Road to 64 gallon SPS dominant reef tank

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reeferslav

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Hi,

I'm uri and today I spontaneously decided to start a build thread about my new reef tank. For over a year I am addicted to reefing. Currently I have a 22 gal reef tank and I decided to set up a new one. I am from Germany and I apologize if my English is not correct in some places, but I will do my best.
1669057871999.jpg
This is my current 22 gal Tank. In the beginning i had all kinds of problems. Meanwhile my corals grow well and I am working on a better color.

I like tanks with a transparent sealing and in germany reef tanks are mostly sealed with black silicone. So i had two options either a custom made tank wich is quiet expensive or convert a freshwater tank into a reef tank. I like to build things by myself and that is why i decided to buy and convert a freshwater tank. On the internet I have found the aqua el ultrascape 90 set, which includes a cabinet and a freshwater light, for a good price. In my oppinion the tank has nice dimensions which create a nice depth and enough space for a nice scape. The dimensons are 90x60x45 cm (35"x24"x18") and the volume is 243l (64 gal). By the way because i am from europe i will use the metric system however i will also try to convert the data for you. After I have decided to order the tank, I started to think about the next steps that had to follow.

1. Drill holes for the overflow
2. Build the overflow
3. Build the sump
4. Choose the equipment
5. Build the scape
6. Cycle and start

At the beginning I did not know that I will document the build, so the pictures I have so far are not necessarily good. In the future I will try to make better pictures. I want to mention that I'm trying to build it on a small budget, so I'm trying to buy mostly used equipment if its possilbe. If someone is interested in the prices i have paid I can add them. After i recived the tank i have started to put the cabinet together. And to be honest after that i have started with the fifth point on my list.

5. Building the scape


For this i have used "My Reef Rocks" form Arka. I think they are pretty similar to Marco reef rocks. I have seen that alot of people on reef2reef are using them. I used a chisel on my drilling machine to crush the stones.
1669058660932.jpeg 1669058660923.jpeg
After that i have sorted them by shape and size. I had a few templates as inspiration and tried to build a mix of them that matched my thougths. For the gluing i used super glue and sand like in the BRStv How to NSA scape tutorial video. It was fun to put the scape together. My goal is a sps dominat reef this is why I have tried to stay below 50% of the height of the tank.
1669058660903.jpeg
Unfortunately this is the only picture i took during the gluing process. You can see the finished scape at the end of the post. After the scape was finished i moved on to drill the holes.

1. Drill holes for the overflow

I have done some research and decided to drill three holes. Two in 32mm ( 1 1/4") diameter and one in 25mm (1"). One of the 32mm will be used as the main overflow. The second one, i dont know how its called in english, is used as a backup overflow for safety. The 25mm will be used as the retrun pipe. For the drilling i have bought thin walled diamond coated drills
with the needed diameters. I have watched alot of videos on youtube and read some threads on this forum on how to drill the holes. I was scared to srcew the tank while drilling. To prepare the tank for drilling I have bought a wooden board in the size of the bottom of the tank to support it from the bottom while drilling.
1669060001945.jpg 1669060001928.jpg
For the inside i have build a template from a wooden board with predrilled holes wich i used as support to drill the glas. While i have drilled the holes i have used a bit of water to keep the drill cool and it worked very well.
1669057872113.jpg 1669057872103.jpg
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Thats how the finished scape looks like. How do you like it? I think i forgot to mention that i put a white foil under the bottom glas.

Thats it for now. I will continue the build in the next days. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
 
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reeferslav

reeferslav

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Aquascape looks great - good luck with your build! :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
Thank you very much for your feedback!
Great scape, following!
I'm glad you like it! Thank you!

Let's continue with the build.

2. Build the overflow

In my last post you could see that the background is lightly foiled. The foil is slightly transparent which creates a which creates a nice depth. I know I lose the contrast of the coral color without a black background, but in my opinion it looks more natural with a light background. Because of that I wanted to build a white overflow and ordered white coated glass. The two glass panels have the dimensions 23 x 40 cm (9" x 16") and 9 x 40 cm (3.5" x 16").
1669057872042.jpg
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Unfortunately, I only have pictures of the finished overflow. how do you like the white overflow? Do you also like a light background in a reef tank?

