ReefSentinel’s 200g Mini Barrier Reef build.

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Hello All & welcome to my build thread

Following many hours of research over the past 6-12mths, watching many Youtube channels (BRS, fishofhex, Saltwater Aquarium etc) and following some great build threads here I am jumping in to share on my reef build journey.
You are all welcome to join the journey and please share your thoughts, ideas & experience as they will be much appreciated.

Having been away from the hobby for the best part of 20 years, a lot has changed however I have always kept an eye on the hobby, visiting the LFS’s with wife & kids knowing sometime I will have time (& cash) available to return. I am still time poor however its slowing coming available with kids becoming older.

My Plan is to create a little piece of the Great Barrier Reef (Mixed Reef) in my house for us to enjoy.
With the vast availability of knowledge now available & advanced improvements in equipment I am planning on surrounding myself with both technology & acknowledge to compensate my inexperience, that’s the ideal anyway.

I had considering starting with a small tank first however looking at where I wanted to end up and the cost of upgrading everything later, I thought I would go straight to 6ft.
I am the kind of person who tends to plan everything and am happier to take my time, buy right the first time and enjoy the ride along the way of learning.
I have my wife’s approval on the budget (which has growth a little ) however there is a budget I trying to stay around.

So – Lets start and PLEASE be patient with me has with all the changes over the years it feels like I am beginning the hobby of the start.

A few important notes regarding the build.
  • Tank is going in a main living area so noise/look is important.
  • Tank Frame will be sitting on timber floors so I need to keep the wife very happy and “no” where possible water spills/problems, “touch wood”.
  • Unfortunately, no option for a fish room is available, but I do have other space.
  • Being in Australia and using the metric system I will try to convert where I remember.

I have done a few weeks work already so I will catch you all up to speed over the coming week.

Shopping list as follows


Tank

- Custom made 6ft x 2.5ft(h) x 2ft(w) with centre weir, polish glass corners.
- Centre Weir with “Bean Animal style” with a single return split into 2 nozzles, (one tick for floors boards)

Flow
- Neptune COR-20 return pump or Ecotech Vectra M1 (most likely COR-20 due to Apex)
- Manifold with gate valves from COR-20 to supply the reactors and UV sterilizer
- MP40qd, 2 to start possibly 3

Filtration
- Customer sump, with, Mech filter, Skimmer, refugium and return sections
- Nyos Quantum 160 skimmer or Red Sea Reef Skimmer 600
- Allowance for GFO, Bio-pellet & Carbon media reactors
- UV Sterilizer – Aqua 25W classic or Twist, fed by return pump

Lighting
- DT, 3 x Radion’s at the moment – disappointed with the Apex incompatibility so may change.
- Refugium LED, AL Prime Fuge LED

Heating
Living in Sydney’s outskirts the temp in winter can drop to min -2 (29°F) winter frost to summer being low 40’s (104°f) so a Chiller will be required.
- Chiller Teco TK1000 or TK2000
- May still have a heater & fans for backup controlled by Apex

Controller
- Neptune Apex 2016
- Standard Apex probes in skimmer chamber
- Neptune FMM unit, return/Monitor flow on UV sterilizer
- Break out boxes x 2
- PM1/2 module for second BOB
- Leak detection probe under carpet below cabinet
- Neptune AFS
- Neptune WXM
- Apex EB6 Aus version ☹ ,not enough people here for Apex to make EB832 for Aus.
- Apex connected to home network via CAT-5
- Dose unit – TBC
- ATO setup - TBC

Water Management
- 5 stage 189LPD (50GPD) system
- Two x 100Ltr (26g) upright flat bottom tanks for RO/DI water
- Two x 100Ltr (26g) upright flat bottom tanks for saltwater
- ATO pumped via ATK to sump from RO/DI storage tank in garage
- Drains from sump to outside drain
- 1/4” tubing runs from garage through wall/roof to sump for future water changes
- All pipes and tubes color-coded:

Power Management
As the current power circuit in the wall supplies the pool equipment a new circuit/s will be added
- Dedicated circuit/s for aquarium equipment
- Backup power, power is very good here no plans for backup at the moment but may consider options during the build.

General floor Plan as follows
Tank & RODI Layout.jpg

The following pictures are of the general design idea i used to sell the idea to the wife, at the moment colour's are not set, bulkhead to be added for build.

