OZ's "Budget" DiY KiSS 75

Reefer of Oz

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Yo yo y'all!!
Hope you've been reefing hard, cause I sure have! Figured I should get this thread started while I am still in the progress of my first build. Some real time input from the savvy crew here at R2R would be more than welcome. The encouragement to start a build thread and the valuable feedback I have seen in other's threads is a very rewarding part of this community. I gave a bit of background in my intro, freshened up my profile with some details and now............the BUILD!!!!!!!

GOALS
From an early age the idea of a saltwater tank has always intrigued me, a thriving little piece of the ocean. Of course I eventually realized how complex that is in actuality, so many variables and parameters to get right or go wrong. But.....if you got it juuuuuust right.....it could be nearly self sustaining with little maintenance......right? I have come to the awareness as an adult of how realistic that is. Though possible, it's just not feasible for the average hobbyist, or a novice such as myself. This ideal has certainly guided my decision making through the process and has helped me set some key elements of success for the environment I am about to create. As a natural born tinkerer and a carpenter by trade, the DiY potential in this hobby caught my attention straightaway. And as a naturalistic minded individual, I want the best for my future salty critters. All of this has led me to these few goals(in no particular order):
  • DiY the crap outta this thang - There are so many components to a reef tank build that can be crafted/modified/improved through a bit of research, ingenuity, patients and skill. I plan to take advantage of my abilities in this regard. It is incredibly thrilling to me to be building this biological machine. I also feel that the more involved you are in the setup and build of as many elements of the system that you can, the potential for solving problems and making modifications is that much greater. And of course the "idea" is that there should be cost saving associated with the concept. Hence.......
  • Budget - Lets be realistic, this isn't a poor man's sport. Of course, like any good immersive hobby, there is a scale of costs associated. My wife and I are not well off, but we certainly aren't struggling. This whole dream tank idea is solely mine to own in victory or defeat. However, I will allow her to enjoy its calming beauty when this thing get rolling. That, and my frugal nature, is what drives me to keep this project to a reasonable level of expenditure. Top of the line anything in life is not my style. The tank build is no exception. There are no hard numbers or goals in this regard, just try to build what you can and whatcha gotta buy, don't buy cheap and don't break the bank. Though good in theory, the pile of receipts is kinda staggering. The equipment/parts list is ever growing and evolving, but sticks to one crucial ideal...
  • Keep It Simple Stoopid - I believe that complex systems are easy to over complicate. So this ideal is tricky to apply to marine aquariums. But I think if its broken down into 4 key elements of water, light, waste management and livestock, it can be far easier to manage. RODI water will be purchased initially with the intention of setting up my own filtration system eventually. I will setup a mixing station for salt water. My lights are lower end LEDs that I may supplement eventually with other lighting, depending on success and future needs. I plan in relying on mostly biological filtration. There will be a skimmer in the sump, but that will be it for mechanical filtration. I do not plan on any reactors or chemical filtration, but have a return manifold in the works just in case. Water changes will be on a regular schedule, though ideally not often. Dosing is not something I want to have to do, but will consider it based on inhabitants. All of these elements will help guide me to what possible livestock options I have. The more I learn how these main aspects interact with each other the more equipped I am to keep it simple. To have realistic view of the balance between them can help eliminate many unattainable goals. That being said.....
  • CRITTERS!!! - One of the most fascinating aspects of the marine environment is the diversity and sure concentration of life. Everything from minuscule microbes to flashy fish play a vital role in that biodiversity. And that is what we try to replicate in our tanks. I have always been more intrigued by the creatures in, on and around the live rock and substrate than the fish when I am peeking and peering into every shadowy crevice I can. What we refer to as “getting tanked” amongst a few of my friends. I could honesty enjoy just some quality live rock and a clean up crew for some time. I plan on tracking down some aquacultured gulf rock and some good live sand. Then enlist a solid CUC to help keep things in order. As far as corals go, I'd like to achieve a good mixed reef blend of softies, LPS, a few SPS and maybe attempt some NPS. Fish I plan to keep to a minimum, more for function than flash. The only really aesthetic goals in that area are a small group of schooling fish and a Mandarin Dragonette. Otherwise only fish that perform a function (pest control, algae control...) in the tank. I know fish play a role in providing a needed bioload within the system, so that will need to be a balancing act for me. I have a refugium section in my sump which I plan to have some macro algae and some pod propagation in. As far as sourcing goes, we lack a good LFS here in Dulth, so I will have to order and ship much of it. There are some good shops within a couple hour drive that I will probably hit up for most of the fish and frags. I would like to try and raise only aquacultured or tank bred livestock. There is much debate about the quality and ecocolgy of wild harvested specimens, but I would like to minimize my impact on the natural environment that I am attempting to recreate and appreciate.
EQUIPMENT
Just gonna run down a quick list of current equipment I currently have purchased. Feel free to comment on things you see undersized or unnecessary, or anything I seem to be missing. I am still in the process of a dry fit/setup, so nothing is set in stone at this point.
  • Tank - Perfecto; 75gal w/stand, 48x18x21
  • Sump - Aqueon; 20gal long, DIY baffles and design
  • Overflow - ReefCreators; 1800gph internal box
  • Return - Current USA; eFlux 6009 DC pump, 1050gph max
  • Flow - Current USA; 1- eFlux 6005, 2- eFlux 6004
  • Lighting - Current USA; Orbit Marine IC PRO, Dual 24"
  • Skimmer - Reef Octopus; Classic 110-INT
  • Heat - BRS; 2- 300W titanium heaters ~ Inkbird; ITC-306T controller
  • ATO - Tunze; 5000.020 metering pump ~ AquaHub; Top-It-Off Premium kit, DIY 2.5gal resevoir
  • Thermometer and ground probe also ready for install
PROCESS
Time to get to the meat of it all, the actual build process. The opportunity to make a dream a reality fell in my lap about 5 years ago. I was doing a bathroom remodel for a friend who also happened to be a freshwater aquarist and cichlid breeder. Was downsizing and getting out of breeding, so as partial payment I ended up with a 75gal tank and stand. He threw in a wet/dry sump he had sitting around as well. My inital plan was to get some new biomedia and use the sump. But after doing more research, decided against the wet/dry setup entirely. So the adventure begins with just the Perfecto: 75gal tank and Majesty stand.

