Soggy's 40 breeder build.

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SoggyNW

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So I've been meaning to get this posted for a while now but life has just been to busy. I've hardly been able to find the time to work on the actual build much less post a build thread. Unfortunately that means that some things I wanted to get everyone's opinion on are now set in stone. But there is still plenty to do so I'm going to get this thing off the ground and see where it goes.

A bit of back story. I've had a 12g cube master AIO set up for about 4 years, I started with that size because I was in an apartment and just forgot to go bigger when I bought my house. It's had it's ups and downs but been a pretty good little FOWLR tank. A few things recently have made me want to go bigger, 1) my 7month old son loves watching the one blue damsel (charlie) and I want to get a few more fish for him, 2)I want to try keeping some coral, I'm thinking softies and LPS. and 3) I was over at Petco for a bag of salt a few months ago and saw the 40b tanks on sale and away we go.

one other note. I'm in Wenatchee WA and all we have is a Petco. For anything saltwater that isn't petco I have to drive over 100 miles one way over a mountain range to get it in Western Washington. Also We have no local reef club and I haven't even found anyone in town who has a tank. I'm on my own.

This is what I'm upgrading from.

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It's a Cube Master 12g that I picked up at the thrift store for $10 the light is an ABI 12W tuna blue and I've got a tea jar siphon ATO on the apple box behind the plant. Inside I have about 10-15lb of live rock with a blue damsel fish and 2 hermit crabs.

I picked up the 40b from petco. and I have an old 20 gallon tall that I'm going to use as a sump. THe deal I made with my wife is that I would DIY everything I could to save money and she would get new floors in the house. I'm an electrician and have access to lots of scrap lumber so the first project was building a stand.

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the bead board on the front side of the stand is held on with magnets and comes completely off.

On a trip to Boise I stopped at a LFS and picked up a few things off their used shelf. a aquaC protein skimmer and an unnamed overflow/return combo that I've never seen before. 50$ for both which seemed like a no brainer.
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I added unistrut to the back of my stand for holding plumbing and mounting any future DIY lighting supports (eg EMT piping)

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Next I cut a single gang access through my wall into my garage where the sump will go. the sump will be sitting on the lowest level of a costco storage rack.
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I'm going to be temporarily using the 12w light in the beginning while I get the sump up and tuned, tank cycled, and all the other little doo dads that need to be finished.

Sand in and filling with RO water.

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I'm going to try something with the sump that I've never seen before so I'd like to here your opinions. I'm going to put he drain line/ filter sock and the return pump on the same side to save space. Because the AquaC is an external skimmer I can use the main chamber as a refugium while also a supply/return chamber for the skimmer.

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A funny side note. Check your water pressure before hooking your RO/DI up to the garden hose. I bought an RObuddi and it was working way faster than I thought it should filling my 5gal bucket in about an hour and a half. Then I noticed my hose was about to burst. Turns out the pressure reg on my house was installed after the front hose spigot and I as getting almost 130 PSI, well over the rating for my RObuddi. luckly I don't think It caused any damage and I now have a tune-able setup to hook it up to.

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This weekend I got everything moved over and re-homed in the 40. The live rock didn't go as far as I thought it would so I'll have to get more. I sprinkled a cup of the old sand into the new sand to get it seeded and there was a minor issue the sump that I need to sort before I add it into the loop but all in all I'm pretty happy with where it is.

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the upcoming to do list.

1) get the sump sumping
2) get protein skimmer skimming
3) monitor cycle (should be a quick mini cycle)
4) add live stock.

I've done all this work and I'm not really sure what I actually want to add for live stock. the wife wants a pair of clowns so that will happen. I've always wanted a dwarf angel which I'm told is probably a bad idea in this size tank. And other that that I'm thinking of getting mostly fish that will do a job. what fish do you guys think is most useful in this size tank? and where is the best place to get a cleanup crew?

and what light would you go with for up to LPS. I've been looking at the aquatic life edge wifi at 56watts but I'm not sure that would be enough juice.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NSBXLT...colid=1LM1YEBDTF7Y&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 
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Your son is going to love the upgrade! I bet he would love to watch like a diamond goby, or even a falco hawk. My falco hawk was one of our first fish and the kids thought he was playing hind and seek with them as they are full of personality. There are a lot of online retailers on here so you don’t have to drive so far and allow you to get better things then petco could dream to offer. For dry goods like equipment and food my personal go to is either bulkreefsupply.com or marinedepot.com but again there are plenty of others also with awesome products and prices. As for livestock I reefcleaners.org for clean up crew, and aquariumfishsale.com for fish. You will have a bunch of people giving you advise on online retailers I’m sure, you will just have to look at all the places and see who has what you want at the best price. Ya I know looking at fish stuff all day who would want to do that ;Hilarious;Hilarious;Hilarious
And welcome to R2R!!!
 
