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Starvin Marvin

Starvin Marvin's Red Sea Reefer 525 XL Build Thread (108 gal)

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Hey! This is my second post here. I have been debating which Reef Forum to join and perhaps become active in for a while, and I am always drawn back to Nano-Reef.


I'm not sure if it's because I often find myself here reading up on stuff when I'm googling Reef topics, or if it's the types of posts and responses that I see you all making here, or maybe it's just that I've always had and probably always will have Nano tanks set up at home first, and big tanks second...


Either way, I figured I would sign up and start joining in the discussions. We have had saltwater reef tanks for about 2.5 years now, and during that time we have had a Red Sea C-250 litre, a 7.5 gallon on the bedroom night stand, a 26 gal bow front (tall), a 20 gal frag tank, a 90 gal with sump, a 15 gallon fluval Nano with rear skimmer/heater/return pump chamber (still set up) and now as per the title of this Build Thread, a Red Sea Reefer 525 XL with sump, which is a 108 gal display, and it hasn't arrived yet but should be here soon.


Please feel free to ask any questions or give any advice that comes to mind. I'll post pictures and details as the build progresses, so if you want to Follow this topic, you are more than welcome to.


To this first post I'll attach a couple of photos of my current Nano tank (the 15 gal Fluval) just because - why not. And I'll also attach a photo of my old 90 gal tank.


The other photo is just me being impatient. I built a model of the 525 XL because I wanted to visualize how big it's going to be lol! And it's huge.


It's not going there where it's shown, it's going to go in the living room between the couches but my other Nano tank is set up there now so I couldn't put the to-scale model in its correct place yet.


The tank comes with a white stand and a 31 gal sump. It also has an Auto Top Off system that seems to be gravity fed. I am unsure how I will like that but I will post my thoughts on it once I have used it first hand.


In addition to the RSR 525 XL package, I've ordered the following stuff:


- 3 x AI Hydra 26's in White, with silver mounting brackets.

(I have used AI Prime's before on both my current Nano (x1) and my old 90 gal (x2) and they are an amazing LED. I always have to turn them down to less than 80% to keep the corals happy. So I think the AI Hydra's will be great on this tank which is 59" long and 22.6" wide and 22" deep.)


- 1 x Maxspect Gyre XF250 wave pump.

(I have used an XF130 on my 90 gal tank and it blew the socks off my wildest expectations. It was flat out amazing. Nothing moves water like these things short of an actual wavebox.)


- 1 x Jebao DCS 12000 Silent DC Pump (2375 to 3170 GPH) for the Return.

(This was actually a tough call. I almost went with an Ecotech Vectra but decided that the 200% cost increase was not worth the extra build quality and controller functionality. It was a difference of CAD $190 vs $470 and I opted to go for the Jebao which has great reviews that I have seen. We will see if I made the right choice later on. Normally I like quality for major components but I'm willing to give this brand a try in this case.)


- Bubble Magus Curve A8 DC Protein Skimmer

(I went with this because a friend has it and it is awesome. It's really that simple - there are so many abundant choices of Brand and Features available for Skimmers, I just can't possibly know for sure which is the "best best" so I went with something that is "quite good" and am open to upgrading if it isn't performing at a later date. The DC pump is NOT a variable speed. If I need to adjust my slimmer in greater control than the valve gives me, then I will likely upgrade to something with variable bubble density and size also at that time.)


- 2 x 500W Finnex Titanium Heaters with temp controllers integrated in each.

(Even though I am using a Controller to cut them off if temps rise too high, I wanted the extra redundancy and that's why I didn't just get the straight Heaters with no internal controllers like I had on my 90 gal w/Apex Fusion)


- GHL Profilux 3 Controller with PH, Salinity, and Temp probes.

(I had Apex before and liked it. This time I picked this up in Kijiji and thought it would be worth a shot. Some of the features seem better than Apex to me, although some functionality seems more limited or less compatible with things. Only time will tell but I have high hopes for the Profilux.)


- Dosing pumps came with the Profilux and I haven't yet decided what to use them for.


- Spectrapure 90 gal per day RO/DI system with 4 integrated TDS meters and 5 gallons of reservoir under pressure.


For bio filtration:

- Marine Pure High Performance Bio Media (ceramic) Plate and Spheres

(Ryan from BRS TV just pushes it so hard, I thought it would almost be silly not to use it, especially since I'm only using 140 lbs of rock.)


- CaribSea Life Rock

(40 lbs of Shelf Rock and 80 lbs of Natural Rock)



For salt and supplements:

- Red Sea Coral Pro Salt

- Red Sea Reef Care Program in full (all items)


The reason I decided to use the Red Sea Reef Care Program (RCP) is basically that I have never tried it and want to see how good it is.


I've got enough experience maintaining the important parameters manually now with various random brand products that I wanted to see how an integrated program like RCP compares for ease of use, results, and overall cost.


I'll post my findings for sure as time progresses. For starters I ordered enough salt to make 500 gallons so that should last a while and I will try their supplements and proprietary test kits as well, to start off.


My goals are to grow corals fast and with great colour expression. I also want to keep some cool fish and critters in the tank.



If you have read this far, I thank you for your interest and welcome any feedback you may have for my choices above or my future plans for this setup.


Thanks and stay tuned for further updates. The latest word I got was that the tank and all my supplies should be here within 3 business days (so impatient right now!)


Best regards,

Dustin (Starvin Marvin)






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your wooden model initially freaked me out. "that can't be strong enough for a tank stand *reads on* OH a mockup. Okay - that is actually a very sound idea.


Good luck, shall watch :3

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Looking forward to following this - looks like it will be amazing.

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Not much of an update - the Tank is delayed but there is a small chance it will be here by next Friday (6 days).


