Tony's 72g Mixed Reef Build

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Today began my adventure in getting back into the hobby. I'm still not 100% sure what direction I'll go with the tank, but it's probably going to be a clownfish harem tank with a bunch of haddoni carpets. A few LPS and potentially a tang or two. That could all change though. Also there will be a lot of photos once it's running.

I decided to go with Waterbox honestly because I liked the dimensions of their tanks more than Red Sea and I like that the entire system sits higher. If I could design my own stand I would prefer even taller of a stand.

Which brings me to the stand. Not fun to assemble (I'm still not finished) and the Waterbox instructions are about two steps above forgetting the guide completely and just throwing in a note that says "Good Luck". And I'm pretty handy and usually don't even bother to look at instructions.

IMG_5022.JPG
IMG_5024.JPG
IMG_5025.JPG
IMG_5027.JPG



Here is my optimistic plan for the sump, I need to lay everything out to see if I can make it work.

SumpDesign.jpg



Here is the gear so far. Still waiting on the two AI Hydra 26's, the ATO, and eventually I'll probably try to fit a carbon reactor.

IMG_5029.JPG

This weekend I need to remove the filter sock sump divider, plumb the RO/DI system below my sink, get the doors on the stand, get the tank on the stand, cut the ABS sheet to fit the tank (something about rock on glass bothers me), silicone the ABS to the bottom of the tank, sort out the Apex basics, place everything in the sump and get the system ready to run.

IMG_5030.JPG


The goal is to have the tank ready for salt/water Sunday night and order rocks/sand next week. I'm going to order 90lbs of real live rock from KP Aquatics and go with 60lbs of Hawaiin Black Arag-Alive sand, both choices I'll no doubt catch grief about.

But I grew up with salt water tanks and the pleasure of seeing what crawled out of real rock from coralline incrusted Fiji rock that I only just unwrapped from newspapers was always exciting to me, and I don't mind that I'll not have to wait forever to cycle the tank either. As far as the sand goes I've read the complaints, but I want a black sand bottom and think it will tie the modern look of the tank together well. Also colorful anemones will pop even more against a black background.

More to come soon...
 
Last edited:
AS

Fudsey

Jack of all trades, Master of none ;-)
View Badges
Joined
May 7, 2016
Messages
9,763
Reaction score
47,626
Location
So. New Hampshire
Welcome to the Waterbox club. With black sand, I love the look and have had it a couple times. Just need to be very careful with a mag cleaner as it is magnetic.

I agree with the stand directions, just about useless. Watched a couple youtube vids to help me.
 
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Welcome to the Waterbox club. With black sand, I love the look and have had it a couple times. Just need to be very careful with a mag cleaner as it is magnetic.

I agree with the stand directions, just about useless. Watched a couple youtube vids to help me.

Cheers.

I ordered this for the lower sections as I saw that issue posted. And thanks for the reminder, I keep forgetting to order a mag float.

My only open item with the stand that I'm unsure about is the top close/open clicky bits. Do I just shove them in? The bag has a few pieces that I can't sort out the functionality of. I was getting delirious as it's been a long week and I woke up at 3am today, so I just threw in the towel before I broke something. Will sort it out tomorrow morning.

IMG_5031.JPG
 

Fudsey

Jack of all trades, Master of none ;-)
View Badges
Joined
May 7, 2016
Messages
9,763
Reaction score
47,626
Location
So. New Hampshire
I know the screw and washer get mounted on the door at the striker spot but my plungers are different as I have a 2017 model so not sure on the white plastic piece.
 
AS
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Got a bit done today. Woke up early and cut the bottom to size, which just got siliconed down and has four bags of sand on it to weigh it down while curing:

IMG_5034.JPG


IMG_5033.JPG


Then it was time to start messing with the doors and as it turns out that clear plastic bit should NOT go behind the clicker mechanism because then it won't sit flush. And if you don't realize that until it's too late then you're almost going to destroy the cabinet in frustration and definitely destroy the mechanism (I'll be emailing Waterbox for a new one) because it's impossible to pull back out (rimshot).

IMG_5038.JPG


Fortunately some slow drilling got the job done (rimshot again).
IMG_5039.JPG


Next onto the sump and removing the dividers, which is miserable and all the scraping sounds from the taping knife on glass are scary and it's a miserable process, but it's possible with patience and perseverance.

