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OINK! I'm a Pig. 200g Reef Savvy, Bashsea, Royal Exclusiv -Direct sunlight- In wall w/ IKEA fishroom basement sump build

drtechno

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Hi everyone. I finally got around to starting this build thread. I had originally wanted to wait until things were closer to being done, and then doing a recap of sorts, so that people didn't have to wait long periods of time before updates. However, I am learning many things along the way that I wanted to share and was afraid I would forget when it came time for the thread.

Why the "pig" build title? I wanted to give a shout-out to newpig.com, as I had trouble finding spill trays that would fit my needs, and stumbled upon their website after many days of futile searches. New Pig does spill containment, handling and absorption and the stuff they had was awesome, well priced, and well made.

So first disclaimer, after this initial surge of posts I will probably not have many updates for a long time.. My custom tank was ordered from Reef Savvy, and as many of you know, their lead times are extremely long. I'm thinking probably January for my tank at the earliest. So in the meantime, I am working on the fish room, sump, plumbing and cycling.. I am hoping once the tank arrives I can just plug it in and go.

Background I have been keeping small reef tanks unsuccessfully for many years. I'm actually quite good at it! Each tank has been one disaster after another. The largest tank I have kept is 65 gals.

I guess there have been intervals where I have managed to keep something half decent, but it all eventually went to hell in a handbasket. The last one I blame on my mother, while I was on vacation. But truth be told, she just put it out of its misery. However, I have always been half assing everything, waiting for the "final tank" to take shape. Well, the day has come.
The house was built with this in mind, with the in-wall hole cut out, floor reinforced, etc. However, for 10 years I have looked at the hole in the wall, with only a tiny tank in its gaping maw, knowing that I was half assing things again. Anyway, for a variety of reasons, the time has come for me to go all-in and do the "final tank". Anyway, I will spare you all further irrelevant details, on to my current experience.

Display tank is in the living room, Sump/Fish room is in the basement immediately below it

Equipment
Generac whole house generator (this was a prerequisite for me to even start thinking about the tank build, given my prior experiences)
~60"x30"x27" (WxDxH) 200g Reef Savvy tank w/ phantom bottom, armored seams, ghost overflow (I have to go ghost overflow due to the clearances I didn't think about when creating the in-wall hole during the house construction)
60" custom Bashsea sump, modified to accept any filter roller on the market right now, and modified for dual returns with an expanded return compartment to handle dual return pumps
Dual Red Dragon 3 speedy high pressure pumps - I have a ton of head pressure coming up from the basement
Dual Pentair Smart UV 40 - one per return, different flow rates
Royal Exclusiv Bubble King Deluxe 250 internal skimmer
Bubble Magus Large filter roller
Neptune Apex w/ Trident
Spectrapure Mega maxcap performance plus RODI modified for two carbon stages and 3 DI stages
Norwesco 2 x 50gal salt water mixing station

Internal circulation will all be EcoTech Vortechs
Lighting will be 3 Radion XR30s combined with 2 Kessil A360x

Anyway, on to catching up with what I have done so far.


EDIT- We have been following along BRS TV's Ryan's 360 gallon build with much interest to see what he is doing at the same time we move ahead with ours
 
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drtechno

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So first part is to address one challenge with this build, one which has conflicting information out there: Direct sunlight.

Unfortunately, due to the way the house is built, orientation, and a ton of other factors, the in-wall tank hole had to go where it is now. No way around it. But I also didn't really think too hard about things during the design stage. The result is that the tank will be hit with up to 3 hours of direct sunlight during the late afternoons during some parts of the year, and no sunlight at other parts of the year. No, there is nothing I can do about it. No, I cannot put in window shades. The living room is "loft style" with ridiculously high ceilings. Here is a picture of the issue, and all the "walls" of the living room look like this so there is no avoiding the sunlight.

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So in a way, I am about to do a small experiment on whether direct sunlight, in and of itself, has a detrimental effect on the tank (outside of heat gain and photospectrum for potential algae growth)
 
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drtechno

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Next up, what delayed starting my "real" build until now?

