View Full Version : BigMac's 120 Mixed Reef Build

07-18-2010, 03:54 PM
I had been playing with little tanks, adjusting my techniques to maintain saltwater environments. All while prepairing for the tank I've wanted most of my adult life.

I had to move my 125 planted tank into a 90 gal ocianic. Move that tank into the dining room, but I had to move a large display case to get the tank in. I had to build a cabinet system and display wall system to remove the large display case.

I purchased a tank late 09. A lightly used Ocianic 120 w/ dual overflows and a black background.

I have been working ever since this purchase to get it setup and in my living room..

07-18-2010, 03:56 PM
That is the 90 gal I setup as my replacement planted tank just to the right.

My house has been a disaster area since I started this so my sife if very happy it is nearing completion.

07-18-2010, 04:00 PM
The inside of the stand I got w/ the tank.


I picked up a nice skimmer.


And I decided on the Vortech as my circulation solutioin..


07-18-2010, 04:03 PM
I picked out a nice 50 gal tank for a sump



I ended up making this a two chamber sump. One large inlet chamber set at 10 inches deep. I made a 4 in stand to put my skimmer on and then filled the space below with dead rocks.

The return section is only about 4or 5 in deep. I have lots of room for overflow. The sump is holding about 20- 25 gal of water.

07-18-2010, 04:15 PM
During this time I found a little spot in the back of the stand that was rotted.
The entire back was constructed of particle board, so I decided to scrap the original stand and build one from scratch.

I decided on a dimention that was a little larger than the footprint of the tank, to take advantagge of the space I had made available.




I calked the seams inside and painted it w/ a mold resistant primer inside.
I had my pool table guy apply a stain and laquerd finish.


07-18-2010, 04:16 PM
Nice! You're going to have fun!thumbs2:

Do me a favour...keep it neat and tidy when you finally get it going...I find it off-putting when people post pics of their tanks and all the 'stuff' is just left out in the open around it...(like the food, test kits, refractometre, buckets, etc.)...I know it's convenient, but it always looks so messy...takes away from the beauty of the tank (and that's a gorgeous tank!)...

...and yes...I'm guilty of it too on occaision...(blush)

07-18-2010, 04:22 PM



07-18-2010, 04:24 PM
Since I decided not to run a fuge, I have a nice reactor for GFO and possbly bio pellets and carbon.


07-18-2010, 04:26 PM
I am currently letting the dead rock cycle w/ one small piece of seeded live rock in the sump.

I only have the one vortech for now. and I circulate about another 600-100 gph through overflow.

I have a definate nitrite spike going so things are prgressing nicly.. I will try to get a current FTS later today.

07-18-2010, 04:34 PM
I upgraded a power panel in my house to have this tank.
I put in two dedicated 20 amp circuits.

I like it neat too. I am actually dedicating a shed in my back yard to my tank stuff so I can keep it clean.
I'm going to figure a way to move my chiller out there too.

This tank is on a northern facing wall in the center of my house. It is on an outside wall so moving plumbing outside should be easy!

I am in the setup and cleanup phase of this build now.
I fiianlly have my chiller doing what I want through the controller. It comes on @ 79.5 and turns off at 76.5 deg F. It runs once a day when its very hot for my area. I do not have AC so I oversized my chiller somewhat at 1/3hp JBJ.

I am looking for a neat way to run my electrical wires. I want to make a harness, kinda like in a car that runs across the top and front inside the stand.
All the controls are going on the far left side w/ hopfully all the outlets and surge protectors.

My control interface is being screwed to the wall, off the tank.

I have two reefbright LED units lighting. I need to borrow a PAR meter from one of the guys in my reef club to see what its doing before I add corals. I may have to turn one off for a while to not bleach anything.

07-18-2010, 05:03 PM

07-18-2010, 05:09 PM
Glad you like tidy too!

The rockwork looks great. Make sure they won't fall over. I don't have room in my tank, but if I could have I would have glued/tied mine together.

07-18-2010, 05:15 PM
The really nice thing about these rocks is the way they interlock.

I played with these untill they were nice and solid.
I dont think a turbo snail could knock anything over, let alone my tang. (intended lovestock I dont have a tang yet)

I was originally planing on glueing everything together with pond foam. Once I got to play around with these rocks I decided against it. Now if I add rocks here and there I can easily remove them. And later, when I want to frag something off, I can remove all but the very base rocks.

07-18-2010, 05:32 PM
Looking good!

