Two 130 Gallon Aquariums

harper

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So many helpful threads here figured I would payback by documenting this (er lets say) journey. You will enjoy some obsessives planning, irrational decision making, and lazy implementation in practice.

I am planning a 2 x 130 gallon aquarium system to replacement my 3 x 40 gallon breeder system. Before Covid I had a IM20 but with the time at home I amassed a setup based on aquariums that I could move around myself. It was always planned to be somewhat temporary. Now fish are starting to outgrow their aquariums. Originally looked at getting a large CDA glass aquarium - 5'x3' or 6' x 30". Had the LFS come out to do an assessment. Unfortunately there was no practical way. Decided to go with 2 smaller aquariums and have them made out of acrylic. Its going to be a slow journey as I just ordered the aquariums and stands. 8 week lead time on the aquariums.

Current Setup:

3 X 40 Breeders, 2 x 20L sump/refugium

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So its kind of a Covid mess. Tested out and fiddled with a lot of different equipment. Kind of my favorite part of the hobby.

Goals of the new system:

1. House my tangs for the next few years. Tangs - 1 Black, 1 Gem, 1 Purple. Each has his own 40 breeder but they are ready to move. So one will get his own tank (probably the black) and the other two will need to share.

2. Go slow and avoid all the pests. I have had everything over time. And though there are some mitigations I think strict quarantine is the only effective way long term. The small vermetid snails are the most bothersome now. They are all over everything and cut into my hand any time I move something. Aiptasia are also a problem. Got rid of them 2x but reintroduced with snail cleanup crew. Not sure how I'm going to get cleanup crew snails into the new setup. But in either case I plan to get some new dry rock, bleach the old, and only move the fish and clippings from the corals.

I'm really having an issue with small/tiny snails which reproduce all over. They take a ride in the MP10s every night and rattle all night long.

3. Somewhat cleaner look.

Aquariums:

2 x 130 gallon 1/2" acrylic aquariums 54" x 28" x 20" with external overflow. Both are identical differing only in the return location.


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With the smaller aquariums I could have gone with glass but decided on acrylic because there are a couple places where only 2 people can get their hands on the aquarium and at some point these aquariums will need to be moved out. Light weight acrylic just makes more sense. Yeah I know I'm going to be ******** about the scratches in 6 months.

Stands:

T-slot black anodized aluminum with leveling casters. Tank vendor said to make them 1/2" larger than the tank dimensions. Dimensions: 54 1/2" x 28 1/2" x 40".
The stands are 3-4 weeks out so I will get them a month before the aquariums. Don't plan on skinning the stand - what I can't see gets ignored. Have to visit the plastic shop to order whatever I am going to lay under the aquariums and sump. Probably so HDPE but maybe some colored acrylic...haven't decided or researched enough. Any input would be appreciated. The tank vendor said to use plywood but I really do not want any wood.

Controller:

Currently using a ReefAngel that handles ATO, Overheat, pH, and ORP. It emails alerts for ATO. Its old, 2011, and I fully expect some day it will fail. Kind of waiting for the current ecosystems to work their way out. I like the Hydros for water resistance but the WIFI is a no go. I do like the idea of the hydros in that a lot of the equipment they have partnered with are the same as I have bought from amazon, like their feeders and power bars. The wave engine would be cool too. Having one interface to work with for automatic testing (mastertronic) and feed mode would be nice. But I think they all need a little work to get to where they are an upgrade of my old system. The LFS' by me carry Apex and Hydros, so the day my ReefAngel fails, whatever they have in stock that day will probably be my next controller.

Sump:

TBD. I have come to a point that I like just boxes and individual components which I can remove an alter as needed. So probably start with the 2 20Ls I am already using and maybe one of the 40B as a refuge. My first sump was a George Smith Mini Reef in 1984. It glass euro-braced, had DLS wet/dry and a carbon dosing system for nitrates, was like $1000 back then. I swapped everything out of it over time. So why bother having anything built in when I will change it over time.

Refugium:

TBD. Plan to have a chaeto refuge and a Xenia refuge (not because it does anything, just like xenia). Might be the same refuge.

