Planet Aquariums Custom 280 Gallon Office SPS Dominant Build

robby2782

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So this will be the first actual build I've ever done on this forum, but wanted to document this build to hopefully help/inspire newcomers getting into this hobby. Like most hobbyists, I've suffered excruciating losses over the years that has made me want to quit the hobby more than once, and this build is essentially a manifestation of everything I've learned so far from my mistakes over the years.

Planet Aquariums built my first custom 180 gallon tank in 2011 when I upgraded from my 140 gallon Oceanic tank, and I've had 2 other systems since that one going into this build. I actually used to have an office next door to them before I split from my previous business partners and starting my own company about a year and a half ago, so I had the pleasure of touring their facility to see how they are able to build high quality tanks at a high volume that allows them to keep their costs down. I also chose the custom dimensions to manageable enough for me to relocate in a couple years since I am already starting to outgrow my current facility, and may actually have a 360-400 gallon built to move everything into once that happens. Most of my equipment is oversized for this reason with exception to my sump, and upgrading will be relatively simple.

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robby2782

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I went with a eurobracing design for a clean look, and with an external overflow to eliminate dead spots behind the rock. I chose the color of the stand to give a non traditional look that would blend in well with my office furniture. I'm pretty happy with the overall outcome, and the black silicone and blacked out background will hide the pumps along the back glass.

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I also thought I would try using glass tops before using the screens that I have been using on my other tanks to control the evaporation rate and the humidity without needing a dehumidifier, and I am going to monitor the par reading with my apogee sq 520 to see how much the glass actually affects it. I actually used to glass tops a long time ago, but I may or may not stick with this depending on what the par meter shows

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For lighting I'm ordered the Illumagic Blaze 6' long fixture with a 6' long super actinic Vitamini strip that I ordered through Dalua. While they're not very big in the US, they are very popular in Australia, and Cairns Marine uses them at their facility, and I really like how well the LEDs blend to avoid the eyesore of multiple colored led's over the tank. I thought about the G5's before ordering these, but I feel like I'm getting more spread for these still rather expensive lights. I won't be mounting them for a couple more weeks, but see how big the box was for these 6' long lights. The last photo is of the Vitamini super actinic strip, and it was blinding when I turned it on.

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robby2782

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I will be running the KH Guardian since it has the best overall reviews, and this will be ran in conjunction with a GEO CR624 with a Kamoer dosing pump pulling the water through the reactor to avoid clogs. I've been running the fast drip method to minimize clogs, but I burn through CO2 quickly doing this, and I still get inconsistent flow from pushing this through the reactor off of a manifold from the main pump. I'm also posting a photo of an old PM calcium reactor I have for spare parts for the one I've been currently using the last 12 years, and the size comparison is crazy.

I've used the coarse ARM media since I had the regular ARM media melt about 10 years ago, and have never had this melt even with the ph as low a 5 after having a bad clog without my solenoid shutting off. I since invested in a quality regular like the Aquarium Plants one, and haven't had an issue like that again.

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For the sump I decided to go with the Trigger Systems Platinum 39, and it comes with an automated fleece roller, adjustable middle chamber baffles, adjustable weirs going into the return chamber to control the water height in the sump, probe holders, and other features I'm leaving out. It is actually about 12" shorter than I would like if I could do it over again for a wider refugium, but it will still work fine for this build. I'm also going with the Bubbleking Deluxe 200 since I wanted to dry skim, and I am able to adjust the water level perfectly with this build to keep the skimmer right at 10" to allow for me to do this.

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The external overflow is made by Tideline, and I was actually concerned about it based off the negative threads about it saying how loud it is. I'm going to be installing the bean animal design by modifying the drain kit I got to allow for a full siphon through the main drain line, and the durso line will be just below the emergency drain to allow for the water level stay just below the weirs in the internal overflow box to keep this silent. I'm running a dedicated Vectra L1 pump that will run about 2000 gph through the sump, giving me about 7x turnover.

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I used black silicone to seal the holes in the pipe to enable a full syphon, and to hold the syphon even if the power goes down
 
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What kind of fish and corals are you planning to have?