07-19-2010, 11:12 AM
Looking awesomethumbs2: Your gonna love the reefkeeper lite. We've had ours since the middle of winter and have no complaints so far

07-19-2010, 12:55 PM
I already like the Reef Keeper Lite.
My chiller doesnt read the tank temp well. It causes itself to short cycle. I took its controls out of the equasion and have it running on the controller.
It comes on once a day now when it hot.
Today it might come on twice because it is within .2 deg of coming on now.

Dang this tank holds heat in like a blanket.

07-24-2010, 03:02 PM
I added some rocks to m scape last night.


08-06-2010, 11:29 PM

This is my view from the couch.

08-06-2010, 11:31 PM
Wow, that's looking great! I love the effect of the light!

08-06-2010, 11:39 PM
Nie rock work, it looks great.

08-07-2010, 01:46 PM

I'm just itchin to stock this bad boy..

Nitrate is @ 10 and I'm not sure if it's still gloing up or coming back down yet.

08-10-2010, 03:59 AM
Wow, your tank has that new, pristine look to it. If only tanks stayed that way forever ;)

08-13-2010, 12:54 PM
Thats funny because I'm dieing for some diatombs or something..

I only get bio film..

Tanks akmost 6 weeks old and still flat empty.

I think I'll get one more reef brite and start stocking this bad boy.

09-08-2010, 06:55 PM
This tank is now very much active. I have newrly moved all the contents of my RSM into this tank.

I added my first fish after 8 weeks of cycling. I picked up a yellow bellied blue tang that is slightly longer than 1".

The little fish acted STRESSED in this tank. It paced up and down looking at it's own reflection. I began to worry it would have isssues so I added my black clown. I thought the clown might divert some of the tangs attention.

You might say I was right check out this vid.

it was shot with my dirty iphone.. sorry bout the quality...

09-08-2010, 09:31 PM
Just wanted to say your set-up looks great. I really like that stand youíve built for your tank.

Itís given me a few ideas for the stand Iím going to build for my 90 gallon SW tank

Iím looking forward to seeing more pics and videos too.

10-07-2010, 09:48 PM
This tank is getting that allover grren and red look..

Pics Coming..

10-09-2010, 02:22 PM
Stocking has begun..


Current full tank shot.... funny how I can empty a RSM into my 120 and it looks empty//

This tank is forcing me to learn about taking pictures outside of point and shoot mode.. It has sooooo much blue and white I have a hard time getting an unsaturated shot!

10-09-2010, 07:44 PM
Very nice! I can't wait to see your aquascape when it matures. By the way, nice tang.

10-10-2010, 02:19 PM
If you look close, that tang is right next to my black and white ocillaris .

That tang thing he is that ocillaris clowns mate. They go EVERYWHERE together.

10-10-2010, 02:25 PM
Your tank is looking great

10-10-2010, 03:08 PM
Excellent start!

10-14-2010, 01:14 PM
This is a piece I received w/ my RSM.


I nursd it back to health and it looks like this now.


10-14-2010, 01:16 PM
This piece is currently stressed about something and has minimal PE.. water is good.. I even had my local reef shop double check my water..

Maybe I need to pop some carbon in.

10-14-2010, 08:31 PM
Tank looks awesome man! Way to go, can't wait to see it when your rock really comes to life! lol

10-15-2010, 04:02 PM
Your reef is coming along nicely! What are you planning to do next?

10-18-2010, 01:58 PM
I plan to watch it just like it is for a month or so.

The only addition I plan on is a piece of green millie.

I want to get my dosing dialed in. I keep overshooting the values I want... and I want to change salt mixes..

I have to add alot of mag to the mix Im using now to get it ready to add to the tank.

At some point I want to add some sand sifters.
I currently turn the sand once a week myself.
Once the sandbed matures a little, I will add some sifters.

10-19-2010, 03:51 AM
Looks good!

10-24-2010, 06:31 PM
I finally got a brain... no comments from the wives in the forum ;)


10-24-2010, 08:43 PM
Your tank keeps looking better and better

10-25-2010, 02:02 AM
Very nice brain you have! I'm sure your wife is happy you have one now. :hmm3grin2orange:

10-25-2010, 02:09 AM
Nice trachyphyllia! How many mouths does it have (it looks like it has at least two).

10-25-2010, 03:31 PM
It has no less than 4 mouths.
I honestly havve not counted them, but I have seen four for sure.

Tonight is water test night.. Hoping my dosing has ben keeping up.
Favias and acans are lookin puny.

12-14-2010, 05:01 AM

current FTS

12-14-2010, 01:47 PM
Nice FTS man! How do you like the LED lighting?

12-14-2010, 07:13 PM
I have mixed opinions..

I really like the low wattage.
I dont like the color so much.
Also, I have a 4 foot blue stip have 5 LED quite after only runing for 2 months.
The manufacturer does not warranty.. so dont buy reefbrite if a warranty is important to you.

