Joshua's Tiki Tank, 100 Gallon Semi-Shallow

Tiki Reef Joshua

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Aloha reefers and fellow travelers. This is the Tiki Tank build thread. The build is complete for the most part so a few future details aside I will post everything up. I will use separate posts for reference ability should there be questions or comments.

Me - Tiki obsessed 41 year old guy from Northern Virginia. I'm a firefighter with a 3 kids and an "out of my league" wife. I enjoy reefing, jujitsu, Toyotas (especially my FJ), and building stuff.

The Tiki Tank - I wanted this to be a fun tank. A lot of people go for super natural, or region suspific, or sleek and modern... not this time. I wanted to do a fun tank, with fun fish and eye catching corals. Nothing wrong with all the other stuff at all, but this build is all about a good time.

This is my 4th saltwater tank, and 3rd reef tank. I will do my best to detail everything I did on this one to make it work well for me so far. We will go through:

Water
Mixing Station
Tank choice
Stand build
Sump and Maintenance Plumbing
My cycling process
Lighting, Flow, Etc....
Stock list

Here is where we are today:
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I will Post a ton of better up close coral and fish pictures as we go....
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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Let's start with water. Water is everything right? Well, I'm on super hard well water.... so, here is what I run for my house. This is everything PRE-RODI....

After the pressure tank the water goes into the pre-filter / neutralizer tank. The minerals in the first tank bond to the water and drive up the PH, then it goes into the second tank where it picks up the softening salt (I use crystals). Then it hits a 20" 1 micron filter and then a 20" carbon block. After that it goes through a UV light to kill any nasties before we shower with it or whatever...

So that is the basics of my day to day water before we go into reef mode....

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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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RODI

There are things I think are paramount, and there are things I think just aren't... for me. An example of the later is UV on a reef tank. It just isn't for me. But ONE THING I think makes a massive difference is using 0 TDS RODI water. I am a big believer that making your own high quality water is the starting point for success.

I have an old off brand RODI frame I got cheap from someone in my reefing club. The filters are (for now)... 5 micron sediment, 2 side by side BRS 1 micron carbon blocks (removes more than chlorine which I don't worry about as much due to well water). It goes through a high quality RO membrane and then into my SPECTRAPURE:cool: DI housing. I think Spectrapure is the gold standard and I recommend their products to anyone. I sometimes use the silicate buster but am currently loaded up with their mixed resin in both cartridges. This is all powered by an aquatec pump set at 80 PSI. I am at about 180 TDS in, on average, and 2 TDS post RO membrane (sometimes 1), and of course 0 TDS post DI resign. It is a Frankenstein system for sure, but it works great for me. I always FLUSH pre and post water production. The unit is mounted over my slop sink next to the garage.

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Which takes us to.........
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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The garage!

Here is my mixing station. Due to space requirements it is in the garage. It starts immediately next to the RODI on the other side of the wall. I build it with 2 - 50 gallon brutes. I like the 50 gallon Brutes because it will also serve as an emergency catastrophe solution. If something goes apocalyptic with the tank I can quickly use both cans as storage for livestock etc... We are going to hope that never happens, but at least the emergency box is checked....

Aside from the Brutes, this was all made with spare stuff I had laying around.

The RODI line runs to a a float shut off valve in the top can. The platform is high enough to gravity feed the salt mixing bin below. Piped in is a valve to get RODI when I want from the top bin before it is perverted with salt mix. This way I can get some ATO water or cleaning water, or whatever...

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Like I said... Nothing pretty. Mostly built from spare parts. I went with a side by side design so its easy to access both cans for cleaning and maintenance.

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The pump acts as a water circulator as seen (cap with holes drilled in), or when valves are turned it pumps to either a 1/2" hose outlet for filling buckets if I want, or whatever might be needed OR.... a separate valve sends the water to my sump inside (more on that later) for "bucket-less" maintenance and water changes...

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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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Ok..... fun stuff. Let’s back up and get off of water temporarily and talk tank.

I went with SC Aquarium 100 gallon “shallowish” for the display tank.

48 inches long
24 inches wide
20 inches high (probably about 17 to water line)

Eurobracing was a requirement for me. I am team eurobrace for sure. On this build there is a canopy so the pros of it win out over aesthetics.

The tank is Starphire glass on the 3 viewing sides
and I will say the seams looked GREAT when it arrived. Silicone was better than expected. I planned on covering all the corners with trim so I wasn’t worried about seam aesthetics, but it doesn’t matter... they look fantastic. I believe SCA tanks are the best for the price out there. The customer service was great and it was shipped free and packaged well. I have previously had IM and DIY aqueon... loving the SCA so far. I will discuss plumbing later.

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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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So.... the stand

The stand is the real character of tank. I definitely wanted to build it myself. I had a vision of what I wanted and how it would fit in my very tiki den.

I basically wanted a tiki bar. Some elements came together well, and some needed revisions.

A beer / drink rail was mandatory. I also needed some way to bumper drinks from the glass... but let’s start with the frame, which I built before the tanks arrival after getting the exact measurements from SCA including the overflow dimensions.

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Here is the 2x4 frame which is screwed and glued
*Bonus* blue tote cycling rocks!

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Trying to size beer rail.

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Overflow plumbing cut in.

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Frame coated with KILLZ for moisture protection and solid maple 3/4” plywood top polyurethaned about 5 coats.

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Somehow got it inside in the den. I don’t know how. The top literally was scraping the door frames. I got very lucky on that measurement! Ha.
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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Skinning the stand was the bread and butter of the design. The goal was to affix carbonized bamboo halves to the sides and doors. After cutting and gluing with liquid nails the bamboo slats were polyurethaned with several coats...

