How to overcomplicate a 180g build

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
Hello everyone, I figured its probably about time to start my build thread on my new build since I already have livestock and equipment getting here for the new tank.

So here is a bit of background. I started this wet hobby 6 or 7 years ago now by getting into freshwater. We had just bought our first house and I really wanted to go with a large tank but we were remodeling and I knew I just didn't have the money. So I had a small nano tank that I setup. After getting bored of high tech planted tanks, I decided to turn my nano planted tank into a saltwater tank. Something I had wanted to do for years. I knew it would be difficult to start with a small tank but I was up for the challenge. I started my first saltwater tank a year and two weeks ago. I instantly knew that I would want a larger tank. Maybe 3 months in I upgraded from my small 9g nano to a MUCH larger all in one tank I made from a 20gal long aquarium. :rolleyes: You can see a bit about that tank in my build thread. Its doing great, and I'm learning new things as I go.

A few months after upgrading to that tank, I knew I wanted to upgrade again, but this time, I knew it would be a substantial upgrade. When I mentioned I wanted to upgrade the tank, my fiancé instantly said no tanks above 100 gallons and I have to finish the upstairs remodel we are in the middle of before I can set up another tank. Wanting to respect her wishes, I started looking at standard 90 gallon tanks. Keeping my eye out for a good deal. Then I realized that the 120 gallon tanks were the same foot print, and after some discussion I got permission. Shortly after this we found out that there is an amazing LFS that is about 45min north of us. The owner is awesome and super knowledgeable, and it definitely shows in his shop. While there my fiancé spotted a beautiful purple tang and asked if we would be able to fit that into a 120 or 90 gal tank. I knew she wanted it bad. Explaining that others have done so with success, it would be best for the fish to be in a 6' aquarium and that if she wanted one that bad, I could get a 125 standard tank and it would be just about the same water volume, just a different foot print. At first she said that was too big of a tank for our house, but after a few weeks of showing her other tangs and pictures of purple tangs she finally caved and agreed. So I began scouring marketplace for a good deal, knowing I still had to keep my end of the deal where I finish our remodel. A few weeks go by and I find a local guy selling a 180g tank, without a listed price. Now for my current house, a 180g tank was my dream tank so out of curiosity I message him asking for a price, and he says, if you come and get it this weekend and help me move a 210 gal tank then you can have it for $180. o_O So I went right to the boss lady and started begging. She was not happy with me, but hit me with the, we bought this house for us to enjoy our own hobbies but just know that I'm not happy about such a large tank. I'm truly lucking to have such an amazing partner that understands and accepts my hobbies, even if I ended up with a tank that was double the original size we agreed upon. So I borrowed a box truck and some suction cups from work and got a few of my buddies to lend a hand.

When we arrived, I realized that there was a large issue with this tank. This tank wasn't a standard 180gal tank, it was completely custom. Instead of my dream dimensions of 72"x24"x24" it was 72"x18"x30". I thought about it for a minute and decided that for the price, the glass seemed high quality and was scratch free, so I couldn't really complain about the dimensions.. or so I thought. As it sat in my garage over the last few months, I came to the conclusion that a tank that tall and narrow would just be inconvenient and I had a major issue with it. I knew I wouldn't get a rockscape that I would be happy with and I knew that I would hate working in the tank as I'd have to keep a mask and snorkel nearby at all times. So I debated on selling the tank, and after a few days I told myself it was worth starting a new search. I was planning on listing the tank for sale the following day when I came across another thread here on the forums where the OP took apart an existing tank and used the glass to build a tank with different dimensions. What a brilliant idea! This would allow me to use the tank I got for such a great deal and I could try to change the dimensions to something I would actually like! So I spent the rest of the night doing some math seeing what I could end up with. I settled on the largest size that I can get out of the tank without going out and buying more glass.

Whew, I apologize for the long winded intro, but onto the good stuff. So Here is the plan.

