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Wilton's Tempting Fate - Build Thread (Waterbox Reef 100.3 )

wiltongates

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Tank Specs:

Tank: Waterbox Reef 100.3

Lights: Aqua Illuminations Hydra 26 HD

Sump: Synergy Reef TS-26 Triton Method Refugium Sump, configured left to right with 4-port probe holder, and ATO fitting in return

ATO:
Synergy Reef 5 Gallon ATO Container
XP Aqua Duetto ATO (came with the tank)

Filtration:
Refugium running chaeto and one or two other macroalgae
Refuigum Light: Kessil H380 Halo II LED Algae Grow Light
Skimmer: NYOS Quantum 160 (came with the tank)
Reactor: GFO & Carbon Reactor - Deluxe with Sicce Syncra 1.5 Pump from Bulk Reef Supply (still deciding whether this will be necessary - I expect to wait till I see what my phosphates are like before running GFO, but I would like to start with carbon)
UV Reactor: Green Killing Machine (24 watt)
Marinepure Ceramic Biomedia Plate x 2
Real Reef Rock x 55 lbs

Controller:
Neptune Apex EL (I figured I have a refractometer for salinity, and ORP doesn't seem to be the most useful measurement, but I can always get the probe(s) later if they end up being essential)

Dosing (will be dosing Triton method at minimum):
Apex DOS x 2: dosing and fluid metering system
Apex DDR x 2: DOS dual reservoir

Salt: HW-Marinemix Reefer Salt

Livestock:

Fish:​

Bartlett's Anthias x 5​

Inverts:​
Trochus Snails x 7​
Cerith Snails x 10​
Emerald Crab x 1​
Blood Shrimp x 2​
Pincushion Urchin x 1​
Tuxedo Urchin x 1​


Latest Photo:

IMG_0194.jpg


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Hey there! After about eight years out of the game, I've finally settled down enough to get back into saltwater.

In college, I tried several saltwater nano tanks that were always meh and could only last a year before being torn down to move apartments. It was the most effective way to learn, though, that lack of funds and resources leads to some of the best creativity.

In the end, I just didn't want to keep pouring energy and money into tiny tanks that wouldn't last. Fast forward to today and after a bit of planning and learning from those early years of mistakes, I'm ready to again!

In a whirlwind of excitement, I decided to go with the Waterbox Reef 100.3. I wanted to go larger but the only spot in my house that would really work for a tank will only handle the 36" long tank. Old me would have moved everything in the house to make room for the largest tank I can get, but with someone else in the house, and me wanting to exercise restraint on all fronts to keep a nice minimalist look, I've grown. After spending more time on these forums, I may have made a different decision, but the order is in and I'm halfway through waiting at this point. I've been told to expect the tank to ship in mid-October, so I'm filling my time with planning and set up.

My goal for this tank is to run the Triton method, which is something that I don't think was around last time I was in the hobby. From past experience, I know I get lazy on maintenance, so I would love to have a tank with minimal water changes! I'll set up a post with all the equipment that's been ordered so far, and keep the equipment list updated over time.

I want to keep a somewhat minimalist aquascape, inspired by @ChristopherKriens algae farm (ELOS 160) and @Ardeus aquascape help thread. I think the biggest takeaway I'm starting with is that I want to see plenty of the bottom of the tank! I'd love to include a bay and island and give a sense of depth, but this tank's footprint feels a little squat, so I'll probably aquascape in the moment once I have it. I've already received my Real Reef rock and set up my RO/DI system in the garage. Took a sped-up video of the deionization canisters getting wet, and that's all I've got for you today! It's not much, but it was fun to see all the different tubes doing their thing, and correctly at that. I have to enjoy the little things while I'm waiting on this tank.

















