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MikeTR

Wholotta wawa - 180G Reef - Taste the Rainbow

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MikeTR

Wooooooooooooooooooohooooooooooooooooooo I got one!

Ok now that that's out of the way.. let the adventure begin. I've always enjoyed saltwater aquariums. My brother was into them while I was growing up and I steered clear because I knew if I got into it I'd become addicted and now almost 3 years after I started the hobby with a 14g biocube, here I am setting up a 180 gallon. I've been on the hunt for a 125g or larger for many months, and when I mean hunt, I mean I've been scouring craigslist within a 250 mile radius several times a day waiting to jump on the first tank that met all criteria. The weekend before last I drove over to Hollywood, FL to look at a 180g and was disappointed to see that the "hardly noticeable scratches" somehow grew into bigger ones on the drive over. Needless to say I went home empty handed. Another few days go by and I see a 180 gal in Gainesville that looks like it could be "the one." I knew if I was going to drive up there to get it I needed to make darn sure it was good enough to come home. That's a long way to drive to be disappointed again and too far to just go to look and come back later to pick it up. It's really hard for me to gauge what stuff looks like just from the pictures, but the guy was really cooperative in providing all the pics I requested. I decided to take the risk and at 5am we load up in the SUV with a couple friends and trailer in tow and head on up. The tank, stand and canopy turn out to be in excellent condition. We arrived shortly after 10am and within minutes of seeing the tank I started unloading all the containers and equipment to start breaking it down. The whole process went pretty smooth except for a stubborn bulkhead which took nearly an hour to get undone. It was definitely not coming loose by hand and the wrenches were too bulky to grab the nut so close to the glass. The guy sends his fiance to the hardware store and with about 30 minutes to spare (they had prior obligations and needed to leave at a certain time) she comes back with a clamp that worked perfectly. After some groaning (this thing is heavy) we're loaded up and back on the road. I ended up with about 150-200lbs of algae free live rock, three 5g buckets full of good sand, and some unexpected livestock (sexy shrimp, mated pair of skunk cleaners w/eggs, a pair of firefish, a pair of dartfish, a sand sifting goby, and some various crabs and snails). Everything and everyone survived the 5 hour trip home. It was a long drive, an even longer day, but completely worth it all!

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As you can see.. takes up quite a bit of room.. obligatory leather couch to sit and watch.
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So as the adventure continued.. I ended up having a friend come over to help clean the tank.. and he was less than careful around the edges. Took me several days to take off the silicone and then have someone come put a new bead..

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What's a build thread without some mess! needless to say it was my spot that got sacrificed for the sake of it all.. can't wait to get this tank set up.. 3 car garage and can only get 1 car in it at the moment.. even though the tank's in the house, the rest of the mess is still there..

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Also had to put in a utility sink with the help of plenty of beer and a father-in-law.

Stud finders..
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Who cares about the mess.. it's in!
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Edited by MikeTR
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MikeTR

Spectrapure RO/DI unit has been hooked up.. so now just a lot of PVC work to plan out.

Pics of the sump. My decision really delayed this project by a couple months. I had been wanting someone to build it custom.. but now I'm really glad I didn't. This 36"er is big enough. Has the separate section for the refugium.. I'm still going to have to do a little bit of customization for the plumbing, but nothing too major. Have to drill it to connect an external reeflo dart/snapper hybrid and figure out what to do with the returns when they get into the sump. Will be using a ball valve to direct some of the return water into the fuge section though.
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You know it's an upgrade when the skimmer holds more water than your first tank. Not sure if I'm going to use this one, or the one that I have on my frag tank currently which is rated for 150g.. it's also a reef octopus but it pulls out some gunk! I think even though it's underrated a bit, it should still do the job quite well.. We'll see what happens.. The larger one doesn't seem to be producing as many bubbles as I would like.
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Edited by MikeTR

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MikeTR

ah yes.. almost forgot.. have 2 mp40w es on order also.

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Paigee

Wow... So jealous! This is my dream size tank!

 

I will live vicariously through yours. What lights are you going to have on it?

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MikeTR

Well I don't have room for a chiller, and don't like the look of it next to the stand so I'm gonna go with LED's. Plus if I don't have to spend $1200 on a chiller, that's more towards the LEDs anyway. Hopefully AquaIlluminations will have their next fixture out by the time this is good and cycled in a few months. Probably will be mid May before a drop of water hits the tank and I really think a tank of this size needs a few months to cycle correctly so I'll be looking at lighting around July.