4. Build the sump

For the sump I bought a cheap aquarium with the dimensions 50 x 40 x 30 cm (20" x 16" x 12"). With the order of the glass for the overflow i have ordered also a panel for the sump and used it as a separating panel for the returning pump chamber.
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After everything was dry I planned the piping. It was important to me to create the retrun pipe as smooth as possible so that there is no turbulence. The retrun pipe goes straight through the overflow and has a gentle 90 degree angle to the outflow.
1669058660790.jpeg 1669057872062.jpg
I have installed a simple valve in the return line wich ends in the flies filter more about this later. If you have questions about the individual components of the piping you are welcome to ask.

5. choose the equipment

In the previous pictures you may have already seen a few parts and I have some equipment on my current tank that I will take over. Let's start with the lighting

Lighting:
I have a Radion G4 xr30 pro which I bought used. The lamp hangs on a DIY holder made from a copper tube.
1669128501509.jpg
For the new tank I will convert the holder which was included in the set. I'm not exactly sure how to convert it yet, but I already have some ideas. I don't know if the xr30 alone will be enough. When i start the new tank i will first make some PAR measurements. If the PAR is to low I will look for a used G4 xr15 and add it.

Skimmer:
As a skimmer I have a deltec 400i. Its a bit oversized in my current tank and for the new I think perfect.

Flies Filter:
I bought a used Thieling rollermat compact 1 as a flies filter. I paid less than 50% of the original price and it was still unused in the original packaging.

Retrun pump:
As a retun pump I bought a jebao dpc 3500 at aliexpress. I do not know if this is not too oversized. I had planned to run it at at about 50%. Maybe you can tell me if I have chosen the pump size correctly?

Flow pumps:
I had luck with the flow pumps. I bought a used maxspect gyre xf 330 with wifi module for well under 50% of the new price. The pumps have been running for 11 months and are still under warranty. I have heard that the pumps are very high maintenance. What are your experiences with them?
1669128501500.jpg

Heater:
I still need a heater. I will take my current aquel 100w heater first. So far it is doing a good job but might have not enough power for the new tank.

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As you can see i am slowly filling it with RODI water...

that's it so far how do you like my concept? Do you like the overflow and my choice of equipment?
 

blaxsun

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I actually like the white/translucent overflow - it's very unique! I think a light background could work out nice with the theme you're going for. Black is somewhat overrated anyway... The Maxspect wavemakers are higher maintenance compared to say the Red Sea ReefWaves (I have both; spend less time maintaining the Red Sea ones).
 
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reeferslav

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I actually like the white/translucent overflow - it's very unique! I think a light background could work out nice with the theme you're going for. Black is somewhat overrated anyway... The Maxspect wavemakers are higher maintenance compared to say the Red Sea ReefWaves (I have both; spend less time maintaining the Red Sea ones).
I am glad you like it! The pumps came with a second set of rotors I hope that will make maintenance easier for me.

The tank is slowly filling up with RO/DI water. I will set up the equipment, heat up the water and add the salt this weekend. I do not know if I should start barebottom or with carib sea live sand. I think tanks look better with sand and I tend to use a thin layer. This keeps the effort to keep the sand clean low and i will not have problems with nutrient depots later on. Also, in my current tank I have two pistol shrimps (Alpheus randalli) but I do not know how I should get them out of the stones. the goby i had unfortunately jumped out of the tank however I am thinking of buying a new one and then I have to start with sand anyway.

I started my current tank with dr tims fischless cycling method which is very unusual in germany but i got most of my knowledge mainly from this forum. My plan is to transfer some of my current rocks to the new tank and also put a few of them in the sump to support the cycle of the tank. I want to dose posphate and nitrate using sangokai products, i don't know if these products are known outside germany. The philosophy behind this is to ensure the nutrient supply of the corals, the nitrogen cycle and the cultivation of bacteria are not the focus of this method.

I will move all my corals right at the beginning but i'm a little afraid my acros won't be happy about it. What do you think about it?
 
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blaxsun

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I am glad you like it! The pumps came with a second set of rotors I hope that will make maintenance easier for me.

The tank is slowly filling up with RO/DI water. I will set up the equipment, heat up the water and add the salt this weekend. I do not know if I should start barebottom or with carib sea live sand. I think tanks look better with sand and I tend to use a thin layer. This keeps the effort to keep the sand clean low and i will not have problems with nutrient depots later on. Also, in my current tank I have two pistol shrimps (Alpheus randalli) but I do not know how I should get them out of the stones. the goby i had unfortunately jumped out of the tank however I am thinking of buying a new one and then I have to start with sand anyway.

