First time for everything...75 Gal reef

Kenneth Hooper

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I've been sort of successful with some nano reefs (5 gal, 13 gal, 29 gal) but wanted to try something bigger so that I could have bigger livestock in it. I was recently offered an AIO 75-gallon aquarium with stand and smuggled it into the house. Surprise! The wife said it could stay!
Now the fun begins.
They told me it was all set up - had been a reef before teardown. All I needed to do was add water and go.
They lied. Then again, it was free.
It has the weirdest AIO setup I have ever seen and I've been trying to figure out what it was actually made for - possibly freshwater planted?
The back AIO area has (left to right)
flow chamber - tiny 3" x 4" skimmer chamber - bubble traps - approx 14"x3" bio-media chamber filled with bio balls - another 14"x3" bio-media chamber filled with bio-balls (I have never seen so many bio-balls in a tank. They filled a 5 gal. bucket 2/3 full)- triangular 6" chamber for the return pump. That AIO section is shaped like this: \|_|_____|______|_/.
The return doesn't go thru a nozzle back into the tank, rather, it feeds into another small chamber running the bottom 3/4 length of the AIO section with small holes for the water to return at substrate level.
Being dumb and naive, I mixed up my salt and filled the tank. (jpg attached)
cloudy.jpg


Oh well, heavy filtration and it will clear. (jpg attached)
clear.jpg

My plan is to use my 13 gal. tank as the sump/refugium.
Ooops.
It doesn't fit in the front opening behind the doors. It can only go in through the back.
dang!
Drain tank...move it so I can put in the sump....move it back....heavily rinse gravel, strip and clean back filter section....mix salt and refill.
(did I mention I have a bad back?) lol

While my budget appears to exceed my knowledge, it is still very limited so DIY, used, and 'bargain-that-rarely-is' are what I am setting it up with.
I have a bluetooth Current Loop system on the 29 gal tank that controls the lights and pumps that I will move to the 75 gal when I'm ready to add livestock. A 48" IC light is on it's way to me and I hope to add another one when funds permit. I also have a used 6009 Current DC return pump coming for the sump and will probably pick up an AquaTop Xyclone skimmer when I can find one for the price I want to pay.

My first question is what do I do with the back AIO sections? A skimmer won't fit in the skimmer section so that's holding the heater. The amount of bio filtering in the back is outrageous although because of the strange setup, waste doesn't build in the bottom of the chambers because that's where the return exits. I'm thinking of re-routing the return over the top to a standard type of return with twin nozzles creating flow in the tank. I also have (2) wave pumps in the tank.

Does anyone know why the filtration system was designed the way that it is?
What would you do with it? I'm thinking of removing most of the bio-balls and relying on the refugium for filtering - maybe adding floss in the back.

Starting the cycling now.
 
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Peach02

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Looking good so far!
I'm not sure what to do with the back section since I can't see it photos would help

can't comment on how it was designed without photos
 
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Kenneth Hooper

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Looking good so far!
I'm not sure what to do with the back section since I can't see it photos would help

can't comment on how it was designed without photos
Thanks
I should have taken pictures when I had it all apart this weekend. I will try to take some pictures to give a better idea of what it is but it will only be from the top and the tunnels in the substrate will show how the flow comes out at the bottom
 

Peach02

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Thanks
I should have taken pictures when I had it all apart this weekend. I will try to take some pictures to give a better idea of what it is but it will only be from the top and the tunnels in the substrate will show how the flow comes out at the bottom
Ok cool
 
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Kenneth Hooper

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I couldn't get pics of the entire back filter area yet, but here are a couple showing the tracks made by the return. The second picture shows a much larger slit opening in the pump section of the filter returning a larger amount of water into the display than the little holes that line the bottom, back.
IMG_0103.jpg
IMG_0106.jpg
 

Raege

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Congrats on the upgrade to a 75. I’m digging your dual rock formations and look forward to seeing tank progress. I’ve not seen a ton of tanks but this aio with bottom return is a first will keep detritus moving on back wall for sure. How many GPH are you pushing back into tank?
 
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Kenneth Hooper

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Congrats on the upgrade to a 75. I’m digging your dual rock formations and look forward to seeing tank progress. I’ve not seen a ton of tanks but this aio with bottom return is a first will keep detritus moving on back wall for sure. How many GPH are you pushing back into tank?
Thanks, Raege.
It seems to me that the used pump in there is rated at 550GPH. I will be adding a return from my sump that will be more.
 
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Kenneth Hooper

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Ok...so my official start date is 8/1/19. Yesterday I received some Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride to officially start my cycling.
While waiting for that to happen I have a question.
Once the tank has cycled I had planned on adding a little macro algae to the display and a cleanup crew. Should I add any fish at that time as well?
 

