Buddys 75G Reef Build

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Buddy08
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Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Buddy08 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:46 pm

For starters, my names Blake and I've been in the saltwater hobby for a few months now. Ive owned an aquarium majority of my life and in the past 3 years, have bred African cichlids but decided to try something else. I must say, Im enjoying the saltwater hobby much more. My tank has been setup for roughly 3 months now so i will have to update everyone as i go along to get to where i currently am now. This is what i started out with:

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after i broke the aquarium down, donated all my cichlids back to B&b :(
I began taking inventory of the equipment i had and would need
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Just about every thing seen in the picture above has been replaced. It would have worked for my setup but i felt it was outdated so i spent a few bucks and upgraded everything. out of all this in the picture, i kept 2x 1200 maxijet powerheads and my vho ballast for the new light fixture yet to come.

Here is a picture of some of the new stuff and my empty aquarium before i began my project
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I constructed my sump out of a 20 gallon long aquarium and 1/4 acrylic panels purchased at lowes on.
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Make note of the old VHS tapes being used to measure out my 1" gaps between my baffles
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After letting the silicone cure for 24 hours, i did a "Wet test" to ensure myself there would be no leaks once i moved this thing into my apartment. The next day i began construction on my plumbing and overflows. I went with 2x 1" bulkhead over flows and 1x 1" return line pushed by a mag7 mag drive pump. Roughly after headloss, this gives me an average 500-650GPH through my sump. Heres a few pics of the "wet test"
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My cichlid setup had 2x glass tops and 1x standard 48" light strip that would not work for my reef setup simply due to the fact, the glass would block out much needed light and the lighting itself was not powerful enough which brought me to my next project. My custom DIY canopy. Unfortunately i didnt take any pictures until after i built it but the frame is built out of pine 2x2"s and skinned with pine plants and molding.
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Like stated earlier, i decided to keep my VHO ballast and bought t5 endcaps and standoffs from progressive marine along with 4x bulbs and 4x reflectors. My new protein skimmer also came from progressive, its rated for a 125g and can be seen in the inventory pictures above. This was all mounted in my canopy after i painted everything. A few weeks later (Beginning of Feb.); I moved this monster up 3 flights of stairs into my new apartment. I purchased 125+ pounds of live rock from tj at innerarity reefs in pensacola. He by far beat everyone elses prices in live rock and also in quality. Heres the tank the first night it was set up and the finished canopy.
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with lights on:
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and the following day:
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After my cycle (which lasted less than a week of initial setup), i added a few turbos and hermits for my cuc
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I also bought 2 cooling fans from progressive marine to help with the heat from the lamps, my tank temperature would bounce around from 78 to 84 before i added these, now it stays within around 77-79.
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and so the tank remained like this for another 2 weeks before adding my first fish. Hes a yellow tang that was given the name Big Bird
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few days later, i added a brittle starfish named medusa
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I gave it a few weeks before adding anything else but finally gave in when my coral beauty named barney was introduced.
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and fred the cleaner shrimp
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The aquarium stayed like this for a whole month before i decided to add corals. During that time, i dosed with reef code a and b to increase my calcium and alk levels They are now at 480ppm calc and 9dkh alk. Once i decided to get a few corals, i added a green button polyp and hammer coral from B&B and snagged a few coral frags from andy (andy4499). He gave me a great deal on a few zoas, neon green candy cane, green star polyps, birds nest branch, frogspawn, duncan, and chalice. Also, zach (redpheonix) hooked me up with a few frags as well a few days later; more zoas, red and green candy cane, acro, and a beautiful rock anemone that went MIA... which brings me to where i am now. I searched high and low for the missing anemone but couldnt find it and one thing i hate doing the most, is moving rocks because i can never stack them back the way i had them. So i decided to redo my rockwork.

This is the new aquascaping. It gives my fish more swim room, a better wall to showcase corals, and lots of nooks, caves, and crannies for fish to hide in and swim through.
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I bought 2 chromis fish about a week ago but they were picked on heavily by barney (the coral beauty) so i ended up trading them to zach (redpheonix) for a purple death paly frag and nuke green paly frag.