Skimmer:

Current Aquamaxx fc-180. Looking at Octo Regal 250 - 300. I would look at getting a larger Aquamaxx like the fc-280 but my current one has really just fallen apart. The cup cracked, and the body has cracked as well. The pumps on these Aquamaxx are good but the other materials are really thin and do not stand up over time.

Filter roller:

Current Bubble magus large. Probably reuse but might add another or switch brand

Return pump:

Current Jebao DCQ-5000. Maybe get an additional one or something new. It will likely be determined by which controller I upgrade to.

Lighting:

TBD. I want to have something like some of the old Japanese spotlight aquariums. Where I have a frame above the aquarium and and angle lights at different areas, especially as the reef grows. I have a lot of different lights. Vipraspectra's which I have swapped out the diodes for a bluer look, XR15's gen 5, Kessil 360X and a 160, bunch of amazon junk/grow lights. I really like to fiddle with the lighting. I have a home depot wire frame that I hang stuff from now. But they only make them to like 20" so I need something larger. Thinking about some t-slot mounted to the walls.

Right now I'm thinking just 2 Kessil 360x over the low flow softy aquarium. Over the SPS a 3' Viparspectra over the middle with its focused lenses to limit light on the front of the aquarium. Then 3 XR15s in the front angled twards the back. Maybe some additional Viparspectras or Kessils on the sides.

Calcium/alk dosing:

BRS 2 part. Might change to calcium reactor. Have not run one in 20 years so need to do some research on what is good. Would like to run Kalk and calcium reactor...but we will see.

I have a couple of the jebao 4 port dosers which seem fine. Depending on what I do they might end up doing iron and some other compounds. Right now I am only using 3 heads for 2 part and part C. By hand dosing CaNO3, Chaetogrow, iodine, acropower.



Water changes:

After rusting out my drain pipes with an automatic water changer I'm thinking of going with one of the no water change systems. Looking a reef moonshiners system. But for now manual 10% week water changes with RSBB or TMPRO and rinse the drains with fresh water after change.

Flow:

I will be going for a low flow through the sump to the aquariums. Maybe 3-4x. One of the aquariums will be high flow for SPS, the other will be lower flow for soft corals. Currently have 4 MP10s, 2 icecap 2k, 2 Jebao SCP-90's, nero 3, bunch of other junk. Will probably start with the IC on the low flow and the Jebao on the high flow. Kind of want the controller thing to work out before buying more pumps. Would like to go with the Hydros with the wave engine and some IC 4ks. Will likely buy some MP40s or 60s. But want to see how the 10s work, have seen some mixed reviews for 1/2 acrylic. I'm always changing the pumps as things grow...so probably some of everything. Some battery backup on each tank.

Quarantine:

20L with aquatop surface skimmer, eshops skimmer, powerhead, heater, aquarimaxx prisim light and kessil 160. ATO float through ReefAngel controller.

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Livestock (current):

Fish-
- Gem Tang
- Black Tang
- Purple Tang
- Pair of Multicolored Angels - recently purchased still acclimating.
- Blue spot puffer. On his way out if I can find a new home. Bought him to see if he would eat the vermetid worms and small snails that reproduce all over the place. He does but he also eats everything else.
- Pigmy angelfish
- Bicolor Blenny - probably on his way out when I take down the tank as he has taken to eating SPS
- Tailspot Blenny
- Copperband butterfly
- 3 pajama cardinals
- 6 line wrass
- Aiptasia eating file fish - he would be on his way out as he does not eat aiptasia and eats any zoas...but he is so cool hanging out in the xenia. Its fascinating to watch him change his color as he moves between the different colored xenia. So he probably is getting a forever home in a xenia fuge maybe with the blue spot puffer.
- Mollies - originally used them to cycle the 3 x 40 breeder system as I figured that petco mollies that I transitioned to salt water had no chance of introducing ich. Which worked out. I didn't know how much I would enjoy their movement in the aquariums.

I plan to update the corals as I take clippings and move them. If they have some bug or there is a question I'm going to toss them. My eyesight is not good enough to see AEF but I know I have a few so I plan to do a lot of dipping and strict transition....some probably wont make it.

