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Old 06-02-2019, 05:51 AM
sleizure sleizure is offline
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I'm new around here in this username but existed other another in previous years - although no ability to login or change the password.


This is my fifth marine/reef tank (30, 65, 300, 135, 180) and I've been out of the game for a little over 10 years now. Things got weird in my life and I had a flash teardown of the 135, bought a bicycle, rode it around the world, and eventually got hit by a car in Africa and ended up marrying the driver. That's another story, but when I left closed loops were definitely picking up in popularity, Tonga shelf rock was available, Bubble Kings were still expensive but 1/3 of what they are now, and LEDs had just come out and were shunned by most due to their lack of intensity.


I've settled into a permanent location now, and it didn't take much more than a day after moving in to go and pick up a 180 off of someone who had torn down their system on the island. I spent the next 1.5 months prepping the area it was going to stay, quickly realizing, I hate doing drywalling, I despise doing puttying, and why do I keep thinking I can do this each and every time I get myself into these situations.


It's done, It's in the wall. It's plumbed, and now in the cycling. The next few messages when I find some photos and time to write will chronicle that. I'm coming at this tank this time around with a more balanced perspective, much more patience, time, and scientific understanding. I'm using all base rock with no live rock as I don't quite know anyone in the town I am living in yet and letting this cycle in the most natural way possible. I had a good wizz in it tonight.


Onwards!
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:58 AM
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Good luck, welcome back, interesting adventures, keep us posted. Pictures go over really well with this group.
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:26 AM
sleizure sleizure is offline
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Thanks, hint taken, here we go.


When we saw this house, the basement had a bed a few sofas, and this odd window in the room, seperated from the laundry room. It was used as a sewing room for the old owner. It yelled fishtank the second I saw it wanting to have a seperated area to make a big mess. My goal here was to keep the equipment hidden, keep the noise down, and not hack too much away at modifications to the house. I'm not that great at this stuff, and while its passable, my efforts go better elsewhere.





The view from the other side:





After looking at the window for some time, I just decided to start chipping away at the drywall to see what I was in store for. What an odd place for a window. We found some pictures of the house in the 70s and this was an exterior window. Nice recycle.





A sawzall took care of the frame and I convinced my neighbour to come over to lift it out and move it well out of the way. We have plans for it (surprise: we're putting it back on the exterior of the house)





The tank is waiting patiently in the background, and I'll get to that after this first bit.





Up went the drywall on the display side, looking back, I should have taken out the whole wall and used proper inside corner bead rather than sitting there and trying to putty the new sheets, that covered the house in a thick layer of dust for weeks.







And a view from the equipment side, In the process I had to add a new set of frames, take out some electrical plugs, re route some electrical plugs closer to the ceiling, more sanding, more puttying.





A more wider view, about 3 minutes after I said "I wonder if the stand is going to fit in the hole?" I didn't build the stand, this came along with the tank and is 46 inches high, precisely what I had was going to build. It's definitely over engineered, and that's not a bad thing at all. Not shown is where I gave it a good staining, sealing, and took our my natural gas hot water tank followed by cold showers for a few days as I'm too stubborn to call a plumber over a long weekend.





Things sat like that for a few weeks as I was taken out by a flu, and then one day just had the nerve to jab a knife through the wall and cut out for the tank. It went OK. It's not entirely flush up against the wall, there is a 1/2" gap between the display drywall and the tank, however it was solved with some molding, which also served another purpose to narrow the width by an inch on either side and also the tops and bottoms to cover the trim, and make someone really have to look to see the surface of the water.





I couldn't wait to get the trim on, so I started filling the tank.





If I was more adventurous and willing to hack up more of the house I would have run a water supply and drain into the same room, however I just didn't have the heart. I installed a 6 stage RODI kit in the laundry room and just teed off the tank to run into the equipment room for top ups and filling my water change vessel. I like beer, drink alot of it, and opted to keep the drain and source where I do my brewing. If I didn't have the beer I wouldn't have been able to bribe my neighbour for repeated lifting of heavy stuff. If you are ever in the Comox Valley, the invite is open to come drink some.





finally, heres the front of the display tank now, showing the work done on the trim. One thing I learned about all of this is that you get much better work done with the proper tools. Since I sold everything I owned 10 years ago, it's been alot of trips to Canadian Tire, Home Depot, and when I can get to the mainland, going berzerk at Pricess Auto. So far I am quite pleased with how it turned out, for a self proclaimed hack.


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Old 06-03-2019, 04:03 AM
sleizure sleizure is offline
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Apologies on some of the sizes of the photos. Been a while, and apologies on grainyness, it's apparent I walk around the dark.


Now - the tank. The day after we moved in I convinced two burly guys with muscles to come and help pick up a tank from someone who had torn his down from the next major city over. It was for sale for the longest time and my heart sunk when I made my offer and heard that someone was picking it up the next day. Long story short, it's never sold until cash is in hand and I got it.


This is what it came with.

