Slow and steady build thread

Creggers

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Hello Reef2Reef!

Always going to keep this top post updated with current images, but head to the last page to see my writeup on what I've been up to!

**Original post and some background**

I'm a long time lurker, first time poster. Before I get into anything I want to thank the community for making this hobby so approachable. I built up a Pico reef tank and was far too shy to put together a build thread at the time, but I can say I leveraged all of your experience and posts to create a healthy little tank built in an imaginarium 3.7 gallon AIO.

Now that I've had a taste of the hobby, and ran out of room in my tank for additional frags, I'm looking into building a much larger setup in my basement. I have enough room for literally any size tank I could want. At this point I'm very early on, but I thought it'd be fun to document along the way, explaining any decisions I make as well as looking for input from you as well :).


Almost NYE Video update! 12/30/20:)



 
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Reef Chasers Aquaculture

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Mastiffsrule

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Well hello @Creggers

If you can run a successful pico a larger tank will be no problem. I would go used, just takes patience. Members here have founds some great tanks at great prices. I would try to get a larger tank if possible, a 125 will give 6’ of swimming and a 40 breeder has nice dimensions. 55‘s are great but they are a bit short and thin.

I wouldn’t worry about the apex for a while. I would invest that money in the lights. If you can get more light than you need. It is easier to dial down a light than have to buy more lights liter if you end up upgrading the tank later.

I have not tried out the roller systems so not sure how they work. If you do get a standard sump, the socks don’t mean hassle. They have mesh socks that are less maintenance and can be rinsed quicker. There are also media cups that can be filled with floss or bonded pad. So lots of options.

Keep us updated and #WelcometoR2R
 

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Welcome to R2R and thanks for taking the time to start and share your journey with us. To echo my friend @Mastiffsrule if you accomplished running a pico, you shouldn't have any problems with a larger tank. A used 6' would be a great choice if you can find one.

I'd like to suggest making a post in the Meet & Greet forum so the group can offer a proper welcome.

Looking forward to following your eventual build.
 

SPR1968

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Sounds like a great plan and just remember we needs lots of pictures!

Welcome to R2R as well!
 
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Creggers

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Alright - so I'm going to start this post off with an apology... I don't have any of the proper filters for my DSLR and I don't feel like hopping in lightroom right now to edit these photos of my Pico so PLEASE accept these in the meantime while I wait for my new iphone / proper filters for my DSLR :)! I also noticed overnight that my pistol shrimp decided it was time for some renovations, and in the process one of my rocks moved a good amount. I opted out of re-arranging my aquascape as I try to only do one thing at a time, I plan on gluing down one of my frags and will undo his renovation when I'm in there.

Just got done with my weekly water change, after testing my levels I may need to consider dosing a little bit of 2 part on Friday to keep KH and CA where they need to be... My KH was down at 7 and my calcium dropped to 400. Noticing a lot of growth on my birdsnest which is nice, Zoas looking healthy and euphilia plump (in these photos a little retracted cause I feed prior to water changes). Still struggling a little with my montipora, and honestly it's probably getting way too much light so it's probably going to get moved next week if it doesn't perk up.

Also got my RODI setup, I ended up going with the Aquaticlife RODI setup off amazon. My main thought process behind this choice was the fact that I already have a whole home water filtration setup and my TDS of my tap is 169. After testing my water pressure it looks like I get right around 50 PSI, so hopefully I'm able to produce an acceptable amount of water. I'm currently flushing the unit now - once that's complete i'll time out how long it takes to make 5 gallons of RODI water. Once I can figure out my production, I'll settle on a tank size.

Pico tank: (Polyps not all open recent feeding / water change) Photo does no justice to the birdsnest - they're a beautiful green! I promise next update I'll take a better picture, but I know photos are the reason people come to these threads so I at least wanted to include something... The tank looks considerably better than this picture does justice :(
1CM_5025.JPG


Here's the space where my new tank will be - I've got a lot of clearing out to do as we've been using this area of the basement as the "I don't feel like finding a good place for this" area so this week I'll be doing some organizing. The nice thing is I'll get very little sunlight so overall I shouldn't have too much algae and I should be able to really control the light schedule :)! I do not have a sink, but I do have a waste water pipe that I can use for water changes and my RODI setup. Once things are cleaned up I plan on mounting it behind the washer / dryer and making water right by my tank!
1CM_5010.JPG
 
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Creggers

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RODI test complete! After flushing the unit I set it up on my garden hose which was the furthest faucet from my main line. I anticipated very slow water production but to my surprise the bucket was overflowing after 1 hour 45 minutes. I'm thinking I produce about 5 gallons per 1.5 hours, so in a day I think it'd produce around 80 gallons!

