Soilworker's Red Sea Reefer 625 G2
System Volume: 164g
BackgroundMy first reef tank was over 12 years ago. I had a small 10 gallon reef tank in college that did alright but it was just far too small to be successful and I eventually tore it down but it got me hooked. I've always wanted to get back into the hobby and get a large tank. Finally I got a house that I plan on staying in for many years so now felt like the right time get started again and could afford to do it right. That bring me here, to my first "dream" tank: the Red Sea Reefer 625 G2.
- HNSA focused aquascape
- SPS dominant tank with some LPS and ricordea
- High biodiversity (trying to achieve this through partial live rock and live sand)
- Stable system that is largely automated (water changes automated, auto top off container auto fills, dosing/testing automated where possible)
- Red Sea Reefer 625 G2
- Red Sea 60cm Slide Out Panel
- ClearView Pisces EXO Screen Lid
- Neptune COR-20 Return Pump
- 4x Ecotech Vortech MP40
- Tunze Osmolator 3155 ATO
- Red Sea Reefer Skimmer 600
- Red Sea ReefMat 1200
- 2x Ecotech Radion XR30 G5 Blue
- 2x Ecotech RMS XR30 Mount
- AquaI illumination Prime Fuge Light
- Aqua Illumination Tank Mount
- Neptune Apex
- BRS 600W Heater System
- 150lbs Marco Rock
- 6 medium foundation marco rock
Automated Water Changes
- Neptune DOS
- Flow Lok leak detectors
- Neptune Leak Detection Kit
- Neptune FMM (Fluid Monitoring Module)
- 2x Neptune SV-1 Solenoid Valve
- 4x Neptune OS-1-M Optical Sensor
- BRS 6 stage RO\DI system with drinking water bypass
Getting StartedI placed an order for all my gear at a LFS and this happened to be for the older 625XXL model. This was back at the beginning of April. After waiting over a month of waiting I called the store and found out they weren't going to be making the 625XXL anymore so I switched to getting the 625 G2 instead.
Live RockAround the time I ordered the tank I also ordered my live rock and sand. From Tampa Bay Saltwater (@LiverockRocks) I ordered:
- 30# of base live rock
- 30# of premium live rock
- 75# of live sand
This arrived overnight with only one package slightly damaged but everything looked good and smelled just like the ocean:
There were quite a few hitchhikers I had on the rock but nothing too astonishing: sponges (all those died), snails, hermits, some clear flatworm things, bristleworms, decorator crab (didn't make it as far as I can tell), some other small crabs.
Overall beautiful looking rock and I'm very happy with my purchase.
Live Rock CyclingThe live rock and sand cycled for a total of 2.5 months before going into the tank.
I started off by putting the live rock and sand in a large cooler I had. I only had my AI Fuge light so that's what's lighting it and why it looks so red.
After chatting with the lovely people over at Tampa Bay Saltwater I found out this was not the right approach. The helped guide me to a better setup to get this live rock cared for an I ended up with:
- 100 gallon Rubbermaid Tote with insulation around it (it was cold when I started...probably not necessary looking back on it)
- 600w titanium heater
- 2 Vortech MP40 powerheads
- Tunze Auto Top Off
- Plastic strainer basket with Chaeto
- Reefer 600 Skimmer (I had to build a platform with PVC and egg crate to get it at the right height)
Overkiling the Floor SupportThe joists on my floor were running parallel to the tank and really only one joist was supporting the whole tank which I estimated at 2500 lbs (assuming two people or so looking at the tank). Floors are rated for an average of 40 lbs per square foot, this would be around 250 lbs per square foot (5'x2' for tank).
Here was the plan:
- Two 5.5ft long 2x6s sandwiched together with Liquid Nails and screws. (Two of these)
- One directly on the joist
- One about 6 inches out from the wall against the subfloor.
- 5x 18k lb Jack Posts (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Tiger-Brand-Super-S-Series-36-in-Jack-Post-J-S-36/100041510)
Close up of the jack post plate screwed onto the support beam. Had to use washers since the screws I had had too small of a head for the hole in the plate.
Installation was a bit annoying since my crawlspace is a true crawlspace and it was hard to move around down there. Another problem I faced was that the jack posts only came in at 12"-15" or 19"-36" and I needed about 17" of space for jack posts under the joists so I had to dig out some dirt to make them fit and making them level and square took some work.
