First large tank build! 240g 8'x2'x2' acrylic mixed reef w/ DIY stand and canopy

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The good news is that you have plenty of time to stock the tank.

It's better to spend the money on a solid build up front.
Agreed. I’m glad I went with a quality tank and not a marine land or the like. I can sleep at night not worried about glass breaking.


Wonderful build! I have some Orphek bars and hope they do not have the same fate. That would really bum me out.

I love Tunze and ATI :)

How do you like the acrylic tank? I am tempted to get one with an upgrade because of how lite they are. Also it feels like a safer option around small children.

I hope yours don’t either! I think there are a lot people using them with success so don’t get too stressed about it :)

so far I love the tank. It looks very sharp. It hasn’t scratched nearly as easily as people led me to believe - though I’m being quite careful with it. Once I get the first deep scratch I’m sure I’ll be sad lol. Took me and 3 other guys to get it down the stairs but only my dad and I were able to lift it and place it on the stand alone. I’m guessing it weighed 180-200 lbs.

I pretty much had to go acrylic for this reason — there was no way we were getting a glass tank down there (I live on a steep hill so no way to come in from the bottom level either). I also feel better about it when it comes to earthquakes and any further settling in my home.
 
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Some bad news. The power modules were damaged pretty badly during shipping, despite the seller packing them really well. FedEx must have thrown these things across the warehouse or something. Anyways we are filing a claim (we shipped insured) and working through that process. I was able to get the fixtures working but it’s unknown how long they will last after the damage they received. Kudos to seller for being prompt and working with me on the insurance situation, great guy.
 

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If you just bend them back into shape, other than the crack in the acrylic, I see no reason they wouldn't just keep working. You could always open them up and look at the wires to make sure none got pinched..
 
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If you just bend them back into shape, other than the crack in the acrylic, I see no reason they wouldn't just keep working. You could always open them up and look at the wires to make sure none got pinched..
Having issues with the LEDs today so I think there was more significant damage. I’ll probably talk to ATI and see if I can purchase new end plates and LED modules. Or whatever they think I needs to do. I’m just irritated with fedex — I’ve always used them with great luck for shipping guitars but my local delivery guy isn’t amazing and tends to throw packages over my gate (when it’s unlocked) so I wouldn’t put it past him to just toss my packages on the porch.
 
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Both returns installed. It was a tight fit! I’m glad to have 2 though, will give me peace of mind when surfing or camping or whatever.

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tank water is nice n clear!

I need to fix some issues with the chemistry. Ca is 550 and alk 7.3. I’m dosing alk to bring it back in line and just dealing with the precipitate I guess.

getting close to adding fish! Once the chemistry is in line my thinking is I’ll transfer everything this weekend hopefully. I will move as much mature rock from my RSR350 as I can to the sump; should be plenty to keep my 5 fish healthy in the new tank. I have bottles of micro bacter on hand just in case. I plan to move the corals at once as well but was going to post a question about this.

once the fish are thriving and the tank is showing signs of life I’ll look at adding more fish — a lot more, steadily. I’ve continually failed to have enough livestock in my tanks to keep nutrients at acceptable levels for the corals. At least that’s my thinking — my growth and coloration hasn’t been perfect even with halides and I think it’s because I stock so lightly and feed lightly. So there’s going to be a lot of fish and food going through this tank — time to change up the strategy.
 
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Alright, everything is moved over. Today was huge day! Moved all livestock, more equipment, and decommissioned the old tank. I put all the old live rock in the sump for bio filtration (fuge light is on just for the pic). Skimmer is running and ATO and backup heater are hooked up. Doser is also set up.

I reprogrammed the lights — I’m using all 8 bulbs and adding a touch of LED for shimmer and night effects. Getting about 300 par in the upper third of the tank and 200 on the sand bed, 150 on the outskirts sandbed. I’m a little worried about my corals because this is more light than my 150W halides put out but I’ve heard T5 is more forgiving (sounds like here-say but we will see). I’m starting my SPS at the bottom and have my LPS in shaded areas getting 50-180 PAR.

Maxed out these lights put out well over 500 PAR at the surface and 400+ in the top areas of the rock work. They’re insane. At the intensity I have set they pull about 400W each. Between that and my heaters the tank will cost about $70/mo to run. Thanks, California.