With this being said, knowing that I can quickly generate enough water for a 10% water change of a 100 gallon tank in about 3 hours with no water on hand, I think I'm comfortable to look at setups of this size and up. I'll be looking to clear up the space and maybe even buy the tank by this weekend if something pops up that catches my eye. I'm in the Baltimore area and willing to drive about 2 hours one way to pick something up, so if any of you are or know someone breaking down a tank preferably with internal overflow... let me know!
 
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So I pulled the trigger on a tank today - I was able to find a Marineland corner flow 75 gallon for $260 at a LFS. I'll be picking it up tomorrow! Big thanks to chipmunkofdoom2 for turning me onto thatfishplace.. ended up having better prices than the used market.

Ended up going this route mainly because 48 x 18 is more than enough real estate for the kind of aquascape I'd like to create. A 90 and some of the 125s I was looking at were just taller, which honestly makes lighting & cleaning more of a PITA. After going back and forth between a four foot and a 5 foot tank, I concluded that a the end of the day, the extra foot would increase cost in a way that I wasn't comfortable with.

In other news, I ordered some proper macro lenses to get some shots of the PICO tank, so I should be able to post some much better photos in the coming days. Excited to show that I'm not a complete noob, and have some nice growth going on in there.

Once I get the tank in I'll start planning out the stand, sump, and plumbing. I'm still up int he air about the sump, leaning more and more towards designing my own so that I can have a large area for rubble & nutrient export. I am most likely going with a 50% live rock from KP, so I'd like to have a place I can stow any of the hitch-hikers that I don't intend on keeping in display.

Cleaning out the basement area tonight and will probably draw up some plans for my stand. Next update will include the stand plans, any progress on the sump, and some photos of the pico!
 
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So today was a big day... Tank has been picked up after about three hours of driving. Absolutely worth the trip as thatpetplace is absolutely amazing. I anticipate getting some of my livestock there in the future.

As of right now I've cleared the space for the tank - here's an idea of what the space looks like
IMG_7790.jpg

It's nice and close to the waste water drain, and the wall is shiplap unlike the rest of the basement so I'll be able to mount my RODI unit there.
IMG_7791.jpg

Here's the tank in my back seat... Unfortunately I need to wait for someone who's able to help me bring it inside. I'm a little concerned cause it's sitting in a car on a 90* day, but I assume it's shipped if far worse conditions so hopefully it doesn't cause any issues.
IMG_7794.jpg

I also thought I'd give an update on the Pico since I finally got my macro lenses... I still need to play around with it a bit but overall I'm getting used to it for sure. I purchased a gooseneck for my tuna blue light because I FINALLY found a controllable heater

Here's a much better full tank shot
IMG_7795.jpg

My green birdsnest that is growing like a weed
IMG_7797.jpg

Some Zoas:cool:
IMG_7798.jpg

And finally a stylo that I haven't been able to find a good place for, it's starting to look a bit happier and the bleaching is starting to fade. Gonna give it a bit longer before I glue it down. Missing some of the bushiness that I normally observe on other specimens but I think that's just cause it hates my tank.
IMG_7799.jpg


Currently in the process of battling a Dino outbreak - since I don't have any fish and only a pistol shrimp, my Phosphates are pegged at zero and my nitrate is generally pretty low. I ordered some neophos and I'm going to hold off on water changes and dose two part to keep everything else in line.

That's it for now - next update will probably be a bit Pico (update on the dinos) and some news about stands and sumps. Really excited to get moving along and seeing this come together.

I've been emailing back and forth with KP Aquatics, going to get all of rock from him, 30lbs live and 35-40lbs dry. Once I get the sump and everything plumbed up, I intend to purchase the dry rock and get a mini-cycle going with some Dr. Tims and ammonia. Once it's moving I'll order the live rocks fully submerged, so I can avoid as much die off as possible.

