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Pirate Monkeys 40g SPS Dom Tank Thread

PirateMonkeyReefer

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OK, so I've got to start this somewhere.

This is my rough plan for a 40g Breeder tank for my art studio where I work most of the day. I decided to somewhat accurately plan out this tank in Blender as I wanted to have an end goal and it also helped me roughly figure out what the budget will be. Hopefully, it will also help with some of the questions I've got. Those will be attached below

So a little history on me. My introduction to the hobby was when I was around 17 and I grabbed myself a 55G standard tank that after a year was upgraded to 75G standard that had to be broken down after a year before I went off to Bootcamp in the USMC. I made all the mistakes though, started with Well water, cheap salt, heaters went out, not enough lighting, removed my sand bed to try bare bottom, not enough testing. Like I said all the mistakes. Its been almost 10 years now though and I want to do things right the first time and let the system grow into success.

Goals
- To gradually allow the tank to mature over time from a few fish and soft corals into LPS and Possibly an Anemony, then a small SPS population. I also want the level of filtration and control to grow with the maturity and difficulty of animals in the tank.
Mainly SPS Dominate with a small mix of other corals that catch my eye

My real love is with the SPS and LPS I don't want it to come off as though I want to do it all but the temptation is there and I'll certainly feel things out a little as I go.

Equipment List

Lighting

- Ocean Revive T-247 LED
- 36" T5 Retrofit
- X2 ATI Blue Plus

Refugium Light
- Roleadro LED Grow Light, 75W

Filtration
- Vortex Omega 130 Protein Skimmer
- X2 Marine Pure 8x8x1 bio-media plate
- Macro Algae in Regium
- Live Rock

Flow
- Ecotech MP-10qd 1300 GPH
- Hydor Koralia Evolution 600 GPH
- QUIET ONE PRO 2200 594 GPH
- Icecap Gyre 3k


Heater
- BRS Heater Controler
- Finnex 300W

Controler
TP-LINK WiFi Smart Power Strip

RO/DI

- BRS 150 GPD 8 Stage

Top Off
Tunze Osmolater Nano

Planning on the Brs/WWC 3-4 month cycle but mainly making sure coralline algae is growing well before adding any LPS and SPS



The main questions I have are
-Can I adjust the drainage rate effectively with a gate valve? I'm having a hard time matching drainage with return pumps. I'm also having a hard time finding info on how much each size of PVC will actually drain
- Is it a bad Idea to de-rim and sand down the top of a 40G Breeder? I've seen mixed responses and I'm not sold on either option but it would be nice to have a rimless tank and save a decent chunk of change
-How much flow is recommended for a 40g tank to keep LPS and SPS? I've seen 20-50 times the volume of the tank.
- Is it safe to drill 3 holes in the glass relatively close to each other for drain/ backup drain/ return?
- How much ventilation do the T5 bulb ends and ballast need? Is 2 PC fans enough for the bulb ends and is passive cooling enough for the ballast?
- Do I need a skimmer with this small of a body of water?

That's all I got, for now, Heres those pics of my tank plan!
Feedback on my sump?
Feedback on DIY Light fixture?

