My Build Thread

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rhostam

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Hi there,

My name is Ray. I’ve been reading Reef2Reef since summer 2020, at least, and mostly a result of search results linking back to this site as well as mentions by the BRS team in their five minute and other guides.

Once Upon a Time
My desire for a saltwater aquarium dates back to when I was in high school. My AP chemistry teacher had one in her home. We would all get together at her home and have study sessions. I remember the fascination and serenity I felt watching the fish and the sea urchins navigate around the tank. So cool.

Recent Bio
2020 was a crazy year of change for me just as coronavirus started ravaging the world. In 2019, I sold my home to move to Austin to complete what was supposed to be a long term project. I was sick for like half of my time there with some unidentifiable coughing for that would lead to me passing out. I think it was laryngial spasms. Then there was the hellacious heat and the torturous allergies made life so difficult. I didn’t get to spend time with friends as a result of much of this. 2019 was not a great year for us, but at least the world was normal.

Mid 2019 I found out that the business had miscommunicated requirements for the project and also residency requirements. As soon as we found out, we started planning our move back to Denver. With the hospitality job market in Austin being so uncompetitive, I sent my partner ahead of me to start looking for homes and also accept a great job opportunity.

We eventually found a builder, a location, and a floor plan with a completion timeframe that aligned with ours. A year later, 2021 our home was ready and we started our move.

Six or so months into 2020 coronavirus was in full swing. My employer (a restaurant SaaS vertical tech company) kicked off a round of RIFs and anxiety, coronavirus restrictions, and lockdowns were driving me crazy.

Many people I knew were using this time constructively by indulging their hobbies and labors of love and so I started thinking about what I could do. I’m a gamer, but not hard core. I play MMOs like WoW, SWTOR, GW2, and ESO. But grinding beyond reaching the end game or story arcs wasn’t good enough for me. I worked on finishing some of the garage. I did plenty of yard work. But being a new home and a garage still partially in chaos from the move, there wasn’t much more I could do at the time.

While I have always kept fish and planted aquariums, I restricted myself to only freshwater because I moved frequently, didn’t have the money, or time. New home, just moved back to town, why not jump back into the hobby and finally going saltwater?

Eventually at summers end I came across a good deal for a tank to get me started. I knew I wanted something larger, but i just couldn’t settle on just how large and where I would place it. I was also weary of the commitment. I also wasn’t part of this community then or I probably would have just gone big from the get go.

In the meantime, I had an office that I could use to place this tank and a closet I could hide equipment in. I even had easily accessible plumbing. Who knows maybe this tank would satisfy my desire to start and care for a saltwater aquarium? Though I took some pictures here and there, I didn’t get to document the process or the journey.

Now
8 months later my “starter” tank (built using the BRS five minute guides) is maturing with each passing day. My home is settled and the other major projects are complete until the weather is more regularly agreeable.

After much consideration for the costs, time, the satisfaction and serenity this hobby provides me, and the fact that the main floor of the home was ready for the main attraction we decided to pull the trigger and get a larger tank. Top contenders were Red Sea, Cade, and Waterbox. The space demanded a peninsula style.

Today I ordered a Waterbox Peninsula 6025.

Cool Kids Club?
Though this thread will include some details of the existing “starter” tank that will be used to seed (as well as be replaced by) the new tank, it will primarily host details of the build for the new Waterbox. I’ll admit, it won’t be much of a ”build.” I already have a tank that is already on its journey and I have equipment and livestock that will be transferred over. The aquarium itself is new, comes with a cabinet, is pre-plumbed with easy connections, and includes a sump. Waiting for its own cycle to complete will allow me time to explore potential new lighting that may hit the market (*cough* Neptune’s Sky) as well as time to purchase the remaining equipment.

Any questions or feedback along the way are welcome.

Cheers folk,

P.S. According to the by-laws of the community, this thread now makes me a member of the “cool kids club,” right? Let it be known that deep inside this honor has me squealing like a “Belieber” that meets the Biebs IRL for the first time.
 
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rhostam

rhostam

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Sharing a few pictures of the tank that ended up becoming temporary after all. This 50g AIO came reasonably priced and I thought would meet my needs. I used the BRS 5-Minute Guides as the principal foundation for my adventure.

ComponentMake/ Model
TankJBJ 50G AIO
StandIncluded with the tank
Return Pump2x Sicce Syncra 1.0
Powerheads2x Neptune WAV replaced by
2x AI Nero 3
Heating2x Hyyger 200W Titanium w/ external controller
(1 active, 1 standby, both controlled by Apex)
Lighting1x AI Hydra 32 HD
Mounted using AI Aqi Mount
AquascapeMarco Reef Saver 40 lbs
SumpNone
ControllerNeptune Apex EL
RO/DIBRS 4 Stage RO/DI, expanded +stage and TDS meter.
Saltwater ReservoirTrigger Systems 10G
Freshwater ReservoirTrigger Systems 10G
ATONeptune ATO
Water ChangeNeptune DOS in WC configuration
DosingIceCap Kalkwasser Reactor (controlled by single DOS head)

