New Custom 180 Gallon Build (Lots of pics!)

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Hello everyone!!

This is my first post as my new profile (side note: I lost the password to my old one and never updated it anyways…plus I lined up my profile name to match my Instagram profile also J). I am finally starting my build profile for my new custom 180 gallon mixed reef. The tank was ordered at the end of January of this year and arrived a month ago. I plan to update everyone on all the info in this first post, so I hope all of you like reading!

First of all, I’ll go over my background. I currently have two tanks. My main reef is an Innovative Marine SR-80 packed full of SPS, LPS, zoanthids, clams, and a large neon green Haddoni carpet anemone. The tank was set up in August of 2016 and has been fantastic. It runs on a 2016 Apex and is dosed with BRS 2-part. My other tank is an Innovative Marine Nuvo 20 that I use as a frag/holding tank. I just took down my 10-gallon frag tank and combined it with this one for another project that I will post about down the road. So, long story short, I am outgrowing my current tank, so time to upgrade!!!

Next, the specs to the new build:

Tank:Custom 180 gallon, standard dimensions, Euro-braced on top and bottom
Stand:Custom 2 inch steel, 40” tall and built with the tank, has plywood already mounted on bottom for sump and top for tank. Stand also came with 1” of Styrofoam to cushion bottom of the tank.
Sump:GeosReef 46” sump, 3 filter socks, built in reactor and refugium section
Skimmer:Nyos 220 (sump has custom built lid for the skimmer), also have the Avast Marine Skimmer Swabbie
ATO Container:Synergy Reef 10-gallon container (Tunze Osmolator)
Dosing Container:Advanced Acrylic
Controller:2016 Apex, 2 Dos dosers, Lunar Sim module, WXM module, Avast Marine switchboard module
Return Pump:Apex Core 20
Lighting:4 Kessil A360’s (on current tank) coupled with the Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid (60” model)
Flow:two Ecotech MP40s and two Ecotech MP10s (on current tank, will move over when livestock is moved)

Like I said earlier, the tank arrived about a month ago, so I am back tracking and showing all the pictures with commentary as I have made progress up to now.

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First and foremost, I had to move the old tank to the guest room to make room for the new tank. You can see I marked out the approximate area of the new tank when deciding where to put it. The move took about an hour and all the muscle of my roommate and myself. We drained about 80% of the tank and slid it into the temporary location. I had a few frag not make it, however, most corals pulled through the stress.

Next came the padding under the stand. I decided to use two ½” thick gym mats under the stand to help protect the floor and distribute the weight. Both came a few days before the tank arrived. Due to the dimensions, I had to order both mats bigger than the tank and cut them back.

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On July 26th, the new tank was delivered! I had some awesome friends from Joe Knows Reefs (also who I ordered it through) come and help move it in. Exotic Aquariums built the tank in Florida along with the stand. The tank itself has amazing craftsmanship with no discrepancies whatsoever. It has an external glass overflow box with three 1” holes for a Bean Animal setup. It is reinforced with Euro-bracing on top and bottom of the tank and the three viewing panels are made of low iron glass.

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Immediately after delivery, I began working on getting the system together. Many large components began coming in almost daily. I painted the bottom of the plywood under the sump black and placed some extra molding for esthetics. The new sump from GeosReef arrived about a week later and I was blown away by the build quality and attention to detail! The sump is the 46” Pro version with three 4” filter socks, a Nyos 220 Skimmer with custom built covers, a built in media reactor and 5 gallon refugium.

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Over the next two weeks I began assembling other parts of the build. I hung the new Aquatic Life Hybrid fixture, but still have not placed the bulbs in. The ATO container was moved from the current tank to the new one and fits right in with the new sump. I used black chalkboard panels from the local big box hardware store with magnets on the back to mount. I began the plumbing soon after. All drainpipes are black 1” PVC with white fittings to match the sump and stand. I placed a gate valve on the main siphon and left the partial drain and emergency drain open. The return is plumbed off a manifold. There are two ½” lines to feed the reactor and fuge. After that, there is a T with two ¾” return lines into the top corners of the tank.

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After finishing the plumbing, I began mounting some of the equipment. I ordered a second 832 Energy Bar to help power and control half of the tank. I am going to split the heaters and T5 lights onto separate circuits to not overload anything. The Kessil lights and power heads will be powered by a regular power strip that is on a different circuit from the Apex energy bars. The flow on the tank will be provided by two Ecotech MP40s and two Ecotech MP10s (the current tank is using the MP10s and will be moved over once the livestock is transferred). Lastly, I leak tested the tank the past two days with only one small leak found on the emergency drain bulkhead. After tightening it down a little more, the leak was stopped and everything was working well. At this point, I am just waiting for the ABS sheets to come in from BRS. Once installed, I will begin cycling the tank. The main rock structures are made by Aqua Rocks. Lee is was great to work with and creates amazing works of art! I got two main reef structures, which will be placed against the back glass. I specifically asked the structures to be lower to allow more vertical growth of my SPS colonies. The third structure is a custom designed “Anemone Bowl.” This will be the only place in the tank with sand and was specifically designed for the Haddoni Carpet anemone.

