Tight quarters 55 gallon reef tank build

AquaCave

SharkRacer

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Hello all!

I’m been bit by the fish bug and so excited to be building my first reef tank.

While eventually I hope to do a 120 or 180 gallon, for now I am constrained to a few very specific parameters (by my wife).

I can only use the location pictured and since I am a bit concerned about the size and weight, I’m committed to a 55 gallon. I am well aware this is less than ideal, but I’m going to make the most of it and try my best to enjoy all the challenges that this situation brings.

I currently have:

55 gallon tank
Tidal 75
45 lbs Instant Ocean Salt
(2) 150w heaters
A friend who is an reef expert and is hooking me up with RODI water, some lights and maybe some live rock

My “to buy” list:

Powerheads
Sand
Nano skimmer (maybe)

my “to do” list:

move the outlet up ~20”
Build an overhang/hood
*Waterproof the area behind the tank (this is my biggest project)

My current thoughts on waterproofing is to create a full liner for the area out of one long sheet or thin plastic/acrylic material, bending/creasing it to wrap around inside the bookshelf walls, and perfectly cut out notches to fit the base and rim of the tank. The tank is such a tight fit that this would be necessary for both the tank and plastic to fit. I’d then run silicon around all the seams, essentially sealing the entire tank into this location.

If anyone has ideas or suggestions on how I might go about this I would love to hear your thoughts!

IMG_4373.jpeg IMG_4374.jpeg IMG_4375.jpeg IMG_4384.jpeg IMG_4387.jpeg IMG_4354.jpeg
 
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www.dinkinsaquaticgardens.com
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SharkRacer

SharkRacer

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Making progress! After getting a quote for $450 to move an outlet and convert to GFCI, it took matters into my own hands and made a great discovery.

For $37/m you can sign up for JustAnswer and have a text message conversation with a trained electrician to answer any questions you have.

I’ve never used it before but was super happy with the results. The guy helped me identify the line and load wires and walked me through some concerns I had.

Now my power source will be well above the top of the tank mostly out of harms way!
 

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Tenecor AIO Conversion Kits Now Available!
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SharkRacer

SharkRacer

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Huge progress over the past couple weeks!
- Patched the old outlet hole
- Painted the backsplash with Marine Blue semi gloss enamel waterproof paint
- Sealed the countertop edges with clear silicon
- Painted the tank back and sides with satin black Rustoleum enamel paint (3 coats)
- Installed shelf supports and a sliding wood hood to hang the lights
- Bolstered the cabinets for extra weight bearing underneath where the base meets the floor with shims, metal brackets and sections of 2x3 (this was a huge undertaking as I had to first cut access panels underneath the drawers)

In a couple of these pics I temporarily put in place the hood front, still need to mount it and paint the hood shelf white
 

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Drewe

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Making progress! After getting a quote for $450 to move an outlet and convert to GFCI, it took matters into my own hands and made a great discovery.

For $37/m you can sign up for JustAnswer and have a text message conversation with a trained electrician to answer any questions you have.

I’ve never used it before but was super happy with the results. The guy helped me identify the line and load wires and walked me through some concerns I had.

Now my power source will be well above the top of the tank mostly out of harms way!
You are a brave man! Looks good!
 
AS
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED bar

jonny4ever

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Not for now. I am just using a HOB Tidal75 and loads of live rock for filtration. Perhaps I'll add a small skimmer too.
I had a tidal 110 on a 40 breeder. That 75 will be fine, I would get a tunze 9004 skimmer for that tank. My 40 breeder now has a sump but even then I’m still using a tunze 9001 from a 20g nano I have and it’s doing its job. A breeder comes at 45g and ain’t much smaller than a 55g. So I should have nearly the same water volume you will have, I know this cause I had a 55g and gave it away and got a 40 breeder. Those tunze skimmers really are work horses, I don’t even feel the need to upgrade to a bigger one just yet so a 9004 will be good. Even if you were to get a 75G imo. Rather have a small skimmer that always works than a big one that needs more touching and works sometimes
 
World Wide Corals
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SharkRacer

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I had a tidal 110 on a 40 breeder. That 75 will be fine, I would get a tunze 9004 skimmer for that tank. My 40 breeder now has a sump but even then I’m still using a tunze 9001 from a 20g nano I have and it’s doing its job. A breeder comes at 45g and ain’t much smaller than a 55g. So I should have nearly the same water volume you will have, I know this cause I had a 55g and gave it away and got a 40 breeder. Those tunze skimmers really are work horses, I don’t even feel the need to upgrade to a bigger one just yet so a 9004 will be good. Even if you were to get a 75G imo. Rather have a small skimmer that always works than a big one that needs more touching and works sometimes
Thanks for the tip @jonny4ever ! I've been looking at a few small skimmers and this looks like a good one.
 
World Wide Corals
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SharkRacer

SharkRacer

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Shelf painted and lights installed!
 

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907_Reefer

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Great work! I'm just starting my second 55 gallon build (neither with sump, both live rock w/skimmer). First one worked really well, hoping the same for round 2. I'm also hoping to move to a bigger tank on the next round, but I find the 55 to be a good compromise for us currently. Have some pics of my old 55 gal in my current build thread.

How much live rock are you using? I'm looking to fit about 80 lbs or so.
 
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Making progress! After getting a quote for $450 to move an outlet and convert to GFCI, it took matters into my own hands and made a great discovery.

For $37/m you can sign up for JustAnswer and have a text message conversation with a trained electrician to answer any questions you have.

I’ve never used it before but was super happy with the results. The guy helped me identify the line and load wires and walked me through some concerns I had.

Now my power source will be well above the top of the tank mostly out of harms way!
What a cool service. I could see this being handy for reefing and for my workshop. Thanks for sharing.

Just felt with some crazy electrical today, power went out on Sunday from a branch on the line. All good now, but was touch and go for a bit!
 
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