initial class, I completely jumped into full dive mode and started learning everything I could. I was diving so much that I could tell you exactly how to find specific anemones with Maroon Clown Fish all the way to what time of day to go watch Nurse Sharks feed. Then, as with all things Navy, I transferred. Since I have been back in the states with where I'm stationed now, there isn't much diving around, so for a while, I lost that passion in my life. Then about 8 months ago, the wife and I decided to walk into Coral Logic Aquariums in Jacksonville. Now mind you, until now, I didn't know reefs tanks were a thing. The way that everything was bright and vibrant reminded me of diving back in Guam. So that's where we started looking at establishing our own tank. We started our research to figure out what our budget could allow and where we could put it, however every time we get close, we back off due to the initial start up investment. Well our anniversary is coming up and the wife has told me to go ahead and take the dive. So since I have not done this before, I've decided to do this build thread. I can read all that I want, however until I've done it, I'm not completely sure about what is necessary. With all of that, I'm asking for good feedback and any suggestions/advice from the experts of R2R.

First I have to give you guys the tank that I'm planning on assembling. I'll try to stay organized with this to help out.
  1. Tank: Waterbox Reef 100.3
    • I chose this tank is for the dimensions and size. I've physically compared this tank with Red Sea tanks and feel that it is good quality for the price.
  2. Skimmer: NYOS Quantum 160
    • This was the most recommended skimmer on almost every build thread that I read for this tank size.
  3. Lighting: Kessil AP700 **UPDATE** 2x EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w G4 Pro
    • Of the lights that I have seen in person, this definitely gave the best lighting effect for the tank.
    • I made this switch based off the recommendations that I received and after seeing them in store.
  4. Return Pump: EcoTech Marine Vectra S2 DC
    • This was the most recommended pump that I could find.
  5. ATO: Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155
    • Once again, this was the most commonly used ATO for this tank on the build threads.
  6. Powerhead: Maxspect XF330 Gyre Pump **UPDATE** EcoTech Marine VorTech MP40
    • For this pump, I like the idea of the pump being more of a "bar" than a "button", but I'm still open to suggestions.
    • I made this switch based off the recommendations that I received and after seeing them in store.
    • The magnetic mount is definitely a plus.
  7. Sand: 80LBS CaribSea Arag-Alive Special Grade Reef Sand
    • For me, this was more of a perfect color choice from a reputable brand; feel free to suggest something else.
  8. Heater: Finnex HMO 300Watt Titanium Heater with Digital Controller **UPDATE** 2x Finnex HMO 200 Watt Titanium Heater with Digital Controller
    • This was the heater that was rated for my tank size, does anyone have any recommendations?
    • I took your guys recommendations and went with 2 smaller heaters for redundancy.
  9. Rock: **UPDATE** 100 LBS STAX Rock Flat Aquascaping Rocks
    • I haven't decided which rock to go with. Some local brick and mortars have recommended LIFE rock, while others have recommended LIVE rock. I don't really understand the difference between the two. This is something I need some help with.
    • The wife and I have some great ideas for the aquascape that we are going to do with this. I haven't really seen it on here yet, so I look forward to showing you guys that.
So far this is as far as I've gotten. I'm reading, asking, and watching to catch up to speed. If you guys see something that doesn't look right or see something that I'm overlooking, feel free to let me know. I look forward to keeping you guys posted on the build as it progresses.

****EDITING TO ADD:****
A couple of things I wish I'd picked up in the beginning that would have saved me some flushes:
- Grounding rods for display and quarantine tank (fish will jump out of the tanks if they're getting shocked by residual electricity)
- Flow pump head covers (made a huge difference with our suicidal anemone)l
 
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BayouReefer

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I re -Read your post right off the bat I would say it is far better to go with 2 smaller heaters than just one for redundancy and the fact that if one fails on it is less likely to fry your tank
 
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birdman1989

birdman1989

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I re -Read your post right off the bat I would say it is far better to go with 2 smaller heaters than just one for redundancy and the fact that if one fails on it is less likely to fry your tank
Thanks for the recommendation. Are there any heaters that you do recommend?
 
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birdman1989

birdman1989

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Looks like your off to a great start, @birdman1989.

