Jeff's Dream Build

Murica

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I'm finally at a point where I can get my dream tank/setup! Next fall (2020) or the following spring, I'll be getting an addition done to my house where I'll be able to put two in wall tanks with a large fish room behind it.

It'll start with ordering a 10x3x3 foot custom aquariums.com tank for the reef tank, and then I'll use my current custom aquariums 6x2x30"tall tank as a fowlr. I would love to get a larger fowlr, but #1, with the ridiculous cost of proper reef keeping equipment I need to save all the money I can get and #2, the fowlr will be interesting but the reef will end up being the pride and joy. The tanks will be side by side with a foot gap of drywall in between, and I'm going to raise the fowlr up, so that way the top of both tanks will be level with the fowlr slightly shorter on the bottom.

I've looked at many tank options throughout the years, and gotta say out of all the tanks I've seen, custom aquariums makes a very high quality tank that'll probably last an entire lifetime. I also wanted to go with glass so I don't have to worry about scratches as much, and call me crazy, but I feel like glass is more durable than acrylic, especially with the seams custom aquariums does with the type of bracing they use.

One issue I noticed in my current tank is that there is not enough turnover rate due to the over flow and return hole size, which is due to the size I originally chose (i under estimated). The result of this is constant detritus storms. So with the fowlr, I will be drilling additional holes to make a higher turnover rate which should fix the issue. As for the reef tank, I'll have custom aquariums install two 3600 gph stealth box over flows, then I'll run pvc from those directly to my sump. This should be plenty of water flow and to be honest, with the amount of flow going into the tank, I may not have to invest in any powerheads other than the two gyres I already have.

I currently have about 250-300 pounds of rock, but will probably order around 200-300 pounds more, mostly for my sump. The fowlr will have only around 50-75 pounds of rock while the reef will have much much more. My plan was to make an amazing aquascape in the reef while using reef cement and acrylic rods.

For the reef lighting, I have a 5 foot ati sunpower 5 bulb, and I'm gong to have to order another one. I loved led but after trying the ati, I'll never go back. I use two actinic, four blue plus and two coral plus. I may or may not try a different light combo. For the fowlr I'm just going to try and find a cheap led strip light that has a good color.

Both tanks will be bare bottom not only for less maintenance with the 3 foot height, but also after I went bare bottom I'll never turn back. When I made the switch over, maintenance suddenly became so much easier and nutrient issues were a thing of the past.

Both tanks will have glass tops. I know about gas exchange and I know about the potential light penetration issues.. However keeping them clean isn't as challenging as some people make it sound in my opinion, there's contradicting info about how much light they actually block, and the system will be so large that gas exchange won't be an issue. I also leave a one inch gap of exposed air in my tanks for easy feeding, so some air will be getting out. Having a mesh top for this size of a system in a closed fish room will make the humidity ridiculous. Not to forget the amount of evaporation I'll be dealing with. To help combat humidity, the builder is going to install a ventilation fan to the outside, and if I need to ever supplement this, I'll also put a dehumidifier in the room.

As for the sump.. I currently have a very large (i can't think of the name of the type of plastic, but it's fish safe) plastic stock tank. This works great, but the problem I'm seeing with the plastic tanks is they're very wide. I need to find the plastic equivalent of a galvanized round ended stock tank because they're much narrower and go longer in length. If I can't, then I may just paint the entire stock tank with fish safe rubber sealant. The actual gallons, not model gallons of both display tanks is about 850 gallons, so I would like to make my sump at least 400 gallons, but would prefer to make it 800.

Each display tank will have its over flow connected to a pvc line that will all connect into the same sump chamber. I'll have to figure out a way to slow the water current down some how so all the detritus settles in this chamber, since I will not be using filter socks. The next chamber will contain all my mechanical filtration, heaters, etc. The following chamber will be huge and contain a crap ton of rock to start biological filtration, following a large fuge for nutrient export, then lastly my return pump chamber.

For return pumps, I will be using jebao pumps. Cheap, they work off dc, they're powerful, and they last fairly long. The pumps will be located close to the fuge so that way both tanks will be getting a constant supply of copepods etc.