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Your son is going to love the upgrade! I bet he would love to watch like a diamond goby, or even a falco hawk. My falco hawk was one of our first fish and the kids thought he was playing hind and seek with them as they are full of personality. There are a lot of online retailers on here so you don’t have to drive so far and allow you to get better things then petco could dream to offer. For dry goods like equipment and food my personal go to is either bulkreefsupply.com or marinedepot.com but again there are plenty of others also with awesome products and prices. As for livestock I reefcleaners.org for clean up crew, and aquariumfishsale.com for fish. You will have a bunch of people giving you advise on online retailers I’m sure, you will just have to look at all the places and see who has what you want at the best price. Ya I know looking at fish stuff all day who would want to do that ;Hilarious;Hilarious;Hilarious
And welcome to R2R!!!

The diamond goby sounds awesome but will a 40 be big enough with enough sand to sift?

Reef cleaners looks great, I'll probably be putting in an order once I get the rest of my rock in. Can't wait to start adding cool stuff but we're gonna take it slow and drag out the fun as long as possible.
 
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Oh so another thing I just realized I left off my list is some sort of lid. I was using a piece of warped acrylic on the nano and it was ugly. I'm not a huge fan of the look of egg crate but it is adaptable for making all the overflows and cords fit. I like the look of window screen better but then how do you get your power cord through.

What is working well for you guys?
 

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The diamond goby sounds awesome but will a 40 be big enough with enough sand to sift?

Reef cleaners looks great, I'll probably be putting in an order once I get the rest of my rock in. Can't wait to start adding cool stuff but we're gonna take it slow and drag out the fun as long as possible.
As long as the diamond is the only sand sifter a 40 will be just fine. Years ago I had 2 in a 55 and they lived happily for 10 years as the only 2 sand shifters and my sand was always clean. Just a warning they will move your sand all over and make caves as that’s what they do in the wild. The one I have now in my 240 the kids named Trump as he builds a wall every night around his cave it’s pretty funny.
 
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Got the sump up and running today but ran into a snag with my overflow.

It's an overflow return combo unit. The return runs a siphon to pre the overflow and in theory should self prim by turning on the pump, in adit ion it has a siphon break that cuts off both part if the poet goes out.

The problem is that 1) my pump is under powered and not creating much suction for the siphon. and 2) the pump chamber is to small and runs out of water way before the system is primed.

To get it running I had to take water out of the display tank and overfill the sump so there was extra water to pump. Even then I had to move more water in the middle to keep the pump wet. I estimate that it took somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-7 gallon of water pumped to prime the siphon.

Has anyone else had this type of overflow. Will a bigger pump get the siphon going with less water or do I need to make a bigger pump chamber? As it is now if the power goes out for just a few seconds the siphon will break and the pump will go dry.
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@SoggyNW nice build! Soo far... Your son is gonna love the new friends (Charlie) is gonna get.. I have a vey similar set up that i'm working on also... (40 Gallon Breeder) I just drilled mine and still trying to figure the pump size I would like go with it... I think the clowns would workout really nice! a yellow watchman goby and tiger pistol shrimp.. I've never had luck with the diamond goby's.. I would go with maybe a pair of twin spot goby's.. they also sifting the sand and stay relatively on the smaller side... As per an angelfish a flameback would work best as they seem to be the smallest of the (reef safe) angels out there. I added pics of soo far where I’m at in my build as I'm waiting for petco to put a 20 gallon high on sale so I can build my sump.. Also if your looking for a light I have 165 viparspectra that I'm selling and can grow corals...
 
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@SoggyNW nice build! Soo far... Your son is gonna love the new friends (Charlie) is gonna get.. I have a vey similar set up that i'm working on also... (40 Gallon Breeder) I just drilled mine and still trying to figure the pump size I would like go with it... I think the clowns would workout really nice! a yellow watchman goby and tiger pistol shrimp.. I've never had luck with the diamond goby's.. I would go with maybe a pair of twin spot goby's.. they also sifting the sand and stay relatively on the smaller side... As per an angelfish a flameback would work best as they seem to be the smallest of the (reef safe) angels out there. I added pics of soo far where I at in my build as I'm waiting for petco to put a 20 gallon high on sale so I can build my sump.. Also if your looking for a light I have 165 viparspectra that I'm selling and can grow corals...

