Klong's Red Sea Reefer 350 v3 Noob Build

>>klong<<

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Hi, Everyone. I and my family just took the plunge into reef keeping. I had intended to build a big, new freshwater tank, but while visiting the LFSs, we decided that we needed to go salt.

A little background on our situation: we own a small 1200 sqft 2-bedroom unit in a high-rise. This is relevant for a couple reasons. First, we don't have a ton of space. Second, I have 4 downstairs neighbors, so my aquarium disaster could become lots of other people's aquarium disasters, too. I'm both simultaneously thrilled and terrified to have a sump. I'm going to want belt and suspenders with just about every failure risk.

I decided on the Reefer 350 because its the largest tank that fits the space we have and the stand provides a decent amount of storage. I love gear, so I'm sure I'll fill whatever space I have.

Current equipment plans:
  • Reefer 350 v3
  • (2) Radion XR15 Blue
  • (1) Ecotech MP40 with battery backup
  • Tunze 3155 ATO
  • Apex EL
    • LDK with leak sensors and high water level sensor
    • Neptune Break Out Box
  • Reef Octopus Classic 150SSS
  • Reef Octopus Regal 150S
  • Reef Octopus VarioS-2
  • Reef Octopus VarioS-4 + one for a spare
  • Kamoer X1 Pro 2 dosing pump
  • AquaUV Classic 25 watt with generic Amazon pump
As far as livestock plans go, I'm not sure. It seems like the way to start after cycling is a pair of clowns. I know livestock planning is essential, but I haven't figured that out yet. Right now I know I want a mixed reef with the potential to grow SPS as my experience develops.

Current livestock (order added):
  • Pair of black photon clowns
  • Skunk cleaner shrimp RIP
  • Foyal gramma
  • One spot foxface
  • Pair of divided leopard wrasses
  • Red firefish
  • Coral beauty
  • 2x peppermint shrimp

I have tons of questions and I'm excited to get started!
 
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>>klong<<

>>klong<<

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First step, water . . .

The first commitment I made was about a month ago when I got a RODI system. I talked with Russ at Buckeye Hydro and he confirmed that I since my Philadelphia water is treated with chloramine, I needed a 5-stage unit. He hooked me up with everything I needed:

IMG_0591.jpeg


I'm lucky enough to live in a small percentage of units in my building that have washers/dryers in the unit. I decided that this would be the best place to mount the RODI, as there is both water source and a waste drain. I used the hose bib splitter adapter provided with my kit to connect to the washers cold water supply:

IMG_0594.jpeg



Finished job. I put a couple extra holes in the wall that I had to patch (hate plaster and metal lath). I cleaned up the hose situation a bit after I took this photo. BTW, I did measure ambient temperature with the dryer running to be sure I wouldn't ruin my filter and it didn't rise above 78 degrees.

TDS in: 207
TDS out: 0

IMG_0596.jpeg
 
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>>klong<<

>>klong<<

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This is going to be a slow go. Based on a lot of reading, it looks like the RSR stock drain sucks. I just ordered a bunch of PVC, fittings and a Spears gate valve to replace it. While I'm at it, I'm going to hard plumb the return to allow for a manifold addition once I figure out how I might want to use the sump.

I spent last weekend I assembling the stand and painting the sump. The sump painting was a last minute decision after putting it into the black cabinet and seeing how dark everything was. I painted it white and think it turned out pretty nice. I'm going to go with a monotone sump theme, using schedule 80 fittings and light grey PVC from BRS. The red valve handles will give a little pop, along with whatever various kit will populate the sump as I go forward.

IMG_0649.jpeg


Here it is with all the stuff I'm anxious to set up.
IMG_0646.jpeg


You might notice a single shim. It takes the very tip of the shim to level front to back. The right side is less than shim-tip lower than the left. I'm inclined to skip leveling, but open to listening to the wisdom of R2R.

I've also stole @Mical's idea and bought an IKEA Besta cabinet . Instead of using a single deep cabinet for equipment, I'm thinking of using two shallow cabinets back to back. The front one will have all the cool looking stuff behind smoked glass: controllers, APEX display and modules. The back one will have the APEX power module and all the wall warts. I figure leaving the rear facing cabinet open would allow for better ventilation of all the power adapters. Should I be concerned with water, though?

IMG_0655.jpeg


I also installed a GFCI outlet and a waterproof cover on the outlets behind the tank. (I went RODI first instead of safety first :oops:

IMG_0653.jpeg
 

ShepherdReefer

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Superior! You have a question on using one or two cabinets for the monitoring system. So, are you saying to face one with the opening to the back and other one with the opening to the front? The way mine is set up, the cabinet is setting next to the tank. The inside back of the cabinet has the monitoring devices. The front has two swinging doors with wood weave to a low air flow. The outside back I installed closet shelving (wire kind) and using zip ties, mounted the power strips for air flow. No idea so far.
 
