My Waterbox 7225 Peninsula Build – If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Coolinmn55

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"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him milk, he'll probably ask you for a straw. When he's finished, he'll ask you for a napkin."

This is kind of what happened with my introduction to saltwater reef tanks. :)

I first started with a Fluval 123L AIO - fantastic beginner tank... at first. However, once you realize that the lights don't really grow corals, you need to upgrade the pump, and you need to buy custom filter baskets, you start to realize that your "starter" tank is quickly becoming expensive with the modifications. Also, you don't have a sump or added water volume to help dilute any mistakes.

First Tank_1 (2).jpg

Brand Spanking New AIO - Fluval Flex 123L (about 32 gallons)

Fast forward 6 months, I saw a great deal on a used 65 gallon tank, WITH A SUMP! Because, you know if you give a mouse a cookie, it asks for a glass of milk (with a straw :D).

Second Tank_1.jpg

FB Marketplace Find - 65 Gallon Custom Aquarium with Trigger Sump and home made stand. The guy I bought it from was meticulous and I just added the Kessil AP9X light and other equipment. Was a great second tank and I learned even more about dosing, CO2 scrubbing, etc.

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By the time I got to this point. I just knew I really wanted to go bigger. I even bought the baby Yellow Tang and Anthias for the bigger "cookie" I knew I wanted. So after landing a brand new job (after busting my butt for 20 years at the old job), I rewarded myself and pulled the trigger during Waterbox's "Blue" Friday sale.

I bought this Waterbox 7225 peninsula with 167 gallon DT and 42 gallon sump. I did research other tanks - Cade's, Red Sea's, IM, custom aquariums, etc., but I really liked the clean look of this Waterbox with the glass overflow, the sump layout, and the overall size of this peninsula tank.

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I'll post again soon about what happens next, including renovating my basement to fit this new tank (fish room!) and how we got this baby in my basement without using the stairs.
 
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Coolinmn55

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basement floor.jpg


This is the spot where I am going to put the tank. We have this long dark area (like a bowling alley) in our basement that isn't a good use of space. I'd like to use the tank to break up the space and create a divider where I will have our treadmill behind (maybe it'll motivate me to use it if I can look at some nice) and in front have an area to sit, play poker, drink, etc. The door to the right leads to a back utility room where I plan on setting up a water mixing station. Once decided to put the tank here, we decided to rip up the old flooring.

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This is the back room where I plan to have the water mixing station and other supplies. The sump will be in the tank stand.
 
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Coolinmn55

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After ripping up and replacing the floors and adding more ceiling lights (it was really dark). I punched out a hole in the wall to the back "fish room" and constructed a bump out/closet so it would provide a partial wall and bump out where the tank will be centered. I have an opening in the bump out where I can run electrical and plumbing.

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I tiled the finished bump out rather than drywall so it could withstand splashes better. There will be a tv hung behind it for the treadmill. I had to change the door around for the fish room so that it would swing into the water mixing station.
 
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Coolinmn55

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After waiting for 5 weeks, my Waterbox finally arrived! I ordered it through my LFS here in Minnesota. I think its ironic that we are so far from the ocean but have some of the best reef resources here in Minnesota - I guess our long winters help drive this addiction. Anyways, the tank and stand were delivered to my LFS and my husband and I grabbed the stand and set it up in advance of tank delivery from the LFS guys.

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Since we have a narrow hall leading to our basement, the guys had to bring the tank through the basement window. I don't think I've ever felt so stressed watching them carry this 500 pound tank into our backyard and through a window. On top of it, they delivered this tank on Christmas Eve and we were lucky that that the weather was warm and the tank just barely fit through the window. I considered it a Christmas miracle!

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Finished.jpg

Whew! Now the fun starts.
 
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Coolinmn55

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Well I have to say that I suck at plumbing. I know not a good thing for someone with a fish tank, but I'm admitting it here.
Mixing Station.jpg

I constructed this water mixing station in the fish room/utility room and because of limited floor space, I thought I would construct this station with RO water on top and mixing below. I was able to get the tanks at a local plastics supplier but I needed to install the bulkheads myself because they didn't have tanks with bulkheads in stock and because of the holidays, they didn't have the time to install for me. Also because of the holidays, I wasn't able to order the good pluming parts from BRS, so I bought these parts at the local Menards. The idea is that the RO water from my filtration setup would be pumped to the top 65 gallon tank and then I would open an valve and use gravity for the water to go down into the mixing tank. I plumbed the mixing tank so that an external pump would recirculate the water and could also be connected to a spigot valve with a hose to fill my tank and possibly the first floor tank as well. So I bought a Reef Octopus VarioS-4 DC pump and hooked it up in this fashion. Let's just say between all the connections, subpar plumbing parts, and most likely my lack of skill this setup wasn't very successful. I wound up simplifying it a lot more and will post a picture of the newer setup later.
 
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Over the holidays, I also spent some time aquascaping. I bought about 200 pounds of various types of rock from another local reefer that was stockpiling for a big build some day. At first I was thinking of going NSA but with this being a peninsula tank, I needed to make sure it's nice on both sides and with only a 24" footprint, I just decided to go minimalist and natural. So I constructed a series of "hills" that started larger on the overflow end and then progressed smaller. I left a lot of open space at the opposite end of the tank for smaller coral islands and hopefully left enough room for corals to grow upwards. I always hear that folks wish they used less rock to allow for more room for coral growth so I'm going to keep it simple and can always add rock later if needed.
Aquascaping.jpg

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I used 80 pounds of Aragonite Special Grade dry sand and 80 pounds of Special Grade live sand. I decided to do a half/half combo to save on $ and I wasn't in too big of a hurry to get the tank cycled. I also added about 10 pounds of live rock to the sump from the 2nd floor tank that I shut down. I kicked off the cycle with Dr. Tim's and ammonia per the fishless cycle instructions. To promote the growth of the nitrifying bacteria, I did keep the salinity around 1.015 and raised the heat to around 80 degrees F. Ideally, the heat would be up to 82-84 but we keep it fairly cold in our house in the winter (its Minnesota) and I didn't want to waste more energy than needed or overwork my heaters.
 
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