Kobi's Cosmic Reef - Waterbox 190.5 Build

Kobkobico

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Hello all, finally starting a build thread for the tank.

My wife and I recently bought our first home, and I thought a reef tank in the living room would be amazing. My buddy and I initially went to Petco and purchased a 55 gallon, and put it in the living room. As soon as I saw it there I knew it was the perfect spot. Well one thing led to another and soon the 55 (despite never being filled) was replaced with the Waterbox 190.5 which I'm currently in the process of aquascaping.

It's taken a few months, as I've been trying to collect the equipment during sales, but I should now have all the gadgets required to run the tank. I'll post the full list later when I have time to detail all components.

The current plan for the tank is a mixed reef of mostly soft and LPS corals. I would consider a few SPS in there as well when things are stable, but I really enjoy the swaying look of torch corals, hammers, etc. My wife and I both also like the more fluorescent encrusting corals, and my wife particularly loves the large clams.

When browsing aquascapes, I found I preferred those that are a little heavier on the rock. Our tank is set up at the end of a long and relatively narrow living room, where the right edge is at the wall, and the left is visible from the couch. So the plan is to aquascape everything more openly to the left, and reserve that area for shorter corals. As it goes to the right, I plan on adding more rock, with the right possibly going for a more overgrown look. Trying to add little caves and hideouts as well for the fish to feel safe.

I initially tried aquascaping outside the tank, but in the end found it easier to do it inside. The rocks are stacked, with the edges of some using E-Marco to increase stability.

Attached is the current aquascape, with the right side not yet created.

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Kobkobico

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Thanks Gumbies, first tank journey and it's exciting to see it start coming together.

Today I only added one rock to the aquascape, completing a sort of cave section I wanted for the middle of the tank. Should also make it easier to make the transition to the more rock-heavy section.

Next post I'll add planned equipment list and fishies.
 

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Kobkobico

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Equipment

List of equipment and prices paid for comparison for future sales (pre-tax).
Doesn't include reward points promotions and such though.

Tank: Waterbox Infinia Reef 190. ($3,509.10)
Skimmer: Aeraqua Duo AD600 Protein Skimmer - Maxspect ($412.50)
Filter Roller: AF-1 Automatic Filter Roller - Aquamaxx ($160.99)
Return Pump: Nautilus DC1600 Return Pump (1600 GPH) - ReefBreeders ($229.99)
Heater: 600W Titanium Aquarium Heater System - WiFi - Bulk Reef Supply ($115.99)
Rock: Reef Saver Aquarium Dry Live Rock - MarcoRocks 200lbs ($594.00)
Cement: E-Marco-400 Aquascaping Mortar Complete Kit - Natural - MarcoRocks x2 ($35.70 each)
Powerheads: Gyre XF330 Cloud Edition - Double Package (2x 2350 GPH) - Maxspect ($342.99)
Lights: Lights Jump 65W LED Light - Blue - Maxspect ($181.99 each)
ATO: Duetto 2 Dual-Sensor ATO Aquarium Auto-Top-Off System - XP Aqua ($109.99)
RO/DI: 7 Stage PRO Plus 75 GPD RO/DI System - Bulk Reef Supply ($339.99)

Plus, of course, other odds and ends I won't bother detailing.
I'm smart enough not to add these numbers up.

Still missing a few like salt, sand, bacteria, but will get those as I get closer to actually filling the tank.

Some notes for equipment:

  • The skimmer is definitely overkill, but I'm hoping it'll last some years and do well at handling the tank as it transitions from a low to medium bioload.
  • It doesn't look like I'll use all the rock, but it was nice to have extra as I've been able to pick and choose which pieces to use. I'll probably sell the remaining at a large discount when I'm done.
  • I was debating between the Gyre XF330 and it's larger brother the XF350. Eventually concluded the 350 would probably be too much, and I'd have to run it at 20% or less giving little control for waves. The XF330 magnets seem a bit weak, but I've seen that they should hold stronger when there's water in the tank.
  • Wasn't sure whether to go with the regular or "blue" Jump lights. Ended up going with blue as I do like that look, though I'll probably run it on the whiter side (for the light). Weirdly the white and blue have different mounting arms, IMO the curved blues look better.