SO the left side of my tank is not as brite as the left side.

I am considering using a comobo of 4 t5 ans some LED going forward.

12-14-2010, 07:18 PM
Hmm sorry to hear about the bad luck but the tank still looks great!

12-14-2010, 08:16 PM
Your tank is a work of art!

I've often wondered what it means when a fish keeps looking at its own reflection in the glass, as your tang did in the beginning. Perhaps it sees the reflection as a competitor for food, or an invader of territory? My minnows do that a lot, as do my Dojos. I'm sure they have no idea they're looking at themselves. Mine swim up and down with the reflection, and I've even seen threat behavior. And this, with others of their own kind in the tank.

You're going to really enjoy your corals. Do you also plan on including some anemones and other invertebrates, eventually? What kinds of additional fish do you plan to add? Some schooling while others are solitary?

This is visually really awesome!

-- mermaidwannabe

12-15-2010, 12:26 PM
Awesome looking tank :) I've noticed great coraline growth and no bad algae growth with my led lit tank, have you noticed the same on your tank?

I've often wondered what it means when a fish keeps looking at its own reflection in the glass, as your tang did in the beginning. Perhaps it sees the reflection as a competitor for food, or an invader of territory? My minnows do that a lot, as do my Dojos. I'm sure they have no idea they're looking at themselves. Mine swim up and down with the reflection, and I've even seen threat behavior. And this, with others of their own kind in the tank.

The fish don't actually see their reflection unless you have a mirror attached to the glass. Its an optical illusion that you only see outside looking in.

01-04-2011, 04:28 AM
I have had very little coraline growth, which is fine.
I have very little algea. I have one patch of hair algea front and center on the top center rock. It hasnt grown. It something doesnt eat it soon I am going to harvest it.

I run ALOT of GFO. ;) I have run it from the moment I started my cycle.

I have added 1 fish. I bought am algea blenny because I really like their here I am style.

I would really like to add a BTA. I had been waiting to see more maturity in the tank. I will make a rock formation for front center in the sand that stacks rocks w/ nice gaps for feet and shade to hide and put it so it doesnt touch glass or other rocks.

I wanted to post a today tank shot because this is 6 mos running today. My Nikon does not agree.. it has decided to spit out its memory card and not accept one. So here is a shot before I cleaned my glass last week (Saturday)


01-04-2011, 04:32 AM



01-04-2011, 04:46 AM

01-04-2011, 01:25 PM
Awesome pics Big Mac! What's that first one of? The blue thing with spike lookin things?

01-04-2011, 01:52 PM
it was sold to me as a chalice. But I have no posative ID.

My local reef shop has alot of frags of this piece.
I bought it for about 20 bucks and it has grown about tice its original sive in about 3-4 months. (eye count doubled)

01-04-2011, 01:57 PM
Nice nice very cool man awesome tank! Congrats

01-04-2011, 03:26 PM
Very nice! I miss my corals...but until I get all the 'bugs' worked out of my tank I'm not getting any more.

01-05-2011, 05:40 AM
Awesome pics Big Mac! What's that first one of? The blue thing with spike lookin things?

it was sold to me as a chalice. But I have no posative ID.

To me it appears to be a Fungia ('disk coral'/'plate coral') with feeder tentacles extended.

01-05-2011, 12:22 PM
Your tank is look'n good

01-05-2011, 01:19 PM
I agree it looks like a fungia, but was sold to me as chalice.

I take the names given to these thing in the store w/ a grain of salt.

My coal ID book, if it calls it a fungua or chalice, thats what it is. If the guy at the reef shop says it , eh so what.

Wahtever it is, it really likes the conditions in my tank.

02-02-2011, 01:39 PM
Current FTS

I recently removed my very large pink leather. Added the big shelf rock and a RBTA.

That RBTA has ben alot of fun NOT!

I never seen one that would walk on sand before. I have had to move my SPS around to keep them safe. I made 6 frags yesterday after displacing a nice tri colored tabeling acro that it was beginning to touch. Its foot hasnt moved in a wekk but it shifts back and forth on this one rock.


Since I have wanted one for as long as I can remember... I will live with it.
It seems very happy in my tank and has begun coloring back up after its journey half way around the world.

02-02-2011, 01:46 PM
I had been planning on adding a BTA of some kind since the conceptual stage of this tank, so I have not mounted everyting.

In preperation for this nem I added covers to my vortechs ( not those crap collector foam ones) and put as much of my SPS I could on a fragarack.

