New to the Hobby 180 Gallon Build

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
Hello!
It all started with a beat up 20 gallon tank my neighbor placed in our community yard sale. I don't know why I bought it - something intrigued me about the idea. I knew zero things about fish.

Honestly, it sat in my garage for over a month and I forgot about it. One day I dusted it off and decided to just fill it with water and set it on a small end table in my living room. There was some equipment it came with .. zero clue what any of it did. Some of it was broken.

I began to read. I started learning about the nitrification process. I learned keeping a simple goldfish isn't as easy as plopping it in there and walking away. I started to fall in love with the beauty of the ecosystem. The power of good bacteria. The role every organism has to play.

My three goldfish are absolutely thriving in my 20 gallon, low maintenance tank. They have character and yes, personality. I swear they recognize me. They wag their tails and act like puppies when I approach the glass. Never thought I'd feel anything .. for a fish.

Fast forward a few months and I saw a beautiful 180 gallon aquarium for sale on Facebook Marketplace including the cabinet, lights, heater, and an FX6 canister filter. It was a bargain and I convinced my wife it would look beautiful in the living room. This time I would try my hand at saltwater. But .. go big or go home right? If I'm going to do this, I'm going to shoot for the stars. I know nothing about saltwater.

I'm going to build a mixed reef with leathers, LPS, SPS, and mushrooms. I'm going to have several beautiful fish and a robust cleanup crew with character and.. personality. Furthermore, I'm going to do this with no sump (I'm hoping this is no longer true).

I know all this will be a challenge - especially as a peninsula tank. I know all this will take time and patience. I'm up for it.

20220411_233115.jpg 20220830_212038.jpg
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
djs4him

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
Currently working on a design that will replace my FX6 canister filter with a series of (up to) six media reactors, each individually adjustable. This will allow me to maintain the tank with greater ease and hopefully less frequency than maintaining the FX6 alone.

The manifold is still in progress. I have a Sicce Syncra SDC 6.0 arriving in two days that I will plumb into it hopefully by the end of this weekend. Will keep this thread updated as the build progresses.
 

Attachments

  • 20220827_231009.jpg
    20220827_231009.jpg
    142.7 KB · Views: 39
OP
djs4him

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
Regarding livestock, I have two juvenile Ocellaris clownfish that were added to the tank about a month after it finished cycling. They lived happily for several months before I decided to buy a royal angelfish. The angelfish seemed quite happy even with my very clean algae-free tank. One day, as I was headed out the door, I found him lying on his side on the tank sand bed gasping for air. I had almost no time to address this so I placed him in a bucket with heavy bubbler, heater, and some holistic fish medicine (the only thing I had on hand at the time). He died later that night.

Our awesome fish medic @Jay Hemdal mentioned it could have been velvet, so I've been running the tank fallow and keeping the clowns in a small 10 gallon QT with CopperSafe beneath the MT in the cabinet. They have never shown a single sign of distress or disease and are happy as ever. But I know with fish, that can all change in an instant.

I do intend to add more livestock in the future, but for now I am being patient and taking this opportunity to improve the filtration, turn off the lights to reduce diatoms, add some pods, and purchase some legitimate reef lights to replace these freshwater lights.
 
Last edited:
Corals.com
OP
djs4him

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
Your 180 is beautiful ! I will have to follow and learn your process too!
Thanks! This hobby is teaching me so much more than just "keeping fish". I definitely think slow and steady wins the race in this hobby lol.
 
AquaSD
OP
djs4him

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
Alright here we go.

Some things have changed since my last post (as happens often in this hobby).

In my original post, I made one short yet complicated claim: "I'm going to do this with no sump". I want to clarify the reasoning for this was not by choice. This tank is made from tempered glass and can't be drilled. I read about a hang-on-back overflow box that could solve my problem via a siphon but would incur additional risk of flooding should the siphon break. I immediately ruled that option out.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have ruled that idea out so quickly. Yes the siphon can break. But if the correct HOB overflow from the correct company is purchased, they can be very reliable. Additionally, for extra peace of mind, plenty of monitoring and/or automation can be installed to make it an even safer option.