I tried to go the ultra cheap route with a cheap AC return pump and I regretted right away. My new philosophy on pumps/wavemakers is (1) go with DC (I see that Jebao controller on your wall :D) so you can adjust the flow. And (2) Figure out which pump is the right size for your tank and then go one step bigger. it never hurts to have a little more flow available just in case. and it the case of Jebao I think the next pump up is usually only $5-10 more. I'm replacing my ultra cheap Amazon pump (supposedly 500GPH) with a Jebao DCP-3000 and hopefully that will be the end of it.

The watchman goby, Pistol shrimp pair keeps coming up and I really like it. I think my stocking list is going to look something like this, in order of when they go in.

-Blue Damsel (because I already have him)

-Cleanup crew from reef cleaners

-Watchman Goby & shrimp

-A pair of clowns

-Lawnmower Blenny

-Maybe some sort of dwarf angel or wrass?
 

asting

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I tried to go the ultra cheap route with a cheap AC return pump and I regretted right away. My new philosophy on pumps/wavemakers is (1) go with DC (I see that Jebao controller on your wall :D) so you can adjust the flow. And (2) Figure out which pump is the right size for your tank and then go one step bigger. it never hurts to have a little more flow available just in case. and it the case of Jebao I think the next pump up is usually only $5-10 more. I'm replacing my ultra cheap Amazon pump (supposedly 500GPH) with a Jebao DCP-3000 and hopefully that will be the end of it.

The watchman goby, Pistol shrimp pair keeps coming up and I really like it. I think my stocking list is going to look something like this, in order of when they go in.

-Blue Damsel (because I already have him)

-Cleanup crew from reef cleaners

-Watchman Goby & shrimp

-A pair of clowns

-Lawnmower Blenny

-Maybe some sort of dwarf angel or wrass?
Get a mccoskers or possums wrasse!
 
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SoggyNW

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Well I think I'm being punished by the Aquarium Gods. I got my new Jebao DCP-3000 installed and it''s exactly what I needed. Running it at about 65% was the sweet spot for my overflow.

Enter last night when I went to try to adjust it but I find the controller sitting in a pool of water under my stand. The 2nd hand overflow/return combo I picked up cheap was leaking at the return barb. Upon closeer inspection their is a small indent in the plastic that might be causing a seal issue. The bigger issue though is that it looks like there is a weak spot forming if it hasn't already developed a hairline crack.

All these things really make me wish I'd had the aquarium drilled for propper plumbing in the first place.

So I figure I have 2 options..

1. I can buy another overflow and return and hope I don't run into any trouble with it. I'm leary of loosing siphon, this unit I have is self priming and it worked super well. I haven't found anything else that is as fool proof.

2. I can move everything into the sump, breakdown this tank and have it drilled. This seems like a lot of work and I don't have much free time as it is. If I can keep the fish and rock in the sump is it ok to just keep the sand in a bucket till I'm ready to go again?

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anew2thereef

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@SoggyNW I'm sorry to hear you hit a snag on the build, as we all know time is something we can't get back. I would definitely recommend drilling the tank. I would add a https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/eclipse-s-overflow-box-600-gph-eshopps.html as I also have one and the footprint is prefect for this size tank. Just remember before drilling tank make sure your gonna love where the overflow box is gonna go and your return line is gonna be. Set up I told you about comes with everything you are going to need to add the over flow box to the tank your gonna need, as bit for the return depending on the size you would like to go. I'd say 35mm which would fit a 3/4 bulk head. (Tip: just remember to put the eshopps template on the inside of the tank when you drill, as if you was to put it on the outside of the tank the overflow box would sit a little lower and so would the water.) I think (Charlie) should be fine until you drill the tank if that's the route you are going to go.... Sand I believe as long it’s heated, should be fine in a bucket with water.. if not let it die out and add some fritz to start back up...
 
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SoggyNW

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Well I'm back at it. The deal I made with the wife was I would keep the cost down. I would love to have a drilled overflow but in the spirit of keeping this inexpensive I decided to try a did fix to get up and running.

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So the leak I had was caused by the hose barb being deformed. The part I found that fixed this was a 1/2 in liquid tight conduit connector. The way the piece is designed the inner and outer sleeve fit in and around the barb like a glove, add a little silicone and it is solid as a rock. After the adapter I had to use a female adapter to attach the new barb and voila were back in business.

I also found an old add on overflow that I bought for my nano cube. It fits this this setup perfectly and now my surface is getting skimmed correctly.