As for maintenance, Im doing 2x 15gallon water changes a month, maintaining calc/alk levels around 460-500 & 8dkh-10dkh, and usual water tests (ph, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and phosphates). I have a 5stage ro/di unit for making water. Since im in an apartment, i cant install an auto top off system so i have to store water in bins in my storage space and because i cant tap into the water line with the unit, i hook it up to my kitchen facet when needed. Heres a picture of my ro/di and storage.
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outside storage for equipment, fresh water, and saltwater.
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in my sump, i have my protein skimmer, filter sock with active carbon, cheato in fuge, heater, digital thermometer, and live rock/sand. The cheato is supplied with light from a clip on office lamp purchased at lows and high lumen flood light.
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This is currently my tank as it sits in my living room 3 months later of its initial setup.
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My corals and frags:
zoas and red and green candy cane
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close up
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mushroom that is beginning to split (bonus on liverock from tj at innerarity reefs)
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purple acro
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green button polyp
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kenya tree (another bonus from innerarity reef)
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hammer coral
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neon green candy cane
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frogspawn
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duncan
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green star polyps (finally openning after 2 weeks...i pissed them off for sure)
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and the full tank shot:
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I wanted to start this thread 4 months ago when i began everything but have been a little on the lazy side and am just not doing it. I would like to thank everyone that has helped me so far and i plan to continue updating this thread as my tank progresses. Id love to hear some input on what you guys think and any advice is always appreciated. My next purchase is a pair of clown fish and hopefully i will be able to stock a few more corals here soon as well as a few more fish. I am currently looking for a variety of mushrooms (i have green, want some reds, purples, pinks, oranges, and blues), ricordeas, toadstools, acans, chalices, larger mushrooms, bubbles, xenias, palys and zoas so please let me know if any of yall have some of these, what youre willing to sell them for, and when is best to come get them... Coral Donations are always accepted :D

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Fishfood
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Fishfood » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:41 am

Looks good. One question... Is there enough space in the sump to hold all the water that will drain when the power goes off? That first chamber would scare the hell out of me with how high the water is. I know the water will flow from there to the other chambers but I get some splashing out of my sump and at the highest point the water is only half way up my 20.

Buddy08
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Buddy08 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:18 am

when the tank power is off, the sump water level rises to approx 1" from the top of the sump as long as i keep my water levels in check when adding top off water. you may be able to see the markings i wrote on the sump itself in one of the pictures. but it still concerns me so in the near future, i will most likely make a new sump or lower the baffle in the first chamber

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andy4499
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by andy4499 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:33 am

Looking good, I really like the pictures showing all the progress. I also like the use of the VHS tapes never thought to use them to measure things LOL. Keep us posted on the progress and how things are growing for you.
225 Gallon Aquarium, Two 40 gallon frag tanks, 75 gallon refugium, 30 gallon sump
neptune aquacontroller III
Lighting = 3 x 400 watt MH, 4 x 6' VHO's,
Pumps = Panworld 100 (return), 2 x Vortech MP40, Seio 1500
ASM G-4 Skimmer, GEO calcium reactor.

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redpheonix
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by redpheonix » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:34 pm

This is one of the most detailed tank build threads I have seen in awhile. Tank looks really good, waters really clear, lights look good on tank with great color.
110 gal reef
29 gal. pred

Buddy08
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Buddy08 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:15 pm


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jt3069
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by jt3069 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:00 pm

nice tank buddy
LIVING CHEMISTRY SET

Buddy08
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Buddy08 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:00 am

