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Reefing the Pentagon???


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My name is Jack and I have been a memeber of ARC for a few years now. I have lived in many places since 2007 but just moved from San Antonio to Marble Falls. (actually Meadowlakes, but close enough) I am not usually much of a fan of build threads so I will keep it as simple as possible. No megabuck equipment, no anal retentive needs to perfectly hide and route each individual wire, no custom made sump with tons of un-needed equipment, just a simple basic reef set up the way I have been doing it for almost 9 years now. No offense to anyone who is anal or a compulsive reef shopper, just a warning that you will not find that stuff here. I am old and change very slowly. :-) This thread is a compilation of the past few years, if you are members of MAAST then you have seen some of this before. This tank has been moved three times while in my possession, this is the last time unless we decide to add onto the house, which I do not see happening, we just moved out of our 3000 sq ft house to a much smaller 1800 sq ft house because we did not need that much house, it is just the two of us and our 5 animals and one small aquarium. biggrin.png

Let's do a little ground work...

The 110 gallon DSA Pentagon (with 20 gallons in the sump), 40x40x25x19x25, 17" tall and 1/2" glass.

I am still playing with the white balance on camera, so don't beat me up on the photography. You would be amazed at how much different my Fuji S6000 reads the Phoenix as opposed to the Radium as opposed to natural sunlight.

Step one...drill a hole for the Glass-Holes overflow. It took a while, but I did it with no surprises.


A stand is needed, and since this tank did not come with one, I had to make one. Armed with nothing more than a miter box saw, jigsaw and drills.


That wasn't so hard, the top isn't covered as the tank has a rim on the bottom.

The tank is resting on the stand now....time for some plumbing and leveling.


All of our furniture is a dark mahogony color so this presented a challange as the skinning was done with Yellow Pine beabed plywood. It took a lot of trial and error to get it this close. (old house in S/A) It is darker without the flash and a lot of people have thought the stand was custom made, I guess it is...by me. :-)


This thing needs some water, rock and inhabitants...let's do that.





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Let's move on to the new house and the current set up. The new house is as unique as the tank is, all exterior angles are obtuse, and you thought that term was just used to describe people with issues. biggrin.png



The tank will reside just to the left of the fireplace, it is like the architect knew I was going to put a strange tank in just that spot, but how could he, the house was built in 1973?


Enough of an old house...let's see some tank pics!

The vaulted ceiling was an obstacle to hanging the light, I didn't really want to run wires that far and then have to worry about where to route the wires for the Halides. The walls were the only option, but one is brick and backed up to the fireplace and the other is another obtuse angle of about 120 degrees, making a wall hanging solution possible, but a challange. I decided to hang off the 120 degree wall with an arm that would hold the halides suspended canopy, and allow the canopy to swing both directions. This worked out well as I did not like the half circle of rocks that I had previously.



The canopy was built to blend in the different angles and holds two LumenArc III Mini's. I still have some work to do with wire management and disguising them, but there is a plan that is taking shape that will still allow the light to be raised and lowered and angled as needed.

Under the tank is still evolving but let's take a look under the hood.





We may be able to squeeze in a part three. :-)

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Part three as promised...I will work through the tired fingers with the dedication that any good reefer should have.

Again...forgive the quality of the pics, the camera is old and setting the white balance on it just plain sucks. :-)

I still have sand to add but as of yet am undecided on what to use. I have used just about everything over the years but as I add flow, keeping sand where I want it has become more of an issue. I am thinking of trying the new Tropic Eden sand that is out, the grain size looks heavy enough to not blow all over the place as the CaribSea Special Reeffloor sand did. Oh well, onto the current pics.







Sump is a 40 gallon plastic bin from Ikea, This thing is thick and heavy, currently holds about 20 gallons of water bringing the water volume to about 130 gallons. No compartments, I don't need them, the skimmer is recirculating and any stray microbubbles must pass through the chaeto to get to the return. Though that is not an issue. :-)

Basic equipment list...

Lighting was a 250 watt Phoenix 14K in an LAIII Mini but was changed to a 150 watt Radium in a LAIII Mini and now a pair of 150 watt Radiums in the Mini's in a home made suspended canopy. (It is nice to have lighting options)

MRC Calcium Reactor re-designed by me and powered by an Aquarium Plants Electronic Regulator.

ASM G3 Recirculating skimmer.

Sanders Ozone Generator

Magnum HOT cannister for carbon and Phosban when needed.

Tunze 6060, a cut shroud MJ1200 on timer for random flow, and a pair of Tunze 6100's with a 6200 series shroud for a much broader flow.

Mag3 for a return. (This may be temporary, with the 1" plumbing it is providing a decent flow through sump, have a Sicce in the box should I decide to up the flow.)