My builder is going to install a drain, so that way my rodi waste and water change water can simply drain into there.

The entire area will be supported by a steel beam.

I want to make this system as user friendly and automated as possible, so here's what I intend to purchase. Please let me know if you have any other recommendations...




I will not be supplementing two part, but running the calcium reactor below while setting up the apex pumps to do automated water changes. If I ever reach a point where my calcium and alk start dropping, then I'll supplement with 2 part.
 
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Murica

Murica

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Still unsure about this one.. There may be better options out there. I'm going to also be running a hydor external skimmer rated for 300 gallons, so I may be able to get away with a slightly smaller skimmer.



I understand some concerns with the height of the tank, but I've mastered the art of the grabber and I intend to put lower light corals on the bottom, that way I can have a huge variety of different coral.
 
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Luno

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One thing I did, was I found these humidity sensors that come as a switch that will control your extraction fan. It was amazing and worked perfectly, set your desired humidity and works just like a heater or chiller does in the tank, switches on and off as needed. If your gonna do a fish room with exhaust fan, this thing is an absolute great!
Below is the Australian version but I'm sure the states will have their own version
https://www.pureventilation.com.au/product/accessories/wall-mounted-humidity-sensor/
 
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Murica

Murica

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One thing I did, was I found these humidity sensors that come as a switch that will control your extraction fan. It was amazing and worked perfectly, set your desired humidity and works just like a heater or chiller does in the tank, switches on and off as needed. If your gonna do a fish room with exhaust fan, this thing is an absolute great!
Below is the Australian version but I'm sure the states will have their own version
https://www.pureventilation.com.au/product/accessories/wall-mounted-humidity-sensor/
Yeah I think they're called humidistats here. Like I said I want this thing to be as self automated as possible, so I think one of these sensor switches would work great. What's nice about the whole project is that I'm able to build everything from scratch instead of retro fitting everything in. Saves a ton of work and money. That's why I'm starting the thread now instead of later next year, that way I hopefully continue to get great suggestions [emoji3]
 
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Murica

Murica

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Addition centered around an in-wall? Following! What else is the addition being used for?
just a living room and below that, a two car garage.. You know.. Non important stuff [emoji23]. I thought the structural part regarding the weight of the tank was going to be pricey but, since it'll be new construction it barely makes a difference to my bottom line.
 

crusso1993

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For your CaRx and your skimmer, it may be worthwhile to look into Aquarium Engineering products. They are typically a little more expensive but come with a lifetime warranty. Additionally, the owner of the company, Bill Wann, will work directly with you.
 
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Murica

Murica

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Sounds very much like the build I'm planning. What are the advantages of those stealth overflows versus other types?
They're just very low profile and offer a high gallon per hour rating while keeping noise down and prevent clogs/large things being sucked down into the sump. Custom aquariums offer this and they're standard over flow, which is similar to the stealth box, so I figured since I wanted the high gph to just get them instead. They work great, just put them in a low light area of the tank. The only issue I had with them is if gha starts growing on them, it'll restrict flow (as with most over flows).

I'm a diy'er, so I may just drill all the holes myself and make my own bulk heads and return lines to save money. I have you look more into this.

Please share your build as well! I'd love to get pointers from each other.
 
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Murica

Murica

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For your CaRx and your skimmer, it may be worthwhile to look into Aquarium Engineering products. They are typically a little more expensive but come with a lifetime warranty. Additionally, the owner of the company, Bill Wann, will work directly with you.
Thanks for the info. I'll check them out.
 
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Luno

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just a living room and below that, a two car garage.. You know.. Non important stuff [emoji23]. I thought the structural part regarding the weight of the tank was going to be pricey but, since it'll be new construction it barely makes a difference to my bottom line.
That's good news when I built my house and designed it for my 7ft in wall because it was beside the void to the second level but on the ground level I didn't stress. Then structural engineer told me I'd need an extra 8k in structural beams to support the upper level because the tank took away what would have been in the wall. I just pretended that it was a regular building expense to the other half [emoji1]
 
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Murica

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I've been thinking of the tanks, and I couldn't stop thinking about the size difference of the fowlr and reef. If I get two 8'x3x3 instead of the one ten footer, then the price range should be similar if I'm able to sell my current 240 gallon when time comes. Still undecided...
 