StepDate Started (approximate)Duration (approximate)
Tank build9/01/20201 day
Aquascape Design9/02/20201 week
Water Preparation9/02/20201 week
Tank Fill9/09/2020
Microbacter7 Addition9/10/2020Daily over a week per instructions
Introduction of initial livestock:
  • Ocellaris Clowns (x2)
  • Peppermint Shrimp (x5)
  • Emerald Crab (x1)
Food:
  • Neptune CD
9/15/2020
Initial Cycle Time (no lights)9/15/20204 months
Lights On1/15/2021
Introduction of the second batch of livestock:
  • Green Chromie (x5)
  • Lawnmower Blenny (x1)
  • Flame Scallop (x1)
  • Stichodachtyla Tapetum (x1)
  • Sand Sifting Starfish (x1)
  • Algae Barn 5280 Pods (x2)
Macroalga Additions:
  • Pom Pom (x3 golf ball)
Food:
  • Evening dosing of Mercer of Montana/ AlgaeBarn OceanMagik phytoplankton
1/15/2021
Introduction of first corals:
  • Sarcophyton leather mushroom (x1)
  • Rhodactis (x2)
  • Ricordia Yuma (x1)
  • Pachyclavularia Violacea (x1)
Expanded CUC:
  • Turbo Snail (x1)
  • Astrea Snail (x5)
2/15/20211 month
Recent livestock additions:
  • Assorted Palythoa
  • Assorted Zoanthids
  • Montipora Digita frag (x2)
  • Stylophora frag (x1)
  • Rhodactive Bounce (x1)
  • Caulastrea Furcata (x1)
  • Goniopora Red (x1)
  • Goniopora Green/Teal (x1)
These additions were made over a period of time and once we decided to replace the tank with something larger.
3-4/10/20211 month

Looking at the timelines now, I see that I definitely lost track of time and have accelerated things more than I thought. All along the way, I've tried to maintain the following parameters. I succeeded on the whole but I did have a few fluctuations and an accident where a bunch of food got dumped into the tank which led to an outbreak of GHA and also some diatoms. These outbreaks lasted about 1 week to 2 weeks. The turbos made short work of the GHA across the entire tank, and flow adjustment and some larger volume water changes helped take care of the diatoms.

The goal is now to let this tank continue to age. I'll be purchasing a smaller volume of rock and have it in a Brute trashcan going through its own cycle with a few chunks/ media from my existing tank as well as that purchased from LFS.

What is next?
  • Prepare New Rock
  • Receive New Tank
  • Build and Setup New Tank
    • Includes installing existing components (in storage bin):
      • Return Pump - Neptune COR20 (x1)
      • Powerheads - Neptune WAV (x2)
  • Operate Light-Off (fish only)
  • Order New Components Required for this Build
    • Lighting
      • Tank
      • Refugium
    • Skimmer
  • Stage Transfer of Old Tank Inhabitants into New Tank
  • Transfer Equipment (as appropriate)
    • I am still not sure what I'll be doing for this. Obviously, I can operate the new tank without any controller, etc. But conversely, I could also operate the Old Tank without one and just move the equipment from it to the New Tank. I don't think I'll purchase a second set of controlling equipment because I am not sure if I'll be keeping the Old Tank running.
Attached are a few pictures I took when I built the Old Tank. You can see the evolution of the closet used for the Old Tank. I don't use the Brute anymore and I also don't have the controller mounted so low. I still don't have the controller configured the way it needs to be, but at least it is on a board and better organized. I learned a lot about the electronics for this build. I am hoping I can come up with a great final product for the New Tank. I really don't know where this hardware will go once the New Tank is set up as it will be on the main floor. The Old Tank and its "water closet" had easy access to plumbing thanks to the adjacent bathroom. I don't have an existing option for the New Tank. I am thinking I will have insulated plumbing run up through the garage up into the living room for the New Tank. There is an I-beam and HVAC ducting running immediately below where the New Tank will sit. Just. Not. Sure.
 

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rhostam

rhostam

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Well, it’s been several weeks now and I hadn’t heard anything on my order shipping despite it being listed as “in stock” at the time. I reached out to Waterbox and, in typical fashion, they replied quickly that it hadn’t yet shipped (duh) but that as soon as it does I’d be notified.

Well, I decided to change my order because of that. Go big or go home, right?

So the tank will instead be a Peninsula 7225 instead of the 6025. Supposedly it is in stock and will ship “soon.”

So now I’m even more anxious than I was before!
 
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rhostam

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Just got my second Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine shot. Provided it doesn’t zonk me out, I’ll be working on assembling the cabinet to help me make decisions on furniture rearrangement.

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rhostam

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Managed to muster strength to finish the cabinet and place the sump and ATO reservoir.

In retrospect, it’s a little disappointing that the ATO reservoir doesn’t come with a lid. I’ll make one, but it would have been nice if included. I also have my Triggers that I might transfer from the old tank, too.

