Lil Elroy’s 30L Build

LilElroyJetson

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Thread Updated: 9/11/2019

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Here we go! Third time setting this tank up but starting from scratch this time and making some changes utilizing everything I’ve learned since I got into this hobby. Had moderate success with my first two tanks so this time I’ve tried to simplify things that helped keep my tank in good condition before by making them easier to keep up with or automating them as well as getting some higher quality equipment. It’s a 30 long so it’s easy to get around for maintenance, but more susceptible to parameter swings because of the low water volume, so I figured I’d overkill a bit on some of the key equipment and kept economical for other things. I’ll keep this thread updated as it progresses.

Equipment List:
- 30x18x12 tank, plastic rim removed, braced at the top, with holes drilled into tank and back painted black
- (2) AI Hydra 26 HD lights
- AI Nero 5
- Vortech MP10wqd
- Aqueon ProFlex Model 1 sump
- Bubble Magus C3.5 skimmer
- Hydor Koralia powerhead in sump
- Innovative Marine MiniMax Desktop reactor
- Aquamaxx DIY Chaeto reactor
- AquaStation Silent Swirl return pump with AutoAqua Smart Level Security optical switches for water level monitoring
- Jebco 4 channel doser
- Tunze 3152 ATO
- Synergy ATO reservoir
- Imported WiFi connected power strips from Amazon as a “controller”

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LilElroyJetson

LilElroyJetson

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Using the rock from my previous tank. Dried it for months, power washed it with freshwater before beginning the brute container cycle. Opted against the bleaching or acid baths as I knew what was on my rock before so wasn’t worried about any unwanted pests. The reminents of that GSP have since been scraped off but I won’t be surprised if some of it comes back from the dead (wouldn’t be angry either). Keeping the reef scape simple this time with a single swim through and less rock in the display tank in the interest of having more flow and water volume but have kept a couple additional rocks in the sump.

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LilElroyJetson

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Tank empty with the rock cycling in the Brute. Ran the rock in this container for about 6 weeks after adding Fritz Turbostart 900 bacteria to jumpstart the cycle. Don’t mind the disgusting water, it’s all the dead organics leaching off.

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LilElroyJetson

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Others are a disaster...need to figure out some cable management and label outlets and converters. Mixed feelings about the Aqueon Proflex sump. Construction is clever but feels weak structurally. I got it because it was the best out-of-the-box sump that fits my tank. It does a good job of limiting micro-bubbles, but misuses some of its space, when you remove the filter socks the water noise increases, and it doesn’t leave an option for a skimmer Inc the first section not enough room to give you many options in the second section. The dimensions are different for Models 2 and 3 of the sump but nonetheless, not an excuse for poor execution. Also the micrbubble diffuser in the first section cracked during shipping as an indication of the fragile structure of the sump.

The skimmer — despite me measuring and following the manufacturer listed footprint — would not fit to the bottom of the middle chamber where I wanted it. This was the third skimmer I tried, so I sat it on a lip within the sump section and it sits sturdy and quiet, at the appropriate water level, albeit with a very slight tilt. It’s still breaking in so we’ll see if this is viable, otherwise I could not find a decent sized, reliable, silent, quality skimmer that would fit Inc that small ~<6” by 8” space. There was still room for a couple rocks underneath it.

I removed the filter socks from the sump because I won’t change them enough (I know myself the third time around), and added a Hydor Koralia Nano powerhead in the first section of the sump to keep deitritus from settling.

The last chamber has my heater, return pump, temperature probe, the Innovative Marine MiniMax desktop reactor tumbling about 2 tablespoons of Rowaphos. My phosphates are high likely from all the dead organics coming off the rock still. The plan is that a conservative dose of Rowaphos in this reactor along with the soon to be connected Chaeto reactor will keep up with the export and address and future phosphate leaching or spikes as they may arise while not completely eliminating phosphates and nitrates.

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LilElroyJetson

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Caribsea Fiji Pink live sand and the rock in the tank for the first time. Took a bit for the particles to settle but cleared up pretty quickly. Left the filter socks in the sump just to suck up the silica from the sand and the particles that didn’t settle, as well as any dissolved organics coming off the freshly cycled rock for a couple days before tossing the socks. This helped with getting the water cleaned up a ton. I only did 1 water change during the initial rock cycle, then used 5 gallons of the water from the cycle along with 25 gallons of freshly mixed saltwater and another dose of Fritz Turbostart 900 bacteria.

