View Full Version : Cliffís 180 gallon reef

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06-21-2012, 03:17 AM
Thatís right, Iím up-grading
I just found a deal on a 180 gallon tank that I just canít pass up. This might be considered a little early for a journal, but what the heck, here we go. Up until today, I thought a 180 would not fir down my staircase but I got a quote from a mover stating it could (with only a little drywall damage).

Iím going to be up-grading my 90 gallon reef to a 180 gallon reef. I just put the down payment down on the tank tonight and the guy at the SW LFS will place the order with his vendor in the morning. I should have the tank delivered sometime in mid-August. I can hardly wait

The tank will have an external overflow drilled for two 1.5Ē drain lines placed at the center of the back panel of the tank, and two 1 inch return lines drilled near each top-back corner of the tank. It will also have a black acrylic sheet attached to the out of the glass at the back as well as sides so I donít have to worry about a background

I will be placing this tank in my basement right were the TV in the below pic sits. I will sell that TV and place the tank where it sits. The opening is about 12 inches longer than the tank so it will just fit. I will build the stand only 24Ē tall so I can place a newer (and lighter) TV on top of the canopy for this tank. The sump will go in the closet the is behind the wall just behind the TV


I already took some of the rock out of my 90 gallon to re-cure it to get rid of some flat worms, so I guess I will just leave it there until Iím ready to add SW to the 180.

As for the stocking plan, Iím thinking I will move all the fish and carpet anemone over into the 180 and the corals into my 120. I am thinking I want to add one or two more carpet anemones and maybe a single angel center pc fish. But I have not researched SW angels fish enough yet to make an informed decision Another option Iím also considering is a larger school of blue eyed cardinal fish (like 20 or so) as these guys really seem to be the tetras of the marine world. Lot of options I still need to read up on and learn about before making up my mind. Just some thoughts so far.

As for the hardware, I should have most everything that I need. I have a skimmer rated for a 400 gallon tank. If I add an algae scrubber on the sump I should be good to go. The 55 gallon sump from the 90 gallon should fit the bill for this set-up once I drill it for an external pump and upgrade my existing return pump. I have a few spare power heads so I should be OK for flow. Lighting will be a mixture of LEDs and T5Hos until I can afford some more LEDs but to start with it will be enough for the planned anemones.

I still have a lot more details to verify / look into, but I thought I might start the journal now to capture all of that.

06-21-2012, 03:23 AM
What's a little drywall damage when it means a new 180g! Can't wait to see it Cliff.

06-21-2012, 05:10 AM
:19: thumbs2: :goldfish: :fish: I'm excited for you!!!! Sounds like you are going to have one heck of a set up. I like the sump being in the closet behind the wall and the tv above the tank.

Lady Hobbs
06-21-2012, 08:11 AM
Wonderful news and no wonder you're excited. Not having a stairway that goes straight down is more scarey. Yikes. Don't know how they will get it around the bend but they know what they're doing, I suppose. Wow. I can hardly wait to see that baby all set up.

I guess this means you will also be keeping the 90. LOL

06-21-2012, 09:36 AM
Well cliff your tanks always look amazing as is, so I can't wiat to see your mega-quarium thumbs2:

06-21-2012, 10:39 AM
Thanks guys.

The wife and I are still tossing around ideas on what to do with the 90 gallon if we keep it. If we do not sell it, it would be either a: FOWLR set-up with a mantis, a SPS reef, or a FW set-up with a oscar.

06-21-2012, 11:40 AM
well it's about time Cliff!!! :hmm3grin2orange:

you're gonna love it. aquascaping a 180 is bliss. 2' of width is so nice.

can't wait to see it and I must agree, much better than that tv. :hmm3grin2orange:

is it glass or acrylic? I'm guessing acrylic?

06-21-2012, 01:26 PM
Holy MOLY man!! I cant wait to see this build!

06-21-2012, 02:06 PM
Can't wait to see what you do with this one bud... I'm with crispy, definitely looking forward to what you come up with for the scaping

06-21-2012, 02:21 PM
Thanks guys, I'm really looking forward to setting up this one

Crispy, it's a glass tank. The manufacture will attach a pc of black acrylic to back panel and overflow as well as the sides (a add-on I requested) to act as a attached background for the tank. The acrylic is there for looks only.

06-21-2012, 02:28 PM
Get the Oscar ! thumbs2: :19:

06-21-2012, 05:13 PM
Awesome, Cliff! Who needs the TV at all when you will have a tank like that!? Ha! or any tank for that matter :hmm3grin2orange: Enjoy!

06-22-2012, 04:45 PM
Thanks Everyone :22:

As Iím planning this new tank, Iím also thinking about what I have learned setting up my last two tanks

The live rock I got to cycle my 90 gallon reef was un-cured live rock freshly heaviest from the ocean. I took it right from the shipping containers at the SW LFS and added it directly to my tank to cycle it. What a fool I was. I ended up unknowingly adding some SPS eating crabs and some flat worms to my tank. It was a pain (to say the least) to get those critters under control. I should have cured this rock in a QT tank, and in complete darkness for about a month or two before adding it to my tank. All of the nasty little things would have died off by then and I would not have added the crabs or flat worms to the tank. I have just started recurring the rock in preparation to be moved into the new tank. I have about 80lbs recurring right now. I likely would have done this anyways as a part of a natural approach to get rid of the flats worms, even if I was not up-grading the tank. BIG lesson learned for me. All rock (both live and dry) will be cured for at least 6 weeks before going into the tank or sump.
Also, Iím thinking about my sump design and how I can use it to help make sure my pH is as stable as possible. For me, one of the more challenging things I encountered was to get my pH stable in 120 gallon shortly after I had set it up. What worked for me was that I had to stabilized my dKH, Cal, and Mag levels along with setting up a macro algae filled refugium / live rock compartment in my sump on a reverse lighting schedule from the main tank. As the algae growth rates have really taken off over the past 6 to 8 months or so, my results keep getting better as well. For some reason this was harder to do than on 120 as compared to my 90 gallon. Iím still not too sure exactly why that is. That could have been due to something very small like the skimmer on the 90 gallon added more O2 to the water as compared to the 120 skimmer. On the 120 gallon, the pH swings had started at a range around from 7.9 to 8.2, but now they are staying at 8.1 to 8.2 both based on the same salfert liquid test kit which is not as accurate as digital meters. Now that I have that figured that out, I only have to check on the pH every week and keep a eye on the marco algae. I want to get things on the 180 just as stable sooner rather than later.

The 55 gallon sump from my 90 gallon tank should be big enough to hold the 22 gallons of drain back (if we have a power failure) so I will likely just re-size one or two compartments in the sump to hold more algae as well as a algae scrubber. I know I donít ďneedĒ a algae scrubber, but Iíve always wanted to try one after reading about Chrisís set-up.

It looks like I can use the same return pump on my 90 gallon on the 180 as long as I do not use it for my media reactor and just plumb it for a return line only. That way I should get about 1300 to 1400 ghp of flow through the sump which will work for the skimmer as well as the macro algae. Iíll have to use a separate spare pump I already have to add flow to the media reactor. But I will allow for a pump up-grade latter on when I plumb everything together

As I only have two 300 watt heaters, Iím thinking of adding a third, or up-grading the heating.

Still lots of thing to look into an plan

As you can tell, I love this part of a new set-up. thumbs2:

06-22-2012, 05:09 PM
Wow SW seems like a plumbers dream/nightmare :hmm3grin2orange:

06-23-2012, 04:47 AM
LOL Scottishfish. It's certain not to the nightmare level. I can get too deep into the deals sometimes

The rock seam to be curing nicely. I think I have around 80 lbs in there, but I'm not 100% sure. I still have to cut a hole in the lid so I can run a air line into the container and reduce what little light it gets right now


I've got three 750 gph powerheads and a heater in there right now with the rock. It should be nicely ready by the time the tank is here and ready for water.

I seamed like it took forever to get it to stack into there and still have good water flow around it

06-23-2012, 06:28 AM
LOL Scottishfish. It's certain not to the nightmare level. I can get too deep into the deals sometimes

The rock seam to be curing nicely. I think I have around 80 lbs in there, but I'm not 100% sure. I still have to cut a hole in the lid so I can run a air line into the container and reduce what little light it gets right now


I've got three 750 gph powerheads and a heater in there right now with the rock. It should be nicely ready by the time the tank is here and ready for water.

I seamed like it took forever to get it to stack into there and still have good water flow around it

When you have a drain line in your water garbage pail, you know you're hardcore LOL

06-23-2012, 11:23 AM
LOL, but when you place that drain line directly above a floor drain, that's just planning ahead for easy waterchanges should I need to.

Lady Hobbs
06-23-2012, 02:07 PM
This looks like a humungous job to me but a fun one for you. I'm trying to picture myself getting behind the thing to even do the hook ups! I hope you are going to have some friends there that day to give you a hand.
Here's mine. :19:

PS......I love the color in your basement! If I had a basement like that, I might come out of my bedroom now and then!

06-23-2012, 02:29 PM
love it Cliff.

We are on the same wavelength alot me thinks lol

Can't wait to see this up and running.

I've got some ideas to throw at you and see if any stick.....

Fake rock, ceramics, expanding foam......

Algae scrubber....

DIY LED's.....


Are you going to build this one flush with the wall? I think it would look awesome.

06-23-2012, 02:42 PM
Thanks guys

I do already have 3 other guys lined up to help me move the tank into place after the movers drop it off and after I have the plumbing attach to the back. Then it will sit flush up to the wall behind were the TV sits now. It will give it a "built in" look.