Fish Plan


I don't have a very detailed plan here, just some fish I know I'd like to get. Afterward I'll see what else to add:
  • Clownfish pair, of course, gotta have that.
  • Flame hawkfish, saw these guys at the LFS and love them. Lots of personality as everybody says.
  • Longnose hawkfish, funny little guys.
  • Yellow tang, beautiful fish. Will be the only tang and probably the king of the tank.
  • Some blennies, types undecided. I have a lot of little holes in the rock I'm sure they'd appreciate.
  • Mandarin fish maybe a M/F pair? Saw one at an aquarium and seemed like a chill fellow.
Overall, I'd like a more relaxed vibe in the tank, without too many fish pacing about. I think I'd like a tank where you can find more things hidden away if you look in the caves and crevices.

Anyway that's it for now, next update will be when I get the aquascape finished up.
 
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Kobkobico

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Still not fully done with the aquascape, but getting very close now.

I had originally expected to end up with the right side of the tank being the tallest, but I started building a nice arch there and ended up with a relatively flat shelf that should be great for adding coral.

Overall been very happy with the progress. I'm thinking of adding small rocks on the left side of the tank, barely higher than sand level. These would fill in the gaps, where I can grow corals with longer tentacles to make a nice forest, surrounded by rocks with small encrusting corals. In the center of the tank is the "mountain", which has a nice cave system for smaller fish to swim through, the top of which might be good for a couple SPS in an otherwise LPS/Soft tank.

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Kobkobico

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Just cemented the final rock into the aquascape! Once this dries tomorrow, I'll do one more pass to see if there's any rocks I should cement for additional support, and then it will be time to fill the tank.

I'm thinking I will do a fill initially with tap water to wash off the rock, which I will then drain to fill with RO/DI water (after adding Fiji Pink sand).

I changed the left side completely, as I was not fond of how it looked from the side "couch view". This part drove me crazy for a while, as I wanted it to be relatively open, yet still have enough rock to create a slope from the mountain in the middle. Happy with how it turned out.

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Just cemented the final rock into the aquascape! Once this dries tomorrow, I'll do one more pass to see if there's any rocks I should cement for additional support, and then it will be time to fill the tank.

I'm thinking I will do a fill initially with tap water to wash off the rock, which I will then drain to fill with RO/DI water (after adding Fiji Pink sand).

I changed the left side completely, as I was not fond of how it looked from the side "couch view". This part drove me crazy for a while, as I wanted it to be relatively open, yet still have enough rock to create a slope from the mountain in the middle. Happy with how it turned out.

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Nice looking scape!
 
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Kobkobico

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Thanks Gumbies, I certainly gained an appreciation for all the intricate scapes one can see here. Harder than it looks!

Today I filled up the tank with regular tap water to wash off the Marco rock. Glad I did it, as a ton of sediment came off. Sucked out as much as I can with the fill hose as a siphon, and now got some fans blowing to remove the remaining water. Should be dry by tomorrow.

After that, will be time to add sand, plumb it all up, and begin adding RO/DI water.
 
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Kobkobico

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And the filling begins!

I ultimately chose the Fiji Pink live sand. I am planning on a low to medium flow tank so I'm hoping it won't blow around too much, and I liked the look of the smaller grain size. Got approximately a 1/2" to 1" sandbed in the end as I hoped.

The "live sand" aspect will be rendered moot of course because I'll probably kill everything filling with RODI water directly. Still easier this way though; no need to rinse anything and the sand was on a steep discount locally. I got the red sea cycle kit so I figure it'll be fine.

