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The saga of the 150


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Well we start the day at 5:30 AM! Tomanero aka Steve met us at the house. We rented a U-haul truck and head to Westlake. After 5 hours the 150 gallon tank was loaded along with the rock, sand, stand, water, lighting and an extra 55 gallon w/stand (they threw it in for free).

Steve helped me unload the 55 set up in our hallway (for the livestock). We then unloaded the beast and it's stand in the garage. Kudos to Steve for working his a$$ off. I could not have moved this thing with out him.

Robin and I then unloaded the rest of the truck. Got the live rock in a 30 gallon trash can and a rubbermaid tub, then dropped in a couple of power heads. I started working on the 55 set up and Robin got the rest of the sand out of the tank and refugium.



After that task was completed we started to fill the tank with water to start the long process of cleaning the nasty algae. Then disaster struck. . . Water started leaking from the side of the overflow and out of the aquarium. I quickly grabed a trusty powerhead and jammed it into the hose and pumped water out of the aquarium. I am now an offical super HERO! We cleaned the inside of the tank for awhile, it was the 4th of July and we decide to take in a dinner. More to come. . .

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Where's water leaking from?

This is going to be a SWEETTTTT setup.

Congrats to you two.


By the looks of those two pics your going to have one hell of a backache in the morning. lol

It's leaking from the inside of the over flow half way down the right side. I'm thinking I might either use some aquarium silicone or have to run an acrylic rod with weld-on down that side, what ever is the best. I will most likely do this on both sides (gotta keep the wife happy).

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OK so today is actually day 3. I had to work 1/2 a day so this entry counts as day 2!

I need to set up the 55. to get the live stock out of buckets. I needed to separate the bedrock from the live rock. Robin wanted all the live rock with the mushroom (lots of teal and blue) in the 55. I had to sort through 3 - 5 gallon buckets, 2 - coolers, the 30 gallon trash can and the Rubbermaid container.




We followed the advice of the original owner of the tank and left the sand in the 55. After the dust cleared we had a fine sediment on top of the sand so we decided to get rid of the sand. I started around 3 siphoning the water. Then around 5:30 I started pulling the sand out a cup at a time and placing it in a 5 gallon bucket. Robin arrived home from work around 6 and helped me finish. We decided to wash the tank out while moving the tank outside the sky opened up and dumped several inches of rain. We pulled the tank out to the front porch and went snorkeling to the water faucet outside. Robin used her elbow grease to get most, if not all of the "stuff" off the glasss. I washed out the tank and Robin dried out. Of course after we finished this task the rain STOPPED! :doh:

We put the tank back on the stand and filled it partially with premixed water. I put in the bedrock and started stacking the live rock with shrooms. Robin took over the shroom transfer while I set up 2 Aquaclear 50 powerheads and added a HTB Aquaclear 50 filter and a heater. Around 10:30 we added the livestock after an hour drip. Live stock consisted of a yellow tang, foxface, clarki clown, unidentified clown, unidentified goby or blenny and a green carpet anemone (I left the anemone in the Rubbermaid tub with the live rock). Then Robin decided we need to put the carpet anemone in the tank. By this time I could barely keep my eyes open. She remove the anemone from its location and put it in the cooler the livestock was in. A few minutes later she was feeling pain on her forearm, the anemone had stung her. She took some aspirin and spread some aloe vera on her arm. Then we went to bed.





Stay tuned for day 3. . .

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Nothing spectacular happened today.

I went to Regal Plastics to get some Weld-On to fix the leak in the back of the overflow. The folks there were really friendly and knowledgeable. I spoke with the gentleman who builds there custom acrylic tanks and got some really good advice on how to repair the leak.

Went to the LFS to pick some acrylic scrubbers and a digital thermometer. Returned filter media for non-working Bio-Wheel at PetSmart and picked up a veggie clip (Robin was Superwoman the other night and broke ours) along with some more seaweed for the tang and fox face.

It was "First Friday" at RCA last night so we headed over there to get more water for the 29 water change. Talked with the folks out there to get info on the fish and corals we want to put in our 150. Those guys are really coool, laid back and very knowledgeable. Their customer service is stellar!

Stayed tuned, same bat time, same bat station! :rock:

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Well we got a lot done today. . .

With the foreman looking on (our 10 yr. old miniature daschund) we started the day.


While Robin was doing a little house cleaning I started to re-finish the PC lighting. It was really rusted. I want to temporally put it on the 55 until we can get a couple of hang on the tank 150W Metal Halide 14k lights. So I broke out my trusty Dremel tool and proceeded to knock of the rust. Robin finished her cleaning and helped me mask of the reflector on the light fixture. I put a couple of coats of white Rust-oleum spray paint on it.

