Kate's Waterbox 190.5 Build

KatesReef13

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Hi All!

After introducing myself in the Meet and Greet area a few people suggested I start a build thread. I've never done one of these before so hopefully it goes well.

Here are the details/timeline so far, I'll break this up into maybe a couple of posts so it's not crazy long haha:
In October 2019 I started cycling about 100lbs Marco Dry Rock in Brute trashcan with a heater, powerhead, and airstone. I used Dr. Tim's One & Only and Ammonium Chloride for a fishless cycle. I also threw in some GFO as I heard that phosphates could be a problem when using this rock. It took about 6 weeks to completely cycle in that trashcan, but at that time it was really hard to find the Waterbox that I wanted, so I hadn't even ordered the tank yet. I kept the bacteria alive by adding the ammonium chloride every few days or so after testing.

While waiting I also had my contractor come out to my house and reinforce the floor to support the tank. He also ran some conduit under my crawlspace from the tank to the garage where I have my saltwater mixing station set up so I could run some lines. He installed a dedicated circuit for the tank stuff on a GFI outlet and put the reset switch in the garage so it was easy to hit if needed.

Finally in mid-December LiveAquaria got some Waterbox stock in and I placed the order! I thought it was going to take several weeks before it would show up, but I got a call from UPS Freight that they would be delivering it on December 31st!
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One thing to note, I was really worried about getting this into my garage. I don't have a lot of friends that I could call to just help me with almost a ton of aquarium stuff lol. But I tipped the driver and he helped me push it into the garage, which technically they're not supposed to do, so it worked out :)

Then the fun began setting up the cabinet.
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I did run into two small issues when setting it up, for the life of me I couldn't get the ends flush, it looked like the board might have been slightly warped or something. Everything else went smoothly and it took me a few hours to get to this point. This is just about the last step before putting the doors on, I had to keep working with the end pieces over and over before I got one side to look acceptable. The other just wouldn't work with me, so I put in a ticket with Waterbox customer support, they were great and told me that what I was able to do was good enough as the weight is mostly sitting on the inner board (you can kind of see it in the last picture, it's resting on the bottom just above the wood peg). The other issue was a piece was missing, but Waterbox sent me a new one and it was really easy to put in after the fact.
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After putting together the cabinet, I could now get to the tank easier. I have to say everything was packaged super well, I was really impressed with it. One thing to note here is that the sump is crazy heavy. I thought I could lift it out myself, but with the way that it's sitting in this tank, it was too scary to try. I had decided to get movers to help me move the tank itself so I just let them take it out for me :p

That thing has to weigh about 200lbs, okay I'm totally guessing here, but yea that's my guess haha.

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I scheduled the movers to come out on January 2nd to help me move the tank. I know it was crazy to schedule it so close to the delivery day, but I've been planning this tank for so long I wanted it done haha. When I called them, I tried to explain how heavy the tank was, I said several times are you sending like 4-5 guys? I think they thought I was over-exaggerating because only two showed up lol. They were able to move the sump no problem and got the tank out of the crate without any issue, but then it was quiet for a long time. I went out to check on them and the two guys were just standing there staring at it lol. It was just too heavy for them, so they called in two more guys and asked them to bring a ramp as I have 5 steps going up to my house and they didn't want to risk it.

Once the guys showed up they got the tank onto a cart/dolly thing and wheeled it in. Then the 4 of them were able to lift it onto the cabinet, you could tell it was still heavy for even them as they were visibly shaking as they did it. And this is nothing bad against them, they were great! It's just a really heavy tank haha.
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So the tank was finally together and now it was time for the hard work, though at the time, I didn't realize it would be hard lol (well that's kind of a laugh cry). I'll continue this in the next post, this post is getting pretty long.
 
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KatesReef13

KatesReef13

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So before I did anything that would make it hard to get around the tank or sump area I tried to think of everything I'd need to get done before plumbing it to the sump or filling the sump with water.

I started with running the lines in the conduit from the tank to the garage. I have 2 for AWCs using a DOS and one to fill the ATO reservoir at the tank. There is also a USB cable that I ran to connect the DOS which is located in the garage to the Apex at the tank. I did this because I heard that the DOS is a bit noisy and I didn't want that to bother me. I'm so glad that I did too because it is pretty loud and since I have it running all throughout the day that would have driven me nuts. You could schedule the AWCs to happen when you're not home or maybe sleeping as a workaround, but if you can set it up somewhere where you won't hear it, I recommend that.
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I wanted to make sure that there weren't any leaks in the tank as much as I could without plumbing it so, I decided to leak test it without letting it go into the overflow. I couldn't move the tank itself, so I figured it wouldn't hurt anything to test the bulk of it. Oh! I forgot to mention previously that when I picked the spot for the tank, I placed it about 6 inches from the wall. This is because I have a Pentair UV Sterilizer and that thing is freakin huge. Shame on me for not realizing that when I bought it, but I'm glad that I got it before I set up the tank, else that would have been next to impossible to hide. You can see the housing leaning from behind the tank, I tried to keep it there to remind me to save space for it.