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Lastly I ordered 40# of dry rock. I need to pressure wash the sand out of the holes and then I'll get it into buckets to cure for a few weeks.
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Next if getting my skimmer up and running. I've got a few weeks off work so we'll see how much we can get done.
 
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SoggyNW

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OK it's been a while but I'm still at it. I've been down for a few weeks after having my tonsils out. It's a booger in your 30s but I managed to get around and get a few things done.

First I got my skimmer up and skimming. I picked it up SUPER cheap and was afraid it was busted in some way I couldn't see. But it's up and making skim so score one for the budget.

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After the skimmer I got my aqua scape figured out. I let the dry rock soak in the water I was changing out of my tank. I watched it for a week and saw a tiny ammonia spike and then nothing so into the tank it goes.

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Next the wife wanted a "Nemo". She's been a real good sport about all the money mess, and I wanted one anyway. Apparently $20 for a 1" fish is insane so we only got one, I tried to talk her into a pair but she didn't want to...at first. Once he was in the tank, terrified by of Charlie the damsel (who was actually very well behaved) the wife decided that he does need a friend and I wenthink back and got a 2nd. She named them Molly and Ollie.

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Last. For my birthday the wife got me a Viparspectra 300w. Omgbbq this thing is bigger, brighter, and heavier than I was thinking it would be. My plan was to hang it with an DIY EMT hanging bracket but the weight made me question if the screws I used on the strut would hold. My solution was to install a 3rd piece of strut lower to cut down on the leverage that woud be exerted. As an added measure of safety I used through bolts.

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I thought 3/4 emt would be plenty strong but the fixture is heavy enough to cause the sag you can see in the picture (about 1" at the far end). It's in no danger of breaking but I'm either going to step up to 1" or bend the 3/4 up to compensate.

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So now a few questions for all of you.

1) I haven't gotten a CuC yet because i have very little algae. No green, just a little brown here and there. Should I wait to add them till their is more for them to eat, or just suplement their diet?

2) Corals. I want to start adding a few sofies and lps. Will they tolerate a system in this shape or should I hold off till the rock matures etc.

3) I have my light set to 55% blue 20% white. I'm wondering what others with a Black box over a 40 are running.

That's it for now. Thanks.
 
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SoggyNW

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Continue to let the rock mature before you add any coral.

I think you would be good adding 2x astrea snails and 1x hermit. Be sure to add some emtpy shells for the hermit to move into if he desires.

I ctually have one hermit that is the sole survivor of the previous tanks cleanup crew. He's pretty happy, lots of shells to choose from.

My problem with picking up a few snails here and there is that all I have within 100 miles of me is a Petco. There stuff has been looking a lot better lately and I did get my clowns from them but I'm trying to stay away from their inverse because I've spotted what I think are aptasia on the shells of a few snails.

I was thinking of getting a half size crew from reef cleaners. I'm just not sure when to do it. I'd hate having the crew starve.
 
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I do love a good 40br build! best bank for your buck tanks out there.

I am concerned with the sump in the garage. what about temp swings might be tons in heating in the winter and to hot in the summer? I am sure you have thought about that tho.
also what about "stuff" getting in there we ll know how that can easily happen.
 
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I do love a good 40br build! best bank for your buck tanks out there.

I am concerned with the sump in the garage. what about temp swings might be tons in heating in the winter and to hot in the summer? I am sure you have thought about that tho.
also what about "stuff" getting in there we ll know how that can easily happen.

Nope totally agree, the garage might pose a problem down the road. The garage is heated in the winter. Nothing crazy but I think the heater should be able to keep up fine. If not I might try bulding an insulated compartment for it. Summer, so far we have hit the high 90s a couple days and it hasn't affected the temperature that I have noticed. The garage doesn't heat up much more than 80. The room I keep the tank in is usually in the low 70s. The plan for the immediate future is to keep an eye on it during extreme heat days either use ice packs or kill the return pump if it starts going to high.

As for stuff getting into the sump. I hadn't given that much thought. The sump is on the ground level shelf of a Costco storage rack. The sump sits back a ways from edges for protection. Next level up is aquarium supplies. above that is food storage. Nothing the would be toxic to the tank. I suppose dust could get in but I do anything dusty dirty outside to avoid the cleanup.

Definitely things that I might need to revisit though. They were originally on my radar but with everything working correctly for the moment I put it out of my mind and moved on. Honestly the whole setup has to much shoe string and bubble gum. I think the next step might be to clean up a few of the more haphazard elements and try to bullet proof a bit better.
 
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