Tank:
Tank size will be 72"x30"x18" which is approximately 168gal in volume. I chose this size for a few reasons. Firstly, I would only need to cut one panel down and I'd be able to cut out the existing drilled holes on the back panel. Secondly, this would actually create more useable swimming room for the fish. The height of tank is not really considered swimming room as fish don't generally spend all day swimming up and down, but by converting that height into width, that volume or space is then more useable for the fish. Thirdly, shallower lagoon style tanks are something that I've been in love with ever since I first saw a picture of one. The glass is 3/4" thick which should allow me to go rimless and ditch the black aluminum rims that came with on the tank. The tank will be located in my office which is open to my dinning room which is in the center of my house.

Sump/filtration:
At first I was just going to do a 40gal breeder sump in the stand. Then I thought, well a basement setup would be neat and doable. The fiancé then said no holes in the wall or floors. :confused: A few days later I asked why she wouldn't want the sump in the basement and her response was, if you drill holes in the floor, what are you going to do when we sell the house down the road? I came up with, cover it with a fake floor vent. She did one of these
curb your enthusiasm ok GIF



So now the plan is to have a fish room in the basement with a large sump and attached frag tank. I'm hoping for a total system volume of 250-350 gallons. I will also have my water change station and hospital tanks down there. I have already gone ahead and gotten the fishroom ready to go and painted but I will post pictures tomorrow. I have even gotten a hospital tank up and cycled which I'm currently housing a pair of beautiful blue throat triggers that I just happened across and couldn't pass up. I'm not super worried about QT tanks, as my awesome LFS quarantines all his fish when they come in and he always has powder blues and browns in his tanks without a sign of ICH. I plan on buying all my fish through my LFS which means I don't necessarily need QT tanks, but I will keep a Hospital tank just incase. The sump I'm thinking I will make it out of plywood, pond armor, and acrylic for the baffles. Currently I'm thinking dimensions of 60"x30"x20" and utilizing a wet/dry system to handle minimal rockwork in the display and no rockwork in the frag tank. I also plan on a nice sized refugium in the sump. For a frag tank, I'm thinking of using a standard 45gal frag tank or possibly making my own frag tank in a similar manner to my sump. In which case, I'd probably go fairly large, 48"x30"x12" or something.


Stocking List:
Existing Fish:
Half Naked mocha clown x2
Purple Fire Fish
Scooter Blenny
Blue Throat Trigger x2

Would Like to add:
Purple Tang (Per fiancé's request)
Sailfin Tang
skopas or another zebrosoma tang
Powder Brown or achillies tang
Bristle Tooth Tang
Large school or two small schools of anthias (per fiancé's request)
Sailfin or Starry Blenny (per fiancé's request)
Midas Blenny (Per fiancé's request)
Flame Angel
Swallow Tail, Watanabe, or Bellus Angelfish (some of my personal favorite fish)
Coralbeauty Angel (Per fiancé's request)
A wrasse or two of some sort
probably a goby of some sort
Others I'm sure

I know I probably won't be able to follow my list 100% but I've really just more of a wishlist at this point.


Equipment:

Sump- custom made by me. Currently I'm thinking dimensions of 60"x30"x20" and utilizing a wet/dry system to handle minimal rockwork in the display and no rockwork in the frag tank

Lighting - I'm aiming for mixed reef and with such a wide tank I struggled with this. I was originally going to go with 3 kessil A360x's but I think I'm going to try out 3 Reefi Uno's instead.

Skimmer- I'm would really like an external skimmer like a Reef Octopus 250-EXT but I'm not decided at this point. I might try to find a used Lifereef skimmer. If I had to go internal I wouldn't be opposed as I'll be able to have plenty of room in my sump.

Pump- After doing some math between a DC and AC pump, I decided that the extra cost to run the AC pump was not worth the extra flow that isn't really needed. I can't afford an Abyzz so that pretty much left me with one choice, Sicce pumps. It just so happens that BRS had the Sicce Syncra pumps on sale for black friday and I picked up the Syncra SDC 9.0. Figuring I won't be running a controller for some time, the built in app will be beneficial to me. Plus when I feed, I can pause the pump without having to run downstairs. Also as a bonus, 5 year warranty!