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rhostam

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Movers finally came! It’s been so long that I almost thought I wasn’t ever going to happen.

I’ve been using the waiting period to research different approaches, controller systems, and take time to really think about the modifications to my home that I’ll need to make this work.

Unfortunately, lots of things have happened since I started this adventure:
  • The tax man got his share.
  • Some rando drove into my house necessitating repairs (thankfully, no structure, just sprinkler and landscaping).
  • Kicked off refinancing of my home.
  • Planning a group vacation to New Orleans for Labor Day weekend. First travel since the corona nightmare started. Super excited.
Point? I’ve been distracted. Now I have to make some decisions with the new info I have learned:
  • Controller: Apex or Hydros?
  • Lighting: Sky or?
  • Rockscape.
  • Sand.
  • Slow and steady a-la-BRS 5 minute guide (which I used for my first tank), or an extended planning, all expenses up front and BOOM insta-tank?
  • How I’m going to deal with plumbing?
  • Build mix station myself or have my LFS do it?
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DocPalmer

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Movers finally came! It’s been so long that I almost thought I wasn’t ever going to happen.

I’ve been using the waiting period to research different approaches, controller systems, and take time to really think about the modifications to my home that I’ll need to make this work.

Unfortunately, lots of things have happened since I started this adventure:
  • The tax man got his share.
  • Some rando drove into my house necessitating repairs (thankfully, no structure, just sprinkler and landscaping).
  • Kicked off refinancing of my home.
  • Planning a group vacation to New Orleans for Labor Day weekend. First travel since the corona nightmare started. Super excited.
Point? I’ve been distracted. Now I have to make some decisions with the new info I have learned:
  • Controller: Apex or Hydros?
  • Lighting: Sky or?
  • Rockscape.
  • Sand.
  • Slow and steady a-la-BRS 5 minute guide (which I used for my first tank), or an extended planning, all expenses up front and BOOM insta-tank?
  • How I’m going to deal with plumbing?
  • Build mix station myself or have my LFS do it?
9E1019C3-71CA-4250-95E1-3922028AF45A.jpeg


3ACDFA7C-6642-444F-87EE-A76571C487AE.jpeg
Beautiful!
 
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rhostam

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Okay, another step. Finished some other distracting projects that required spending freezes (refinance and repairs).

Initial setup order has arrived:
  • Sand
  • Salt
  • Caribsea life rock
  • PVC fittings
  • Egg crate (to protect bottom of tank
Missing or not yet purchased/decided:
  • Lighting
  • Heaters

It’s aquascaping design time!

90C10929-6979-4E6E-B793-A206BC0DAB67.jpeg
 
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rhostam

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Good afternoon and Happy Independence Day to fellow Americans!

Work project initiatives have finally picked up some steam and it’s been hard for me to make time for the hobby.

Today is the first day I’ve been able to try my hand at some aquascape ideas.

First of all, I plan on have fish and predominantly LPS softie tank. That could change. Swim space, hiding spots, and also areas protected from power head maximum flows will be important.

Sadly, I’ve been planning purchases phases at a time but I keep making ordering mistakes. I blame distractions.

First mistake: I ended up purchasing two XL arches instead of one XL arch. I don’t think I’m going to use the second arch. But it is an option.

Second mistake: I forgot the bloody shelf rock for base. So any pictures I share for opinions won’t have those worked in. Yet.

So given all of that I’ve posted some pictures grouped by ideas. A short video walk around the one I really like.

A few more details that may impact opinions:
  • The rock nearest the oven/ microwave in the photos (also the tallest part of the structure) will be within a few inches of the overflow for the peninsula styled aquarium. Basically enough for me to get my hand/fist back there.
  • The power heads to be used will be two Neptune Wavs positioned on the overflow side of the tank facing the opposite end and at an angle bouncing off of the glass.
  • There will be changes to either design once shelf is in. I’ll post updated designs when that happens. The large arch structure is already super stable on its own. The shelf changes will likely occur only on the second structure furthest from the return and power heads.
  • The large arch structure nearest the over flow is already within 6 inches of the water level so I’ll likely have to lower it as well. Just not sure by how much.
  • My intention for the large arch was to plant a zoanthids garden along with some encrusting corals.
Thoughts and opinions?

Thanks in advance!

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For the walk around, I’ve had to upload to cloud storage since R2R video upload doesn’t ever seem to work properly for me:

Arrangement 2 Walk Around
 
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rhostam

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Just a brief update as my work cloud migration project and countless time sucking meetings continue to consume most of my time:

I’ve started to place the rock work. Still deciding where I’ll permanently glue. It’s heavy only because my also threw out my back.

More shipments of equipment and tubing mean that I can now start mixing water. I want to do the plumbing on my own mixing station, but I just don’t have the time yet - so it’s manual temporary configuration for now! LOL

I’ve unboxed and configured the Apex I purchased to monitor the new tank. I have the controller board for it, too, and will set that up tomorrow hopefully. In the meantime I will use it to drive the WAV power head and PMUP for this temp mixing and filling arrangement.

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