Tank Front Open.png Sump.png Back Plumbing.png Tank Finished.png
 
Last edited:
Lazys Coral House

Meldrath

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The main questions I have are
-Can I adjust the drainage rate effectively with a gate valve? I'm having a hard time matching drainage with return pumps. I'm also having a hard time finding info on how much each size of PVC will actually drain
- Is it a bad Idea to de-rim and sand down the top of a 40G Breeder? I've seen mixed responses and I'm not sold on either option but it would be nice to have a rimless tank and save a decent chunk of change
-How much flow is recommended for a 40g tank to keep LPS and SPS? I've seen 20-50 times the volume of the tank.
- Is it safe to drill 3 holes in the glass relatively close to each other for drain/ backup drain/ return?
- How much ventilation do the T5 bulb ends and ballast need? Is 2 PC fans enough for the bulb ends and is passive cooling enough for the ballast?
- Do I need a skimmer with this small of a body of water?
  • You absolutely can manage drainage rate with a gate or ball valve.
  • As far as delidding, there's some calculations regarding structural integrity with/without the rim etc, I'd suggest looking at that and seeing if the safety factor is acceptable to you.
  • When I started it was 10x, I've seen as high as 100x. Just comes down to your tank, fish, rock work, corals, flow patterns you're trying to achieve and sand bed/bare bottom etc. Find what works for you, can always start high and dial it down.
  • You need to check if the tank is tempered, if it's not, there's kits and youtube videos to show you how to properly do it. From what I've seen you'll need lots of water to keep the glass cool as you drill.
  • The ballast doesn't need much cooling, it's the bulbs. Somewhere out there, I think it was BRS that did a study regarding T5 temperature and par output.
  • Yes and no, depends on how you plan on achieving nutrient export.
 
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PirateMonkeyReefer

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Thank you so much for helping with some of these questions! I'm getting more confident about the drainage to return concept! Last time I did it just doing it made it much clearer!

-I'm thinking of euro bracing the top if I de-lid just for some extra strength on top. Nothing crazy just 1-2 inch strips on the short corners.
-The 40g Breeder has an untempered bottom so it should be ok to drill! but its 3 holes in a somewhat small area that has me concerned as I don't have the room behind the tank for the drainage.
-Your right about the t5 bulbs for sure there was a like 20% drop in par for uncooled t5s or something like that!

With nutrient export, I'm playing it by ear a little. If a Refugium and natural filtration with water changes will do the trick then perfect but if not I don't mind adding a skimmer especially when it comes time to start adding SPS

Also still wondering about the total 36 inch T5 retrofit length and heater recommendations!
 

Flippers4pups

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Thank you so much for helping with some of these questions! I'm getting more confident about the drainage to return concept! Last time I did it just doing it made it much clearer!

-I'm thinking of euro bracing the top if I de-lid just for some extra strength on top. Nothing crazy just 1-2 inch strips on the short corners.
-The 40g Breeder has an untempered bottom so it should be ok to drill! but its 3 holes in a somewhat small area that has me concerned as I don't have the room behind the tank for the drainage.
-Your right about the t5 bulbs for sure there was a like 20% drop in par for uncooled t5s or something like that!

With nutrient export, I'm playing it by ear a little. If a Refugium and natural filtration with water changes will do the trick then perfect but if not I don't mind adding a skimmer especially when it comes time to start adding SPS

Also still wondering about the total 36 inch T5 retrofit length and heater recommendations!
Keeping a refugium offline for a while till the tank matures a bit helps.

Highly recommend multiple heaters that are undersized for redundancy. One sticks on during a failure will keep the others off till you can replace the bad one. Running a heater controller or aquarium controller is helpful with this.
 
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PirateMonkeyReefer

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Keeping a refugium offline for a while till the tank matures a bit helps.

Highly recommend multiple heaters that are undersized for redundancy. One sticks on during a failure will keep the others off till you can replace the bad one. Running a heater controller or aquarium controller is helpful with this.
Thanks for the advice on the heaters!

Also, do you mean adding the macroalgae in the refugium later once the tank matures? I just want to be sure I'm understanding :D
 

Flippers4pups

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Thanks for the advice on the heaters!

Also, do you mean adding the macroalgae in the refugium later once the tank matures? I just want to be sure I'm understanding :D
Yes, when nutrients are rising requiring their use. Otherwise they may die without something to uptake.
 
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PirateMonkeyReefer

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Progress! Tanks Purchased and Space cleared and "organized" This is my workspace on the right and where the tank will be on the left! Ive got equipment on the way and will share later but im hoping to start drilling and plumbing this weekend!

IMG_2080.JPG IMG_2081.JPG
 
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Update Stand builds and Tank Drilled! Also, I received the majority of the equipment for the build! I just picked up an MP10qd as well so I'm pumped for that. I had an MP40 when they were the new hotness but my dad threw it away without realizing what it was! The last things I need are the lights, an ATO and a controller eventually.