Flow: Not sure, I'm using a Jeabo powerhead on my current tank and I'm happy with it, but I face a dilemma here. My glass is 3/4" thick. So I've been struggling to find any wavemakers that will work with 3/4" glass. I'd love some MP40's or 60's , but that just isn't in the budget. A pair of large gyres may work just fine for me. Likely it will be something I can find for a good price used.





For now though, as agreed upon with the boss lady around here, I must finish my upstairs remodel. Which I've been working hard on over the last few months and I'm finally on the home stretch and I hope to use the upcoming holiday weekend to complete everything. I'll post some pictures tomorrow of the fishroom. For now, just so there is at least one picture, the tank as it sits now.

Resized_20200815_192300.jpeg
 
BRS

kenchilada

Tang Accumulator
View Badges
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
602
Reaction score
906
Location
Mandeville
Great story! I’m in a very similar situation, finishing a remodel and battling my wife. I’m trying to finish and get my kids moved upstairs by xmas! I have a hard time getting the last 10% done.
 
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
Here are some pictures of the fishroom.

It started as a storage room full of crap and a micro rc rock crawler course.

Resized_20201119_202829.jpeg

Resized_20201119_202819.jpeg



Got everything moved and sorted out and this is what I ended up with.

Resized_20201121_205150.jpeg


Then I took a wire brush to get any loose paint off the walls.
Resized_20201121_212328.jpeg


Next, I bought some basement paint at $30 a gallon. I took 3/4 of a gallon to paint one wall with one coat. I didn't need the water barrier as this part of my basement is fairly dry. So I decided for the rest of the room I'd save some money and use some latex paint I had laying around. I had to use a different color for the floor but overall I think it turned out nice.

Resized_20201119_212520 (1).jpeg



Resized_20201126_123454 (1).jpeg


Resized_20201126_123440.jpeg


As mentioned in my first post, I did get my 65 gallon temporary tank setup. I did pick up a pair of blue throat triggers which are currently residing in this tank until the main tank gets set up. I will sill need to run new wiring on a separate breaker for the tank itself.
 
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
Also a super unexpected and exciting update. I had not planned on buying anything this "black Friday." Then I saw the sales and got pulled into them. :rolleyes: Not the most financially responsible decision but the 6 month no interest through paypal is pretty nice. I figured with the money I saved on the sales, I'll be able to pay that balance off while the tank cycles and then I'll be ready for for fish and coral.

So as I mentioned in my first post, I ordered a Sicce Syncra SDC 9.0 for my return pump and in less than 18 hours I got my package from BRS. The box of the pump is almost as big as my current setup!

Resized_20201122_114803.jpeg


Then today, even more excitedly I ordered my lights and skimmer. For lights I'm currently using a Kessil A360X over my 20gal tank and I love it. I was going to use three of the a360x's with T5's for supplement but I didn't really want a huge hood over the tank as it will be rimless. I also didn't want to deal with the extra juice the T5's use also with bulb replacement. Then one day I saw a facebook post about the Reefi Uno. 180watts of power, fully controllable with no need for a module of some sort. With that much power I can easily raise them up and turn them up to meet my par goals, but even when doing so, I don't need to worry about the glare from the leds with the special ReeFlectors. All that for $280 per fixture. Easily a no brainer. So I ordered 3 Reefi Unos today and I can't wait till they get here sometime in December.