Cabinet proposed WITH TANK TV.jpg
Cabinet proposed WITH TANK TV black cabinet.jpg

IMG_9079.JPG
IMG_9231.JPG

Taping of the general layout of tank, cabinets & bulkhead on wall and ceiling, excuse the mess.
 
https://www.omegasea.net/
OP
ReefSentinel
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Location
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Hi All,

Working on a few different aspects of the build at the moment.

Bulkhead - We have 9ft ceilings so rather than having a large top cabinet I thought I would put a bulkhead and following the line of the upper cabinets from the adjoining kitchen.
Construction of timber framing all but complete,
Considering the heat we get in the summer of low 40’s (104°f) I am looking at adding a direct vent from the hood/upper cabinet direct through the ceiling to a ventilator head fitted to the roof. We have a/c however our house is very open and being a split level with the tank on the middle level it can be hard to a/c the whole house without burning a lot of cash.

With the vent I can shut it off during winter and open during the warmer months to allow heat from the lights to escape and a bit of air ex-change, also it will cost nothing to run, brochure attached for reference.
IMG_9339.JPG

IMG_9345.JPG

IMG_9344.JPG


Dry Rock,
Plan on doing all the aquascaping using dry rock/coral.
Over the past months I have been brought approx 70kgs (150lbs) of dry rock/coral from different sales.
All the rock has been pressure cleaned, dried and put in storage containers for months awaiting the challenge of aquascaping.
Being into landscaping, the aquascape is going to be large part of the overall look for me.
From my research & likes I want to go for a minimum foot print area to help with flow but also have caves, overhangs and different areas for the different kind of fish live & corals.

IMG_8818.JPG
IMG_8820.JPG


Also started on the on the water mixing station in the garage.
Have purchased 4 x 100ltr (27g) mini water storage tanks. Idea is to join 2 together in a closed system for RODI water and another 2 for Saltwater.
I figure the DT will be around 745ltrs (200g) and with 2 water tanks will give me around 200ltrs of saltwater available which is around 25% of DT capacity. Will also have 200ltrs of RODI water ready to re-mix if needed.
Water Container.jpg

Plan to copy this design in the picture below however it will be 4 tanks with 2 above 2 to reduce the foot print in the garage. I like the idea of having multiple pumping options, possible plumb it so it can suck/pump from tank and also change some valves and pump water back to the tank.
Will see how we go.
$_20.JPG
 

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ReefSentinel
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For the aquascaping i reused an old door and mocked up the tank back ground and weir, not sure on the weir size at the moment but hopefully it will be close.
Also added the 1/3 tank lines with string to assist with balancing the rock work.
Now the aquascaping puzzle begins,
For my over hangs i plan on using fibreglass rods and E-Marco-400 assist in the built, never used the E-Marco-400 before but based on what i have watched on the net it seems like good stuff.

IMG_9414.JPG

Have offset the tank base perimeter 100mm (4") on the inside with a red line to, this is my guide to keep the rock work in to maintain a nice 4" gap where possible for future maintenance, that's the idea.
IMG_9416.JPG


Bulkhead is also coming along with the plaster board going up.
IMG_9348.JPG

I am by no means a good plaster, from previous plastering jobs I generally use 10 times the plaster than i should and sand off have about the same, however the final result generally works out ok.

IMG_9349.JPG

Now to get the brains thinking,
I will need to run a chiller however not keen on the hot air it creates being inside or seeing a vent on the inside.
As the wall which the tank goes against is a external wall i have the option to possible use a little of the space on the other size (outside), currently this area has a A/C that I not interested in moving unless there are some big benefits however I am thinking there is enough space for the chiller.
Possible problems
- the external part is covered by about 4ft of eve however in the summer the this part of the house received the afternoon sun.
The Teco TK service recommends for the unit not to run over 38°C (100 °F) - Does any one out there run a chiller outside above this temp???
Have you had any problems?
- Cutting holes in the Brick wall and running pipe through it, may be worth it.
IMG_9347.JPG

IMG_9363.JPG
IMG_9363.JPG
 
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ReefSentinel
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Unfortunately I am working on a number of different tank items at the same time between work and family.
When everyone has gone to sleep I work on the tank frame/ cabinet design and weekend are mixing station, aquascape & bulkhead.

Tank Frame - considered a few different options, Alum, Timber, Steel (Stainless or Steel), not sure to say lucky or not but I work at a large engineering company so I can have the frame made there if I go the steel/Alu/Stainless way.

As I have used a lot of CAD software for work I tend to draw everything before making it, I find I can see the problems and possible improvements before it's too late.

