I’m fairly new here, I already started a build thread, but it's very unorganized and I made a lot of changes, so I decided to start a new official thread to organize the process.
My journey begins a few weeks ago, I found a nice used 180-gallon aquarium then that deal didn’t work out. Afterward, I found a 220 and a 265, both didn’t pan out as well. So I was fed up at that point, most of these sellers are asking way too much for their Marineland/Aqueon aquariums. In all fairness, the 220 was a custom, but I hated the built-in overflow on it so I backed out of that deal. So at that point I was fed up, I decided to buy a new tank instead. I emailed the company I bought my equipment off of and told them the situation and how I’d consider a brand new tank for a really good deal. To my surprise the sales rep told me “We really appreciate the business, so we’re going to hook you up”. I was immediately intrigued, then excited when he told me what he’s hooking me up with. He offered me a brand new Innovative Marine 200 INT tank and stand for $3500 CAD including tax & shipping (around $2700.00 USD for you Americans, eh!). As you can imagine my Jaw dropped, I’m assuming he’s giving it to me close to cost, so I agreed. So now I have a new IM 200-gallon INT aquarium and stand. After breaking the bank, I’ve officially purchased everything (list of equipment below) I just need to wait for everything to be delivered, so let’s move on to the plan.
In my opinion the biggest downside to a reef aquarium is doing regular water changes, It’s a pricey, laborious, time and space consuming process. So the plan is to build a system that doesn’t need water changes. To achieve this end, I plan to dose (triton) at first then transition to a calcium reactor, use Chaeto, and Marine Pure Blocks, and a RO 300SSS skimmer. The size of branded sumps is honestly a joke for the cost, so I decided to build a three-stage sump as shown figure 1 below. The sump will consist of a single 27-gallon cube for the skimmer and a 75 gallon for the Cheato, marinepure blocks and the return. It’s nothing fancy, but it should get the job done at the fraction of the cost of a triton sump. This design is meant to allow for flow to go under the Chaeto rotating it. If that doesn’t rotate the Chaeto enough I’ll just put a small wave maker in there. However, I doubt it will be an issue. To deal with evaporation the plan is to place a 20-gallon brute bucket filled with RO/DI water next to the tank and let the Tunze top off unit do its thing. In regards to emergency water changes, the plan is to run a dosing tube from a 55-gallon brute container (inside the laundry room) filled with pre-mixed saltwater into the tank and run another dosing tube into the drain. Then I’ll use my doser to do the water change for me. A key factor to the plan is patience, so I won’t add any corals until the tank has “matured”, so probably around the 12-month mark. We’ll see how the coralline algae and parameters look then. However, when I do add corals I’ll begin with LPS corals, and then add SPS corals. To aquascape, the plan is to use a hammer, chisel, 40 lbs. of CaribSea Flatrock, 40 lbs. of CaribSea base rock, 60 lbs. of Marco Reefsaver rock, and 500mL of AquaMaxx Reef Welder Epoxy Glue. I’m going to go for an NSA aquascape design, I’ll post pics once it’s done. After I place the aquascaped rock work in the tank, I’ll place CaribSea Arag live sand around the rock work. To cycle, I’ll be using Fritz Turbo Start. After the cycle is complete it will finally be time for the first addition. Now let’s take a look at the equipment followed by the planned livestock, and then the introduction order.
1 Innovative Marine NUVO INT 200-gallon aquarium with APS stand
2 Tuna Blue Kessil A360’s
2 AI SOL Blue (older version)
2 Jebao DP-4 Auto Dosing Pump (one for water changes)
3 400W Marineland Heaters (one back up)
1 AI Prime Fuge
1 Reef Ocotpus Regal 300SSS
2 Jebao SDW-16
1 Neptune apex lite system with pH and Temp probes
1 Tunze Water Level Controller
1 Jebao DCP-20000 Return Pump
1 Eheim 1262 900 GPH (back up return)
1 Spectrepure 5 stage RO/DI unit with a built-in TDS meter
1 40-watt Aqua Ultraviolet UV Sterilizer
1 Sybon Refractometer
1 75-gallon standard + 27-gallon cube sump/refugium
2 Aqua illumination HMS Single Arm Kits
2 Kessil Mounting Arm KIts
1 API Reef Master Test Kit (includes calcium, carbonate hardness, phosphate and nitrate test kits)
1 API pH Test Kit
1 API Ammonia Test Kit
1 API Nitrite Test Kit
1 Hanna Alk/Calcium Checker
- Yellow Tang
- Blue Tang
- Kole Yellow Eye Tang
- Whitecheek Tang
- Yellow Wrasse
- Ornate Leopard Wrasse
- Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse
- Black & White Ocellaris Clownfish
- Ocellaris Clownfish
- Midas Blenny
- Two Neon Gobies
- Bluethroat Triggerfish m/f Pair
- Three Princess Anthias
- Purple Short Spine Urchin
- Red Sponge
- 2 Fireshrimp
- 17 Astraea Turbo Snails
- 22 hermit crabs
- Candy Cane Coral
- Colored/Orange Open Brain Coral
- Orange Short Tentacle Plate Coral
- Brain Corals: Favites, Lophyllia, Wellso Folded, Green with Red Eyes, Australian Versiopora Pineapple, Orange & Green, Australian Alien Moon, Australian Red & Green,
- Bubble Coral, Pearl
- Pinwheel Plate Coral
- Yellow/Orange/Black Tube Corals
- Australian Doughnut Coral
- Button Coral, Cynarina
- Australian Scolymia Corals: Red, Super Red, Neon Green
- Big Polyp Blastomussa Coral
- Rainbow Lordhowensis Coral
- Hammer corals
- Acropora nobilis
- Stylophora Coral
- Millepora Acropora
- Acropora loripes
- Montipora Capricornis Coral (blue/green/orange)
- Acropora parilis
- Acropora cerealis
- Green Spaghetti Finger Leather Coral
Livestock Introduction Order
After Cycle: Midas Blenny, Chaeto.