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Since I decided the wet/dry was not my best option, I needed to track down a tank for a sump. I wasn't about to consider dropping much $$ on some of the prefab sumps out there. Don't get me wrong, they are engineered and effective, just out of my budget for this project. So I called up my buddy, and sure enough, he had a 20g long tank for a sump as well as a 30g I could have for a quarantine tank. The main tank had sat in my garage for 5+ years. I had major home renovations planned and was just not ready for a tank at the time. With the years of garageness and some unknown messes in the new small tanks, a major clean was in order. I used a 5:1 water/vinegar solution and scrubbed the crap out of em, being mindful of the silicone seals. Got em all shiny and filled em with water for a week to test the seals.........YAAAAARRR!!1!!No leaks!!!! Time to move ahead.

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I knew that wanted to minimize the equipment in and around the display tank, so an internal overflow seemed the best option. Of course the tank was not drilled. This led me to a nerve wracking web search, a couple phone calls and no real assurance that the 14 year old tank I had DID NOT have tempered glass walls. The bottom was clearly labeled as such, and any DIY tests I tried resulted with the same observations for bottom and sides. So I said "Screw it, worst comes to worst I shatter the glass and need to buy a new tank". I had purchased a few pieces of equipment but felt I could still back out of the whole project if the drilling went south and took the wind outta my sails. I have drilled glass before so I was comfortable with the process at least. So I laid out my overflow box and mocked up my drains to determine bulkhead spacing. It ened up being a bit tight, but workable. Got my holes marked out and my diamond hole saws ready. The 1" bulkheads for the drain required an 1 3/4" hole, the 3/4" return bulkhead needed 1 1/2" hole. Here goes nothing.......

