New (to me) Red Sea Reefer 250

DelRayTank

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Last weekend I picked up a used Red Sea Reefer 250 system that had been run for about 1 year and then broken down (but still wet) for a few months. I feel like I got a decent deal on a tank that I have been eyeing buying new for a few months so I’m happy.

The tank also came with all the basic equipment (skimmer, RODI system, Apex Base, heater, black box Chinese LED lights, etc.). However, the RODI system was only 3 stages and generic. I just ordered a 6 stage RODI from BRS.

This weekend I intend to begin bleaching the rock that was previously used, together with the skimmer, sump, and plumbing, to try to kill anything that may have led to the earlier tank being torn down.

The tank is a mess of algae and weird crystals. I hope to get it clean soon. I’ll be out of town all of next week and hope that a week-long diluted bleach soak will be enough.

I have patience to get this done right. Let me know if anyone has any tips for scrubbing/cleaning and getting things going the right way.

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Billfromtr

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Second hand deals are such a blessing in this hobby. Good luck with it! I’ve heard vinegar is key to getting the crystals off.
 
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DelRayTank

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I work a pretty mad schedule and have finally had some time this weekend to get the tank moving some. My plan is to take the slow and steady approach to reefing, using this forum and other resources to try to avoid the pitfalls that have been experienced by other reefers. The hobby has come a long way since I last kept a tank in the mid 1990s and had a homemade wet-dry filter, a canister filter, and a ton of algae!

Yesterday morning I went to Home Depot and purchased a number of trash cans to start treating all of the supplies that I received from the seller. Currently, I have all of the algae-ridden rock sitting in a strong mix of 1:5 water:high-concentration bleach solution in my patio. I’m going out of town tomorrow for one week and plan to pull the rock to rinse and sun-dry next Saturday.

I also finally had time to begin taking inventory of the extra materials that I purchased from the seller. I bought the tank and all accessories sight unseen from craigslist and offered the buyer an amount that I felt comfortable paying for the tank itself. In my view, anything else that I get that I can use is a bonus. Below is what I have determined that I also received. I would be very interested in people’s views on what should be replaced/upgraded, as well as views on by proposed changes.
  • Return Pump: The system came with a Danner Model 7 return pump. I tested the pump and it is working. However, it is pretty loud and seems to be in rough shape. I expect that I will buy a new return pump and would be interested in people’s views on what is a good replacement. My goal here is to have a reliable system for a reasonable cost (that doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest cost). The tank is in my office, where I spend a ton of time so quiet operation is key.
  • Power Head: The system came with a single Jebao ECO Wavemaker Pump (Model WP-25) with a Jebao controller. Is this any good? Should I add another pump?
  • Skimmer: The system came with an AQUAMAXX CONES CO-1 IN-SUMP PROTEIN SKIMMER that while supper dirty seems to be in good shape. This seems like a workable skimmer for the tank but I would love to hear people’s views/experiences with this skimmer. It is filled with caked-in scum and I will likely soak it in a dilution of water and bleach to try to get it clean. However, I am worried that the bleach could make the plastic brittle. Has anyone had any problems with bleaching plastic components?
  • Lights: The tank came with a pair of MarsAqua 165W LED Lights. These seem like they’re fine (for now) but I am worried about the energy consumption. 330W for LED lights on this tank seems a bit excessive, especially when Red Sea has recently released reef lights that are rated 90 Watts with sufficient PAR values. I am thinking of starting with the MarsAqua then selling them and replacing with a pair of the Red Sea ReefLED 90 or some other light. Thoughts?
  • Controller: The tank has a base Apex controller.
  • ATO: The tank has the built-in RedSea Reefer ~2 gallon ATO system in the pump. I travel for up to a week at a time for work pretty routinely and I don’t think that the 2 gallon ATO reservoir will be sufficient, especially in the drier winter months. I am looking for ideas for a larger and reliable ATO system and would love to hear people’s views.
  • RODI System: The system came with a nondescript 3-stage RODI system. Here in the DC area, we have Chloramine-treated water so I picked up a BRS 6-stage RODI system. I hope this will be sufficient.
  • Backup Generator: I am really lucky that I have a gas-powered 11KW generator at my house. I have an electrician coming in to install a dedicated circuit connected to the generator (with load priority) to ensure that the full system keeps running in the event of an outage. Given that I travel a lot, I want to have as energy-efficient a system as possible to ensure that all my home’s vital systems can run smoothly under power from the existing generator in the event of an outage.
I’m excited to see things moving forward and want to figure out what can stay, what needs to go, and what should be added. I consider myself a beginner here and would love constructive criticism from the community.

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DelRayTank

DelRayTank

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@DelRayTank You will love this tank !!! Just be sure to rinse the bleach out of everything really, really good. I would use a pressure washer.

