Welcome to all the fun: setting up a 12 foot reef tank

ScottB

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Firstly, this system is not my own. I am merely an assistant to the building, stocking, and maintenance process. I will list my functions later in the thread for anyone who gives a fish-poo about it. Spoiler alert: I only have to do the fun/interesting parts. Mostly, anyway.

Second, it is not as big as it sounds. Just thought the title was a “grabber”. It is only 2’ high and 2’ wide so 330G or so.

This is an install for a local bank. My LFS has been servicing a cute little 3’ shallow reef there for a couple years, so this is a nice upgrade to go along with their new construction offices.

This will be a dual overflow peninsula install, serving as a divider wall between customer lounge space and employee lounge space. The original design was several magnitudes larger, but dealing with the weight was a change order too far I guess. The tank will be on the third floor. Honestly, I am a tad glad the scope stepped down into a realm I am comfortable with. I have experience with all the life support equipment required for this system.

So I mentioned the third floor. How would you move a steel stand measuring 12’ X 4’ X 2” up three flights of stairs?

Stand going up.jpeg
 
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ScottB

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You can call these crane operators with less than a couple hours notice and they show up ready to solve your problem. These guys were incredibly competent and able to get it in through a third floor window in about 1/2 an hour. That was actually the easy part.
 
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ScottB

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A week or two later, the tank arrived. It is 1" acrylic with external overflows on each end. I am a bit of an acrylic skeptic, but I cannot imagine shoving and lifting a glass version. Thankfully, there was a bunch of construction guys that were curious and willing to help out. Again, getting it inside was the easy bit. Once inside, we had to pitch it up on the end to get it around some corners. It was comical; sorry no photos of that part. It only weighs 500lbs, but the length makes every movement a mental as well as physical challenge.
 

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ScottB

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Now to bring us up to yesterday. Time to set the stand in place, and then lift the tank on to the stand.

To my significant dismay, there were no construction guys on site by the time we got there. Only the project manager, just shaking his head at the three of us. I can't post what he said exactly, but something along the lines of "you've got to be kidding me!".
 

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Now to bring us up to yesterday. Time to set the stand in place, and then lift the tank on to the stand.

To my significant dismay, there were no construction guys on site by the time we got there. Only the project manager, just shaking his head at the three of us. I can't post what he said exactly, but something along the lines of "you've got to be kidding me!".
yup sounds about right....I would be saying the same.

I have always dreamed of a long reef. I would like to do a 10' in my basement someday. but the thought if getting it down there....yeah

I'll be fallowing this one for sure.i want to see how the acrylic holds up.
I bet you 3 where glad it was not glass when you lifted it on to the stand!
 

xxkenny90xx

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Following! Interested to hear how you got into this project scott
 
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ScottB

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I've done a lot of stupid things in my life, and this might not have made the top 10, but it was close. Leverage is a miraculous thing especially when the lever is 12' long. But we only had three guys.

Two of us got one end up to waist level, the third kept it there while we repositioned in a squat so we could push the end up onto the 4' tall stand. We repeated the process on the other side.

While I hated working against that extra foot of height when lifting, I gotta say having the reef at eye level is going to look great. Check it out:

IMG-4975.jpg
IMG-4978.jpg
 
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ScottB

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Following! Interested to hear how you got into this project scott
Hey Kenny,
I've been friends with my LFS owner since entering the hobby about 14 years ago. A year or so after I retired, my LFS moved location. It was a monster of a task, and while he got the fish systems up and running, his three coral systems were in bad shape and that bugged me. So we worked out an arrangement that was great for us both. I've been running the coral systems for a few years now.

I also like to do his higher end client builds and stocking the tanks. He sent around some lousy iphone videos I did to some of his select clients. A few came back with "yes, I want my tank to look like that". So that has been fun; I pretty much have carte blanche on equipment, coral and fish selection.

So when this project came along, I was excited to participate. The scale of this is a little larger, but the template for equipment and stocking isn't really much different.
 
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ScottB

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Here are a couple drawings for those interested in such things. A few specifics have already changed (at least in my head) but the tank, overflows, carpentry, millwork, electrical is the same.