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BOOM!!!!! Drilled my first tank. Boy was I Nervous as I slowed down and let up towards the end of the first hole. I has set up a putty dam on the first one as I had seen in a couple tutorial vids. That ended up being a messy hassle for multiple holes, so I just used the template that came with the overflow box I purchased. I ended up clamping a board to the underside of the glass as well to catch the puck as well as help prevent chip out. Water was pour on to the drill site for a cooling lubricant, and wiped and reapplied as I drilled to gauge progress. Slow speed to start and low pressure though out is the key. Once the hole gets starts started, drill speed can increase until the end of the cut. Slowing down speed and letting off pressure at the end saves chip out and less micro fractures. Next step, the overflow and drains

I'm gonna leave it there for now, been working on this off and on for a couple days. There is more progress to show, and I will sooner than later have real time updates. I just wanna get the ground work out and get some buzz going and some feedback flowing.

That being said, I think I'd like to leave every post with some questions or open up a discussion on my project:
  1. Are there any glaring conflicts or missing components in my equipment list?
  2. What are some recommendations for small schooling fish in a lightly populate tank, ideal for a beginner?
 
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BeltedCoyote

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Oh man, I’m glad I tracked your build down my friend! As you said, we’re at similar points and have a lot of the same ideas! I’ll be following for sure!

can’t wait to see what the great and terrible Oz can come up with! Lol
 
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Oh man, I’m glad I tracked your build down my friend! As you said, we’re at similar points and have a lot of the same ideas! I’ll be following for sure!

can’t wait to see what the great and terrible Oz can come up with! Lol
HA! Yeah buddy. Thanks for joining in on my fantastic voyage. I’ve got more updates coming, stay tuned. I liked the use of your build link in the poll today. And of course I’m watching!
 

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Following!

Built my stand today for a craigslist score (150 gallon). I'm interested to see what you think oz with the carpentry experience. I kept is simple. Starting my staining tomorrow and running a 60A to a load center so I can dedicate circuits easily to my tank. Build thread to come soon.
 
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Following!

Built my stand today for a craigslist score (150 gallon). I'm interested to see what you think oz with the carpentry experience. I kept is simple. Starting my staining tomorrow and running a 60A to a load center so I can dedicate circuits easily to my tank. Build thread to come soon.
Nice! I wish I had built my own stand. Metal would be the best for strength and space saving. But lumber, especially engineered products like LVLs, are a great option.Give yourself as much her room above equipment as you can. Get that build thread up and show us what you are working with. I’ll have an update soon.
 
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Nice! I wish I had built my own stand. Metal would be the best for strength and space saving. But lumber, especially engineered products like LVLs, are a great option.Give yourself as much her room above equipment as you can. Get that build thread up and show us what you are working with. I’ll have an update soon.

I also scored a tank and stand combo but from fb marketplace. You’ve seen my thread so you probably already know that my stand is just a monolith of squared steel tubing. My other half, it turns out, is a lot more handy than I am so she and I are going to figure out how to essentially “wrap” the metal with wood in a tasteful way. I’ll share what we come up with of course. But it’ll probably be a few months because I’m waiting until we buy a house and move in (why set up a tank, cycle it, and then have to take it all down, move it, and set it up a second time?).
 
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Yar. An open metal frame like @BeltedCoyote would be great. You could set some T-nuts in wood panels/planks and drill holes in the stand to run bolts trough. I’m just trying to work with what I have for the most part. I already know this is my “starter tank”, HA! Try and get some good knowledge and skill before my dream tank, a built in corner deep tank . More updates coming (hopefully post one tomorrow) on this first exciting endeavor. I am learning sooooo much about what to do differently next time, though I am pleased and confident with the current path I’m on
 

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Yar. An open metal frame like @BeltedCoyote would be great. You could set some T-nuts in wood panels/planks and drill holes in the stand to run bolts trough. I’m just trying to work with what I have for the most part. I already know this is my “starter tank”, HA! Try and get some good knowledge and skill before my dream tank, a built in corner deep tank . More updates coming (hopefully post one tomorrow) on this first exciting endeavor. I am learning sooooo much about what to do differently next time, though I am pleased and confident with the current path I’m on

Yeah I have the same mentality. But I am trying to look at my build as what may end up being my only tank for years to come. So I’ve switched up things as far as some equipment goes. But that’s my build lol. Can’t wait to see how your build progresses!
 