I'm really not looking forward to moving that tank

Chris, I am planning a algae srubber and I will be getting a auto top-off system and keeping my auto dosing pump. I think any further automation will be coming much later as my wallet is taking a big enough hit for the tank. I think I will just expand my current LED lighting. As I already have the LEDs from the 90 gallon, I can just expand them (buying one more unit) at around the same cost as buying all the parts I need for DIY LEDs (but a lot less time)

I'm going to look into the DIY rock backgrounds some more though. That could really help with some scaping idea that I have been thinking about

06-23-2012, 03:18 PM
heres a few links for foam stuff on a UK forum


06-23-2012, 03:23 PM
Thanks Chris thumbs2:

I will be looking into that in more detail

06-23-2012, 03:32 PM
thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2:

06-24-2012, 01:47 AM
thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2:

Sorry just felt the need to put some more thumbs up haha

06-24-2012, 01:49 AM
thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2:

me too!

06-24-2012, 01:24 PM
Wow awesome upgrade Cliff! Perfect spot for it too.
The options you will have for stocking this just boggle the mind too, lol, you could really go crazy.

Glad you started this thread so early, love to see the ideas and the work in progress!

I bet this will be the most followed journal thread ever, lol.

06-24-2012, 01:29 PM
LOL, I know what you mean.

Iíve been having blast reading up on all the possibilities for fish as well as more anemones

While the rock is re-curing in a QT set-up, I decided to try a product called Flatworm exit (a product made by salfert). And I must say, I learned two shocking things by doing that. The first is that flatworms are like rats, for every one that you see in your tank, there is likely 100s more in all the little nooks and cracks within your rocks. About 20 minutes after adding the treatment there were (what seemed like) 100s and 1,000s of dead flatworms floating at the top. I quickly netted them all out until there were no more, followed by a 100% water change and adding a fluval 4 internal filter filled with only carbon.

The second thing I learned is that you should NEVER EVER use a product like this in a tank. As the flat worms die off, they release the toxins that are inside their bodies. With so many flatworms that you will have (and never be able to see), thatís a lot of toxins in the water when they die. I now completely understand all a stories that I found on-line of people completely crashing their tanks when using this product to treat for flatworms. I guess this is a good example of the importance of researching first.

Iíll also add a little ammonia to the barrel latter today to see if the BB was damaged at all by the toxins while they were in the water.

Iíll likely change the water in the QT barrel for the rocks a few more times this week just to be on the safe side.


Sorry just felt the need to put some more thumbs up haha


me too!

Oh you guys


06-24-2012, 03:24 PM
I remember seeing Mr salt water tank off youtube did the same thing, treated with the flat worm stuff then went away for the weekend.

Lost all but one fish in his tank! :(

Just a good job you did it in the tub and not the tank!

Been doing LOTS of reading ovenight Cliff.

If you are building an algae scrubber, are you going with CFL or RED LED's?

I've going to do LED's on the scrubber on my new 210G system.

Also, have you thought about what sort of scrubber you are going to do?

UAS, Waterfall or horizontal?

06-24-2012, 04:52 PM
Here is a PERFECT example of using charcoal properly! To remove the treatment med.

If one were to forget, and treat a tank with fish, a way to save them would be to add charcoal asap. This would not only remove the med but might remove organic toxins the flatworms that did die had already released - just realize that charcoal may not necessarily absorb some, any, or enough such toxin to save any fish. So don't count on it for this purpose.

LED's use far less electricity and provide far more lumens than any other light. So, while most SW aquariums are hog's for energy, at least this application will help - and can eliminate some pumps/filtering systems further saving electricity = money and less heat that can cause problems for the aquarium.

06-24-2012, 05:05 PM
LED's use far less electricity and provide far more lumens than any other light. So, while most SW aquariums are hog's for energy, at least this application will help - and can eliminate some pumps/filtering systems further saving electricity = money and less heat that can cause problems for the aquarium.

:19: :19: :19:

06-24-2012, 06:12 PM
LOL, I think I saw the same Mr Saltwater article as well Chris. If he was using the same treatment made by Salifert, he certainly didn't read the instructions that came with the treatment :ssuprised:

I am actually looking for a LED fixture for the srubber. As I'm putting the sump in a closet, I don't have any hight restrictions so I'm thinking a waterfall scubber would be the best as I won't loose a lot of space in the sump. I'll still have a lot of space for live rock and some macro algae.

The sump LEDs might come a little latter as the buget permits, but I will be getting some.

06-24-2012, 06:16 PM
LOL, I think I saw the same Mr Saltwater article as well Chris. If he was wasing the same treatment made by Salifert, he certainly didn't read the instructions that came with the treatment :ssuprised:

I get the impression he doesn't read alot or know nearly as much as he makes out. The main reason he has so many followers is simply the lack of good reefing vids!
Lafishguy is good but thats about it.
I've only ever watched mrsalt as its better to watch something than nothing!

Don't ever get me started on his TDS episode......

I am actually looking for a LED fixture for the srubber. As I'm putting the sump in a closet, I don't have any hight restrictions so I'm thinking a waterfall scubber would be the best as I won't loose a lot of space in the sump. I'll still have a lot of space for live rock and some macro algae.

The sump LEDs might come a little latter as the buget permits, but I will be getting some.

Sounds like an idea place for a waterfall one Cliff. The shorter in width and taller you make it, the more flow going over it per inch of length increasing the contact time for the algae.

06-24-2012, 06:23 PM
Sounds like an idea place for a waterfall one Cliff. The shorter in width and taller you make it, the more flow going over it per inch of length increasing the contact time for the algae.

I have not even got to the flow rates yet. I have not found a good reference for that which also looks crediable to me (LOL more of Mr Saltwater quality).

Any advice that you could offer for that would be geat

06-24-2012, 06:31 PM
its mentioned in here,


its as close to 35G per hour per inch of mesh as you can.

Thats actual measured not estimated based on pump rated.

To be honest I'm running more flow than that, the higher the better.

06-24-2012, 06:36 PM
think mine see's about 60G per hour per inch lol

06-25-2012, 12:47 PM
I get the impression he doesn't read alot or know nearly as much as he makes out. The main reason he has so many followers is simply the lack of good reefing vids!
Lafishguy is good but thats about it.
I've only ever watched mrsalt as its better to watch something than nothing!

Don't ever get me started on his TDS episode......

chris I definitely agree with you here... he's got some decent points and his tank is gorgeous haha those are the main reasons I watch... but that TDS episode good grief I cringed hahaha

Cliff are you done building the dang tank yet or what dude? I mean come on how much time to need for an elegant 180? It's already been a week?!??!?!?!?:hmm3grin2orange:

06-25-2012, 01:20 PM
LOL hockeyhead, don't get me started. As I ordered a few non-stocked options, the tank willl take 4 to 6 weeks before it's shipped.

06-26-2012, 05:12 AM
I think I got the sump figured out, but it will be close. I can reuse the current sump from my 90 for the 180. The tricky part will be to make I make the duriso standpipes tall enough and use a one-way valve on the return line so that I will get no more than 14.25 gallons of drain back (which is the max extra volume the sump can hold), just to make sure nothing bad will happen in the event of a power failure (and we get our fair share of those here)

I will have to use a pump for the algae scrubber . The return line form the tank will be starting from a height of 3.5 feet as this tank will sit on a very low stand. If I were to cut back the height of the algae scrubber I do not believe it would effectively help to keep the water quality in line. As it is right now, I would have about Ĺ the size of a scrubber that I would need so cutting it back is not an option. The scrubber combined with my skimmer should work nicely tho (along with ~250lbs of live rock).

I am planning to use a 700 gph pump for the scrubber so that should work OK
Iím still undecided if I should run the return pump in the sump, or drill the tank and run it externally.

As always, any other suggestion would be great.


06-26-2012, 01:37 PM
Are you going to be running any reactors? I.E. phosphate reactor? Or are you trying to replace that with the scrubber. Other than that I think it looks like a great design! Looks like it'll be packed pretty tight, the only other piece of advice I'd say is make sure you have enough depth to have a good mounting spot for the scrubber lights

06-26-2012, 01:54 PM
Thanks Hockeyhead

I will be building a stand that will fit overtop of the sump to mount the lights to so they can hang down on either side of the srubber grate. But you got me thinking that I should also mount the lights so they can be easily removed when I need to clean the scrubber. This stand will also be used for the 10 gallon top-up tank to sit on, and my dosing pump/system as well.

I'm going to try to replace almost all of my chemical filteration with the scrubber. Based on what I have read, this should work. I will still be keeping my reactor line plumbed in, just in case I need to add it back I can do so very quickley, but with all the live rock and scrubber I'm guessing I will not need it. My reactor is a external reactor so it can sit on the floor. I will be running chemi-pure passivly in the sump

06-26-2012, 02:18 PM
will have a proper look later as I'm at work.

One thing I would add is that if its possible, I'd run the scrubber mesh 90 degrees to the sump rather than along it if you get me.

That the biggest complaint I have with my own one, fiddling with the mesh getting it out past the lights to remove to clean.

I will be redesigning mine in due course so I can pull it out easier for cleaning.

Apart from that, from my quick glance it seems good.

I'd really try and run the scrubber off the return flow though if you can.
I have used pumps in the past and have reverted to pluming it direct.

A, not enough flow, and B, less power usage.

06-26-2012, 02:25 PM
Thanks Chris

I did not even think about building it at 90 degrees to the sump to make it easier to remove / maintain. That makes perfect sense.

To maintain the same surface area, I would have to make the screen taller so I would certainly need a pump to power the water as now the top of the srubber would be taller than the base of the duriso stand pipe on the tank

06-26-2012, 02:43 PM
don't want to derail Cliff's thread, but why/how often does the algae scrubber need to be cleaned and what does cleaning an algae scrubber entail? once there is a nice thick mat of algae isn't it good to go?

