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120L DIY Scalion's tank

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Hello everyone,

my name is Nicolas Marion, i'm from Montréal. So sorry if my english might sound off sometime :P


I decide to use nano-reef.com has main platform to put the history of my tank, i realy enjoy the community here and the website.

Background :

I had a salt aquarium 12 years ago, i enjoy it, spend too much but boy i learn some lesson ! The reason i stop back then it was because of the heat and i couldn't control the heat correctly (Metal Halide) without spending huge amount of money for a chiller, i felt so guilty to lose fish/coral and i decide to stop. So life goes on, and recently i started back with aquarium, fresh water, i love it, plants, green, is my stuff, i felt like i didn't have anymore challenge and it was time go back with salt water. I read a lot before starting and i finaly decide my plans.


I will use this first message with current update of the aquarium.


I just bought my first coral couple hour ago, but i didn't do the aquascape wich for me is a very big deal, i think i need some help to figure out the best visual scape possible visible through 3 side.

Also my real light will come tommorow (AI Prime HD), for now i use time to time my Kessil 360 WE Tuna sun from my freshwater.


Live stock :

Macro Algea 

  • Red Gracilaria hayi
  • Caulerpa Racemosa
  • Caulerpa Mexicana
  • Caulerpa Serrulata



  • 2 Astraea tecta
  • 2 Banded Trochus
  • 5 Nassarius


  • 3 Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis)



  • 2 Adult/Pair Amphiprion Ocellaris
  • 1 Damsel Springer (Chrysiptera springeri)



  • Clavularia sp. White Clove Polyps
  • Sympodium sp. Blue/Green Sympodium Polyp 
  • Pachyclavularia violacea - Green Star Polyp (Metallic?) (Need help to ID correctly)
  • Pseudocorynactis caribbeorum ? In a shell
  • Xenia sp. White Pulsing Xenia (Need help to ID correctly)
  • Euphyllia glabrescens sp. Peach Torch
  • Entacmaea quadricolor sp. Rainbow Bubble Tip Anemone (Have around 7)
  • Briareum asbestinum, Gorgonian Corky Sea Finger
  • Acanthastrea echinata Red
  • Seriatopora caliendrum (Green Birdsnest)
  • Montipora Capricornis Red
  • Platygyra Maze Brain Green



  • Haliclona specimen (residue of)



  • Armageddon
  • Velociraptor or Dang Ding or Yellow mamba ?
  • Yellow Road Block or Orange Bang ?
  • Bam Bam Orange
  • Beta Eyes ?




  • Actinodiscus sp. Turquoise Pinstripe
  • Discosoma sp. Blue Tonga
  • Ricordea Florida sp. Green


Dead stock :


  • 2 Chromis viridis
  • 3 HUGE Star Snail 


Money spent : (intial start evaluated around 1500$)

Now 2600+ CDN

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So the first thing i had to decide is where to put my salt aquarium. I realy struggle to decide because my initial plan long time ago was to have a aquarium (fresh water) has wall separator, but when i evaluated the price for everything it turned me off. (5000$+).


Then i thought about having a refugium which change everything about the location of the aquarium. What i fear is the sound. I sleep extremely near of my aquariums so i don't want any noise. Air+water is often the source of noise. But at the same time i cannot denied the advantage of refugium.


Another point was the size of the tank. Reef tank is extremely expansive, so if i bought something around 500L (120g) i would have to spend a lot to fill the tank and buy couple light source. So i decide the best tank is something that need 1 spot light. It would be easier for me to fill the tank with coral.


Then i decide the best place for my aquarium was next to my fresh water, on the ikea furniture. One on each extremity. I checked multiple size dimension with some of my LFS and i decide to buy this size : 60x45x45 cm (24x18x18) and it's going to be a All-In-One tank, easy to maintenance.


The tank is low iron, i will never go back with regular glass, i love this so much and my asian LFS have very good price (lower or same price for same dimension but clear glass).


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So first thing first, i tested the silicon of the tank to make sure it doesn't leak.


I might overdue this step :D :



Saw no leak and everything seem good.


I have in mind the Spec V (now Evo) of Fluval :



I have this aquarium and i realy like, so i took this has point of start of design.


Next step is to buy acrylic sheet, Black. Unfortunatly, for some reason in Montreal (Canada?) Acrylic seem to be a bit rare, black color even more rare. Also the price of acrylic after some research is pretty expensive, i don't know why =/. So i order on amazon.com :


2 Sheet because, later on, i might redo my fresh water also, it cost me around 220$ !!! 

UPS was also a pain in the butt, very difficult get service from them, they are actualy banned on my list, i wish i knew it was deliver by them before ordering.