IMG_5043.jpg

IMG_5044.JPG


The diveders chipped quite a bit. Fortunately the main glass stayed unharmed.
IMG_5045.JPG


All out, finally.

IMG_5046.JPG


And mostly cleaned up:

IMG_5047.JPG


Later on I started messing with the Clarisea and put the skimmer together. The Clarisea is fairly miserable and also has terrible instructions, but the online video is helpful. Also a tip to anyone reading this, don't soak the pieces to remove the stupid protective film, it makes the glue a major pain to remove. Just dip them one at a time quickly. Why the film is on any of the pieces at all is beyond me. Actually, i'm starting to think that all of these hurdles in setting up the tank are to test your resolve and patience before you can adversely effect any actual marine life. Anybody virtuous enough to get through setting up these stupid tanks and filters can't be so bad at actual husbandry.

Lastly a friend stopped by and we put the tank on the stand and sorted out the main parts of the plumbing/overflow. I still need to go shopping tomorrow for some bits to put it all together, but I found a layout that should work:

IMG_5055.JPG


IMG_5057.JPG


Tomorrow I'll try to finish getting the RO/DI setup. I tried to today and went to Home Depot but got the wrong size fittings. Also I'll try to get some PVC fittings. Speaking of which, the Neptune Cor pump really doesn't come with helpful fittings at all.

On a final note, I noticed this slogan on one of the boxes today. Is it intentional/tone-deaf or just oblivious? I am guessing the former after watching them on youtube a bit.

IMG_5035.JPG
 
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Busy few days. Reached our to KP for the rock on Friday and asked if I could get it this week. He said he was doing a dive Sunday and could ship Monday, which was great, but it pushed up my timeline as I still had a dry tank. So Saturday I went to home depot and my LFS to get some plumbing parts to get the RO/DI unit going and bring some flow to the tank. Sounds straightforward, right?

Well, 5 trips to Home Depot later and a lot of water everywhere trying to make things work as my undersink fittings seem to be an odd size and this was the best I could come up with. It leaks and doesn't have great pressure, but it works
B024C29F-71E3-493F-9134-BDF3BB60FA95.JPG



Also during my trial and error I realized how not up to any sort of intelligent design or code my undersink cabinet is:

B37919EC-BC73-43CE-B9C6-B1662CA5D9CB.JPG


But finally I was making water! :

9F251F7A-1708-40A8-933C-0B559C5D6424.JPG



Progress:

IMG_5077.JPG



Salt added

IMG_5099.JPG


My sump is still a disaster and I'm not using the Clarisea yet as I need to cut PVC pipe and the tool is getting delivered today. Also, in this edition of WaterBox bull$&^! "Waterbox uses custom engineered metric standard plumbing, our plumbing system is proprietary to the system. If you want to do some customization to the plumbing system you can go to places such as FlexPVC.com to find metric adapters.", so that explains why I was standing in Home Depot like a moron trying to figure out why my pipe was just in between 3/4" and 1" and didn't fit in anything to connect it to the Clarisea elbow. For now I can shim in a piece of rubber and it should work well enough until I get a proper adapter. But what stupid policy.

IMG_5110.JPG


I also need to fix my return tubing, but the goal was to get water flowing and it is. Will clean that all up this week. Also worth noting that the gate valve is really something you want to study before you start using it, because when I was finally getting this system going at 3am, it's really not the most logical fitting in the world and caused much frustration. But once I took it off and understood how to make it tick (Waterbox gives no instructions, of course) the system is whisper quiet.

Once everything was ready to go I started hooking up the electronics and learning the Apex, which I'm enjoying. Although there is definitely a learning curve. I need to figure out why I can't modify things on my phone app, but only my computer at the moment. As of now everything is sitting on the couch:

IMG_5112.JPG


Lastly, the rock came in at 11 today and finding the Southwest Cargo area at LGA is a nightmare and google is wrong, so that was fun. And then to top it all off the larger box almost didn't fit in my car. Fortunately I was able to force it into the passenger seat (Subaru brz (small small car)). The rock is beautiful, but I wish I had thought ahead and had some salt water in a bucket to rinse it all off before throwing it in the main tank.