I started my current tank with dr tims fischless cycling method which is very unusual in germany but i got most of my knowledge mainly from this forum. My plan is to transfer some of my current rocks to the new tank and also put a few of them in the sump to support the cycle of the tank. I want to dose posphate and nitrate using sangokai products, i don't know if these products are known outside germany. The philosophy behind this is to ensure the nutrient supply of the corals, the nitrogen cycle and the cultivation of bacteria are not the focus of this method.

I will move all my corals right at the beginning but i'm a little afraid my acros won't be happy about it. What do you think about it?
If you plan to add sand definitely do it before you add any rocks. If you're using live sand, you don't need to rinse (the bags contain a clarifying packet to help clear the water within a few hours).

If you're insta-cycling your tank you can typically move everything (rocks, corals, fish, inverts) right away. I set my new tank up during the day and moved everything at night.
 
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reeferslav

reeferslav

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Great work! I loved reading what you have so far. I’m working on a very similar sized acro tank and you’ve given me inspiration to update where I am on it. Almost ready for water myself!
Thank you. I'm happy that you like it

If you plan to add sand definitely do it before you add any rocks. If you're using live sand, you don't need to rinse (the bags contain a clarifying packet to help clear the water within a few hours).

If you're insta-cycling your tank you can typically move everything (rocks, corals, fish, inverts) right away. I set my new tank up during the day and moved everything at night.
As far as I know the stones should be added first and then the sand. If there is sand between the stones and the glass, it can start to rot under the stones.
 
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As far as I know the stones should be added first and then the sand. If there is sand between the stones and the glass, it can start to rot under the stones.
That's news to me. I always though it was so the fish couldn't dig out the rocks and cause something to topple.
 
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Before i start with the cycle here is a quick update on my latest progress. The last parts for my overflow were delivered.
1669564402306.jpg
Matching the rest of the tank the parts are white. Maybe someone could help me and leave a comment with the english word for this part. It only needed a small adjustment to fit the overflow.
1669564402416.jpg
I will have to adjust the retrun pipe gain, because it is a bit too short. but for the beginning it works.
I have also configured the equipment. In my opinion the new jebao adp runs very quietly. With the gyre 330 I had problems because they made a very noisy buzzing while running.
1669565933423.jpg
I wrapped the bearings with teflon tape so the motor shaft is firmly seated in the housing. After that the two gyre 330 were quiet again. I have already ordered new bearings and as soon as they arrive i will change them. I think that is the risk when you buy used equipment.
1669564402342.jpg
I still have to deal with the cable management and as you can see i bought a 25l (~7 gallon) tank for the ato. I will clean up the cabinet when everything is finished. Also I couldn't wait to see how the tank looks with lighting and I still had a coralbox moon led left and took some pictures after I set it up.
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On black friday I bought a GHL KH director and carib sea live sand. I will keep you updated on the cycle in the next few days.
 
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Syntax1235

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I use gyres in my tank and have found a good solution for dealing with the maintenance. I purchased an extra set of rotors and cages…. Now I replace the dirty rotors and cages with the clean parts and then let the dirty pieces soak in a citric acid bath. I can take my time and don’t have to disconnect the pumps. makes a huge difference.

I like your build! Nice work.
 
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reeferslav

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I use gyres in my tank and have found a good solution for dealing with the maintenance. I purchased an extra set of rotors and cages…. Now I replace the dirty rotors and cages with the clean parts and then let the dirty pieces soak in a citric acid bath. I can take my time and don’t have to disconnect the pumps. makes a huge difference.

I like your build! Nice work.
I already have a second set of rotors, but not the cages yet. I will get a second set of cages soon. Thank you for your advice.