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So this is how far I have come in the past month. I hope all of you enjoy this build! Please feel free to ask questions and give advice!

If you would like to keep up with the build, follow me on Instagram @backdraft_reefer I post multiple times a week on what I am working on

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Hitman

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Welcome back to R2R!!!
Nice setup! keep up the good work and keep us updated with pictures we lik3 pictures!!! Lol
I’d really like to know more on the Geo sump I love the layout on them but I’ve never known anyone that had one, so please keep us updated on that as well likes loves hates etc.
 
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backdraft_reefer
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Welcome back to R2R!!!
Nice setup! keep up the good work and keep us updated with pictures we lik3 pictures!!! Lol
I’d really like to know more on the Geo sump I love the layout on them but I’ve never known anyone that had one, so please keep us updated on that as well likes loves hates etc.
Thank you! And I definitely will! I love the set up so far, can’t wait to see it in action
 
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Got the ATI bulbs in the fixture and placed the new dosing container from Advance Acylics next to the sump. It’s coming along! The BRS ABS sheets should be installed on Friday. I’ll start making enough RODI over the few days to fill it up. I will be using the HW Reefer salt. I’ve been using it on all my tanks for the past few years and love how clear it mixes. I’ll keep the updates coming!
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Just posting a new update while waiting for the hurricane to slowly make its way to Charleston. Side note: I hope everyone who has been affected by this storm is safe and sound!

I have put ABS sheets from BRS in the tank and silicones them down (both on the bottom and around the edges) to keep detritus out. I used a bunch of old beer growlers filled with water to help hold them down while initially drying.
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I also left about 1/4 gap all the way around it’s edge to not cut into or affect the structural silicone edges of the tank. I will begin to slowly fill the tank over the next few days (pending I am not forced overtime to work during the storm). I’ll keep all of you updated. Stay safe out there!
 

Laird

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Looking great. What do you think of the Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid so far? I was thinking of getting one to run my Radions on.
 
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Looking great. What do you think of the Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid so far? I was thinking of getting one to run my Radions on.
So far I really like it. However, I have not used it with corals under it yet. The set up was easy, but I think the gen 2’s that just came out will be much better improvement.
 
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Well, Dorian is finally making its way past Charleston and I’m finally off work. I had to pause filling up the 180 while the storm past through for the past day and a half. I got 70 total gallons of RODI water in so far (I’ll be adding the salt once the tank is full) and hope to put another 35 in tonight. I am also hoping my two new boxes of salt will be here in the next few days to get this tank cycling! In the meantime, I spent the first few hours tending to my current SR80 while the power has been out. So far, looks like everything will pull through (although some corals showed signs of stress after about 14 hours of no power). As soon as I got home, I began churning the water with a soup ladle every 20-30 minutes. The power just came back on about an hour ago, so I can at last breathe a sigh of relief.
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vetteguy53081

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Shaping up nicely !! Beautiful set up.
Is that Tap water being added to fill up ??
 
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Big Update:

The tank is finally full!!! I finished filling the tank two days ago and let it run one more time without salt to ensure there were no leaks. The salt finally arrived last night after the shipping delay from the hurricane. I am using the HW Reefer salt after having great success with it the past few years. I love how it mixes clear extremely fast and has no residual residue. I added one entire box this morning and let the salt completely dissolve before moving on. I start both of my MP40’s to help stir the water, then turned on the Nyos 220 skimmer. I plan to run the skimmer during the entire cycling process. I want to do this to ensure all impurities from the tank and sump manufacturing process are removed. I also want to run it since I moved over all the Marine Pure from my old tank to help seed and accelerate the initial cycle. I hope that any debris and detritus will be removed during this period. I also brought over my Apex onto the new tank to control the heaters. As of this post, my SR 80 is now completely analog with no Apex controller. The new tank has two 832 Energy Bars that are spit on different outlets and circuits. Going to give the new tank at least 2-3 weeks of cycling before I test and see where I am in the cycle. If everything checks out, I will begin to slowly move my livestock over. Pictures will be uploaded tonight!
 
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Following along, looks nice. Glad things are ok through the storms. Started cycling my 180 build last week. Twinzees with the skimmer ;-)
Just checked out your thread, your build is awesome! Love the stand and matching canopy. I just fire the skimmer up today and really enjoying it so far. Getting a little bit of micro bubbles, but I think those will go away after the break in period. It’s already started skimming some random stuff out of the water column.
 

Can you run a a successful reef long term without some type of reactor and media?

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