My First Saltwater Build.....Waterbox Frag 55.2... This is going to be great

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bluerider098

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Sorry I haven't had any detailed updates lately. I have lots of items in process and will do detailed posts as I finish them.

I did get shopping confirmation for the top I ordered from kraken reef, so I am excited about that.

Here are a few more progress shots.
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bluerider098

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One of the features that I liked on this Frag series tank was the ability to add a manifold to the return line of the sump. They even put an standard 1/2" adaptor on it so that you can use US plumbing.

That being said I went ahead and made a manifold with 3 additional outlets, so that I have flexibility to add things in the future like a reactor or something. I do have plans to use 1 of the outlets to feed the refugium that I am making out of the ATO section of the sump.

Making the manifold was really pretty simple. I found some 1/2 Union ball valves that I liked on eBay and ordered some schedule 80 fittings from BRS (I only used schedule 80 for the gray color, as that heavy of pipe is not needed)

I decided to glue hose fittings into the ball valves for future flexibility. I can always swap out the ball valves if I change my mind. The only thing not shown in the pictures is the small pieces of 1/2 inch pvc that I used between the fittings.

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The only problem with this manifold is that it's heavy and it hangs off of the return bulkhead. I am going to support it somehow, but I haven't decided yet.
 
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I wanted to talk about my Klir Di-4 Filter Roller a little. I did tons of research before purchasing it. It sounds like the first release of it had some issues with the felt getting stuck and the turbulent water causing the water level sensor to falsely trip and waste the entire roll.

So based on all of that info and the seemingly endless hours of reading I came up with the following:
- All the new units come with a stronger motor to help with the fleece getting stuck.
- Additional deburring was done on the fleece guides to keep them from catching the fleece.
-The water level sensor should be installed facing away from the inlet of water.
-In addition the the factory deburring I lightly sanded all of the sharp corners that the fleece would touch during use to prevent any snagging.

I basically broke the edges of all of the triangle edges in the picture below. They were still really sharp from the mfg.

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All of the parts are nicely machined from plastic, so my recommendation to Klir would be to also run a chamfer or radius tool over the openings after they machine them to break the edges

The next hurdle was that it didn't fit into the sock opening on my sump. Apparently Waterbox makes their openings slightly smaller than 4" so none of the adaptors that came with it would fit. I called the mfg and they said that it could just sit on top of the opening and the water level would just be a little higher.

This was fine however I didn't like that it wouldn't make a very good seal on the opening and you would have to make sure it was centered. So after some thought I designed an adapter that would sit over the opening in my sump, and would fit the 4" adaptor. I had it made at work from a piece of scrap 1/4" Lexan, I designed the overall size slightly larger than needed so that I could trim the perimeter to fit exactly in the opening in the sump.

Here is a picture of the Lexan piece and the second is with the Klir adaptor. It looks like there is a bunch of clearance but that's just because the opening was chamfered and it removed the protective paper. I measured the 4" adaptor and had the whole in the Lexan be .010" larger to account for potential roundness error. It was a very nice fit.
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In order to get it to sit all the way down in the opening I had to use a razor blade to trim the excess silicone around the tray in the sump. It's hard to tell from the picture but I just trimmed the lumps flush with the glass.

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Here are a couple of pictures with everything installed.
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I am very happy with how it turned out.
 
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I still need to get this build thread up to date as it's a bit behind from where the tank is actually at progress wise, but the good news is that I started moving some saltwater in my mixing station today. I hope to have water in the tank this week.
 
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After running my mixing pump for a few hours I noticed that I have a small leak on my Mag Drive MD7 pump. I took it apart and the o ring that seals the pump cover was twisted. Kinda frustrating because the pump had never been used, is been sitting for like 15 years but was brand new in the box.

Going to try and get a replacement o ring. I am just soaking up the water for the moment. It's more like a seep.
 
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Update: I glued the rocks together a few days ago. Yesterday I added the sand and filled the tank with water. I played with the settings on the return pump and dialed in the gate valve on the return.

Since the Vectra pump gets calibrated visually I have no idea what kind of gph I am running, but it's enough that the RFG's that I put on the return lines seem to be working.

When I turned on the MP40 it blew the sand all over the place. I am not sure what I am going to do about that quite yet. Even when I turn it down to 25% there is a slight swirl of sand. Moving the Powerhead higher in the tank didn't seem to help.

On another note Danner (Magdrive) is sending me a new seal for the leaky pump on my water change station at no charge. Pretty good since the pump was bought 16 years ago.

Here are a few pics. I know that I still owe some updates on my controller cabinet and a few other things.