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Murica

Murica

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I've been seeing people in the forums sharing multiple issues with the apex system... I have done zero research on it, but I'm curious what peoples experiences on profilux are? Or if there's another controller out there.. If anyone has experiences with apex, profilux, or another brand please share
 
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Murica

Murica

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I'm quickly realizing how much planning needs to go into a large build. I'm glad I'm starting now!

One thing I'm struggling with is to make sure I have all the proper equipment and knowledge to run everything correctly. Calcium reactors for example.. No idea how to set them up and dial them in. I'm sure I'll gain more knowledge as time goes on, but with all the difference of opinions you see on the forums, I just hope everything works out for me in the end. Fortunately I'm on the best reef keeping forums around [emoji12].

Plans are to make an absolute stellar reef tank, so I'm also concerned about micro nutrient control and making sure they're always in check. Fortunately I'll be using the Neptune dos for small but constant auto water changes to hopefully replenish them. I'll probably end up doing periodical icp tests to make sure everything's running smoothly.
 

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In regards to the calcium reactor I know many people use them but it's never been my thing and as we discussed I've had some pretty decent sized tanks mind you the largest "reef tank" I've had was 1500L (roughly 300g for you Americans). And I've always done balling or randies. I'm with you I wouldn't have a clue about running a calcium reactor. I know ongoing costs can be an issue with larger tanks but buying bulk it really doesn't cost much ongoing and I feel more confident in a good quality doser.
 

Luno

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Also I have it some thought and for me the height difference would bother me too much if I was you. I would get two tanks made the same height especially if they are side by side in the wall. If it was on different walls it wouldn't bother me as much but with all your doing I think you'll kick yourself later if you don't do it right
 
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Murica

Murica

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In regards to the calcium reactor I know many people use them but it's never been my thing and as we discussed I've had some pretty decent sized tanks mind you the largest "reef tank" I've had was 1500L (roughly 300g for you Americans). And I've always done balling or randies. I'm with you I wouldn't have a clue about running a calcium reactor. I know ongoing costs can be an issue with larger tanks but buying bulk it really doesn't cost much ongoing and I feel more confident in a good quality doser.
The only thing with dosing is that I hear calcium reactors provide magnesium and other elements back until the tank. Do you use triton? How to you put your trace elements back? Do you think small water changes would be sufficient enough? I was planning on swapping out 100 gallons a month (that'll give me two months of water changes per box of io salt).
 

Luno

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The only thing with dosing is that I hear calcium reactors provide magnesium and other elements back until the tank. Do you use triton? How to you put your trace elements back? Do you think small water changes would be sufficient enough? I was planning on swapping out 100 gallons a month (that'll give me two months of water changes per box of io salt).
If you follow randies you add magnesium with that obviously. I actually brought this up with randy here once before and I think from memory it was in regard to auto water change swapping say an overall of 10% weekly but doing it automated over even increments throughout the day. And I'm fairly certain he said that would cover most trace elements just fine.

I did a while ago start doing a triton test every 3 months just for my own neurotic knowledge but nothing has been too crazy in the ones I've had done so far but if anything is out I will know!
 
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Murica

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Also I have it some thought and for me the height difference would bother me too much if I was you. I would get two tanks made the same height especially if they are side by side in the wall. If it was on different walls it wouldn't bother me as much but with all your doing I think you'll kick yourself later if you don't do it right
I need to figure out how I can do it work.. My budget is 15k, so if I get the two tanks I'll be limited with what I can get for equipment. Two 10 foot, or even 8 foot tanks side by side would look amazing, but it would be at the cost of the reef. I feel like no matter what you do in this hobby, if you just spend a little more you can get (fill in space) haha it's a tough decision.
 
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