My LFS is selling some Ocean Revive Arctic T247 So I'm going to pick those up and then add a 36 inch T5 Retrofit to it and add some ATI Blue Plus. Is this overkill? Im wanting some kind of mix and want to start to gear the tank to SPS Dom.

That's all I've got for now! Plumbing and instaling a large vent is up next and hopefully by then, I'll have my RO unit to do a leak test and then start the cycle!


image0 (1).jpg image0.jpg
 
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PirateMonkeyReefer

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A lot has happened since the last update!

The side panels have been added to the stand and the stand has been painted! I also built in a little hidden cabinet to stuff all of the outlets and controlers! The hood for all of the lighting has also been built and a 36-inch T5 retrofit has been added and ventilation holes for the incoming LED fixture have been drilled. I've got Z brackets coming soon and those will be holding the LED fixture up.

One really great discovery is a WIFI enabled power strip that has integrated timers! it was one sale and honey found me a coupon so I got a $100 product for $50. As much as I love the idea of getting an Apex eventually if this thing works out well the monitoring may be all I need!

On the RODI side of things, a local reefer getting out of the hobby sold me a 75gpd fixture and all I had to do was get replacement filters and some plumbing and i got a 150 GPD RO/DI for about $200!

I've started getting equipment into its final place and all of the wires organized. I'm nearly there! Hopefully, leek testing this week and if that goes well then ill start the tank cycle next weekend!

I've posted an updated equipment list on the first post!

image0 (2).jpg image0 (2).jpg image1.jpg
 
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PirateMonkeyReefer

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Starting to get the final touches on the tank done and now it's just a waiting game to allow the last little bit of silicon to cure (should I wait a full 7 days for this?) before I leak test!

Jeez, it sure is nice to have a little bit of light in the studio! I swear it's helping with my seasonal defective disorder! I've added Z brackets to the bottom to hold the LED fixture and drilled holes for the vents and electrical. So pumped to get the final lights!

image2.jpg


There was also just enough space for me to squeeze in a small cabinet for all of the power strips and monitors! I was so pumped about this and have been organizing it on and off all week!

image0 (3).jpg


I've been curing some rock and bio blocks in a 5-gallon bucket with a heater and pump for the last 2 weeks. I know its not quite long enough but I'm picking up some 3 month cured rock from my LFS and using all of it to cycle the tank. I'm shooting for a long cycle as well and waiting for coralline algae before adding coral

I cant wait to get water in this thing!
 
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End of the week update #1

This week was quite eventful, I was able to accomplish quite a bit!

-First I was able to leak test! I used water that had been run through the particle filter and carbon filters. That way it would still be better then tap water with no chlorine. Still planning on wiping the tank down with some RO/DI water and letting that dry before filling. The test run was a success though! there was only a minor leak in one of the unions that went away when the tank got up to temp. The union was tightened a good bit after the tank was emptied. I was also able to zero in the gate valve drainage to match the return! I still can't believe how silent it is!

(Video being Uploaded)

-Second, my Ocean Revive T-247 was picked up from my LFS it fit into the Z-Bracket retrofit that measured out like a glove! I love it when things work out that way! It's great to see all the lights on and above the tank.

IMG_2333.JPG
IMG_2331.JPG


I think I'm going to go with the WWC Blue + Schedule to start off(at least when the lights can turn on. I have the T-5s clicking on first because I think they would be the most defused and lower in par then the LEDs I'd love some opinions on which one should turn off first and also on light schedules!

IMG_2339.PNG


-Third, the tank, as well as the light fixture, was leveled. I didn't know how off the tank was before it was filled and thankfully it's just a little 40G but I definitely wasn't going to leave it that off especially considering I'm planning on leaving this tank up for the next 5 or so years!

IMG_2341.JPG
IMG_2342.JPG


-Finally, the power strips and cords were all reorganized. there just wasn't room in the cabinet for the second power strip and I relocated it to the other side of the cabinet. This opened up room for much better management of the cords, outlets, and controlers! I've built PCs before and this is definitely something I'm a little more OCD about!