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First attempt at the plumbing was with parts laying around. After considering how I wanted to plumb an emergency drain and backup safety measures for the plumbing, with the help of some good folks on Reef2Reef, picked up a new backside for the overflow and will be replumbing this weekend, also added a schedule 80 check valve to the return (a crucial $20 investment to prevent catastrophe).

The power strips on the stand are the WiFi strips from amazon. I don’t have any plans for a controller at the moment, but it’s nice to turn things on and off as necessary from my phone for cleaning/maintenance/etc., it’s nice to be able to do it for $40. I’m not sure whether I’ll get a controller. The monitoring and control are obviously great, but I don’t think I care to monitor when I can’t get there to do anything about it, and the rest of the tank should be automated enough from my other equipment, and AI or powerstrip apps that I can control things as necessary to leave the tank for a couple days and not have to worry too much.

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The single most important upgrade I’ve made since getting into this hobby. A quality RO/DI unit steps away from my tank to change water as necessary should something occur that calls for it, and the reassurance of having 0 TDS water and the same parameters using the same salt mix every time I do a water change (not to mention making it hard to make excuses for not doing consistent water changes). Installed a bracket on the wall so that I could equip and remove the unit as necessary. Consistent water parameters are key and this is probably the top way to ensure that. No more lugging suspect water back and forth from the LFS.

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Here’s a better look at the Aqueon ProFlex Model 1 sump when it was empty while the tank was getting set up. As previously mentioned, unless this is the only out-the-box sump that will fit in your stand, I’d opt for a higher end sump or getting something custom made. Wasn’t entirely happy with the design or construction on this, despite the reasonable price point.

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Great setup love the rodi set up the 30 gallon has always been my favorite size tank following along
Thanks! The RO/DI set up is so convenient. Headed to Lowes now to see if I can find a double adapter so that I don’t have to keep removing the shower head (although it’s a matter of seconds).

I love the 30 gallon tanks too. Really easy to work with and give that full appearance, I only keep a few of my favorite corals in them. The large tanks are beautiful and are better protected from events that cause huge parameter swings but personally I don’t see myself ever going bigger than ~100 gallons. I really value the reduced maintenance and being able to get around things easily.
 

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Right on and I agree with ya I have my tank right next to MY recliner. Lol when I get home from work or whatever I’ve been know tokick kids,wife,dog, Inlaw’s etc etc lol outa my chair to just watch my tank and listen to the days events of the house hold. Being a smaller tank it’s busy enough but not crazy.
 

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The single most important upgrade I’ve made since getting into this hobby. A quality RO/DI unit steps away from my tank to change water as necessary should something occur that calls for it, and the reassurance of having 0 TDS water and the same parameters using the same salt mix every time I do a water change (not to mention making it hard to make excuses for not doing consistent water changes). Installed a bracket on the wall so that I could equip and remove the unit as necessary. Consistent water parameters are key and this is probably the top way to ensure that. No more lugging suspect water back and forth from the LFS.

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Brilliant solution to plumbing in the RO/DI
 
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LilElroyJetson

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Brilliant solution to plumbing in the RO/DI
Thanks! Honestly, just was the easiest place I could hook it up. My under-faucet plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom have some odd attachments I didn’t want to mess with and I can’t access my laundry water line, so this was a quick wrench to the shower head and if the containers overflow it’s in the tub, waste line gets ran down the drain. I will add plumbing to my resume now.
 
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DIY Chaeto Reactor out of an Aquamaxx reactor with a red/blue LED light strip from Amazon. Will follow the water parameters and growth of the chaeto and see how effective it is. I have the LED strip on a timer to come on from 12am to 6am. Not sure if I will get the benefit of combating the evening pH drop from the reverse light cycle in the sump but figured I’d give that a shot as well.

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DIY Chaeto Reactor out of an Aquamaxx reactor with a red/blue LED light strip from Amazon. Will follow the water parameters and growth of the chaeto and see how effective it is. I have the LED strip on a timer to come on from 12am to 6am. Not sure if I will get the benefit of combating the evening pH drop from the reverse light cycle in the sump but figured I’d give that a shot as well.

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Can’t wait to see the outcome of the chaeto reactor. On the reactor I’ve seen a few wrapped in like the new black car vinyl so you eliminate that light blead and concentrate all the light into the reactor.
 
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Can’t wait to see the outcome of the chaeto reactor. On the reactor I’ve seen a few wrapped in like the new black car vinyl so you eliminate that light blead and concentrate all the light into the reactor.
Yeah I thought about it but I think it’s going to be getting more light than it needs as is, and I thought maybe the light bleed is enough to keep up the pH in the evening but I’ll have to wait and see.
 
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