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fewskillz' 180 gallon adventure!

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Welcome to my tank thread! A long journey of ups and downs, successes and mistakes, but most importantly a whole lot of fun. This thread started out, in 2007, as the build thread for an old 125 that I purchased. That original post can be seen below in Post #2. It has grown into much more than that, so I'm going to take over this first post to document my history in the hobby and breakdown the thread into easier to find pages.

A Brief History - How we arrived at the 180

My family had small aquariums of one form or another basically my whole life. I setup my very own community freshwater in high school when I got a job. After high school when that turned into a better job I got a 29 gallon community freshwater around the Christmas of 2005. Since I then had an empty 10 gallon I tried my hand at saltwater. That didn't go so well with no live rock and zero knowledge, so I just focused on the freshwater. Then I found Nano-Reef! I read for a few months and started keeping my eye out for used systems.

I found a 46 Bowfront in late June of 2006. I bought it and finally joined N-R and started posting. That lasted for awhile, and I started a 20 high nano to go with it. I've had a ton of nano's throughout the years and there isn't enough room in this thread, so I'll focus on the big tanks. The 46 was upgraded to a 54 Corner in the spring of 2007. The 54 was swapped out for a 40 breeder in the winter of 2007 when I bought the 125 pictured below. The 125 stayed in storage until late spring of 2008. You can see it setup and running in Post #9.

After two moves and lots of those ups and downs I mentioned I started getting serious around Post 87. I bought the 180 at Post 124. After another move I start completely rebuilding the 180 at Post 315 into what it is today!

Current Hardware:
- Display Tank - 72x24x24 180 Gallon Dual Corner-Flo Manufactured by Perfecto
- Lighting 3x250w Metal Halides in LumenBright Mini reflectors hung from my Custom Low Budget Light Rack/Canopy,

- Stand Homemade 2x4s and 2x6s
- Sump 30x12x16 30 gallon long All-Glass Aquarium, 24x12x16 All-Glass Refugium
- Skimmer Reef Octopus Extreme 200
- Heater Eheim Jager 300w
- Return Pump Mag18 rated at 1800 GPH draining through a modifed BeanAnimal overflow
- Circulation Pumps 2x Tunze 6045s
- ATO - autotopoff.com Double Float Switch and Pump in a standard 20 gallon aquarium reservoir
- RO/DI - SpectraPure 90 GPD unit filling a 32 gallon Rubbermaid Brute trash can
- Quarantine - 30x12x18 Aqueon 29 gallon, 50/50 NO T8 lighting, Tunze 6015 circulation, BioSystems35 HOB w/ Surface Skimmer filter

Current Maintenance/Husbandry:
- Water Changes - 30 gallon water change using NSW every 2 to 3 weeks
- Filter Socks - 200 Micron socks changed every 3 days
- Mag-Float - The big one, as needed
- Skimmer Maintenance - Weekly Collection Cup/Neck cleanings, twice yearly skimmer body scrub
- Testing - Calcium, Alkalinity, and Magnesium Salifert tests every day while I'm learning my dosing. Nitrate and Phosphates with Red Sea kits any time I sense a problem. Salinity with a Coralife Hydrometer weekly, Double Checked and calibrated with my Refractometer monthly
- Reef Supplements - Brightwell Aquatics Reef Code A & B and Magnesium, manually dosing every day. I'm planning a switch to BRS 2-part and Mag when these run out
- Food - 1/2 sheet of green nori every day, Instant Ocean Marine Chips Auto-Fed 4x daily, along with a huge variety of frozen foods fed at least every other day. LRS's Fish, Herbivore, and Reef Frenzy, PE Mysis, Hikari Spirulina Brine, and Sally's krill for the anemone.

Current Stock List:
- Fish -
Black Ocellaris Clown x2
Yellow Tang x3
Blue Hippo Tang
Desjardini Sailfin Tang

Blonde Naso Tang
Flame Angel
Royal Gramma
Blue/green chromis x9
Starry Blenny

Cherub Pygmy Angel

Green Mandarin

Rose Bulb Anemone
Sand Sifting Star
Various Cerith, Astrea, and Turbo snails

2x Feather Dusters

A few leathers, a branching hammer, 2 wall hammers, a couple branching and one wall frogspawn, a short tentacle torch, a sweet Australian gold torch, a Duncan, a trach brain, maze brain, orange fungia, purple fungia, a couple candy canes, a trumpet, various zoas/palys, mushrooms, and GSP, along with some of Lalani's famous pink yumas.