06-26-2012, 02:48 PM
From what I have read (Chris and Hockeyhead correct me if I'm wrong here), you need to lightly scrap off and remove the algae every week or two and allow it to grow back. Once you get algae in the little cracks and corners of the screen, it grows back really fast

By removing the algae, you are removing the nitrates and phosphates it consumed.

06-26-2012, 04:20 PM
don't want to derail Cliff's thread, but why/how often does the algae scrubber need to be cleaned and what does cleaning an algae scrubber entail? once there is a nice thick mat of algae isn't it good to go?

Once its growing dense green algae you litterally take the mesh out, take it over the sink and scrape it off with a knife/scraper.

You scrape it to the point there is hardly any algae left on the mesh however as the mesh is really rough the roots of the algae will be there and visable, this regrows in a week to a nice dense algae again.
Once its nicely running this can be extended to up to 2 weeks as long as its still growing and not maxed out, once it gets too long the roots die and leach back.

When the scrubber is new, and before the decent green algaes get going, you tend to get slime algaes growing. These grow fast so at this stage you need to clean the mesh more regularly. Up to once every 3 days.

Also if the scrubber is actually too big for the amount of nutrients in the tank, the algae will never really get dense enough to get to the green hair stage.
You'd think the bigger the better, not actually so!!!
This is a mistake myself and alot of others have made.

06-26-2012, 04:52 PM
Chris you hit it on the head. The hardest part is getting out of the slime stage since it will cover up the good turf algae that looks just like that... turf. It's tough thick algae, the slimy stuff will kill it though so you have to get that off pretty consistently. Also they say not to take it all off at one, most people suggest scraping half off, so if you use two sides (light on both sides) then you scrape one side at a time, if you use one side only scrape one half of it, that way you don't lose all of your phosphate eating algae at once

06-26-2012, 05:21 PM
I scrape both sides at once, if the mesh is rough enough the roots survive and regrow fast!

06-26-2012, 11:10 PM
It's been a few days since treating the rock in the QT set-up with flat worm exit and a 100% water change. I just tested the water and found just over 1ppm of ammoina and no nitrates. I tested 4 times and go the same results each time. I'm thinking it looks like the toxins from the flat worms also killed off some/most of the BB as there should be almost no ammoina and some nitrates by now.

Good thing I got enough time to cycle all this rock before setting up the tank :ssuprised:

06-27-2012, 12:47 AM
Giving yourself plenty time has paid off massively.

Further proof as if we need it that this hobby need patients and lots off it lol

06-27-2012, 12:56 AM
+100000000 to that

I may not be the sharpest knief in the drawer, but if I have learned anything in this hobby over the years it's that only bad things happen fast.

06-27-2012, 11:45 PM
I spent the morning cleaning out the closet behind were the tank will be placed to see where / how I can place the sump. After getting rid of some stuff and restacking the rest, I got it figured out exactly were it will be going. At first I thought the tank would have to go in the front corner of the closet (its a large "L" shaped closet). I had thought there would not be enough space in the spot on the below pics but there was enough head-room for the sump and to get to it for maintenance.



Now that the sump is a lot closer to the tank, I could raise the hight of the algae scrubber or use the drain line for the flow for the scrubber.

06-27-2012, 11:54 PM
drain line gets my vote 100% everytime lol

06-27-2012, 11:56 PM
LOL, why did I know you would likley say that Chris :hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange:

06-27-2012, 11:59 PM
:beavisbutthead: :beavisbutthead: :beavisbutthead:

06-29-2012, 02:02 AM
Tested the water in the QT set-up with the "live" rock and the ammonia was 0ppm. Looks like the rocks are starting to cycle.

06-29-2012, 02:07 AM
Wow, you have to cycle rocks for saltwater? Interesting.

06-29-2012, 02:12 AM
Actually, you only need to do that if the rock is stripped of all life on it like I have done.

Think of the rock in a marine aquarium, just as you would the bio-max (or other bio-media) in the filter of your fresh water tank. They both do the exact same thing, provide your BB a place to live and thrive and complete the nitrogen cycle for you

06-29-2012, 02:19 AM
Ohhh I got ya. So "live rock" simply means it has living bacteria on it like a filter would. Neato!!

06-29-2012, 02:29 AM
any reason you guys vote to have the scrubber bleed off of the drain line? I figured it'd be easier and more controllable to have it come off of the return line??

Come on guys learn me in your ways! haha

06-29-2012, 02:33 AM
For me, it's for two reasons
1 - I can't aford to loose any more flow from my return pump as it will be maxed out on this new set-up
2 - by using the drain line I can aviod getting another pump and have a less complicated and easier to maintain sump. Plus less energy used as I'm using the flow from the drain line

06-29-2012, 02:36 AM
everything Cliff says.

My FULL drain flow goes through the scrubber.

My tank is fed by an Ehiem comact 5000+ on full speed so I estimate I am getting 3000lt/hr or 750gph through my scrubber!

07-01-2012, 02:14 AM
I got the stand frame built today. I used construction adhesive and woods screws to put it all together. And, as always, I like to overbuild my stands. For extra little bit of wood and effort, I will never have to worry. You have to keep in mind; the sump is going into the closet behind the tank so I do not have to fit anything under the stand. The total height of the stand is 21Ē which will work good as Iím planning to place out TV above the tank.

After letting the glue cure, I will sand it down, use wood filler and start painting it black. I only have to build the panels to fill the openings in the front and sides.


It looks like the rock fared the flat worm treatment better than I thought. I increased the ammonia in the QT set-up to 2 ppm last night and it is now at 0ppm. Nitrites about 0.25ppm, nitrates at 2ppm to 5 ppm. Looks like enough BB survived to really kick start some growth.

07-01-2012, 02:24 AM
Nice stand man! Definitely nice and beefy but boy o boy does it look low, I guess that's because you really won't have to put anything under there though. Regardless looks very well crafted well done!

07-01-2012, 02:51 AM
LOL, I know what you mean hockeyhead. I kept double checking my measurements and the plan the whole day thinking I must have made a mistake somewhere. I'm just not used to building stands that low, or even seening stands that low

Good thing the tank has a external overflow so I have all kinds of options to tank hight without it effecting the drain flow.

07-01-2012, 03:23 AM
I think mine is just a little bit higher than that. My husband is getting ready to make a new one about the same size. Us short people find those smaller stands quite helpful!

07-01-2012, 10:20 AM
Looks REALLY good cliff.

Hope mine will look as good (if a fair chunk taller lol).

Maybe I should fly you over to help me ;)

Any tips for the wood working side of things would be greatly received.

07-01-2012, 02:34 PM
Thanks guys.

Chris, the two biggest tips that I can give you is to use the best quality glue / construction adhesive and wood screws to hold it all together and cross brace were you can (the more the better)

07-01-2012, 02:50 PM
That stand looks like it could support a semi being parked on it. Very nice build for sure. What are you planning to put in the 180?

07-01-2012, 02:56 PM
I've got two plans I'm looking into and can't decide on which one I would like more. The first is a mixed reef with a few more tangs, one or two more carpet anemones, and a second pair of clowns. The second is a SPS reef with a few center pc angels and a few carpet anemones.

I still have a lot of reading to do on both options so this could change in time.

07-01-2012, 06:25 PM
Cheers for the tips Cliff :)

I personally would be torn for exactly the same reasons.

With LED lighting and low nutrients you could have some stunning coloured SPS but...........

The movement of softies/lps can be just as stunning and Tangs are just incredible!!!

07-01-2012, 08:17 PM
I vote for the mixed reef but that's only b/c I love corals and don't have a tank big enough for some of the awesome angels haha however if I did I'd be torn as well since there are some super cool angels that aren't reef compatible

Regardless of which way you go I can't wait to see it start coming together!

07-02-2012, 05:23 AM
Ive never understood the draw to SPS only tanks, the softies and LPS are often times more colorful and entertaining.....just me tho.

07-03-2012, 04:25 AM
What are your plans for paneling on the front and sides?

07-03-2012, 12:42 PM
What are your plans for paneling on the front and sides?

I don't know as I haven't make up my mind yet (blush)

07-03-2012, 12:48 PM
two words.....

Ply & plastidip ;)

07-19-2012, 05:34 PM
Not much to up-date on as I have not been working too much on anything in the past 3 weeks or so.

My SW LFS has ordered some black reef substrate in for me in the size that I was looking for. I'll have two spots about 3 to 4 inches deep and 12 inches round were I'll be placing two carpet anemones, and the rest of the tank will get between 1/2 and 1 inch (maybe even less). Just enough to cover the bottom.

The tank should be delivered to the store in 3 weeks and I already booked some furniture movers to pick it up the tank from the store and place it on the stand.

Hopefully I'll have the stand done by then :ssuprised:

07-19-2012, 05:43 PM
You wont regret the black substrate or the super thin layer of it. Makes a stronger visual impact and much much easier to clean :11:

07-19-2012, 06:00 PM
Thanks Jenn, that's the effect I'm trying to go for here. I'm thinking this will make my red carpet anemone look even more colorful a long with the next carpet anemone that I find.

07-19-2012, 07:16 PM
Your colors will definitely pop more man! Can't wait to see it... I'm half tempted to do it myself

07-19-2012, 10:30 PM
will look stunning bud.

07-20-2012, 12:27 AM
Thanks guys

I just now (via E-mail) bough another 40lbs of live rock for the tank. I bought it form a fellow hobbyiest that I have come to know over the past two years of running into him at our SW LFS. I think I've lucked out as he had been curing it for another tank he was planning to set-up but decided against it once he got engaged and his soon to be wife moved in with him.

Some of the pcs are really nice, and others not so much. But he gave me a GREAT price so I'm pretty happy. Below are the pics that he E-mailed me today





07-20-2012, 01:00 AM
Nice... that tall skinny one will make for some interesting aqua scaping for sure haha

07-20-2012, 03:05 AM
I'm interested to see the black sand in your set up.