Edited by MikeTR

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MikeTR

sigh... back to the drawing board. Going to return the sump.. Not gonna do what I want without making even more mods to it. Side that will hold the skimmer doesn't have a chamber to keep the water level constant and without adding additional baffles before the return pump I think i'm gonna end up with microbubbles shooting back into the display.

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Catbus

awesome, can't wait to see this progress. big tanks are swanky as can be

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iball1804

Mike! This is legit!

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matt frizz

Nice start, can't wait to see it.

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MikeTR

So I'm wondering if I just add a baffle right before the sponge to set the level of the water for the skimmer if that will be enough. Just concerned about bubbles.

 

The problem I have with the sump on my frag tank is that when the power shuts off, the water level rises in the sump and then ends up overflowing the skimmer when power is restored.

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MikeTR

Think I'm going to settle on the Eshopps Refugium R-300. My only concern is if the flow rate of 900gph is going to suffice for filtration. Flow wont be a problem with MP40s.

 

Must..... fight..... urge... to pull out credit card.... at 1am.. guess I shouldn't take a 3 hour nap after work.

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Deckoz2302

900gph is what I'm going with for sump turn over in the 180 I'm building....it should be fine which is 5x turnover...right where it should be ;)

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MikeTR

Sounds good to me.. I'm pretty sure this LFS is going to be a little pissy that I'm bringing back the other sump.. However,if he doesn't give me any hassle about it I'll purchase the eshopps through him.

 

1" overflows are only rated at 600gph each so I can't go more without flooding anyway.

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saltwatercoral

Wow! Patience does pay off! I can't wait to see this sucker full and fully loaded of AI Sol blues! That's going to be sick!

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MikeTR

OK so my pump arrived.. and I swear he said my sump was in as well.. fingerscrossed if it's true then :happydance: ... if the sump is still MIA, then :rant:

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jgpico

I'm in the process of setting up a 120 gallon tank with two 40 gallon breeders as a sump and refugium. I can't wait to see this thing full and stocked!

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avbarr11

Eep! So exciting! I'm going to follow along :)

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MikeTR

Well the sump and reeflo hybrid pump came in.. looks like really nice equipment. Waiting to hear back from the electrician to schedule a date to get me a dedicated 20a GFI circuit. I had a complete change of heart tho on the lighting. After seeing the leaked AI video for their new fixture, I completely lost confidence in LEDs. IMO no one has a clue at the moment as to which LEDs consistently grow coral except for halides and T5s, keyword.. consistently. I can buy a 10 year supply of 250w radiums for less than what it would take to light this with LEDs. I'll just have to get used to the look of a new Aquaeuro .5hp chiller next to the stand.

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MikeTR

Electrician came out for initial estimate. Awaiting the damage report. Probably minimal considering I just pulled the trigger on 2 MP40WES, Aqua Euro USA .5hp chiller, 3 x 250w Lumatek Retro w/ 20k Radiums and LumenBright 3 Mini Wide reflectors.

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MikeTR

Wednesday morning the electric gets run. Just have to add a single 20 amp dedicated circuit to run the main pump and lighting, controller.. etc. There's already a 15a circuit that is tied into the rest of the room that will just run the MP40's. As a 3rd measure of protection I'll have the one MP40 on battery backup.

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iball1804
:blink: Sounds like you know what you're doing!

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MikeTR

That's what you think. Totally wingin it. Had to do an emergency pump swap on my frag tank on my lunch hour. Jeez I can't wait to get rid of that setup.

 

Quietone 4000 was always iffy when the power went out and this time didn't start at all...Came home plenty of times to an overflowing skimmer and a sump full of bubbles. Fortunately I have an MP10 on one side and a koralia on the other for added flow.

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MikeTR

ordered me up 2 - 200g buckets of tropic marine bioactif salt. Now to start stocking up on distilled water for my initial fill. Yikes, that's a lot of jugs..

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MikeTR

tick tock tick tock.. any minute now.. electricians should be here. On a brighter note I had an lfs come and buy up a good amount of frags, just enough to pay for the electrical work actually.

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fewskillz

Beautiful setup. Its refreshing to see someone being patient and doing things right. Absolutely the key to a large tank.

 

Following along.

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