Fish and coral goals are still being figured out. I know I would like to do a group of 5 - 7 anthias, but I also know they're a bit difficult sometimes. Would also like an anemone with a pair of clownfish. Let me know if you have any recommendations on which should go in first - I've heard every combination so far! I'm in the Houston area and have been visiting several of the LFS's around to see which one(s) I click with. Haven't been massively impressed at the fish health at most of them, but absolutely loved the setup at Infinity Fish in Missouri City. If any of you are familiar with them, please chime in. I asked about their QT process, and they said they dosed copper on all new arrivals, which as little as that is, seems like more than most stores I've visited, where you can find fish visibly swimming off balance and dying in corners. Is there a part of this site devoted to reviews of LFSs, because that could be a great reference.

Past experience has also taught me I should probably quarantine everything. I want to set up a QT, but am wondering how important it is to quarantine the first tank inhabitants. I can already hear the most successful of you yelling to QT everything, but...really? even the first ones?

Keep watching and I'll do my best to update as much as possible while I wait and wait and wait on this tank! I appreciate everyone's feedback on this site and am so thankful for everything I'm already learning from you all.
 
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saltyhog

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Look forward to seeing this tank take shape! Welcome to R2R!

As for QT on the initial fish...I would definitely do it. Nothing would be more discouraging than to lose your first fish or two and be forced to go fishless for almost 3 months!

I think I would go with the anthias first. That will give you time for the tank to mature enough for an anemone and allow the anthias to get established before the more territorial clowns get in. I think the minimalist aquascape contributes to making that a better plan?
 
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wiltongates

wiltongates

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As for QT on the initial fish...I would definitely do it. Nothing would be more discouraging than to lose your first fish or two and be forced to go fishless for almost 3 months!

I think I would go with the anthias first. That will give you time for the tank to mature enough for an anemone and allow the anthias to get established before the more territorial clowns get in. I think the minimalist aquascape contributes to making that a better plan?
Ugh fine I'll QT the fish :cool: this hobby gives me so many opportunities to practice patience. I think you're right it's worth it to do it all right from the get-go. Anthias first! I like them better anyway.
 
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Jon Fishman

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Welcome! Will follow along. Failed nano tanks would have been more productive than what I was up to in college.....

Edit. quarantine is overrated
 
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wiltongates

wiltongates

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I started curing live rock last weekend, but am afraid there have been several mistakes already. The rock is Real Reef rock, which, contrary to its name, is actually man-made, but it's been sitting in Real Reef's tanks for awhile, so it should be live. When I received it, I did not have my RO/DI system up and running yet (mistake #1), so it sat in its box for almost a week.

Upon opening, it still smelled fine. It was covered in a surprising amount of algae. I dumped it all in a Brute can of mixed saltwater, which (mistake #2?) never really cleared up after mixing the saltwater in. Three days later, it is still somewhat opaque.

Finally, mistake #3 - the water is in my non-climate-controlled garage in Houston, meaning I definitely don't need a heater, and the water is registering around 92 deg F. I think this is probably the largest problem - is this so hot that bacteria growth will be damaging? Will I need to do a more intense cure on this rock now to clean it up before adding it to my tank? I really don't have room to cure it inside....
 

lpsouth1978

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I started curing live rock last weekend, but am afraid there have been several mistakes already. The rock is Real Reef rock, which, contrary to its name, is actually man-made, but it's been sitting in Real Reef's tanks for awhile, so it should be live. When I received it, I did not have my RO/DI system up and running yet (mistake #1), so it sat in its box for almost a week.

Upon opening, it still smelled fine. It was covered in a surprising amount of algae. I dumped it all in a Brute can of mixed saltwater, which (mistake #2?) never really cleared up after mixing the saltwater in. Three days later, it is still somewhat opaque.

Finally, mistake #3 - the water is in my non-climate-controlled garage in Houston, meaning I definitely don't need a heater, and the water is registering around 92 deg F. I think this is probably the largest problem - is this so hot that bacteria growth will be damaging? Will I need to do a more intense cure on this rock now to clean it up before adding it to my tank? I really don't have room to cure it inside....
I don't think the increased heat will affect the bacteria in any negative way. Most bacteria will actually thrive and reproduce even faster in somewhat higher temps. 92 ie deffinitely not hot enough to kill it.