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This is my second reef tank and I was really adamant about wanting to run the controllers and cables nicely. So, not being very handy at all, I spent the next two weeks or so getting the controller side setup. I also wanted to make sure I could see under the cabinet so I found some waterproof LED light strips and ran those first so nothing else was in the way. This first picture below shows the cabinet with the LEDs turned to blue. I later set this up with the Neptune BoB to come on when any of the doors open.
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Next, I decided to hang my lights. I have the AquaticLife Dimmable T5 lights with 2 Kessil A360xs. I wanted the install of the lights to be simple, again since I'm not handy by any means I knew I wouldn't be able to do anything really fancy. I decided to just hang them with the kit they come with, however, after installing it, I don't really like it and asked my contractor to build me a floating canopy lol. Due to the current situation though he had to reschedule getting it put in, so I'll be sure to update whenever that does happen. For now, the lights are up, but they aren't pretty, so just keep in mind it's not done haha.

After the lights went up I decided to plumb the tank, leak test the sump and start moving over my rock.

It really helped me to lay out the plumbing to visualize how it all connected. Until this step, I hadn't really had any help actually putting the tank together. It's just about impossible to put this together in the tank without someone helping you. At least for me it was, it wasn't hard, you just need two people.
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Below is 40lbs CaribSea LifeRock Shapes, I added this to the 100lbs of MarcoRocks. Since this was dry I tried to get an idea of what I had before bringing the now live rock out. Deciding to cycle the rock before I got the tank was great for speeding up the process, but it was not great for trying to aquascape. If you want to take your time with your scape outside of the tank, keep that in mind if you decide to cycle it beforehand.
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This is a cloudy picture as I had just added about 40lbs of dry, washed sand, but the structure on the left I didn't like and the right one was OK, but I felt it was missing something. I let this scape sit for about a week while I ordered another 10lbs of dry rock.
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Once that arrived I just decided I'd let the scape happen on its own, so to speak lol. I started out by taking the entire left structure out and just finding the next piece that made sense then went from there. That's how I came up with this:

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I really like how this turned out, the left one kind of looks like a dragon in person and it might be hard to tell but the right one is a cave. I realize the different color rocks look weird, but it won't matter eventually.

At this point, I added some Brightwell MicroBacter Start since I added a bunch of sand and new rock and it had been some time since I used the Dr. Tim's. I tested the tank, added some more ammonium chloride and retested a few times over the next week or so just to make sure the tank was still cycled.

At this point this is the equipment in the tank:
- AquaticLife Dimmable T5 lights with 2 Kessil A360xs
- 2 EcoTech MP40s (with NemProtect Powerhead Guards) and one on battery backup
- Neptune: Apex, Trident, DOS, LDK, FMM, VDM, WXM, BoB
- SM167 Monzter DC Internal Protein Skimmer
- BRS Heater and controller
- Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155 Auto Top Off
- Pentair 40W UV Sterilizer
- VarioS-8 Controllable DC Pump (Return pump)
- 2 Eheim Everyday Fish Feeders with Magnetic Floating Feeding Rings
- BRS GFO & Carbon Reactor (currently only running carbon)
- XP Aqua - RO/DI Flood Guardian (to fill the ATO reservoir)

Here is an earlier picture of the sump with some of the equipment mentioned above. I decided to remove the Kessil A80 as my chaeto is still in QT and it was in the way a lot....and maybe I'm already considering starting up a 20gal cube so I might use it there hahahaha.
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Okay, I think that's all the equipment, I reserve the right to update it since it's after 2am my time and I probably should go to bed :p

In my next post, I'll talk about the first fish I added, my coral/invert QT tank, and anemone QT tank. I could also talk about my mixing station, would that be something good to have here? Let me know! :)

To be continued!
 
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KatesReef13

KatesReef13

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I've been planning my fish list for some time now. My ultimate goal in this tank is to be able to have a mandarin along with a pair of clowns hopefully hosting a bubble tip. So the entire fish list has been made around them.

I knew I wanted to be as careful as possible with the livestock this time around, so I started looking into how to quarantine fish. I'm still a little bit reluctant to try, but I am looking at doing it with just one clown for now. I did find several vendors that sell pre-quarantined fish, but my experience has not been great trying to get fish from them. I started reaching out back in December after the rock had been cycled and the tank was ordered but since then I've only been able to successfully get 2 orders (6 fish total) :/

I think that my list is cursed or something, but given what the world is going through right now I can't really complain. But I won't lie I'm a little anxious to get the little guys in the tank.

