Random Projects with Sam's Oceanic 120 - first saltwater aquarium

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12/2/21

New to saltwater aquariums! This is my first marine tank. I've kept African Cichlid for the past 4 years during which time I enjoyed the 'gear' side of it as much as the livestock so saltwater is a logical progression. I am happy to say I've built tanks, stands, overflows, sumps, canister filters, lights, and small circuit/sensor-based gadgets to help automate systems and provide redundancy in the short time I've been in the hobby. I ran 200 gallons across 4 tanks and a sump in my freshwater setup before I sold it to get a foothold in salt.
I have recently sold my Freshwater and have bought some Saltwater gear. I was lucky to find a great tank being sold by a great guy who was excited to help another get into the hobby. As such, He hooked me up with tons of stuff to help me on my way (even a bucket of salt!)
I am excited to start-out with the following equipment:

Oceanic 120 tank (2 weirs, one on each side) and stand
Eshopps R-300 Sump Gen 1 (36x16x16)
CAD Lights PLS-150 (conic) Super Space Saving Pipeless Protein Skimmer
Danner 9.5 return pump ~950GPH AC pump (so reliable but noisy as hell)
Jerepet SND-7000 return pump ~1850GPH DC pump (too much flow?)
Sicce 2mm utility pump (thanks brs!)
Assorted flow pumps from prior owner
2 GalaxyHydro LED Aquarium Lights
Slaouwo 1000W NOAH-S-X-100 plant grow light (repurposed as refugium light)
Eshopps rectangular filter holder for the R-300 Sump Gen 1
4" filter sock holder and 14" 200Micron filter sock
300W Eheim JAGER Aquarium Heater
ATO system with one operable float switch
E-Marco-400 Aquascaping Mortar Complete Kit - Grey
over 350gallons of salt mix
BRS Refractometer & calibration juice
API freshwater master test kit
10 gallon QT tank with filter and heater
5 buckets of dry coral rock (bleached for a week & drying)
1 bucket of sand (not being used)
125mL MicroBacter Start XLM - Brightwell Aquatics
125mL MicroBacter7 - Brightwell Aquatics
Assorted additives and chemicals rom prior owner


I plan to post my journey on my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/randomprojectswithsam
I cant wait to do some cool DIY projects for the tank... Project #1 (after setup): auto roller fleece

Here are a few of my old African cichlid tank:
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My new tank!
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12/8/21
Completed one of two of my heater controllers. Total cost for two: $10
my only issue is that I cant get them to display Fahrenheit.
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Finalized my return and overflows!
I'll have a bar with 3 ports across the back. Its supported on both sides buy the weirs.
I was going to go with schedule80 but found the Ts were $5/ea... SO, I decided to use Krylon fusion.... but Menards didn't have it... They had Krylon Premium Enamel for $10 less... I got it and called Krylon; the nice lady that helped me stated that no matter what, they don't support putting their paints into aquarium environments...
I also found out that the base, a Modified Alkyd Enamel, is the same as Krylon Fusion's base and that the solvents that evaporate away are simply different and allow the paint to stick to even more hard surfaces. (pass it on)
It dries to such a nice matte and omg does it stick! My siphon brek hole is on the endcap in the far weir near the secondary Durso standpipe .
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12/10/21