07-20-2012, 04:34 AM
Not bad...there is some coraline :22:

07-23-2012, 12:43 AM
The rock I started curing a few weeks back looks like itís now ready to go. I tried brining the ammonia up to 2ppm yesterday (to see how well the BB is doing) and tested the water a few times. A little more than 24 hours later there is no ammonia or nitrites. Nitrates are up around 15 ppm so I changed Ĺ the water with old tank water from a water change in the 90 gallon (which only has 1ppm of nitrate). Iíll have to do another one after the next water change.

The rock I just bought this weekend is curing as well. I had some good die-off taking it home as the ammonia reached between 1 and 0.5ppm right now.

This looks like a humungous job to me but a fun one for you. I'm trying to picture myself getting behind the thing to even do the hook ups! I hope you are going to have some friends there that day to give you a hand.
Here's mine. :19: :

Lady Hobbs, I have been thinking about that as the tank will tightly between 3 walls making it a royal pain to move and plumb. So I had my brother-in-law come over today and hereís what we have come up with. Iíve got some temporary wheels attached to 2X4s which are temporary attached to the bottom of the stand. This way, I can have the stand sitting in the middle of the room making it easier for the movers to place the tank on the stand. It will also allow me to attach the plumbing before pushing it into place. I will be able to use a car jack to lift the stand and tank up, remove the mounted wheels, and lower it on the floor.


My wife also spoiled me this past week. She had painted two coats on the stand and panels for me this past week. That was a big surprise for me when I got home from being out of town for a few days

07-23-2012, 06:55 PM
Hello Cliff

Have you consider to make a custom made (DIY) out of "great stuff" expanding foam and epoxy resin?

I have done it and its amazing. I made a background wall mixed with macro rocks. And made several column by joining rocks on top of each other.
Now when one sees my tank it looks like you are deep down in the ocean.

Also it makes it easy to create lot of hide outs, as well as saving on cost of rocks.

Something like this gentleman:

07-23-2012, 07:05 PM
Actually aplushiomarine I have been thinking about doing something like that, but I have not make up my mind yet.

Thanks for the link. I'm going to give that a good read

07-23-2012, 08:40 PM
Well done to Mrs Cliff on that one thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2:

I've been looking into doing the foam background too Cliff, so tempting!

07-24-2012, 01:32 AM
I've been looking into doing the foam background too Cliff, so tempting!

As someone who enjoyed making a DIY foam background, I highly recommend it. Possabilities are endless.

You could create a cave, bridge, tunnel, arch, etc.

I also found the following usefull, when I was doing my research

07-25-2012, 02:33 PM
I'm sure that was a nice surprise to come home to! Can't wait to see this thing start filling up

07-26-2012, 12:05 AM
Thanks guys

The ammonia level in the tub with the new rock spiked at 1 to 2 ppm but went down to 0.25ppm today. The nitrites when up to 0.5ppm and the nitrates are between 5 and 10ppm. Looks like the BB is bouncing back nicely and I would guess the rock would be cured/cycled in about a week or two

07-28-2012, 01:50 AM
The new tub of live rock just tested 0 ammonia and nitirites and the nitrates are less than 5ppm. Looks like this rock is ready now, a very nice surpeize.

Just got back form the SW LFS and now Iím thinking I just might go FOWLR with this tank. I never thought I would like a set-up like that, but now Iím really giving it some thought. The SW LFS got a beautiful shipment of fish in, most of them coral nippers. I would not have no problem selling off my corals remaing corals after I jam pack the 120 with the favorite corals from the 90. I would keep the anemone as the clown are already hosting it and would protect it.


07-28-2012, 03:02 AM
You would need to rename your thread, lol.

07-28-2012, 03:05 AM
LMAO, I know what you mean.

I just can make up my mind right now. There are so many other options that you can consider with a 180 gallon tank. I better make up my mind soon if I want to order fish

07-28-2012, 04:53 AM
I think many of the wrasse, larger angels, and triggers are reason enough to do a FOWLR. Many people downgrade a FOWLR tank these days but I would never do such a large reef, just too much to mess with. A large FOWLR tho is definitely a must have. The Majestic Angelfish is probably reason enough to do a FOWLR :14:

07-28-2012, 07:39 AM
Iím starting to see what you mean Jenn. Fish like: Black Velvet Angelfish (Chaetodontoplus melanosoma), Watanabei Angelfish (Genicanthus watanabei), Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus), and Flagfin Angelfish (Apolemichthys trimaculatus) could potentially work out in a larger tank. You might even be able to have a blue Throat trigger into the mix

Iím still looking into them, so hopfully I can find one or two center pc angles and stock the rest of the tank around them from that point on

07-28-2012, 11:58 AM
go reef cliff :)

What ever you do though, please save any pics you have till a months time as I'm in Cameroon

07-28-2012, 12:12 PM
Seeing as you are keeping a reef in addition to the 180 - try something different with this one! So many fish you could have!

And, its not like you can't add corals to it, anyway. You know they'll get nipped, sure, but you're going to need somewhere to put overgrowth from your other tank anyway, plus you'll have leftover corals that may be hard to sell, so who cares if they nip the coral? And just because they nip coral, or even if the fish eat it, doesn't mean the tank will look unsightly. You may even be able to hit a balance of growth/browsing in that tank.

I can see avoiding fish that eat corals in a reef tank, where you have a few specimens that you want to keep and are not hardy, but I'd be very curious to see a how much damage fish really do to corals, especially in a big tank like yours where they will presumably have more space to browse. Some fast growing, (cheap, lol) hardier corals to start...and see what the fish actually do to them...might not be as bad as you think seeing as you aren't really looking to make corals part of the display aspect. They are going to be more of a food source...

My vote is for a FOWLR...then try out corals in it for fun.

LOL you could make a poll

07-28-2012, 01:54 PM
Hmmmmmmmmm....... all good points sheamurai

I might just start this out as FOWLR anb add some SPS latter on. None of the fish that really interest me would bother with SPS, only softies and LPS. That might be the middle ground that would give me the reef-ish set-up and the fish that I want

What you planning for your 180 Chris ?

07-28-2012, 03:16 PM
the 180 is actually over 200 :)

Full mixed reef Cliff.

I'll have some branching and plating SPS, a few softies but my main focus is on LPS

07-29-2012, 02:54 PM
I took the advice (and help, AKA free labor) of a few friends yesterday and mounted the TV to the bulkhead above were the tank will sit. I was getting concerned about the extra weight of the TV and equipment on top of the tank. Mounting that TV on a bulkhead was not easy. We had to reinforce the bulkhead and then make a frame from 2X4s to attach to the bulkhead so we could attach the TV mount to something that will be able to take the weight (and then some). We even went one extra step and placed two shelves (one in each corner) for the equipment.

I will have an extra 5Ē of space from the bottom of the TV to the top of the planned canopy

I still have to tie-up the cables/wires. The electrical outlet for the TV & equipment along with the equipment for the tank will all be on a GFI circuit for safety





07-29-2012, 03:25 PM
LOL you're going to need a whole separate breaker panel just for that wall!

I think thats going to be a great set up - tip back in the lounger to watch tv, watch the tank during commercials...

07-29-2012, 08:19 PM
LOL you're going to need a whole separate breaker panel just for that wall!

I think thats going to be a great set up - tip back in the lounger to watch tv, watch the tank during commercials...

LMAO, how did you know !!!!

I have a electrician installing a separate circut for the tank in a few weeks (when he gets a hour between real paying jobs). As the breaker panel is in the same closet as the sump, it was pretty darn cheap to do so I figured I might as well. That way I will never have to worry about breakers being tripped while I'm away for work

08-02-2012, 02:30 PM
Just got a E-mail yesterday from the LFS to tell me the tank will be here next weekend. Oh my, I am not ready for it yet!!!!. As I got a lot of vaction days to use up this year, I took today and tomorrow off so I can get a few things done.

I'm really getting excited now

08-02-2012, 03:54 PM
I can't wait to see this! A master at work. :)

08-03-2012, 12:21 PM
Niiiccceeeee! Definitely a good idea putting the tank on it's own breaker haha not something you want to go tripping off while you aren't home... trust me

08-03-2012, 12:50 PM

08-03-2012, 01:35 PM
LOL Crispy

I got most of the fittings that I need for the plumbing (and algae scrubber)and I switched out the 55 gallon sump that I had on the 90 gallon DT with the spare 30 gallon sump and return pump that I had in the closet.

Now when the tank gets here, I can run all the plumbing lines between the tank and sump and let it run for a day or two with FW just to make sure there are no leaks while still having the 90 gallon DT not effected in any way.

Hopefully I can get the electrical work done today and finish the panels for the sump.

08-03-2012, 01:47 PM
knowing you Cliff, I give it 6 months and you might be upgrading the sump. :hmm3grin2orange: don't install it too hardcore. make it easy to take apart FWIT. :fish:

08-03-2012, 03:21 PM
knowing you Cliff, I give it 6 months and you might be upgrading the sump. :hmm3grin2orange: don't install it too hardcore. make it easy to take apart FWIT. :fish:

LMAO, am I that predictable :hmm3grin2orange:

But now that you mention it, I was thinking about picking up a used 125 (6" tank) or a 75 gallon if I can find a old beat-up one for cheap so I could get a larger refugium compartment in the sump. The LEDs that I ordered for the sump can handle / support a lot more than I'll be putting in that very small 55 gallon sump. Just only thoughts right now.

Good point on the plumbing. I rig it up so I can put any sized sump that I could get.

08-03-2012, 03:24 PM
I was being very generous at guesstimating 6 months. lol. 6' sump it is! :hmm3grin2orange:

08-03-2012, 03:26 PM
LMAO, am I that predictable :hmm3grin2orange:

... yes haha absolutely... not that that's a bad thing haha

08-04-2012, 02:11 AM
This sounds and looks like a man cave lol.Congrats on the big tank.

