Waterbox Marine X 35.1 build

Jason sovereign

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Hello fellow reefers from Michigan,

A little background on myself. I am new to reef 2 reef but have been in the hobby since 2004. Over the years I have had several systems with my last 2 being mostly sps with a few of my lps favorites. Both torn down and sold off around moving. My last system which was set up in 2015 was a custom aquarium on a tslot stand in which I furniture maker build a custom shell. Ran all the bells and whistles on it from a ati power module, eco tech mp40’s and around this time the ecotech m1 return, max spect gyres and apex dos had just been released. It was a 65 gallon system that after all was said in done cost me just over $14k to set up. This system ran until the middle of 2018 and tore down because I wasn’t able to give the aquarium the attention it deserved. I had told myself then I am out for good but after 1 1/2 years I’m back. I took advantage of the Black Friday sales and started back on my journey. My intention was to do a small system that I can enjoy in the living room. One thing getting out taught me is I appreciate the quite so as I build this new system that is going to be at the forefront. Secondly and this will probably be unpopular is I don’t want a controller in which I am spending more time looking at my phone then enjoying the tank itself. In my experience I feel I always had better growth and color when I just let the system running without messing with it to much doing just the basics.

So that brings me to today. Starting off with a waterbox marine x 35.1. The tank itself the water volume is 22 gallons the sump is 11.2 gallons with a built in 2.1 gallon ato reservoir. I plan to keep it semi simple.

equipment I have decided on so far and have purchased.

lights - ecotech g5 blue. Backstory- because of the dimensions of the aquarium 17.5 square that took t5 off the table. Also being someone that really likes sps I was looking for something to blanket the aquarium. After weeding through a few dozen options. I narrowed it down to 4 lights. ati Stratton, kessil a360x, ecotech xr15 g5 blue and hydra 32 HD. Kessil I passed on because of its mounting height and spread. The hydra because of its sheen and not blending the different color LED well enough for my liking. The Stratton because of its mounting options and it’s literally 1 inch to big in diameter. The ecotech won out for me with its new panel design, mounting height and mounting options and with the diffuser it blends well and gives a sheen almost as well as the kessil.

skimmer -aquamaxx DCFC80. Backstory- where to begin. I looked at what seemed like 100 options and watched tons of videos. With this being such a small system I don’t need a very large skimmer. In fact many of the nano skimmers are rated for a much larger water volume. My experience tells me skimmers without a full body doesn’t allow for enough contact time to separate out the organics and I like to feed. I ran a nano skimmer years ago on a biocube and it left me unimpressed and have seen several in operation at my lfs the all skim wet from what I’ve seen if they skim at all. I narrowed it down after weeding through dozens to the tunze 9004, Cad lights 50, Octo 110 sss and aquamax fc80. Based on my sumps room and running depth without having to rig up a stand it came down to the octo 110 and aqua max fc80. YouTube had tons of videos of both but it appeared the aqua max real reviews appeared to be less temperamental and just a more modern design and just flat skims. Just as I went to purchase it over the holiday the released a DC version of the aquamaxx 80. So that’s what I went with. Will follow up with a review done the road once the system is up and has had some time to establish.

Powerheads. Jebao slw-5 backstory - this was not my first choice. I have been using ecotech mp powerheads since the control boxes where blue then white then black. The marketing for not having the cord in the water doesnt sell me. I just always trusted them and they all ran for years with minimal problems. The waterbox is drilled in the bottom with a rear sump area that will allow me to hide the pumps on the back which with the small viewing area it has I don’t want the brick hanging on the side. Sorry ecotech I still think you’re an awesome powerhead. So before the tank arrived I had a styrofoam container with the same dimensions of the tank that I tested a few in it. I first bought 2 octo pulse 2. They where amazing. Just a bit bigger then I wanted and without turning down all the way they where too much. I returned them purchased 1 AI Nero 5 and 1 jebao slw10 to compare and then buy a second of the winner. After comparing them they are so similar I’d swear they are made in the same factory. I’d almost bet on it. They where both great and still needed to tune the way down. They both have the same Wide flow with a super small body but again just a bit much. When I went to return the Nero just to save a few bucks I stumbled on jebao slw5. This powerhead is ultra low profile and very inexpensive. So I picked one up tested it in the container and it’s flow for the dimensions of the aquarium and the fact it’s so inexpensive sold me. In fact I purchased 4 at $40ea. which was still less the cost of 1 of the other pumps I tested so I have backups.

Thats enough for my introduction. I’ll follow up with some pictures of my progress if anyone cares to follow along and touch base on my other equipment in later posts.
 
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Jason sovereign

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Here are some early pictures. Including a close up of the slw5 powerheads as I’m curious on some opinions.