The nem was placed on a rock front and center of the tank where the water from the two vortechs mix. It promptly walked off the rock I put in on, across the sand , through the light diffuser I had it covered with so it wouldnt float away, on to another rock. That rock was right next to my main rockwork, so I moved it just a hair. I left the room for a couple minutes and when I cam back, it was GONE.

I scan the tank real quick,, and find it here..


So I quickly pulled all my frags from he rack..

Then the little bugger floated on to my big tracaphilla :help:

I ended up scooping it into a small container and placeing it on the main rockwork 1 hour later it found its current spot.

phew.. still no losses... just lots of fraggin

02-02-2011, 01:47 PM
Sorry bout the crappy pics from my iphone.. my SLR died.

02-02-2011, 03:24 PM

Good Luck!

02-02-2011, 04:11 PM
I love the RBTA. I guess I got lucky as mine only moved about 4" from were I placed him

Your tank is looking great

02-02-2011, 10:11 PM
haha dude that's nuts... yours must have some personality hahaha

where'd you get it from?

Tank looks great and good to hear the nem has settled down a little

02-03-2011, 12:56 AM
I got this new from a local store here in hayward CA we call it AC, its aquatic central I think.

I was at a frag swap there.

It's still planted in the same spot.. where it is it can sway one way to get more flow, it can hide from the light or it can sway the other way and get a nice light flow.

It sure does like silverside pieces. ( I only give it little pieces every 3 days)
Very receptive to any food or touch.

Its begining to open up more and stretch its tenticles more too thumbs2:

02-03-2011, 02:11 AM
Nice man. Glad to hear your nem is settling, careful with the feeding I hear they split like mad if you give them a lot of food

02-03-2011, 02:34 AM
You're tank makes me want to sell my siblings for a SW tank. It's absolutely gorgeous, keep up the work thumbs2:

02-03-2011, 01:33 PM
I'm not sure you r LFS would take you sibllings in trade but you could ask ;)


02-05-2011, 03:11 PM

This isnt fungia, its a Lythophyllon.

02-05-2011, 03:29 PM
Nice looking Lythophyllon.

They have some of those at our SW LFS, but nothing blue like that. Blue is a hard color to find in many corals

Nice addition to your tank

02-05-2011, 03:51 PM
Nice Lithophyllon!

They're one of the few types of fungiid's which can self-affix or encrust to live rock.

02-05-2011, 04:19 PM
NBlue is a hard color to find in many corals

That's funny. lol I'n my area they are easy to find. When I go to my LFS, they usually have no fewer than 6-8 blue corals in their tanks. Ranging from blue Zoas to Bottle Brush Acros. Coral availability seems to vary greatly from place to place.

Great looking coral Mac. I like it. I've always been a fan of LPS.

02-05-2011, 04:40 PM
...Blue is a hard color to find in many corals...

That's funny. lol I'n my area they are easy to find...

Blue corals can be found, that's for sure, http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=34411 though their availability can vary from LFS to LFS. Blue LPS coral is definately a rarity in my area.

02-05-2011, 06:29 PM
Nice Blue Lythophyllon.

We've got a few decent blue coral. We have some blue zoas, blue digi, and a few blue acros, but we haven't been able to find any blue lps yet

02-05-2011, 08:17 PM
Sorry guys, I only meant to say blue plates lythophyllon where hard to find, at least from our SW LFS.

I've got some blue zoas and mushrooms in my tank, those are common to find

02-27-2011, 05:59 PM
Some of you might remember I have a yellow belly tang w/ an identity crsis.

This fish thinks it is my black ocilaris clowns mate.


I will finish this post later my wife just gave me the les go l;ook.

02-27-2011, 06:06 PM
LOL, that's great. A real life Dory and Marlin. LOL Sorry, I couldn't resist.

02-28-2011, 04:22 AM
I recently got a RBTA that, when it fully opens, is the size of a plate.

My clown never showed any interest in this nem but my tang keeps wiggling up against my nem.

Just the other night I found my clown fully burried in this nem.
I turned up my vortechs to nearly full blast and my nem responded by opening up nice and big.. it also moved so it faced my vortech.
Now just as lights out happens..the nem is in the clowns sleeping spot.

Holy cow, he can completely disapear into the nem! The first day he did it, his lip was so fat! His fins were all tattered.

He looks fine now but the tang isnt happy about it.

02-28-2011, 04:27 PM
The hippo probably feels left out now haha

But thats awesome Mac any chance we can get a picture of the RBTA?

03-01-2011, 02:34 PM
I moved it last night so I will update ww/ FTS from my Iphone tonight.

05-16-2011, 04:31 AM
Amazing tank

05-16-2011, 06:46 AM
I love the rockscape. Those caves look awesome.