08-05-2012, 10:25 PM
I got most of the fittings that I will need to plumb the tank & sump today. I just need a few more reducers, the check-valves for the return line, and about 10' of 3/4" PVC pipe (i got the 3/4" fittings in the spares closet right now). I also got some more screen to make the algae scrubber taller. I can hardley wait to plumb it all together


Goes to 11!
08-05-2012, 11:03 PM
I just need a few more /SNIP/.... I can hardley wait to plumb it all together

Gaze into the simplicity of SW :14: :hmm3grin2orange:

08-06-2012, 01:26 AM
LOL, it's far more simple than it looks. LOL

08-06-2012, 07:05 AM
I'm jealous mate..... I'm nowhere near that with my tank!

Saying that I've spend most of the last 4 months more than 4000 miles from it also lmao

Can't wait to see this one wet!

08-06-2012, 10:17 PM
While Iím waiting for my electrician to wire in a GFI plug for the tank, along with waiting for the last PVC fittings I ordered to come in, I have been thinking about stocking this tank.

I would love to have some angles but none of the ones that I like would work in a 180. Iím now thinking about tangs, and a few other active fish. Below are the options that Iím looking into. Iím not too sure which ones will make the cut yet. I still have some more reading to do

Blonde naso tang
Power brown tang
Hippo tang
Wite tailed Bristol tooth tang
Harlequin tuskfish
Metalic fox face
Orange back fairy wrasse
6-line wrasse
5 Lyretail Anthias (1 male 4 female)
Pair of black Ocellaris Clownfish and a pair of snowflake clowns (with a carpet anemone at eat end of the tank for them)
Starie blenny
Dwarf flame angle
Two banggie cardnels
6 to 10 dart fish, either the zebra or the blue dart fish.

08-06-2012, 10:35 PM
I would probably question the Blonde Naso, especially if you don't have a place to put it when it gets full grown. :) I'm considering one, but that's because I know of a 1600gal coral prop system that will get it when it gets to big for the 210. lol

08-08-2012, 06:12 PM
Yes, I know what you mean about the blonde naso Goldbarb. My current one already has a new home in his near future in a friends 420 gallon FOWLR set-up. Another friend of mine gave me this fish when her tank developed a leak and she had to take it down to repair it. That was over a year ago. Must be one heck of a repair. I'm guessing I'll be able to keep him in the 180 for about another year, maybe two, before he will outgrow it.

I ran into a little set-back. My electrician buddy got a large (and better paying) contract out of town so he will be gone for a while. Iíve had to get another electrician but he canít fit in the work until this coming Tuesday. As the wiring in the basement is up-to local building codes, it can more than handle all of the equipment that I might want to run on this tank.

The real reason is that I want I GFI circuit because Iím a big clutz. I could just use a GFI power bar like I have on all of my other tanks, but since I would have to have a plug-in moved closer to the where I want the tank anyways I might as well go the extra step and make it as safe as possible.

My tank will be delivered to the store sometime on Friday and delivered to the house the following weekend when the movers are available.

Good grief, I havenít even started building the canopy yet

08-08-2012, 06:54 PM
Haha you're a busy man dude not a bad thing... and good call with the GFCI definitely better safe than sorry especially with power

08-12-2012, 11:46 PM
Had a little set-back today. While building the canopy I had a little accident and ended up breaking two fingers on my right hand. As my index finger was un-harmed this should have no effect on my typing speed. The canopy was close to finished, but not quite done. Hopefully when I get the splint off in a week or two , I will be able to finish it.

The tank was delivered early to our SW LFS and got there late yesterday. The store was going to wait and combine my tank with another shipment to lower the shipping charges, but they got a few orders for larger tanks last week so it was shipped earlier than expected.

I went to the store today (after a quick visit to the medical clinic) just to see the new tank and it looks great. I can hardly wait until the movers get that bad boy in the basement.

08-13-2012, 07:25 AM
holy crap dude!!!

How did you manage that?

08-13-2012, 04:38 PM
holy crap dude!!!

How did you manage that?

I second that question... sorry to hear about that though man always sucks to have set backs but glad it wasn't anything really bad! Can't wait to see you bring the tank in haha

08-13-2012, 05:56 PM
That's all three of us had our bad luck for the year now I hope!

08-13-2012, 07:03 PM
Yikes! That sounds like something my husband would end up doing. I can hear him now.... "Piece of crap!"

08-15-2012, 10:07 PM
LOL, I'm glad we don't have any kids living with us, or they might have learned a few knotty German words that day.

The tank was delivery to the SW LFS a few days ago and I have the movers booked to pick it and delivery it this coming Tuesday. The electrical work is also done.

Now I just have to figure out a way to plumb the tank and sump together only using only my left hand :ssuprised:

08-16-2012, 07:23 AM
good luck cliff.

08-16-2012, 11:31 AM
can't wait to see pics of that bad-boy!! :18:

08-21-2012, 01:55 AM
WOW I just read this entire thread and holy smokes its awesome!!!thumbs2:

Cliff you are the man, breaking fingers and just shaking it off to make time to go see the this future glorious tank you got. Hats off to you man:22:

Thanks so much for sharing all this and I can't wait to see the rest of the this epic project.:18:

08-21-2012, 02:01 AM
The tank will be delivered to the house tomorrow

Pics will follow

08-21-2012, 09:06 AM
woop woop woop woop.....

thumbs2: thumbs2: :19: :19:

08-21-2012, 03:44 PM
180 gallons! Man, I can only imagine. Maybe some day...in my basement. Do you think I could smuggle that into the basement without the wife noticing? Hmmm.

08-21-2012, 07:44 PM
I when to clean the quiteone 6000 return pump that I have, I ended up dropping and breaking the impeller shaft. Iím starting to hate impeller shafts. I took that as a sign and upgraded to a reef-flow snapper external pump. Now Iíll have to drill the sump for the return pump intake. These new energy efficient pumps are impressive. It only uses ~52 more watts of power as compared to the quiteone 6000, and double the flow (based on a 4íhead height)

The canopy is coming along nicely. I have one coat of tinted wood sealer on it right now. I just have to wood-fill and sand the holes, then prime and paint. It can go pretty darn slow when you only have your left hand to use.


I have a removable panel built for the top, and doors for the front. That way I should never have to remove the canopy for any reason as I should be able to access whatever I want with two openings that big

The tank should be delivered in about 3 hours, but Iím not counting :hmm3grin2orange:

08-21-2012, 08:55 PM
what we on now, 1 hour 45?


08-21-2012, 11:43 PM
any minute now...you might even be busy right now with getting it into your house!?!?!

08-22-2012, 12:33 AM
LMAO, 136 posts into this tank journel, and I finally have a tank.


The above picture is tha back of the tank of course. You can see the larger sized external overflow box so I can get two 1.5 inch duriso standpipes in there. And the top corners drilled for two 1 inch return lines


And a front view. The only thing the manufacture forgot was the blacksheets for the sides. I not really up-set about that at all.

I can finially start setting-up this tank

08-22-2012, 12:37 AM
THAT is a thing of beauty!
This is going to be a great thread to follow!

You're going to be keeping that thing on wheels, correct? Would I be remiss in suggesting a third set of castors in the middle of that? I know you've built it to handle the weight, but no support on the bottom centre of that just seems to be asking for trouble a few years down the road...all that weight...potential sag?...established tank...ack!
Sorry, I'm no DIY'er and I've no experience in woodworking at all...but...but...

08-22-2012, 12:45 AM
Oh heck no, the wheels are not attached to the stand. Keeping there would be wrong for soooooooo many reasons. Just there to make it easy to move around and get at the back to plumb it.

Once in place, I will raise it from the inside with a car jack and slide out the wheels


08-22-2012, 01:29 AM
ah...shoulda known you wouldn't do anything like that!

08-22-2012, 02:43 AM
I think it looks great without the black side. Might give that area a surreal glow to it.

08-22-2012, 08:13 AM
I'm wondering how you are going to get the jack back out!!!

08-22-2012, 12:24 PM
Easy, I have a low profile floor jack that will extend 14 inches and is only 8 inches when folded down. I will raise the jack to a height of 13 inches, cut a pc of 4X4 that will fit between the jack and top inside top of the stand (not the bottom), raise the tank/stand 1 inch, remove the wheels, lower the to the floor. The wheels are only 4 inches tall so the stand will be lowered to rest on the floor with 1 inch to spare.

I'm not to sure I am explaining this well enough, but I will post pics when I do it so you can see what I mean

08-22-2012, 11:26 PM
I wouldn't use mirrors on the back, but mirrors on the sides might be a thought? It would reflect some light back in on the ends where traditionally the light gets diffused. I forget what you were planning for lighting tho, will have to go back and browse the thread...

08-23-2012, 12:42 AM
I'll be using LED lighting on this tank. AI SOLs to be exact

08-23-2012, 01:50 AM
No issue with light loss out the ends then. :D

08-24-2012, 12:01 AM
Started the plumbing tonight. I did not get much done. Once I got glue between my splint and my skin it got too darn itchy to keep working. But at least I got the bulk head flanges in and the duriso stand pipes with the drain lines done


08-24-2012, 11:53 AM
cant wait to see this beast finished. gonna look awsome.

08-25-2012, 12:58 AM
Today I managed to put the stand in itís place and removed the temporary wheels. I carefully measured the fully raised height of my floor jack and cut a jig to use for that height (less 1 inch) factoring in the inside height of the stand.



08-25-2012, 12:59 AM
I placed the jack and jig under the stand until there was some tension. I removed the screws holding the wheel in place, then raised the jack to itís full height and removed the wheels



I lowered the stand very slowly to the floor and then repeated the process for the other side. Worked very very well.


