View Full Version : Kai's 120G Pacific Reef Build

04-20-2010, 08:29 PM
Hi guys,

Usually keep my build journals and construction notes private, (Just me) but since this is a conversion and not a bespoke build there will be a lot of building info on custom plumbing, budget bespoke lighting, budget sumps, aquascaping, purchasing tips, money saving ideas and other build stuff. Ill also keep a tally of how much its costing so far and will list all budget spends to give you a clear idea of how much a top class reef SHOULD and REALISTICALLY cost and provide a REAL picture on the mythical expense that is reef keeping.

So ill be listing a loads of info/howtos with pics for all those who want a marine, but dont want the cost of a bespoke tank, or have a tank (like me) and want to keep a reef before they even get to the costs of rock, filtration and asthetics...

This is all in the hope of attracting new reef keepers or people to start to entertain that keeping a reef is not that expensive and is slightly accessible, even in these times.

So I hope you keep this thread subscribed or do pay an interest in this and please feel free to post suggestions or questions as ill be more than happy to help....


04-20-2010, 09:22 PM
I know theres fish in it (!!!) But I had to move my quarrantine tank and nano tank for renovations. But as you can see, no filtation, no sump, overflow... NOTHING!!!!

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/06042010.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17791)

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/06042010_001_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17790)

Its a start!!!!!!


04-21-2010, 12:46 AM
I just read this thread and I'm glad that you're doing this. I'm fairly new to the hobby (only a few months) but am definitely interested in doing a SW tank in the future, so this will be very cool to see the step by step on how your project progresses.

04-21-2010, 12:49 AM
Ha it is nice size tank for a SW tank. My main concern is the table you chose because the aquarium hangs over the side w/o a bottom frame the best thing t do is go by a pice of plywood and put some legs on it to suppot the outer edges. Just saying. Looks nice. Hurry ASAP for all the filter and skimmers and stuff.

04-21-2010, 04:11 PM
My main concern is the table you chose because the aquarium hangs over the side w/o a bottom frame the best thing t do is go by a pice of plywood and put some legs on it to suppot the outer edges. Just saying.

I definitely agree with that statement. You need to get the corners and edges supported especially with that size of tank. The weight being put on them is enormous and could only lead to cracks.

No filtation, no sump, and no overflow is not too big of a deal, since you have live rock and power heads for movement.

04-21-2010, 04:15 PM
Sounds like a fun project but I agree with others, get a stand that fits the tank. I would be very nervous with it being on that dresser. It may be ok at 1st but one day it will break and that would be a disaster for sure.

04-21-2010, 06:28 PM

The pine dresser is load bearing and reinforced so not to worry about it, and this aquarium was used as a freshwater on this piece for ages.


04-21-2010, 09:45 PM
Just Because the table is load bearing doesnt make the glass that is off the stand any more stronger. One day they will crack and it will not be pretty at all. Acts like a wedge if you hit the side wthat is hanging over the dresser it will break easier taht is what will happen with all the water pressure one day. Just saying.

04-22-2010, 06:06 AM
Sounds like an interesting project. Keep us posted! Positioning coral must be a lot of fun, when you have that much room to play around with. thumbs2:

04-22-2010, 11:40 AM
I have to agree with Octoxpuss on this. The concern is not the load bearing capability of the dresser. A tank like that is designed to carry its weight distributed evenly around the outer edges and corners. By not having the weight supported as designed there is additional stress created on portions of the tank that are not capable of withstanding that kind of force indefinitely.

I must say that I believe at some point, because of the uneven weight distribution on the supporting edges of the tank, that it will cause a "sudden" failure (cracking causing leaks, or worse a complete break of a section causing loss of all water) that could be catastrophic.

The sooner you can get some method established to allow even weight distribution across all the load bearing surfaces of the tank the better IMO.

04-23-2010, 10:42 PM

Here is the first of my journal entries on how im progressing on building my Pacific Reef, how Ive done it, how much I spend and a guide with pics for those who are interested...


Light fitting 250.00 with suspension kit. Its a MG1500 5ft 3 x 150W Metal Halide system with 6 blue pl light fittings. bought from ebay.... 270.00 incl courier...

Closed Eye Hooks 2.18


Drill (Preferrably cordless... Its easier)...
5mm Drill Bit.
Spirit Level
Allen Key, Large nail or Screwdriver for torquescrewing..
Joist Detector (if your posh and youve got one!!!)
Tape Measure
Marker Pen


First Picture...

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_017_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17894)

This is where im going to put the light fitting. Standard ceiling below a floating floor artexed on pasterboard. Nothing special, no reinforcement or any prepwork or "man got in to sort something..." What I did to locate the joists (No.. didnt use a locator!!!!) is highly technical... I knocked on the ceiling, and if it sounded hollow, there no joist there :hmm3grin2orange: If it doesnt soind hollow, its good to go.... If youre not sure, use a joist locator... The worst you can do is put an unneccessary hole in your ceiling if you get it wrong..

After doing this, use the Closed Hook eye, prize open with a chizel and a hammer (Lightly), then put the looped wire for the lighting, then close the hook usign either the hammer and a hard surface, or the pliers. the finished product will look like this...

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_015_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17895)

Do this twice over and youll end up with something like this....

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_016_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17896)

So thats the hooks assembled, next thing you need to do is suspend them... Find the joist then measure from the wall the point to where you want the light suspended from. Best way to do this is put the light fitting on top of the tank. Then measure the distance from the wall to the screw point where the wire is fixed onto the pendant. Take this measurement, then apply it to the ceiling, then mark it. Once youve done this, apply this to the other side. Please make sure that there is a joist you can screw into present. If there isnt, move the holes. From an asthetic point of view, ive not leveled the holes as I want the light fitting to follow the line of the wall for the eye.

Once the points are located for the suspension hooks, drill the holes. Simply drill a 5mm hole where the hooks are to be placed.... then screw the hooks in..


04-23-2010, 10:42 PM
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_018_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17897)

Once theyre fixed in the wall, torque screw them in like this...
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_019_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17898)

And theyll end up like this...

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_022_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17899)

Now... This is the bit I needed two peeps for.. lift the fitting, and screw the suspension kit on. Then measure the distance you want the height the pendant to be above the tank, then do the same with the other side, use the spirit level to level off if needed or do this by eye.... This is a shot of once side of the suspension kit in action...

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_025_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17900)


04-23-2010, 10:44 PM
And finally this is the finished Article!!!!

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/990/thumbs/10042010_024_.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=17893)

Total cost including light.


not bad considering ceiling kits for suspending this system are worse looking, 85.00 more expensive, and harder to do.

Hope this helps everybody and its useful, and ill be posting again soon..


05-06-2010, 03:28 PM
Lighting controller arrived this morning!!!!

Aquamedic 3 Channel Lunar lighting controller.

Will post pics once I get it up and running later....

Well exciting!!!!!!