Watching paint drying is about as exciting as watching grass grow!


I then tackled the refugium. I did some measurements and discovered it will hold 50 gallons of water. That's 1/3 of the tank volume, I guess that's good. The refugium had been filled with water and some white vinegar, since the 4th, this made cleaning a snap. God I love white vinegar!


While I was working on the refugium Robin added some more of the live rock to the 55. She moved the carpet anemone to a better location within the 55. Man she was brave, especially after being stung by it a couple of days ago.

She finished the rockscaping just as I finished pumping out the refugium. We moved it over to the grass where I could rinse it out and double check for leaks and cleanliness. After we were satisfied it was clean enough I rinsed it out and we moved to the driveway. Robin dried it out. It was so clean it disappeared. Now you see it now you don't!




After moving the refugium to the garage I started the tedious task of cleaning power heads, sump pump, and other dirty filthy equipment. After a long deliberation and the fiasco with the sand from the 55 we decided to dump the sand from the 150. But before I could get rid of the sand Robin wanted to sift through it to see if any snails or hermits survived. So she dove into the smell murky stuff. She didn't find anything alive but got some good shells that would make great homes for growing hermits.




We consolidated a lot of things and we are starting to reclaim the garage.

More excitement to come. . .

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Today is Sunday a day of rest? Robin and I decided to sleep in today, so we got a late start.

Here is the rockscape Robin set up in the 50 yesterday.



I finished cleaning the bulbs to the PC lights and we made a makeshift light holder for the 50. Yeah it's pretty ugly but functional.


We pumped the vinegar water out of the 150. After draining as much of the water as possible I rinsed the inside of the tank. I tilted the tank up and set it on two 2X4's. Then we started the muscle work. I scrubbed the inside right and left panels and the back. Robin scrubbed the inside of the front panel and the complete outside. She also cleaned the top supports and the seams on all the sides. I rinsed the tank out again and examined the crack in the overflow. It is worst than we thought. Both sides are detached somewhat from the back. Luckily I purchased a 6' square acrylic rod so I can mend both sides. I cleaned the inside of the overflow and Robin continued to scrap paint off the corners.




We decided phase one was completed and drained the water. I put a power head in the tank, hooked up a length of garden hose and pumped out as much as possible. I picked up one end of the tank and Robin used a bowl to scoop out some water. Then she used her fingers to push the rest of the sand into a corner so she could scoop it out with a cup. Finally she put some paper towels along the seam and finished getting the sand and water out. Then she dried it inside and out.



In the middle of doing all this, Robin checked the lighting over the 50 and noticed the fox face had white spots all over one side of his body and some fins. We set up our 10 gallon as a hospital tank for him.

Now that phase one is completed we will be updating the log weekly. Time to become adults. . .

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Here it is Week 2


I started the day cleaning the Inside Sun 250W MH lighting system. The last owner mounted the fixture through a hole in the hood like a closet light. It was glued in with some weird orange stuff. I meticulously scrapped the orange junk off the fixture and around the hole. Finally I was able to push the fixture through. Then I attacked the VHO lighting system. Discovered the VHO's are powered by an IceCap 660 ballast. This is an awesome find. I took apart the end caps and disconnected the filthy tubes. Dropped all the plastic pieces into a bowl of vinegar water and will let them sit over night. I also cleaned the tubes. One of the end caps were broken.






With the electrical ends still mounted to the old hood I re-installed the tubes and fired up the ballast. The lights blinked for less than a second. Tried the lights a few more times with no luck. Off to the internet. Found some good information on the web. Found a wiring diagram and the steps for doing a continuity test. Ran the continuity test and all the connections tested ok except the bad one.


Robin reminded me we needed to do our weekly maintenance on the 29 and 50. With her help we were able to do a 10% water changes in both tanks. I cleaned out a power head on the 50 because it sucked up a mushroom. Then we both went to attack 150 some more!

Robin broke out the GOO OFF and worked on removing the paint on the outside edges. She put a lot of elbow grease into it and it looks really great I pulled all the electrical tape of the wiring harness from the Molex connector to each end cap. Glad I did this tedious task because I found some corrosion and lots of salt creep. Decided to order another harness and end caps.





Made another weird discover. . .

When I was cleaning the bulk head connectors I spelled oil. To my amazement the previous owner had put Vaseline on the threads. Now everything in the Styrofoam chest has a greasy feel to it. I will pick up some muriatic acid at a local pool supply store Sunday. With the acid diluted in the water things should clean up pretty easily.