08-25-2012, 12:50 PM
lol thanks for the pics of the process, but where is the final "it's in!" pic?


08-25-2012, 02:45 PM
Great job Cliff the toolman!

08-25-2012, 02:52 PM
Thanks guys

The first pic showes were it is going to be sitting.

I got most of the plumbing done last night which was a big job considering I've only got one hand with full use. I just need to get some more PVC glue so I can finish the job this morning and give it a water test today

08-25-2012, 05:36 PM
Water test completed, and failed

Note to self: Next time make sure all joints are actually glued together after dry fitting and BEFORE testing with water.

The floor needed a good mopping anyways

08-26-2012, 01:02 AM
Once I got everything glued together, I did another leak test and it would appear that nothing leaked. I tried a power failure test (unplugging the return pump) and I got about 5 gallons of water on the floor. That was not good

I spent the afternoon trying different heights on the standpipes and before I found the correct settings. So far its been two hours with no power to the return pump and no water on the floor. Looks like I got the correct setting for everything. I had to lower my stand pipes by close to 1 inch (about ĺ of a inch) which seams to have worked. Looks like I did not measure correctly when I originally built the stand pipe.
The only thing Iím worried about now is the nipples I used to thread a line into the return pump. It might be leaking there but Iím not 100% sure. Iím goging to get a friend of mine to come over tomorrow and re-tighten the fittings for me

Once I get that done, pics to follow

08-26-2012, 03:03 AM
Nice man sounds like it's coming together well!! Can't wait to see the final product and yea plumbing can be a b**** but it's good to get it all out of the way now instead of coming home to a 5 gallon puddle

Pretty impressive you've been able to do all of this with one hand also! I could probably barely do it with 2! hahaha

08-26-2012, 03:13 AM
Thanks Hockeyhead

What should have been a 3 hour job took me about 9

Hopfully I will be back up to full strenght soon to put the finishing elements on the system, like the srubber

08-26-2012, 09:07 AM
I totally see what you meant with the jack now..... doh... so simple but I couldn't picture it.

I can however steal the idea for when I do mine ;)

It's all coming together now eh? I want to echo Hockey in how impressed I am you are cracking on with one hand and not letting it stop you.

Can't wait to see this wet :22:

08-26-2012, 11:53 AM
Thanks Chris

I did up-grade my return pump to a reeflow snapper/dart (link below). The space in the closet behind the sump does not really allow for some well placed plumbing lines resulting in a lot of extra elbows which will reduce flow. My old pump would not have worked very well at all in that set-up giving me lower flow then I would have been happy with.

Now I will have all the flow I want for the sump and any thing else I want to run like media reactors and even my algae scrubber

So far I am impressed with this pump. Even using the low flow impeller (the snapper) it still has twice the flow as compaired to the old pump and uses just a little less power. These new energy efficient pumps are pretty darn amazing IMO

The baffles in my sump can barely handle the incresed flow so I might have to up-grade the sump one day soon if I ever want to increase the flow


08-26-2012, 12:09 PM
The wet-test was done with the new pump?

08-26-2012, 12:12 PM
Yes, I plumbed it into the set-up right from the start

I needed larger lines for the increased flow so I though it would be best to start off with this pump and all the larger lines right from the start

08-26-2012, 10:53 PM
I've spent a lot of the afternoon trying to get the air hole on the duriso stand pipes to the correct size now that I got the hight were I wanted it. I ended up making them too large so the drain is very noisy right now. I'll pick up some new caps and try again tomorrow.

I ran the pump for about 4 hours again today and still no leaks, other than the one I already mentioned. I'm glad a friend of mine is going to help me fix today when he gets off work.

08-27-2012, 05:00 AM
While we were fixing the leaky fitting today, we created a new leak by moving a glued joint to the point of creating a leak. Although Murphyís law would have clearly predicted this, I was still surprised. However, the old leak was far far worse than the new leak so Iím counting this as progress. I can cut out the old fitting and replace with a new one easy enough tomorrow.

Now that I know the plumbing is good to go, Iíve started filling the tank with salt water. I must say, this part is about as exicting as watching paint dry. My RO unit only has a 50 to 75 gallon per day capacity so this might take a while to make about 210 gallons of salt water.

Once the new memory card for my camera gets here, I will post a few pics

08-27-2012, 11:02 AM
progress is progress...... even if you do have to wait a good few days lol

Hows your hand coping with it all? You in alot of pain?

08-27-2012, 11:12 AM
this thread has become my daily soap-opera. :hmm3grin2orange:

Glad to hear we will see water soon!! you've been kicking butt on this project, even debilitated! you're almost at the finish line!... Get 'er done Cliff!! :18:

08-27-2012, 12:24 PM
Progress is good!
As much as it seems to be taking forever, you might as well enjoy the process, who knows how long it will be until you do another build...

08-27-2012, 02:13 PM
Thanks guys ?

I emptied the tank and sump last night and I've now got about 50 gallons of mixed salt water in it right now.

I tried fixing the new leaky fitting last night but I did not have enough glue for it. I'll fix that tonight and hopefully have another 50 gallons of mixed salt water ready to go as well. I will be adding the rock and substrate to the tank as well. As the rock has been curing for over a month now, I do not think I will get any type of noticeable spike.

At this rate that tank should be up and running with it's first inhabitants sometime this weekend

08-27-2012, 02:17 PM
Woo! This is as informational as it is enticing.

08-28-2012, 12:10 AM
As promised a few pics
As I have about 50 or so gallons of water, I decided to at least empty one of the containers that had been curing my rock in. Itís almost starting to look like a tank.



The sump is still pretty basic right now. But I did make a manifold with 5 lines/valves. This way I can use one for the algae scrubber and I have 4 extra for whatever I may need to add, like media reactors, UV sterilizers,Ö. And the list could go on.

The sump does look a little oddly laid out, but I placed the return pump in an odd spot for a good reason. The motor on the return pump is not water tight so I placed in the spot that I felt I was least likely to spill water on in completing regular maintenance on the sump.



This is still a work in progress, not complete by a long shot yet, but lots of progress as well

08-28-2012, 12:17 AM
Love the manifold setup for reactors. I have something similar on my return. It works really nice. What reactors are you planning for it?

08-28-2012, 12:22 AM
That's just it, I don't know yet for sure (have not made up my mind yet).

I have two vertex reactors, one I will be using for phosphate removers, but other than that, I wanted extras just incase I want to add another later. Easier to do now instead of later.

I know the plumbing job looks a little messy, but in my defense I was using my left hand to glue.

08-28-2012, 04:35 PM
I made to few changes to how I'm planning the sump set-up. The below pic wil give you a better idea of what I'm thinking about.


08-28-2012, 05:14 PM
Are you gonna keep fish in the Sump too? This is going to be a sick tank!

Whats the auto-dosing? I know what the auto-top off is but still a little confused about how you know how much to add to keep the salinity correct

08-28-2012, 06:32 PM
I use the auto dosing pump for supplements to maintain the dKH, Cal, and Mag levels stable.

Auto top-offs are just pumps with fancy sensors. Once you have the levels set in you sump you can then set-up a auto top off system (if that's what you want). You place the sensor in the last compartment of the sump at the level you want. When you have evaporation, it will be the last section of the sump that will drop first. Once the level drops due to evaporation, the sensor will detect that and tell the auto top off pump to turn on and pump some FW into the sump. When the water level reaches the level you set, the pump stops.

As only pure water evaporates leaving all the salt still in the tank, topping up with FW and consistently maintaining this will keep your salinity stable

08-28-2012, 07:11 PM
When I do this by hand I just wait for natural evaporation and then add FW? How do I know how much to add?

08-28-2012, 07:15 PM
Just enough to bring it back up to the level it was at before you had any evaporation, no more

08-28-2012, 08:33 PM
sounds simple enough, and then for WC just do them as normal (and with SW)

08-28-2012, 08:35 PM
sounds simple enough, and then for WC just do them as normal (and with SW)


Just make sure to match the salinity and temp and you will be fine

08-29-2012, 02:15 AM
it seems like such a hard number to hit, but I guess not if everyone dose it without a problem lol

08-29-2012, 06:11 AM
Awesome diagram Cliff. I always learn better from pics lol. Not so much reading haha

08-29-2012, 11:03 AM
Once i get everything set-up and running with SW, I try a take a few videos as well. I'll just have to learn how to take videos with that fancy new camera that I got.

08-29-2012, 02:20 PM
What is a camera compared to a life support sump? You can figure out that simple gadget of a camera lol.

08-30-2012, 11:06 PM
As Iím out of town for a few days, my super fantastic great wife has been making salt water for the tank. The main tank is about 20 gallons way from being full, and another 30 gallons for the sump

Looks I will be adding substrate and arranging the rock this weekend

If the parameters are still stable a day or two after that, Iíll start transferring fish

08-30-2012, 11:17 PM
woop woop woop thumbs2: thumbs2: thumbs2:

09-01-2012, 05:34 AM
My wife did a great job making SW these past few days. The tank and sump are now filled with newly mixed SW.

I also got most of the rock stacked in the tank now, and I added the substrate. Everything is up and running now. Assuming the parameters remain stable, I might start moving fish & corals over this weekend

09-01-2012, 09:39 AM
brilliant news mate!

I need to follow your lead and get mine started!

09-01-2012, 01:06 PM
I'd love to start seeing some progress in your set-up Chris thumbs2:

I used the below sand. It's a version of packaged "Live" sand, but it is the only black sand that I could find. I got the Hawaiian black version


As I hate live sand, I washed the substrate really well to get rid of all of that crud that comes with "live" sand and usally gives you a small ammonia spike. The grain size is smaller that I wanted, but at least it is bigger than the suger sized stuff that I have in my 90 gallon.