While I don't enjoy working on "in wall" systems, this setup has a lot of openings all the way around. Plus, the millwork covers up a lot of the ugly mechanicals like powerheads, lighting, etc.

Section Elev w detail.jpg
Section Elevation.jpg
Top Down overflow and returns.jpg
 
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ScottB

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Lighting

Again, just following the keep it simple template.

3 X Aquatic Life Hybrid 48"
6 X AI Hydra 32s
12 X 54 watt Blue+

I can get each hybrid fixture assembled and programmed in less than an hour, easy peasy. I can't count how many times I have set these up. There are MANY sexier reef lighting options out there but this is a solid value for money option for lighting a mixed reef.

Speaking of sexy, have you looked up the new ATI Stratons? You will likely get a vaccine before you can buy one of these but they are smoking hot fixtures.
 
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ScottB

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Two questions to pose about the sumps & overflows:

1) As the overflows are so far apart and the stand prevents putting a bigger sump in place, I have TWO sumps. One on each end. They are Trigger 44s and will just fit inside the vertical legs of the stand, I am thinking I should tie the two sumps together with a 2" soft pipe. Load balance. I've done this before. What do you think? Unnecessary?

2) Overflow lines versus return lines depicted in sketch #1. Which should be shorter and why? I can easily rotate the sumps to make for a shorter return or shorter overflow lines.

I have my own preconceived notions on both, but I have missed stuff before.
 
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ScottB

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yup sounds about right....I would be saying the same.

I have always dreamed of a long reef. I would like to do a 10' in my basement someday. but the thought if getting it down there....yeah

I'll be fallowing this one for sure.i want to see how the acrylic holds up.
I bet you 3 where glad it was not glass when you lifted it on to the stand!
This will be the first acrylic tank I have worked with, but the service guys at the LFS know how to clean acrylic so hopefully we can keep the scratches down.

Yes a 10' would do nicely. I would mock up a scale model with 2X2 lumber and test fit stairs and corners. Would give you an idea of feasibility & how many people you need.
 
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ScottB

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That’s one expensive stand deliver. That will be a cool office.
Yeah, but it sure beats the alternative. The thing is a beast.

When you come out of the elevator, the first thing you see is the tank. The ONLY thing you see is the tank. It is some pretty expensive art work.
 

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This will be the first acrylic tank I have worked with, but the service guys at the LFS know how to clean acrylic so hopefully we can keep the scratches down.

Yes a 10' would do nicely. I would mock up a scale model with 2X2 lumber and test fit stairs and corners. Would give you an idea of feasibility & how many people you need.

funny that was what I had planed. might do PCV tho we will see.
we need more pics of your project!
 
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ScottB

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funny that was what I had planed. might do PCV tho we will see.
we need more pics of your project!
We are in a holding pattern for a bit, waiting for the wall to get framed out and the electricals to be installed.

In the meantime, I will be finishing up the lights and drilling the sumps for a 2" connecting pipe. Also some stuff to complete on the control board.
 
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ScottB

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Well of course there have been some delays on the site construction, but tomorrow is a big day. The two of us should have about 5-6 hours onsite. I seriously doubt we will get it wet tomorrow, but should be able to get most of the plumbing done, the lights hung and the control board roughed in. There is always a snag you cannot predict, but at least we have a plan. The LFS is only closed on Mondays, so that is the day me and Randy can work on it together.

Pondering now how to set up the 114watt UV. Inline with return I know is common, but has some disadvantages when it comes to flow control. So I am leaning toward running it with a separate pump.

I am going to go into the store for a bit today and drill the sumps, install the bulkheads and dry fit the balancing pipe so we have less work to do tomorrow. Maybe I will update with a pic of that later tonight.

Until then, I mentioned the new ATI Straton LEDs fixtures earlier. Here is a pic of how they look over my (under renovation) display now. I am very impressed with these fixtures. If you are interested at all, @Reef-Engineer did a very substantial, data rich, review of these things.

51580.jpg
 
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