IMG_5106.JPG


IMG_5109.JPG


Some of the pieces are really beautiful:

IMG_5107.JPG


It's all been in the tank for a few hours and I mixed some more salt water, also turned off the powerheads so that the detritus and newspaper bits settled on the bottom. So I'll do a 10-15 gallon targeted water change to try to clean as much as I can shortly. My mortar should be arriving today, so either tonight or tomorrow morning I'll try to finalize and cement my rockscape. After this next water change I'll mix another 20g of water and do a final waterchange after the rockscape is done and everything settles again. After that I'll throw in a thing of Dr. Tims, and on Thursday when the 60lbs of live sand arrives that will go in as well.

Hoping to have the Clarisea and skimmer running tonight. Maybe optimistic, but I tend to only get these things done under pressure.

Also figured I would share my cost worksheet so far:



 
Last edited:
First Choice
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
In starting to aquascape I had a bit of a disaster. I didn't let the Marco-mortar set completely and had something of a cement sandstorm in my tank. So my clean black bottom is somewhat reinforced now and some of my rock got a mild dusting. But I siphoned out what I could and the tank doesn't seem to be much worse for wear. Happy with the rocks as they sit now, although only the two back outer pieces are actually cemented together. I just ordered epoxy to reinforce the center structure, which is just resting on itself at the moment.

IMG_5148.JPG
IMG_5144.JPG
IMG_5153.jpg


I'm happy with the swim-through and there is a decent amount of horizontal surface area for coral. Also lots of open area for carpet anemones. I figure that "dividing" the tank in two will lessen stress for the clownfish if I go the harem route.

After my mortar mishap I finally got the Clarisea and my skimmer sorted, both of which are amazing.

IMG_5154.JPG


Last night I added in the sand. I thought it would be a somewhat finer grain, but I'm still happy with it and once the rock encrusts I think the tank will look great. Also added the bio-spera last night. So the skimmer is off for the moment.

IMG_5156.JPG



After the dust settled, shots from this morning:
IMG_5160.JPG
IMG_5159.JPG


This morning I also finally got my RO/DI system under the bathroom sink and off my kitchen counter since the BRS part I was missing arrived last night.

IMG_5161.JPG


Tonight I'm hoping to hopefully get the correct fitting and properly plumb the return hose, set up the ATO now that I'm not doing 20gallon water changes every other day for some stupid reason or other (I hope), and maybe set up the lights.

Over the weekend my goal is to sort out mounting of the electronics. As cool as it all looks taking up half of my couch, I need to clean it up. I'm quite pleased with the Apex by the way, really amazing being able to turn everything on and off from my phone or laptop and having such control over functionality.

Oh, and on the topic of my screwups, after pouring in the sand last night a few pieces seem to have gotten into my MP10's behind the magnet. So when I went to turn them back on they wouldn't start, so I gave the wet parts a shake and then I couldn't get them to attach. Which led to me doing some research and apparently they're only rated to .375", whereas my tank is .5" thick glass. So that was really really not a great feeling, although they had been working without a hitch for the last two weeks. So I decided to take them both apart, found the offending sand, and afterward they finally attached and work again. I ordered the nem-guard covers, hopefully that added weight doesn't push them over the edge though. If anything I'll hopefully be able to take a light loss and sell them and just get the larger ones I seemingly should have from the start.
 
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Got the ATO setup and fixed the return hose:
IMG_5188.JPG


Also got the Hydra 26's up. The lights themselves are great, but the mounting hardware is really disappointingly cheap. I tried to adjust one or two things and the most of the bolts stripped almost immediately.

IMG_5189.JPG


For now I stole this light setup:

Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 2.12.20 PM.png


Although it's too blue for me, so I'll ramp up the whites and tone down the intensity of everything overall at the start.

I still need to mount the electronics, but feeling a bit lazy today. Also I am going to try to find someone to make me a custom acrylic refugium to sit beside the sump, the space will allow for 8"x20"x18" comfortably since I'm not using the cabinet for electronics.
 

Fudsey

Jack of all trades, Master of none ;-)
View Badges
Joined
May 7, 2016
Messages
9,763
Reaction score
47,626
Location
So. New Hampshire
I'm not a fan of the AI brackets as they attach to the glass. All I can picture is something happening and cracking the glass....

