jlanger's Reef Build: Episode II - The 120gal Strikes Back

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by jlanger, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    EPISODE II
    THE 120gal STRIKES BACK

    Last fall was a dark time for the original 120gal Arts & Crafts Inspired Reef Build. Although the tank had been doing very well, a prolonged deficiency in potassium resulted in my montipora colonies health to decline and eventually crash. With the large montipora colonies now absent from the reef, a plague of blue mushrooms invaded the open reef.

    While attempts were made to control the invasion, the decision was made to shut down the reef. Plans were immediately being established for a new system for the Arts & Crafts Inspired Reef Build.

    Being obsessed with rebuilding a new and improved reef, I researched and collected countless new ideas and items for a new reef system and build thread....
     
    #1 jlanger, Oct 14, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2018
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  2. ikserk

    ikserk Administrator
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    What?

    No opening scrolling prologue animation?

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. ikserk

    ikserk Administrator
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    Oh, and excited for this build! :)
     
  4. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    The original 120gal system was torn down earlier this spring and by the end of April, I was left with just the Arts & Crafts stand and canopy.

    [​IMG]

    Since I had sold off the original tank and most of the equipment, I began acquiring new equipment and ordered a new tank.
    I ended up ordering the new 120gal tank through Stephen at AcanLord with Planet Aquariums. Since I wanted to employ the Modular Marine overflow system, they were a builder willing to work with installing the overflow on their tanks. I ordered the 120gal tank with three sides of low-iron glass and the back painted black. I sent my overflow box to Planet Aquariums for them to drill the required holes and two more holes for returns. The tank was built and delivered at the end of June.

    [​IMG]

    I placed the Modular Marine 1800gph Overflow System box on the left end of back wall and I had the two return bulkheads placed on the right end of the back wall. There's really no reason for the multiple returns other than I could direct the flow in two directions. The two returns utilize ¾" Loc-Line segments and flare nozzles to direct the water back into the display.

    [​IMG]

    After having a reef tank in place for over five years or so, it was eerily odd not having the lights and sound of the aquarium in the basement. Once the tank was delivered and set onto the stand, it started to feel good to see that a new system was eventually on the horizon.

    [​IMG]

    More to come...
     
    #4 jlanger, Oct 14, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  5. ikserk

    ikserk Administrator
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  6. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    This past summer was incredibly busy (and spendy), progress on acquiring the vast amounts of new equipment made for a slow build.
    One of the first steps taken in the right direction was finding new rock for the aquascape. I knew that I was going to limit the amount of rock in the new tank. I had a vision of having two tall crests of rock parallel to each other to create a channel for the fish to hide in. I found two very large pieces of Tongan shelf rock at BRS; along with one piece of Pukani. Instead placing them horizontally as a shelf, I flipped them vertically and created the crests. I spent quite a bit of time playing around with the rocks to find the perfect aquascape.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And here's a slightly modified aquascape with the Pukani rock becoming its own little island.

    [​IMG]

    As time went on, I didn't quite like the initial layout and I tried a few more.

    This is just the big rock.
    It's a rock that measures 27" long by 19" high and is 4"-9" thick and weighs 57 pounds.

    [​IMG]

    I decided to break off the "wing" of the second rock and turn it back to a horizontal shelf.

    [​IMG]

    The second rock after it was modified and placed horizontally created a lot of flat surface area which will be ideal for my LPS corals or something new. The rock also creates a few nice overhangs for fish to hang out under or swim through. And when placed parallel with the larger rock, a channel is created again; although this time in front of the large rock. This layout has many more options for fish to hide and feel secure.

    [​IMG]

    This will be the foundation for the aquascape for the new system. I did pick up a couple of smaller pieces of rock to try various small islands, and I settled on cutting a tall shelf pedestal in half to create a small island.

    With the inside of the tank figured out, it's time to address the inside of the stand.
    More to come...
     
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  7. ChristopherKriens

    ChristopherKriens Xenia Lover
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    I just wanted to be on the first page of this epic build thread.

    Please carry on.
     