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Jason sovereign

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Ran into a issue with the placement of the aquarium. I had two options. Preferred the placement to the left of the tv as it is more or less at the center of my condo which would of been at the center making it visible from the kitchen dining room and entry way. Issue is the thermostat for the house sat right above it and my concern is it would trick the furnace into not running in the winter and the air conditioner from never turning off in the summer. On the other side where I have to place it basically reduces 1 viewing side. There are some advantages tho as the outlet on that wall is gfi and is connected only to the outlet on the balcony so it will be the only thing on the outlet. I will have to keep the blinds closed more or less forever at least on that one end to keep the direct sun from hitting the tank. Also I can run a tube from my skimmer to outdoors in just a quick few feet. Also my balcony storage unit where my generator is located is just outside the sliding glass door.

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Jason sovereign

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Return pump - Aqua Illumination DC mighty jet. I really wanted to run a echo tech S2 or reef Octopus various 2 but the return section of the sump is incredibly tight only measuring on 7x5 inches. The s2 or various 2 I might of been able to squeeze it in with the pump rubbing up on the glass only allowing for like a cup of water to fill in around the pump. I watched a couple videos on YouTube of this little DC pump in action and had one guy contact me and send me a video of the pump and it was incredibly quite. This is one of the smallest DC pumps out currently with a controller so unlike some of the other equipment selections this one was easier.

ATO - XP Aqua backstory -used the tunze 3155 on my last few systems and thought I’d go with what I know but the nano version which only relies on a float. Changed my mind and instead swapped it out for the XP Aqua duetto. The sump as a built in ATO resivor so I fell comfortable with the dual sensor, built in memory timer and visual and sound alert if the ATO runs dry and just a clean little instal. Will be returning the tunze

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Jason sovereign

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Next step is going to build a controller panel to place the controllers that all this equipment came with out of pvc panels to house/hide the wires to keep it clean looking. I built one on my last frag system and was a pretty simple inexpensive project. I have plenty of room that i can place it directly behind the stand or between the wall in the stand. Either option should work and be out of sight.

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Jason sovereign

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Aqua scape. Backstory - I set up a system around 2011 and when I visited my LFS he sold me on reefsaver which was new at the time. live rock or real dry reef rock was still readily available but reef saver stuff looked incredibly easy to aquascape so I went with it. 3 months later while just cycling I had a terrible briopsys problem on the rock. A week blackout to kill it off then another month later I had coriline growing on everything but the rock. I thought by it’s almost sand like texture that it would be forever if ever before coriline would grow on it. I have always used coriline as a sign my aquarium is ready for coral and that sps grows faster over its smooth surface. Also I believe it helps in stablizing the tank and usually you don’t get algae growing over it very easily. I did watch some of the new techniques that by grinding it into a powder then using thin cyanoacrylate super glue makes it super strong and totally seamless. I have only seen a few people using this technique or talking about it but it really is quite amazing.
well after like 5 months of cycling that reefsaver it was a ugly shade of brown. I tore it all out and purchased some live rock and used that same rock until 2018 when I did my last tare down I sold it off.
Fast forward to today I thought I’d buy some nice dry real reef rock and start cycling it right when I ordered my tank only to find out you can’t get the stuff anymore. So I ordered reef saver and the glue. Then thinking back to the trouble I had with it before I started looking on local club forums, Craigslist and Facebook to see if I could find some in a tare down. I was able to find some nice stuff. Some pukani including a big piece I’ll save for a future build and some nice Fiji that I am ultimately going to use in this build.
In all cases the used rock I got was all nasty but a few bleach baths and a quick hit with the power washer I brought it back to its old glory. Pictures below of the marco reef saver I won’t be using. The pukani I’ll be saving for a later build while I search for more of it. Then some Fuji I’ve been cooking for a month with microbacter xlm and there ammonia after giving it several bleach treatments first. It’s far more then I’ll need for this system but will give me options on the scape once I am ready to start up the system. For now I’ll just let it build up a bacterial coat.

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Jason sovereign

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Another package arrived today and this is probably the only modification I’ll be doing. The system come with 2 proprietary filter Sox. I like most don’t like the chores that come with running socks. I ordered 2 filter floss mounts from intank. For anyone else with a waterbox marine x 35.1. You’ll want to order the intank cube 10 -15 -20. They don’t list the 35.1-45.2 or 60.2 on the site but when you get your package they do. Fit perfectly.
 

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Jason sovereign

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Took a shot on a controller board using pvc board. Punching holes with a hole saw no issue. When I ripped the sides it didn’t come out very clean as I tried to rip it just holding it. Need to figure out how I can get it dead straight so I can clear pvc the sides to build the box. Going to swing back by Home Depot and see if they can rip the pieces I need so I can just use clear pvc glue to put on the sides to form a box and just punch holes where I need them. first attempt was a fail as I’m not happy with it.