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PROCESS (cont.)

Alright, where was I? Oh yeah, the overflow....

The tank drilled out fine. I was a bit concerned that the bulkheads were a bit close together, but nothing seemed compromised. A do wish I had looked for a longer overflow box or an external ghost type, but I am pleased with the quality of the ReefCreators box I picked up. I affixed it to the tank with some black reef safe silicone. The back and one side pane are eventually gonna be wearing black coats to the party too, so it should blend in nice. In my carpentry trade I use tape for getting clean caulk beads all the time. The same method was employed here. I let the silicone cure for several days before moving on to plumbing my drains
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I feel I may have installed it too high. There is about 1 1/4" to the top of the frame from the water surface. Hopefully that will allow for whatever turbulence is at the surface. I didn't really want the plane of the surface visible from the display sides. I have gone a bit high. I could still drop it a bit, though it would need to get cut off and cleaned up. I would also have to modify my drains more. Thoughts?

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I am running a Bean style drain. The quietness and reliability are a no brainer if you have the option, which I do and all. 1" Sch40 PVC is used for all of the drain lines. The main siphon runs into the skimmer chamber in my sump, with the emergency suspended in the same chamber. The secondary drain is routed into the refugium chamber to get some water straight from the DT to fuge critters that may appreciate it. There are ball valves on all 3 lines to ease in tuning and maintenance. If budget would have allowed , gate valves would have been nice from all I gather. Unions are incorporated into each drain line, accessible from inside the stand. There is still some work on the drain assembly yet (air gap, E standpipe height, tuning), but it should work out I believe.

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I wanted to make sure my plumbing was secure in every way possible. So to help take some stress off of bulkheads, I fashioned a cleat to fasten lines to out of some PVC brick moulding that I had laying around. This was attached with black silicone and allowed to cure before fastening anything to it. Along with some braces under the valves I can strap to, this should give good support for the plumbing. Especially the return line that will have some force and pressure.

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Of course to know where the drain lines were going I needed to have some idea of what my sump was going to look like. So I did a mock up with cardboard, which changed several times before I finally got it configured for my space and needs.

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I'll dive into my sump plans and design in the next update. It has changed a quite a bit from the above pics.

Sooooo........what about about my inquiries from earlier?

1. Pick apart my equipment list, let me know whats good/bad/ugly
2. Small grouping fish? I'm leaning towards chromis, cardinals or anthias. Perhaps not in a 75G?

And some new topics to think on:

3. Will I regret only having an 1 1/4" from water surface to top of tank frame?
4. Is a 10"x10"x10" a useful refugium chamber? Was hoping to have some macro and pods, but mostly to up biofilter capacity. Thoughts?
 
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Quick teaser real-time update. About to scrub up some dead “dry rock” that has been sitting around for 5+ years for sure. I hadn’t even unboxed it yet, super excited to see the secret stash!

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This will be the base of some aquascaping that will incorporate some gulf live rock eventually. Gonna scrub n spray, then soak in a flowing bleach solution for a week or so. Rinse a couple times, dry a couple weeks then scape!

5. Yar!?

Next post picks up on programming already in progress!!
 
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Thanks for checking in, @highest_tides! Been too busy on the actual build out to do any meaningful updates here, HA! Plus life getting in the way of my tank goals.

Tank has been ran/tested with RO water, mixing/WC station plumbed and operational in the basement, tank in the house, light canopy mostly complete, starting on some cabinet/placement details and hopefully getting live rock shipped soon(ish). It’s cranking along at a slow but meaningful pace.