Still having issues keeping alk up but I think it’s because of the dry sand — I think there’s interaction happening between when the sand bed is stirred and when i dose. My guess is it’ll settle in over time. For now I’m just trying to keep Alk above 7.

I know there’s a correlation with pH too, so I’m not going to chase that number now, but I did buy a pH controller for the future; I want to experiment with keeping pH perfect and see how that affects growth. I’ll set up a motorized ball valve on my skimmer intake and run a recirc scribber.

so 2 things I’m going to do differently on this tank (things I think I failed at in previous tank):
1) Monitor pH closely and try to keep at 8.3
2) Feed way more, including quality frozen and coral foods. This also means stocking the tank towards the heavy end instead of barely having anything in there like I used to.

Excited for what’s to come! Now I need to scrounge up cash for fish in the wake of all this spending ;)
 
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Well it's been a hot minute since I've posted. Currently I'm dealing with a nasty Dino outbreak but otherwise the tank is humming along. Some thoughts:

I absolutely HATE the filter sock support in the Triton 44 sump!!!!!!!! I understand the triton method doesn't use filter socks, but man this was a low effort feature on Triton's part. PITA to use and very poor fitment.

I have a large Bubble Magus roller filter coming in Friday and I plan to install it over the weekend. I'm excited to not have to deal with the awful filter sock design of this sump :)

Some random things I learned moving from normal sized tanks to a large tank:

  • You have to clean the filter socks waaaaaay often
  • Cleaning the glass is no longer a quick and easy 2 minute job; it's like 15 minutes, especially with acrylic
  • Also with acrylic: I now use a strong magnetic cleaner but on the wet side I add a cut out Mr. Clean magic erase pad (to make it thinner so the magnet works) with great success --- I recommend other acrylic people try this out!
  • Additives / Dosing holy cow do not underestimate this
    • My tank is using so much more 2 part even though I transferred the same amount of corals over
      • I did not think about the baseline consumption of Alk in a tank (there are things other than corals that consume Alk) -- baseline consumption is MUCH higher in a big tank
      • There is likely some precipitation happening with the dry sand or dry rock as well (and, of course, very significant in a big tank)
      • If the nitrogen cycle is not fully established in the tank (it's only a month old so maybe closing in on it all the way) Alk will drop according to my research; again amplified in a big tank
    • I have been dosing 75-80mL Alk daily to barely keep the tank at 6.8dkh -- that's with very few corals!!
    • I'm thinking a Ca reactor will be appropriate in the long run if I'm successful and have large colonies -- now I understand why people run these
      • But I'm worried about the pH issues
  • Powerheads don't come with cords long enough to conveniently cover an 8' tank
    • This is infuriatingfor me because one power strip runs off GFCI (wet & nonessential components) and the other off a normal plug (dry & essential -- MP40's, lights)
      • Since I refuse to buy more MP40's (bad ROI) I need to have my powerheads on the GFCI strip... which is at one end of the tank, inconveniently
  • Most equipment doesn't come with long enough cords to go from one end of a large sump to the other
    • I have cable issues with:
    • Heaters
    • Skimmer
    • Fuge light
  • ATO usage -- don't underestimate it
    • 75 GPD RODI system starts to get annoying when you have to fill your ATO reservoir frequently
      • The cuss-while-lifting-bucket-and-spilling ATO refill method is getting old, will probably have to put a hole in the wall and set up a float switch (interesting challenge with a glass ATO container)

I'm afraid if I add more info I'll get more salty so I'll leave it at that.

Oh yeah and I'm ditching reef crystals salt mix -- I'm tired of cleaning sludge out of my mixing barrels and don't want that in my tank. I switched to HW marine mix.

Also, still waiting on those fish -- so hard to be patient hah!

Once my alk stabilizes a bit and I solve the Dinos issue I'm planning on ordering up a bunch of coral :)

Currently passing the time by reading. I have vol 1 and 2 and they're great to read; some of the reef descriptions (ie fore reef, platform reef, etc) could have been better explained but so far great info!