Just tested the water this morning and so far, it's good

09-01-2012, 11:58 PM
A few pics of the recent progress

A pic with some of the rock and the black substrate. Hopefully I will have the canopy done and on this weekend so I can take a better pic with the tank lighting on. I managed to make the duriso stand pipes even more quite by adjust the height a little more as well as the air intake. The empty space to the left of the tank is for some of the remaining rock still in my 90 gallon

I also did a lot of work on the sump. I built the shelf for the RO top-off and auto dosing unit to sit on


I was planning on an algae scrubber, but the more and more I tried to make it work, I just could not figure out a way to make the size of scrubber that I wanted to work in that sump compartment. For now, I got some red lettuce leaf maro algae (Gracilaria curtissae) but Iím not convinced that is actually what I have. The description is close, but it doesnít seem like a 100% match to me. Iíll have to wait until it grows and takes hold in the sump. As long as it grows and helpt to keep the nitrates & phosphates down Iíll be happy. The sump will be getting a lot more rock from the 90 gallon so the algae will be raised closer to the light. Right now Iím using a 43watt CFL bulb (warm white).



Iím currently planning to set-up another tank in the closet, plumb it into the set-up, and use it as a algae scrubber. I figure that would be better than up-grading to a larger sump as the closet is pretty narrow as it is. Still looking into how to do this, so stay tuned for more details

09-02-2012, 05:53 AM
I had bought my auto top-up used off a friend of mine. Tonight I finally got around to finding/downloading the instruction manual for it. Looks like it would be too risky having the water reservoir for the auto top-off water above the sump because there is a chance if the valve fails, you could create a syphon and empty all the top-up water into the sump. Whether or not an extra 10 gallons of fresh water in 220 total gallons of water would impact the parameters enough to effect the fish/corals in the tank, I am still not going to risk it.

I think itís time to sell off all my extra light fixtures so I can have a little extra space to set-up a reservoir next to the sump beside the return pump

09-02-2012, 06:16 AM
Wow, this sounds like it's going to be amazing.
Do you have any idea what you're going to stock it with?

09-02-2012, 01:10 PM
Right now the stocking will consist of the existing fish we have in the 90 gallon and 120 gallon tanks: 3 tangs (hippo, powder brown, yellow mimic), a metalic fox face, two banggai cardinals, 4 Lyretail Anthias (one male three females) a pair of black Ocellaris clownfish, a dwarf flame angle, a orange back fairy wrasse, a six line wrasse, 5 dart fish, and two red firefish. A heavy stockings for sure

Old Marine
09-02-2012, 01:49 PM
Its looking Great Cliffthumbs2:

09-02-2012, 02:10 PM
Coming along very nicely Cliff! Moar pics!:19:

09-02-2012, 02:14 PM
If the water still checks out alright today, I'll be taking down the 120 and moving everyone from that tank into the 180.

I'll re-cure the 120 as I have a lot different plan for the 120 once it is empty (new journel to follow)

Pics will certainly follow

Thanks guys thumbs2:

09-02-2012, 06:10 PM
Lookin good man definitely diggin the dark sand! Can't wait to see it with the canopy!

09-02-2012, 08:52 PM
Thanks Hockey head

I just put the canopy frame on the tank, added the powerheads and moved all the corals and fish.

I think this will be the last time that I up-grade a reef tank. I had to take every single pc of rock out of the tank to get all the fish. I was planning to redo all the rock in the 120 anyways, justnot today tho.

Next I have to move the LED lighting from the 120 to the 180 and get the 120 ready for

My wife and I got a extra little bouns today. One of our banggai cardinals was holding fry. When we got them and placed them in a pale to move them to the 180 gallon they released they fry. I have moved the fry to a 10 gallon QT tank. We only got about 6 of them, but that's better than none

Next weekend we will be taking down the 90 gallon and move everything from that tank into the 180 as well

09-03-2012, 03:27 AM
Congrats on your new little additions, a pleasant surprise.
Ate t

09-03-2012, 03:29 AM
Congrats on your new little additions, a pleasant surprise.
Ate t
Sorry pressed post too quick, I meant are you going to keep them?

09-03-2012, 03:35 AM
I'm not too sure yet. I might keep a few, but most will be taken to my SW LFS once they are big enough to go.

These guys seam to spawn once every 2 months or so, and have been doing that for about a year now. No matter what I have tried in the past, I just could not seam to get them out of the tank before becoming fish-food for one of the bigger fish

I caught a lucky break this time

09-03-2012, 06:58 AM
Hey cliff, I haven't been around in awhile but the tank is looking good. You may have said something about this, But are you going to... Pre-assemble your rocks like you did on your 90?

09-03-2012, 12:23 PM
Hey cliff, I haven't been around in awhile but the tank is looking good. You may have said something about this, But are you going to... Pre-assemble your rocks like you did on your 90?

As all the rock that I added to the 180 so far has been all live rock, I did not put them together before putting them in the tank like I did with the 90 gallon. I stacked them the way I wanted and them inside the tank once it was full of SW and then used plastic zap-wraps to hold them into place were there were was a risk of the rocks falling over. That way there wasn't any type of noticable die-off. I did not ever see a ammonia spike either. Curing the rock before adding it to the tank was a big part of that as well

09-03-2012, 11:13 PM
Hereís a few photos of this weekendís progress.

The below pic shows the canopy. I only have 3 of the 5 AI SOL units in this tank right now. Once I take down the 90 gallon, I will be adding two more. There is one top plate that will sit on the top of the canopy as well as two doors that will go on the front of it (hinged at each end of the canopy). I am not done painting those parts yet so I can not put them on.


A FTS (such as it is right now)


And a pic of the zoes that I will be trying to grow all over those rocks

And the one pic of my clown fish. This kid would not survive too long in the wild. It took him over 24 hours to find his anemone after they were both moved into the 180 at the same time


09-03-2012, 11:13 PM
I also did more work on the sump today. I moved the skimmer into the sump. It a Skimz SK180 skimmer. As I do not believe this will be enough for my tank, the macro algae and future algae scrubber will be able to pick-up the ďslackĒ.


I also got the auto top-off set-up today. Even tho Iím only using a 5 gallon pale, It should work a lot better than the 10 gallon tank up on a shelf. At least a lot easier to fill.


Water parameters are still testing good. So far,.. so good

09-04-2012, 01:22 PM
Looks good, will you be adding one more SOL unit to the left side?

09-04-2012, 04:23 PM
Very nice cliff. The speed with which a big tank like this is going forward is amazing. It really shows that you know what you're doing. :22:

09-04-2012, 06:06 PM
Thanks Guys

Looks good, will you be adding one more SOL unit to the left side?

Yes, I have two more units currently running on the 90 gallon. When I take down that tank, I will move them over

09-07-2012, 07:33 PM
Wow Cliff. Tank looks amazing!!! Cant wait til is a 100% show quality ready lol

09-09-2012, 07:26 AM
The wife and I took down the 90 gallon today and moved the corals, fish and anemone over into the 180. I used to think moving small Ė fast moving fish was hard, try moving a carpet anemone that can expand to about 18 inched when heís happy. It was a two person job carrying this guy to the 180 as his boot was about 4 to 6 inches around.

All the fish and corals seem to be doing well. The lights are off right now to allow the fish to become comfortable to their new home. The anemone has already started to put his boot down into the substrate and doesnít look overly stressed.

Iíll post some pics later this weekend

09-09-2012, 04:54 PM
I took the remaining rock from the 90 gallon and hosed it off but good in the back yard. I will leave it sit out there to make sure everything has died off, and then soak-out/cure it in FW to make sure I will be able to leach out any phosphates or nitrates that would result from the die-off. Hopefully I will have this rock clean and dead in the next few weeks so I can add it to the tank.

The anemone is still working itís boot down into the substrate. When I first got this guy it took him about 3 to 4 weeks. Hopefully it wonít take as long this time. I did place a 18 X 18 inch pc of acrylic on the bottom of the tank right where I placed him. This way if I ever have to move him it will be a whole lot easier next time.

And now for a few pics

The set-up with the rest of the corals and fish and the final 3 units of LEDs
I might remove one of the 5 units as this dose seem a little too bright right now

All the fish that were moved tonight are getting used to their new home.


And the anemone has nicely settled into the spot that I had made for him. He only about 75% open right now, but all of these pics where taken about 20 minutes after lights on at the full setting. It looks like most of his boot is in the substrate now which is a very good sign after only being in the tank for about 12 hours



09-09-2012, 04:56 PM
After taking down the 90 gallon, I moved over the dosing equipment. Iím going to start off with the same settings as I had on the 90 gallon and let my test results tell me what the actual amounts for this tank should be.


The skimmer is starting to work nicely and the macro algae seams to be doing well.



And a full tank pic


The next project will be setting up the algae scrubber. As the nitrates are still undetectable (both salifert and Elos test kit) I will wait a little before doing that.

09-09-2012, 07:18 PM
Tank looks awesome man! As expected a top notch job!

09-09-2012, 08:13 PM
Agreeed with the above.......

Massive case of tank envy coming up I'm afraid! (blush)

09-10-2012, 02:02 AM
Thanks Guys

I just have a few minor adjustments to the flow through the sump and I think I'm set

09-12-2012, 11:27 PM
When I got home from work today I had so many micro bubbles in the tank it looked like a bacteria bloom. I tried everything to get rid of them from adding sponges inside the sump baffles to unplugging the skimmer.

As it turns out, last night when I detached the union to take a look at my return pump, I accidently knocked off the rubber seal. As this was on the intake side of the pump, instead of leaking, it was sucking in air, more and more as time when on. I did not think that would be possible, but Iím still getting used to a ~2800 gph return pump.

I really wish the seal was the first thing that I checked

The water is now crystal clear again.