For now though, I have the 6 Anthias in the tank, 4 Bimacs, and 2 Orange Lyretail and they are awesome. The vendor I got them from also quarantines inverts so I picked up several different snails, 3 emerald crabs, 2 peppermint shrimps, a cleaner shrimp, and a blood fire shrimp.
Update 4/29/20: I had to remove one of the Peppermint shrimps because as soon as lights went out the first night the RFAs were in the tank, she went hunting. She was really easy to catch though and I took her to my LFS. The other one seems to leave them alone.
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The above picture was right after I added the Bimacs, so the glass was still dirty from acclamation.
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This picture below is of the Orange Lyretail as they were acclimating.
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Everyone is doing well in the tank right now, it just looks a little empty and a little ugly as it's going through the ugly phase. I didn't turn the lights on for about 3 weeks to just about a month after the tank was set up and then I slowly ramped up the time after the fish were added. But here is a current shot in all it's algae-covered glory :)
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I'm still working with one vendor to get some more fish, but as times are hard right now I'm not in a rush, I mean yes I want the fish :p, but things happen and you just have to wait sometimes.

I do have a ton of corals though sitting in my coral QT, it needs to be cleaned up a bit, well a lot. And it's very overcrowded now, so I'm currently working on setting up another tank to move some of these guys into.
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The anemones are almost done with their QT, they will be ready for the DT on Monday! Wo0t!
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This is not a great picture at all, most of them are either hiding or too small to capture in a tank shot, but there are 8 rock flowers in there and now 3 bubble tips as one of them split yesterday.

So I think that's it for where the tank is right now. Let me know if there is an area I missed talking about. I can also post about my mixing station if someone thinks I should, otherwise, I'll be sure to update the next time something happens in the tank.

Thanks all!
 
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KatesReef13

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Those anthias look great. Where did you order from?
Where did u order from things look great

I got them from Dr. Reef (Mike) at Quarantined Fish. Only thing is he was planning a move and with all the stuff going on I don't think he's getting fish right now (or can't because his suppliers shutdown). But you could totally reach out to him to confirm or maybe get on a list? I haven't tried him since I got the Anthias back in February.

http://www.quarantinedfish.us
[email protected]

I did have trouble getting ahold of him sometimes, but I believe he had a lot of orders and things going on preparing for the move. Plus I didn't want to be annoying by constantly emailing him lol

Let me know how it goes if you decide to reach out :)
 
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KatesReef13

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Added the first batch of corals to the tank!
These are not the best pictures, I'm still practicing that part haha.

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I'm going to have to be more mindful of my parameters now :p. Currently, I'm using Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt, but I'm making the switch to Brightwell NeoMarine, as I just can't keep alk high enough. So, I thought I'd try a different salt just to see how that goes.

In the meantime, I love having the Trident so I can keep a good beat on the alk. I am paranoid though so I'll double-check it with the Hanna checker since it's a quick test to do before I dose anything.
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Alright, since my last update a few things have happened. Sorry for the bad photos it's still a work in progress haha.

I added a few Rock Flower Anemones as well as the Bubbletips I had in QT.
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The blue filter I had on my phone makes the anemone look a bit bleached, it doesn't look bad in person. It's doing pretty good in the tank, at least at the moment lol.
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Another batch of corals were also done with QT and went in along with some snails.

And! I got some new fish!
Here is the Yellow Tang:
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Molly Miller Blenny:
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And the Kole Tang:
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Adding the conch, trochus snails, and the two tangs did wonders for the algae problem.
This was a before shot:
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This is just a few days after:
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KatesReef13

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Oh! I also got the Neat Aquatics Limpet Wide Flow Pump Guard for my MP40s, they made a huge difference in flow for me. I had been previously using the NemProtect ones, which were good, don't get me wrong, but I like these ones much better. They do make a "Standard" flow one as well, but I chose wide as I have my MP40s on the back of the tank and I was concerned I'd have to move them due to a lack of flow. Now I think they'll be OK back there. Might have to make a few more tweaks, but looking better so far.
Here's a picture from BRS' site:
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They replace the OEM guard that comes on the pump and the output is much more open so the flow is awesome. At least in my opinion :p
 
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One last thing!

I was pretty proud of this as I DIY'ed most of it while sitting with my daughter watching a movie.
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It's an acclimation box I had made for the new fish. I ended up only using it for a few hours as I posted a thread here on R2R asking if it was really necessary for adding the tangs and the consensus was no. The holes were too big for the blenny tho, so if I need it again down the road I'll line the inside with screen netting or something for smaller fish.
But all in all, it worked well for the tangs:
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So it's been a very long time since I updated this. The tank has gone through a number of issues and I feel/felt very overwhelmed with it all. For a bit I took a break from working on it and kinda let it simmer so to speak. That translated to a chrysophytes problem that I missed identified as algae.

Long story short it's been a rollercoaster of emotion but I'm sticking with it and am hoping now seeing signs it's going to get better, but I guess only time will tell.

Wish me luck! Lol I'm gonna need it.
 

Have you ever had a reef tank with no sump and how did it go?

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