One Man's Trash.. My Reefer 425XL

ReefLab

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So about two weeks ago, I bought a Reefer 425xl pre-owned. The previous owner didn't have the time to take care of it so things got pretty ugly. Tons of salt creep and ALGAE. Here's a not-so-great picture of the tank below.



I took the rock and a few fish with the tank. The fish are going into a 10gal quarantine in the meantime (2 clowns, a yellow eye tang, and a few snails).
I did get a really good deal on the set up but the biggest issue with the tank was a cracked panel in the sump. The piece that was broken is what the 3 gallon ATO reservoir rests on.. not the greatest design..



It was dead simple to fix. I cut out the broken panel with a Stanley blade and razor. I called a local glazier who normally cuts large panels for windows/doors etc. and asked if they could cut this small panel for me. Not only did they do it but they did it for free! They gave me 1/4" glass which is thicker than the original red sea panel.. hopefully this one will hold better. I soaked the sump in 50:50 water/vinegar for about an hour then scraped off all the scale built up. Silicone the new panel in using Momentive silicone which is recommended on R2R. Let it cure for a day and everything is good!



During all of this, I had the rock soaking. First a bleach bath for a day (1:10 ratio) to kill the algae and other organics, then a vinegar bath for a few hours (1:10 ratio) to try and remove some of the scale build up on the rock, then three rinses with tap water and the last fill I added some Seachem prime to get rid of any residual chlorine. I put a cheap pump at the bottom of a brute trash can to pump the water into the toilet after it filled from the bath faucet. Made everything really easy. Then I let the rock dry outside for a day. If I were to do this again, I think I would have done Muriatic acid or a stronger concentration of vinegar and skipped the bleach altogether.



For the aquascape, me and my girlfriend just played with the position of the rock for a few days until we came up with this. A few spots of superglue to lock in the less stable pieces.



Equipment List (for now)
  • Reef Octopus Vario-6
  • 2x Ecotech MP40
  • Reef Octopus Classic 150 INT skimmer
  • Finnex 500W heater with Ink Bird controller
  • 2x Aqua Illumination Hydra 26

Working on plumbing and electrical the next few days so ill be posting that. Cant wait to fill 'er up!

Thanks for reading and I'm excited to share what comes of this build.
 
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Tangy

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This may be premature, but have you thought about what kind of live stock you'd like to have in there?
ReefLab's girlfriend here!

Here's what we got with the tank:
  • 2 clowns (IDK the type, we need to post pics and get an ID)
  • 1 kole tang
  • 2 turbo snails
  • 1 hermit crab
Here's what our potential stocking list is so far:
  • pistol shrimp & watchman goby pair
  • purple firefish
  • orchid dottybacks (not sure how many, they can be aggressive?)
  • some kind of blenny, maybe a tail spot?
  • cleaner shrimp
  • emerald crabs
  • serpent sea stars
  • pom pom crab/s
  • maybe a wrasse? (haven't looked at these fish much, but a lot of people seem to be really into them!)
  • lots of beginner corals!
If anyone has any suggestions we'd love to hear it. This is our first saltwater aquarium so we are trying to do things right!
 
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ReefLab

ReefLab

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Love the aquascape @Tangy @ReefLab
Thanks!

Impressive... Sounds like you've saved a thousand (or three) just by getting your hands dirty!

Glad to see it coming along so well.
Closer to three. Definitely a bit of elbow grease but well worth it IMO.

Off to a great start. I prefer some real live rock to kick start the biological system. Just old school I guess.
On my first planted tank, I had several hundred snails I had to get rid of which was an absolute pain. I want to try and avoid pests as much as I can. Ill be using the Red Sea Mature Start kit and live sand to jump start the cycle.

It is great to see how you revived this reef, your effort and detail will be rewarded.

Best of luck... :)
I sure hope so. Thank you!
 
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ReefLab

ReefLab

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So after filling the tank with about 20 gallons of water, I realized that the water level was about 1/4" higher in the back than in the front. Great.
Good news is I found an air-shim at home depot and it made everything really easy.



I drained most of the water then used stock wood under the entire back rail and shims on the side feet to make sure all the feet had contact with the ground. Nice and level now.

If your tank has been slightly off level and you've been just trying to forget about it, get these air shims.. perfect for this application!
 

Peach02

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So after filling the tank with about 20 gallons of water, I realized that the water level was about 1/4" higher in the back than in the front. Great.
Good news is I found an air-shim at home depot and it made everything really easy.



I drained most of the water then used stock wood under the entire back rail and shims on the side feet to make sure all the feet had contact with the ground. Nice and level now.

If your tank has been slightly off level and you've been just trying to forget about it, get these air shims.. perfect for this application!
Good job noticing the problem and even better job coming up with that solution but I don’t think those shims will work long term
 

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