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Pharmacist Reefer...First Timer 120gallon build...let’s do this!!! Need your help!!

Reefacist

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Hi y’all,

so where do I start. Basically staying home for covid got me restarting my ig and one of the first posts I saw was a friends puffer fish and let me tell you is was love at first sight. After that day no matter how long this lockdown takes I know I won’t be bored. Every day I would wait to get off work after wearing masks for 10hrs at a time to go home and watch aquaruin builds.
So after looking in OfferUp and at least 20vids of how to restore a tank. I finally found a tank, a 120gallon beast (I say beast bc I was waiting for the $/gallon Petco sale to buy a 55gal but the sale never came lol). So I brought the tank hole two weeks ago and the guy was running it as a freshwater with a sump setup. I want to turn it into a saltwater with about 10 fish and sps tank.
So far I have extensively cleaned everything from that tank with razor blades and bar keepers friend. I got it shinny again. I removed the blue back paint. I sanded down the stand and painted it matte black. I cleaned the 40g breeder and took out all of its dividers.
I was at the point of deciding on a overflow system and how to modify it and this is when I joined r2r. My tank came with a L shaped tower weir at the left corner of the aquarium with a 2.5” hole. I won’t get into to too much detail on how I made my decision bc I have an entire thread on that. But basically I was thinking of adding another coupl hole on the bottom and making the weir bigger but thanks to talk to awesome r2r members like @Anchor and @Beau_B I decided to go with the Marine Modular external overflow. I ordered the 1600gph (the more the better bc I know I’ll upgrade later) from amazon and gotta wait 3 weeks for it to arrive.
Question 1: would it be ok if I put the box in the middle under the glass brace?
Currently I will be resealing the 40g breeder hopefully tomorrow after work or Tuesday night. I am also going to remove the L weir and close up the 2.5” hole. Debating whether to close it with a bulkhead and plug or a 1/2inch glass.
Question 2: u guys who have done both...what’s better? It’s on the bottom so there won’t be a visual problem I’m just concerned about leakage due to being on a second story apartment. Next up after reseal is deciding on sump set up of the 40g breeder.
Question 3: what skimmer should I get and any recommendations aa to where to buy it?
I have been looking into the reef octopus models but I wanted blue pvc set up and RO is red (I know not a big deal).
Question 4: Live/dry rock recommendations? I’m think100-120 pounds of dry rock. Should I buy and start curing now?

Anyways sorry for the long post but I am VERY excited about this and very involved with the process. Going from knowing nothing about fish, aquarium or tools to learning everything with one giant project. I love it and will produce a beautiful masterpiece

0EC0D7E0-6CA6-42A5-A5B7-A40D4FB2F412.jpeg EDA828F7-A0C8-45F8-9BC6-3D956C899A89.jpeg 4B8F145D-4E97-4352-82C4-BD2D8EEB28B3.jpeg E157AE41-5FEA-4D4A-B87E-BD3F908978FD.jpeg BDE552D9-B2D1-4AFC-BCC3-B4D19856CC9C.jpeg C6DBCAE3-B41D-418E-92A0-84693E6CD43D.jpeg F440BFEB-2FDB-4F24-ACA9-86EF08E07336.jpeg 8BCD4D99-5F63-436B-900F-ACE5B64842C0.jpeg A2E67D9C-7AB4-4295-B99A-B5B3DB33830F.jpeg 665CB07C-652D-40F8-AFFF-E2D65314B0CA.jpeg
 

Anchor

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For Dry rock.. If you have an LFS near by, I would go there and check out what they have.. AND weigh a few pieces so you know how much you might actually need. Big and little pieces. Look at building islands of rock glued together rather than stacking it. If you can find it, look for Pukani rock.. very light (usually) and very interesting looking. Nice to see you starting a thread.. Helps keep you involved in the site too! Good Luck in your build!
 