Finished the plumbing! I glued the return line and used plumbers tape and compression on the drain lines. I may glue the drains after a wet test. I am still not sure if the split Bean Animal I made will work appropriately.
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I have started thinking about the rock-scape. I've broken apart my rocks and angle-ground some flat sides for base rock. Again, I intend todo bare bottom but I am fretful it will be difficult to cycle and I want to keep some sand-dependent species so I will be making a 'sand-island' in a rock feature. I hope it doesn't look odd.
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The sanding and re-staining is mostly complete (still need to polyurethane) and I am disappointed to comment that it does not meet my standards for how a wood-trimmed tank should look (I was unable to match the stain and I am unwilling to sand and re-finish the whole thing.)
I am going black trim and stand. The Krylon fusion on the PVC pipes worked so well, I would need to paint to bottom of the tank black anyway, and the re-finish didn't pan out so this is my best course of action.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed it wasn't a black tank to begin with.
For posterity, here are the re-finish progress photos:
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12/12/21
Change of plan... I went white with white trim!
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12/14/21
More final touches to the finish before wet-testing the plumbing. Finalizing my rock structures. Very happy with the sand-oasis and the other two formations I've created. Almost out of E-Marco 400.
I like it more then Epoxy. I've done both and they each have their place but for doing large scale structures with the rock pieces I was able to make, I'd go Mortar everyday. My smaller Epoxy-based structures are great but It was too much with the crazy glue and the gloves and all... With Marco, If you spritz the Mortar with the water mixture, you can stick the rock dust to it easily and it assumes the color of the rock. then you can texture it and its done... all one step. Granted it takes longer because you can only do a few joins at a time; but if you're working with 3 structures you do a join on each every 2 hours/24hours. here are some images:
Second coat of Flexseal on inside of the stand.
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Rock Formations:
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Just 3D printed an Eshopps RS-300 Filter Floss Holder for my sump:
Let me know if you'd like me to print one for you (at cost); I can put it up on my ebay (u pay shipping).
Does anyone know if Inland White PETG is reef safe?

12/16/21
Filled it, leveled it, setup enough to run it. Did not have to modify the plumbing! it was ready to go and seemed tuned already... I did have to close down the gate valve and tighten a bulkhead. Even finished the aquascape in-time to give it a fresh-water rinse.
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The water is cloudy from putting in the rocks because of all the fine coral dust used to cover up the glue and mortar joints.
Next on the docket:
*Sand* - cleanup / bleach sand for the 'sand-oasis' and the refugium floor.
*Lights* - Open-up the lights and clean their fans. Address their rusty screws. Turn around power plugs on left lamp so cables fall symmetrically. Build floating canopy to conceal lights + add 2 T5 fixture.
*Cabinet/power/space management* - organize the power cables - build extruded PVC management console.
*Refugium* - setup fuge lamp.
...etc...

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12/21/21
PVC ceiling tile for a wire management and light timer box. I added the substrate and rocks from the 10 gallon to media bags and put them in the sump. I then put the fish from the 10 gallon into the 120. The tank got pretty hazy for a day after the additions. I setup an ATO and used the 10 gallon for the reservoir.
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Leaving the tank for 10 days unattended with an auto feeder. It should be fine - even if the ATO empties the 10 Gallon, I have a floor drain...

1/1/22
Got back in time to beat the snowstorm and for the New Year! Happy New Year!
A few things stopped running in the 9 days I was out of town... they started affecting the tank resulting in some pretty bad conditions for my poor livestock. Below is a breakdown of the problems and what happened:

The ATO pump I used was poorly setup and inadequate for the intended use.
I should have used a submersible pump in the ATO.
My auto-feeder was dispensing way too much food. It was set for 5-times a day feeding (cichlid) and the pellets were so small a ton came out of the huge door at its smallest setting. Most of the excess ended up at the bottom of the emergency drain weir rotting in a fuzzy stinky mess.

The worst was the ATO only replacing about 5 gallons of RODI water in the tank before failing. The evaporation eventually led to the water level getting so low in my return pump chamber that only a trickle of water was being sent back to the tank which then led to the heaters in both overflows only keeping the overflows warm and the tank getting into the low-mid 70s with a high salinity.
Needless to say, the poor clowns and the damsel were hanging out by the return jets.
I added 9 gallons of ATO RODI water and checked the chemicals again.

ammonia:0, nitrite:0, nitrate:0.05 ppm(after 15minutes)

Setup my QT tank with a bag of base rock gravel in a bag from my sump and made my second temperature controller.

I am at a loss for stocking... some ideas:

2 clownfish (in the tank)
1 damselfish (in the tank - should go into fuge?)