And good idea for the fuge ! !
 
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Epoxied the rock together, so the design is final. Only thing missing is I ordered a larger frag magnet rock for the rear right of the tank to balance things out. A few pics with sunlight the other morning:
IMG_5236.JPG
IMG_5234.JPG


I have a hitchhiker spaghetti worm, which is cool. Also picked up some emerald crabs at reef a palooza, which literally went to work on hair algae the second they hit the rock. It was amazing. And picked up a handful of trochus snails today.

IMG_5233.JPG
IMG_5303.JPG
IMG_5305.JPG


Sump is doing alright, although I really want a refugium and am waiting on a quote for a full stand sump, or maybe I'll just get a standalone to go next to the sump. Nobody seems interested in small projects though, the one quote I did manage to get was exorbitant, over 1k.

IMG_5302.JPG


Also decided on what to stock the tank with. It WILL be a harem tank, so that's very exciting. Specifics to come when the little buggers actually arrive.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Finally attacked the mess of wires and reclaimed the other half of my couch. Also the trochus snails are doing an awesome job, I regret only getting six of them. Going to grab another ten or so on Thursday when I'm near the only LFS I actually like in the area which is in Brooklyn near work.

IMG_5307.JPG
IMG_5309.JPG
IMG_5310.JPG



I need to get a smaller board, but this was good as a test run. The skimmer power wire wasn't quite long enough so that's next to the sump, and the ATO box I need to rewire a bit to mount, didn't have the energy for it. Happy to have crossed this off the list for now though.
 
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Emerald crabs and trochus snails are doing great with the cycles algae bloom (still trying to find someone to fabricate me a new sump or stand alone refugium). Although part of me is enjoying the little hair algae forest; not that much though, getting a lot more snails tomorrow to go to work on it before the fish arrive though.

IMG_5329.jpg


Got the vortech guards on (Why oh why are they so much larger than the pumps??) and adjusted the angle of the back pieces of rock, really happy with the scape at the moment.

IMG_5341.jpeg
IMG_5342.jpeg
IMG_5343.jpeg
 

Dub_G

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Messages
249
Reaction score
723
Location
Thornton, CO
Regarding your MP10s with the thicker glass. If you haven't already done it, I would recommend attaching the sticky pads (included in box) and securing the power cord to the dry side. This way if they fall off the dry side doesn't fall to the floor and break. Mine has fallen one time and it just dangled next go the tank instead of potentially hard fall to the tile floor. Might not look as nice but I feel it is worth it.
 
OP
TonyReefNYC

TonyReefNYC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
352
Reaction score
710
Location
New York City
Reinforced the CUC today with 15 more trochus snails and 4 emerald crabs. Dumped a few too many on this one rock:

IMG_5352.jpg



What is the current wisdom on acclimating fish by the way? Mine are due to arrive soon and from the research I've been doing there is (clearly) no consensus, but I'm leaning towards a 5G bucket half filled with tank water along with some RO/DI water on the side to add as needed to lower the salinity to whatever the shipping water is that the fish are in assuming it's far off from my 1.025/1.026 tank water. Float the bags to temp acclimate and then open them and pull the fish out of the bags (sans water so as not to have to worry about ammonia becoming toxic) plop them into the bucket and take half an hour or an hour to then drip acclimate them to the tank's salinity before netting them in. FWIW I'll be picking the clownfish up right after delivery to the store, so basically getting the fish directly from ORA (individually bagged little clownfish). Appreciate any input.




Regarding your MP10s with the thicker glass. If you haven't already done it, I would recommend attaching the sticky pads (included in box) and securing the power cord to the dry side. This way if they fall off the dry side doesn't fall to the floor and break. Mine has fallen one time and it just dangled next go the tank instead of potentially hard fall to the tile floor. Might not look as nice but I feel it is worth it.

I did that on first install. I'm not even sure the magnets would hold it in place otherwise.

IMG_5350.jpg
 

What percentage of blue versus white lighting do you think makes the best coral growth combo?

  • All Blue

    Votes: 16 2.6%
  • Mostly Blue

    Votes: 381 62.9%
  • Even Balance

    Votes: 153 25.2%
  • Mostly White

    Votes: 46 7.6%
  • All White

    Votes: 1 0.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 1.5%
Top