However I did get a few of the supplies in:

- The GHL Profilux Controller (definitely bigger than the Apex)

- Dosing pumps

- MarinePure ceramics

- DC Return Pump

- One of the 500W Heaters

- Reef Welder epoxy beads


I was surprised by the general feel of the Profilux. Build quality is excellent, it has a Touch Screen and lots of ports and connections. I haven't yet read up on them so I don't know exactly what it has, but Salinity is one of them. Which is kind of cool, though Salinity doesn't fluctuate much but I still like the idea of a probe.


The MarinePure Ceramic balls and plate are really light, they feel almost like dried out Bread. They hold a ton of water. I put some spheres in the rear sump of my Nano to begin populating with bacteria. I will also leave some there I think.


I tested the Jecod DC Pump in my garbage can of RO water that I've been filling up. It's VERY sturdy feeling, and has a slow ramp up to full speed when you turn it on, or when exiting feed mode. Probably takes 10 seconds to ramp up. It stops instantly when you press Feed Mode however.


It comes with at least 6-8 feet of DC cord after the Controller, which has probably 4 feet of cord to the plug. That was a nice surprise. However with that being said, my spider sense is tingling. I fee like saving the $280 by not buying the Vectra M1 could "possibly" have been a bad choice. But I'm going to stick with it.


One thing I was disappointed to see is that the lower end of the DC adjustment range is still over 2000 GPH. After accounting for the head back pressure and the reduction down to 3/4 LocLine, I still think it's going to be on the high side of flow as far as what the Red Sea Overflow can handle. So I might still need a discharge ball valve to throttle it down. We will see when the tank arrives.


The 500w Finnex Heater is LONG. It hardly fits under the water level of a 5 gallon bucket. I tested it out in a fresh bucket of salt water and it raised it from 60'F to 78'F in 11 minutes. That's not bad!


The Reef Welder is going to be fun. You put the beads in hot water and then mix them together to make a putty epoxy. It's also re-usable by re-heating it if something doesn't hold or you want to change the Aquascape. There is a video for it on YouTube that shows it being used.



And in other news: We added a Bubble Tip Anemome to the Nano Tank. Come on Clownfish! Host




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Yay. Bubble Magus Curve A8 and the Gyre XF250 came in today. I was really surprised how HUGE the protein skimmer is. It's way bigger than I thought it would be.


But the build quality seems excellent, and it has some cool features such as quick release clamps on the bottom, silicone guarding around the pump power cord where it protrudes through the acrylic, good quality silicone air line and skimmate drain tubing, very solid feeling adjustment knobs and dials which honestly I don't even know yet what they control.


I actually haven't seen something this style before. It doesn't even have a discharge pipe...


The DC is not adjustable. Which is cool, I just wanted it for quiet operation. So I can hear the air bubbles better!


The Gyre is going to be awesome.


The Red Sea Tank is now shipped by FedEx Freight! It's currently on the Train heading my way.

Should be here in exactly 1 week they say!




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The tank is supposed to arrive tomorrow! If I could hold my breath that long - I would.


Today a few odds and ends came in, photos attached. Still waiting on the majority of the stuff which is all bundled onto the same 1200 lb skid. The guy who shipped me the tank, rock, salt, sand, and a bunch of the other stuff actually had to build a custom 2x4 shelf on top of the tank to hold the weight of all the supplies.


I sure hope it made the trip ok. It's gone several thousand km by Rail so far... yikes.


I also set up three LDPE #4 garbage cans downstairs in the RO/DI room, one with a float valve for RO (yes, it's only a few feet from the floor drain lol) and the other with a permanent DC-12000 Jebao pump so now I will have 2 of the same pumps (it's the one I am planning for the sump return).


The idea is to have redundancy in the house. If the sump return Pump ever craps out I will be able to replace it any time of day/night/weekend instantly with the "spare".


And the spare will also provide weekly value to me as a pump with enough flow to overcome the 16 feet of head pressure needed to pump my pre-mixed salt water up a 70 foot hose upstairs and into the display tanks.


No more carrying buckets, and I have a spare pump on hand. And I can now mix sat water by the 20 gallon instead of 5 per bucket.


Pretty excited to streamline. Will post some pics of that once I get it all sorted out with the hose that didn't come in the mail yet.


Another update tomorrow, hopefully with tank in hand.



Oh and the LED light strip and the Phosban 550 Reactor you can see in the photo, is for the Chaeto Reactor I'm building. I don't know how well it will grow with NOPOX in use, but I'll definitely be finding out first hand.


I decided uncontrolled Algae growth inside the Display this go round, will not be happening, plain and simple. I'm smarter than 5th grade Algae. I hope.


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Thanks a lot, I'll bookmark that and likely order one after I get a chance to consider the sump in person and get a feel for whether I need a sump fuge.


My thoughts are that I will want one, not for Algae but for pods and stuff, since I'm planning on using a combination of NOPOX and Chaeto Reactor.


The tank didn't come today, it had a 1 day delay due to incorrect shipping address AND phone number! It pays to call them sometimes. Luckily it's now routed to the correct spot - my driveway.


I picked up some cool little lights today from Rona, they mount on the walls where the cabinet doors hinge, and come on automatically when the doors are open.


Aside from that I found out that I need 2 kits of Red Sea Reef Mature Pro for my size tank (65 gal each kit)...


And I'm way too impatient to wait for another one to come in, I already had to source it from 4 provinces over because nobody carries it but I only ordered 1 kit. Didn't even think it would be too small for my tank, I'm used to the big bottles of Seachem Stability which could handle 20 of these new tank setups and still be half full it seems like.


So I made the decision to use the Red Sea Kit in conjunction with Stability to ensure adequate bacterial population. Adding the different brands probably can only be beneficial anyways from a bacterial diversity perspective.


Photo attached.


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