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I tried one of my MP40's and got the same result lol a Massive sand storm even at a low setting. I ended up going with Nero 3's on either side and 2 mp10's on the back wall. I cant stand the massive motors on the mp10/mp40's but having them on the back wall you don't see them.
 
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I tried one of my MP40's and got the same result lol a Massive sand storm even at a low setting. I ended up going with Nero 3's on either side and 2 mp10's on the back wall. I cant stand the massive motors on the mp10/mp40's but having them on the back wall you don't see them.
I am still going to play with it some. I am kinda planning on getting another mp40 for the other side. One thing I will say is that it was louder than I expected. I played with the alignment but couldn't really make it much better. It's not terrible, but you can definitely hear over the nearly silent tank.

Update 4/27: After running for a few days it's nearly silent. It must have worked itself into perfect alignment
 
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I added some Dr. Tims ammonia last night along with one and only. We will see how things go.

I have have been getting some high and low temp alarms from my Inkbird, but when I check it the temperature is not high or low. I think it might be because I had 1 of the probes in the skimmer section of my sump, which is where the heater is. For now I moved both probes to the inlet section of the sump and see if the alarms go away.

On another note my refugium conversion on the ATO looks like it's going to work well. I have it running now with nothing in it, just water flowing thru it.

I will do a post later tonight with pictures of what I did.
 
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Build is very well put together!

Yeah for that reason I don't like the MP pumps. For that price, they have too many issues.
Fwiw, I run the jebao slw in my tank. Dead quiet.
Thanks. I tried to take my time. I have actually really enjoyed the building stage. I look forward to moving on to the reef keeping stage.
 
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Refugium Update: So I really searched to find a good example of where someone had converted the Ato into a fuge, but was only able to find a few vague examples.

In 1 example someone just let thier ato overflow into the other chambers. I didn't feel real comfortable with this example as the water would be very near overflowing the sump.

In another example someone used an HOB overflow between the ATO and return chamber. I really liked this idea as it didn't require any modifications to the sump. The issue with this solution in my mind was the reliability of the overflow maintaining a siphon at a low flow rate.

So I decided to drill the sump between the Ato and the skimmer chamber. This offered a few advantages. First was that I could have a safe water level in the fuge and by installing a bulkhead I could add a screen or something in the future if needed. The plan was to have the return pump feed the fuge via the manifold that I installed on the return line.

So on to drilling the sump. I wanted to accurately place the holes higher than the water level in the skimmer chamber so that the water would flow out of the fuge into skimmer section. Having not run the sump yet I wasn't sure what the water level would be so I asked around a bit and settled at around 9 inches. With this info I made a wood jig to locate the holes.

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I ordered the 35mm glass hole saw from BRS which was what you need for a 3/4 bulkhead. Since the bit is for glass I didn't want to drill the hole thru the wood jig with it, so I used a 1 3/8" Forester wood bit to make the holes in the wood jig. The diameter of the glass bit was slightly larger than the holes in the jig so I then ran the glass bit thru the holes as it was only removing a very small amount of material.

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Next up I clamped it in place along with a support board on the back side of the glass. My thinking on the support board was to help with chipping as the glass bit broke they the backside of the glass.
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The next hurdle was that there wasn't enough room to fit a regular drill in the sump to drill the holes. I ended up borrowing a 90 degree air drill from a friend of mine that you can see in the picture above.

Drilling the holes was really pretty easy. As I drilled I didn't add 8any downward pressure I just let the weight of the drill do the work. I would stop occasionally to add more water to the hole but that's about it.

I was not super happy with how the holes turned out. I got a fair amount of chipping and the holes were actually at a slight angle.
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I think my flaw was the fact that the 90 degree drill was putting pressure at an angle due to the weight of the handle. This uneven pressure caused the hole to be created at a slight angle which led to the chipping. If I was to do it again I would figure out a way support the drill and apply even pressure. If there had been room for a standard drill I could have used a guide like this one at BRS.


In the end you couldn't see the chipping after installing the bulkhead, but I am a perfectionist and it bugged me.

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Here is the temporary setup installed under my tank.

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I am still waiting on another bulkhead as you can see in the pictures. BRS is currently out of stock.

Overall I am happy with the finished result. With this design I can use the ball valve on my manifold to control the flow and by having the bulkheads on there I can add a screen if needed or even turn it back into an Ato by plugging the bulkhead if I needed too.
 
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Quick update. Day 3 of Dr. Tims fishless cycle. Tested for ammonia and got somewhere between .5 &.25 ppm. Per the instructions I dosed another 4 drops per gallon. We will see what it measures tomorrow. I forgot to buy a nitrite kit so I won't know the nitrites until the kit arrives later this week.
 