I have a REEFER 250 as well. See my build thread in my signature line.
I looked at and subscribed to your build thread. I’m really impressed by your build. I was also thinking about adding a cabinet next to my 250 cabinet for storage. I was thinking of an ikea kitchen cabinet with black doors. The Reefer 170 Cabinet seems like a nice solution.
 
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DelRayTank

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Took the rock out of the bleach soak on Friday and ran it in tap water with power heads for 2 days, changing the water daily. The rocks are now set out in the sun to dry. When they’re dry, I plan to soak them in RODI water for a few days with lots of circulation and test for ammonia to make sure there is nothing still decaying in the rocks before they are ready to go in the tank.

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The issue I’m running into now is with my overflow plumbing on the tank. After cleaning all the pipes, I reinserted the overflow pipes and ran a leak test of the overflow plumbing. All three pipes were leaking despite being hand tightened to the max. Should I be able to get away with adding Teflon tape or would it be better to buy new replacement pipes?

Any views on my stocking list above?

Thanks for all the input!
 

powers2001

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I looked at and subscribed to your build thread. I’m really impressed by your build. I was also thinking about adding a cabinet next to my 250 cabinet for storage. I was thinking of an ikea kitchen cabinet with black doors. The Reefer 170 Cabinet seems like a nice solution.
Thank's for the sub and I'm happy you're impressed with my build. Still no water in it but I'll be looking for an apartment in a few weeks where I can have the tank. Here's what I think of your equipment list:
  • Return Pump: Danner Mag Drive pumps are very noisy. My choice of lowest cost option would be Current eFlux DC return pump with Bluetooth bundle. The have a low cost Bluetooth controller that also can control wavemakers and lights as well. Middle cost choice: Reef Octo VarioS, don't remember which model number churns how much flow. And biggest bang for the buck is Apex COR-15 or COR-20. I don't like the Ecotech vectra because can't be controlled with Apex.
  • Powerhead: Low cost option: Current Bluetooth wavemaker. Also worth metioning in that price range is German built Aqua Medic Eco-Drift. Middle cost choice Tunze 6040 which has major different innovative design. High cost: Vortechs or Maxspect Gyre.
  • Skimmer I would go with Red Sea RSK-300 or Reef Octo eSsence S-130. Both have major innovative designs and are $300.
  • Lights: A tough one. I don't know anything about your MarsAqua LEDs. The Red Sea LEDs look promising. I like Hydras and Radions but they are high dollar. (Remember lighting is most important for coral and what type of coral do you want to raise?)
  • Controller: Your Apex will be fine.
  • ATO: I never used the Red Sea stock glass reservoir. I had a Tunze Osmolator that I've upgraded to an Apex ATK. Save your money and don't upgrade your lights until you are ready for coral and use that money for a decent ATO.
  • RODI System: What you have will work for now but you'll eventually want a water station. Check out The Tank Depot and US Plastic for tanks. I have two 20 gallon tanks.
  • Generator: You are lucky to have one. What make and model do you have? I have 2 BBUs to rely on in an outage.
 

Isaac Obel

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Is the plumbing leaking at the unions? Make sure the O rings are in place.
 
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DelRayTank

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Thanks to you guys for your responses. Lots of progress this week...

The reefer plumbing was leaking around all of the unions. I called Red Sea and they gave me the part number for the O rings, which did not come with the tank, and I ordered them online. Hopefully that will do the trick on the leaks...

Electrician came over and installed a dedicated circuit connected to our home’s generator (an 11KW Generac Natural Gas generator installed by the previous owner).

The live rock is now ready to begin cycling after having soaked in RODI water and tested 0 for ammonia. I also ordered some extra dry rock to give me more flexibility on my aquascape.

I also spent the week ordering a number of items for the build, and think that I probably have everything that I need to get started. Here is where I am:

  • Return Pump: I went with a ReefOctopus Varios S-2 DC return pump. While not cheap, I think that the features, quiet operation and energy efficiency will be worth it.
  • Power Heads: Maxpect Gyre XF330 - I got one of these for now and plan to run it on one side of the tank and the used Jebao pump on the other (for now). Do you think I need two Gyres opposite each other in the Reefer 250?
  • Skimmer: For now, I plan to stick with the Aquamaxx Cones Skimmer that came with the system. I took it apart and scrubbed it and its pump clean as new and will give it a try before I invest in a new skimmer.
  • Lights: For now I’m sticking with the Mars Aqua as a bandaid light source. I saw the BRStv review of the ReeferLED 90 lights and plan to upgrade to them as soon as I can justify the cost. I like the idea of a plug and play solution that is seamless with the look of the tank.
  • ATO: I just ordered a Tunze Osmolator for an ATO. I’m now looking for a decent storage option for the RODI water (and contemplating also one for seawater to enable automatic water changes).
  • Reactors: I ordered a BRS dual reactor to run carbon and GFO as needed. Do you guys run the media full time or on an as needed basis.
Is there anything I am missing before I can get started assembling/cycling?

