NEZW0001's 450 Build thread

nezw0001

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Putting together a build thread has been on my to do list for a while. Today's blizzard and cold temps have made up my mind that i'm not getting out of my jammies and i'm going to get this build thread done. I would like to start with a bit of the back story.

I had my first saltwater aquarium during high school growing up in Duluth, MN. I kept this tank going through undergrad. Once I had to move away to go to vet school I tore it down. I graduated vet school in 2002 and my hubby and I took jobs as mixed animal practitioners in SD. Right away I set up a 180 mixed reef but really struggled with it being so far away from high quality fish stores and the help of R2R. We only stayed there for 8 months before finding jobs in our desired specialty field. We moved back to MN and brought the 180 with us. This tank limped along until 2010. In 2010 we had our first child and decided to make the tank much nicer. The 180 became the sump in the basement and we ordered a new acrylic 220. We knocked out part of the wall separating the kitchen from the living room so it would be view-able from two rooms

2014-09-12 11.35.35.jpg



2015-01-06 15.54.43.jpg
 
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nezw0001

nezw0001

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As our family grew the small farmhouse needed an upgrade. We really wanted more property as well and an attached garage. We looked at a few houses that would fit the bill but finally closed the deal on a really nice property and the house design process started.

We finalized the land purchase Jan 2017 by July 2017 we had a big hole in the ground.

I wanted the tank to be the centerpiece of the house and be able to watch it while laying in bed. I liked the old tank with the two view able sides so we designed a similar system into the new house

We settled on a 450 glass aquarium from Custom Aquariums in WI. The tank has two modular marine external overflows and low iron glass on the two viewable sides. Dimensions are 8' long x 36" front to back and 30" top to bottom.

Due to the size of the tank we engaged an architect to make sure the floors would support the weight. We designed a fish room in the basement with a sunken floor so any floods would not get the whole basement wet.
2017-11-09 08.29.00.jpg


We also ordered the metal stand from Custom Aquariums to capitalize on their guarantee. I was nice to have strong construction guys to help us get it into position and leveled.
 
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nezw0001

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Once the basement cement was dry we started working on the sump area/fish room. We were on a time line as the new owner of our old house wanted to move in March 1, 2018 so we needed the new tank up and running and stabilized for a while before moving live stock over. Plus we had to leave time to demo the old tank area and return it to a normal house as the new owners didn't want a giant aquarium in their house.

Once the tank was in position we covered it up with plastic so we wouldn't get construction debris in it.
tank in position.png

First thing in the fish room was to start making water so we set up the holding tanks. The holding tanks are 250 gallon totes that the local farmer use for a sugar solution they spray on the crops for pest control. I also added a cone bottom container where i can add the salt. This way i can make a whole box of salt at a time.

mixing station.png


We then set up a stock tank to just use temporarily so we could get water flowing ASAP. I planned on using the 180 sump at the old house here so would have to wait till we broke down the home system to move the 180 sump
temp sump.png
 
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nezw0001

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The new tank is lit with three 400 watt MH and 4 radions in between the MHs for dusk and dawn. To start with i used 4 MP60s and later added a gyre 280 powerheads. The return is two Reeflo Hammerheads each on their own return line going to sea swirls.
moved.png
 
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nezw0001

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When I moved i was using a LifeReef CA reactor but eventually switched to dosing using 5 gallon pails as reservoirs. I found dosing to keep ALK more constant as I had continual problems keeping bubble count even. I was using a very high end regulator and just could never get it right. Dosing in conjunction with a KH Director has worked perfectly for me.
dosing.png

Unfortunately I accidentally dropped my DOS into the sump and ruined it :(
 
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nezw0001

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Battled Bryopsis, Dinos, Cyano, massive SPS regression through most of 2018. Lost many of my SPS's. Saved them only by fragging and remounting frags. The frags would do great but the colonies withered away. Most came back to some degree. These colonies now have large dead bases/centers but the outer growth is thriving. I am now contemplating cutting all the dead parts out and starting over with frags on these colonies.
 
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nezw0001

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The current fish room hasn't changed much and I know the wiring is a mess but I am continually tweaking things and got tired of having to fish wires out or mess with wire loom.

current fish room.png

current utility area.png
current mixing station.png
current sump.png

The frag tank has transitioned to a high end anemone propagation area. Since high end nems don't like to play nice I have each variety separated into different tubs which are on a continuous AWC with fresh SW. They overflow into the frag tank and back into the main tank. The frag tank serves a temp control for the nem containers.

current anemone frag area.png
 
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nezw0001

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The one part of my system that I'll be upgrading is my frag/anemone propagation area


anemone area.jpg


Excuse the blue light but I think this will make sense. So this is a 60 gallon frag tank that is tied into the main system. I have an additional thermometer in there to ensure it holds temp with the lower volume of system water going through. There is a small frag rack on the side but the primary purpose is an area for high end anemone propagation. Since anemones like Colorado Sunburst, Chicago Sunburst and Coral Collection anemones seem to have poor survival when mixed with others I used rubbermaid containers to keep them separate. Each container is feed with fresh Saltwater on a AWC system resulting in complete volume turn over every other day. These tanks drain into the frag tank which then drains back to the main tank. Each anemone container has a small power head and an anemone basket to keep them out of their power head. This system has worked well but as you can see, the tank is pretty full.

My hubby and I went to Chicago over the weekend to pick this up
new tanks.jpg

Our plan is to set it up in conjunction with the frag tank. The small top two tiers will be for the anemone and will flow similar to how they are now. The bottom bigger tier will be fed with system water but drain to the drain and be available for a QT or treatment tank, if needed. We are planning on doing the re plumbing over New Years as it will involve quite a bit of plumbing. I am a bit concerned about how I am going to maintain temp in the new tanks without having a heater in each compartment.
 
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nezw0001

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Finally got the multi tank system set up. The top tier is for my high end nems. Each has its own water and is fed with new Saltwater, each drain back to the system. The middle tier receives system water and drains back to the system. The bottom tier will receive system water and drain to the floor (QT). It took a while to get it plumbed and flowing correctly but seems to be working well now.

2020-01-19 09.52.23.jpg


My old 60g tank is behind this rack and is plumbed in but currently empty. Not sure I need to refill it yet.
 

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