Update: A lot has changed since my last post; starting with equipment. I decided to upgrade from the t5's to LED's simply to save in the long run with less power consumption and long life span of the lights themselves. I bought a 48 LED light kit with 4 dimming drivers and chose to use 24x royal blues and 24x cool whites. I mounted them onto two 5.9x16" heatsinks and frammed the fixture in aluminum.
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kit upon arrival
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I bought the aluminum from lowes in 4ft sections and cut it down to size.
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I predrilled the braces and used stainless bolts to fasten them securely
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Framework
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I used self tapping screws to mount the heatsinks to the frame (Warning: Heatsinks are very dense and hard to drill through, predrill the holes with a drill bit to avoid breaking the self tapping screws off in the heatsink....Like I did.... 3 times :x )
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LED placement
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reused the fans from my t5's and mounted them in the canopy to blow air downward over the heatsinks to keep them cool
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After all LED's were attached using the thermal adhesive paste, I began wiring them + to -
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Once everything was wired, I had to tune the drivers to 900ma dc current. The Leds can run up to 1300 but it will effect their lifespan. Rapid Led recommends 700-1000ma.
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I then installed a plexiglass sheet as a splash guard and fastened them using nuts, bolts, and washers.
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I did not use optics at first because I felt they were not needed (I was wrong). I mounted the fixture in my canopy using aluminum "L" brackets and ran the wiring through plastic conduit to keep it neat and organized.
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and heres the results:
whites at 50%
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blues at 50%
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both at 50%
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both at 100%
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two toned
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Once I had my LED's installed, what little red slime I had in my tank slowly vanished but to ensure it didnt come back, I bought a Bio pellet reactor to help with water quality
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It is now installed and running on a mag 3
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I was able to borrow a digital par meter to see where I stood in lighting intensity. These were my first results:
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After doing some research, My levels were equivalent to a cheap MH fixture off ebay. I began to doubt the LED's were a good choice but was recommended to install the 80 degree optics... What a difference:
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With those levels, I should have no problems with keeping sps, clams, and nems so I was relieved afterwards. Those readings above are the minimum par level recorded. Image

I had to raise the splash guard due to my return line splashing water droplets (from airbubbles pulled through the siphon break) that later turned into salt creep which reduced the intensity of the lights slightly.
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I have recently installed a JBJ Auto top off which has eliminated the water splash from the return line as my water stays a constant level now and never drops below the siphon hole unless the power was to fail.
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my freshwater reservoir for the JBJ. I will eventually buy a cabinet to hide this and plan on upgrading to a 10gallon tank in the near future.
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Secondly, An update with livestock. I bought a pin cushion urchin, blue damsel, and black/white damsel in addition to the current livestock (2x clowns, yellow tang, and coral beauty). I did have a royal gramma that went MIA before the damsels and a yellow eye tang that the yellow tang had a field day picking on. My cleaner shrimp lost his life to a powerhead so he also was replaced with a fire shrimp. I still have the brittle star and have also added a linkia thats. My livestock has been the same for the past 4 months. Eventually, I will remove the damsels and add 3 anthias for color.
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I have since added plenty more corals. Some from mr. coral, some more from Andy, Drew, and Todd. I also got in a drunk bidding war on ebay and spent way more than I should have on some colorful corals.
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After I discovered the results of Par readings, I decided I would give SPS's another go. I bought some caps and a nice ORA mili from aquaria in Pensacola.
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I bought a few more SPS from Drew earlier today that are looking quite nice; cant wait till they start encrusting and growing (Fingers crossed :shock: )
and thats where I am currently at with the tank progressiong. Any feedback and advice is always welcomed. If you have any questions also feel free to ask away. Thanks for looking if you made it this far, I just realized how long this post is :lol: Heres more photos, Enjoy

FTS
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FTS Actinic
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Corals
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Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aCAdT0yD1U

Actinics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0VdjEBOEwI


Thanks for everyone thats helped me get this far!

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Kresnahw22
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Kresnahw22 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:23 am

Tank looks real good. What the website where you got the kit. I may wanna try it with my 20 gallon long nano. Really like the looks of the leds.

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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Buddy08 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:05 pm

rapidled.com

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Kresnahw22
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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Kresnahw22 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:57 pm

Ok One mote question which led white Light did you get and what's its Kelvin?

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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Buddy08 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:42 pm

the cool whites range from 5000-8300 k depending on how bright you have them.

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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Kresnahw22 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:49 pm

Can corals use that color I thought it had to be 10000-20000 k

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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Buddy08 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:10 pm

Yup, my corals are doing great and just about every DIY LED build utilizes royal blues and cool whites. LED's utilize a combination of color temperatures and wavelengths to give it a nice spectrum.

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Re: Buddys 75G Reef Build

Post by Kresnahw22 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:24 pm

Buddy08 wrote:Yup, my corals are doing great and just about every DIY LED build utilizes royal blues and cool whites. LED's utilize a combination of color temperatures and wavelengths to give it a nice spectrum.
As you can see I'm trying to figure out which kit would work best for my 20 gallon long. That's why I'm asking so many questions about them. How easy are they to set up. As if I decide to purchase it'll be my first light build.

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