Aquascaping:

I plan to cover the bottom of each aquarium with tiles. Always looking for new ones. But for now I have some travertine 4x4s from home depot and some oceans wonders ceramic 3x3s. Anyone know any other sources for large tiles I'm interested... I like to be able to remove the montys and zoas as they spread, easier than scraping off the glass (or acrylic).

The reef structure will be pretty open. Like branch rock or NS. But I have not completely figure it out. I have a pagoda from West Maricultural which I like, will likely be bleaching it and moving it over without the frag tops, just the branch structure. I have some large pieces of the florida mined reef rock, but I think I wont reuse it. Might break it up for a scape. Have some old pukani or Hawaiian live rock which I may bleach and reuse...it has a lot of hiding spaces for small fish but is also a detritus trap.

More to come.
 

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harper

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Sounds fantastic. I may have missed it, but will they be FOWLRs?


The primary focus will be the fishes health but will have corals. One aquarium will be lower flow/light with soft corals. The other will be higher flow/light with sps. Trying to keep the corals in the center of the aquarium as not to light/grow stuff on the acrylic.
 

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I’m stalled with the plumbing on my second 150-gallon (tanks side-by-side); I need to get on it. But you can check out my build thread so far. I’m putting a controller board on the far end of each tank, where it won’t be seen from the front. Looking forward to more of your photos... best wishes!
 
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harper

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Looks like I joined your "can't get the big tank so let's get 2 smaller ones" club . Like how you hide the electronics on the side. I am going to investigate doing something like that once the stands arrive. It seems doable, and I don't need to access them mich as most the electronics should be app controlled.
I’m stalled with the plumbing on my second 150-gallon (tanks side-by-side); I need to get on it. But you can check out my build thread so far. I’m putting a controller board on the far end of each tank, where it won’t be seen from the front. Looking forward to more of your photos... best wishes!
 
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harper

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The move:

This is one of the biggest pain points. Where I am putting the new aquariums houses the current aquariums. I picked up a free "sweet ride" 55 gallon off rc local. Leak testing it now. It is real beat up and came with the malachite green/methylene blue silicon stain upgrade :). Poured in a bottle of bleach during the leak test.

Plan would be to start cycling new rock in the 55 then transfer fish out of one of the 40s to the 55. Sterilize the 40. Move it to the other wall. Repeat this for the two other 40s. While trying to sort some of the coral clippings and not lose any fish or coral species. Slow process.

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If it passes the leak test I might drill it so I could put a skimmer in a bucket sump. The tank is really old school with 3/8" glass, I don't think the sides would be tempered. We will see how this works out.

Picked up some Cornerstone reef rock, hydrolic cement, and fritz turbo start at the LFS. Going to start some aquascaping this weekend.

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harper

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Used the e-marcos to bond a scape for the SPS aquarium. It's mostly branch rock. Tried to stay under 12" as to allow for growth. The other aquarium, which will house leathers and other softy's, I plan to just have a few larger sizes rocks.
 

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harper

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Setup the 55 and a rubbermaid 100 to start cycling the rock. Added 4oz of Fritz turbo start 900 and a bottle of each, purple and pink, ARC Coraline algae. Filled a small canister filter with large crushed coral, calcium reactor type, for some extra bio area. Moved over the mollies I could ketch from the original system. Will test and move some more fish this next week.

Places 2 x a360x's on the rubbermaid 100 and a kessil 160 on the 55. Will start taking some clippings of my corals to introduce into the system this weekend.
 

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harper

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Bought some 3x3 acrylic tiles to test if they will work for corals. Might be too light and blow around. These are 1/4" thick which seemed ok but after messing around with flow not to sure.
 

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harper

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Decided to buy one of the hydros 4 controllers. Extra temp probe, and ATO kit. Pretty easy to setup so far but won't update firmware from 165 to 180 for some reason. Need to mess with it this weekend.

Also decided to purchased a regal 300 int skimmer. It's a big skimmer. Now to design the sump to fit it. I received an update that my stands are delayed a bit to May 17th. So not sure I'm going to build/buy the sumps until after they arrive. Want to make sure I have easy access to the equipment for maintenance. Some times I need the touch and feel of the real thing to determine what obstacles need to be avoided. The aquariums are not expected until mid June so plenty of time. Though I do want to figure out a temp solution so I can start using the new skimmer in the holding system.

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