~6 Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
1 Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
1 Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
1 Six Line Wrasse or yellow coris Wrasse or pinstripe wrasse or Melanurus/Hoevens/Wardley wrasse
1 Neon Blue Cleaner Goby (Elacatinus oceanops)
1 One Spot Foxface (Siganus unimaculatus)
1 Male Red Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias cheirospilos/squamipinnis)
6 Female Orange Lyretail Anthias
1 Mimic Lemon Tang (Acanthurus pyroferus) or a sailfin tang if not too big
1 Green Banded Goby (Elacatinus multifasciatus)

I am in no rush so am considering waiting and finding local deals from individuals.
I just bought all the meds to treat fish in QT so am also open to getting deals on sick fish from stores.
 
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AS

Scottsquatch

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Oceanic makes a nice sturdy tank. I love the look of all those new rimless tanks, but they just look so fragile to me. I'm sure they are fine, I guess i'm just too old school. I'm doing a 33 extra long in my build, but I also have a never used 220 reef ready tank in the basement that I was planning on using for mpimbwe blue frontosa, but I never got around to it. I'm sure I'll be utilizing it eventually...
 
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Thanks for the comment! They're great fish to raise. I was lucky enough to have a breeding pair of bumblebee and venustus. So neat seeing them mouth brood. I was looking for this particular tank (used) for a long time. Oceanic build quality impressed me and this tank didn't upset. I'll be posting some videos about the tank on my Youtube channel once I get through my backlog of editing. Till then I'll post here. Will run through my plans etc... I've never done it (saltwater) but I've watched a heck of a lot of you tube.

That's a heck of a tank in your basement...
 

Scottsquatch

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That's a heck of a tank in your basement...
Yeah, its a beast. One of the reasons I never used it is that I heard Marineland tanks are notorious for bursting seams. Then my health took a turn and I was not into fish for a while. Life can kick you in the guts sometimes. Anyway, I figure I should do something with it or just get rid of it. The problem will be getting it out of the basement... I literally gave myself a big ventral hernia getting it down there.
 
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Here is the tank in my basement! I don't ever want to move anything bigger...
I had to repaint the floor under where my Cichlid tank was because I did not move it when I painted the basement.
I plan to sand and Flexseal the inside of the stand to prevent further damage and to lighten it up a bit.
I matched the stain and will sand and re-stain/polyurethane the outside. I am tempted to just paint it all black & touch-up the tank rims... But then I think about the emotions that flood through me upon seeing cars, for instance, that have been modified with extensive bodywork and fiberglass paneling and such; all done by folks with the best intentions. *cough*not professionals*

I am one of those folks with the best intentions... that is why its staying cherry.
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I have bleached the rocks for a week and they're drying now. I intend to break them up and aquascape something even Ryan would be proud of.
I have an angle grinder with a diamond blade I'll be using to get a few flat pieces.
I have E-Marco 400 mortar and will be doing a video on how I do my rock structure.
I've done the epoxy style approach with lavarock which turned-out awesome but a few parts broke off it when I sold all my stuff. I want to try the mortar this time.
I will be doing a bare bottom tank as I really like the look and the maintenance proposition.
That being said, I will be making a little 'sand-pool' in the rocks so I can keep wrasse.
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I have started a cycle in my QT tank. I have smaller rocks and larger sand from cleaning/ice-picking my cichlid rocks on the bottom and will be using that instead of refugium mud.
I am doing a fishless cycle because I don't trust the ATO and my auto-feeders on such a small tank for so long when on vacation.
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Here is the sump and protein skimmer. The setup came with the awesome tray for the sump. It makes it a little hard to put an ATO bin in the stand but I'll figure out a way because the tray is nice spill protection.
Most of the stuff came with the tank. The guy who sold it to me was super nice he even gave me a 200L bucket of Salt to help me get started. He really hooked me up and I cannot thank him enough for all the gear he tossed in.
The Protein skimmer, however I had to find on my own. I checked OfferUp and found an ASM G2 skimmer cheap (the pump was broken but the impeller was there) I then tried to 3D print impellers for pumps I had that would work. I had a small Danner that I made a promising needle wheel impeller for but it wasn't powerful enough and I was starting to second-guess the 3D prints in such a high-wear environment so back to OfferUp I went. Luckily I found this CAD lights design that looks promising for cheap and it leaves enough room in my sump that I can make a larger automatic roller fleece unit.
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Its a right of passage I think. It wasn't until I saw a post by someone about these being ubiquitous in the hobby that I started noticing them everywhere... Like a teenage kid who has just discovered the joys of photo-bombing...
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But, It wasn't till this afternoon that I really had a good use for the $40 can... I read a post by RichReef
he said:
"40 gallon Brute on wheels plumbed into the system. 1/4 tubing in siphoned from the DT, 1 inch out an overflow into the sump. I manual dose. It all goes into the Brute so everything is slow.