One last picture to add, Luna my pitbull that me and my girlfriend affectionately call "dino." I've been yelling at the Dinos in my pico and the poor dog thinks she's in trouble o_O
61741056449--83F1672D-545A-454A-94A6-0A77415F3383.JPG
 
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Stands (almost) done! Since this tank is in the basement and not for anyone other than me, I'm not finishing the outside of the stand at this time. Long term, we're going to make the basement into extended living space, at that point I'll finish the outside of the stand with plywood or shiplap to liven it up. So excuse the naked design, but it'll make wiring / plumbing a lot easier. I also picked up a 20 - long at the petco dollar per gallon sale.

I've gotta put in the bottom shelf for the sump still - but this gives you a good idea of what it'll look like.

IMG-7872.jpg


I also got super lucky with my plumbing - I built the stand without remembering that I have to drill for the internal overflow, ended up having just enough room to get the bulkheads through without hitting the 4x4 I used for legs.


IMG-7873.jpg


In other news, I put in an order at KP aquatics for Dry Rock - I got 10lbs of shelf rock and 25lbs of regular rock. My plan is to set up the rockscape and get a cycle going prior to making my 50lb order of live rock from KP aquatics. I'm having the live rock shipped fully submerged, so I'd like to get a cycle established to avoid as much die off as possible.

I've also selected my pump - I ended up going with the maxspect jump 6k. Ordered it from BRS... spent so much time reading and watching their videos they've earned all of my business for new items.

Next up on the docket is to pick up the protein skimmer, which I will probably be ordering in the next two weeks. I'm going RedSea RSK-300, as I've been really impressed with the reviews I've seen.

I'm leaning towards the Triton method for nutrient export, I like the idea of getting my water chemistry as close to true seawater as possible. It's all going to depend on getting my sump together and if I can make a section for macro alage big enough for the method to work. I'll be picking up glass from home depot here pretty soon to make baffles, so we'll see how everything measures out.

That's it for now. Spacing out purchasing various components has allowed me to do a lot of research and make sure I get the right part first. It's hard to hold off on firing up the credit card and just buying everything at once, but at the end of the day the builds really coming together and I'm happy with the direction I'm taking :)
 
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So I got some goodies in the mail ! KP aquatics and a package from Bulk Reef Supply!

Finally got a pump so I can complete my plumbing, ended up going with the maxspect jump 6k. I loved the fact that I could use the wave settings to get some more random flow patterns in the tank.
1597024778672.png

1597025165120.png


I've never been so excited for a box of rocks in my life. My KP Aquatics order of their 'dead' rock came as well! I ended up getting my dry rock through KP as I will eventually be getting live rock through them as well. Really happy with the packaging and overall ascetics of the rocks and easy to stack and aquascape. The only thing I will say is these rocks are heavy, they're very porous and have lots of great places to anchor coral down.
1597025238117.png


I put together a rough aquascape and filled it up with some tapwater to make sure we were leak-free.

1597025923721.png


I intend to keep this general scape after I get the remaining live rocks from KP. I'm sure it'll change a bit, but I want a shelf with overhang on the left, and a nice peak as well. I want to keep SPS and eventually Arcos on the peaks, with LPS working downwards. The rock on the right will most likely be either softies / zoanthids.

Working through some issues with my overflow - need to drill slightly larger holes on the Durso to avoid the toilet flush effect. That's all for now... I said slow and steady :)
 
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So I'm editing my original post to include a timeline of my plans over the next month or so to get the setup phase of the tank completed. I just picked up three new pieces of equipment from folks on R2R. I've got a Vortech MP40 pump on its way from Florida thanks to @Reef Pro. Great prices over in the FS thread and I plan on picking up some frags from them in the future :)

Also found a local reefer @tho who happens to be selling both the heaters & skimmer I'll be using, both basically new so I'm able to save a few bucks and get the exact equipment I need :).

The only piece of equipment I'm still trying to get sorted is my lighting. At this point I can only definitively say that I'm going LED.

That's it for now - sorry for the lack of pictures here but there's not a whole lot to see :). This is helping me keep on track more than anything else right now... I promise it'll get more exciting soon!

