Newbie 180 gallon mixed reef build

BigRedHair92

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Hi all! Glad to join this community and hopefully contribute! I recently acquire a 180g tank and stand, and I'm planning on making it my reef tank when I move. I'm hoping for some advice on what equipment to buy, as I have no friends in the hobby and no LFS within 90 minutes of me. I don't plan on getting this tank up and running until I move, which likely won't be until spring/summer next year. I'm currently spending a few hundred dollars per paycheck to start accumulating my supplies, so it isn't a huge hit all at once.

What I currently have:
180 gallon Oceanic tank 6'x2'x2' with 18" glass brace in the center (unsure if it's starfire or not)
Stand (I will more than likely build a new one on my own)
3x AI Prime 16
Modular Marine 2400gph overflow
Reefbreeder ATO
Some live sand and rock from an existing 40g tank (this whole tank will be moved to the 180g)
2x Jebao OW wavemakers
55 gallon tank which will be converted to a sump

What I know I still need:
Powerheads: thinking of adding an Icecap 4k Gyre for one end of the tank and a Tunze 6105 for the other
Heater: Thinking 2x 300w titanium heaters and controller from BRS
Skimmer: Looking at a lot of options, but I'm a bit lost on which to pick. Thinking RO 202 S8.
Filter Socks
Return pump: Thinking COR 20

My questions now:
-Is that powerhead setup too funky? I haven't been able to find people running one of each kind of pump.
-Is that skimmer the best option? I'm looking at a medium-heavily stocked tank eventually
-Should I add a fourth AI Prime? That center brace is throwing me off for lighting
-What other equipment have I not thought of?

Thanks for any help!

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Dj City

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Nice start!

If you are planning on softies and LPS, the flow you've chosen will do just fine.
Look into gyres on both sides as supplements to cover dead spots.

3 primes will do but 4 won't hurt.

Don't get a skimmer too big. An undersized skimmer will work better than an oversized one. The right sized skimmer will work the best.
Plan it out for the future but don't go crazy on a large skimmer.

Check out my build thread for ideas.

Good luck.
 
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BigRedHair92

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I've been neglecting this thread cause work has gotten really busy, but I've been slowly figuring out and acquiring things. Black Friday had some deals that were too good to pass up, and I picked up 2 300w titanium heaters from BRS, 2 4k gyres with controller, an RO Regal 200INT 8"skimmer and a Hanna digital alkalinity checker.

I'm now thinking about making my sump 75 gallons though, so I may need to upgrade my heater size.

I've continued to do a lot of research into the basics, I watched the 52 weeks of reefing series by BRS, as well as their 52 FAQ and their whole 5 minute series. I've been watching some more specific videos as I've been looking into each section as well.

I'm getting a new vehicle this weekend, so the reef purchases are going to slow down a bit for awhile.
 
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BigRedHair92

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Momentum for buying the supplies for this tank slowed a bit between Christmas shopping and having to get a new vehicle, but I've started back up a bit now that those things have been paid for. This week I purchased an Aquaforest Mg test kit, Red Sea Pro Calcium Test Kit, Citric Acid, ROX Carbon and a Hanna digital copper checker. Trying to buy some of these smaller things that I know I'm going to need while I save up for my larger purchases.

I've decided I'm going to add a 4th AI prime to the DT, and I'm strongly considering buying a hybrid T5 LED mount to improve the overall lighting in the tank. I've also decided that I'm going to build a 75g sump.

I'm continuing to watch any video I can to gather information so I can be prepared when I finally set this up. I recently watched a few videos on quarantining, and I really liked HumbleFish's method, which I plan to implement when I eventually add fish.
 
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Jminasalli

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Momentum for buying the supplies for this tank slowed a bit between Christmas shopping and having to get a new vehicle, but I've started back up a bit now that those things have been paid for. This week I purchased an Aquaforest Mg test kit, Red Sea Pro Calcium Test Kit, Citric Acid, ROX Carbon and a Hanna digital copper checker. Trying to buy some of these smaller things that I know I'm going to need while I save up for my larger purchases.

I've decided I'm going to add a 4th AI prime to the DT, and I'm strongly considering buying a hybrid T5 LED mount to improve the overall lighting in the tank. I've also decided that I'm going to build a 75g sump.

I'm continuing to watch any video I can to gather information so I can be prepared when I finally set this up. I recently watched a few videos on quarantining, and I really liked HumbleFish's method, which I plan to implement when I eventually add fish.
You could also look into buying pre quarantined fish from certain vendors also. Doing your own qt sounds easier than it is and if you lose a fish in the process then it’s on you instead of the vendor.
 
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BigRedHair92

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You could also look into buying pre quarantined fish from certain vendors also. Doing your own qt sounds easier than it is and if you lose a fish in the process then it’s on you instead of the vendor.
If I was in this for the short term, then this is definitely what I would do, but that's not the case. I'm under 30 years old and I plan on being in this for a lifetime, and to me the risk of losing some fish in the learning process is worth the knowledge gained that I can use for the next 50 years. Plus, I just see it as an extension of the hobby.
 

Greg Gdowski

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The return pump will depend a lot on where you put the sump. Will it be under the tank or in the basement? Consider trying a refugium. Probably the most important thing I see missing is a RO/DI water purification system (or maybe I missed it in the thread). A tank of this size, you might want to think about two BRS reactors -- one for carbon and one for GFO. If you are really looking for money to spend, I would get a tank controller. Normally, I would say apex, but it is looking like the Hydros is much more approachable for a new person to the hobby. Good luck! Think a lot about the plumbing. Some parts of that are trickier than you might expect. There are a lot of good build threads here. I am actually in the progress of migrating my 90G to a 220G. So --- I feel your pain and excitement. Also... a 180G is not a light beast --- you will want to make sure your floors and joists can support it (as they say -- location, location, location).
 