I also discovered that my local city water is very hard, with a TDS of approximately 550. Even after the RO stage I'm getting a TDS of 17-20. It does hit 0 after the DI phase, so I'll probably just be burning through resin quickly. Had to bump up the home water pressure by adjusting the home's pressure reducing valve, but it got to 50psi and seems to be running well.

So now I guess for the next three days it'll sound like someone is taking a tick in the living room, and I'll definitely have to find something less sketchy then taping this into place as the water level rises, but it feels great getting to this phase.

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Kobkobico

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The filling continues. Going a little slow since I only dare run it while I'm home and can deal with any disasters, though. I purchased a Watchdog 360 Water Alarm and a quick dip in some RO/DI water did seem to set it off. I also found I could use one of the light mounts for some extra security in attaching the hose.

Some random observations I forgot to note:
  • Some Arag Alive sand comes with little packets of water clarifier mixed in the sand. But not all of them. The packaging will either say the clarifier is "Free Inside" (little packets within) or "Contains" (no packets). Must have spent 15 minutes hunting for a nonexisting packet. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
  • I'm trying to figure out the best place to mount my RO/DI system. I have not tried the downstairs bathroom sink, but I suspect the water pressure there is too low. I don't think my wife would be too happy if I commandeered the kitchen sink either. I may have to find a way to make an easy "mobile" setup so I can just connect it to the garden hose on the porch (very close to the tank).
  • I'm pretty nervous about power strips so close to saltwater, but it sounds like some of the commercial grade Trip-Lite strips with child protectors mounted at the top of the stand cabinet should do well.



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Kobkobico

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Got the tank fully filled up today, and was able to run the pump to get water circulating. No leaks at all which was a relief. Took an embarrassingly long time to realize how to turn on the pump; for the Nautilus DC1600 the power should go into the bottom of the controller but I had been trying to plug it into the side.

Purchased a power strip which should be acceptable for now, plus some material to make a small tower within the right side of the stand. Hope to use the tower to place the power strip and controllers away from splashes.

I also purchased one more bag of Fiji Pink, as there are a few places that felt light on sand. I will put this in the tank once there's salt mixed in.

If all goes well, end of tomorrow the tank will begin cycling.
 
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Kobkobico

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Mostly successful day; tank is filled with saltwater and built a stand to mount the controllers and power strip.

While moving things around, I unfortunately badly chipped my ATO reservoir. It still holds water, but the chip is bad enough I think it would be sketchy to use. This may have been a blessing in disguise, as I realized that the whole system could be much safer if there wasn't an open container of water right besides all the power/controllers.

For now, the plan is to use a small cooler as the ATO reservoir. The nice thing here is I can have it nearly closed during operation. It is also easy to move in and out to fill. Power bricks are currently going into a plastic container, which should also reduce the chance they get wet. I'll want to replace this with a metal one eventually in case they overheat.

Got a series of tasks on the todo list now, including:
  • Adding the last bag of live sand and evening it out.
  • Officially starting the cycle by beginning the Red Sea program.
  • Installing the lights and ATO system.
  • Figuring out how to make the overflow silent.
  • Improving the wire management.

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Kobkobico

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Thank you!

Slow but steady progress.

I switched up the stand a bit to put all power bricks into an elevated metallic box, which I feel better about since it's unlikely to get wet and heat won't be an issue.

The tank just started truly cycling with the addition of bacteria, and I got to see what things look like with lights. I have to admit I'm not 100% sure how I feel about the blue look yet, though it's growing on me. Once the corals go in and I tweak the spectrum it'll probably look much better.

Sand blew around a little, but nothing too bad. The worst it got was when I tested 100% power in pulsing mode, which lowered the height of the front a bit. I'll fix that up later; at lower power in random mode it seems to be fairly stable, forming little dunes which I like.

On another note, it's time to start thinking of the first fish and inverts I'll be adding. I did eventually decide against getting a hawkfish. I just can't give up on having shrimp, and would love a yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp pair. tempImage3skYMd.png tempImageEbdX5W.png
 

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