Current FTS:

October 2013


Summary and Future Plans:
I'm very happy with this setup for right now. Despite the losses this year the tank is doing well and I've put a lot of work into it. We'll be buying a house later this year or early next year so I don't want to go too crazy with livestock purchases until then. For now my focus is on getting my husbandry and maintenance dialed in and really finalize my hardware choices. I figure with one final move in this tanks future I have one more chance to get it all exactly right. Until then I'm perfectly content with where this tank sits. It only took 5 years to get here!

UPDATE: Finally bought a house, so check out post 510 for details!


Thanks for looking!

Edited by fewskillz

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Original First Post: Last night I purchased a 125 gallon aquarium, wooden stand, sump (he used siphon overflows), glass lids, and some t12 strip lights from a guy for $300. The stand is in good shape, all wood, except for the bottom, which was particle board. I'm going to pull the particle board and replace it with good plywood and everything should be great. The tanks is in good shape, just needs cleaned up a little, I already wiped off one end pretty good. The tank is not drilled, but I ain't skeered. I ordered a glass-holes 2000 gph overflow kit, and already have 40 and 45 mm hole saws for drilling the 3/4" returns and any 1" backup drains I could want to drill. The strip lights will do for now, but I plan to build a canopy and will be going with t5ho retro kits when the time comes. There was also a big-@$$ red sea skimmer that I might see if I can get to work.


For now it'll just be FOWLR. I'm thinking 2 or 3 tangs, a butterfly or two, a dwarf angel, and a decent school of anthias. Then a diamond goby to keep the little bit of sand mixed up. You know, the stuff that we have "(insert fish name here)- Police" for in smaller tanks. My lawnmower blenny will probably get moved in here also. I've been interested in getting a hawkfish lately, too.


I've got around 85 lbs of LR that won't be taken up by my pending nano upgrade, so that will all go in here. I've had great success with marco rocks, so I'll go to him for some dry stuff to add to what I have.


The camera batteries are charging, so I'll be sure to post up pictures before I leave for my grandmother's house for the holiday.


Comments, questions, ideas, etc are appreciated.




Original Second Post: They're all kind of funny angles because the house isn't very big and the tank is sitting in the middle of the dining room, so I can't get far enough away from it to take a good picture.


(I'm also buying a 75 to move the cichlids into and put that tank in one of the bedrooms. This FOWLR will replace the cichlids in the dining room. Then the 55 can go to my mom's house as an upgrade for the 37 lightly planted tank. That will free up the 37 gallon's stand to be used by my 20 long as an upgrade for the 10 gallon nano-reef. Then I'm not buying another tank until I own my own house and do an in-wall tank.)




the sump:



the cabinet doors:



the crap inside:


(in the background you can see the top of the 55 against the wall, that is where this tank will sit once the above aquarium transfers take place)

Edited by fewskillz

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Wow, sounds like quite a plan.....this tank will go there where that one is now, then that one will go where the other one is now and the the other one will...... whew, I'm worn out already! :happy: Sounds like you've got you're work cut out for you. Good luck, I'm sure it will be worth it when you get it done.

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Very nice- good luck with it!

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My 2000 GPH overflow from glass-holes.com arrived on Saturday. Along with the "Glass-Holes.com, Dope Aquarium Stuff" t-shirt. I've been out of town most of last week so I haven't done much cleaning on the tank, but once it's clean we'll drill this puppy and start plumbing. I can't wait!

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okay, so I forgot I even started this thread...so here are some updates:


My housing plans changed and this tank sat in storage for awhile, listed for sale on some local websites. I got tired of staring at it and had way too much rock for the tanks I had setup. So early summer last year I said screw it and drug this thing out of storage.


A little sandpaper, elbow grease, and spray paint later, the tank looked like this:





a little drilling:



a little PVC:



It's been up and running ever since.





Ignore the mix-matched lights, it really doesn't look bad in person, the camera just really picks up the difference, especially in the dark. It's a 2x96 watt corallife on the left, and a 24" 20watt t8 on the right. It's all I've got right now. I intend to put some Nova Extremes over it sometime, hopefully sometime soon.


It doesn't look like much, but I love it, and it's pretty much maintenance free. I've been extremely lucky with this tank and had zero problems whatsoever. No pests, no algae, no nothing. I just feed the fish, scrape the glass, and change some water. Easy as that.