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I am finally doing an update on my controller cabinet. Surprisingly I think I spent more time trying to figure out what I was going to do for my controller cabinet than I did on anything else so far.

So in the beginning I had originally planned to try and fit all of the controllers, dosing containers etc. In the tank stand. I didn't know how I was going to do this but it seemed like the most straightforward solution. I searched the forums, Google images, YouTube etc. for what seemed like weeks looking for ideas. I couldn't really find any ideas that looked like they would work, and when I finally got my tank and saw how little room there was I knew that it was going to be too cramped to put everything in the stand. You probably could have made it work, but it would have made maintainence more difficult.

So I moved on to finding a separate control panel of some sort. I looked some at the premade boards you can get from BRS etc, but having to mount them outside my cabinet kinda ruined the clean look.

Next I found where people were buying a generic cabinet like a Besta cabinet from Ikea and adding thier own board to mount the controllers. I liked this idea and started searching for a cabinet that would work. I swear I looked for a solid 2 weeks, Amazon, Ikea, I was even looking at possibly buying another aquarium stand. At one point I had settled on a Besta cabinet, but when I went to purchase it, it was unavailable.

So finally I said screw it, none of the pre made cabinets was going to match anyways and fiddling with trying to mount the controllers to a board with all of the wires inaccessible behind it seemed like a bad idea anyways. I decided to make my own.

So the first thing I did was come up with a list of current and possibly future equipment that would have to go in it.

I came up with the following:
- 3 Ecotech controllers
- 2 4 packs of Versa dosers
- 2 Klir controllers
- Inkbird
- Dosing containers

Since I was going to design this in CAD I needed to measure all of the items and make dummy models of them to help me design the cabinet. Since I didn't have a Versa dosing pump or any dosing containers I had to search the internet to find some dimensions. Thankfully the dimensions of the Versa pumps were on the box so I looked at some pictures of the box online to get them.

On to the design. The 2 goals that I had in mind was to make it match the height and depth of the tank stand and have easy access to the wires. The first design I came up with ended up looking like a pop machine at McDonald's or something. . That wasn't going to work.

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Version 2 I liked better but it still didn't love it.

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While staring at version 2 for awhile a light bulb went off on my head...... Add a side door. That would give me access to the wires and power strips, and I could fit the dosing containers in there. In my first 2 designs I was going to use a DJ power strip to turn every thing on and off because it wouldn't be easy to get at the power strips, but with a door I wouldn't need that. Just open the door.

Here is the final design. Picture 1 is doors open, picture 2 doors closed.
I will cover building it next time.
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Quick update. Nitrite is rising and ammonia is dropping. Following Dr. Tims instructions I dosed ammonia again last night. Everything seems to be progressing.

I plan on ordering a Reef pack from IPSF when the nitrogen cycle is complete while I wait for fish. By that time I should be able to get my Frag QT setup.

So far I have been really happy with how everything is working.

I will post an update on building my control cabinet tonight. I just added a battery backup to it last night for the MP40.
 
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Building my control cabinet.... So after I had a finished design I made a drawing showing all important dimensions, and I also did a wood layout for cutting the pieces from a 4x8 sheet (Not all pieces shown, I had some wood lying around for the missing pieces).

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So next step was cutting all of the pieces, and screwing everything together. I used pocket holes (Kreg Jig) to attach everything together. Once assembled I used a sander to make all of the seams where the wood came together perfect and a little painters caulk to fix any imperfections in the joints. For the controller wire holes I knew that I was going to use computer desk grommets so I did a layout of all of the holes and drilled them with a drill press before I screwed the panel into the cabinet.
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For the door hinges I ordered some stainless steel soft close European soft close hinges. ( SEVGTY Concealed Hinges 2-Packs, Full Overlay 110 Degree European Frameless Hydraulic Stainless Steel Soft Close Hinges for Drawer Window Cupboard Cabinet Door Hinges with Screws - - Amazon.com ) They are almost identical to what came on my Waterbox Stand, mount those I made a jig with all of the hole locations. I put the cup holes in the door first and then attached the hinges. Then with the hinges attached to the door I set the door on the cabinet and transferred the locations to the cabinet. This allowed me to get really good alignment on the doors. Really this step is pretty forgiving as these style of hinges have lots of adjustment to get them lined up correctly.

Here are a couple of pictures of the stand prior to paint.

