Luc Vogels's 300+ gallon CoralCare Reef

Luc Vogels

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Hi, my name is Luc Vogels and besides being the lead design engineer of the Philips CoralCare LED lighting system, I am also a fanatic reefer with approx. 10 years of experience. In this thread, I want to share my aquatic experience from start to present, as well as the plans I have for my tank in the future!

In the past years, I only blogged on a Dutch marine aquarium forum (zeewaterforum.info). I will summarize my aquarium journals in a few upcoming posts.

It all started in 2007 when I was only 17 years old.
After some years of experience with freshwater aquaria I decided to take my aquatic hobby to a new level: A 60 Liters marinewater nano (financed by newspaper rounds) became the new challenge!

I had the nano tank for about 2 years. It was lots of fun and I learned a lot about the hobby. The ecosystem of a nano tank is very vulnerable and the slightest mistake results in an imbalanced system. This tank taught me to be patient and to always overthink before making changes to the system! Being this enthusiastic about the hobby, it didn't take long before the entire tank was packed with corals.



2009... time for an upgrade.
At that time I was living in my parents’ attic, so expanding was a challenge.
Not only space, but also weight was a problem.
After weeks of nagging and complaining I persuaded my parents to allow me to upgrade my tank.
With a steel beam construction bolted to the walls we were able to place a 180gallon tank in my bedroom. The aquarium was partly hanging from the wall to spread the weight over the floor and walls. The construction was EXACTLY located above my parents’ bedroom... guess how good they slept the night after I filled up the tank.

Looking back on this (7 years ago) I still can’t believe they agreed to this J.







After three years, I moved out of the house and found my own place.
This was a great excuse to upgrade to a new tank!
A small sneak peak:



In the upcoming days, I will share a detailed build of this tank (which is still my current tank)!
 
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revhtree

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Hi, my name is Luc Vogels and besides being the lead design engineer of the Philips CoralCare LED lighting system, I am also a fanatic reefer with approx. 10 years of experience. In this thread, I want to share my aquatic experience from start to present, as well as the plans I have for my tank in the future!

In the past years, I only blogged on a Dutch marine aquarium forum (zeewaterforum.info). I will summarize my aquarium journals in a few upcoming posts.

It all started in 2007 when I was only 17 years old.
After some years of experience with freshwater aquaria I decided to take my aquatic hobby to a new level: A 60 Liters marinewater nano (financed by newspaper rounds) became the new challenge!

I had the nano tank for about 2 years. It was lots of fun and I learned a lot about the hobby. The ecosystem of a nano tank is very vulnerable and the slightest mistake results in an imbalanced system. This tank taught me to be patient and to always overthink before making changes to the system! Being this enthusiastic about the hobby, it didn't take long before the entire tank was packed with corals.



2009... time for an upgrade.
At that time I was living in my parents’ attic, so expanding was a challenge.
Not only space, but also weight was a problem.
After weeks of nagging and complaining I persuaded my parents to allow me to upgrade my tank.
With a steel beam construction bolted to the walls we were able to place a 180gallon tank in my bedroom. The aquarium was partly hanging from the wall to spread the weight over the floor and walls. The construction was EXACTLY located above my parents’ bedroom... guess how good they slept the night after I filled up the tank.

Looking back on this (7 years ago) I still can’t believe they agreed to this J.







After three years, I moved out of the house and found my own place.
This was a great excuse to upgrade to a new tank!
A small sneak peak:



In the upcoming days, I will share a detailed build of this tank (which is still my current tank)!

Awesome reef and can't wait for more details!
 

Stylo328

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Awesome to see this much passion for the hobby in such a young aquarist. Also awesome to read that you were able to translate that passion into a product within your profession.
 
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Luc Vogels

Luc Vogels

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Luc Vogels

Luc Vogels

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After moving into our new home, I started with the planning of the new tank.
The tank would be located in the living room, so I took extra care in designing the system and surrounding construction to fulfill the "WAF" criteria :).

The goal was to install a big showtank of 2.00x70x80, but I also wanted to make sure that I had sufficient space to house a fragtank and large filtration system (all well-conceived from the outside).





After finalizing the design I ordered the tank and and started working on the construction.
First we made a stainless steel frame to create a solid base for the tank.



After finalizing the frame we coated the wooden floor with a thick coat of varnish to prevent water damage.





To prevent (too) high humidity levels in the living room, we drilled a hole through the outside wall.
This was done to improve airflow (and opening the possibility to implement a forced air flow if needed).



I am very glad we made this step, because later on (1 year after the build) this was used for the water cooling system!



I covered the framework with wooden sheets and made sure the connections were water tight (to prevent water going under/behind the construction).