Raege

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Once your cycle has completed you can start adding fish. Just need to go slow with imo one or two small fish. Also don’t pull a “me” and add something aggressive like a tang that will own the space and not be very welcoming to later additions :( what’s your stocking plan fish wise? For me I’d pick someone peaceful in nature to start and that’s active so you will have something fun to watch. Look forward to seeing tank come alive
 
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Kenneth Hooper

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New official start date - August 7th.
I discovered that my 13.5 Gal sump wouldn't fit through the front doors so I had to strip the aquarium down so that I could move it and place the sump through the back.
Later I decided that the 13.5 gal sump wasn't nearly big enough for what I wanted so I picked up a 20 Gal tall (largest that would go in practically under the aquarium) and stripped the aquarium down again so I could remove the smaller sump and put in the new 20 gal one.
<sigh>
I think my new signature should be: "Always thinking. Never ahead"
The ammonia appears to be taking care of itself, registering zero each evening after adding a little additional Dr. Tims the night before. Nitrates and Nitrites are a totally different story. Both register 'off the charts'. This weekend I will probably do a 25% - 50% water change to try to get them to drop.
 

Raege

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New official start date - August 7th.
I discovered that my 13.5 Gal sump wouldn't fit through the front doors so I had to strip the aquarium down so that I could move it and place the sump through the back.
Later I decided that the 13.5 gal sump wasn't nearly big enough for what I wanted so I picked up a 20 Gal tall (largest that would go in practically under the aquarium) and stripped the aquarium down again so I could remove the smaller sump and put in the new 20 gal one.
<sigh>
I think my new signature should be: "Always thinking. Never ahead"
The ammonia appears to be taking care of itself, registering zero each evening after adding a little additional Dr. Tims the night before. Nitrates and Nitrites are a totally different story. Both register 'off the charts'. This weekend I will probably do a 25% - 50% water change to try to get them to drop.
Don’t worry about nitrate testing. Nitrate numbers won’t be true with nitrites around. Once you get to zero ammonia and nitrites start checking the nitrates you will see it spike and fall once that bio filter kicks in.
I hear ya on the sump fitting I have a 34 under mine needed to remove center front brace and then replace. Fortunately it wasn’t load bearing . So much we learn on the way but your cooking now! :)
 

beaslbob

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a few posts back you mentioned macro algae which I highly recommend. With sufficient macro algae you could even have a no ammonia cycle. FWIW I use a common and cheap FW molly for cycling. With macros there is no stress to the fish. Just don't feed it for a week to further limit spikes. It will find enough food like algae and pods and will not starve.
The problem with macro algae is that most all fish and clean up crews eat the stuff. So you have to use a refugium to keep the fish and algae separate. On one system I just crammed in 1/4" plastic grid (egg crate 3" in front of the back glass. algae in back livestock in front.


my .02
 
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Kenneth Hooper

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Having trouble getting the plumbing right but the tank has completely cycled. I have a Cinnamon Clown that I've had a love/hate relationship with. He was too aggressive for the 29 gal that had very docile fish in it so he had been delegated to a 5 gal quarantine tank I have - all alone except for a snail and crab. Occasionally, I would put a frag in that wasn't doing well in the DT to either recover or die. Anyway, I put the clown in the 75G along with a frag and a very small Filefish that was in my refugium. Everyone seems happy and last night at my LFS I saw another Cinnamon a little smaller than mine. If it's still there, I'm going to pick it up and let my Cinnamon have a friend/mate so he's not alone in that big ol' empty 75r.
 
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Kenneth Hooper

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After too many tank overflows, sump overflows, and once I got that all squared away, too much noise, I got rid of my sump/refurgium to revisit it another day. Perhaps with my next build but, for now at least, I'm running a self contained unit. Lately, I've been looking into a cooler for the tank since the house has been running around 85+F the last couple of weeks. Right now I have a 4-fan unit hooked up and it appears to be all that will be needed. Any suggestions for a cooling unit for a 75Gal tank with hood?
 

Peach02

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After too many tank overflows, sump overflows, and once I got that all squared away, too much noise, I got rid of my sump/refurgium to revisit it another day. Perhaps with my next build but, for now at least, I'm running a self contained unit. Lately, I've been looking into a cooler for the tank since the house has been running around 85+F the last couple of weeks. Right now I have a 4-fan unit hooked up and it appears to be all that will be needed. Any suggestions for a cooling unit for a 75Gal tank with hood?
I would suggest a chiller but since your not running a sump it would be hard to incorporate. For somthing very short term you could freeze a bottle of water and let it float for a while
 

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