Just out of curiosity, what system would you have gone with if not the WaterBox?
 
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wiltongates

wiltongates

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I don't think the increased heat will affect the bacteria in any negative way. Most bacteria will actually thrive and reproduce even faster in somewhat higher temps. 92 ie deffinitely not hot enough to kill it.
Phew, good to know. Now that October is here, we can start expecting a random cool front any week now.

Just out of curiosity, what system would you have gone with if not the WaterBox?
I would have looked a little more in depth at the Red Sea Reefer systems, or something drilled for a Synergy Shadow Overflow. I'm anticipating being annoyed by the in-tank overflow, but I think I'll get past it pretty quickly once an aquascape is decided.

From what I've read, it seems that the Waterbox systems are great and I think I made a good choice. After continuing to read around the site, it seems like people's issues with Waterbox are mostly just to do with backorders on tanks (which I'm experiencing too, but I'm fine with it) and a few packing/customer service issues. Once it's set up, everyone seems to love it, so I intend to as well!

FWIW, I've talked a couple times with customer service so far, just to get info on timing for the order, and they've been surprisingly quick to respond with real information, not just vague statements to put me off longer, so I've been impressed.
 
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Jon Fishman

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That temp, and the non-mixed saltwater (regular rodi would even work) won’t affect it at all.


You are on your way to good rocks!!!
 
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lpsouth1978

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Do you mean in-tank overflow? Red Sea Reefers have the same type of overflow. I agree that the overflow box in the tank can be a bit intrusive, though I think this is more evident in a tank with less width. The 24" width makes it much more enjoyable. I am able to have a nice aquascape that allows room around the overflow box. With my old 18" 125 it was annoying and I had to stack rocks right up against the overflow.
 
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wiltongates

wiltongates

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Yes, that's what I meant. Back when I was doing nanos, real estate mattered so much, and I think that impulse is hanging on now. I took a look at the Marine line of waterbox tanks at my LFS and did see that they had a lot of space in that footprint, so I think there will be plenty of room. I'm excited to get playing on the aquascape!
 
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wiltongates

wiltongates

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Welcome! Will follow along. Failed nano tanks would have been more productive than what I was up to in college.....

Edit. quarantine is overrated
Haha! Well I can't say the nano tanks kept me focused on my school work at all.... But a nice science-based distraction from law school for sure.
 
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wiltongates

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Get ready for a big ol' update.

The tank showed up last week three hours early, but fortunately I was able to rush home over lunch to accept it.

IMG_20191008_123627.jpg


I was alone, so I don't have any unboxing photos, but it was packaged well and everything was in good shape. I took the cabinet box inside to start building, then unboxed the tank as best I could without help. I removed the sump, since I'm not planning on using their stock sump (if anyone in the Houston area wants to pick this up let me know - I'll be selling it on the cheap), and later that evening, my partner and I moved the tank into the house.

I laid out all the pieces and had a mini freak out. As you can see, despite my ordering the white cabinet, there were a LOT of black pieces in here. Fortunately, the white pieces fully cover the black ones, and there is no visual confusion, except that some of the inside of the cabinet is black. I don't know if that was intentional on the part of Waterbox, or if that's how they all come now, but Waterbox's official videos definitely show all pieces being the same color. Either way, no harm no foul, and I don't mind the black cabinet inside.

IMG_20191008_133803.jpg


Before showing the full cabinet, here is the sump I ordered from Synergy Reef. It is set up to run the Triton method, and will hopefully work well inside this cabinet. The Waterbox is set up for its own stock sump, which does not have a refugium, so I will be giving up some of the plug-and-play aspect of the system in order to build the tank I really want. It works, but as you'll see later on, it's not the most elegant solution.

I love the Synergy sump so far, though. I got a matching ATO reservoir from them as well.

