Zoey's Reef is Growing Up . . .

Maritimer

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I think ...

Wasn't really planning on this - at least not now - it just sort of ... happened.

I'd been sort of idly toying with the idea of re-homing Zoey's Reef (65gallon display) into a larger glass box. Maybe a 90, or even a 150. Then along comes my favorite reef shop, with a gently used, reef-ready 220 at a price I found it hard to say no to. (Turns out they're going to be closing their doors after the Holidays. Waahh!) So, now . . . here it is.

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This is a big box of water, by my standards! At 72 x 24 x 30", it's well over twice the size of any aquarium I've ever owned. It's also going to be the first time I've ever owned a "Reef Ready" aquarium - or tried to plumb one! (I do have the old drain and return - they're out in the car at the moment - but that's about it. Tank, stand, drain and return, and eggcrate covers.)

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So, I'll need to figure out what to do with all of this . . . beginning with cleaning it up! (I'm thinking vinegar, and plenty of it, to begin...)

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Any thoughts, comments and advice would be welcome - I'd love to be able to do this right (or close to it!) the first time!!

~Bruce
 
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Maritimer

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My son's informed me that we have a 75 gallon tank gathering dust in the garage - this'll make for a perfect sump!

There's a caveat - there's no center-top crossbrace on the tank. With baffles siliconed in, will that be a problem? Would it be advisable to also run a bar of some sort across the top of the tank? PVC in a broad, squared-off "U", perhaps, to keep the sides from bowing?

Skimmer's on its way from Adam at Battlecorals . . .

There's a 4 x 6" beam and a couple of jack-poles in the Jeep, which I plan to install under the floor . . . .

Hoping it all works and doesn't come apart at the seams!

~Bruce
 
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Or ... Maybe not.

The inside of the stand is only 26.5" high, and a 75 is 21". Five inches isn't enough headroom to get things in and out when I need to, so I may have to look at the next available size down - and it looks as though that's a 40B. Would that be too small of a sump under a 220? Will power-outage floods be all but guaranteed?!

~Bruce, who would welcome any input . . .
 
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Maritimer

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Bumbling slowly along . . .

And stumbling into problems - some of them of my own making, some of a more random nature.

I decided to paint the back of the big tank, and thinking it a clever idea, tried painting it to match the "Kingston & Zoey's Reef" sign that'll hang above it.

Hated it.

Had to strip the paint, and re-do in straight black acrylic artist's paint. (Just in case you ever need it, rubbing alcohol will help a _lot_ with stripping acrylic paint . . . )
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Had to take down my 40-b QT, in order to move the 65 gallon DT into its location, in order to move the 220 into the 65's spot (where the floor is bolstered from beneath by a concrete half-wall) along a load-bearing wall and perpendicular to the joists. (I've got some jack-poles and a 4 x 6 as well to help support the front of the tank.)
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I acclimated all the fish in QT to the DT water, and placed them into a big storage tub with water siphoned from the display. Wound up filling two of these tubs:
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Moved all the fish, corals, inverts and liverock into the tubs, each of which had a powerhead at one end, then finished draining the 65 into a Brute barrel and (with some help from my son and some of his friends) moved the display to the other side of the room. Below, you see it when I remembered to take photos for you folks, already partially aquascaped. I lost a blackray shrimpgoby during the move when she swam into a powerhead (Ouch!) and one of my tuxedo urchins a day or two later. Just about everyone else seems to be doing well - and introducing the new flame angel to the established coral beauty went off without a hitch! They pretty much ignore one another, even in the 65.
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A game of "Musical Tanks" can make for an interesting evening ... and early morning . . . With the sturdy lads, moved the 220 into position along the wall:
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Darn. Due to the position of a floor grate and a windowsill, I'm going to have to move the light fixture - by just a few inches. Annoying.

Time to gather all the toys and put this thing together!
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Let's build a sump!

