IM 100gal EXT journey

jpnegrete14

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Lots of pics and lessons learned! It's a long prelude, but just posting the current setup wouldn't do this build justice. Only a community of dedicated reefers could appreciate a story like this. I'm excited to share the journey with y'all!

In order for this timeline to make sense you first need to know that I ship out for weeks sometimes a month at a time and my amazing fiancé takes care of feeding the fish and any other task such as emptying the skimmer cup etc. while I'm gone. Basically she's the best but she's really not into the hobby like myself. I spearhead everything else and take over the daily task once I'm back.

The journey begins with ordering the tank October 2020 and a whole bunch of equipment during black Friday 2020. I receive my 100gal ext from innovative marine in November. Open the crate day of and inspect it. At the time I thought I did a thorough inspection, which I would come to find out many months later that in fact I did a poor job inspecting it (enter suspense ;Wideyed)

I go on to build the stand, get most of the equipment labeled and mounted. I order my fish from marine collectors knowing it takes some time for sourcing, QT and shipping. So I'm humming along. Time line for setting up the tank, cycling and fish are looking good.

Finally, the day comes to move the tank onto the stand and start plumbing. This whole time its been wrapped up in a little bit of the packaging I hadn't removed during inspection. I didn't want it to get scratched while sitting in my garage so I left it that way. I go to remove everything and discover a deep crack in the bottom right corner where a bunch of seams met and ran through the bottom panel. NOT GOOD. This is months after I had received it, because I had already gone back and forth to work many times.

I call IM they give me a discount for a new tank (couldn't get a full refund because of timeline) They tell me it wont be ready till May (it's February at this point). I setup a temporary 40gal breeder because my fish are arriving soon and I have no home for them. Marine Collectors worked with me and held onto them for as long as they could which I'm grateful for. So I got my negative scape done and my 40gal up and running in anticipation of the fish arriving soon when IM calls me and says, "hey we can send you a tank tomorrow." This is like 2 months earlier then they had said which was great. The 100gal arrives the day before I ship out so I have no time to plumb it but the fish are still on their way. I cant shake the worry of tangs in a 40gal even temporarily. I break down the 40gal. I get the 100gal on the stand, put water in it, and throw a HOB filter, heater, powerheads, and ATO.

Fish arrive while I'm at work. Everyone's healthy and beautiful. Hats off to Marine Collectors. I come back and plumb the tank while it's on the stand with water and fish. Less than ideal, but with a little determination and some luck it worked out!

So here are my top three lessons learned.
  1. Don't give up! I wanted to quit this build so many times. I felt incredibly defeated, frustrated and upset with myself. But once it was all said and done I'm incredibly happy I didn't throw in the towel. Loving this build and I'm just now scratching the surface with it!
  2. Do a THOROUGH inspection of the tank that same day! A little packaging I didn't remove way down in the corner turned into a nightmare.
  3. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Ordering the fish way beforehand that would have only worked with nothing going wrong and a perfect timeline is NOT a good approach. Looking back I was depending on a lot of things just working out perfectly and being shipped on time and most of them did except for the giant curveball that threw everything out of whack.

Finally! On to the fun part ;Happy the build! Plan is mixed reef using the triton method. Sand bottom. Dry rock. Mostly hard plumbed with the exception of the return pump and chiller. Return pump-->chiller-->tank

Equipment
  • 36gal triton method sump from synergy reef
  • reef octopus 150 int 6 protein skimmer
  • reef octopus varios 8 return pump
  • 2 eheim 150w heaters
  • Running apex with 2 EB8 power strips, 2 DOS pumps, head unit, and typical probes
  • JBJ 1/4hp chiller
  • Tunze submersible refugium light
  • 2 Kessil AP9X
  • 2 Red Sea gyre 25
  • filter socks (plan on changing to filter pad in baffle between protein skimmer and return and put in a media cup for carbon instead of filter socks)
Fish
  • Pair Helfrichi Firefish
  • Rhomboid Wrasse
  • Pin Tail Fairy wrasse
  • 3 Bimaculatus Anthias
  • Bella Goby
  • Yellow Tang
  • Kole Tang
  • Blue Hippo Tang
  • Clowns
  • Banggai Cardinal
  • Currently housing pair of Lemonpeel angels that are going to be moved before introducing corals
I’ve been in this hobby since I was 15yrs old and almost 16yrs later I still love it. Looking forward to updating you guys on the progression of this 100gal. Happy reefing!