I promise to get some detailed updates here in the near future. I struggle with making it a priority when there is so much yet to do. Hoping to have it cycled before I leave town for a few days around Thanksgiving. Also would like to be up to date on this thread by then. Stay tuned, thanks for showing some interest. It sure is exciting and engaging for me!
 
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SPOILER ALERT!!: The tank is (a)Live and running!!!
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Some Earthlings the survived the trip from FL to MN......

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Sooo anyway...been too busy workin on actually getting this up and running in my spare time that this here build thread seemed pretty secondary. Now that it is alive and thrumming, I have have more time to be active here. MY mantra of reefkeeping....

Observe...Patience...Question....Patience.........x7(at least)......Act/React..........Breath repeat.....

**Back to our regularly scheduled Build Thread, all ready in progress** IMG_0909.JPEG IMG_0916.JPEG IMG_0914.JPEG IMG_0917.JPEG IMG_0932.JPEG
 
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Alright, its about dang time I get some progress in this here Build Thread. There is real value in logging the process and allowing critique from follow enthusiasts. So allow me to continue............

The Sump
Of course the sump was a must from the inception of the project. Keeping equipment out of the main DT, adding overall system volume and a fuge were all the most compelling reasons to go that route. I am glad there was a cardboard mock up phase and much thought beyond before I finally got something I was confident with.
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I think my initial intention was to put the fuge in the back and try to some how shield light pollution into other sump chambers. I also figured having easy access to the return pump would be great for maintenance. I came around to the realization that my fuge was going to need the most delicate and possibly most frequent attention. And besides, it gives the best view of the critters and algae I plan to host in there. A union on the return pump line would make pulling that relatively easy when it needs a cleaning or replacement. The flow would stay the same. The secondary drain would trickle into the fuge, supplying some DT funk and a bit of flow. The fuge overflows into the equipment chamber, which is where the main drain siphon runs. The emergency drain is also runs into the equipment chamber. Flow continues through a simple under-over bubble trap into the return chamber. In order to adjust flow in the fuge, I teed off the return line with a ball valve an ran that into the fuge as well.

The equipment chamber will house the skimmer, 2 heaters, a ground probe, heat control probe and will be where the ATO discharges. Its a tight fit, but there is just barely enough room to still work on anything. The return chamber is small, fits the pump and a few extra inches of water. Float switches for the ATO relay are also located in the return chamber, as that is were any water level variables will be. The over all design should accomodate any overflow from the return in the case of a shut down. There is a plan for a battery backup on the return eventually.

So with a new design it was time to order up some glass baffles from the local glass shop. I used 3/16" annealed glass, which is good, cause I ordered them the wrong size and had to cut them....HA!

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Got them baffles all trimmed up and masked off.

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Got the tank all laid out and marked up.

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To keep the baffles in position, and with a gap to receive the silicone, I used a cork spacer to wedge it tight and hold it against a wood block clamped to the tank. The baffles against the bottom where held up with a few small pieces of 1/8" acrylic that I pulled as the silicone was setting. The raised baffle is sitting on some 1" PVC blocks. I masked everything off prior to placing any spacers or blocks.

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The real key to success was in the applicator. A small length of 3/16" vinyl tubing jammed on to the end of the caulk tube save some serious mess and frustration. I know this because a tried it first without some sort of extension on the caulk. To get the bubble trap baffles was an impossible mess. Sooooo glad I always seem to have too much random crap laying around. I mean you never do know when a small length of 3/16 tubing will save your sanity!

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All said and done, it worked out in the end. The joints were fairly clean and the baffles were affixed well.

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Here is my assistant Lyle helping me get it set up for the dress rehearsal or "wet run" in the garage.

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And.........it seemed to have worked!

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And from the garage to present.........

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It seems to be working........

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I like to think the Limpets and Hermits find it agreeable!

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Well that about "sumps" it up for that particular aspect of my build. It seems to be working out as I had intended. A bit of additional live rock and sand to boost up biofiltration. Some macro algae growing to help export nutrients and out compete other algae eventually. I have seeded some amphipods and copepods in the fuge as well, hopefully they can start getting established. Equipment is all serviceable and operating fine.

