Skep's 225 gallon build

Discussion in 'Large Aquariums 180g+' started by Skep18, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Introduction:
    Hey R2R. While I've had some freshwater tanks over a decade ago and I worked for roughly two whole months at a non-bigbox LFS, I have otherwise no experience with saltwater tanks. I will say I did learn a bit at my LFS period as they serviced tanks and did a lot of saltwater business, but I am otherwise new to this hobby. I stumbled upon some YouTube video one day which reignited my interest in the fish hobby in general.

    Background:
    As alluded to, I had a 45 gallon little puffer tank back in high school/college. I like to think in working with brackish puffers, I did get a bit deeper in the mentality as opposed to just having a goldfish or something. I even had a small snail tank to make puffer food, lol. But for a variety of reasons, I fell away from the hobby and sold my setup to a friend.

    Fast forward some years later, I began down the rabbit trail of information that is involved in this hobby. The complexity and depth involved in this hobby definitely drew my interest. I definitely have other hobbies and responsibilities that consume a good bit of my time so as I kept down the rabbit trail, I pretty much resigned myself to thinking that this can be something I will get into maybe in a couple years when things calm down.

    One night, in casual conversation with the SO, I mentioned the idea of doing a reef tank in the house, something big that would make an impression in the house. Much to my surprise, she was into the idea, almost excited about it. This was all I needed to decide this was going to be a thing I was going to do. I also decided I didn't want to start small and upgrade along the way as I didn't want to end up with a ton of tanks and equipment which ultimately would be stored/sold. As I said, I am familiar with hobbies and how they tend to go. As such, I decided to get an adequate sized tank on the front end. And that puts is where we are today!

    The Plan:
    As the title indicates, I have placed an order for a (72"L x 30"H x 24"W) tank with Custom Aquariums/Lifetime Aquariums almost 2 weeks ago. Some tank information and dimensions (not drawn to scale) are below. They advertise it as a 240 gallon though, after glass thickness, its more like 210 gallons of water. Tbh, I'm not sure the correct "tank size" to call it so I went with their convention. I'm told the tank isn't expected to be delievered until late April, so roughly a 3 month wait. But I have plenty to catch up on other obligations as well as need that time to make plans so I'm not bothered.

    I'm making this thread for a few reasons. Being new to this, I 100% want feedback from people who know more than I do. I am fortunate to have a good bit of time available to do plenty of research. I intend to write-up my ideas as I prepare for the build. Hopefully I will get some good feedback and save myself some time and money by avoiding some mistakes. Also, it'll be good to document my thoughts for the future me to come back to as I am apt to forget some detailed thoughts from time to time.

    Conclusion:
    Anyways. Thanks in advance for anyone who bothers to check this out and/or provide any feedback! Unfortunately I'm sure some juicy photos of reef gear and actual build progress may be slower as I have a lot to learn still but hopefully it will progress nonetheless.
     

  2. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    So far, I have only made one concrete decision. I wanted the low profile overflows so I'm having Custom Aquariums drill the tank for two Synergy 16" Shadow Overflows. Each overflow is rated for 1500gph. Synergy apparently updated their position saying its closer to 2500gph each. I don't intend on needing that capacity and I understand that's probably way more than is required but I didn't want to bottleneck my flow in the future as the tank progresses. Probably more important as well, this tank will be near my family's living area so keeping things quite is important as well. I'm hoping having low capacity utilization on this will keep things more quiet. (Random post to Synergy rep on this forum confirmed this.) I also like the idea of maybe utilizing more of my flow requirements from the return pump as opposed to more powerheads. That would make for a cleaner look (IMHO) and less noise maybe.

    In order to maintain the Lifetime Aquarium lifetime warranty, one must use their stand and tank padding. As such, I've also ordered the 36"H steel stand. Its going to be powder coated black. Eventually I intend to add finishings to the exterior of it, made to match my house cabinetry. Custom Aquariums confirmed drilling in limited areas of their steel stands would not effect my warranty.

    I do intend to install a canopy. The wife and I debated the rimless tank idea with an open top but ultimately, I very much liked the Lifetime Aquarium anodized aluminum framing and the peace of mind in longevity that will bring. While I'm super sure rimless tanks are not a risky endeavor when done right, I saw a video that aptly pointed out in an open top, the exposed lighting can take away a bit from the viewing experience. This is obviously a subjective statement but I think I would agree. As awesome as rimless tanks look (and they do look really cool) the added structural support, light containment, ability to hide equipment (for less money than rimless solutions) and noise abatement made this the right decision for me.

    Below are some drawings Custom Aquariums provided in my order documents. I've already received my two Synergy overflows as obviously I've already made the decision to have the tank drilled for them.