Through process for frame
- Timber, could do, water and timber don't generally go together that well & considering the the built cost I need a good foundation.
- Alum Frame, would like to use Alum however from my design software I need to go larger sizes to maintain the same strength compared to Steel, trying to get as much space as possible in the sump area.
- Stainless, cost wise Stainless isn't ready that more than steel however the available RHS options compared to steel is less size so again to keep the sump area as large as possible steel wins.

Based on the above, Steel Frame it is using 65x35x3mm, down size is I have to do surface prep against saltwater. This is where Stainless wins.
For surface prep I plan to Blast, Prime powder coat and then top coat powder coat, again my work does Blasting and powder coat so handy however is still going to cost.

For the design I have allowed for 20,000Newtons (2000kg / 4496lbs) of force to be applied to the top of the frame, the Inventor software does a analysis of the frame based on all material used & design.
I worked out that the Tank and water should be around 905kg (1995lbs)
Picture of Frame analysis at 20,000 Newtons
Please note, the software makes frame displacement amount look a lot than actual, otherwise it would be good.
Frame displacement 20,000N.jpg

At 20,000N I get around 0.12mm (0.005") displacement, this is not allowing for the 18mm plywood I am going to put on top.
Next picture is 12,000N which is around the 1200kg (2700lbs) still a nice safety.
0.10mm displacement - I can live with that for now until I confirm the tank weir sizing as I may need to add additional support rails.
Frame displacement 12,000N.jpg


Have also put a small order in for some Amazon items for use with the breakout boxes, should be delivered in the coming days.
 

reefez

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Wow nice progress stand looks like a winner
I went the aluminum route and just moved it in the house this afternoon will get the tank and sump Friday I did go pretty large on the aluminum worst thing costly but Will have peace of mind it will hold my tank I think the company that designed it used a similar program to yours. Nice job can’t wait to see yours
 
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ReefSentinel
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Hi All,
Busy few nights doing plastering of the bulkhead working on aquascape idea's however I can hopefully put the plastering tool away and bring out the paint tools.

Please note: to keep wife happy cover everything before sanding as plaster dust finds its way everywhere.
IMG_9350.JPG

IMG_9351.JPG


Also started the puzzling but enjoyable job of dry aquascaping, plan to do the complete aquascape on the mock up tank.
This was my first time drilling dry rock (using fiberglass rods to secure the aquascape).
Dry using the standard masonry drill bit at first but after turning some nice pieces of large dry rock into many small pieces I stopped and when down to the hardware and purchased a small core drill.
If anyione is considering drill any rock I can highly recommend the core drill, add a little water and they cut like butter with very little stress on the dry (no breakages after purchasing this ;))
D6050800_BlueCeram_8.jpg
IMG_9440.JPG

A few pic's of the fiberglass dowels & holes
IMG_9275.JPG

I can also recommend the E-Marco-400 Aquascape Bonding Mortor, great stuff, easy to mix, drys fast, any large pieces I left over night before drilling or moving too much.
IMG_9271.JPG
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
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ReefSentinel
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Saltwater mixing station is complete,
Firstly its not as big a many here but it was made to fit into a useless space in the garage, maybe later I may move/rebuilt it on the outside wall which the tank is against.
For now it offers 200ltrs of saltwater which is around 25% of DT capacity and 200lts of RODI water.
IMG_9205.JPG
IMG_9206.JPG
IMG_9210.JPG
IMG_9211.JPG

5 Stage RODI unit installed, everything when together well however when I purchased it I wasn't sure if I was going to have the pressure to run the system correctly.
Turns out during the day I can get around 40PSI and at night around high 40's which is good enough.
As we do I had to run it to see how it worked and it was on for all night and only made around 50ltrs.

I will need to find out about the booster pump for the system.

Due to the small space the plumbing got a bit crazy but I got there in the end, following picture is how it all works.

I also installed a ball valve on the RODI line to have easy access to RODI water.

Mixing Station Pumping Schematics.jpg


Between pulling i hair out over the plumbing I had time to relax & finish the LH side aquascape.
The plan was a small foot print to allow for flow, over hangs and caves for the fish and invert's & medium height so I think there are a few ticks there, now for the RH side.

LH Side Aquascape.jpg
 

Jimbhoy13

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Hello All & welcome to my build thread

Following many hours of research over the past 6-12mths, watching many Youtube channels (BRS, fishofhex, Saltwater Aquarium etc) and following some great build threads here I am jumping in to share on my reef build journey.
You are all welcome to join the journey and please share your thoughts, ideas & experience as they will be much appreciated.