What kind of ocean critters do you want to keep in your new 100-gallon tank?
Specifically, I'm not sure. I miss the maroon clownfish, however I do believe I'm going to do some long fins. The wife apparently likes every fish that eats coral so... As for CuC, the only advice I have is from my local shops with shrimp and snails. Are there any combinations that you would recommend?
 

code4

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I re -Read your post right off the bat I would say it is far better to go with 2 smaller heaters than just one for redundancy and the fact that if one fails on it is less likely to fry your tank
I had one cook a few fish. Now I use heater controllers even on my quarantine tanks. My favorite fish are mandarins. Your wife might like them. They are pretty. And don't eat coral. ;)
 

Auquanut

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Small world. I was certified on Guam in 1994 (Navy). MDA. Is that still there? I'm sure we've both dove all of the same spots.

I researched the Waterbox 100.3. Nice tank!
Totally agree about the dual heaters.

As far as the rock goes, live rock is rock that has either been harvested from the ocean, come out of an established tank, or been pre "cured" so it is reef ready. It already has beneficial bacteria that will speed up the cycling process significantly. It's generally more expensive, and you are liable to get some critters with it (good and/or bad). Life rock is man made, and designed to look like natural live rock. It will have to be cured either in the tank during the cycle or in a separate container to build up the required bacteria. It should be cheaper, and may be more visually appealing. You also won't have to worry about unwanted pests. It will increase cycle time though.
 
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birdman1989

birdman1989

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Small world. I was certified on Guam in 1994 (Navy). MDA. Is that still there? I'm sure we've both dove all of the same spots.

I researched the Waterbox 100.3. Nice tank!
Totally agree about the dual heaters.

As far as the rock goes, live rock is rock that has either been harvested from the ocean, come out of an established tank, or been pre "cured" so it is reef ready. It already has beneficial bacteria that will speed up the cycling process significantly. It's generally more expensive, and you are liable to get some critters with it (good and/or bad). Life rock is man made, and designed to look like natural live rock. It will have to be cured either in the tank during the cycle or in a separate container to build up the required bacteria. It should be cheaper, and may be more visually appealing. You also won't have to worry about unwanted pests. It will increase cycle time though.
Thanks for the comment. Yes MDA is still there. That is who I got certified through.

I've decided to go with two smaller heaters, now I'm just looking for some.

As for the rock, I think I'm going to go with the Life rock. I would rather something manmade, than rely on taking from the ocean. I'll have to look at how the live rock around is sourced.
 

foxt

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Great start!

About live rock: there are Florida sources for live rock that has been farmed in the ocean. They take rock, either man made or quarried, put it in the ocean to let it seed, then pick it back up and sell it. One source is Tamp Bay Saltwater, there are others.

I have used TBS three times, love it. You do get hitch hikers, some of which are bad guys, like gorilla crabs. But most of the life on the rock is beneficial for our tanks.

Just something else to add to your list of decisions to make!
 
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birdman1989

birdman1989

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Great start!

About live rock: there are Florida sources for live rock that has been farmed in the ocean. They take rock, either man made or quarried, put it in the ocean to let it seed, then pick it back up and sell it. One source is Tamp Bay Saltwater, there are others.

I have used TBS three times, love it. You do get hitch hikers, some of which are bad guys, like gorilla crabs. But most of the life on the rock is beneficial for our tanks.

Just something else to add to your list of decisions to make!
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check them out.
 
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birdman1989

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So i walked into a local brick and mortar today...Now I'm questioning the lights. The particular store liked my potential setup with the exception of my lights. They highly recommended the EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w G4 Pro. So now I ask you guys your recommendations for these two. I'm off to go watch comparison videos, lol.
 
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birdman1989

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I did it guys. I ordered everything I need to start the tank. I made the lighting swap to 2 EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w G4 Pros. Along with that I changed the power head over to the EcoTech Marine VorTech MP40. Looking forward to sometime tomorrow or Tuesday to get some tracking information for those that are following. I'll make it a point tomorrow to go up and update the build list.
 
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birdman1989

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Next problem to tackle. I'm going through and doing the research on setting up my own RO/DI for the house. It would be about an hr and a half for a full round trip to my local fish store...if I could leave there without eyeing something else. A lot of the articles on here split on exactly what i would need. For the actual unit, I'm looking at Marine Depot KleanWater 4-Stage Advanced RO/DI System - 100GPD. The total volume of water for my tank is 97.2 Gal divided up between 71.7 Gal Display, 25.4 Gal Sump. I believe that this unit could make as much water as I would need. My question is what do I need for mixing salt water? Do I need aeration for the holding tank for water? Any and all help would be appreciated?
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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You don't need to aerate the water. I will say that if you have a convienent method of mixing and dispensing water then you will be more likely to do water changes.

If you have the space, a 55 gallon drum would work nicely. Put it on blocks or something so you can turn a valve and empty it into buckets.
 

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