    Tank/Stand Specs:

    (tank drawings are not drawn to scale)

    Tank 001.JPG

    Hole Dimensions.JPG

    Stand.JPG
    I've been doing some reading and watching on tank plumbing. While I've not yet decided on my sump situation, I will work on that and the plumbing next. Once I get some ideas, I will post some sketches up here for public review and criticism.
     
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  3. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    So I drew up a little template drawn to scale of the incoming setup, at least regarding the important features. This should convey a better idea of size and aspect ratio as well as provide for a foundation to draw up some hardware plans. Below is that drawing with dimensions and colors added. I'll work on some of my layout ideas and add that next.

    Scaled Dimensions.JPG
     
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  4. Radman73

    Radman73 Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Welcome to the addiction! Great size. The extra height can make lighting it more expensive, but I know I enjoy having the extra room as swimming space. At least, that's what I tell myself. Good call on going big first though. It's $$$, but if you can afford it, definitely the way to go.

    As you are designing, make sure to try and account for maintenance. Water changes especially for me but even getting access to the back. Good luck!
     
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  5. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks for the welcome! Initially I was looking a bit smaller but I wanted something that would at least "Wow" people a little when they saw it.

    And +1 on maintenance considerations. I would love to automate water changes and just do some detritus clean up with some sort of recirculating canister filter but we'll see!

    Unfortunately I think rear access might be compromised. This is going in a family space of which it will be somewhat close to a wall. I guess i Just need to run the plumbing and anything in the rear of the stand to ensure it lends itself well to be worked on as easily as possible.
     
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  6. SuperHaze57

    SuperHaze57 Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Welcome to the club! Looking forward to updates on the build!
     
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  7. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks!

    I did a little more thinking on paper. I like the idea of dividing the stand storage into a wet area and dry area to be kept separate and divided as to do all I can to keep the moisture and salt environment away from the electronics. Unfortunately it seems like it will restrict my sump space though, but I think I can still work with it. I thought about adding an auxiliary cabinet adjacent to the tank or wall mount the electronics but I don't want to clutter the area any more than I have to as this will make working behind the tank more difficult. Also, as previously mentioned, this is not a "fish room" but an actual living area. The wife might not like me taking over. Lol.

    I'm also planning to insulate the wet area interior to try and keep the noise levels down. I'm debating whether or not I want to quarantine the wet area and plumb an air inlet/exhaust into the ceiling and ultimately attic above the tank location as to 100% keep the salt, moisture, smells, etc. out of the living area, but that will take some more thought and effort so we'll wait and see. (Think kiss sealed canopy with a vented hood as you would find on a stove, all custom of course.)

    Stand Organization.JPG
    I also drew out some plumbing schematics. The exact location of the pipes and fittings will be a bit different than drawn. Unfortunately with the 2D drawing conveying the desired layout was difficult. I've read up on specifics of the bean animal overflow to make it work better for you. Someone mentioned keep the gate valve below the vertical pipe to help with bleeding off air IIRC. Also, drilling a hole in the siphon pipe just above the water line is supposed to help with air and ultimately keep things quiet as well, though I admit, I'm not sure how that works.

    I am going over the top with my returns. I chose this over drilled as I liked the idea of having flexibility of how many return nozzles I can have in the tank, where they enter and all this can be changed over time. With the high overflow capacity, I may try to utilize my return water for flow more if possible. However, if this proves to provide too much flow through the sump, I can just taper down the pipe diameter/nozzle exit and compensate with a more capable return pump.

    Also, in trying to keep my sump as large as I can while also dividing the electronics "dry" area, I seem to have eliminated the practical space for my ATO... If I can fit it in the sump after ensuring I have adequate space for everything else, I will. However, at this time I am leaning toward running my ATO remotely from my water room (i.e. laundry room) where I'll keep stored RO/DI. Being cautious, I will have to plan for a safety run time timer or something to protect against float switch malfunctions. Alternatively, I can just keep a limited volume ATO in the water room which I can just fill up there. Either way, running some stiff flex water line through the house to the tank shouldn't be an issue.

    But anyways, here's a simple initial rendition which I expect to be revised during this planning process.

    Plumbing Schematic.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  8. SuperHaze57

    SuperHaze57 Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Nice plan ! I kinda have the same issue with the stand I’m going to build. I need more room as the sump is big.
     
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  9. Ezrunner23

    Ezrunner23 Member

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    The build looks great already can wait to see the actual results!
     
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  10. AtlCPA

    AtlCPA Active Member

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    Great post. Thanks for starting a build thread.

    I'm looking at a very similar size tank from Lifetime as well. I'm struggling with the overflow issue and thought about two Synergy overflows as well.