For the skimmer, I kept going back and forth. I really liked the idea of an external skimmer, but wasn't too keen on the extra cost involved. I was heavily considering then Reef Octopus Regal 250-Ext or 300-Ext. I looked at the Bashsea Twisted 8-24 as well, but decided that there just wasn't enough information out there to sell me on it. In the end, I decided that I really don't need the recirculating skimmer and I can save some money but still get a really good skimmer with nice features. I ended up ordering a Reef Octopus Regal 300-int. I am worried that this will be oversized since my display is only 160gal. My LFS owner said a 250-int would be the smallest he would recommend and he did recommend I go with a 300-int. In the end I do expect to have 300-400 gallons of water in total and I intent to heavily feed multiple times a day so I think the 300-int will be ok for me.
 
Tommy's Phyto
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
So a bit of an update. I canceled my order for the Reefi lights. I decided the money was best spent else where for now. I did however get my Regal 300-int skimmer in. Man is this thing huge!

Resized_Snapchat-1343253760.jpeg


I also picked up a used Deep Blue 80 Gallon aquarium. There was much discussion with the fiancé about setting that tank up instead of going through with my 180 due to funding. The large costs mainly being lighting, flow, and rock/sand now. In the end, even if it takes a bit longer, I know I would really regret going smaller, especially with the fish that we want to keep. I guess I know what I'll be using for my frag tank at least. But then my fiancé's dad gave me about 60lbs of reef rock from his old tank and a 5gal pale of sand. So now I'm up to 140lbs of rock and I'll just need a bit more sand. I will more than likely pick up some more rock as well, but this will certainly get me started. So that really helped make up my mind that I might as well go big if I've already got everything but pumps for flow and lights. I figure for lights, I can just add to my single A360X as budget allows. I don't have that much coral as it stands now anyways so I don't necessarily need all the lights and with cycling it will be quite a while before transferring everything over.

I took the 60lbs of rock that I received and decided to try the bleach bath method. So I put it all in a container with a 10% bleach and tap water solution and threw in a powerhead and let it soak for 2 weeks. Today I pulled it all out and brushed off each piece, then rinsed with tap water and soaked in water with dechlorinator for an hour, followed by another tap water rinse. The rock is now laid out drying for the next few days to degas. I was thinking of tossing it all back in the container with saltwater to start curing but I would only do so with the 60lbs of rock and not the other 80lbs. The 80lbs is marco reef saver rock that I was planning on breaking up and attempting a NSA style aquascape with. So I would have to cycle that in the tank itself. I'm not sure what the best course of action would be here and welcome any input. Do I start to cycle 60lbs of the rock for the next few weeks, or just wait to cycle it all at once?


My list/plan going forward

January:
Get tank cut down and assembled
Figure out sump design - I will more than likely build a diy sump out of plywood and pondarmor
build stand

February:
Build Sump
Get tank plumbed and running/cycling
purchase powerheads - I'm leaning towards a few Jebao's as I really like my SLW-10 in my 20gal tank and they fit in the budget. I would have to decide between two SLW-30's or two SCP-150M's. In the future I may go with both

March:
Introduce first fish
Purchase two more Kessil A360x's
 

saltyfins

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
164
Reaction score
255
So a bit of an update. I canceled my order for the Reefi lights. I decided the money was best spent else where for now. I did however get my Regal 300-int skimmer in. Man is this thing huge!

Resized_Snapchat-1343253760.jpeg


I also picked up a used Deep Blue 80 Gallon aquarium. There was much discussion with the fiancé about setting that tank up instead of going through with my 180 due to funding. The large costs mainly being lighting, flow, and rock/sand now. In the end, even if it takes a bit longer, I know I would really regret going smaller, especially with the fish that we want to keep. I guess I know what I'll be using for my frag tank at least. But then my fiancé's dad gave me about 60lbs of reef rock from his old tank and a 5gal pale of sand. So now I'm up to 140lbs of rock and I'll just need a bit more sand. I will more than likely pick up some more rock as well, but this will certainly get me started. So that really helped make up my mind that I might as well go big if I've already got everything but pumps for flow and lights. I figure for lights, I can just add to my single A360X as budget allows. I don't have that much coral as it stands now anyways so I don't necessarily need all the lights and with cycling it will be quite a while before transferring everything over.