Having been away from the hobby for the best part of 20 years, a lot has changed however I have always kept an eye on the hobby, visiting the LFS’s with wife & kids knowing sometime I will have time (& cash) available to return. I am still time poor however its slowing coming available with kids becoming older.

My Plan is to create a little piece of the Great Barrier Reef (Mixed Reef) in my house for us to enjoy.
With the vast availability of knowledge now available & advanced improvements in equipment I am planning on surrounding myself with both technology & acknowledge to compensate my inexperience, that’s the ideal anyway.

I had considering starting with a small tank first however looking at where I wanted to end up and the cost of upgrading everything later, I thought I would go straight to 6ft.
I am the kind of person who tends to plan everything and am happier to take my time, buy right the first time and enjoy the ride along the way of learning.
I have my wife’s approval on the budget (which has growth a little ) however there is a budget I trying to stay around.

So – Lets start and PLEASE be patient with me has with all the changes over the years it feels like I am beginning the hobby of the start.

A few important notes regarding the build.
  • Tank is going in a main living area so noise/look is important.
  • Tank Frame will be sitting on timber floors so I need to keep the wife very happy and “no” where possible water spills/problems, “touch wood”.
  • Unfortunately, no option for a fish room is available, but I do have other space.
  • Being in Australia and using the metric system I will try to convert where I remember.

I have done a few weeks work already so I will catch you all up to speed over the coming week.

Shopping list as follows


Tank

- Custom made 6ft x 2.5ft(h) x 2ft(w) with centre weir, polish glass corners.
- Centre Weir with “Bean Animal style” with a single return split into 2 nozzles, (one tick for floors boards)

Flow
- Neptune COR-20 return pump or Ecotech Vectra M1 (most likely COR-20 due to Apex)
- Manifold with gate valves from COR-20 to supply the reactors and UV sterilizer
- MP40qd, 2 to start possibly 3

Filtration
- Customer sump, with, Mech filter, Skimmer, refugium and return sections
- Nyos Quantum 160 skimmer or Red Sea Reef Skimmer 600
- Allowance for GFO, Bio-pellet & Carbon media reactors
- UV Sterilizer – Aqua 25W classic or Twist, fed by return pump

Lighting
- DT, 3 x Radion’s at the moment – disappointed with the Apex incompatibility so may change.
- Refugium LED, AL Prime Fuge LED

Heating
Living in Sydney’s outskirts the temp in winter can drop to min -2 (29°F) winter frost to summer being low 40’s (104°f) so a Chiller will be required.
- Chiller Teco TK1000 or TK2000
- May still have a heater & fans for backup controlled by Apex

Controller
- Neptune Apex 2016
- Standard Apex probes in skimmer chamber
- Neptune FMM unit, return/Monitor flow on UV sterilizer
- Break out boxes x 2
- PM1/2 module for second BOB
- Leak detection probe under carpet below cabinet
- Neptune AFS
- Neptune WXM
- Apex EB6 Aus version ☹ ,not enough people here for Apex to make EB832 for Aus.
- Apex connected to home network via CAT-5
- Dose unit – TBC
- ATO setup - TBC

Water Management
- 5 stage 189LPD (50GPD) system
- Two x 100Ltr (26g) upright flat bottom tanks for RO/DI water
- Two x 100Ltr (26g) upright flat bottom tanks for saltwater
- ATO pumped via ATK to sump from RO/DI storage tank in garage
- Drains from sump to outside drain
- 1/4” tubing runs from garage through wall/roof to sump for future water changes
- All pipes and tubes color-coded:

Power Management
As the current power circuit in the wall supplies the pool equipment a new circuit/s will be added
- Dedicated circuit/s for aquarium equipment
- Backup power, power is very good here no plans for backup at the moment but may consider options during the build.

General floor Plan as follows
Tank & RODI Layout.jpg

The following pictures are of the general design idea i used to sell the idea to the wife, at the moment colour's are not set, bulkhead to be added for build.

Cabinet proposed WITH TANK TV.jpg
Cabinet proposed WITH TANK TV black cabinet.jpg

IMG_9079.JPG
IMG_9231.JPG

Taping of the general layout of tank, cabinets & bulkhead on wall and ceiling, excuse the mess.
Welcome to R2R. I’m so impressed by your thorough planning. It looks as though it will be a great setup. Hope all goes well when you start the build.
 
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ReefSentinel
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Welcome to R2R. I’m so impressed by your thorough planning. It looks as though it will be a great setup. Hope all goes well when you start the build.
Thanks Jimbhoy13,
I am sure it will be a roller coaster ride with a lot of learning along the way but it's all part of the fun.
 