On the aquascape, I am wondering a couple of things. First, should I glue my rocks to the bottom glass or just to each other? I worry about moving the tank in the future if they’re glued down. Also, what kind of epoxy can I use on my rocks? I use epoxy for household purposes all of the time and have a number of different 2 part epoxies of varying viscosity on hand. How can I determine if these are reef safe? What epoxies do you guys use?

I’m getting excited to be getting closer to getting the tank wet!
 

count krunk

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don't glue your rocks to the tank.

you can cement rocks to each other but don't do it to the tank. That would be a nightmare to undo. I think you can use pretty much whatever on dry rock as long as you let it cure correctly. I don't have experience with that tho.

Definitely use your current skimmer and the mars aqua lights. Both should do a great job. No need to spend $1k replacing them at this point.

Start with the one gyre and jebao and see how that does in addition to your new return.

and just use vinegar and water to clean your equipment. No need for bleach here.
 
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DelRayTank

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@DelRayTank you must be close to getting water in the tank?
Almost but not yet! Hoping to get it wet this weekend to start the cycle.

I had some leak issues with the tank and ended up having to replace all of the plumbing, which took me a while. With new plumbing in place, the tank has passed its leak test and is ready for water. I still need to plumb my manifold, which will feed my return line, BRS dual reactor and my external fuge (which will be a 5.5 gallon tank). I have also bought a pair of Red Sea ReefLED 90 lights to go on the tank. Unless I run into unforeseen circumstances or issues, the tank should begin cycling this weekend!

However, I have already gotten my first two inhabitants - a pair of Oscellaris Clownfinsh. The fish are currently in QT in a 20 gallon tall tank with a HOB, a flower pot and a piece of rock. I am not planning to medicate the QT, at least for now, as it will be a while before the display is cycled. I should have plenty of time to observe the clowns for any issues.

While clowns were in the cards, I didn’t intend to get “standard” oscellaris, or to get them as my first inhabitants. However, the clowns are my kids’ favorite and also much loved by my wife, so it was a way to try to make this more of a family affair!

Here is the QT setup and the new inhabitants!

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DelRayTank

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Aquascaping the Reefer 250 and need some help.

I have a mix of Marco Rock and some old Pukani rock from the prior owner (which I cured with highly concentrated bleach.

The tank sits in my office, which is a pretty small 10 x 11 room. I will view it mostly from my desk chair and also from the front directly. This will be a mixed reef with mostly SPS and softies.

Below is my initial try at a scape. Would love people’s thoughts on this.

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btmedic04

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Looks good! I would make 2 changes with the scape. First, I would move the small rock on the bottom between the two rock islands forward and to the left. With it sitting under that ledge, there will not be much if any light hitting it.

Second, I'd rotate the rock on the very top right on its side. It's currently too close to the water line and doesnt give you much surface area for coral mounting.

I would leave everything else the same. Ultimately this is your reef!
 
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DelRayTank

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It’s finally wet! I’m going to prepare a legitimate update on the progress but wanted to put a picture of the tank wet and cycling. I really like the way that the rocks look right now and can’t wait to have this ready for livestock!

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YHSublime

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Hey there, just here to say hello as we are neighbors! I used to work in Del Ray, and currently still live in Arlington!

Tank looks great, I'll be tagging along! Let me know if you need any help!
 
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DelRayTank

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Hey there, just here to say hello as we are neighbors! I used to work in Del Ray, and currently still live in Arlington!

Tank looks great, I'll be tagging along! Let me know if you need any help!
Good to see reefers in the area! Thanks for the encouragement. It’s been a lot of planning and work.
 
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DelRayTank

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I’m really happy with the way the tank is going. It’s been running for about 6 weeks. Parameters have been stable for at least a couple of weeks at Alk 8.5, NO3 at 2PPM, Cal at 465, PO4 at 0.02, and salinity at 1.026.

I have added some soft corals, LPS, SPS and anemone to the system along with a cleanup crew that includes a cleaner shrimp and emerald crab. I’m going to let the tank sit fallow for 60 days from the introduction of the cleanup crew and will then add the fish I’ve got in QT. Currently, I’m QTing a Biota Coral Beaty, Biota Yellow Tang, a pair of ORA Oscellaris Clowns and a tailspot bleny. Still trying to figure out the rest of my stocking.

Ive changed the aquascape some and am pretty happy with how the tank looks. I hope to get through the fallow period without problem and am really looking forward to adding the fish.

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