I took the 60lbs of rock that I received and decided to try the bleach bath method. So I put it all in a container with a 10% bleach and tap water solution and threw in a powerhead and let it soak for 2 weeks. Today I pulled it all out and brushed off each piece, then rinsed with tap water and soaked in water with dechlorinator for an hour, followed by another tap water rinse. The rock is now laid out drying for the next few days to degas. I was thinking of tossing it all back in the container with saltwater to start curing but I would only do so with the 60lbs of rock and not the other 80lbs. The 80lbs is marco reef saver rock that I was planning on breaking up and attempting a NSA style aquascape with. So I would have to cycle that in the tank itself. I'm not sure what the best course of action would be here and welcome any input. Do I start to cycle 60lbs of the rock for the next few weeks, or just wait to cycle it all at once?


My list/plan going forward

January:
Get tank cut down and assembled
Figure out sump design - I will more than likely build a diy sump out of plywood and pondarmor
build stand

February:
Build Sump
Get tank plumbed and running/cycling
purchase powerheads - I'm leaning towards a few Jebao's as I really like my SLW-10 in my 20gal tank and they fit in the budget. I would have to decide between two SLW-30's or two SCP-150M's. In the future I may go with both

March:
Introduce first fish
Purchase two more Kessil A360x's
that's one heck of a skimmer! How many Kessil's are you currently running? asking for a friend ;)
 
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
that's one heck of a skimmer! How many Kessil's are you currently running? asking for a friend ;)
Currently just the single kessil you see in the photo over my 20gal tank. As a start over the new tank, I'll have three total but I may have to add more as the tank matures. I also have a 500w Ice Cap T5 ballast with end caps sitting in the basement if I need more lighting. But honestly, over my 20gal a single light seams to do the trick at 55% max intensity. I'm getting pretty good growth on my SPS and other corals and with room to turn the light up, I think 3 should suffice for a mixed reef.

I'll add a picture of my cali tort when I got it in July 5th and the second photo was Dec 1st and it's got noticeable growth since then.
 

Attachments

  • 20200707_213421.jpg
    20200707_213421.jpg
    91 KB · Views: 9
  • 20201129_210032.jpg
    20201129_210032.jpg
    132.9 KB · Views: 14

saltyfins

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
164
Reaction score
255
Currently just the single kessil you see in the photo over my 20gal tank. As a start over the new tank, I'll have three total but I may have to add more as the tank matures. I also have a 500w Ice Cap T5 ballast with end caps sitting in the basement if I need more lighting. But honestly, over my 20gal a single light seams to do the trick at 55% max intensity. I'm getting pretty good growth on my SPS and other corals and with room to turn the light up, I think 3 should suffice for a mixed reef.

I'll add a picture of my cali tort when I got it in July 5th and the second photo was Dec 1st and it's got noticeable growth since then.
I have 3 on my 125 and someone told me to add another. So that's why I am asking... I am having good growth, except I cannot for the life of me, grow a zoa! Paly's are exploding, duncan as well, so I'm on the fence. I have 2 black boxes, I could also add if I wanted to go bananas:D
 
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
I have 3 on my 125 and someone told me to add another. So that's why I am asking... I am having good growth, except I cannot for the life of me, grow a zoa! Paly's are exploding, duncan as well, so I'm on the fence. I have 2 black boxes, I could also add if I wanted to go bananas:D
In my opinion, three kessil A360x's should be enough light for a 125, especially zoas. I think a lot of people hate on these lights and blame them for their growth issues. In reality I feel that it's almost always water parameters that cause the issues. My LFS owner who is a guru and mentor to me, guided me through a patch of low growth as well. I originally thought it was not enough lighting as well. He said, one coral doing well does not indicate how other types of corals are doing because all corals like different parameters. So I made some adjustments to my water parameters and low and behold, everything was happy again. To add, it's not like my parameters were out of a "normal" range either, but some of my corals just weren't happy with their living conditions anyways.