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DaddyFish

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I will need to run a chiller however not keen on the hot air it creates being inside or seeing a vent on the inside.
As the wall which the tank goes against is a external wall i have the option to possible use a little of the space on the other size (outside), currently this area has a A/C that I not interested in moving unless there are some big benefits however I am thinking there is enough space for the chiller.
Possible problems
- the external part is covered by about 4ft of eve however in the summer the this part of the house received the afternoon sun.
The Teco TK service recommends for the unit not to run over 38°C (100 °F) - Does any one out there run a chiller outside above this temp???
Have you had any problems?
- Cutting holes in the Brick wall and running pipe through it, may be worth it.
IMG_9347.JPG

IMG_9363.JPG
What's your final decision on the chiller placement, or do you have one yet?
If the wall shown is facing afternoon sun, plus catching the hot air exhaust from your house A/C unit, then it's going to be a very hot location.
 
OP
ReefSentinel
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Location
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What's your final decision on the chiller placement, or do you have one yet?
If the wall shown is facing afternoon sun, plus catching the hot air exhaust from your house A/C unit, then it's going to be a very hot location.
Hi DaddyFish
Great question,
I will add a little more detail to the location, the outside wall does receive the afternoon sun in the summer however I do have a large hill with tall bush on the western side of the house that reduces the Hot afternoon sun from around 4.00pm, in saying this it is a consideration I need to think about.
At the moment the plan is to go with a TECO 1000/2000 chiller, with a direct-vent & a whirlybird.

Direct-vent.jpg

For the chiller exhaust I am going to exhaust directly out through the wall, the following model video shows inside/outside of the wall in question (minus the Brick wall).
From the model you can see the chiller located in the adjoining cabinet and exhaust vent.
The chiller would be using air from inside and all exhaust going outside I think this should be enough in regarding to cooling.
 
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ReefSentinel
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Hi All,
Receive my first aquarium parcel today;Shamefullyembarrased, 1st one of many i would say.
IMG_9423.JPG

Shopping list with links for anyone interested.
Neptune AFS (Auto Feeding System)
Magnetic Feeding Square
Aquablade & Blades - glass cleaner.
Refractometer Calibration Solution


The next items are all to use with the BOB (Break out box), I will go over each item in the coming days.

uxcell a13082300ux1431 2 Pcs Water Sensor Rainwater Module Rain Detection
Module 3.3V-5V -


uxcell MC-38 Surface Mount Wired NC Door Sensor Alarm Magnetic Reed Switch
White 2pcs


Madison M8000 Lqd Lvl Swch, Vrtcl, 1/8"NPT, 30 VA Rating, Original Version

INSMA 433Mhz Wireless RF Switch Long Range DC 12V 4CH Channel Wireless Remote Control Switch

Today I will spot light the Surface Mount Wired NC Door Sensor Alarm Magnetic Reed Switch
Plan is to use these with the Apex BOB and mounting these to the cabinet doors in parallel.
I did a continuity test on one and they actually work a lot better than expect, I could hold the switch apart approx. 10-15mm (1/2") before the switch/circuit would open.
Reason for the switch: control sump lights, turn on when door opens and anything else I wish program to happen.
IMG_9435.JPG

 
OP
ReefSentinel
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Hi All,
I will go over a few other items i received the other day,
item 2 - Rainwater Module Rain Detection
Plan to use these as with the break out box, i purchased 6 units which I plan to wire in parallel and into the BOB.
Haven't tried yet but sure they will workout ok.
IMG_9433.JPG


Item 3, INSMA 433Mhz Wireless RF Switch Long Range DC 12V 4CH Channel Wireless
Another items for the break out box, an idea i seen on the Neptune forum.
Plan to use the remote to control different cycles, example feed, maintenance etc.
IMG_9426.JPG


Item 4 - Madison M8000 Lqd Lvl Swch, Vrtcl, 1/8"NPT, 30 VA Rating
More Break out box items, plan to use in the sump and possibly the skimmer depending on space restrictions.

IMG_9436.JPG


So far my considerations for uses of the Break up box/s are as follows
- Skimmer full detection - float switch
- DT High detection - float switch
- Sump low detection - float switch
- Sump high detection - float switch
- Cabinet doors - door switches
- Short circuit on BOB
- ATO container - float switch
- Leak sensor - rain sensors
- Feed button
- Maintenance button

If anyone has other uses or ideas for the BOB please let me know, appreciate everyone's thoughts.
 
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