IMG_20190930_212431.jpg


Here is a top down view of the sump. The refugium is on the left (approx. 8 gallons water volume), skimmer section in the middle, and return section on the right. The return section includes a movable baffle with four spots for airline tubing clamps, where I will be doing the dosing. The bulkheads are drilled in, but will not match the plumbing that already comes with the tank. I would have to redo the plumbing myself if I wanted it to fit perfectly. As you'll see, I set it up without the more elegant plumbing solution, but I'm still on the fence. Thoughts would be appreciated as to whether I'll regret this in the future!

On the far right is the separate ATO reservoir (5 gallons).

Try to ignore the sweetest cat in the world.

IMG_20190930_212423.jpg


Now here is the sump and ATO inside the cabinet - just checking that they fit, and they do. Just barely!

IMG_20191008_153208.jpg


I spent a few days adding all the equipment in the sump and working to find the best placement for things in the cabinet. I've decided on the following set up:

Left side of the sump, in the refugium, are the heaters and marine pure plates.

IMG_20191008_232508.jpg


In the skimmer section is the skimmer - with just enough clearance to fit in there with NOTHING ELSE.

IMG_20191008_232514.jpg


On the right side, the return pump, with the ATO sensor. This is a mess at the moment as I am waiting on the barb adapter that was supposed to be included in the system. It seems to be missing, so I just ordered it separately so I could get this up and running more quickly. Plus ATO reservoir on the right.

IMG_20191008_232524.jpg


Then I went on vacation for a longish weekend.

CA203201-7050-4FFE-A756-9CC0208B7F8C.jpg


After returning, I ran all the cords through to my Apex system, got everything plugged in and identified, and am excited to get some rocks and sand in here! Hoping to work on aquascape this evening.

Here is the cabinet setup with the drain pipes and doors added. I've put two DDR dosing reservoirs in front of the sump and will be running airline back to the DOS units on the back wall of the cabinet. Currently, all cords run to the Apex energy bars being kept in a box next to the cabinet (to keep cat and dogs out). We are working on ideas for a kind of window-box cabinet-ottoman to go under the window to the left of the tank, for mounting the apex units and managing the cords. I can't stand the cord octopus but somehow that takes the most planning of all. We'll get it figured out.

You might be able to see: the drain pipes do not fit the bulkhead locations on the Synergy T-26 sump, but they do reach into the drain/refugium section through the refugium opening. This section comes with a lid that I would love to be able to put on, but won't be able to if I decide to drain into that section. Alternatively, I could cut those drain pipes and add adapters to make them reach the bulkheads and drain into there. I think that is something I'm likely going to try, though I may have to lose that neat ball valve.

Has anyone else tried a non-stock sump in the waterbox tanks and dealt with this? As fun as custom plumbing is, I never seem to be able to find the right parts I need when I want them, so the lazy part of me wants to just leave things as they are.

Oh, and I hung the refugium light over the refugium section. You can almost see it up there.

IMG_0031.jpg


And here is a front tank shot with the lights added on top. On someone else's build thread, I saw a person post that the screws on these light mounts only required them to give about an inch of space from the wall. In my case, I would say there are at least two inches needed for the pins alone, and then to have space to be able to reach behind those pins with a hex key to make adjustments as need on the mount (and I think this will definitely be necessary at some point as I make lighting adjustments), I need another inch. So this is easily three to four inches off the back wall. I don't mind this, except that it makes it very easy for the cat to squeeze in behind. I'll be looking for some ideas for trim/inserts that are easily removable to allow me behind the tank, but block easy feline access.

IMG_0030.jpg


Next steps include:

-adjusting those cabinet doors so they fit evenly

-cord management

-aquascaping

-re-plumbing the drains (writing this has almost convinced that I had better just do it)

-WATER

-carbon reactor: I have one from Bulk Reef Supply - I haven't figured out the plumbing yet, as the Sicce pump it came with doesn't seem to fit their tubing (their online walkthrough references a different pump, so I guess they've changed this and haven't changed the instructions). I would have to run the pump externally in front of the sump on the left side of the cabinet, and mount the reactor to the inside of the left cabinet door. I've done a fit test and it will work, but it does seem cumbersome.