Didn't do much today. Picked up a pair of PFO 250W MH mogul lights with PFO dual ballast, a pair of XM 10K bulbs, and reflectors all new never used on craiglist. We decided to check out the clams at Horizon. Of course Robin and I fell in love with a couple and we bought them. Also picked up a bottle of muriatic acid.

I hope to repair the crack in the refugium some time this week. Will post before and after photo in DYI forum to help others.

See ya'll next week!

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Week 3

Things have really been hectic at work. When I get home, I grab a beer and veg in front of the tube. However, the 150 is being sprayed on the inside every morning and every evening with vinegar water.

Wednesday I finally decided we needed to kick it up. I sprayed the inside of the 150 and cleaned it. Only thing left in the tank are scratches or is it, I'll let Robin inspect it. Robin picked up some Novus #2 scratch remover along with a bottle of Brillianize. Looks like we'll need to get a bottle of Novus #3, for the deeper scratches.

Thursday Robin and I went to get some water and to check out the clams RCA had on sale. They only had 3 left so we checked the new stock. Boy was that a mistake! They had received 6 Banner fish. They were simply amazing!! You know that old saying "Go to an LFS to look and you'll spend $100" well guess what? Robin and I debated about the size of the fish and decided, with help from Wendy, we could hold them in our 50 until we get the bigger tank up. So we bought 4 of them!

Oh but I digress. . .





Saturday we did our weekly water change and some maintenance. We caught the Clarki Clown and the Foster's hawk fish. We took them to the local LFS and received credit for them. I hope they end up in a good home. OH! The RO/DI system came in along with the new cables and IceCap connectors.

Sunday we cleaned off the stand/workbench and I repaired the crack in the refugium. Ok, Rule #1 do not attempt this after drinking two pots of coffee. Way too much shaking! Rule #2 Weld-on 16 is very runny! Glad this is the refugium and not the main tank. Once completed I will post the the steps I took to repair the refugium in the DIY forum. STAY TUNED. . .



While waiting patiently for the 24 hours it takes the glue to dry, I took some water samples to the local LFS. The 29 tested good, the hardness was a little high, so after a brief discussion we all agreed I should cut back 1/3 of the B-Ionic part A. The 50 tested ok except my nitrates were a 25. So I bought some micro-algae and stuck it in my Aquaclear 50.


Now back to the task at hand, I cleaned all the plumbing, power heads and IceCap parts. I rinsed the tank out again and checked for any residue left over. You guessed it, more scrubbing ahead.



Robin saw a Red Bubble Tip Anemone at the local LFS. The first one either of us have seen, except for pictures. Robin fell in love with it (we didn't get it yet) Now we have to get one! Ok we need more incentive to bust ### and get the tank up. We just want to do it right. . .

Oh, in case you were wondering where Robin was all this time. She became SUPER WIFE. She cleaned and vaccumed the house so I could work on the 150. She is simply amazing!

Until next time. . . Happy Trails.

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Week 4

Still haven't made much progress. I HATE work it gets in the way of all the fun!

Sunday: We received the new IceCap end caps and cables. I forgot to order the stand-offs so I did that today. We still haven't opened the RO/DI system, its still in the box. We're still trying to locate 1 more PFO 250W mogul system. Once I get all the lighting equipment together I will search for someone to build a custom hood. Robin has a great idea! Just need to see if it can be done.

We went to the LFS today to get some parts to re-design the original return set up. This should make it easier to maintain and give better flow on the return.



Robin started working on the scratches on the outside of the 150. Using Novus#2 Scratch remover.



We placed the 150 on its back to make the repair to the overflow box. We did one last cleaning of the inside of the overflow. After cutting the square rod we did a practice run. The old glue on one side was making the rod bow, so I scraped the old glue off and Robin vacuumed out the scrapings. I ran a bead of Weld-On 16 down the inside of the box and placed some weight on top to press the two panels together. Then ran a bead down both sides and the end of the ½ square rod i had cut to size. We placed the rod along the inside of the back panel and the separated side of the overflow. I held the rod in place for several minutes. I then ran another bead on top of the rod to fill in the gaps. We repeated this on the other side, too. Now we wait.





To those of you who are reading our blog we say thanks for coming along!

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Week 5 already. . .(I was hoping to be finished by now).

Monday: I ran a bead along the inside edge of the glued rod on the right side and also along the left outside edge of the overflow box. Let it dry for 24 hours. I also removed the doors from the stand.



