Unheardreefer’s 150 Aqua Japan Build

Unheardreefer

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Hi guys! My name is Jordan and this is my first build I’m documenting. My family started construction on expanding the living room to a little bit more than double the size. I currently have a 2 ft SCA cube and a 10 g IM nuvo so I took the opportunity to talk the wife into letting me have a 5 ft 150 gallon tank. The plan is to go mixed reef. Who knows how long the construction will take so this may be a slow-burn build.

Originally I was going to go with an SCA 150 and build my own stand because I love my current SCA cube and everyone else in the forum seems to love their 150s. While discussing these plans with my LFS, they mentioned they could get me an Aqua Japan 150 with stand and a 48” sump for less than the price of the SCA. After much debate due to lack of information about the brand, I decided to take a leap of faith on it because they run one at their house and it looks very similar to SCA.

Some of the equipment that will make its way over from the old system are:
Reef Octopus 110sss Protein Skimmer
2x AI Nero 5s
1x AI Hydra 26 HD
2x Kamoera X1
1x Kamoera X1 WIFI
Tunze EcoChic Waterproof Refugium Light

New planned additions are:
Sicce Syncra SDC 7.0 WiFi Controllable Return (800-1900 GPH)
ClariSea SK-5000 Filter Roller
2 or 3x AI Hydra 32 HDs

Also I’m debating about Neptune Apex and Trident. Maybe even a UV.

Ultimately I’m trying to make my forever tank look super clean in the new living room.

More posts to come and photos as well, as I decided kinda late in documenting things. But for now, here’s a few pictures of the living room construction a couple weeks back.

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Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting
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Unheardreefer

Unheardreefer

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In going to be using new dry rock and clean sand for my aquascape so I decided to start seeding bio media to help with cycling the tank. I already have media plates in my current sump, but I wanted to try out the Eshopps Bio-Lux because all the cool kids on instagram use it. But really because I like the compactness of it and it looks easy to stack.

Their page recommends 3-4 boxes for 100 gallons and 4-6 boxes for 200 gallons. I bought three boxes because I thought that I didn’t have much space in my sump. However, these things are so small and really do stack easy so I will definitely buy a couple more boxes.

Does anyone have any experience with Bio-Lux? The old media I have are generic ones from the LFS and I’ve heard of some leaching aluminum or breaking up, dirtying the sump. I’m hoping none of this occurs with Eshopps.
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Unheardreefer

Unheardreefer

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The sump and ATO box came in over the weekend. After reading about Trigger Systems having sales on their blemished items, I reached out to them and got a Ruby 36 and Ruby 10 Gallon ATO for $320 with tax and shipping included. Both were shipped quick out of Texas to Los Angeles in very well protected packaging. If I didn't order them from the blemished department myself, I honestly wouldn't have guessed. They're near perfect condition. Excuse the dust on top of the filter sock area, it'll make sense on a separate post.

I gave the 48" glass sump to a co-worker who's into fresh water. The reason I decided to ditch it was because with the 60" stand, I'd have maybe 10" or so to play with in the stand maybe. With the 50 cube, I used a small dog food container from Target the probably only held 3 gallons and was on the side of the stand. Talk about an eyesore. With the new living room, I wanted to get as much under the stand as possible. With the ATO box (10" wide) and sump next to each other under the stand, I gain another couple of inches to play with in the stand and one less thing outside of the stand.

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How’s the build going?
 
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Unheardreefer

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Haven’t updated in a while. A lot has been going on here with both construction and the aquarium. I’ll hopefully be updating almost daily until I can get caught up to where it is now.

So far the interior of the living room extension is done. I think it looks great. All of the furniture is in place. I moved the aquarium inside along the wall next to the window as intended, with it and my desk on each side of the window. There are shutters installed on the window so I can block out light if needed, but this picture is before they were put in. Here are a few photos of the construction progression.
 

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Unheardreefer

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Clarisea SK-5000

New piece of equipment for the 150 build. Switching from filter socks to the Clarisea SK-5000 filter roller. It’s not that I am too lazy to switch out filter socks every 3ish days (maybe I am), I just like the idea of not having to wash filter socks ever again. I had two months worth of filter socks that I would change and throw into a used bucket until I was running out and throw it in the laundry. Then I’d have to run 2-3 empty cycles to get the fish smell out, which is a complete waste of water. Then after the dryer broke, I bought a new washer dryer set that I used as a reason to tell the wife why the extra expense of a filter roller was necessary so I don’t stink up the new set.

Back to the roller. It’s VERY true that the instructions given are a complete waste. I do suggest like everyone else does to watch the video they link to for help on how to put together. However, there are a couple new pieces that aren’t illustrated in the video that are on the instructions so follow along with the instructions while watching the video.

From multiple BRS videos and some threads on this forum, I heard you probably need to size down your protein skimmer if you decide to run a filter roller. I already have a Reef Octopus 110sss which is rated for 90 gallons lightly stocked, so I’m gonna start out with this until I see it necessary to upgrade. Also in going with the sk-5000 instead of the 3000, I figured it would take even more gunk out before hitting the skimmer anyways, so we’ll see.

After putting together the skimmer and Clarisea into the Ruby 36 sump just to see how it fits, I realized IT DOESN’T. I had to modify the sump by using a jigsaw with acrylic blade, and an oscillating tool to cut out the filter sock section, as I won’t be using them. It came out really well, except I left a little of the filter sock hanger connected because I didn’t want to get too close to the actual walls of the sump. Good enough. Now it all fits like a glove.

After some debate, because of the size of the sump, I’ve decided to run the roller and eshopps bricks in the first section, the skimmer and somehow separate a small chaeto section in the middle section, and the return, dosing lines, and small powerhead in the return section.
 

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Unheardreefer

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For sand I went with 80 lbs of CaribSea special grade araganite sand. I dumped them into a couple 5 gallon buckets rinsed them with the garden hose pushed to the bottom.

As for rocks I went with a 100? Lbs of Marco Rock purchased from saltwateraquarium. The rocks look great but the two boxes they arrived in were beat to hell from UPS. There wasn’t much paper in the boxes to prevent the rocks from wrecking the boxes. So much so that the UPS guy wanted to know if I wanted to file a claim.

After watching several videos from BRS and seeing many scapes on r2r, I wanted to try doing an NSA scape as opposed to the normal piles of rock I usually have. Only big issue is that I definitely am not an artistic person, so I’m worried that breaking the rocks and glueing them back together might not yield the best results.

I bought 4 bottles of thick glue, one bottle of thin glue, and multiple bottles of the quickest spray from glue masters with the generous discount provided to me from them on r2r forums. It works really well. It was my first time using the quick setting sprays for super glue and it really is a game changer. I would glue a couple pieces of heavy rock that I thought wouldn’t work, but after holding it in place for a few seconds, the bond was very strong. As a tip, I would be very generous with the glue and try to fine pieces that have a good amount of surface area and contact points to make sure the pieces stay put. I made 4 pieces and made them the max height of about ⅔ - ¾ the height of the display so I can have room for growth.

After arranging the pieces in the tank, I most likely will also add a few smaller islands or structures toward the front of the glass and leave some space on the sand bed for some coral pieces as well. I’m a little worried I didn’t make the structures tall enough but hopefully there are ways I can add more rock if I run out of space for frags. I’m not the most balling person in the world so I imagine that would take quite a while to fill up.
 

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