I want to explore this option further because custom designing this ridiculous inline manifold / return pump system is great on paper and definitely possible but .. challenging for little to no gain over other methods.

I've called and left a message for Lifereef Filter Systems to see if they can custom design a HOB overflow box for my Euro-Rim tank. And yes that's an additional complication I'm being forced to overcome - my tank has a Euro-Rim design which means it has additional glass braces on the side panels for additional structural support. This is great on paper but has led to many headaches for me when trying to design a very clean reef tank setup.

I'll attach some photos of the Euro-Rim glass braces down below. Thank you to @WheatToast for identifying them and recommending Lifereef Filter Systems for customization of an overflow box.

20220904_062746.jpg 20220904_062822.jpg 20220904_062846.jpg
 

CWoods

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
595
Reaction score
492
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
La Quinta, CA
I also own a 180g facebook tank. I run a sump, protein skimmer, bio-pellet reactor, chaeto chamber and dosing reef plus and all for reef.

1st: Figure out the overflow situation. You can create one out of PVC and an aqua lifter but it's not going to look very good. Before you commit to a company to make you a custom overflow, think about purchasing a new tank with built in overflows. It might not cost much more and will look much nicer/reliable.

2nd: You need a lot more rock.

3rd: More flow. I invested in two Jebao gyre powerheads and cant say a single bad thing about them.

If your willing to do 20g water changes weekly then more power to you but I don't. I skim dry and dose all for reef. I do a 15g water change every 2-3 months and my acros are doing great. acans not so much. I also run filter floss that i change out weekly when I can remember. I also throw away a basketball size clump of chaeto every 2 weeks.


20220528_201036.jpg
 
OP
djs4him

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
I also own a 180g facebook tank. I run a sump, protein skimmer, bio-pellet reactor, chaeto chamber and dosing reef plus and all for reef.

1st: Figure out the overflow situation. You can create one out of PVC and an aqua lifter but it's not going to look very good. Before you commit to a company to make you a custom overflow, think about purchasing a new tank with built in overflows. It might not cost much more and will look much nicer/reliable.

2nd: You need a lot more rock.

3rd: More flow. I invested in two Jebao gyre powerheads and cant say a single bad thing about them.

If your willing to do 20g water changes weekly then more power to you but I don't. I skim dry and dose all for reef. I do a 15g water change every 2-3 months and my acros are doing great. acans not so much. I also run filter floss that i change out weekly when I can remember. I also throw away a basketball size clump of chaeto every 2 weeks.


20220528_201036.jpg
Beautiful. And thank you for the advice .. definitely well-noted.

Yes, once I get a quote on this custom overflow solution, I'll have to decide where that puts me in terms of continuing with this tank, or converting this tank to freshwater (or selling it) and getting a different one altogether for my reef.

I was literally just telling my wife we need more rock lol. She agrees. She wants to get some shelf rock and build different tiers and layers. I want to ensure we have nooks and crannies and tunnels for water flow, hiding spots, and low-light areas. We just need to get some ideas from fellow hobbyists. Your hardscape looks beautiful with plenty of variety and diversity and character.

For sure I'll be adding another powerhead or two to improve flow. Do you run higher flow towards the top with lesser towards the bottom of the tank? Or staggered? I need to figure out placement - which I'm assuming will depend on the final hardscape once finished.

Which lights are you running? I love how they are very low-profile which is exactly what I'm looking for. Since this is a peninsula in our living room, I don't really want tall lights with lots of bleed into the room. Especially if we want to watch a movie, I'd prefer most of the light projecting inside the tank rather than out into my house. Not to mention the energy wasted when setup that way.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

SaJon

Active Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 16, 2022
Messages
176
Reaction score
177
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Alabama
Hello!
It all started with a beat up 20 gallon tank my neighbor placed in our community yard sale. I don't know why I bought it - something intrigued me about the idea. I knew zero things about fish.

Honestly, it sat in my garage for over a month and I forgot about it. One day I dusted it off and decided to just fill it with water and set it on a small end table in my living room. There was some equipment it came with .. zero clue what any of it did. Some of it was broken.