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>>klong<<

>>klong<<

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Superior! You have a question on using one or two cabinets for the monitoring system. So, are you saying to face one with the opening to the back and other one with the opening to the front?

Yes, back to back The front cabinet facing forward with a door installed. The back cabinet facing backwards with no door. I don't have them both assembled, so I can't provide a pic. Maybe tomorrow.
 
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>>klong<<

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It's been a while, and I have done a bunch over the last couple months. I'm only doing a quick update today, though.

Right now I'm fighting some kind of algae. Not sure which, but I suspect Dino. I melted 2 batches of chaeto and one batch of Ulva. I have some pompom in the DT and in the refugium. It's been hanging on for a couple weeks and looks okay

For tank inhabitants, I have a pair of black photon clowns, a single Yasha white goby (it's partner jumped), a skunk shrimp and I just killed an emerald crab during Dino treatment.

There's also a green tip torch, a purple and green blast and a green birds nest.

I'm hoping to pick up a royal gramma and a one spot foxface over the next few weeks after they finish quarantine at TSM.

IMG_1019.jpeg
 
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>>klong<<

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I've put so much attention into this tank over the last three months, it's embarrassing how little visible progress has been made. The one thing that I've quickly found is that you never have enough space for all your stuff. The Reefer 350 cabinet is great, but somehow both the sump side and equipment side seem small. Because of this I moved almost all of my electronics to a cabinet next to the stand, leaving room for an ATO reservoir, dosing containers and pumps, and some miscellaneous stuff. I've also taken over a sizable drawer in a nearby.

That said, I've done a little bit of organization.

Here are most of my controllers in an Ikea cabinet next to the tank. I've been waiting for the smoked glass door to come in stock for the Ikea cabinet for 2 months . . .

I'm not going to show the back of the panel, because it's a disaster. The grey ethernet cable to the back and right goes from my Apex to an EB8 on another tank because I really like the Apex, but was too cheap to buy a whole new controller. I'm waiting on some clips from Amazon cleanly mount it to the floor moulding.

I have an Apex EL with an LDK module, an EB832, and a BOB. Attached to the LDK is a low profile leak sensor under the carpet (you can see the black cable) and a regular one behind the tank, plus a high water sensor on my DT that will do an emergency shut off of anything that pumps water if its triggered (I'm super paranoid).

You'll see on my controller cabinet that I currently have a single MP40 that I'm currently trying out at a new spot due to blowing sand. That's cable coming from the DT. I left room for a second MP40, which I'm thinking about getting in the coming months.

Also on the controller cabinet are a VarioS-4 controller for my return pump and a VarioS-2 controller for my Regal 150S. I had to buy controller extension cables for the controllers because they wouldn't reach from my sump. I'm not running the VarioS built-in float valves to the controllers because they were short. Instead, I'm running them to the Apex BOB which is located inside the cabinet.

IMG_1187.jpeg
 
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>>klong<<

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Here is the storage/equipment half of my cabinet. I have a 5g ATO reservoir in here, and my Tunze 3155 ATO. The ATO cables were not long enough to reach my cabinet, so I'm stuck with mounting it in here. The ATO controller is the blue box closest to the front. I have a problem with commitment, so I haven't shortened the power cable for the pump.

Next to the ATO controller is a 24v to 12v converter that's connected to my EB832 and my cabinet LED lighting. I have a couple of reed switches connected to the BOB that turn on the lights when the door opens. All the way to the back on the top right, behind the voltage converter, is my BOB.

I also have a Kamoer dosing pump for dosing Alk. I don't have to dose Ca yet. I haven't decided how to mount the pump yet, so it's sitting on top of my ATO reservoir. I like the pump except the mounting holes are unusable because the power inputs make it impossible to get the back of the pump against a vertical surface (see pic below).

I have a couple of low profile raceways keeping cables from hanging in the back of the cabinet, but there's a jumbled mess of cables coming out of the raceway on the right hand side, anyways. <shrug>

I installed a float valve for filling my reservoir, then put a T with a ball valve as a secondary float valve bypass. After my reservoir is full, I can turn off my RODI supply, then open the ball valve to relieve the pressure in the system. I can then drain all of the RO water out of the RO tubing into the reservoir. After I'm done, I close the ball valve again. (photo below)

IMG_1184.jpeg



Either the mounting option on this Kamoer is daft or I am . . .
IMG_1188.jpeg


My float valve bypass and drain thingy:
IMG_1189.jpeg
 
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>>klong<<

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My posts are getting progressively uglier. Here's the sump cabinet. I had grand plans of adding a return manifold, but I wasn't sure how I'd use it, so I postponed that project. So far, the only modifications I made to the stock pluming are replacing the RS drain valve with a gate valve and hard pluming my VarioS-4.