I had originally hoped to build a sump from a 75 gallon tank. Nice safe size, plenty of extra room in case the power goes down. Oops! That's only going to give me a few inches of clearance under the stand! I won't be able to clean the skimmer cup!! Have to cut the margin a little tighter, and use a 40-breeder (which, I'm told, actually holds nearly 50 gallons of water. Phew!). How convenient that there was a $1/gallon sale going on at the local big-box pet shop!
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This is one of TaylorPilot's baffle kits, about halfway done. The kit will work for either a 40-b or a 75 gallon tank, and everything fit together rather nicely. The baffles are acrylic, so I'm using extra silicone. Like, five tubes.

Let's pull out some of those plumbing supplies, and lock in the standpipes! ... Oh. ... Dear. . . . It seems that the old 3/4" bulkheads (with barb-fittings) for the returns have _much_ thicker walls than the 3/4" bulkheads I ordered from BRS over Black Friday! The holes in the bottom of the tank would probably hold 1" bulkheads of a more normal thickness. I do not trust these small bulkheads in the big holes! I don't know where to find super-thick bulkheads!! Ack!!!
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Really wanted to hard-plumb this, rather than using vinyl hose for the returns, and really would love to have a bulkhead with a 3/4" inner diameter and a ... whatever _that_ is ... outer diameter, so that it will fit both the standpipe and the hole in the glass! Does anyone have any idea where to find such a thing?!

Stay tuned . . .

Here's everybody in their newly re-scaped 65 gallon home. I think they'd like to move back across the room, into the 220 . . .

~Bruce

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Onward!

The @TaylorPilot sump is now completed, and my son and I worked together to dry-fit the plumbing this evening. First time getting a real good look inside the stand - holy cats! Do these stands really hold up?!! If I hadn't seen this tank in operation, on this stand, over the last year or so in The Coral Reef, LLC. (LFS, now moved to an online & by appointment model), I wouldn't have believed that it would carry the weight. I don't know how well you can see it, but there's a pretty significant sag in the floor of the stand. We're actually considering taking the tank off and seeing about bracing that from underneath with a few 2x4"s - or would a yoga-mat to help even out the pressure be sufficient? The biggest tank I've owned to date is a sumpless freshwater 75 gallon - on the same kind of stand - so I'm kind of winging it here . . .
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Top back corner of the stand - it seems that a few staples and some minimal routing are carrying all the weight?!
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The view along the inside front of the stand. After seeing some of the beefy, rock-solid stands that the skilled craftsmen (and women!) on this forum have built, this one kind of scares me . . . Not certain of the brand, but might be Aqueon?
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And some basic, bare-bones plumbing. This is another aspect of aquarium-keeping that I've never attempted, as this is my first "reef-ready" system. The sump is a Petco 40-breeder, brand new but of somewhat dubious construction. There are splots of silicone gracing one of the side-panels. Since it's a sump, that doesn't really matter much, but ... Seriously, Aqueon?

Drains are 1" Dursos, return is 1 1/4" coming out of the pump (Fluval Sea SP6, rated for over 3,000 GPH - I expect to dial it down a bit.) and splitting to two 3/4" return lines, with Loc-Line pointed diagonally across the tank. I've got enough Loc-Line bits & bobs to split those once again, and fan the flow out across the surface, but not sure whether that or the more concentrated option is better.

The plumbing is only dry-fit in these photos, but hopefully we can get 'er glued up over the next couple of days and maybe leak-test on Sunday - and through next week. (I'm planning a one-week leak-test, with vinegar in the water to help with some old coraline and general hard-water staining.) Assuming that all works out, I'm going to be putting a lot of water through my RO/DI!