So couple week later i finaly receive my acrylic 3mm. A bit thin but it will do the work i think.


Then i started the cutting process :





Then measure the depth needed. One of my criteria was to make sure all equipment fit and my arm can reach easily the bottom for future maintenance.



Tunze Skimmer 9001 and return pump EHEIM Compact+ 2000

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So i did the hole for the front panel. I'm concern with the flow, i'm not 100% sure if my measure is good or not. The flow in the back will probably vary depending on what i put behind. Also i'm not sure if it will skim the water surface, it's actually one of the goal but i fear with the length of the hole it might not work.



I use the balance to do straight line, i did my best but didn't come out perfect :unsure:



And now the hole for the return pomp, i think 3/4 is what i need to do, i'm thinking to use Loc-line pipe.



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I couldn't find glue that "fusion" acrylic to acrylic together, went to canadian tire/home depot/small hardware store, they didn't know what i was talking about, was realy surprise because it's supose to be a bit common. But i think with my silicon it's going to work anyway since the sheet are INSIDE of the aquarium so not much pressure from water. I did a little test see how strong it was and i was satisfy.



So something i care a lot is the finishing and i would like to see the least silicon possible. I don't see people using paint tape but i thought it's a good idea, so i did a little test on remaining piece of acrylic.



I was please with the results of the tape paint technic and started to put on the front panel.




Just making sure it's 90degree and waiting for silicon to dry


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After let it dry the next day i put the panel in the aquarium see if everything is fine.


So eventually i will paint this so i started to use paint tape, it will help me for the inside when i'm going to put silicon for the back panel.




I apply the silicon, i remove the tape inside before it dry, it's not perfect but i will use a razor to clean up a bit the line.


Inside of the back panel i didn't put the tape and i regret it, its realy hard to apply silicon in those small region, i use my finger and i was thinking to just remove the excess with a razor



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Water flow test day !


I put the return pump and connect the loc-line pipe (I had to modify my original hole, 3/4 was not enough).

After let dry the silicon i use tap water to fill the tank.




The little spliter i bought may not going to work, i couldn't find a way the get the flow like i want with the space i have. I know the water near the edge of the aquarium will be a issue later with the salt.



Video with the flow :


I removed the loc-line and just let the hole emtpy of any object :

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The media holder !


I had in mind since the beginning to use Egg crate to hole my media. I couldn't find a black version so i had to go with the white. I use simple tie wrap to fix everything together.





The idea behind this is to make everything simple for maintenance.

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You have so many photos that I cannot view the thread on my phone! This looks great! Will be following to see how you do! 

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12 minutes ago, HarryPotter said:

You have so many photos that I cannot view the thread on my phone! This looks great! Will be following to see how you do! 

Hehe indeed i was thinking to put "Heavy Pic" in title.

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Fixing time

Ok so i remove the water to do little fix to the tank after seeing the water flow. Even after removing the Loc-line pipe and let the bulk head i'm still concern a bit in long term the salt accumulation on the edge, so i checked in my old bag if i had anything that could help with the flow. I found a very old front flow for maxi-jet 1200. It didn't fit in the hole so i warm the plastic and "mold it" with the hole of my tank. Then i apply some silicon on top to block the water going on top, i oriented with a slight angle to have the flow i want.




I'm hesitating if i should to a little hole in bottom of my back panel to let the water go trough in case of emergency. The Spec V of Fluval have it, i kinda close it a little bit (in my Spec V) because i didn't like it at first but over time i understood the reason of that hole.


Overtime i will need a Auto Top Off, i have a very old one that i never use 12 years ago, i built something extremly simple, maybe not the best but i think i will fix it later when time need it.




Now paint time !
I don't want to see the material, so i was planning to paint the back edge of the back panel. I don't plan to paint behind the aquarium because i want to see my stuff in case something happen, it make my life easier to identify a problem.



After 3 layer time to remove the paint tape !

I had with little issue where the acrylic paint stick with the tape a little bit, but easy to fix, i just reput a tape and repaint.


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So during all this process for around 3 week i had another bucket filed with water salt, pump, live sand, live rock, bio media some of them red rock volcano. I didn't use any light on it during the whole time.