300 watt titanium heater

Milwaukee PH and ORP controllers

LED fuge light to keep the chaeto happy.

More to come in the next few months as we start to fill this tank back up with corals and fish. I am glad to be back in the Austin Reef Community. Austin has always been home, even though I have lived all over the country. I don't plan on leaving, we bought this house as a place to retire, though neither of us plan on doing that any time soon. We are one street away from the lake in a quiet sedate little community of old raisons just like us. :D

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i like the tank shape as well, i like the simple things. Hope long have you been experimenting with the ozone? I have thought about it but dont know to much about it. The folks at Precision Marine and i talked about the addition of ozone but still undecided. Maybe a phone call is in order.

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I have used ozone since 2004. The thing to remember is not to try and use too much. I run a 25 mg/hr unit on my tank, and most of the time it is only being run half throttle. Ozone can be a powerful thing, and a dangerous one. Read Randy's articles on Ozone and you will see what I mean. Sanders recommended a mg/hr as do the other mfgs but it is too much. By using a smaller dose you don't have to worry about carbonic acid or creating a high orp tank and breathing ozone is really not recommended. A small dose will keep your water clear and even with my small dosage my orp stays in the mid to high 300's. I do not have to worry about running my ozone effluent through carbon, (I have my reactor hooked to the venturi on my skimmer, which outgasses it just fine) and I never smell ozone. There are also a few different technologies for creating ozone. I like the corona discharge, it is easy to use and the unit is painless to clean and I have never needed a drier.

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Thanks, it is still very much a work in progress. So much to do and so little time. We are still moving, it is a PITA to consolidate 3000 sq ft into 1800 sq ft. I don't recommend trying it. :D In the next few weeks I will be frag shopping, adding sand, finishing the canopy and playing with the aquascape, all while cleaning and moving the last of our crap from San Antonio. It looks like there are some new LFS's in the area that I did not know of in 2007. I may have to check the budget and take Toni on a day trip to shop. Having a woman who appreciates the reef and does not interfere with it is a blessing, I think everyone should have one just like her.

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Yes, in an old subdivision in Marble Falls called Meadowlakes that was originally an old pecan orchard. Every house has pecan trees, and they line up on both sides of the street and in the backyards.

We are fortunate, we have 5 pecan trees on our third of an acre,. two up front and 3 in the back yard.



Plus a nice screened in porch that echoes the shape of the house.




It is a great area to live, close to Austin and San Antonio, I can get to the house in Windcrest in about an hour and 20 minutes if I keep my foot out of it. :D

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Sweet looking tank! I personally like the first rock layout you had in a semi-circle.

I did too but getting adequate flow into that semi circle was just not possible with the Tunze's on the back wall, I could not get good flow there so it was a dead spot, which isn't good for the SPS. :-) I will play with a couple of different layouts, but now it is two islands directly under the halides and the flow is is greatly improved. I will have a lawn of GSP in the back and sides for now. I need to find a PAR meter to borrow for a few days and check the PAR levels around the tank before I make anything permanent.

Bige...I love the neighborhood too. It is so quiet you can hear a cricket two blocks up and there is no ambient light, so it is pitch black, The quiet and darkness took a little getting used to, we didn't sleep the first few nights we were here. It was like being in a sensory deprivation chamber. I lived here from 1967 until 1980, always on lakefront property so i am a lake rat and it feels great to be back home.

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  • 2 months later...

I added sand yesterday afternoon and figured I should update this. I used the Tropic Eden, 30 pounds of Mini Reef flakes and 30 pounds of Reef flakes. This stuff was unbelievably clean, as I had heard, and it is true. I tried rinsing the Mini Reef flakes and got nothing coming out, so I just placed all sand without rinsing. It has been close to 24 hours and there was no milkshake, what little bit of fines did come off were quickly dissipated into the tank. I was very pleased, after using CaribSea (and Southdown in my first tanks) for many many years, and no matter how well you rinsed it, it clouded up the tank like crazy, this product lives up to the claims. I can still see a little in the water, but I am anal about having crystal clear water. :-)




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I am sold on this sand, you can see how clear the water is after 24 hours, and that is with no mechanical filtration. The water did have some fines in it, but at no time did the tank get deeply cloudy. I only rinsed a few pounds and left the rest unrinsed. I am never easily impressed, this sand did it though.

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  • 10 months later...

Time for a little update, it has been a little over a year since I
started this thread. The tank has continued to grow, I have had some
little issues to overcome, cyano, CaRx issues, too much light resulting
in bleached corals, etc etc. It is finally back on track and doing
well. I put the calcium reactor on the shelf for a while, I just do not
have enough demand yet to justify it. I am currently dripping kalk
with a peristaltic pump set to drip my daily evaporation. It has been
working as well as you may expect, perfectly, for now at least.

Enough of the drivle, on to some pics. :D








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