Left side drain & return, with a good look at how it comes off the pump (The pump's intake is mounted pretty high - I've cut a bit of 1 1/4" and a 90* elbow to get it closer to the floor of the sump ... just in case):
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Center bay of the stand - will be primarily used to access the return pump and skimmer:
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Right side - this is where the sump "begins", as water flows into the chamber on the left and overflows into a bank of three 4" filter socks. One thing I kind of regret is that there's no real place to hold carbon / GFO, as I have in my smaller (20 long) sump. I'm considering using one mesh sock, and running a bag of carbon & GFO in it. Not ideal, by any means, and maybe someday down the line, I'll install a reactor.
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For those who've been following along - and have read this far - the solution to the bulkhead issue was to purchase a brace of schedule 80 3/4" bulkheads. Between thicker plastic walls and a double-thick gasket, they look like they're going to be a perfect fit.

~Bruce
 
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@saltyfilmfolks, you're a lifesaver, LOL!

Might not have been in this thread, but an Aqua-Clear hung on the end of the sump would make a perfect solution to my carbon / GFO dilemma!

Thanks!

~Bruce
 
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Hahaa. Thanks. Im also a penny saver too. I put my bag of carbon next to the pump. If somethings amiss I put the bag ON the pump, my water is a bit too clear for me right now actually(I have scallops and Mussels). I dont use gfo unless I need it for emergency or the numbers warrant it, Like if once you get the rock and water in the tank and see high Po4 in the first week its wet.
 

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Looks great, Bruce! Following along! Did you get the brace under the stand sorted? I'd suggest bracing anything that's sagging. LOL
 
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Thanks, Daniel!

I've gotten a couple of 5' pieces of 2 x 4, which I _think_ should cover the distance between the floor and the bottom of the stand's floor. Going to need my son & maybe one or two of his friends to get the tank lifted enough to maybe slide a piece of lumber underneath it. Also picked up an "exercise mat" that should even out some of the pressure from the sump and brighten up the inside of the stand. Maybe. (>__<)

~Bruce
 
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Watching the fish in my 65 over the last couple of weeks, and noticed a spot or two on the exquisite wrasse, some irregularities in the trigger's dorsal and anal fin . . . and I'm wondering if, in spite of quarantining every fish, I'm currently running an "ich management" tank. Since I've got a 75 gallon that we recently disassembled (was a planted freshwater), and there are Acanthurus tangs on my wishlist for the big tank, I'm seriously considering putting everybody through a QT protocol again, and running the 220 through a fallow period for a fresh start. Would let pods and such colonize the thing, as well . . . give corals a chance to settle in and get growing . . . provide an algal treat for tangs and angelfish (and a Quoy's parrotfish, if I can swing one of those! Yes, I'm obsessing...)

~Bruce
 

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^That's not a bad idea. Qt is sort of a skill where you get better at it as you do it more. After having sharpened your skills, so to speak, re-quarenting will cover any possible previous lapses.
 

Reefrookie220

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@Maritimer , even though the floor of the stand doesn't hold the majority of the weight, I've found with used systems a saggy stand floor is usually from water damage.

The source of the water is a shot in the dark, either a spill, Leakey bulkhead or etc etc.

If it bothers you, you could cut adsheet of 1/4in plywood and slide it in there for the sake of sump being completely level and putting no stress on any piping/bulkheads.

Stress or pressure on any fittings is a leak waiting to happen.
 
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Thanks, Captc07!

Reefrookie220, that's not a bad idea . . . This tank was plumbed into a LFS fish system, using vinyl tubing, so ... yeah. Anybody's guess. I am trying to figure out how to minimize any stress on fittings and pipe - the last thing I need is a leak underneath a 220 gallon box made of glass!

~Bruce
 
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AAAAHHhHhhhhgggggghhhhh!!!!

All of that plumbing that worked so picture-perfectly when it was dry-fit?

I took it out to the front of the tank, in sections and glued it all together. Now that it's glued up, it's _almost_two_inches_ short, spanning - or rather, failing to span - the distance between the bulkheads. Slip a pipe into one, and it completely misses the other. There's no wiggle room there. I'm going to have to go back to BRS, buy three more Cepex ball valves and at least as many 90* elbows ... and when I do it again, I have _no_idea_ how to prevent this from happening a second time.

SO annoyed with myself right now!!

Ugh.

~Bruce
 
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