One Month Later: Both Clownfish, one Turbo Snail and two Blue Legged Hermit Crabs
Two Months: Ornate Leopard Wrasse, one Turbo Snail and two Blue Legged Hermit Crabs
Three Months: Yellow Wrasse, Emerald Crab, two Turbo Snails, and three Blue Legged Hermit Crabs.
Four Months: Cleaner Wrasse, Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse, Purple Short Spine Urchin, three Turbo Snails, and three Blue Legged Hermit Crabs.
Five Months: Three Princess Anthias, two Red Fire Shrimp, three Turbo Snails, and three Blue Legged Hermit Crabs .
Six Months: Bluethroat Triggerfish Pair, three Turbo Snails, and four Blue Legged Hermit Crabs.
Eight Months: Blue Tang, Whitecheek Tang, Yellow Tang, Yellow Eye Cole Tang, four Turbo Snails, and four Blue Legged Hermit Crabs.
I want my fish to be fat and healthy, so I plan to feed 4-6 times a day. I also don’t want to spend a fortune on frozen foods so I figured why not make a frozen blend instead? After doing some reading on the forum, the recipe and instructions I came up with are as follows.
|Fish Food Recipe Ingredients|
|Fresh Salmon||2 lbs.|
|Fresh Tuna||1 lbs.|
|Fresh Shrimp||2 lbs.|
|Frozen Copepods||1/4 lbs.|
|PE Frozen Mysis Shrimp||2.5 lbs.|
|Herbivore frenzy||1/2 lbs.|
|DrTim’s Probiotic Bacteria||4 oz.|
|Spirulina Powder||5 oz.|
|Coral Frenzy Powder||8 oz.|
|Shredded Garlic||4 oz.|
Note I’ll do this in the garage or in the backyard because I don’t want my house to smell like the local fish market.
What do I need to make the food?
- Something to mix the food in, a bucket or a big bowl would work.
- Food Processor
- Cheese Grater
- Cutting board
- 5 Ice trays
- 4 Tupperware’s
- Put the fresh tuna and salmon in the freezer.
- Next, open the mussels and put the undigested remnants in a Tupperware. Close the Tupperware and throw it in the freezer.
- Clean the shrimp, then throw it in a Tupperware, close it, and then put it in the freezer.
- Finely dice the spinach to bite-sized pieces, then place them a Tupperware and put it in the fridge.
- Next Pluck out the broccoli’s florets, finely dice them, then place them in the same Tupperware you place the diced spinach.
- Now grab your cheese grater and grate four ounces of garlic and then put it in the same Tupperware you placed the spinach and broccoli florets.
- Close the Tupperware and put it in the fridge
- Wait 24 hours for everything to freeze.
- After 24 hours, get a stack of 5 seaweed sheets and use scissors to cut them into small bite-sized pieces.
- Repeat step 8 for the remaining 45 sheets, then place the diced seaweed in a mixing bowl.
- Then go grab the Tupperware filled with diced veggies, processed shrimp, and put it in the same mixing bowl you put the
- Afterward, grab the Tupperware of undigested mussel remnants from the freezer and use the cheese grater to grate them over the cutting board.
- Now finely dice the grated remnant into bite-sized pieces, then place it in the mixing bowl.
- Repeat steps 12 and 13 for the shrimp, tuna, salmon, frozen copepods, frozen Mysis, and herbivore frenzy.
- Next measure 8 oz. of coral frenzy powder and throw it in the mixing bowl.
- Measure 5 oz. of Spirulina Powder and throw it in the mixing bowl.
- Measure 4 oz. of Probiotic Bacteria and throw it in the mixing bowl.
- Next mix everything; I suggest you use some gloves and your hands.
- Afterward, take the mixture and put it into Ice trays to make cubes. (cubes are optional, could also be placed as is in an airtight container).
- Put the trays in the freezer and wait 24 hours.
- Finally, the next day take the cubes out of the tray and put them in an airtight container and back into the freezer.
Required Equipment and Why I Haven’t Got Them Yet
- Two Tuna Blue Kessil A360’s
- Reef Octopus CR3000D7” Calcium Reactor
- Aquarium Plant Life CO2 Regulator
- Reborn Calcium Reactor Media
- Milwaukee pH controller
I want Acropora’s, so I’ll need two more Kessil’s, but I’m going to hold off on the Kessil’s until I actually get corals. Putting any more lights on the tank now is just a waste of electricity. I’m also holding off on the calcium reactor for the same reason as the lights, but also because I have no idea how to use a calcium reactor.
The Pictures?Once the equipment is delivered I’ll take pictures of everything out of the shipping boxes, then pictures as I set everything up.
My Level of ExpertiseI’m honestly an amateur, I have approximately one and a half years of experience with saltwater aquariums. Hopefully many more years to come.