When it's time for a WC I just swap out the brute for a fresh one.

Pump out the old water that's plumbed into the house."
in this Great suggestion. So, I will probably be implementing that later down the line. I'll can build a cabinet with a door next to the stand and hopefully get flexible tubes behind the stand.
No stress on livestock during water changes too!
 
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Posted this sub-section on how I'm plumbing up my drains and returns. It is probably going to be non-standard because I always think I know better... :D

 

Scottsquatch

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I thought Flexseal was supposed to be low VOC... I had to pack up the wife and kids and eat out!
That stuff is pretty harsh. Works great, but rough to breathe if you apply it indoors.
 
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May be picking up my 4th fish and some corals tomorrow!
I have a QT setup and a bunch of meds on the way.
May setup another for the corals... (borrowing a DT light for it...)

To be honest (and unhappy...) the cost of all the meds was unexpected but understandable. I wanted to put those gift cards towards flow or programable lights.
 
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I picked up 3 coral pieces (cabbage leathers) and a toadstool from a someone selling things on OfferUp. I also bought his medium(3-4") healthy-looking sailfin tang.
I dipped the corals and cleaned their bases and put them into the DT. There was some coralline algae on base-rock attached to the toadstool that will hopefully get coralline algae started in my tank.
The Fish, in my QT, has already eaten extreme veggie pellets and has been surprisingly calm. Way calmer then many of the Cichlids I've QT'd. Aside from some symmetric scrapes or skin lesions above his eyes (HLLE?) he looks great. I am going to start ParaGard before administering copper.
Would it be a mistake to skip copper if he seems fine in observation?
- I know... QT thread. I am just concerned about the long-term stability of the 10gallon tank and my cat has started enjoying watching fish.
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Unfortunately I am only practicing Ich management because I put my first 3 fish into the tank without a 30day copper regiment. Given the stressors they've already experienced though, I would have expected to have faced an issue if present. Nonetheless, I have a UV sterilizer arriving tomorrow and intend to use it. Perhaps when I have the opportunity, I will start a FOWLER tank and do fallow period.

---- I know I jacked-up my build thread by just editing the top post... I'll stop that and just add posts... any chance and admin could fix?
 
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Lights have been on for a week. I am just starting to see brown spots on my rocks.

I just redid all my drain-lines and am in-process of redoing all my returns so I can accommodate my new UV sterilizer.

I redid the drains because the water splashing and salt creep was insane with the stock Eshopps rectangle filter sock holder. Also, I couldn't build my custom filter fleece roller without this modification. I can now put in a 6" wide rollermat.

I got the acrylic to make a custom ATO reservoir that will fit behind the sump. I can make it 22"tall x 30" wide x 6" deep.

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Got a Neon Dottyback that I'll need to sump after QT until after I put in more fish but he looks really healthy and alert... Captive bred. - Wish they weren't as aggressive as I've read.
Also, I am hoping I got a good deal on a sick looking fish if I can nurse it back to health...
(Provided it doesn't eat all my CUC and polyps.)
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/c...-side-irregular-swimming.884969/#post-9780327
 
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hmm reading more about the dottyback and am concerned about their penchant for shrimp... Also, has anyone had any luck with a coral beauty in a reef tank? Should I be looking to trade these fish?
 
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Finished redoing my plumbing. It was tough getting in there but I think it'll do the trick.
I needed to modify the drain lines again; replacing the bulkheads with threaded ones eliminated my leaks.