Now it was time to install the tanks under the main display
#1: Dimensions: 50x60x50 used for freshwater (supply for ATO system).
#2: Dimension 1.20x60x60 with lowered front window to 35cm. Used to house the skimmer (bubbleking 250 supermarine) and circulation pump.
#3:Dimension 1.00x60x60 with lowered front window to 35cm. Used as a fragtank









In some pictures you see my father and father-in-law helping me with the construction.
I am still very grateful they helped me with the construction :)!

More to follow in the upcoming days :)!
 

reefwiser

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Glad to see you post here Luc I have been following your thread on zeewaterforum.info for a while now.:)
 

revhtree

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Nice details!
 
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Luc Vogels

Luc Vogels

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Luc Vogels

Luc Vogels

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After finalizing the base construction and placing the glass tanks, it was time to finish the aquarium cover.
With the help of a carpenter we built the construction around the aquarium.
The covers were made with 20mm water resistant wood and thick HPL layers.
The inside parts of the covers are white in order to reflect the aquarium light, and the outside is grey to match the color of the room.

The topside of the tank (an enclosed canopy in which the lighting is installed) has 4 removable panels (3 on the front, 1 on the leftside).
The bottom part (that holds the filtration system and fragtank) has 3 removable panels.
On the right side of the tank, there is a door to acces the technology (and being able to feed the fish).

The panels are very practical because they are easily removed and the construction does not contain any metal parts that are sensitive to rust. The panels lock into the construction with wooden V-Cut connections.

After 4 years, the construction still looks as new.













and the final result :
 
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Luc Vogels

Luc Vogels

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After finishing the construction I started with the plumbing and electronics.

The first (most left) tank holds 200Liters of reverse osmosis water.
In combination with a float switch, timer and small pump it makes sure the waterlevel in my filter sump remains constant (25cm)
The filtration sump holds a filter with P04 absorber, a Bubbleking Super Marine 250 skimmer and a 10.000 Liter return pump.
The remaining tank is used as a frag tank and housed a biopellet reactor during the startup.

The water that returns from the main tank is split between the frag and filter tank and also supplies the reactors which can be regulated with taps. The fragtank can be seperated from the system for emergencies (e.g. quarantine scenario's). The waterlevel in the fragtank can be regulated with the two standpipes that are placed on the two 40mm connection between the filter and fragtank.

The tank started without any live rock (dry rock), but the bacteria culture was build up by slowly adding live rock and water from my old tank (that was still running in parallel for over 6 months!).

Please let me know if you have any questions, happy to answer them!









 
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Luc Vogels

Luc Vogels

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Roughly 12 weeks after I filled up the tank I began to transport the corals and fish from the old to the new tank. It was very stressful to move the corals and fish, but we managed to do it without any casualties. Especially the big red Lobophyllia was stressful to transport due to the sharp skeleton and thin tissue layer.
I bought this coral when it had a diameter of 8cm and it is currenty over 30cm... the gem of my tank!





The aquarium is controlled from a single distribution cabinet (not completely finished on the picture).
I have chosen for a control system from Philips Dynalite.
This system is actually only intended for home automation and lighting purposes.
But because they were freely available (these were broken samples I repaired) I used them for my tank.
I routed the electronics in a way so that I was able to control every piece of equipment with the system. The connected hardware can be controlled from a 7 inch graphical display that shows all the different control groups (lighting, dosingpumps and filtertank hardware).

The system works rather conveniently but it lags measurement capabilities (PH, temperature .....) like common aquarium computers as Apex en Profilux support. So for the new plans (which I will share in some days) I am scouting for other posibilities/products.



In the first months I used a PH controlled calciumreactor from Schuran but I decided to build a new one based on the extremely reliable and innovative DaStaCo principle.
I have designed everything from scratch (from software to hardware choice) and had much fun building this!
The reactor does not need an active PH probe which measures the PH value, but functions with a dissolved CO2 saturation limit. The dosing pump then determines how much of this calcium enriched water is dosed to the aquarium. It also includes protection and alarms against malfunction (empty C02 bottle, faulty pressure or level valve ...)

Today (~3 years later) it still works very well and has more than sufficient capacity for my system.
 
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Luc Vogels

Luc Vogels

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July 2013, the start of the tank. (the rockscape was done with help of a PVC skeleton)



August 2013, I transferred most fish and corals from the old tank



April 2014 --> Introduced the first CoralCare fixtures above my reef :
After finalizing our first concept studies and lab experiments I switched from conventional T5 lighting (16x54Watt) to the first Philips LED prototypes. These prototypes were slightly different from the current CoralCare fixture in size and power output, but they did have the same spectral content.
If you look closely you can still identify two lighting distribution techniques between the left and right side of the reef.

Some additional pictures from that period:
The tank was doing great and I had (and still have!) a lot of fun with the hobby!!













 

revhtree

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Very nice!
 
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