I originally had a Reef Octopus Classic 150SSS skimmer. It worked well, but was a little loud for the location where I have the tank. I upgraded to a RO Regal 150S and I'm glad I spent the money. The extra features like the drain plug and integrated float valve, plus DC pump's silence and ability to be tuned were worth the money for me.

We have issues with CO2 in the apartment, especially during the winter, so I have a CO2 scrubber attached to the skimmer. I'm thinking of hooking up a 3-way solenoid to only use CO2 media once the pH drops below a certain level because I'm burning a lot of media right now.

I have a bit of 1" PVC zip tied to my drain. I put my ATO outlet here to avoid siphon.

You can see my alk dosing tubing (clear) that doses into the return chamber in the right rear.

IMG_1185.jpeg



My refugium is a mess. I've melted 2 batches of chaeto and one batch of Ulva. I currently have some pompom in there and it seems to be dying much more slowly. It may even be growing. Hair algae is dominant, though. I have the Tunze Eco Chic light. Maybe I need a more powerful light?

One near term project is to give the sump and refugium a good clean out.

IMG_1186.jpeg
 
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>>klong<<

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The latest addition to the tank is a Clearview lid. I got 2 Yasha gobies, and one jumped 2 days after I put it in the tank. I had already had the Clearview lid on order and had put a double layer of Lowe's bird netting over the top. It jumped through anyway.

I finally got the lid, but it had to be modified. It wouldn't fit with a center brace, so I sent it back to Clearview. They sent it back without the brace and a restretched netting. I could have removed the brace and restretched the netting myself.

12 hours before I got the lid back, I found the second Yasha goby shriveled on the floor. I should have installed my expensive lid before I got my expensive fish . . .

IMG_1190.jpeg
 

Bepis

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Nice lights man! We all lose fish on round one... and gobies are notorious jumpers. We’re they qt’d or not just curious
 
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>>klong<<

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Nice lights man! We all lose fish on round one... and gobies are notorious jumpers. We’re they qt’d or not just curious
I didn’t QT, but got the fish from TSM. I don’t have a ton of room for QT, so my strategy is to buy all fish from TSM and keep a small 10g QT tank for corals and inverts. So far all my fish have come from TSM. They are only 20 mins away from me, so they are kinda my LFS.
 

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I didn’t QT, but got the fish from TSM. I don’t have a ton of room for QT, so my strategy is to buy all fish from TSM and keep a small 10g QT tank for corals and inverts. So far all my fish have come from TSM. They are only 20 mins away from me, so they are kinda my LFS.
Lucky
 

john0824

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The latest addition to the tank is a Clearview lid. I got 2 Yasha gobies, and one jumped 2 days after I put it in the tank. I had already had the Clearview lid on order and had put a double layer of Lowe's bird netting over the top. It jumped through anyway.

I finally got the lid, but it had to be modified. It wouldn't fit with a center brace, so I sent it back to Clearview. They sent it back without the brace and a restretched netting. I could have removed the brace and restretched the netting myself.

12 hours before I got the lid back, I found the second Yasha goby shriveled on the floor. I should have installed my expensive lid before I got my expensive fish . . .

IMG_1190.jpeg
This is a terrifying post as I have a lid on order and fish in the tank. Sorry about your losses.
 
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>>klong<<

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I've done a few things in the past Month. I added a bit of live rock from KP Aquatics - just two big pieces that ended up being extra from a WB 20 Cube that my son and I started. If I had to do it again, I'd do all live rock with the Reefer 350. The amount of diversity that comes with that rock is amazing. Some of it is unwanted, but overall it is a joy to watch. I find myself sitting in my son's room just watching the rock.

I also added some fish - a One Spot Foxface, two Divided Leopard Wrasses, a Royal Gramma, and a Red Firefish. All my fish have come from TSM Aquatics, and I can't say enough good stuff about them. Everything has been healthy and has eaten immediately on dumping them into the tank. I would never have tried to keep Leopard Wrasses if TSM hadn't QT'd them and got them eating frozen food.

I have Coral Beauty waiting to be picked up at TSM, but I may change my mind on that one. I'm really liking the wrasses, and may choose to add more of them instead. I need to figure out how many more fish I can put into this tank before I start going crazy. It's so fun to add new fish.

I'm struggling with cyano currently. It was a thick red mat until I vacuumed the sand today during a 10g water change. I expect it will be back soon.

Here are a couple shots from before and after my WC and sand vacuum.

The red cyan really pops under the UV! (Nice finger in the shot)
IMG_1336.jpeg


IMG_1342.jpeg



Here are a couple corals and fish. The frogspawn and zoas are in my son's tank, so technically they don't belong on this thread.
2958CF22-FE6D-4FFE-A47A-C1D9B944D3E7.jpeg
 

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Very nice! Following! I have a build thread for my 250. I have a mealnaurus in mine, a pair of clowns and a shake nose goby...

I’m getting a marine betta and carpenter flasher wrasse from TSM, you’re reviews of them put me at ease! PA guy here!
 

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