-tank lid: I definitely want one, and will probably go with a lid from ClearView. They seem to take a while to make, and are based on my specific tank set up, so I need a bit more time to plan the tank out and take measurements. Taking advice on good temporary options in the meantime.

-powerheads: I tried adding the AI Nero 5 powerheads to the tank last night, just to see how they'll look and fit. They're cute, but the magnets are not very strong through the thick glass on this tank. One bump and they came tumbling down. Is there any reason to expect this to change when water is in there?

-cycle: I've ordered the refugium starter kit from algae barn, so I will seed some bacteria in here to start the cycle, and then a week later, should have my chaeto and pods to get the refugium going. I'll probably go with the frozen shrimp method of cycling (or scallops? since I have a few of those in the freezer), while I get my QT set up and ready for the first fish - a bunch of anthias.

I'm planning on doing an observation QT, though I'm actually quite persuaded and tempted at the moment by @Paul B 's No Quarantine Method. Part of my attraction to the Triton method is its dependence on a large refugium and macro-algae, which seems like a more holistic approach to reefing. In one of my jobs, I'm a flower farmer, and I focus heavily on sustainable soil management. These philosophies seem to go together, so I will be considering this approach that includes a lack of quarantine. Maybe I'll throw a sock of farm dirt in there, we'll see.

Let me know your thoughts and criticisms! Do you see anything here that I should change before I get water in the tank?
 
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wiltongates

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Over the last week, I worked on the aquascape and finally got water in this thing. I threw in a Trader Joe's frozen scallop and am waiting on my Algae Barn starter pack in the meantime to speed up the cycle.

Currently running skimmer only (which I can't seem to get tuned in properly), with no lights. I'm going to put some cardboard on the right side to block out the indirect window light next to the tank during the cycle.

IMG_0034.jpg

IMG_0035.jpg

IMG_0036.jpg

IMG_0084.jpg

IMG_0085.jpg
 
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wiltongates

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Time for an update!

This tank has been up for 1 month as of tomorrow. The tank cycled relatively quickly with Algaebarn refugium starter pack, so once I saw diatoms start on the sand bed, I moved five Bartlett's anthias out of their observation tank (1 month in observation, I medicated with nothing after bringing them home from the LFS, and they've been eating much and often) and into the new tank.

It was probably a mistake to add so many fish at once - especially heave feeders - but I wanted to add the anthias first and all together to let them get established before more territorial fish join later, and so that they can work out their own internal power struggles, so I made my choice. They've been doing pretty well, other than one that is still hanging out in a dark corner by the overflow a week after being introduced to the tank. The squabbling has for the most part died down.

My chaeto in the fuge is doing awesom, and filling out the sump more and more every day. The skimmer is now pulling several tablespoons of black skimmate every day, so it seems to be rocking and rolling.

The diatoms covered the sand bed and rocks for about four days before starting to transition to green hair algae. I guess it skipped the cyano stage? I'm trying to stay patient on the algae, because it really hasn't been that long, and I'm hoping it self corrects over the next few weeks. I'll be adding a small cuc soon to help out.

Where I could really use some input is on this cloudy water! Based on some other threads on here, I decided to start running carbon, so I used my brs reactor to run about 10 tablespoons of carbon. It seems to have had no effect. In the right light, I can look in the display tank and see clouds of particles swirling around in the current. I'm assuming this is an algae or bacterial bloom? I refreshed carbon after four days. The fish seem healthy, but they can be sneaky things, so who knows if they really are fine with the water quality. Since my nitrates are low and the chaeto is growing like crazy, I've been trying to avoid a water change, but that will be my next step. These fish eat so much, I'm sure this was brought on by a sudden huge change in nutrient load as well.

Should I add more marine pure to the sump to host more bacteria? Keep running carbon? Freak out because it's something much worse? Relax because it's part of the cycle?

Ammonia has been testing at 0, Nitrite at 0 - 0.2, Nitrates are in the 3-4ppm range as of a few days ago. pH has been consistently 8.2 throughout.

Here are some tank pictures as things get cloudier and cloudier:

IMG_0161.jpg


IMG_0194.jpg
 
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