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BigRedHair92

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The return pump will depend a lot on where you put the sump. Will it be under the tank or in the basement? Consider trying a refugium. Probably the most important thing I see missing is a RO/DI water purification system (or maybe I missed it in the thread). A tank of this size, you might want to think about two BRS reactors -- one for carbon and one for GFO. If you are really looking for money to spend, I would get a tank controller. Normally, I would say apex, but it is looking like the Hydros is much more approachable for a new person to the hobby. Good luck! Think a lot about the plumbing. Some parts of that are trickier than you might expect. There are a lot of good build threads here. I am actually in the progress of migrating my 90G to a 220G. So --- I feel your pain and excitement. Also... a 180G is not a light beast --- you will want to make sure your floors and joists can support it (as they say -- location, location, location).
Thanks for the input!

We're moving sometime in the not too distant future, and one of the requirements for the new house will be the possibility for me to set this tank up so that there is a fish room behind it for the sump. It will also ideally be on the bottom floor, so weight won't be a concern.

I also have a 6 stage RODI system in my wish list, just forgot to add it in to this thread I guess! I also plan on setting up plumbing with a manifold so I can add reactors and such when I need them. I've done a lot of research on plumbing, and plan on doing a lot of planning and drawing before setting it up.

I'm not sure what the plan is for a controller. I doubt we move before next June-ish, so there is time to make a decision on what direction I want to go.
 

Greg Gdowski

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I have an apex, but if I had to buy a new one it would be the Hydros. Apex is a little more complicated and more expensive. If your sump and tank are that close, the return pump becomes easier. Try to get a DC pump. They tend to be quieter and put out less heat.
 
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BigRedHair92

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I have an apex, but if I had to buy a new one it would be the Hydros. Apex is a little more complicated and more expensive. If your sump and tank are that close, the return pump becomes easier. Try to get a DC pump. They tend to be quieter and put out less heat.
This has been so slow progressing that apparently I forgot to add that I decided on a return pump. I'm going with the RO Varios DC pumps. Haven't decided on size yet, between two 6s or two 4s. From everything I've read, dual returns is the safer choice.

The controller part is part of why I'm glad that I get some time to make a decision. I'm curious to see what the Hydros looks like in 6 months, given that it was just released.
 

Greg Gdowski

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The previous owner of my tank has a Varios 8 on it. I may try it as a second pump but I will be going from the basement up about 6ft. He had it running from about 2-3ft below the tank. I don't think it will fair that well for that purpose in my application. I've read a lot on the 2 pump concept. Twice as much to keep clean. It might be just as easy to buy a second and keep it as a backup if the one fails. Just make sure to plumb it with detachable unions. If I decide to punt on the VarioS 8, I will let you know. I may decide to use it as an internal flow system within the peninsula tank I am building.

I have a friend that just served as a reviewer/tester of the Hydros. He liked it a lot. The local reef shop also gave me an overview when I was there talking about stands. They have a module that allows you to control pumps (like the varios) without their own controller (ie just the pump).
 
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BigRedHair92

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The previous owner of my tank has a Varios 8 on it. I may try it as a second pump but I will be going from the basement up about 6ft. He had it running from about 2-3ft below the tank. I don't think it will fair that well for that purpose in my application. I've read a lot on the 2 pump concept. Twice as much to keep clean. It might be just as easy to buy a second and keep it as a backup if the one fails. Just make sure to plumb it with detachable unions. If I decide to punt on the VarioS 8, I will let you know. I may decide to use it as an internal flow system within the peninsula tank I am building.

I have a friend that just served as a reviewer/tester of the Hydros. He liked it a lot. The local reef shop also gave me an overview when I was there talking about stands. They have a module that allows you to control pumps (like the varios) without their own controller (ie just the pump).
I like to travel a lot, so I like the peace of mind of knowing that if something happens while I'm out of the country, my tank will still be ok. As for the controller, I'm just going to monitor for the next few months before I make a choice. It's more of a luxury item at this point anyways.
 
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BigRedHair92

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Continuing to add little things here and there. I picked up an InkBird temperature controller now that BRS has them back in stock. I also lucked into finding someone selling a like new Tunze 3155, so I jumped on that, and plan to use that instead of the Reefbreeders Prism ATO that I already had. He also threw in a CO2 scrubber and some media, but I'm not sure if I plan to use it or not.
 
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BigRedHair92

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Ordered a couple more things today due to getting paid. Got 5 filter socks for the sump (plan on getting at least 7 more), a self leveling mat for underneath the DT, and a 4th AI prime 16HD.

I'm done with my main lights, but I'm thinking about adding a row of 72" strip lights on the front and back to add a bit of light. I had debated getting a hybrid T5/LED mount, but I'm not sure I want to invest in T5, as I've heard some things about regulations on the bulbs that may make supply difficult in the future.
 
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BigRedHair92

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Like many on this forum, I got my stimulus check today, which means more reefing equipment!

I ordered an RO Varios6 return pump, an AI Prime 16HD refugium light, a Hanna digital thermometer, 6 more filter socks, and the first of 3 ABS sheets for the bottom of my tank.

I'm getting close to being done with the big expenses now, and hope to have them done by the end of Feb. Still need to get a second return pump, rock and sand and a RODI system. After that it's just a bunch of smaller purchases.

I'm plan to pick up the tank that will be my sump in the next week or so, so then I'll have something to physically work on, and not just a shelf filling with equipment that's not in use.
 

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