Jump to content

Neanderthalman's 40 Breeder

Recommended Posts

Keeping the story short, I was able to pick up a complete setup from a guy who was getting out of the hobby about a month ago. The tank had been neglected, some of the equipment is substandard, but I paid only $350 for the lot. The MH ballast alone is worth at least that much new. Eventually, much of what you see will be replaced with newer or better equipment, but this will allow me to make some upgrades slowly, rather than a large initial upfront cost. It’s also a kick in the pants to get moving on the project.


The bulbs are several years old, and yellow (6500 or 10000K). They’re top of the list for replacement, and a pair of Iwasaki 15K’s will be ordered within the week. After that, I’ll look at sourcing a couple of actinic bulbs.


Here’s a FTS after cleaning.




The observant among you should be saying to yourselves, “That’s not a 40 breeder”. That’s because, well, it isn’t. It’s a 46 oceanic bowfront with matching stand. I don’t like it. The tank is too tall and narrow, and the center brace has broken. The silicone in one corner is a little damaged, and there are a couple small scratches. It also has not been drilled, as the original owner was using a HOB siphon overflow. The stand has severe water damage to the base, and will need replacement. Furthermore, making a hood that doesn’t look like crap is much more difficult for a bowfront tank. It is possible, yes, and certainly not outside my ability. Given that there are other problems, I have chosen not to go that route, and instead create a tank, stand, and hood to my own specifications.


The big question right now, is whether to use a standard 40 breeder, or to have a custom tank made of somewhat similar dimensions (shorter and deeper). After deciding on exactly what custom dimensions I would like, I’ll see about getting some quotes for both a finished tank and the glass, cut and drilled, for DIY assembly. The price point will likely be significant in my decision. I am willing to pay more for a custom tank, the question, of course, is how much more.


Consider this a holding tank for the livestock, as that’s all I consider it to be. The nice thing is that, for a holding tank, it looks pretty good in my living room.




46g bowfront w/ matching black stand.

2x175w MH on a coralife magnetic ballast. Bulbs are also, I believe, coralife.

~40W actinic, 2x3ft bulbs (bulbs blown)

Single flat sheet of aluminum for a reflector. Pretty much worthless.

HOB Airstone counter-current skimmer. :rolleyes:

Unknown submersible heater, seems like it’s rather high power. You can see the change in refractive index of the water around it when it is on. My guess is 200W.


UPS – One MJ and heater connected.


Livestock: Anything from my 10g is indicated


~60lbs LR (15lb from my old 10g)

False Percula Clownfish (10g)

Yellow Watchman Goby

Ugly brown zoas by the hundreds

Massive colony of GSP


Bleached/Brown partially dead SPS. Still working on an ID.

Pink zoas (10g)

Red/Blue zoas (10g)

Anthelia (10g)

Blue mushrooms (10g)

Green branching hammer (10g)

Electric green branching frospawn (10g)

Brittle star

Serpent star x2

Snails and crabs.


Not in use:

HOB siphon overflow

Mag 5 and HOB return


20 High sump

Half-dozen various powerheads. All required extensive cleaning.


The tank also came with a full 200 gallon mix of red sea (not pro) salt. I plan to switch back to red sea coral pro once this bucket is finished. I’m simply not going to pass up on free salt, unless of course, it’s IO.


Design plans and considerations:


  1. DIY Lumenarc style reflectors
  2. Stand will have an electrical panel in the side. Pumps will be switched, lights on timers, ATO and AWC circuitry will be incorporated here. All components will get power here, to help control cable clutter.
  3. AWC design has been revised several times since the teaser I posted in my 10g thread. It will now be much simpler and cheaper for anyone to DIY. I will include full plans and bill of materials once it has been built and is fully tested.
  4. Custom reversible stand. I want to be able to mount the doors of the stand to either the front or the back. That way, when I next move, I can orient the electrical panel on either the left or the right, depending on the furniture arrangement of wherever it goes.
  5. In-cabinet storage drawer
  6. Under-stand ventilation. When I purchased this tank, the carpet under the stand was still wet from a flood many months ago. Mold and mildew had grown pretty nasty under there. Futhermore, I once had to partially drain my 10g and pick it up, stand and all, to clean and dry the carpets beneath it when I had a large spill of RO. By actively ventilating the space under the stand, this will ensure that the carpets under the tank will dry after any possible incidents, including unknown spills. It will also reduce the potential for water damage to the stand itself.
  7. Leveling feet. I am sick of using shims to level my tanks on unlevel and uneven floors. Adjustable feet will support the stand, as well as create the airspace for ventilation described above.
  8. Possibly a custom sump, perhaps stick with the 20H. TBD
  9. Stand will include space for skimmer and ATO reservoir, as well as any future additions. Will create a “want” list, and use these to determine space required
  10. Return will be relatively low flow. The bulk of the flow will be attained through a single closed loop. Will use existing SCWD. Design will allow for upgrade to an OM squirt in the future.
  11. Herbie style drain
  12. Low profile internal overflow box of my own design
  13. All bulkheads will be fitted with a ball valve and union, to allow maintenance, repair, and expansion without draining the display. Herbie drain will use a gate valve for finer flow control, rather than a ball valve.
  14. Sump will be lit by a 70W MH. I have given the 150W MH from my 10g to a friend for his tank, in trade for his 70W. Both are DIY regent halogen fixture mods.