Two factors: A generator and a fish room.

Yes, I ran a 60 gallon eye-sore in that hole for a long time, with a sump below it... just a disaster and it looked like garbage since it filled only 1/3 of the space in the wall.

Generator
Fortunately or unfortunately, we live in New England, where we can get heavy wet snow falls. We also happen to live in a town that is obsessed with keeping trees, and has many old, old trees.. The result is that we can lose power in the winter at the drop of a hat, we can lose power any time the wind blows during the summer. I remember floating boiling bags of water to heat my 60 gallon during one 3 day winter power outage. That was horrendous. Waking up at ungodly hours of the night to swap out hot water bags. No more. Generator is a must. And since I travel, I can't be screwing around with a portable thing that I have to start up. So it wasn't until this year that we got our act together and got a "part home" generator. I say that because it would have been needlessly expensive to power the entire house, when all I really need during a power outage is the fish room running, hot water, living room lights, fridge, a couple kitchen outlets and the furnaces running. The rest I can live without (AC for example).

Enter the main actor for this act:

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drtechno

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Act 2: Fish room
The other thing preventing the build from even starting was the plan for a fishroom below the display tank. Our basement was unfinished and there were many things we wanted to do with it, so we weren't ready to complete that home improvement project until recently.

In any case, when we finished the basement, we also finished the fishroom. I made sure to put 1/2" plywood on the wall where we were hanging the RODI, and I ran two separate twenty amp circuits to the room. I actually have a third for the upstairs (where the display tank will be) so I will run the lights and Vortechs off that separate circuit.

The two circuits in the fish room allow for redundancy in addition to providing extra power headroom. I plan on running one return pump on each circuit, so that if one breaker were to trip, the other return pump would maintain power.

In addition, it allows for using dissimilar protection methods, which I advise all people to consider-- One circuit is protected via a GFCI outlet, the other is protected by a GFCI breaker. I highly doubt both will fail at the same point in time, but there is no harm in going this route. In my past experience, GFCI outlets tend to die after 7-10 years, at which point they start nuisance triggering all the time and need to be replaced. In the future, I will show you guys a mistake we made-- mounting the electrical boxes at the standard switch height, right behind the sump.

We did vinyl flooring in the fishroom, as this is an effective, cheap and easy way of making a water proof floor. Tiling is expensive, potentially slippery, a pain to install (I can't do it), and a disaster to remove. Epoxy and other coatings are a disaster if they fail and may need to be removed. I could not be happier with the vinyl flooring- cheap, easy to work with, water proof, and we were able to install it ourselves in hours.

We needed storage space and cabinets, so we went with the cheapest IKEA cabinets they had. Unfortunately, the cheapest drawer fronts were just that - cheap and difficult to work with. They are impossible to adjust easily and therefore our drawer fronts are misaligned and look like trash. But I don't care enough to replace them with the higher priced options. The cabinets serve their function, were easy to install ourselves, easy to assemble, and reasonable enough in quality. We went with a Zodiak counter top, since the integrated sink option is amazing and spills can be wiped into it, the material can be drilled easily, and it is pretty hardy.

Any other notables?? Hm.. The think coming out of the wall is something I made the plumbers install at the time the house was being built - it's essentially a garden hose connection to the cold water supply with an on/off valve. Basically, I just hook the RODI right up to it, easy as pie. I do have to cover that ugly hole at some point.

The walls are all painted with high quality kitchen/bath paint. I think I would have done expanded PVC board (like Ryan's BRS 360) if I had known about the option in the first place. As a compromise, we bought a sheet of 4 x 8' Sintra PVC board and hung it behind the sump (you will see in an upcoming picture). We were able to call to a local plastics supply house and get it. Pain in the rear end finding sources for plastics in my area as they aren't advertised.

Also you will notice we were not able to completely enclose the mechanicals of the house, so we left them exposed but this is a room few people will ever venture into.

A couple other curiosities-
The room is unheated space (I don't want the town levying taxes on this as this is now considered non-occupiable space). But it is insulated. The basement temperatures never drop much below 60 anyway.