IMG_2337.JPG
 
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The tank is cycling!

I picked up an additional 15 lbs of rock from my LFS and got the aquascape done when the tank hit temp and salinity. Really happy with the Aquascape, its minimalistic but with some caves for fish to hide and to shield LPS and softies. It's only as tall as the midpoint so plenty of room for the sticks to grow.

I added my shrimp and was getting .4 ppm Ammonia and so I added my Dr. Tims. Now the lights have to go off and I have to play the waiting game! But after a month a half almost I've got my little slice of the ocean up and running!

image0.jpg
 
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After letting the tank cycle for a month First fish and Corals have been added!

- 2 Flurry Clownfish
- a frag of GSP

image2.jpg
image1 (1).jpg


I know its probably longer then many would take but I'm trying to loosely follow the BRS/WWC Cycle. I'll probably take wait for the 3 months before adding some LPS. I'm going to give it another 2 weeks before the next batch of fish and some inverts/clean up crew.

I'm planning for a

- Juvenile Yellow Tang
- 6 line wrasse
- cleaner shrimp
- a few Hermits and snails

Before the Tang Police Show up I've already got an arrangement with my LFS to return the juvenile Tang when they outgrow the smaller tank. If there's any other fish that can go at algea the same way as a Tang could im more then open to suggestions
 

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After letting the tank cycle for a month First fish and Corals have been added!

- 2 Flurry Clownfish
- a frag of GSP

image2.jpg
image1 (1).jpg


I know its probably longer then many would take but I'm trying to loosely follow the BRS/WWC Cycle. I'll probably take wait for the 3 months before adding some LPS. I'm going to give it another 2 weeks before the next batch of fish and some inverts/clean up crew.

I'm planning for a

- Juvenile Yellow Tang
- 6 line wrasse
- cleaner shrimp
- a few Hermits and snails

Before the Tang Police Show up I've already got an arrangement with my LFS to return the juvenile Tang when they outgrow the smaller tank. If there's any other fish that can go at algea the same way as a Tang could im more then open to suggestions
Lawnmower blennies do a great job with algaes and will help if you get rid of uglies and are good in tanks that size.
 
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PirateMonkeyReefer

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Lawnmower blennies do a great job with algaes and will help if you get rid of uglies and are good in tanks that size.
So A Lawnmower Blenny was picked up and it absolutely destroyed the algae and bryopsis in the tank. There's literally none left in the display and I'm worried about him not having enough food so I've started putting a little Nori in the tank but IDK if it's eating it or not.
 

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I supplement Nori as well. I forget the brand I think the type was named marine cuisine for omnivores that had algae mixed in with brine or mysis, I fed that to mine for awhile but quit buying it cause he was the only one that would eat it.
 
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PirateMonkeyReefer

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Finally got around to renting a PAR meter to tune in my lights, an Ocean Revive and X2 36" ATI Blue Plus. Like a lot of things, this time around I didn't want to just wing it. I'm also using an Ocean Revive which is sort of a branded black box so I didn't want to just guess. My LFS originally was recommending that I only run these at about 50% a turns out it was way to low for SPS and even LPS in some cases and they are now running at 100%. They are also mounted a little higher at about 12 inches above the waterline and at the LFS they were only about 8.

As for schedule its a 14-hour long schedule mirroring the WWC schedule but a little longer with 14 hours total. 14 hours of the blue LED, 12 hours of the T-5 and Blue LED and then only 5 hours of everything with the whites coming on a couple hours into the cycle.

I have to say I'm pretty happy with how much light these put off. More then enough when the little bit of whites are on to grow SPS on the bottom if I want to. I wish I had just a little more control with ramp up and down but trying to do this on a tighter budget. maybe eventually ill upgrade to some kind of ecotech light but I'm more than happy for now!

Anyway here's what you're here for the actual Par numbers. These are just the blues, I'll add the whites tomorrow
The red numbers are about 3"-4" above some of the key places that I plan on potentially placing some acros and the line above is about an inch below the water.

Any thoughts?

Par Blue Final.jpg
 
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