The design intent is for a moderate to high flow, barebottom, SPS dominated tank. I may decide to go with a mixed reef in the end. I will be fragging out and either trading, selling, or giving away the brown zoas, if I can. The GSP will also be fragged to reduce the amount in the tank, but I do intend to keep some in there. I’ve always liked it.


More pictures:























^^ check out the coloration of the snail’s face




Dear god I need to get new bulbs, those pictures look like total crap. It'll be great for a "before and after" though.

Edited by neanderthalman

Share this post

Link to post

the 40BR is my second favorite tank size, so I would obviously suggest that


the only problem with custom is that it will undoubtedly cost more than a regular 40BR, but I suppose that's the point of going custom

Share this post

Link to post

Looks like a good deal, I can't wait to see it come alive.

Share this post

Link to post

doesn't it feel like you're wasting your time going through all of the write up and picture taking and only getting 3 replies after several days


that is the most frustrating thing about a build thread is that nobody comments

Share this post

Link to post

The ugly brown zoas might turn into something else under the new mh bulb. Can't be morphing to a color worse than now. Yup, definitely change the bulbs, it's looking like a sun lit tank. But actually I like how it's looking now. That's just me.

Share this post

Link to post

Hey thanks for the posts guys. Latazyo, you're right.....I've been watching this thread for days, hoping for more replies before I posted. Don't want to look desperate you know, three day rule. ;)


You make a good point Duncan, they may morph under the nicer lights. There's still far too many of them though, they need thinning out. Perhaps they'll color up and become salable by then. THere's actually two varieties of brown. One has green mouths and green-hued tentacles. The other has orange mouths. It's nice filled in and all, but I'd like some more variety, as well as a more SPS dominated tank. I'm thinking of a zoanthid garden in place of a substrate, so I may keep a frag or two down on the bottom.


The only problem with adopting a pitfall tank is that, while it's a great deal, you also inherit all of their problems. I'm just hoping there's nothing here that's going to rear it's ugly head any time soon. In this case, I'm willing to bet that this guy got out of the hobby partially because his corals looked like crap. These bulbs really do suck.


On that note, I just ordered the new bulbs :D. 2x175W Iwasaki 15K's for $214 shipped + taxes.


They'll be here later this week, I hope. I'm always nervous about shipping something delicate like a light bulb, but it's worked for me in the past.

Share this post

Link to post

whoa dude........you paid 107 each for those?


is shipping more to canada or something?


if it makes you feel any better, Ive never bought a MH bulb that wasnt shipped and they're all just fine

Edited by latazyo

Share this post

Link to post
whoa dude........you paid 107 each for those?


is shipping more to canada or something?


if it makes you feel any better, Ive never bought a MH bulb that wasnt shipped and they're all just fine


Shipping is more to canada, taxes are more in canada, products are more in canada.


The bulbs are only $92 each. The rest is taxes and shipping. Most online retailers wont' ship up here at all, due to an imaginary line on a map. I got them from J&L aquatics, out in vancouver. Not a bad price really, it's less than what these bulbs were listed for on MarineDepot (which, coincidentally, is one of the few online stores that ships to canada).



Edit - for example, marinedepot offers free shipping on orders over $175 to the continental US. Shipping to canada, for less than 5lbs, is $50. complete bullshiat.

Edited by neanderthalman

Share this post

Link to post
yeah that sucks


maybe customs crap adds costs or something


It's a money grab. I've shipped stuff across the border, no customs charges, no brokerage fees. Just a shipping box and a label. I know that ordering stuff across the border, depending on the value of what I order, I have to pay various customs fees. That's a cost on my end though, not a cost to the retailer.