I have the option of running an air exchanger through the wall and outside if I feel a dehumidifier is not good enough.

We almost ran an 'inherited' lab grade RODI system until we found out how much the replacement filters would cost.. LOL... forget that :) We are lucky enough to have a lab microscope at our disposal tho!

If there are other things I think of during the build thread, about this room, I will add it. We were able to keep down costs as everything except for the drywall we did ourselves.

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drtechno

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First thing we did was mount the Spectrapure RODI, add an extra two canisters (prefilter) so that we could run two carbon stages for chloramines, and then add a third DI stage so we can split the resin beds. I know you can get away with a cheaper RO solution, but I LOVE this spectrapure max cap performance plus... We have ~60-70 psi coming into the house, the pump boosts it to 100 psi. We pay a ridiculous rate for our water, so any efficiency boost is appreciated. In the near future, I plan on routing our waste water into a 200 gal Norwesco tank (in the unfinished basement) and hook up a pump to this, and use the water to water our plants. I plan on Apex controlling solenoid valves to route the RODI waste water either to the watering tank or into the sink, depending on if the holding tank is full. But that's a future project.

Couple things the Spectrapure does that I didn't realize - if the power shuts off (ie-pump turns off) the water supply is stopped. That's good to know and not well documented, and makes it very easy to control with Apex. I had bought a solenoid valve for this purpose but I guess I don't need that... wasted money. I guess I will use that as a backup? The Spectrapure also has water level fill and off sensors so there is no reason to buy an RODI controller like the Tunze... Oopps.. Well, at least it was easy to return but potentially an expensive mistake.

I laid the RO tubing on the driveway in the sun to straighten it.. worked really well! Glad you guys at Reef2Reef had that suggestion :)

The RO tubing clips sold at BRS worked better than I had imagined. It makes the whole thing look well organized and neat. Really, they are one of the best things I have bought so far.

Um... what else? This is all still from memory since I am past this stage already. I'll fill you all in if I remember anything else from this part of the project.

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drtechno

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Ah ! I see something in the photos I forgot to explain!

Take a look along the ceiling.. In order to not have a mess of cords, I am running 2" PVC as a wire conduit (not glued, just slipped into the couplings so I can pull it apart easily). You can see the Spectrapure wire running straight up and into the conduit, which then goes to the salt water mixing station/RODI tank. I will have to run USB through this too for the Apex as well as the Tunze osmolator controller wire. Who knows what else I will need it for, but it is there to hide the wire and make it easy (lol, well not exactly easy) to snake wires in the future. The only downside is that 2" colored PVC and schedule 80 couplings in that size, as well as the clips, are silly expensive :/ Sigh.
 
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drtechno

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Let me get my sump post out of the way.

Yay, today is the day my sump came (not really but revisiting the moment). I wanted a custom sump as most sumps out there were not really made for filter rollers, with almost all having filter sock attachments.. There is literally zero chance of me swapping out filter socks in a timely fashion so that is just wasted on me. I considered both Synergy (first choice) and Bashsea. Both were able to modify their sumps to what I wanted to do, but due to some email server issues on their end, Synergy never got back to me on some questions until two weeks too late. So I ended up ordering a custom Bashsea sump, and I absolutely love it.

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The modifications I asked for were a larger return compartment plumbed for two return pumps, a larger first section (crash section?) with a rimless single wall, with extra thick acrylic, so that I can mount any of the current filter rollers on the market. Since I was doing custom anyway, I switched up the colors to something not stock, but that they had on their web site.

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I am running two Red Dragon 3 Speedy 100 w high pressure return pumps because I definitely want to use DC pumps, and it is one of the only pumps that can handle the 14+ft head pressure I will have. So knowing that info, I made sure the return compartment was sized appropriately.