I am going to run an SPS dominant system since I currently have 180 full of high end acropora that I don't remember what is what anymore after moving 4 times and having to salvage frags after my clam spawned a few years ago, a few torches, euphylias, zoanthids, chalices, favias, acans, lobos, etc. I also have a conspicuous angel, yellow anthias, dejongi basslet, candy basslet, and a hooded and squirei wrasse that seem to be getting along now

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robby2782

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I don't like the look of bare bottom aquariums, but I also don't like the sand blowing everywhere in the tank, so I'm going to be using HDPE sheeting to give the white bottom, and I'll also have a small dedicated section of sand for the wrasse once the rock work is done after the water cycles. They shipped this 94"x26"x.5" sheet straight to my office, and unfortunately it wasn't flexible to fit between the bracing.

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While I really like how this turned out, I'm probably the happiest with how the plumbing came together. I've always just used either spa flex tubing or plain white PVC, but I really like the red pipe from the skimmer and calcium reactor, and wanted it to look clean like the that pipe looks. Also, since I've never ran a full syphon drain line before, I wanted to run mainly schedule 80 45's instead 90's, and keep a constant slope into the sump. The water discharges just 8.5" above the bottom of the sump, so from the pipe will easily get pushed out of the line. I'm using a gate valve to control the water through the main drain and channel drain, and the exit line will be just above last chamber so I can see any water going through it if for any reason the other lines are overwhelmed.

I'm also using clamps to lock the pipe in place below the overflow box to keep pressure off the bulkheads, and unions to allow for removal in case this needs to be removed for any reason.

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So it's been several weeks since the last update, and quite a lot has happened. The most stressful part was learning that the pressure from the total volume of water was too great for a the euro-bracing without having cross bracing in the middle, and seeing the bracing crack with the tank completely full. Luckily Planet Aquariums not only stand behind their work, but they also react quickly to take care of their customers!

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The tank didn't leak from this, but the 1/2" bow in back pane was very unsettling to see. I ended up draining the entire tank, and they came and picked it up immediately to add the cross braces like they normally do with their larger tanks that they don't use stainless steel frames on. I definitely don't fault them for this since the quality of the tank is outstanding, and this was at my request.

the unions under the bulkheads proved super convenient for allowing the tank to be removed without having to do anything to my plumbing, and the removed the existing bracing and replaced with a new eurobrace with 2 cross braces like they normally do. I also mounted my lights over them before putting the water in this time, and these lights are awesome!

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Despite the negative reviews I read on a couple older threads about the Tideline external overflow box, my plumbing and overflow is completely silent! I am trying to upload a video I took of it running, but to the credit of the bean animal overflow, raising the channel overflow just 1/2" below the emergency drain line, and restricting the amount of water running through the secondary line with a dedicated gate valve allow me to dial this to where there are zero air bubbles going into the sump, and there is absolutely zero noise going in through the weir. The only really source of noise is some air that can be heard coming through the Sicce pump that circulates the Geo Calcium reactor, and one of the Gyre pumps has a slight rattling noise I need to address. Everything is completely silent.
 
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Here are some photos of the Geo Calcium Reactor with a Kamoer pump I set up to pull water through the reactor to prevent clogs, and I'm really happy with how it came together.

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I have always ran a deep sand bed in my refugium, but never actually used miracle mud. This chamber is not as wide as I would've liked to have, but it should still be effective enough for anaerobic bacteria to colonize. I have a massive pod population in my other tank I've been running fallow the past 90 days, but the fish population I'll be adding over will deplete it pretty fast in the main tank.

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My most recent project that I completed a few days ago was connecting an 85 AH backup battery to my return pump in case of a power outage. I also connected a battery meter I ordered off of Amazon to show the battery life at all times so I know it is holding a charge.

I had an old Ecotech Backup battery setup that I tore apart, and I simply took the wiring from this and put it on this 5x larger battery that will give me about 30 hours on this pump. I had to purchase the 24 volt converter to power the Vectra, and I works great! The power supply that is connected to the battery recharged the battery after I tested it as well.

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I almost forgot about this really cool 15 gallon reservoir I ordered from Innovative Marine. It has a drawer that can be pulled out so water can be poured into it while it stays under the stand, and the tubing can either run through the back opening, or there is a connection at the top where it can run through the opening at the bottom of the drawer.

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