They're just trying to steal my money because they think they think I have no alternative. Not like I'd give my business to MarineDepot anyhow, after what they did to a few of our members....

Share this post

Link to post

Lights still aren't here. I'm working on buying a new rabbit cage for the g/f. The local store has it for $395, but it's $250 on petsmart.com. Ok, so, how 'bout I buy it online......shipping can't be that much.....


Merchandise Subtotal: $249.99



Estimated Shipping and Handling Subtotal: $164.47



International Handling Fee:




Estimated Total: $495.18







It does NOT cost $250 to ship a box across the border. Note that, if I were two hours away in Buffalo, it'd be free shipping. I need to make a friend in Buffalo.....


Just thought this was relevant...

Share this post

Link to post

Thanks for the link FUGU, thats where I already ordered them from. :)


Got my 150W MH bulbs for my 10g and my cyclopeeze from them too. This'll be something like my third order from them.


Are you close enough for local pickup from them? That'd be sweeeeet.

Share this post

Link to post

I drew up plans for the overflow box. Here's a few pics.






The intent is to make the overflow only as deep as necessary to fit my hand inside to clean it. To do that, I will forgo a strainer directly on the bulkhead, and instead use eggcrate on the top to keep any large critters out. I will be oversizing the drain, and as a part of the herbie method, will also have a backup drain if something large does manage to get past the eggcrate. To get the required linear length, I will make the overflow wider (longer), and cover a larger area of the rear wall.


If it works, it'll make the box less intrusive and make aquascaping easier. This will also keep jumpers out of the overflow, and will be easier to construct than cutting teeth into the acrylic.


Edit - the eggcrate is removable, and sits on a lip inside the overflow.


Any comments? Something I haven't thought of?

Edited by neanderthalman

Share this post

Link to post

I'm sitting here on my laptop at neanderthalman's apartment right now, and let me tell you... HOLY CRAP the 15K lights make all the difference in the world. The coraline is all gone, the tank is SO clear, and those nasty brown zoas are starting to colour up a bit (still too many though... but at least now he might be able to get something for them in a trade.) Very large polyps, too.

Share this post

Link to post










^^For comparison purposes, here's the same shot with the coralife 5500K's





Edited by neanderthalman

Share this post

Link to post

eeeeeewwe coralife 5500k. and out of spectrum too. they must have been like a 4000k when you replaced them. i'm interested in your overflow design and i can't wait to see how this turns out. looks good so far!

Share this post

Link to post

I was going to say that I hope your zoanthids don't bleach, but thats probably their best bet for coloring up. What're you coming up with for custom tanks? Any decent prices?

Share this post

Link to post
What're you coming up with for custom tanks? Any decent prices?


I assume if he's looking for quality, the first place he'll check is AquariumObsessed (being local and all)

Share this post

Link to post

Wow those new lights made a world of difference. I can't wait to see how this unfolds.

Share this post

Link to post

Hey N-man nice clean up. :D


Are you switching to electronic ballast to get the most out of the 'saki's?



They'll put out more light at 165w, then on the mag at over 175w.


That is of course, unless you know something I don't about them...

Edited by Maeda

Share this post

Link to post

Hey everyone,


I think I've decided that the dimensions of the 40 breeder are pretty much perfect. Last week, i sat down with a measuring tape and a calculator and found what I felt were optimum dimensions. After the fact, i discovered that they match the 40B exactly, so I don't think there's much point in going with a custom tank. I'll save my cash and pick up a 40B and drill it myself. I think this time, though, i'll use use a hole saw instead of dremel bits.


One of the final things that i will be taking care of is the ballast. According to sanjay's data, I can get a hell of a lot more light out of these bulbs with an electronic ballast. I'm specifically going to go with an icecap, as I have had excellent results with them in the past, good customer service, and they were very highly rated (2nd) for these bulbs. It's just something that, since the lights are currently lit, that I can't make a priority. Tank first.


I've started to put together a design for the stand, and have put the AWC on simmer yet again, and plan to incorporate it into the final design after the fact. I now have a deadline of April 30th to get it up and running, at least in a rudimentary fashion, so as to enable me to tear down the existing bowfront. I need the space it's sitting in.


I will post the circuit itself tonight (hopefully). While it has not yet been tested, it has been simulated in multisim, and has undergone review by several electrical engineers and an electrical inspector. It should work, should anyone dare to try.

Share this post

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Sign Up or Sign In to hide this.