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Jason sovereign

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Over the holiday I leak tested drained and then filled with saltwater and moved some of the rock I’ve been cooking into the system. Technically it’s up and running. Currently I am adding some ammonia each morning and testing ammonia in the evening if it’s all been converted to nitrite and nitrate. Only running the lights for a hour a day just to enjoy them. Will be trying to pick up some coriline covered rubble from someone local next and turning the lights on to get some coriline to spread and then add some fish and start feeding the tank and put the skimmer online.
 

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Jason sovereign

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No big changes. Skimmer is online and system is running fine other then the heater. The 150 watt true temp is doing a poor job of keeping the temp stable.
For years all I heard was this was the heater to get. Reliable and accurate. Will be returning the back up and the one I opened will use durning water changes but can’t rely on it. I’ve watched my temp swing as much as 6 degrees on my inkbird throughout the day. Going back to a finnex titanium heater that was always pinned my temps within a half a degree and in a smaller footprint. Also tested phosphate and on the ulr I was off the chart, over its highest capable reading. Wasn’t expecting that. The rock I used was bleached for over a week then cooked for 6 weeks before going into the tank with 100% new water. Thought maybe my source water was bad so then tested it and that came out 0 so leaching from the rock. Will give it a few weeks dosing BW clean with no light on then do a water change and test again. Give me some time to get the new heater delivered.
 
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Jason sovereign

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No big changes but did receive the new heater. Same issue so wasn’t the true temps issue. The display makes up the majority of the systems water so not sure if there is enough contact time to keep the displays temp steady with just one heater in the sump. I am now using a 100 watt in the sump and 150 watt hidden in the rear chamber both set to 82 being controlled by the inkbird which if have set at 78.9. The inkbird is measuring the temp in the sump and in the main display. Over the past 24 hours from periodically checking it, it is now only fluctuating .1 degree plus or minus (78.8-79). Honestly this has been the most difficult thing to figure out to get stable. If I was going to give anyone setting up the same system advice I’d say get 2 heaters and a inkbird or you’ll see wide swings in temp in the display during the winter. If you have a apex and your only measuring the temp in the sump your main display could be wildly swinging temperatures which I’d not ideal for coral growth. Go for the dual temp inkbird and put on in the skimmer section and one in the display. Put one heater in the skimmer section and one hidden in the overflow area and you can more or less pin your temp.
 

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Jason sovereign

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Update: pair of clowns being added. As I type this I am drip acclimating them. The pair was fairly expensive. Well very expensive. As I began to drip acclimate them I tested the salinity and it was almost criminal. 27ppt and my tank I am keeping at 35ppt so will probably take me a couple hours to be on the safe side. I’m raising the buckets ppt 1 about every 15 minutes with my current drip and removal method. I can understand why stores don’t run 35ppt but running 27ppt then have inexperienced people not acclimating correctly could easily kill the fish. If they’re going to do that they should at least warn you and recommend the correct acclimation process. Going forward I’ll be taking my Hannah salinity checker into the store.
 

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bluerider098

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Exciting. What kind of clowns? Hard to tell from the pictures, but maybe black Storm?

Are you going to do any type of quarantine or are you putting them straight in?
 
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Lilmatty5dimes

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Awesome tank. Clowns look pretty sweet. Be careful leaving them in the bagged water for so long. They could get ammonia poisoning. Not sure where I saw the link think here but once you open the bag the ammonia will raise pretty quickly. Lfs told me you ought to see them accumulate fish at the show. Basically temp match for about 20mins and grab the fish and toss into the water.
 
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Jason sovereign

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Exciting. What kind of clowns? Hard to tell from the pictures, but maybe black Storm?

Are you going to do any type of quarantine or are you putting them straight in?
Female is a mocha storm and male is a black storm. I have had a clown in every system I ever owned but never actually had a pair. Its been fun watching the female explore the tank all night and the male just worried about her and following her no mater where she goes. Hes always within like a inch of her. They will likely be the only fish in this system. Like 99% sure of that so they went straight in.
 
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Jason sovereign

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Awesome tank. Clowns look pretty sweet. Be careful leaving them in the bagged water for so long. They could get ammonia poisoning. Not sure where I saw the link think here but once you open the bag the ammonia will raise pretty quickly. Lfs told me you ought to see them accumulate fish at the show. Basically temp match for about 20mins and grab the fish and toss into the water.
they went from the bag to a bucket within about 20 minutes of leaving the store and stated a drip right away. If the salinity was even in the ball park of my tank I would have probably just temp acclimated and tossed them in. unfortunately that would of been torture to there gills for that much of a salinity change. They are in now. Took about 3 hours and doing good. Even took to a few pellets after only being in there for a couple minutes.
 

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