09-13-2012, 06:36 AM
WOW!!!! 2800GPH

your tank must be like a washing machine!

should have got a picture of the bubbles thumbs2:

09-13-2012, 01:32 PM
LOL, it's not that bad. After factoring out the gph for the scrubber, that would be like having two ~1100 gph powerheads in the tank. Even at the full 2800 gph, that is still only 15X flow.

I guess I should not have panic and took a few pics. It certainly was something to see

09-16-2012, 01:09 AM
It was a little trial and error, but I know have the sump running just the way I want it to. I had added some sponges in the baffles before the last compartment and a screen just before the bulkhead flange for the return pump so nothing just sucked into the pump
By doing that it did change the flow a little and razed the water level in the skimmer compartment. I made a little higher stand for the skimmer to it on and I now have the skimmer dialed in pretty good.



The anemone seams really happy with the spot I created for him. Some days heís sprawled out like a wet towel.


09-16-2012, 01:10 AM
Tank parameters are still very good, dKH 9.8, Cal 450, mag 1350, pH 8.1 or 8.2 (hard to tell the difference) nitrate 1ppm, phosphate ?(not detectable with my salifert test kit), and 0 ammonia and nitrites. Iíve a small amount of diatoms on the substrate which I will likely vac up during the next weekly waterchange.

Iíve also managed to get a few more coats of paint on the last few bits of the canopy so I can hopefully have that done soon as well.

And some more pics





09-16-2012, 03:48 AM
Tank looks absolutely beautiful! That is definitely one happy anemone, and your tangs look great :11:

09-16-2012, 04:24 AM
sweet setup Cliff! been waiting awhile to finally see it! thumbs2:

09-16-2012, 01:23 PM
Thanks guys

Hopefully, I will finish the canopy today. I will be nice to have everything set-up in its place so the wife and I can park both cars in the guarage again.

Lady Hobbs
09-20-2012, 12:16 AM
OH MY. I have trained myself so well to stay OUT of the saltwater section that I didn't even know you had gotten your tank.
(blush) (blush)

It is just lovely Cliff. It fits in that space just wonderfully. Nice job!

09-20-2012, 12:58 AM
Oh Cliff! I love your tank. I especially love the Flame Angel.

09-20-2012, 02:33 AM
Thanks guys

Stay tuned for more up-dates. I have dry rock soaking for the left hand side of the tank and have order a blue carpet anemone as well for the left side. I also have a pair of snowflake clown fish in QT right now, just waiting for the new anemone to arrive.


09-24-2012, 12:43 AM
I had to make a few changes to the sump. The red macro algae did not do to well in a low nutrient high flow spot so I removed it and place it in my 120 gallon tank. I added a 1100 gph powerhead to the live rock compartment (on the botttom) as well as layer of egg crate to increase the flow around the rock. I alos added some of the macro algae that I have been growing in the sump for the 120. This stuff should be a lot better suited for high flow and low nutrient set-ups.


And a full tank pic. I moved some of the leathers into the 120 as there are more nutrients in that set-up so they should do a little better there.


09-24-2012, 01:06 AM

awesome job Cliff! looks fantastic! :18:

09-24-2012, 01:09 AM
LMAO Crispy.

I will do my best to get one posted next weekend. I gotta learn how to take videos with this fancy new camera I got


09-30-2012, 05:13 PM
I finished the stand and canopy today and Iím so glad that I did. It looks like a real set-up now. I added the front panels to the stand. The can be easily removed by removing the 4 screws that hold them should I ever need to get access to under the stand.


I made this canopy a little different than my last two canopys that I have built. I have the doors on the front and they open outwards. I thought this would make it a lot easier for getting access to the tank for feeding.


There is a top pc covering a little more than Ĺ of the top of the canopy that just sits on top (not attached to the canopy). By lifting it off, you can easy access anything in the tank. If more room is needed, the rails the LEDs are attached to just slide out. I can easily remove /add any pc of rock or anything else in the tank should I need to without taking the canopy off.


I even cut out access at the back of the canopy so I can get at the external overflow. As salt deposits can build up on the air vents for the duriso stand pipes, you need access to them to clean off this build-up so the air flow will not become restricted and flow can be maintained.


09-30-2012, 05:13 PM
And of course a FTS

Sorry Crispy, but I could not get a good video yet, but I will try again latter


09-30-2012, 05:31 PM
this tank looks better than I ever imagined it :22: thumbs2: :19:

Hats off to you cliff, it really does look superb!

09-30-2012, 05:52 PM
Cliff the tank looks fantastic man! Cheers!

09-30-2012, 07:05 PM
Thanks guys thumbs2:

09-30-2012, 10:57 PM
Oh wow! You've been busy! That looks great!:1luvu:

10-01-2012, 01:18 PM
That really is an awesome job Cliff, the whole wall looks like one unit.

Maintenance is sooo much easier to do when you can get at everything easily!

10-01-2012, 06:26 PM
looks great Cliff! the ease of maintaining everything is superb in your setup! thumbs2:

10-07-2012, 09:19 PM
My laziness got the best of me today and I had to change the standpipes on my tank. I built the stand pipes using the standard design were the cap with the air vent is not much higher than the elbow on the top of the pipe (pic below)


The only drawback to this is based on my flow, I had two every small air holes on caps to maintain just the airflow for a very quiet drain. Because of the small hole size, they would get enough salt build up on them to restrict the air flow causing a lot of extra noise. I would have to take them off once a week to rinse off the salt.

I just realized today that if I were to add a longer peace of pipe to raise the cap with the air vent farther away from the water, there would be no salt build-up, and no more weekly air vent cleaning. I just canít make it higher than the canopy and no one will see it. Just a newly discovered benefit of an external overflow

Itís been a week now and no salt build to clean, and a nice and quiet drain.


10-17-2012, 04:00 PM
Great set up Cliff. Very inspiring.

11-04-2012, 02:02 AM
Seeing as how I have all kinds of spawning going on, I got a 40 gallon grow out tank to hopefully be ready for the next set of clownfish eggs and hopefully a second one for my breeding pair of breeding cardinals.

I bought the tank from a fellow hobbyist in the city a few weeks ago, and to my surprize it was a 40 gallon breeder tank. I built a stand for it with a bottom shelf to hold another tank, like a 20 gallon smaller grow-out tank.

I set up the 40 gallon today as I needed to quarantine some new fish I got today. Once that Is done, I will take down the tank and finish the stand with some sealer and paint. I’ve got a really cheap LED fixture on it right now to give just enough light to be able to watch the fish but not enough light to have to worry about a lot of algae.

The light is turned off right now as the fish are still getting used to being in the tank.

Hopefully, I can be better prepared for the next clown fish spawning.


11-04-2012, 02:37 PM
Cool! You'll be going into business soon!

I have a frag tank you might be interested in...:hmm3grin2orange: And a slightly used RSM...:hmm3grin2orange:

11-04-2012, 02:50 PM
Quite an inspirational set-up there, Cliff. How many hours a week do you clock up on maintenance?

Also, I've been thinking about sumps - does anyone ever set one up that's viewable? Like a double-decker tank. LOL. They're not unpleasant to look at really with the rockwork and macro algae. :11: Am I talking nonsense?

11-04-2012, 02:54 PM
When I not setting up grow out tanks, both of my marine tank will need about a hour of maintenace each week for various things and the weekly water changes

I think I know what you are talking about with the sumps. I've had two set-ups close to that. There is some pics in the below link


11-04-2012, 03:11 PM
Wow, an hour per week is good (I spend that on my dinky little FW tanks...fiddling with them!) :shappy:

11-04-2012, 04:11 PM
The key with marine tanks is stability. Once the set-up has started to mature, and you have a rotine that keeps the parameters in line and stable, it can be pretty easy.

It's taken me a while to learn what each of my tanks needed and the maintence required got less and less. I'm been pretty lucky with the 180 so far as it has not taken me as long to get that down. But it is still a newer set-up so I always have to test and confirm.

11-04-2012, 04:30 PM
How often do you test the water? I'm always interested in how often people test mature tanks.

I don't have any marine set-ups but I tend to test my larger tank monthly (for everything) and keep a record book (GEEK!). And for the nano tank I test weekly as it's only been set up a few months.

What do you test?

11-04-2012, 04:43 PM
For the first few weeks after it is cycled, I will test 2 to 3 times a week for: ammonia, nitrite, pH, nitrate, phosphates, calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium.

After about 4 months or so, I will test twice a week for nitrate, calcium, alkalinity and magnesium. If any one of those are off, or if something in the tank is just not right or as it should be, I will test the rest of the parameters.

After about 6 to 8 months (assuming everything is going good) I will test weekly for nitrate, calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium.

Every time I test, I also check the salinity. Even tho I use auto dosing pumps on my tank, I have to keep an eye on the levels and adjust as the demand on the elements in the water changes. Actually, all of my equipment and set-up choices were aimed at helping to better stabilize the parameters. Once you can achieve that, it get a whole lot easier and your corals and fish will thank you for it

11-04-2012, 04:51 PM
That's excellent management practice, and very interesting. Thanks.

11-05-2012, 03:05 AM
The LEDs I put on the grow out tank are a little better than I thought they would be. I'm actually impressed for the price I paid for them. The light isnot good enough for corals, but it sure fits the bill for a fish only set-up.


11-05-2012, 11:12 PM
What kind of led did you get?

11-05-2012, 11:33 PM
I have AI SOLs on the main tank, and a cheap overseas knock off LED fixture on the grow our tank I bought off of E-bay

11-08-2012, 02:25 PM
I've really enjoyed reading this thread, loved to see the progress from start to finish. I just hope one day I have the knowledge (and wealth :hmm3grin2orange:) to have my own aquarium like this one. Really find it fascinating how much effort and care it takes just to run one of these tanks!