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I had the stand painted because I knew I would never be happy with any paint job that I was capable of. An Amish furniture painting shop was about 30 minutes away so I had them paint it. I took in the door from my Waterbox stand with cabinet so that they could match the paint. They did a great job as it matches my stand perfectly. They gave me the extra paint and it actually said Waterbox Black on it.

Here are a couple of pictures. I will cover the wiring etc. in another post.

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Thanks I appreciate it. The hardest part was having patience. Everything seemed like it took forever. I think from design to finish on the control cabinet it took about 8 weeks. I only had time to work on it an hour or 2 a day. If you had more time you could probably build the cabinet in a couple days and it took about 2 weeks to get it back from the painter.

It really wasn't very expensive either, having it painted was the most expensive part. Other than that just the cost of a sheet of wood and the hinges. (Assuming you have some wood working tools)
 
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After I got the cabinet back from the painter it was time to wire. Even though the wires were going to be hidden in back I wanted to keep them organized. So after some research I settled on a 3" x3" wire channel to run the wires inside the cabinet.


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I chose this size because it was large enough to hide the power bricks in and the slots on the sides offered lots of flexibility for running wires in and out.

Once I got it first step was to cut it to size. I used my radial arm saw to cut it, but a table saw or a miter saw would work just as well. A tip for cutting is to support the "fingers" when cutting, and go really slow. This keeps the fingers from breaking off when cutting. Cut a 2x4 or something to 2 7/8" and stick it in the channel right next to where your going to cut.

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Next step was to cut out the fingers in a few spots where large wires were going to exit. This is done by carefully scribing a line with a razor blade and then they will snap right off. Follow up with a little filing to make the edges perfect.

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Last step was paint. I just hung them in the garage and then used flat black spray paint (make sure to use the kind for plastic). The plastic is a dust and hair magnet so I recommend blowing it off with some compressed air after hanging to get anything stuck to it off. Wiping doesn't work well because of static cling. You could use some tack cloth, but that stuff drives me nuts.

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On to the wiring. First thing I did was mount all of the controllers. I had a layout of how I wanted the stuff to mount, so I measured carefully. This was a little challenging because the cabinet being black you couldn't see any pencil marks on it. So I put masking tape approximately where I needed reference lines.

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A tip that I recommend to get things perfect is to only transfer 1 mounting hole. Then mount your item ( In this case it was the Ecotech mounts) with the single screw and then use a level on the mount and make it perfectly level before transferring the next hole. This gives you some forgiveness on placement. Over the years I have mounted plenty of things by trying to put all of the holes in at once and then be unhappy when it wasn't perfectly straight.

For the Inkbird and the Klir I opted to use Velcro command strips because they didn't have nice mounting brackets like the Ecotech controllers did. I deviated from my layout some because the wires were short for the Klir, and I definitely wanted extra wire for that so that I could easily pull it from the sump to clean and change the filter roll. Even moving it over I ended up having to extend the wires. There was nothing online that I could find about extending them, and I contacted Coralife, but they weren't able to help me. The wires looked like a standard DC plug and a mini headphone jack, so I took the gamble and measured them and found some cables on Amazon.



The extensions worked perfectly. The dc plug was a little long, but it didn't seem to hurt anything. For mounting the Inkbird the heater plug was really large so I opened up the plug and carefully removed the wires so that I could feed them thru the hole in the control board. The wires just pop right out and I took a picture for reference of where everything was. The brass metal pieces with the wires attached just pop right out.

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Everything that I currently have mounted:

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Behind Control Board. (In the back)

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The next part was mounting the power strips and the wire channel in the back section. The power strips didn't come with a template for mounting so I made my own with careful measurements and used a 1/16" drill bit to transfer the location.

Template:
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Once I the power strips mounted I mounted the wire channel and then ran the wires between the aquarium cabinet and the control cabinet. Then the hard part.....Try to make a bunch of different length wires look nice. This was actually the most annoying part. I decided to let all of the excess wire hang out in back of the cabinets because it gave me enough wire to pull the equipment out of the sump for maintenance without having to undo anything. Other than that just some patience and Velcro wire tires. I used the Velcro command strips again to mount the power bricks inside the channel. They should get plenty of airflow with the openings on both sides of the channel, so I am not worried about them overheating.

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And finally the finished product:

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One last thing that I will add that I forgot to mention was that I got these neat little usb powered motion activated lights to light both my control cabinet and the sump area under my cabinet. I looked at a ton of options but settled on these because of their size, motion activation, and the fact that they were usb powered. The Kasa power strips that I bought had usb ports on them and I couldn't see taking up of any of my plugs for the cabinet lights. I did have to order a usb extension to get from sump area to the control cabinet to plug in, but you can get usb extensions anywhere.

 
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