I used some galvanized hanger straps to lift up the supports so I could position them in the right spot and get the jack posts underneath without having to hold the support beam up:
Final product (without the floor insulation back in)
Minor Electrical UpgradeI replaced the outlet I'd be using for the tank with a GFCI and Arc Fault protected outlet:
Cabinet AssemblyCabinet parts:
Poor image of the cabinet assembly in progress:
Sump put in place, also had a three friends help move the tank in. It was heavy but super easy with four people total and some glass suction. Didnt get a picture of that but you can see the tank on top here:
Overall this went pretty smooth without any hiccups. Hardest part was leveling the tank. Having 16 adjustable feet is nice since it distributes the weight but takes a lot of tweaking to get it perfectly level.
Sump and Plumbing InstallationPlumbing installed. I ended up mistakenly switching the emergency overflow and the regular overflow pipes in the overflow chamber. Red Sea's installation manual for the Reefer 625 is pretty bad. Its only pictures, they swtich perspectives, nothing is explained in depth. You have to determine essential steps by close examination of the pictures. Something they could definitely improve.
Starting to fill it up water!
Utility Cabinet and Slide-out panel setupI installed a network rack power switch so I'd have a convenient place for power and the ability to switch things on and off. I bought a 1 space rack kit off Amazon and screwed it into the side. The power switch is the Pyle 9 switch one. I liked it since it had 14 gauge wires...too many of the cheap Amazon ones only have 16 gauge wire.
Led lights so I have light to work inside the cabinet, here's the smaller right side cabinet. These are 1ft LED light strips.
Left side (I was going to do 3 of these but for some reason the connectors were mismatched on the 2 sets I bought so I had to settle for 2):
Slide out panel plan:
Slide out panel installed and setup:
A complete mess of cables. The power bricks for the various devices are velcroed to the top of the cabinet so they are out the way. You can also see in the picture the cable organizer mounts I screwed in with 3/4" screws:
Cables cleaned up a little bit better:
The heater and one of the MP40 controllers wouldn't reach the slide out panel so I just moved them to the left side:
HNSA AquascapingInspired by the BRS videos on HNSA I tried to create my own reasonable HSNA.
- 150lbs of Marco Rock
- 6 medium foundation Marco Rock
- 2 large foundation Marco Rock
- 4 small foundation Marco Rock
- 2x 16oz Thick (1500 CPS) Glue Master Super Glue <<< This stuff is AMAZING. Dries clear, holds strong, flows nicely
- 1x 16oz Ultra Thing (05 CPS) Glue Masters Super Glue
- ~20 tubes of Instant Ocean HoldFast Epoxy <<< This was the cheapest option (via Amazon) and dries almost white with a slight green tint. Definitely recommend!
- 8 bottles of Bob Smith Insta-set Super Glue Accelerator <<< Amazing stuff, get this!
- 1x fiberglass orange rod. The ones you get at Lowes\Home Depot for marking driveways for snow.
- This was used to hold the live rock together
- 3/8" masonry bit for drilling live rock
Dry Rock Aquascaping Steps
- Build PVC frame to outline the tank
- Break up all the rock with a sledgehammer and chisel into fist size bits...you get smaller and bigger pieces as well.
- Start with a foundation rock, add rocks, glue them with superglue.
- Add epoxy for weak points or supporting structures.
- Press a rock against the epoxy while pliable to give a texture to it.
- Once all dry, use the thin superglue on the epoxy and throw marco rock dust on it to hide it
- Repeat until happy or tired of glueing rocks together
Live Rock Aquascaping Steps
- Take a two pieces out of the cycling tank
- Figure out how I wanted them positioned
- Drill a 3/8" hole in both rocks in the appropriate spots
- Spray the holes heavily with instaset and fill the holes with thick superglue
- Coat a appropriate length of fiberglass rod with superglue and insert it into one of rocks.
- Shimmy the other rock onto the other end of the fiberglass rod.
- Spray heavily with instaset.
- Quickly return to the cycling tank.
- Repeat steps 1-8 until happy with the aquascape.
Final Result in the tankThe pictures don't really do it justice. There's a lot more overhangs, ledges, caves, etc that you can't see. I'll post of video of it to better show it off
You can see my two little clownfish here. This was after the tank had already cycled and all parameters were good. For some reason they didn't make it, everything looked solid so I'm not sure what happened here but they didnt make it more than 12 hours. The filefish I got at the same time is still doing great and is happy and eating and picking at the live rock.
Current State (6/23/2022)
Skimmer is still up on a marinepure block from when it was still overflowing. Could probably be moved to a different spot at this point.