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hi,just opinions from exp here.
i ran 240 sps dom bare bottom 18 yrs,dosed a&b every other day,cal 1 day,alk next, by "the pour" by hand method ,very rare wc's,rare testing of alk and cal,used coral growth rings and pinpoint ph monitor to judge,when tested alk/cal ballpark 9/450, aslo used basic coral additive ,essential elements,coral vite,just a quick squirt across top every 2-3 days.
no fuge ph stayed between 8.3 peak 8.0 dark morn. on 13 hr light cycle 1650 watts t12 vho .
afraid and do not use ato's ,evap 3-5gal per day,depending on season,it worked!!!
ps brb w pick of ext cord. pic is 16?? years in tank.
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fishguy242

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hi,any size appliance cord 10" but come in 2" increments , paint them,tape em, better than cutting and heat shrinking a 600$ pump ;) one more for the road about ten years in ,one of the best fts i have..lol,have a great night:cool:
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Your tank looks(ed) great!!
I think my Alk issue is very related to my dry sand bed which has a ton of surface area to suck the all out of the water. I think it will resolve soon as it gains biological mass.

I installed a filter roller today. Bubble magus large roller. Love it so far! If it keeps up the good work I’ll make a permanent install but for now it’s sort of just rigged in there.

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next up I have to scrub the dinos (if they are dinos, unsure) off everything as they’ve finally stopped growing; time to get rid of them. I’m cooking up a 40g vat of water so I can suck out the algae when it’s scrubbed and replace with clean water.

then hopefully I can finally take an FTS! Also my dad will be visiting soon to help me finish up the bottom of the tank. Exciting!
 
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It happened. I scratched the absolute @#[email protected]#* out of the tank yesterday. Ever pane. Top to bottom. Hairline scratches through the entire thing. Fortunately I think they're mostly on the outside. I used a high end magnetic cleaner with a felt pad on the outside and acrylic safe pad on the inside -- I'm totally baffled on how I scratched it since the felt pad is VERY soft. My only idea is that dust got between the pad and acrylic and scratched it? Kind of ridiculous if DUST scratches the tank though; making me think this is some soft acrylic which does worry me given how hard I've had to scrub the inside to get rid of some tough algae I've been dealing with.

Now to figure out how to efficiently buff the outside of the tank. I have an orbital sander; I'm hoping they make buffing pads for it.

I'm pretty upset about this and I'm not gonna lie the thought did go through my head to start over with a new glass tank, just because of the frustration. How am I supposed to clean the outside of the tank if a simple felt pad scratched it?! Will have to investigate further tonight to see if there's an issue with the magnet itself. ANGRY!
 
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Here’s the latest FTS. No coral or fish additions yet. Good news: my order from Dr Reef will ship next week which should add 10 or so fish and breathe some life into this thing!!!

I am still battling some ugly stage algae and don’t want to add corals until I get it under control. The patience is killing me lol.

I didn’t end up finishing the stand because when my dad visited we got sidetracked and built a camper into my truck shell (something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time).
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Zoanthids

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I'm pretty upset about this and I'm not gonna lie the thought did go through my head to start over with a new glass tank, just because of the frustration. How am I supposed to clean the outside of the tank if a simple felt pad scratched it?! Will have to investigate further tonight to see if there's an issue with the magnet itself. ANGRY!
awesome build. Did u ever figure out what caused the scratch?
 
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Still unsure but I think it really comes down to two things:

  • The magnet cleaner scratched the acrylic
    • I am using a 'Hammerhead' magnet cleaner with a felt pad (see pic); it is acrylic safe and the felt pad feels soft but it could have been scratching the tank
  • The acrylic is softer than normal acrylic
    • Something could have gotten between the pad and the tank and scratched it -- but the only thing I can see is some dust that naturally accumulated on the acrylic panes
      • If dust can scratch this with the light amount of pressure of a magnetic cleaner then I'd call it soft acrylic and I find that extremely disappointing -- but I'm not leaping to that conclusion and nobody here should either

I don't really want to test more to find out which one it is so now I have to be extra careful when cleaning the acrylic and I will place a cut t-shirt between the felt pad and the acrylic from now on so the outside doesn't scratch.

Dont get me wrong they are hairline scratches and they are hard to see and photograph, but over time I have to imagine this will cause a ‘haze’.

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Here’s my office currently. Starting to love working down here with the tank behind me :). I still want to clean it up and make it a more comfortable space. I’m going to make a new top for my standing desk so I have more desk space, potentially mount monitors and speakers on the wall, install a bookshelf for my reef books, get rid of that atrocious ceiling fan/light, and replace the ugly curtains with blinds or something better. Of course a lot of this is stuck in “pending” as I source funds and work on remodeling the rest of the home (floors, paint, repipe, layout changes).
Whew!

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