Menards has 3/4" PVC gate valves for $2.99/ea! (Their outer diameter is a perfect match for a 1" PVC pipe.)
Here are some images:
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I made sure there was enough room to easily slide the UV bulb out for replacements. There is plenty of clearance for the refugium light and roller-fleece as well. I need to pick-up some of the plastic hose clamps; I wonder if they make white ones, or red?
 
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hmm reading more about the dottyback and am concerned about their penchant for shrimp... Also, has anyone had any luck with a coral beauty in a reef tank? Should I be looking to trade these fish?
Many Coral Beauties are in reef tanks. Every one of them is a trial in his they will work with your tank and coral.
 
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I have the UV running full open and after a few days it seems all the diatoms have disappeared. Now I'm getting very light green patches of algae on the rocks.
I got Purple Helix Coralline Algae in a bottle from ARCReef yesterday and am waiting on my Salifert test kits to come tomorrow before I dose it. I want to be sure I have the right params. I keep shaking the bottle and will just do a few extra bottle-swabs when I dose it.

The Neon Dottyback is doing great in QT; he is definitely a cool fish; seems pretty quirky. For instance, he always brings his food back to one spot before he eats it and, he will hoard food there. If he sees I drop multiple Extreme Veggie pellets, he will go collect them all one by one before settling down to eat them.
The Coral Beauty is still alive, haven't seen it eat yet.

I have upped my CUC again! Provided no deaths, my totals are now:
4 Red leg reef hermit crabs
6 Blue leg hermit crabs
3 Mexican turbo snail
4 Margarita turbo snail
1 Emerald crab

I got 3 new corals! All Zoanthids. I got a Radioactive Dragon Eyes, a Red People Eater and 1 big zoa mix. A pretty chill guy near me posted these corals on OfferUp and I scooped them up.

In continuation of what my wife is referring to as my "Fish Half-Way-House", I picked up some pretty-bad-off hippo tangs from my LFS for a song. I think the employees felt awful for the fish but were constrained by the level of care corporate was willing to allow in the past. Nonetheless; I was able to get the fish home, acclimated, ParaGuard dipped and into my extended QT bucket. I did not expect to have so many fish in QT at once so my resources are thin. I didn't know but the heater got stuck on and the temperature in the bucket kept climbing; of course I was trying to do this right before dinner and my kids were running around screaming like banshees.
I went upstairs and started to braise the Fillet (were trying to put meat on my boy and he devours the good steak). Its probably 5 minutes on the side after 2-3 minutes getting the cast iron up to temp before I flip the meat and put the pan in the oven and go back downstairs. Thankfully I have a really nice gun-style thermometer handy and I zap the bucket and see its in the mid 80s. The little tang is laying on his side on the bottom of the bucket... I am so happy I put the extra valve on the UV manifold because it allows me to fill buckets easily. I gradually add water to the bucket to bring the temp down while the steak cooks and sits. At this point I've filled the 7 gallon bucket and have added new water to the tank from my trusty Rubbermaid. I figure I'll let it ride without a heater while I eat with my kids and unsuspecting (that I got more fish) wife. After dinner the little tang is back up so I pour off some water and fill the bucket again. I add some VitaChem/Metroplex/Kanaplex/Focus treated mysis&brine shrimp and both tangs devour it. I add some small pieces of similarly treated nori and get the same response. I keep feeding the fish till they stop eating.
I am rushed for bedtime and stressed out about the fish and decide to DT them. I've seen these fish every time I go to my LFS, they've been in the same tank for as long as I can remember; if ich were present they would've succumbed to it a long time ago. Either Hippo Tang alone, if colored-up, is worth more then all the fish currently in my tank, the decision seemed logical at the time.
So, for better or worse, they're in the DT. I put up a mirror to occupy the sailfin tang; who I'm also treating for HLLE with the same medicated food cocktail. His facial lesions and temporal holes seem to be filling-in and coloring-up. Its fun watching him swim around with his big paunch.
All three tangs seem to have gotten to that OK spot. I see the sailfin and the big hippo fight over bed-time spots when I go all blue light. They are amazingly fast and graceful but I think the Hippo tang has the size advantage. In white light they are peaceful and just go about their business.
 
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