All in all, I am pleased with my first sump design. I would love to have more room to work, larger sump in general, remote fuge and a few other minor upgrades. But for my first tank, it should serve just dandy!

Next post will dive into the build out of the rest of the systems in operation. Shoot me some feedback and stay tuned!
 
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WOW.....Been a hot minute since this has seen my attention! Let us continue the saga......

EQUIPMENT

KEEP IT SIMPLE STOOPID! The ideal of not only tank maintenance and operation, but in equipment needs as well. Now there are of course many schools of thought on "necessary" equipment, and plenty of successful systems to back any claim. So I decided to start with what I am not willing to have in my system and routine. Some of the criteria used in making these decisions were cost, continued maintenance/monitoring, effectiveness and space, among others. A techy controller system is out of the question. Not looking to dose or have dosers. UV and ozone seem very unlikely. Carbon and GFO, actually and type of media reactors, don't seem my style. I did however plumb my return system with a manifold in anticipation of that being a requirement. The only things I want equipment to help me control are temperature, light, water flow, salinity and organic/waste removal via foam fractionator.
So lets get at it.....

HEATERS
The horror stories, both observed and accounted online, of heater failure in tanks is very visceral and nothing i want to experience in my own tank. So a heater controller was a must from the get go. I went with the Inkbird ITC 306T controller to run dual BRS 300w titanium heaters. Being in northern MN, a chiller is not going to be needed. I like the idea of running two oversized heaters in the system. The theory being that they each have to work a little bit less together and increasing the life of either and affording some redundancy if one should fail.

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And of course it had to get tested in a bucket before I committed to implementing and of the components. Especially after I voided any warranty on the controller by splicing an extension to the power cord. Everything seemed to have worked after running for a few days.

LIGHTS
This is one of those areas with such a variety of options. Again, with much evidence to warrant the use of nearly any light on the market these days. I knew for certain that I wanted to go with LED lights exclusively. The energy cost alone makes them the best option for me. Cost was a huge factor for me in this realm. I also wanted to be able to do some sort of sunrise/sunset ramping to try avoid stress from sudden lighting changes as well as to mimic some more natural lighting patterns.
This all lead me to Current USA and their LOOP system. It seems about perfect, though admittedly a bit "techy" for an oldstyle schooler like me. There is a wide range of time and spectrum settings in the app. The price was right for the Dual Orbit IC Pro 18-24" that I went with. Now I know they seem to lack the PAR of other LEDs on the market, but I don't plan on having a heavy SPS tank. They should work out fine for my mixed reef plan. I realize I may end up adding more or supplementing with other lighting, but it should be a good start.

FLOW
With the sump return there would be a certain amount of tank flow generated there, but certainly not enough. I realized that laminar flow I had seen in other tanks was not ideal. There needs to some turbulence present to keep things suspended, prevent dead spots and help maintain consistent parameters. So multiple sources of anti-synced flow seemed like the best route .Again budget seemed a bit of a constraint when looking at gyres and other wave makers, along with the necessity for some controller.
This again brought me to Current USA and their line of eFlux wave pumps. They integrate with the LOOP system for controllability, are DC powered and reasonably priced. I went with 2 of the 660 max gph and one of the 1050 max gph wave makers . With three sources (4 including return) of flow, there should be plenty of opportunity for turbulent flow and adequate turn over.
I initially went with a Jebao DCP4000 for a return pump. But then decided there was going to be a mixing station in the basement with a pump to circulate and move water upstairs. So the eFlux DC powered pump from Current USA seemed like good option as it also integrates with the LOOP system. I went with the 1050 max gph model.