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The idea was to trim everything out with FAKE manilla rope so the entire design looked flush and clean. I used synthetic rope for durability and because moisture can make manilla rope shrink and expand which could damage the stand or tank. The synthetic rope looks great, feels great, and won't really fluctuate with water contact. Eurobracing keeps all that to a minimum though... I had to CAREFULLY trim nail it all the way around every few inches. It is installed at the floor, under table top, and at tank base covering the seam and making the tank look like it is actually part of the construction.

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I cut bamboo poles in a "C channel" fashion and just clipped them to the top to finish the drink rail. The rope acts as a bumper to protect the tank glass.

Because I didn't go crazy and lash the bamboo rail together with rope I had to deal with ugly openings that showed the plywood and just looked unfinished. My wife recommended Hawaiian style floral hair clips as end caps. Perfect solution. One of may favorite details. It was a $12 solution to a real perplexing problem.
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

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The Sump

The sump is a Ruby Trigger 36" (35 gallons). I wanted the biggest sump I could fit. I got it used (as I got a lot of things) off of a member of my reefing club. It fits my needs very well. It is sitting on plywood overtop the stand support bracing, but the plywood is cut short and not flush. This allows a water overflow emergency to run over the side and down a few hole drilled underneath the stand. It would flow down into the utility room of the basement mostly, and in theory. Not a perfect solution, but an added level of emergency preparedness and damage minimization.

Here is a picture of the start of the sump area... I run a Herbie style overflow... always and forever. Dead quiet, easy to tune, super simple. There are several unions and shutoffs all over for disconnection and maintenance. I put on hanging straps (plastic) incase I bump something or whatever... I don't want too much pressure on the bulkheads to avoid cracking.

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I will explain everything in the picture above from left to right:

On the left there is a quickly made mounting board for all the electronics. The gyre controller, Vectra controller, Ranco heater controller which I wired up, and power strip #1. None of the wires below the plywood (where water would overflow in a major catastrophe) are at their connection points. All the connection points are above where water would settle. Above that is a shelf for the Bubble Magnus Doser... used from a fellow club member.

Compartment 1 is my oversized cadlights skimmer, gotten for free from a friend. Very quiet, works great, barely fits. Behind it are the socks and behind them is the Ranco temperature probe, sealed in plastic tubing.

Compartment 2 is media and heaters. It is just spheres from my old system, two finnex heaters, and a bag of carbon... super simple.

Compartment 3 is filter pad, Vectra M1 return pump, dosing tube holder, and Tunze Osmolator which I also got used for this build.

Dosing containers are in the back... Just BRS soda ash and calcium chloride...

On the right support leg is power strip #2 which has timer control for the T5 portion of my hybrid lighting, and plugs for the 3 old style AI prime HDs which I run on their own schedule with ramp up and ramp down.

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This is the last element of the sump area... The tube on the left is a drain which runs down to the basement and outside into the woods. It is my water change drain. I siphon (while cleaning substrate) 10 gallons bi-weekly. I just shove the siphon tube down the pipe and thats it... no buckets. The tube on the right is connected through basement (running the joists) to the water mixing station shown in an earlier post. So for water changes I just siphon out some and fill her right back up. No buckets. Easy. I have a piece of PVC pipe laying in the sump area which shows the markings of 5, 10, and 15 gallons when put against the display glass. I pre-measured all that in the first water change so it's pretty exact.
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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Cycling...

My approach to cycling is pretty simple, use as much live rock as possible and use live, heavily rinsed sand. I transferred all the rock and life from my well established 30 long and 10 gallon nano. The rest of the rock was obtained through a friend in my local reefing club. It was just sitting in his basement, so I threw it in a tote, threw in a few spheres from my old system, tossed in a bottle of Dr. Tim's, and added water change water from both our systems and a cheap powerhead. I let the rock cycle in my garage for a little over a month. Every once in a while I threw in some ammonia when I thought about it. When it was time to aquascape I just took it out and used a dremmel, apoxy, superglue gel, then I put it back in. It only took a few hours so the bacteria was fine. I don't do the whole bleaching rock thing... Never saw the need.

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As stated, I rinsed the substrate (Live Tropic Eaden mesoflakes) until crystal clear. Then I threw everything in and let the tank break in for a week before adding all my older rock and livestock from the other systems.
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

Tiki Reef Joshua

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Lighting is 48" Aquatic Life Hybrid. I currently run (front to back) Actinic, Blue plus, Coral Plus, Blue Plus... I may experiment with Purple Plus later though... I only run the T5s for 6 hours at peak schedule.

I also run 3 AI primes on the AB+ comparable spectrum, with a longer ramp up and ramp down, and I run the lunar effect (old style prime HDs). They were from my old 30 long, and one I got used right here on R2R.

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Flow is handled by the Vectra M1 cranked up to 8, and 2 Maxpect Gyre 330s on opposite ends of the tank..
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

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Stocklist:

Some of this is from my old setup(s) and some is new. The smaller stuff is obviously older...

Current

Yellow Tang
Tomini Tang
1 Clown
Tangoran Goby
Warpaint Goby (green clown goby)
Diamond Goby
Helfrichi Firefish
Yellow Coris Wrasse
Sixline Wrasse

Cleaner shrimp
Tiger Conch
Maxima Clam
Various hermits and snails

Future additions

Leopard Wrasse

Thats it... That is where I will cap it....
 
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Tiki Reef Joshua

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I forgot to mention... I built the canopy from 1/2” plywood with piano hinges and woven bamboo matting. It gives it that finished tiki bar look. I tried thatched roofing but it didn’t look good and was too distracting to the eye.

Thanks for looking everyone!

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Do you have a frag tank, frag rack or some other place for coral frags currently?

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