If you feel that you need more light, instead of another kessil, I'd add one or teo Orphek bars or reef bright bars. I think in the end those will be easier to implement and solve more lighting issues than a 4th kessil.
 

saltyfins

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
164
Reaction score
255
In my opinion, three kessil A360x's should be enough light for a 125, especially zoas. I think a lot of people hate on these lights and blame them for their growth issues. In reality I feel that it's almost always water parameters that cause the issues. My LFS owner who is a guru and mentor to me, guided me through a patch of low growth as well. I originally thought it was not enough lighting as well. He said, one coral doing well does not indicate how other types of corals are doing because all corals like different parameters. So I made some adjustments to my water parameters and low and behold, everything was happy again. To add, it's not like my parameters were out of a "normal" range either, but some of my corals just weren't happy with their living conditions anyways.

If you feel that you need more light, instead of another kessil, I'd add one or teo Orphek bars or reef bright bars. I think in the end those will be easier to implement and solve more lighting issues than a 4th kessil.
that's awesome! I may pick your brain about a few things, one day!
 
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
The wife needs something special for allowing your tank
Don't worry, she got a fully setup crafting room with a few custom pieces I made for her.
 

Attachments

  • 20200529_144219.jpg
    20200529_144219.jpg
    173.2 KB · Views: 9
  • 20201211_220311.jpg
    20201211_220311.jpg
    116.4 KB · Views: 10
  • IMG_1148.jpg
    IMG_1148.jpg
    108.6 KB · Views: 11
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
I picked up about 200lbs of dead rock over the weekend. Two of the rocks ended up being... well rocks? You know, the standard ones you find in a field. Someone must have still put it in their tank as it was defiantly "live" at one point. But that being said, I paid less that $1/lb so it was still a good deal. They are currently soaking in a bleach bath for a week. Then I will transfer all of my rock, about 300 ish pounds, into a RO bath where I'll keep an eye on phosphates. If I start to see elevated levels of phosphates I picked up some lanthanum chloride to deal with that. I'll continue to monitor until I see no phosphate leaching from the rocks.

Resized_20210120_171425.jpeg


Also, I ended up selling the RO Regal 300-int skimmer. I finally came to terms with the fact that it was just too large for my setup. I do have my eye on another skimmer that is more size appropriate and what I actually want. I'll update when I get it.
 
AS
OP
Kodski

Kodski

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
206
Reaction score
120
I finally settled on a sump system that I liked for now. Decided to go the rubbermaid stock bin route. Brought home a 100gal and 50gal stock bins today. Somehow managed to fit both in my VW wagon. They barely fit, had to give them a good shove and out.
ben giroux close call GIF


I was also planning on picking up some other equipment for the tank this week but I saw the AquaSD live sale today and went a tad bit overboard.

fill up love GIF by Target


I was really holding off on a torch coral until I found a decent deal. I refuse to pay $200-$300 for a single head for the gold and dragons soul torches and it seems that's all the LFS ever has. Well one store had some $90 single heads, but they didn't look very good. But AquaSD came in clutch! I snagged a nice two or three headed lighting tips for $55 and a single head of blacklight torch for $33. Hard to pass that deal up! I also threw a few acro's in the cart. Then the fiancé joined in on the fun and we ended up with 3 goniopora's and an alveopora.

So now I'm faced with a new problem. I'm running out of room in my current tank, and FAST! I need to get this big boy up and cycling before my current tank bursts from so much coral!
 

How many tangs (surgeonfish) do you have in your reef tank?

  • 0

    Votes: 89 25.0%
  • 1

    Votes: 63 17.7%
  • 2

    Votes: 66 18.5%
  • 3

    Votes: 53 14.9%
  • 4

    Votes: 27 7.6%
  • 5+

    Votes: 57 16.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 1 0.3%

Online statistics

Members online
2,734
Guests online
7,353
Total visitors
10,087
Custom Request Reef Accessories
Top