Speaking of fish, you're probably wondering what's in it.


4 blue/green chromis

coral beauty angel

2 occy clowns

sixline wrasse

purple-stripe dottyback

fiji blue devil damsel

yellow tang

sailfin tang

powder blue tang


also a few inverts:

tiger pistol shrimp

skunk cleaner shrimp



some mushrooms, some ricordea, a few zoa frags, a favia brain, and a little frag of gorgonia.

more coral will come with better lights...


I want one more tang, and either more chromis or some anthias. Might get a watchman goby to go with the pistol. The Hi-Fin goby didn't make it.


The tank was cloudy from scraping the glass, and I was too lazy to shutoff the pumps, but here ya go:




Edited by fewskillz

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Not really, not since that big update on March 6.


The Powder Blue (who was very new at that update) is doing well. He eats well and fits right in with everyone else. He bosses the sailfin around and the yellow seems to have accepted him. They seem to all be buddies.

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Thats looks like an awesome tank, Im looking forward to seeing the progression.

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Thats looks like an awesome tank, Im looking forward to seeing the progression.

Thanks. I think it's a pretty awesome tank. It keeps me occupied. My fish have a ton of personality. I can't wait to get better lights so I can get some awesome coral to match my fish.


More pichers.

I will turn off the koralias and try to get some decent ones tomorrow. The warranty on my S2 is about up, so I think it's time for 'oops' and a new camera.

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Thanks. I think it's a pretty awesome tank. It keeps me occupied. My fish have a ton of personality. I can't wait to get better lights so I can get some awesome coral to match my fish.


Thats the plan as always, this will look even better with some nice coral. Any ideas on what youll do? Mixed, SPS Only?

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Mixed. I could never dedicate this much water to just one thing. I set this tank up because I want it all! I want an anemone too, I haven't had one since I got rid of my old condy and clarkii clown. I'm thinking green bubble tip so that the occy's contrast with it. Also an open brain or two, and maybe even a clam. Plus I love ricordeas and zoas.


I'll be moving this tank in a few weeks, when I re-stack the rocks I'm going with more columns for the right side instead of the rock pile that it is now. This will help to keep the assorted future corals seperate so I can control the competition and make sure nothing will kill or out-compete other corals.

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The new rock idea will look really good. A full blown reef would be awesome. Green bta and the clowns is going to look insane. Good luck with it I cant wait to see it.

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My friends and I think my Sailfin is a Desjardinii. Which would be sweet because I paid regular sailfin money for him. Anyone seen a juvenile desjardinii at around 3 inches?

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Either way its a beautiful fish. Glad you started this thread back up. Kinda funny how you lost it for over a year.

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Either way its a beautiful fish. Glad you started this thread back up. Kinda funny how you lost it for over a year.


Yeah, I really did forget I made this thread. The tank sat for a long time because my landlord was planning to sell that house, so I figured it'd be dumb to set it up just to move it months later. Since it just sat I never had reason to update this thread, I found it when I was searching for another old thread I'd started.


He is a pretty fish either way, but desjardinii adults are much prettier than regular sailfin adults.

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They can be quite a tad aggressive or so I've heard. Maybe its just better that you have a beautiful regular sailfin

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They can be quite a tad aggressive or so I've heard. Maybe its just better that you have a beautiful regular sailfin


I'm not too worried about aggressiveness. The tamest fish I have is a Coral Beauty Angel. Other than that it's all damsels, dottybacks, and tangs! Now that you mention it, my sailfin is very feisty. He's the smallest of the 3 tangs, and a month later he's still trying to stand up to the PBT, who's a good inch bigger than he is. When both of them flash, the PBT is still bigger than the sailfin, but the sailfin doesn't give up. Interesting...

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I added a horseshoe crab to this tank. I was waiting to order more cleanup crew until I could afford to order some corals at the same time, to save on shipping. My sandbed gets quite static and coraline was actually growing on some of the larger pieces of sand and crushed coral. I was in Petco Saturday because there are only 2 LFS' in my town, so when I'm close I stop in incase something needs rescuing. The girlfriend spotted a few horseshoes and they were only $6. I'd researched them before after I saw them on sealifeinc sometime last year so I knew one would be fine in the 125. So we brought the smallest one home. He's about the size of a quarter and bulldozes all day long. The fish have no idea what to think of it. The sixline follows him around. It's pretty funny.

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