Beau_B

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Lots of threads for skimmers. I'm running a Simplicity right now that I like. It's black trimmed... Off hand blue would be Eshopps? I would like to have a Nyos, heard great things about them running silent.

For basic dry rock, Amazon is the place for cheap. Still running a little over $1/lb for the mined stuff.

If you find Pukani or Fiji somewhere, go for it. Maybe someone breaking down a tank near you.

Definitely start cycling ASAP. You could potentially be through the cycle by the time your tank is ready.
 
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For Dry rock.. If you have an LFS near by, I would go there and check out what they have.. AND weigh a few pieces so you know how much you might actually need. Big and little pieces. Look at building islands of rock glued together rather than stacking it. If you can find it, look for Pukani rock.. very light (usually) and very interesting looking. Nice to see you starting a thread.. Helps keep you involved in the site too! Good Luck in your build!
Thanks @Anchor i will. There’s couple people selling online as well but I wil def go to the lfs and see it in person first
 
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Lots of threads for skimmers. I'm running a Simplicity right now that I like. It's black trimmed... Off hand blue would be Eshopps? I would like to have a Nyos, heard great things about them running silent.

For basic dry rock, Amazon is the place for cheap. Still running a little over $1/lb for the mined stuff.

If you find Pukani or Fiji somewhere, go for it. Maybe someone breaking down a tank near you.

Definitely start cycling ASAP. You could potentially be through the cycle by the time your tank is ready.
Thanks @Beau_B I will look into those skimmers for sure. And idk why but I never looked on amazon for dry rock. I will for sure.
 

Mr_Knightley

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Welcome to the hobby! For dry rock, I will recommend Caribsea Liferock, it's really interestingly shaped and isn't too garishly colored. It also supposedly has dormant bacteria spores on the surface, so that's something to think about. If you can find it, get some live rock as well, if you trust the store you trust. It takes years for dry rock to be colonized by the same amount of bacteria found on live, it almost isn't worth it. If you're worried about pests, you could try blacking out the rocks in a tub of water with a powerhead for a week, that should kill most algaes you'd deal with.

Good luck with the build and God bless!
 
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Guys...do I do cheaper power head (wp40) and spend more money on lights or vice versa? Or is it a must to spend the money and get the EcoTechs and a good lights. Basically if you had to save some money what is it safer saving on.
 
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Welcome to the hobby! For dry rock, I will recommend Caribsea Liferock, it's really interestingly shaped and isn't too garishly colored. It also supposedly has dormant bacteria spores on the surface, so that's something to think about. If you can find it, get some live rock as well, if you trust the store you trust. It takes years for dry rock to be colonized by the same amount of bacteria found on live, it almost isn't worth it. If you're worried about pests, you could try blacking out the rocks in a tub of water with a powerhead for a week, that should kill most algaes you'd deal with.

Good luck with the build and God bless!
Thanks @Mr_Knightley
So if I buy those dry rocks that have dormant bacteria and I would you cure it differently? I mean acid washing it would destroy everything. Right?
 

Anchor

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I personally would pass on the dormant bacteria rock unless it is as cheap as other dry rock.. You shouldn't have to do an acid wash on it though.. it is seeded rock and not actual live rock. Lots of pests on Live rock though you may enjoy or appreciated some of the things you can get for hitch hikers..

Power heads.. You dont have to go top line but something in the middle works too. As you bought a used tank, I would ask if you have the money or even want to to go top line or not. Some suggestions.. AI Nero 5, Sicce SDC or an AC pump., Tunze ... all instead of EcoTech. Weigh pros and cons of each before you commit.. which I know you already do.

Lights. This is a really hot topic. You will get lots of suggestions.. I would steer you towards Hydra/AI lights or Kessils. Kessil only makes lights. ( I like the 360 WE over the X ) backed up with T5 if you want to keep SPS.. EcoTech is no longer Neptune compatible but as a company has a wide range of products geared to the reefing community.. Depends on if you want to use a controller or not I guess.. I dont much care for having to use a dozen apps to do all that the Apex can. But you may not have a choice.. There is also the use of timers manually setting up lights etc. T5 is Off or On.. though there is now a dimmable option. The most successful lights on reefs have been T5's without all the automation..

