Potomac Reef 2 - 500 gallons of fun!

emvanburen

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Hello Reefers,
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After being in our new home for about 2.5 years, and getting Potomac Reef 1 up and running smoothly, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and replace it with a built in 96x27x30 inch tank connect to a downstairs fishroom. Total volume will be in the 500g range.

Potomac Reef 1 was a Red Sea Max 650 S tank that I installed when we moved in. It’s been great and I will miss it.

Planning has been going on in earnest since MACNA this year, and we have set Super Bowl Sunday as our complete-by date. Mark Callahan has been my partner in crime in this endeavor, and my wonderful wife Lynn has provided much needed guidance on requirements: fit the decor, you will maintain it religiously, don’t destroy the house. I can work within those!

The tank fits into a 12 foot alcove in our family room - where we spend most of our time. After iterating on configuration, we decided to build it in completely with cabinets around and above so it matches the kitchen and bar, but in white. Large cabinet doors above will provide access. Two feet on each side will conceal pumps and provide storage and access.

All major equipment will be in the basement, in a remodeled area of our Hvac room dedicated to the purpose. It will be bright, clean, ventilated and a place I will be happy in while maintaining the tank. It is none of those things now.

Because I was unable to envision this when we built the house, we needed to reinforce the floor underneath now that we’ve decided to put a big tank in place. We sistered the joists and added extra ones to the specifications provided by a structural engineer. Fortunately, we were able to dovetail this into a basement remodel project that we were doing anyway. We had the contractor run plumbing from the wall behind the future tank to the basement. This work is complete.

Additionally, while Mark has been having fun with selecting sumps and skimmers and the like, he’s left me to remodel the basement fishroom. Two dedicated circuits have been added, existing wiring has been rationalized and reconfigured, and all manner of network and speaker wires have been rerouted. It is almost done. I cannot imagine explaining what was needed to a contractor had I wanted to outsource this. The wall was a total mess. In the weeks ahead, my water heater will be moved, drywall will be hung, paint will be applied, and g floor plastic flooring will be laid. That should make a nice and cozy fishroom. Just in time for equipment arrival.

The system will have a large refugium, frag tank, Royal Exclusiv skimmer, sump with UV, and if it works out, a Sea Visions roller filter. My goal is to minimize maintenance while providing an optimal environment to the inhabitants.

Looking for any pro tips on fishroom configuration. The brs videos have been helpful. Still looking for things that will make life better once it’s installed.

Next up is finishing the wall and installing flooring!

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emvanburen

emvanburen

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when I move the inhabitants out of the old tank, I’m going to need a place to keep them for a month or two until the new tank is fully ready. I have a 15g frag tank running for sps, and bought a used 120g that I can have ready to go. I have them in a spare room in our basement.
Today’s work involved moving some additional outlets higher to sit above the mixing station base, where I got to teach my 18yr old the basics of wiring. Additionally, spent more time burying poorly run wires into the studs to the drywall will neatly cover the wall.

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emvanburen

emvanburen

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Here is a rough render of the fishroom. This wall is about 10 feet long and will hold the sump, sink and frag tank. Fuge is above. Mixing station is on the opposite wall. This will be the wall where any real work gets done - so I’m thinking about shelves, upper cabinets and workspace. Any ideas welcomed to make this as efficient as possible.

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emvanburen

emvanburen

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If you have the space, consider a larger utility tub. The standard size isn't very big, and it can be invaluable space for cleaning bigger things like skimmers etc.

I went with this 40" tub and it is AMAZING.
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That looks awesome! I’m in the trading space between frag tank, sink, and flat workspace stage. I think 24inches is sufficient for frags but definitely need workspace and as you point out cleaning space. I’ll keep that in mind. I’m planning a commercial sprayer head like this. !Link. Thanks
 
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emvanburen

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!
Are you going with the red dragon pump or something else?
What size water containers did you go with for a 500 g total water volume?
Going to go with Abyzz. Will be driving some things off of it like frag tank and media reactors. Water is looking like the 24 inch x 64 inch 100gallon ones.

Got cabinet facade drawings back - two primary options. Sounds like the first option will work without a joint in the upper doors. Second option has cubbies above for “negative space” to make it less wall like.

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emvanburen

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Today we moved the water heater and created an area for the equipment. The space is so much less crowded and cluttered. Drywall tomorrow, hopefully.
Also spent a little time with the cabinetmaker finalizing details. We are getting close!

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Interesting. The drywall is acting as insulation in this room and the temp is mid 70s. Hopefully not too high to prevent natural cooling for the tank system...I think there is some natural heat from the water heater and hot water pipes- pipes that I could insulate - but it is probably mainly the furnace and furnace vent. May need to close off that vent in the winter. Definitely planning to vent outside but may need a more serious blower. Anyone see this sort of thing?

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