SKIMMER
I wanted to reduce the amount of mechanical filtration my system would need and a protein skimmer seemed like a good way to help reduce that need. Pulling DOCs, helping with oxygenation and air interface as well as general algae control all seem like good benefits also. The only negative that I see is how indiscriminate they are in what they pull out. Certain planktonic microbes, food and spawn that would be welcome in the water column of the system will also be drawn out. Perhaps it will not run all the time, but the benefit seems to outweigh the drawback
This is an area that seemed daunting and really subjective when looking at reviews of different options available. The fact that it was going to be in-sump versus HOB, internal or external helped to limit options. Seemed like the needle wheel impeller was the latest proven technology, so than it was just down to sizing and of course the ever present budget. The Reef Octopus INT110 fit the bill and I sized the equipment chamber in the sump accordingly.

ATO
An automatic top off system also seemed like a necessity to help maintain chiefly salinity but also other water parameters. Here again is an area where the cost of options on the market pushed me to come up with a DIY solution.


Gonna drop it there for the time being. The ATO system I DIYed together is worth its own post.

I'll sign off with a couple current pic of critters and stuff

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To Be Continued.........
 
OP
Reefer of Oz

Reefer of Oz

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DAdaDaDANG!!!.....500+ looks at this drivel! I better get some progress on this journal so I can get real time updates posted. I have certainly been reefing hard, which keeps me from posting here. So let us get back at it.....
EQUIPMENT....(cont.)

Automatic Top Off
As previously mentioned, an ATO was an obvious component for this system. After looking at what was available, I decided to stay true to my DIY ideal and hacked together something quite workable. I wrote up a thread outlining the process here:
AQUAHUB TOP-it-OFF Premium Kit
It has been working great for me so far. The only drawback is having to fill the reservoir periodically, though that is the case with any ATO not pumping directly from a RO/DI water supply. I plan an making that improvement eventually. Which leads nicely into the next component......

RO/DI Water Filtration
The startup plan was to purchase RO water from a local store. But between the price of the water, travel/handling time and fact that I would still need a storage container and space, it quickly became evident it was stupid, not simple. So aside from obvious initial cost, setting up a RO/DI filtration system was very much part of my KISS strategy.
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BRS being a local MN company, I checked out their products and went with a modest 4 stage, 75gpd model. After running it a few months, I eventually purchased an upgrade kit for it. Increasing the volume to 150gpd and the waste ratio to about 1:1 vs 3:1.
I knew that Duluth had notoriously good municipal water treatment standards and we have certainly been spoiled drinking from the tap here. But I was surely surprised to see only 49 TDS. And I am certain some of the old galvanived plumbing in my house contributes, judging by the rust stained sediment filter, HA!

Battery Backup
There was not an initial plan to incorporate any backup electrical system. I knew of risks and possible consequences of a prolonged power outage. We experience them periodically in the winter months, but nothing more than a few hours at the most. A 3hr power outage occurred once in the late fall with just minimal temp drop and noticeable effects of flow loss. But after the losses people suffered elsewhere in the country this winter, I decided it was a necessary addition before an real investment in livestock.
Here again was a great opportunity to dive into a DIY project to increase my knowledge, become more familiar with my system and allow for upgrades and improvements. All in all it didn't save much money over other options, but each component can be replaced or upgraded as needed.
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I call it "The Bomb", on account that it resembles some sort of crude dirty bomb. Fear not kind reefers, for it is merely an 80ah deep cycle AGM 12v battery, hooked up to a smart charger, powering a 1000w pure sine wave inverter, running through an auto transfer switch. All crammed into a standard battery box, with a disconnect switch and an outlet added. It should get me many hours of just running return pump, and several hours with heaters on. I plan to add a larger battery bank in the future to increase run time.

SUNDRIES
That covers most of the major equipment components in my system. There are perhaps a few other things worth mentioning:
Refugium Light ~ 100w equivalent grow light
Ground Probe
Digital Thermometer
Work Lights in sump and canopy

All of this has been assembled and operating for around 5 months now with no major catastrophes of note. In the next installment I will run through the final setup. Hopefully that should get me all caught up. I am about ready and confident to start stocking fish and coral. Some real time updates and input will be of real value soon. Till then, here's a couple current pics of the system.

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Do you keep "Reef Safe with Caution" fish?

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    Votes: 222 62.7%
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    Votes: 122 34.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 2.8%
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