After many hours, i almost fill the aquarium (let some space for water from the bucket), started to fill the tank with salt until i reach 1.025 sg



After many hour with right salinity and right temperature, i transfer the stuff from the bucket to the tank.



during the night pretty much all aquarium was clear.


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I also use the painters tape to keep my silicone looking prertty, great build, looks great!!


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Top Cover Construction !


I went to my local wood store, and bought different type of wood, maple and MDF sheet (wich a later drop for more maple).



I don't have space to cut the wood so i did it in my appartment. Welcome the Dust mess !




I used wood glue to hold the piece together with couple nail just in case





Making sure it fit



Making the hole for the light



Then glue the top



The paint i use (White gloss and Black mat)




Finishing, not perfect but i guess it will do the job, i wish i had more tool and specially more knowledge how to build/paint correctly





The reason of this design of cover is for 2 thing :
1) I don't want the fish jump out of the aquarium. By experience ALL fish can jump, it's just a statistic for me.

2) I don't want the light reflection on my wall, celling, etc... For me it's pretty annoying (i sleep right next to my tank, watch TV, etc...)

The down side is, can be difficult to give food/manage inside of the aquarium, etc... So i need to remove the Cover every time (maybe not for the food, the Hole for the light, i can drop from there).


I might re design my cover later depending on my experience with the tank, i will see what i can improve.

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I Edited my post with resize picture, i notice it was painful for cellphone but even on the forum (pc) i notice some problem that couple picture stop to show. Not sure if it was the code behind the forum that made that or not but i had to change this anyway. Picture can be seeing full size by clicking on them.


I'm using my Kessil A360WE Tuna Sun from ym freshwater temporary time to time. My real light is comming monday, AI Prime HD.



** Couple days passed **


So after noticing my parameters are finaly stable (No ammonia, no Nitrate) I decide to purchase 2 Chromis in a recently new re-open LFS, they had 2 fish for 1 special promotion. I could have bought some special fish but i didn't feel my tank was ready for them. I didn't want either buy more then 2 Chromis because i know overtime they kill each other overtime and my tank is small anyway.




I did a acclimatization of 45min, it's the night i won't feed them, will wait tommorow


I also bought 4 snail

I beleive they are Astrea, i ... love their algea cover :D



Bonus back chamber :




I also bought one Live rock to have better filtration, and more rock to do the aquascape more the way i want.

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I receive my AI Prime HD, played a bit with, the control are great !



Later during the day i bought some frag coral.



This picture i right after putting the Coral in the aquarium after acclimatation



  • Clavularia sp. White Clove Polyps
  • Actinodiscus sp. Turquoise Pinstripe Mushroom
  • Discosoma sp. Blue Tonga Mushrooms
  • Ricordea Florida sp. Green Mushroom
  • Sympodium sp. Blue/Green Sympodium Polyp 
  • Pachyclavularia violacea - Green Star Polyp (Metallic?) (Need help to ID correctly)
  • Xenia sp. White Pulsing Xenia (Need help to ID correctly)
  • Euphyllia glabrescens sp. Peach Torch

The Green Star Polyp is completly close !


I notice something on my Clove polyp, look like baby Xenia (gray thing):






I later change some coral to the other corner for less flow


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I was playing around with my AI Prime HD, i love the control, but the disco effect is so ridiculous, i can't stand this, here a video with my AI Prime HD and the Kessil A360WE Tuna Sun (Freshwater)

Of course it's way more yellow with the Kessil freshwater version but i like it better.


After having some coral, it give me a scale perspective, so i started to play with the aquascaping



Playing with the rock on my table after playing a bit in the aquarium




So after playing a while i decide on what kind of aquascape i want and started to prepare my tool



Cut some rock, it break exactly like i wanted



Then i use the epoxy, i had two different, one better then the other one (the one that you mix 2 together is better)



My first attempt to put them in the aquarium was a total failure, one of the piece shatter a bit everywhere, so i had to remove it from aquarium and reposition on my table and wait the night so the epoxy is completely solid.



The left front part is just live rock that i put temporary there, i will remove them when time need it, i want have a bigger hole in the front to see coral behind.


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Everything seem clear and solid, the next day after this i got a really good deal with someone



  • 2 Pair Ocellaris Adult
  • Bunch of Rainbow Anemone
  • 3 Big Frozen food of Mysis
  • 2 Small package of Frozen food mix
  • Pot with flake food, i ask him for the ocellaris so they have less a choke
  • Reef-Roids food for Coral
  • 3 Ninja snail
  • 5 Nassarius i think ?
  • And a piece of rock filter they guy had in the refugium, full of life and worm (good one)

All this for 70$, completly crazy i will never have better deal then this.


