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Author: Subject: [COPY] 180gal Reef tank project [picture INTENSIVE]
jent
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icon1.gif posted on 9-20-09 at 05:55 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote
180gal Reef tank project [picture INTENSIVE]




So you may have already seen pictures on the gallery of my aquarium. But I decided to also create a thread which outlines my progress, as well as give everyone a chance to ask me questions and the such.

So first how did I get here.....Well I have been into reef tanks for a long time, starting with a 30gal, moving to a 46gal, then I had my 120gal for a while. And the newest on the list is the 180gal. This is after about 10 to 12 years of experience. The tank measures 6ft x 2ft x 2ft. It is lit with 2x250watt MH, 1x400watt MH, and 2 VHO actinic lights. The sump is about 75gal, and in that about 50gal is occupied with water (mostly fuge space).

First the old 120gal tank (old photo too):
http://den.spicylemons.com/gallery_image.php?action=view&iid=697#pictop

And then we have the new tank setup dry:


And then add some fancy pumps....The panworld's ended up being a bit load. Two of them have been replaced with Velocity Posiden PS2 pumps which contains no fan. They move slightly less water, and run hotter (thus increasing the temprature of the water). But they are dead silent. I plan to eventually replace the third pump with a panworld as well.

Two of the pumps feed the return out of the lower aquarium to the upper...the third one feeds the skimmer which is the only real filtration on the aquarium.


The RO/DI unit can only output 50gallons per day. It is an extreme form of filtering water which requires passing water over a membrane and then using osmosis to provide the filtration. So it took a solid 5 days to fill up the system so that it can run.


Then I siliconed in some dividers in the lower aquarium (sump/fuge) to direct water flow. This prevents bubbles from getting sucked up into the display tank. You can see I have started to add some algae to start the fuge (which is used for nutrient export as well as a place for no predators so the bottom of the food chain has a place to thrive)




And then you can see the skimmer running. The skimmer works by using a property that proteins will stick to the outsides of bubbles. So it creates tons and tons of very small bubbles. And by doing such, as they float up they create a foam of nasty at the top. We collect this nasty and get rid of it.




Added a few pieces of rock to start as a source of colonizing the bacteria necessary for the nitrogen cycle. I also at this time painted the back of the tank black with an acrylic paint. This is just for astetics, and was something hard for me to decide on because of the way it reduces light in the tank. Beyond just being black, having something painted to the back changes the way the glass naturally reflects.


After that I added more rock. Some of it new, some of it from the old tank. This rock had lots of dying stuff on it. This dying crap produces ammonia, which pollutes the water. But it gives a source of food for bacteria that is the start of the nitrogen cycle. This amonia will be converted into nitrites (also very toxic). But then other bacteria will eventually convert the nitrites into nitrates. And eventual even that will get broken down.

I also started placing the rocks, trying to figure out a layout I want. Also seeing what I like/dislike with the rock pieces I am working with.


After that it was a long waiting game. I purchased two MP40w pumps for circulation. These pumps send a magnetic field through the glass to power a propeller on the other side. One of the largest reasons I choose them is the power consumption. These two pumps total use about 50watts. Any other solution I would consider would be closer to 200watts. They also have nice features in that they are constantly changing the current and surging up and down. They communicate wirelessly to each other so that they can adjust the power in unison to produce more wave like motions.

Then it was weeks of waiting, waiting for the nitrogen cycle to complete so that I can safely add fish and corals. It took a long time for the bacteria to establish because on type wont establish until the other's are finished. Once I was at 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, and 0ppm nitrates I was able to move the livestock from the old tank. You can see it is a lot more full and different looking now.


What's next? More waiting, need to make sure that everything is stable and good. But in 4 to 5 weeks I plan to buy a lot more corals. These corals will be introduced early so that they can start growing with the rest of the colonies. I don't necessarily want tons of different kinds of things, but I want big colonies of what I do have.