I began to read. I started learning about the nitrification process. I learned keeping a simple goldfish isn't as easy as plopping it in there and walking away. I started to fall in love with the beauty of the ecosystem. The power of good bacteria. The role every organism has to play.

My three goldfish are absolutely thriving in my 20 gallon, low maintenance tank. They have character and yes, personality. I swear they recognize me. They wag their tails and act like puppies when I approach the glass. Never thought I'd feel anything .. for a fish.

Fast forward a few months and I saw a beautiful 180 gallon aquarium for sale on Facebook Marketplace including the cabinet, lights, heater, and an FX6 canister filter. It was a bargain and I convinced my wife it would look beautiful in the living room. This time I would try my hand at saltwater. But .. go big or go home right? If I'm going to do this, I'm going to shoot for the stars. I know nothing about saltwater.

I'm going to build a mixed reef with leathers, LPS, SPS, and mushrooms. I'm going to have several beautiful fish and a robust cleanup crew with character and.. personality. Furthermore, I'm going to do this with no sump (I'm hoping this is no longer true).

I know all this will be a challenge - especially as a peninsula tank. I know all this will take time and patience. I'm up for it.

20220411_233115.jpg 20220830_212038.jpg
Welcome to the other side ;) You will absolutely get addicted to the saltwater side of things. Your new system is BEAUTIFUL !
 
OP
djs4him

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
Welcome to the other side ;) You will absolutely get addicted to the saltwater side of things. Your new system is BEAUTIFUL !
Thanks I really appreciate it. I'm already realizing how very quickly this hobby can .. add up in costs lol! Perhaps in hindsight I should have started my first reef tank with a pre-built tank with drilled overflow so I didn't have to face these challenges at scale right out the gate. Live and learn.
 

SaJon

Active Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 16, 2022
Messages
176
Reaction score
177
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Alabama
Thanks I really appreciate it. I'm already realizing how very quickly this hobby can .. add up in costs lol! Perhaps in hindsight I should have started my first reef tank with a pre-built tank with drilled overflow so I didn't have to face these challenges at scale right out the gate. Live and learn.
At the end of the day, you will be happy you went with the 180g. Thats a nice size not too big and big enough to have pretty much what you want in it. Yes, the equipment can be costly lol. Just take your time , nothing good happens fast in this hobby. Alot of good used equipment being sold if that's an option for you. If in doubt always ask. There are ALOT of experienced reefers on this platform and they can answer all your questions and save you alot of money in the long run. No such thing as a stupid question in reefing. Go slow and be responsible and you will be successful. ;)
 

CWoods

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
595
Reaction score
492
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
La Quinta, CA
Beautiful. And thank you for the advice .. definitely well-noted.

Yes, once I get a quote on this custom overflow solution, I'll have to decide where that puts me in terms of continuing with this tank, or converting this tank to freshwater (or selling it) and getting a different one altogether for my reef.

I was literally just telling my wife we need more rock lol. She agrees. She wants to get some shelf rock and build different tiers and layers. I want to ensure we have nooks and crannies and tunnels for water flow, hiding spots, and low-light areas. We just need to get some ideas from fellow hobbyists. Your hardscape looks beautiful with plenty of variety and diversity and character.

For sure I'll be adding another powerhead or two to improve flow. Do you run higher flow towards the top with lesser towards the bottom of the tank? Or staggered? I need to figure out placement - which I'm assuming will depend on the final hardscape once finished.

Which lights are you running? I love how they are very low-profile which is exactly what I'm looking for. Since this is a peninsula in our living room, I don't really want tall lights with lots of bleed into the room. Especially if we want to watch a movie, I'd prefer most of the light projecting inside the tank rather than out into my house. Not to mention the energy wasted when setup that way.


Below was my 75g that I started after buying my home. I spent a ton of time glueing and epoxying the rocks together. I loved the scape but when I upgraded to the 180 I accidently broke them. I also had to double the amount of rock I had so everything went from well planned to where the rocks could be placed where they wouldn't fall over and still looked good.
IMG_20190617_224312.jpg


I'm using 3 Viparspecta lights off amazon. I used the 2 I had already had over the 75g. They are very affordable and I have no complaints. They grow everything from acros to clams. Blues are set to 100% and whites at 1% for 8 of the 12 hours they are on. In my last picture you couldn't see the lights. You would need a canopy if you're worried about light bleeding into the room but even with a canopy the tank is still going to glow a lot.