  8. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    If anyone knows me, I suffer from an acute case of OCD. Everything has it's place; inside the stand.
    When it came time to figure out my plans for filtration, I know that I needed to incorporate my algae turf scrubber into my sump design. I also need to figure out how I could fit in a new calcium reactor; along with the ATO reservoir. After four or five different attempts, I decided that I could hide the ATO reservoir behind the tank so my sump could be large enough to keep everything I wanted to employ in the sump.
    The sump would end up being 33"L by 21.5"W by 13"H. I was able to fit the ATS unit, three filter socks, a larger protein skimmer along with the necessary water pumps. Drawn out to scale on mdf, it looked like it would work.

    [​IMG]

    As I was drawing up the sump in CAD for machining on the CNC router, I ordered the plumbing for the system; that adds up quick!

    After a couple of nights drawing up the sump parts, I was ready to machine the parts. There ended up being 25 individual parts that required 181 tool paths and two second operations requiring two jigs. Running the 29 programs took just under an hour to machine; including the time to switch between the black and clear acrylic sheets.
    Here's what a sump looks like before assembly.

    [​IMG]

    When I was assembling the sump, the dry fit went rather smoothly; everything fit. When it came time to glue the pieces together, I started with the four sides and the base; no problems. As I worked with the interior pieces, that's when it became a puzzle and some of the pieces were fighting with one another as previous pieces that were glued and set weren't as flexible and forgiving as before. I eventually got everything bonded into place and I would run a leak test the following day.

    [​IMG]

    Once the wife left the house, I started the leak test; on the kitchen island.
    Other than one small drip through an interior baffle (easy fix), the sump passed the test and no water was found outside of the sump. Woohoo!!!

    [​IMG]

    As I filled up the sump, I already thought of a few changes that I would make on the next model.
    I've always had each sequential compartment fall one inch below the previous one; which has worked great. But this time around with the ATS now sitting down into the sump, if my "filter socks" were to clog, the rising water level escapes that compartment only ¼" below the ATS. It won't be a flooding hazard or electrical hazard, but I would like a little more safeguard of another ½" or so. If I believe it to be a concern down the road, I can drill some drainage holes into the "filter sock" walls. (I'm quoting the "filter socks" because I'm tempted to try out the drop in cups instead. I'm getting tired of cleaning filter socks and Chad didn't post his pro tip until after I machined the parts.)
    If you can look hard enough in the lower lefthand corner, you can see that I added the "filter sock" pull-out tray that sits below the drain of the ATS. The "sock" will catch any loose algae from the scrubber and it will also include a bag of carbon to help filter any compounds released by the algae.

    Next up, it's time to let the sump dry out (get one little fix) and then start working on plumbing the system.
     
  9. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Plumbing the new system went rather smoothly as I mimicked the plumbing that I had done on my smaller 32gal office system.

    The three drain lines enter the sump along the back wall and the return line is on the other end. To run the BeanAnimal system, a gate valve is used to create a full siphon on one of the lines. The other two drain lines don't require any special attention, so they're located behind the ATS unit. The ¾" supply line for the ATS unit is placed so it lines up directly with the ATS unit. The return line includes a Cepex ball valve for those time I want to close the drain line.

    [​IMG]

    Behind the display, I hard plumbed each line with unions for removal; if necessary.
    The return line utilizes the 1.25" pipe for as long as possible as recommended by Neptune Systems. I left enough ¾" pipe prior to the returns just in case I ever decide to add any gate valves to control the amount of flow through each return.

    [​IMG]

    With the system completely plumbed, it was time to run a full leak test. Everything passed.
    Since the above photo was taken, I did add a 1.25" check valve into the return line. When my return pumps shuts off, the water that drains into the sump is very, very close to the top of the sump. If anything was to change inside the sump, I could have a potential flood. Rather test fate, I decided to add the check valve now.

    It was time to start adding all of the pieces of equipment that was required for the build.
    Here's a quick dry test with the main pieces of equipment.