There are two fish I still want to purchase also. A mandarin and a yellow clown goby. The mandarin will have to wait till the aquarium is established. They refuse to eat man made foods, and thus it's food must naturally be produced in the aquarium (in vast quantities too).

I plan to update this thread and keep everything up to date as it evolves. Until then, feel free to post any comments/suggestions/questions!!


cheers,
jent d-_-b
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LTTank
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[*] posted on 9-22-09 at 12:44 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


Wow! That is one heck of a project!
Just out of curiosity, what is the cost for the basics?


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[*] posted on 9-23-09 at 01:00 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


Quote:
Originally posted by LTTank
Just out of curiosity, what is the cost for the basics?

I try not to think about it....it is a lot.

So far on this project I have spent about $3k just getting the 180gal setup. And that is on the cheap side, I already had lots of equipment sitting around from old tanks that I could use.

Here is a very basic burn down for some of the higher priced items:
Tank/stand: ~$500
Used lights: ~$350
two Velocity return pumps: ~$300 (I already had my pump for the skimmer, or that would have been another $150)
two VorTech MP40w (the very low wattage pumps on the back): $900
rock: ~$200 (already had about half the rock in the tank)
sand: ~$100
fuge/sump: ~$50
new light bulbs: ~$350

My next order of corals I expect to cost me between $300 and $400

I already had things like the skimmer, the skimmer alone would have cost about another $350

But once that is all said and done, there wont be any large expenses unless a piece of equipment fails.


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jent d-_-b
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[*] posted on 9-23-09 at 02:20 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


It is pretty fricken sweet to see in person. Even without any fish in it.

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[*] posted on 9-27-09 at 09:13 AM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


Quote:
Originally posted by spank
Even without any fish in it.

There are lots of fish in it now. I plan to add the following fish wise too (eventually at least)

Mandarin
one purple firefish
two neon goby's
and probably eventually a diamond watchmen goby

I added two yellow clown goby's and one green clown goby last friday. Lots of small yellow fish now, but it looks good.


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jent d-_-b
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[*] posted on 9-27-09 at 11:43 AM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


You did have those clown fish in there the last time I was bye. Did the one ever change sex?

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[*] posted on 9-27-09 at 05:10 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


WOW!
I'm lucky to be able to get a simple $20 bowl with one betta!
Still, looks really sweet!
:shcool:

(Edited to correct word usage, damn me...)
:zshocked:


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[*] posted on 9-27-09 at 06:57 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


Quote:
Originally posted by spank
You did have those clown fish in there the last time I was bye. Did the one ever change sex?


They have been doing the dance, but nothing really very romantic.

I right now am also very interested to see what sort of relationships are made with the watchmen goby's


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[*] posted on 10-21-09 at 06:24 AM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


I actually like it. Thanks for sharing the photos. I've been wanting to redecorate and redesign my fish tank but i currently have no time to do
it.


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[*] posted on 10-29-09 at 07:44 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


Some updates...

I got lots of new corals, and things are starting to settle in. The auto top of is setup and working to keep the water at a constant salinity and level. The VHO ballast has blown and needs to be replaced. And I had a tang get a little fungal infection in his eye. Unfortunately he could not be removed and I treated the entire tank with supposedly reef safe meds. It ended up killing my mandarin, and both my clown fish. The leather corals were looking bad too but have since returned since I have skimmed most of it out of the water. But on a plus note I have a clam and a few new corals that seem to be doing good.

Also I got a new camera, a canon 50d. So I have taken about 20 pictures, and they have all been of my aquarium. here are some more updated photos:









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jent d-_-b
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[*] posted on 11-8-09 at 12:37 PM   «:|:»  Link to post Reply With Quote


Been dealing with a bit of disease in the tank. So changes have been cut to a minimum until things start to level out.

But on another note, I have been trying to learn my new camera better. The only down side is that for my current lens to be sharp at all, it needs to be stopped down. Meaning long exposures. With the aquarium and the water movement that made it very hard to get good photos with my current lens. But here are a couple of the better ones from yesterday.





cheers,
jent d-_-b
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