NotesTimeframe
Aquascape SecuredFinalize and Glue pieces, set in tank8/16
Pickup heater & SkimmerMonday?8/16
Complete SumpCheck seals / Egg Crate / Skimmer / Heater8/16
Complete PlumbingMeasure / Cut / Glue8/16
Rinse Sand / Add30lbs Caribsea Arganite8/16
Fill with RODI H208/16
Final test https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/sumps-the-rundown.271381/8/16
Establish FlowVortex MP40QD install8/16
Mix SaltRed Sea Reef Complete8/30
Add 20lbs 'live sand'Caribsea pink8/30
Order Inkbird8/30
Start CycleDR. Tims / bio in a bottle / ¿coraline in a bottle?8/30
LightingTBD8/30
Order KP live rockSend email to determine how much9/6
FugeLighting & Algae Barn shopping spree 9/16
Rent Par MeterLocal reefers?9/6
APEXEL9/13
 
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Think this is where I've landed in terms of the Dry Rock layout

I'm planning on ordering 35lbs of live rock from KP aquatics early September - considering I already placed an order for 35lbs of dry, I anticipate the amount of rock in my display to double from where it's at now. I still need to find a reliable way to secure the base rock shown here prior to getting it wet in the coming days. The plan is to build the left side up about another 5 inches or so, and get the right side to around the same height as the left is now. I'd like to leave space between the two as of right now but who knows what I'll end up doing when I see the LR.

IMG-7964.jpg


Closeup of the left pile layout


IMG-7965.jpg


Softy island (this will change a lot lol)
IMG-7966.jpg
 
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Tiny update and some setbacks... I order a MP40QD that got lost in the mail. Fedex has been an absolute nightmare in Baltimore so I guess this is to be expected. Hopefully there's a solution here shortly as I planned on using that pump to mix my salt. Worst case I'll end up having to pick up some cheaper pumps to get things mixed.

I've got the tank fully filled with RODI water and most of the sandbed in. I'll be adding another 20 lbs of caribsea live sand once my salt is mixed. I also picked up a ReefBreeders 48v2 light off Facebook market place for an absolute steal. At this point getting flow established is the last thing I need to do before the tank gets interesting!
IMG-8014.jpg


Sump is set up as well, only thing missing is the fuge light and finalizing the wiring. Side note - god bless the reverse durso as it cuts the bubbling and splashing in the sump to next to nothing. Only change is I may increase the size of the pipeing to cut it down even more.
IMG-8015.jpg
 

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Hello Reef2Reef!

**Original post and some background**

I'm a long time lurker, first time poster. Before I get into anything I want to thank the community for making this hobby so approachable. I built up a Pico reef tank and was far too shy to put together a build thread at the time, but I can say I leveraged all of your experience and posts to create a healthy little tank built in an imaginarium 3.7 gallon AIO.

Now that I've had a taste of the hobby, and ran out of room in my tank for additional frags, I'm looking into building a much larger setup in my basement. I have enough room for literally any size tank I could want. At this point I'm very early on, but I thought it'd be fun to document along the way, explaining any decisions I make as well as looking for input from you as well :).


8/16 update - Timeline for finishing initial build and Current Aquascape:

Think this is where I've landed in terms of the Dry Rock layout

Closeup of the left pile layout

Softy island (this will change a lot lol)



NotesTimeframe
Aquascape SecuredFinalize and Glue peices, set in tank8/16
Pickup heater & SkimmerMonday?8/16
Complete SumpCheck seals / Egg Crate / Skimmer / Heater8/16
Complete PlumbingMeasure / Cut / Glue8/16
Rinse Sand / Add30lbs Caribsea Arganite8/16
Fill with RODI H208/16
Final testhttps://www.reef2reef.com/threads/sumps-the-rundown.271381/8/16
Establish FlowVortex MP40QD install8/16
Mix SaltRed Sea Reef Complete8/30
Add 20lbs 'live sand'Caribsea pink8/30
Order Inkbird8/30
Start CycleDR. Tims / bio in a bottle / ¿coraline in a bottle?8/30
LightingTBD8/30
Order KP live rockSend email to determine how much9/6
FugeLighting & Algae Barn shopping spree9/16
Rent Par MeterLocal reefers <39/6
APEXEL9/13

Sorry for the late welcome! Glad to have you here!
 
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