Tuesday: I ran a bead along the inside edge of the glued rod on the left side and also along the right outside edge of the overflow box. Ok, I'M CONFUSED! wacko.gif Let it dry for 24 hours. I took the front cover of the stand. Also moved the live rock into another container and did a 5 gallon water change in the Tupperware container and the 30 gallon trash can. I set up a fan to keep the temp down. I have the stand on a furniture dolly to make moving it around easier. wink.gif

The Finished Repair!




Wednesday: Came home to find one of the banner fish sucked up side ways into the power head. Turned off the power head he floated to the top. First casualty due to ich! I raised the temp to 82 and started the garlic last week.

Moment of truth; we filled the tank up with water to check the repair for leaks. WOOHOO! NO LEAKS! :thumbsup::yahoo:


Thursday: Added a gallon of vinegar to the tank last night. We did one last cleaning of the tank. I placed a couple of the power heads inside to see what kind of water movement we would get, not much. We will probably get some Koralia Circulation pumps later.

Friday: WOW we must have a tank of death! :iiam: We lost another banner in the 50. Robin picked up some more Novus at Regal Plastics

Saturday: We did our weekly water change. Then we pumped the water out of the 150 and dried it out. Then we went to the ARC meeting.

Sunday: After talking with some folks at the ARC meeting I took their advice and put some lights on my live rock in the garage. I hooked up my 24" Dual Satellite and set the timer for 8 hours on the 30 gallon trash can and put a regular light on the red tub (it has mostly bedrock in it). I applied a red oak stain to a piece of the wood we pulled off the stand. Nope, no good, to dark. We will probably stain it honey oak to blend with the entertainment center. Went to Home Depot and picked up a sheet of egg crate for the refugium and the paint for the aquarium wall in the living room. Moved the entertainment center. . . wait this isn't about the 150! OOOPPPSSS. . . blush.gif


We hope you are enjoying this as much as we are until next week . . . :wave:

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Week 6 will it ever end!

Monday: Robin picked out the paint she wants for the "ocean" wall. I have to admit the color will really complement the tank.

Tuesday: Robin and I took a long look at the 150. Man is it full of scratches. Robin and I worked on 6" square section for 2 hours. It looks better but not great. To top this off we lost our last banner fish today! Very depressed. . .

Wednesday: Found a place online, Everclear, locally that refinishes acrylic aquariums. One of there technicians will be out to give us an estimate. We started to paint the "ocean" wall.

Thursday: Talked to Robert at Everclear. After talking to him he said that he would charge $50 an hour = 1sq ft. so I asked about his products. I purchased a kit for $129.00 and a special pad for my drill from their website. I will need to get a 5" random orbital sander to do the work. Should not take as long and I won't have to shell out another $1000.00. I might just be the "Acrylic King!" Once this project is completed I will do a step by step in the DIY forum.

Friday: Picked up the SCWD for the return today. I hope to install it some time Saturday.

Saturday: Are you bored yet? Did the usual tank maintenance this morning. Our granddaughter is coming to visit today (she's from Georgia) so we took her with us to the LFSand Chuck E. Cheese. Her daddy has a biocube and she loves go to the LFS to see the fishies! Aubrey feel in love with the Red Linckia so. . . .


Keeping an eye on the star fish

Sunday: Ok so I haven't installed the SCWD. We picked up the extra parts needed to install the SCWD.

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Week 7 Ok now I’m BORED!

Not much to report this week. I’ve been working late each night our new fiber optic network. Connecting 11 offices into T-1 P2P then having this entire network tie into a DS3.

Saturday: Robin and I met with Aquatic-J about building the hood and stand. He had some great ideas and will be able to incorporate all we envisioned as well.

Sunday: I start the preliminary polishing work on the 150. I purchased a polishing kit from Everclear (a local acrylic aquarium refinisher) and proceeded to draw the gridlines. Since we are going with a 2” sand bed and the hood will overlap the tank by 1-2”s I marked of these areas first. Then I created a 12”x12” grid (using the masonite cut out provided) across the front and both sides of the 150.




This is what were are up against!


James (Headless_donkey) came by to lend a hand. We both took turns sanding a couple of square feet. The work was tedious but I feel we made some head way. If only I could photograph the polished side.




After several hours of trial and error we came across the right combination of grit and liquid abrasive to use. The only problem is the kit contains 2 sheets of each grit and that’s only good for 4 square feet. So I have to order more from Everclear. The good thing is we discovered it’s not as hard as we first thought. It goes rather quickly once we figured out the right combination!

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