    [​IMG]

    Installing the ATS was first; it sits down two inches into the sump on a framed shelf. Below the ATS unit is the drain chamber that contains two heaters and a dedicated Cor-20 pump for the ATS unit. The water that passes through the ATS exits through a drain that has a dedicated filter sock to catch any loose algae. The filter sock will also have a bag of carbon placed in it to help filter out any potential compounds that are released from the algae.
    The water that isn't pumped to the ATS unit passes through a slot over the filter sock chamber. The chamber consists of two 4" filter socks (cups) and I have three inline probe holders for my pH, ORP and salinity probes. The temperature probe is located in the drain chamber under the full siphon return.
    I went with a larger protein skimmer this time. The Reef Octopus Regal 200-SSS occupies the front chamber and is supplied with fresh air from outside. (More information about that is in the original build thread.)
    The bubble trap baffles are spaced 1.5" apart so I can place a piece of Aquamesh to capture any loose algae, detritus and air bubbles before getting into the return chamber.
    The return chamber has four ¼" bulkheads for dosing lines. I'll be using my DOS pump as my top-off pump and the calcium reactor will occupy another bulkhead.

    With the equipment installed inside the sump, it was time for the brains of the system.
    I purchased a new Apex 2016 system with a second EB832 Energy Bar, and display module. I kept my WXM module to control my Vortech water pumps. I picked up a ALD module and sensor to detect any water leaks. I have two Neptune Systems Cor-20 pumps in the sump so there's two control units for those; along with one for the Reef Octopus skimmer. I also re-installed the LED light bar on the ceiling of the stand with the magnetic switch to add light inside the stand.

    [​IMG]


    Here's a quick video showing how the sump looks while running and how quiet it runs; without the ATS in operation.



    More to come...
     
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  10. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Title track updated for you (o:
    Check your first post!
     
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  11. cathorn

    cathorn Senior Member
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    Looking great Jason
     
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  12. Fross

    Fross Senior Member
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    I really feel that a new build deserves a new stand. and that you should sell that stand to me.. =]
     
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  13. DarkSky

    DarkSky Administrator
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    Love the sump!
     
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  14. Riley

    Riley I contributed!
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    Looks good, Jason. I like how you laid out the rock. Great looking sump too!
     
    #14 Riley, Oct 15, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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  15. Adam G

    Adam G Born to Reef!
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    Wow, that looks great Jason. Love the Star Wars opening.
     
  16. marty9876

    marty9876 Something funny
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    Needs more fish
     
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  17. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Thanks, guys!

    Credit for the video opening goes to Ryan. I was content with just my script, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for some people; but I like it also.

    Hey Marty.
    Fish will be coming. I’m hoping I can bring home one or two from the LiveAquaria Open House Tour.
    You should make the trip north to Rhinelander and we can grab lunch afterwards.
     
  18. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    This is it.

    [​IMG]

    Three pieces of Tonga Shelf rock and about 40 pounds of TLF ReBorn media for a substrate.

    I decided to use the calcium reactor media for a substrate because I really wanted to up the water flow inside the display. The larger size of the media will allow my Vortech MP40 water pumps to move a lot of water without disturbing a typical sand bed. I have seen this choice of substrate used with great results on other systems, so I chose to try it out in the new system.
    Since I'm planning on not keeping any pistol shrimp and shrimp gobies at this time, I wasn't worried about using the larger media. (I think a Tiger Pistol Shrimp would still be able to make due with these pieces.)
    If I decide that I would want to keep any fish that would bury themselves or sift a finer sand, I was told that mixing in some Special Grade Reef Sand would be more than sufficient for those fishes; and I have plenty of new sand on hand just in case.

    The rock and substrate are still bright white, so taking any photos with all of the lights on creates a blurry contrasted photo. This photo was taken with just the two (2) Aqua Blue+ bulbs.

    Once I have calibrated my probes and I know for certain that the water is ready, I have some Dr. Tim's One & Only to add to the tank when I add the first inhabitants; snails and hermits for now. (I need to make the screen top before any fish are added.)
     
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  19. H2OHOH

    H2OHOH Senior Member
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    Nice work. Interested to see how that substrate turns out
     
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  20. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Best thing with your rock... other then looking awesome... is the canyon. Visually cool but also highly functional. Have you ever put up temporary walls with egg crate for a day or two to separate late additions?
     

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