Something I might spend money on is your return pump.. Go DC control if you can. AC pumps can last forever but dont go low end on one. I recommend 3 .. Reef Octo VarioS 6, EcoTech Vectra M, Sicce SDC 7.0 (5 year warranty). All 3 of these have enough power and MORE to run your tank and any extra equipment you may add on to the returns like reactors/refugium/UV and the like.

Mid level gear is a great option.. I would steer you away from Jebao and the chinese stuff. Hit and miss on most of it. Though.. for lights, a consideration by many are the Black boxes like Viperspectra and a couple of others as they will grow corals.. some dont like tht they are usually NOT UL products.

Sorry for the lecture length of this but I have way too many opinions :)
 
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@Anchor u the man or woman!!
It was my dumb mistake for buying used. Now I put so much work in that I HAVE to use it lol. Idea was to go cheap and just set up my first tank to see if I can keep up with all the maintenance before buying a biiig tank but ended up buying this 120 instead of a 55.
Being a perfectionist I couldn’t “just set it up” I had to read and read and read lol. Now I’m at a point where I should’ve bought a nice new tank but it’s ok. I will upgrade once I move into my house in about a year (just being built). So basically went from wanting to use a small fish only 55 gal with a fluval canister filter to a 120 gal with a custom made sump.
It was never about the money but I do like to buy deals and not waste money. Sometimes you pay triple the price for a 1% improvement and I ain’t about that. At this point I’m definitely in it to win it mindset so everything is in the table. So jebao is the Chinese brand people say to stay away from. Def will look into those you mentioned as far as power heads and will buy two for sure.
mad far as lights I’m leaning toward theaquatic life t5 hybrids with 2 kessils
As far as the pump I will go for the sicce as I have only heard good things about that brand when it comes to dc return pump.
Also after cleaning the sump there was a lot of scratches on it. I called Petco and the dollar per gallon sale should be starting in a week or two so I will buy a new 40g breeder and use this one as a quarantine I guess.
Will def go 180 or bigger rimless for the house. And once that area is built out I will put my order in as I know it takes a while for the custom builds.
For now still debating over rocks...takes me a while to decide on things lol.
thanks for your input and your responses can never be too long. The more info the better.
 

Anchor

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@Anchor u the man or woman!!
It was my dumb mistake for buying used. Now I put so much work in that I HAVE to use it lol. Idea was to go cheap and just set up my first tank to see if I can keep up with all the maintenance before buying a biiig tank but ended up buying this 120 instead of a 55.
Being a perfectionist I couldn’t “just set it up” I had to read and read and read lol. Now I’m at a point where I should’ve bought a nice new tank but it’s ok. I will upgrade once I move into my house in about a year (just being built). So basically went from wanting to use a small fish only 55 gal with a fluval canister filter to a 120 gal with a custom made sump.
It was never about the money but I do like to buy deals and not waste money. Sometimes you pay triple the price for a 1% improvement and I ain’t about that. At this point I’m definitely in it to win it mindset so everything is in the table. So jebao is the Chinese brand people say to stay away from. Def will look into those you mentioned as far as power heads and will buy two for sure.
mad far as lights I’m leaning toward theaquatic life t5 hybrids with 2 kessils
As far as the pump I will go for the sicce as I have only heard good things about that brand when it comes to dc return pump.
Also after cleaning the sump there was a lot of scratches on it. I called Petco and the dollar per gallon sale should be starting in a week or two so I will buy a new 40g breeder and use this one as a quarantine I guess.
Will def go 180 or bigger rimless for the house. And once that area is built out I will put my order in as I know it takes a while for the custom builds.
For now still debating over rocks...takes me a while to decide on things lol.
thanks for your input and your responses can never be too long. The more info the better.
One nice caveat is you bought a large first tank.. THAT in itself is a good thing. Yes, a little work but in the end, at least to me, is the success you feel when you have it up and running.