    Do you know or have you asked if Lifetime will do a custom overflow other than the shadow box thing they make? I'd love to get a custom overflow done as well so I don't have to deal with 4 pipes coming out of the two overflows.

    Also, did you consider their sump system? I'm also struggling with what to do about a sump.
     
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  11. Rellikeno

    Rellikeno Active Member

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    Welcome and nice job with what you got going. I agree great choice going big. I’m starting our 420 build soon. Just finished revamping our 180. Can’t wait to see more of what you achieve.
     
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  12. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks!

    Yea, seems like bigger sumps aren't much of a standard item that most companies sell...

    :D

    I didn't ask about a custom overflow but I got the impression they really are interested in selling primarily their products. I can only guess but I think they would need you to have someone (a company) send them a custom overflow and maybe they would install it. I think more likely they would just ask you for the hole location(s) and they would drill it for you though. I got the impression they wouldn't want to assume liability for someone else's product/design. They take this very seriously, which I think is a good thing. But again, all this is only a guess.

    That's not to say they weren't accommodating, they definitely were. Great to work with so far, very attentive. They did have the Synergy template adjusted in-house for their tanks. Their aluminum trim is a bit bigger so they drop the template holes down like not even .25" so the removable weir clears their trim. They didn't have any other templates in-house though besides their overflow. I just personally didn't really want their overflow, mainly because of the aesthetics which is obviously a subjective opinion.

    Regarding their sump, I loved the technical approach to the design. No seams to leak. No glass to break. Durable and practical design and material. BUT... again it was the aesthetics mostly and some practicality. I wanted a clear sump to make sure I could see everything and keep it clean. If it was hidden, I would probably personally keep it out of sight and out of mind and not stay on it. That and it ain't all that pretty (my opinion).

    420 gallon! :eek: holy cow! That's awesome! I would definitely be interested in following that!
     
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  13. Rellikeno

    Rellikeno Active Member

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    The build we just did was for more space for the sump/ refugium I’m building. It’s a 125gallon acrylic I’m cutting down to a 100gallon and should have about 85 gallons while running, with around 70 gallons dedicated to the refugium. You can see the cabinet build already on my link. I’ll be posting the sump build on there starting this weekend hopefully.
     
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  14. mch1984

    mch1984 Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Hub City Reef Club

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    The build looks great and I'm for sure going to be following along. I like seeing somebody that put that much though into it. I learned that lesson the hard way. Just a thought on the stand, I'm not sure how much room you have. When you do the "skin" of the stand have you considered going over sized on it? That would allow for more room underneath to help accommodate the ATO and give you more options in general.
     
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  15. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Well paint me jealous. I know that's for sure the right way to do filtration. Props to you my friend!

    Yea, I thought about it but I think I'll just have to wait and see how the stand looks in the room. I will post pics when it gets in. Maybe a throw a pic of the room here in the meantime. My concern is taking over the room with the tank. Also, I'm (like many I'm sure) somewhat particular. I would want the two sides of the tank to be the same. So if I did do something like that, it would need to be even on both sides, at least from an outside perspective.

    Also, I'm a little concerned about limiting my access to the back of the tank. Adding more cabinet on the sides might make it more difficult to get to. However, as I'm typing this, maybe I can add more room in the back of the tank between the stand and the wall? When considering using an ATO tank, I was already thinking of wanting a way to easily add water. If not automatic, some sort of exterior accessible plumbing to fill the system from outside the stand.

    Thanks for bringing that up! Definitely inspired an idea!
     
  16. mch1984

    mch1984 Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Hub City Reef Club

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    I for sure understand not taking over the entire room and wanting it even. You could go all the way around the stand and it could double as a cat walk when you need to get better access to the tank. I think you could still make it very attractive but functional at the same time. Either way I think this will be a beautiful set up when done.
     
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  17. Rellikeno

    Rellikeno Active Member

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    If you take a look at mine you can see I left a 6” lip off the back of our stand and will be adding hidden doors to access the back(at least somewhat) that’s where my carbon reactor and ATO 10gallon reservoir will be placed. = more room behind but not visible and ugly.
     
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  18. SuperHaze57

    SuperHaze57 Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I’m going with the Trigger Systems Triton 44. When I upgrade to a bigger tank I’ll already have the sump I want
     
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  19. Skep18

    Skep18 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I did see that. I might steal some of that from you!
     
  20. AtlCPA

    AtlCPA Active Member

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    the warranty issue is a tough one for me too. I'm looking to put into a wall and can't use one of their stands. I'm a little nervous to spend $3k and void the warranty right off the bat, but I'm not sure any other builders would honor their warranty if I have a stand built by my contractor.

    Looking forward to following along.
     
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