- Overengineered Stand
- 180 gallon Aqueon (72x24x24)

- CPR Overflow Box
- SCS Skimmer
- A bunch of Jebao Pumps and Powerheads
- A 70 gallon secondary tank
- A 20 gallon refugium
- A 40 gallon Sump
- 150 lb of Sand
- 150 lb of Rock
- Leftover Plumbing


I've been wheeling and dealing on this forum for 5 months now since our house offer was accepted and had already amassed a bunch of equipment and on the other usual sites. The Overflow Box, Skimmer, Pumps and Plumbing are sitting in a closet right now.


After a good cleaning of the tank, first order of business was to bribe my neighbour again to help lift the tank on it's side to drill two 3 inch holes for a side overflow box. The ceiling isn't that high and I was just barely able to get the drill in. After 20 minutes of nailbiting suspense, the holes were drilled, and clean as well.







Next up was to trip my hot water tanks flammable vapor sensor and used some black rustoleum to paint 3 sides of the tank. Came out great. I've always been a blue background kind of guy, trying something new.







While all that was happening, I fired up my 3D printer to print some power brick enclosures so that I could cleanly mount them on the wall.





A rather odd choice of placement, must have been the beer:





What you are seeing there is:


An Apex Controller
A Current USA Loop IC Pro Controller
A Current USA Return Pump Controller
A Current USA Powerhead Controller
and a whole bunch of power bricks.


I found some pretty decent deals on the Current USA stuff, had never used it in the past, and liked the fact that it was so controllable, seemed to tick off the boxes in terms of features, water flow, and "get the job done" in terms of lighting. I've been out of the game so long I missed out on knowing about the Ebay Taotronics lights, otherwise I might have taken a different path. No regrets.


I then mounted the overflow box, and started working on the plumbing. Since there were 3 bulkheads for draining the obvious choice was a bean animal. I don't have any Upipes in there, but it's completely silent. All drains are 1.5"






I then decided to fill the tank up higher to test out the overflow box, followed by a scramble since water was seeping through the tank from those 3" holes I cut. Apparently you need to put the gaskets in between the tank and box. Woops.





In the sump area you see the outflow of the plumbing, the Bubble Magus Curve 9 Plus Skimmer, and because the water is pretty grimy you can't see the Current USA 3170gph return pump, nor 2 300watt Titanium Heat Rods. You can also see the Refugium that is plumbed in from the return pump and exits out the side into the skimmer chamber of the sump via 3/4" pipe. I painted the pipe that wouldn't be in the water with Krylon Fusion, had a hell of a time finding it here in Canada. Found a source, and bought some in "Patriotic Blue" and Gloss Black.






There's a small 8watt LED full spectrum lamp hiding in the background there for when things get interesting with the tank.





Bit of a mess with my cabling still, I haven't dealt with the cables going out from the controllers yet, but if you look on the very bottom you can see a 24v Solenoid that is going to the Apex for ATO. I sourced out the JST connectors, and some heatshrink and made my own cable.


Right now the 3D Printer is going again, to make a breakout box for the Apex, with 4 ports for water level switches, and two arcade buttons (one for feeding, one for emergency stop of everything water related.





I ordered 80lb more of base rock and placed it into the tank, turned on the heaters and dumped in the sand, creating a massive storm in the display, clouding my water, and making everything pretty grimy. I have a few more days until I'll be able to properly see before I get going with some of the aquascaping.





The last time I was on the mainland I picked up a sack of Magnesium Chloride and Calcium Chloride, someone on this forum bought my last sacks of it, and I'm pretty certain they are still using it, these things are huge. Once I've done my cycle I'll be adding it to the salt mix to get it to the levels I desire, later on down the road think about some sort of dosing / reactor strateg, but we're months away from that.


And finally, I started the cycle:





I switched to the sump after that, as that was incredibly awkward and very poor for aiming.

Last edited by sleizure; 06-03-2019 at 04:07 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2019, 06:47 AM
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Looks good, not to sure about that last picture!
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:20 PM
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I like those tank dimensions! And the window too - so glad youre reusing it. Were DIYers and for sure would have taken that wall down in 3 seconds - Id love a fish room. The one thing is, personally I like to see as much of the tank as possible, so I think I would like to have it stick out on all 3 sides. But then of course you have to have the stand on the other side as well...hmm...
Anyway, looks great!

Gee, I just used my old rock, sand to start things off
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:13 PM
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Hahahaha...looking good, Last picture though...oh man, where are the mods on this site....lol kidding. Keep them pics coming...maybe not so much of the last one...
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:27 AM
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The last picture meets and exceeds Canreef's policy of ethical behavior and common decency, lol. Carry on.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:56 PM
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Such a good thread, starting the cycle the organic way hahaha
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:16 PM
sleizure sleizure is offline
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I'm a big fan of organic!


The tank is still just sitting the way I left it, with a few more organic deposits, but in the meantime I finished off my 3d printing for my Float Switches, Probe Holders, and my DIY Breakout for my Apex Controller. Have a peek:


Float Switches:




Probe Holders:




The breakout box:



I only have 4 ports available which 3 are used for the float switches. Not sure about what to use for the last port. My thinking for the two buttons is the blue one is for Feeding triggering some events to return pump and powerheads, and the Red button is a full shutdown of certain components (I haven't wrote the routines yet).
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