IMG_8648.jpg IMG_8657.jpg IMG_8665.jpg IMG_8673.jpg IMG_8687.jpg IMG_7845.jpg IMG_7851.jpg IMG_7864.jpg IMG_7880.jpg IMG_8836-1.jpg IMG_8842.jpg IMG_8840.jpg IMG_8880.jpg IMG_9119.jpg IMG_9126.jpg IMG_9242.jpg IMG_8653.jpg IMG_8658.jpg IMG_9337.jpg IMG_9342.jpg IMG_9347.jpg IMG_9352.jpg IMG_9366.jpg IMG_9372.jpg IMG_9389.jpg IMG_9377.jpg IMG_9370.jpg IMG_9383.jpg
 
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jpnegrete14

jpnegrete14

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Very nice build! Following :)
Really appreciate it! I know my long prelude has scared people away from even reading it, but I just couldn't not tell the entire story. Lots of hard lessons that might save someone else from doing the same.
 
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jpnegrete14

jpnegrete14

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Thank you! Labeling all the wires has come in handy countless times now ;Happy

Yea it will be. I’m leaning toward the MP40 since I own the battery backup from an old MP10. Do you think the reef wave 45 would be an overkill on this tank with the sand?
 

LukasEragon

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Really awesome build! Sorry about the shipping issues . Plumbing and sump look great. I never thought about using to AP9X'S! I'm really curious to know how those work out for you over time because the shimmer is awesome. I like that you designed the wire management into the top portion of the stand, but can you still get to things?

Take a moment to check out my 100 EXT build as well! Thanks!
 
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jpnegrete14

jpnegrete14

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Really awesome build! Sorry about the shipping issues . Plumbing and sump look great. I never thought about using to AP9X'S! I'm really curious to know how those work out for you over time because the shimmer is awesome. I like that you designed the wire management into the top portion of the stand, but can you still get to things?

Take a moment to check out my 100 EXT build as well! Thanks!
Thank you! Sorry about the late reply. So far the AP9X's are working out very well. I have a few LPS and soft corals that are really taking to it well. The shimmer and overall look of the tank and fish is very nice.

The equipment on the top shelf has also worked out very well. I do suggest anyone that goes this route to label every cord and power block. I would suggest this no matter what but it's especially important with this setup with the limited visibility to cords. Another key thing is making sure the shelf is high enough to do maintenance in your sump like taking out the protein skimmer but also low enough to remove whatever the biggest thing up there is. For me it's the DOS or MP40 battery backup. What I would have done differently is place a shelf bracket attached to my wall then to the bottom of the shelf since it is already starting to bow in the middle.

I just saw your impressive build @LukasEragon so I know you're not as concerned with the shelf setup but i figured anyone reading this can leave with something actionable. Happy reefing.
 

LukasEragon

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Thank you! Sorry about the late reply. So far the AP9X's are working out very well. I have a few LPS and soft corals that are really taking to it well. The shimmer and overall look of the tank and fish is very nice.

The equipment on the top shelf has also worked out very well. I do suggest anyone that goes this route to label every cord and power block. I would suggest this no matter what but it's especially important with this setup with the limited visibility to cords. Another key thing is making sure the shelf is high enough to do maintenance in your sump like taking out the protein skimmer but also low enough to remove whatever the biggest thing up there is. For me it's the DOS or MP40 battery backup. What I would have done differently is place a shelf bracket attached to my wall then to the bottom of the shelf since it is already starting to bow in the middle.

I just saw your impressive build @LukasEragon so I know you're not as concerned with the shelf setup but i figured anyone reading this can leave with something actionable. Happy reefing.
Yeah for sure, your shelf design is a great idea for anyone using the IM stand.
 
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jpnegrete14

jpnegrete14

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Great story and nice looking tank.

I'm surprised you need a chiller. Those were usually needed due to metal halides.
Honestly I'm not sure if its an overkill or not because I haven't had this tank up in the middle of Houston's hottest months so will see. I know my chiller was constantly kicking on for my 45gal during the summer in the same exact spot(the 100gal took it's spot) We leave the A/C off when were not home so I know that caused my chiller to turn on for the 45gal a lot during summer.
 
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jpnegrete14

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Here is a pic heavy update :cool: Soooo I finally have some good skimming production which of course no one except other reefers can appreciate. Since we're talking fish pee and dodo;Hilarious Moved the gyre pumps to the back wall and added an MP40 to the side panel. Jury is still out on that.

Finally came up with a more permanent solution to the screen top. Basically ran the frame as far back as I could. Which was to the light mounts and then extended the netting all the way to the back which was easy to cut around for any equipment. It's not perfect but it seems to do the trick. Also, added neat aquatic feeding portals to each end.Highly recommend. Incredibly convenient to not have to take off the entire screen top every time I feed.

Added some LPS, pintail and rhomboid wrasse, 3 bimac anthias, and pair of helfrichi firefish. Used acclimation box for wrasses which worked out well. Since the tangs were introduced first (was the opposite of the plan but just worked out that way) I left a big portion of the tank with no rock and then the day of introducing the new more peaceful fish I added about 20lbs of dry rock creating much more habitat which I believe really help calm things down. There was only the expected aggression no persistent targeting of one fish. Pretty happy with how the plan worked out. Oh and lemonpeel has been a model citizen as far as corals!;Happy
 

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