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As for the crash section, I took the measurements off of Bubble Magus's specs for their large filter roller and made that compartment that size. That was a bit of a mistake.. Their dimensions dont account for the screw heads, so I cannot fit it in without disassembling it, and then reassembling it in the sump itself :face palm:
Lesson - always add an extra 0.5-1" to an opening dimension, just in case.. Sigh

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The sump stand we built ourselves, and then painted it with marine grade epoxy. dang that stuff is thick. I needed 3 coats to get the coverage I needed. After all that, my wife decided making the stand gloss black would be better than grey, so we ended up spray painting it gloss black so that it matched. I swear, this stand could probably be dropped to the bottom of the ocean and come out in one piece, thats how thick it seems the coating is on it.

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Sweet!! Following!!
 

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Finally made a R2R account just to follow this build.

You are doing exactly what I am planning for. Getting a quote for my Generac Generator on the 1st and looking at the Bashsea sumps.
 
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drtechno

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Finally made a R2R account just to follow this build.

You are doing exactly what I am planning for. Getting a quote for my Generac Generator on the 1st and looking at the Bashsea sumps.
awesome!
Don’t make the silly mistakes I made (especially with the plumbing...
that post coming tomorrow). The Bashsea sumps are amazing quality... so glad I went with them. Im actually asking him to give me a quote on a couple of matching reactors and water containers (ATO) that I will use for two part. More on that in a future update.

and generator was a must in my town, with the experiences I’ve had. Just make sure to run GFCI at the breaker for atleast one of the circuits, much more reliable than GFCI outlets
 
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drtechno

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Ok more catch up today.

While I have a picture of the sump to refer to, I will point out another major mistake and show another picture-

Mistake- Mounting the electrical outlets at typical switch height. As you can see from the photo above, and the photo below, the sump height comes right up to the electrical switches, and once I install the outdoor outlet covers to protect from splashes (which by the way is an idea I suggest everyone follows, cheap and easy and protects your outlets) I can't flip them up to open them since they come down a little too low. In retrospect, I should have mounted them even higher or made the sump stand shorter. I suppose I still have the option of taking two inches off the stand legs but I would have to dig out the screws from under the enamel (not sure thats possible?), then recut the legs, make sure they are perfectly level again, and possibly have to repaint. Huge pain in the rear...

This would be to fix the issue I am having right now, which is that I need to keep the sump 5 inches off the wall to make it all work. Is it worth going through all that in order to get a couple more inches in the room ?? Not sure I need the extra space in the room and the sump would need to be about 2" off the wall anyway for routing piping and electrical cords down behind and underneath it ?? Not sure.. what would you guys do? Shorten the stand or just live with it, since it would only save 3" of room space.

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drtechno

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In the meantime, I plumbed up the salt water mixing station. Pretty much the same standard design everyone else has been using. T junction to a pump, to a T which goes to the bucket fill and other side goes to the second tank. I have a Koralia powerhead in there to mix the salt water when that needs to be done. Apex optical sensors on each to alert me to different water levels and potentially shut off equipment when things fail. I will also install leak sensors in the NewPig drip tray, which you can see underneath the water containers.

The black line will go back to the DOS for AWC, the second RO line will go back to the sink for RO wash (I will install a peristaltic pump), the third RO line will feed the Tunze ATO, and finally the fourth RO line is the input from the SpectraPure. The larger blue line near the floor is the membrane flush line that the SpectraPure uses.

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drtechno

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As far as plumbing mistakes.. LOL..
You see anything wrong with this picture?

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... Yes, I forgot to put the screw on couplings that attach both sides of the T to the Cepex valves.. Unbelievable!! I was being so careful too. So I ordered the new slip couplings, and made sure I plumbed them correctly when they arrived, then I proceeded to plumb the rest of the mixing station. I was, of course very careful not to repeat the same mistake again.
BUT--

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You have GOT to be kidding me.. Yes.. I did it AGAIN. Immediately after fixing the exact same mistake below! I cannot even begin to comprehend how I repeated the mistake. And to make matters worse, there was a second place above this where I had likewise messed up. I ended up just cutting these pieces and making the stub shorter, scavenging couplings from a couple new Cepex valves I had, and fixing the mistakes.

What epic fails.
 

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