Also on my way to him i stop by a fish store, they had 1 Gorgonia


i'm not sure wich type exactly (he couldn't tell me) but it's photosynthetic. Gorgonia will be my master piece in my aquarium.


Nassarius snail i beleive.



Rainbow Buble Tip Anemon



So the guy was actualy reproducing anemone in his tank (90g i think), at one point he probably had like 200 anemone, it reproduce so much in his aquarium, it's crazy, i was using the technic with temperature (28c to 24c) and stress the anemone. I grab couple of them left, mostly baby, i didn't want more then what i grab on remaining piece of rock, it will be too much for my aquarium and eventually i think i will resell/trade some of them later when they grow.


I grab couple shell for future Bernard Hermit crab and one of them had this :



I beleive it's call Orange Ball anemone

Pseudocorynactis caribbeorum

If someone can ID this i will appreciate. 

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Some picture of the rock Filter



Small piece, that thing is realy fragile !



The side effect, i will remove this later



Big Ninja snail, they don't look healty to me.


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You are adding a lot of livestock to this tank while it is very young, I would be careful! You don't want to cause a crash :o 

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7 minutes ago, HarryPotter said:

You are adding a lot of livestock to this tank while it is very young, I would be careful! You don't want to cause a crash :o 

Yes you are absolutely right, when i did all this the tank was around 1 month old, i'm trying to catch up with my update. I'm gonna have a little crash which i recover 2 days after. Its a mistake. I thought with Filter rock, live rock i will have a good filter but ... some problem occur at the beginning when i introduce that package. I also play with the light and change it eventually which didn't help either at the time.


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Here a pic right after everything was acclimated and inside the aquarium.



And a Video :



Anemones doesn't look in shape, i think it's normal with all the stress it cause to change from a tank to another + Transport.

I'm noticing Chromis swimming on bottom, i don't like that, will see tommorow.

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The Apocalypse Episode.


After adding that package, i notice the next morning one of my Chromis wasn't swimming well, he got throw a bit everywhere in the tank so i decide to take my small aquarium and put him in that to get less flow and stop getting hurt by the rock.


I tested my water and i didn't find anything in particular, except, the ammonia. I did couple reading and it was something around 0.25 to 0.5, other then that all other parameter were ok.

I started a separate thread for this :


I bought by emergency Prime from Seachem and also MicroBacter7 from Brightwell Aquatics for bacteria cycle.



Unfortunately, the other chromis die the next morning. I was really really mad at me for this, i know it's my fault.

1 Days laters, during the morning i saw the other chromis not swimming well either, so i decide to immediatly do a big water change. But, by the time (2h) my water get ready the chromis died also. The other ocellaris seem to be fine, not much to say about them. But, i feel my tank is about to be nuked, i'm monitoring everything and i hope with the big water change thing will be better for the rest of live stock.

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I change my light for a Kessil A360WE Tuna Blue, i'm satisfy with the change, i lost control on the light but i look better and i don't have disco effect anymore. Everything look more natural.


So after the water change, i notice a improvement on everything, I think i was getting on the edge of nuking my tank. I think my coral are also getting use to the new light.

I can still see a trace of ammonia but it's getting better. The API water test of ammonia is really bad, their prints color chart is off, i just don't like it but when i have ammonia in water i know the API test will read it.



i notice my first aiptasia on my gargonia, this is really strange. On my video i forgot to turn off the pump when using the product. Right after the video i stop the pump. The Aiptasia-X of Red sea worked.




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Video update, sorry for TV audio


Everything seem fine except 1 anemone that i monitor (you will see it on algea), this is filmed right before the light close so the coral close also...


There some left tissue on my gorgonia, i gently remove the big part later on. Seem doing better and better.


Torch coral is getting bigger, the Green Star polyp is still close >.<. I bet they will open in couple days now from story i heard. My white Clove polyp look good, it's actualy my favorite ! I will glue to the rock eventually and probably cut some part because it grow 360 like a sphere. There some GSP i scrap in older tank of someone else (came with clown) i'm not sure what to feel about them, the tissu seem too thin, but will see it wasn't the best looking GSP either but instead of going into the garbage why not taking some sample.


The last piece we see is a parasite, Hydroids. I throw away the rock (i took it because of a anemone was stuck on it).


Theres many thing that i'm going to fix, but will do in time.

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