Have you thought about your substrate or if you want to go bare bottom? There are pros and cons to each. What do you plan to keep in this tank? I would love to know.

Man by the way..
 
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@Anchor i was at my LFS about a week ago and picked up the python no spill system and the 36" gravel cleaning adpater and at the same time I bought the Caribsea dry aragonite live sand. Havent done much research but saw another guy buying and the LFS guy said this is the best so I went ahead and bought it. Will it go bad if it stays in the apartment for another 2-3 wks before hitting water?
What i will keep...honestly i have been a huge fan of puffers and volitan lionfish but i know i shouldn't keep both together. I read people do it successfully a lot but i would hate to see one get hurt. But other than deciding on that i am gonna do some tangs, goby, file, clowns (i love the clowns) and others and maybe in the future a blue spotted ray for sure.

Quick question....trying to close the old 2.5" corner hole. It is about 1-2 inches away from the side and back panel. Is it safe to close it that way? I would have wanted a bigger piece of glass on all sides. Any suggestions? Or would it be safe to pretty much silicone with only about 1inch coverage on the back and side of the hole?

Thanks

IMG_2815.jpg IMG_2816.jpg
 

Anchor

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I go with about a half inch outside of the hole all the way round if there is room.. Basically if the hole is covered, you should be good. If I understand your description, you should be fine. Dont trim away any of the silicon out of the corners., the glass should fit in without doing that.

I take it you plan to go fish only with your system then?

Lionfish and gobies are not a good mix.. If it can fit in its mouth, Lions will eat it.

I am not the fish expert by any means.. but you should go make a fish list and post it in the appropriate area of R2R.. they will tell you better than I, what can go together and what cant.. especially if you want any kind of coral at all. I think the Ray would be prohibitive too.. You may need to look at how big these things are supposed to get as well.. You may start out with small fish but they need room to grow., and I would think long term, a 120 is not big enough for a couple of the fish you listed.
 

Anchor

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Your Sand.. I cant see what grade or grain size the sand is.. I use Aragonite Special Grade which is a little more coarse than most sand without it being crushed coral.. If you use the No Spill, and try sucking up the detritus in the sand, the sand goes straight down the drain.. Most times fine sand will get sucked into whatever form of siphon you use, In my experience anyway.. I dont personally like fine sand. But that to me is my personal preference.

OK I just clicked the picture, you should be good.. :)

Just an edit note. You might need 2 bags of that sand for a 120. one might get you half an inch. Not sure how deep you want your sand bed to be.
 
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OH HEY Just looked at your picture with the SIlicon glue.. I cant fully read it but DONT USE ANY SILICON WITH MOLD AND MILDEW INHIBITOR IN IT!!..
Ya as far as the fish go I haven’t looked into exact fish I want. But I def want to do coral so maybe I’ll do a predator tank later.
the silicone is the one everyone uses, the GE clear silicone 1 100% silicone.
Going to order a 6x6 or 5x5 1/2 inch glass today
 
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Today I attempted to reseal my 40g breeder and failed big time. It all went well until I had to pull the tape off. Idk why but after peeling the tape off it seemed like I also pulled the silicone up a bit as well. It didn’t stick flush with the tank. Any tips?
 
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To update. I cleaned out the first round of silicone from the 40g sump. Going to attempt to reseal the second time. This time I’m not taping the bottoms.
also took out the weir in the DT and almost cut my thumb off in the process (just poor razor handling). Now it’s time to seal the hole. I bought 3/8 inch thick glass that’s 6by6 but the hole only has about an inch of space on each side. I am going to be resealing the DT too. So question is do I resealthe tank then cover the hole with glass or do I seal the piece of glass while siliconing the tank and attach it to the tank in the corner?

B5095F01-F6DF-4B5B-86C5-6F7FD97D9C0B.jpeg
 
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