I know it's been a long time since my last post, but I've been very busy and haven't managed to keep you updated on the progress of the tank. If you're interested in this post, you'll be happy to know that a lot has happened since then. I hope I will not forget to post anything. Before I get to the last point 6. cycle and start, I had to install the equipment from my old tank into the new one. I started with the skimmer and cleaned it properly. I have the deltec 400i and think it will do a good job in combination with the flies filter.
1671044923946.jpg
After cleaning, the skimmer was almost like new and ince I placed it in the sump, I had to install the lighting. As already mentioned, I have a Radion xr30 G4 pro and wanted to connect it to the supplied fixture of the Aquael tank.
For this I used aluminum rails, which are usually used for drywall. I had to adjust the length of these and also enlarged the holes to get the screws through the rails.
1671044924029.jpg Now that I had the radion attached to the rails, I could simply insert it into the fixture. With the fixture came a cover, but I will leave it off because of the air circulation.
1671044924004.jpg
For air circulation in the sump, I ordered a PC fan and installed it in the cabinet.
1671044924099.jpg
Finally I received and set up the GHL KH director. At first i was unsure whether to buy the Reef Factory Kh Keeper or the GHL KH Director. In the end, GHL's many years of experience were the deciding factor in my favor. Despite negative experience reports on the internet about the bad set-up of the kh director, i have to say that it was very easy. The app is very easy to understand and there are many videos on the website on how to set up the app. I am very happy with my decision to use GHL.
1671044924122.jpg
My cabinet looks very messy. I am so far unhappy with the position of the KH director. At the moment it bothers me when refilling the ATO tank. And I don't want to talk about my cable management at the moment....

Now I could go on to the next point

6. Cycle and start

Before I could start the cycle, I had to salt the water. For this I used the professional sea salt from fauna marin and checked the salt content with a hanna salinitymeter.
1671044924087.jpg
I weighed the amount of salt I needed to get to 35 ppm and used the weight to calculate the approximate net amount of water I needed for future dosing. I let the tank sit for 2 days to allow all the components of the salt to dissolve. After that I bought two bags of carib sea live sand fiji pink. The seller advised me to buy two bags, although I want only a thin layer. I put one bag in first and when the water was clear, I realized it was enough. I then returned the second bag. To run my tank I want to use the Sangokai system. So I used the Sangokai start products at the beginning and dosed them according to the start dosing schedule on their website. I have added my corals and the inhabitants of my old aquarium. This includes a six-line wrasse, an azure damselfish, two hermit crabs, and two pistol shrimp.
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Since I managed to get both pistol shrimp out, I decided to buy them a goby.
1671044923924.jpg
The coral move did not go very well. I have lost a large plate of red monitpora. and my blue stang acropora has lost 90% of its tissue. My birdsnest corals broke into many small pieces and lost their color after insertion. Also, my green Slimer Acro has gone all brown and doesn't look good at all. For a great competition against algae, I ordered some easy to keep sps.
1671044923844.jpg
I have ordered from Fauna Marine a Seriatopora hystrix purple, a Stylophora dark green, a Stylophora Bicolor, a Pocillopora and a Seriatopora caliendrum mint green. Currently my corals do not look good but I remain patient. To provide some smaller inhabitants I got me zooplankton and phytoplankton at aquacopa.
1671044923810.jpg
The 1l (0,26 gal) with zooplankton I have given completely in my tank and hope that the zooplankton settles well. Even if the majority will end up in the flow filter. A few days later I bought a Gamma Loretto, and because he was annoyed with my damselfish, I bought a second damselfish so they would be busy with each other and my Gamma Loretto could live on in peace. If I'm honest, I underestimated the work I had to do. When the most stressful part was over, I was able to use the time to clean up a bit.
1671044923764.jpg
I moved all the boxes into the basement. With all the equipment it has accumulated quite a bit. Because I am so satisfied with the GHL doser and the KH director, I bought a second, but used doser for dosing the fauna marin balling light. Since the xr30 G4 Pro lighting did not reach the corners of the tank, I decided to look for an additional lamp. I found a very cheap used Radion xr15 G4 pro. It was very dirty but it worked.
1671044923705.jpg
I disassembled and cleaned it and noticed that the lens was slightly burned in some places. I will have to replace it over time.
1671044923648.jpg
I attached the lamp to the aluminum rail and now the coverage is much better. A par measurement will follow soon. Currently the lamps are running at 68% with the AB+ schedule. Last but not least a few current pictures.
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The plan is to replace more and more corals with Acropora after a few months once the tank is stable. What bothers me at the moment are the many cables and the chaos in my cabinet. The thieling rollermat is very loud, so I will have to change something as well. I measure the KH value 4 times a day with the GHL KH Director. The measurement requires 80 ml of tank water, which has affected the salinity over the two weeks. I did a lot of research and decided to put the sample from the KH Director back into the tank. with the small volume of water, the effect on salinity is too big.

Since so much time has passed, I'm sure I've forgotten a thing or two, so feel free to ask any questions.
 
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