For the wavemakers I have a Jebao SCP-120 each at the top of the tank on each side. They sync together and they switch every 60 seconds or so. So if I'm looking directly at the tank the flow moves clockwise for a minute then switches counter-clockwise the next minute. When the flow changes it creates a lot of random turbulence to kick up any detritus. Acros at the top of the tank get plenty of flow. LPS are at the mid or bottom and get less. Has been working great for me.

Take your time, and go slow.

Invest in products that make the maintenance easy:
Auto top off with large reservoir
Auto Doser
Auto Pellet Feeder
Wifi Temperature Controller
Wifi Powerstrip
Good Skimmer
Refugium
 
OP
djs4him

djs4him

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
79
Reaction score
95
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Spring Hill
Below was my 75g that I started after buying my home. I spent a ton of time glueing and epoxying the rocks together. I loved the scape but when I upgraded to the 180 I accidently broke them. I also had to double the amount of rock I had so everything went from well planned to where the rocks could be placed where they wouldn't fall over and still looked good.
IMG_20190617_224312.jpg


I'm using 3 Viparspecta lights off amazon. I used the 2 I had already had over the 75g. They are very affordable and I have no complaints. They grow everything from acros to clams. Blues are set to 100% and whites at 1% for 8 of the 12 hours they are on. In my last picture you couldn't see the lights. You would need a canopy if you're worried about light bleeding into the room but even with a canopy the tank is still going to glow a lot.

For the wavemakers I have a Jebao SCP-120 each at the top of the tank on each side. They sync together and they switch every 60 seconds or so. So if I'm looking directly at the tank the flow moves clockwise for a minute then switches counter-clockwise the next minute. When the flow changes it creates a lot of random turbulence to kick up any detritus. Acros at the top of the tank get plenty of flow. LPS are at the mid or bottom and get less. Has been working great for me.

Take your time, and go slow.

Invest in products that make the maintenance easy:
Auto top off with large reservoir
Auto Doser
Auto Pellet Feeder
Wifi Temperature Controller
Wifi Powerstrip
Good Skimmer
Refugium
A lot of great advice here. I am definitely taking notes. I appreciate it!
 

JvC

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 30, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
6
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
45050
Below was my 75g that I started after buying my home. I spent a ton of time glueing and epoxying the rocks together. I loved the scape but when I upgraded to the 180 I accidently broke them. I also had to double the amount of rock I had so everything went from well planned to where the rocks could be placed where they wouldn't fall over and still looked good.
IMG_20190617_224312.jpg


I'm using 3 Viparspecta lights off amazon. I used the 2 I had already had over the 75g. They are very affordable and I have no complaints. They grow everything from acros to clams. Blues are set to 100% and whites at 1% for 8 of the 12 hours they are on. In my last picture you couldn't see the lights. You would need a canopy if you're worried about light bleeding into the room but even with a canopy the tank is still going to glow a lot.

For the wavemakers I have a Jebao SCP-120 each at the top of the tank on each side. They sync together and they switch every 60 seconds or so. So if I'm looking directly at the tank the flow moves clockwise for a minute then switches counter-clockwise the next minute. When the flow changes it creates a lot of random turbulence to kick up any detritus. Acros at the top of the tank get plenty of flow. LPS are at the mid or bottom and get less. Has been working great for me.

Take your time, and go slow.

Invest in products that make the maintenance easy:
Auto top off with large reservoir
Auto Doser
Auto Pellet Feeder
Wifi Temperature Controller
Wifi Powerstrip
Good Skimmer
Refugium
Love the look of this build w/o the black back.
 
AquaSD

Can you identify clams?

  • I can ID most types of clams

    Votes: 28 13.0%
  • I can ID a few types of clams

    Votes: 61 28.2%
  • I can tell it’s a clam, but don’t know what type

    Votes: 125 57.9%
  • Wait, you can put clams in a saltwater aquarium?

    Votes: 2 0.9%
CWT Aquatics - Acrylic Sumps, Tanks, and More!
Top