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I'll go ahead and get some preliminary info going here. This is my second reef tank venture, but we can call it "BPB's Forray into Reefing: Phase 3." Since my original tank was nearly entirely upgraded in almost every single facet except for the glass box. Being that I oversized and purchased my upgrade equipment many months ago, with intent for them to laterally move to any future tank I may get, I had oversized stuff on my 55 gallon. So without further adieu...Here's the next tank.

90 gallon Aqueon RR with left oriented offset center overflow.

Matching dark stained birch ply stand and canopy

PM R36 sump

2x250 watt Lumenmax 2 pendants with Hamilton M80 ballasts and Radiums. (you all saw my test photos over the 55 gallon, they will be the primary lighting on the new 90)

Old stuff to make the transition over:

Apex aquacontroller

Bubble Magus Curve 5 skimmer

Vortech MP40

Jaebo WP25x2

Sicce Syncra 3 return pump (slightly undersized, only about 350-400 gph at the height I'll use it at, and the overflow is 600 gph rated. possible upgrade)

BRS Dual reactor for GFO and Carbon

BRS 1.1 ml/min peristaltic pumps for Ca and Alk dosing


One thing you'll notice is not coming over is the biopellet reactor. All signs I've read recommend AGAINST using biopellets on a new tank as they may hinder a more complex bacterial and microfauna colonization of the rock. Also...I'm just not happy with how they're doing right now. Maybe I've just not adequately balanced feeding and GFO use, or something, but my SPS growth and colors have declined noticeably in the last couple months, and my red turf algae and cyano are really growing too well for my taste. Since the new sump has a decent sized refugium chamber (12" by 14"), I'm going to try my hand at filling it with rubble and lots of macro, and possibly miracle mud. I want better pod production as well so this is a plus. If I find I am struggling with nitrate export I'll consider bringing pellets back online. Happy to hear people's thoughts on the matter

This is also my first time using a reef ready tank. Very excited about it. And kind of nervous. The previous owner had hard plumbed everything, and glued pvc into the bulkheads...While that may be common practice, it made for a horrible inconvenience in removing the tank from the stand. He had to take a saw and cut the bulkheads, ruining them, so now I need new bulkheads...AND upon trying to remove them when I got home, I discovered he had applied silicone to the gaskets inside the overflow, so that took careful, shoulder/neck wrenching gentle pressing and coaxing to peel up the silicone from UNDER the tank, and not break the bottom glass in the process. In my best Borat impression: "GREAT SUCCESS!" or...if I went to all this trouble to upgrade the tank, and my wife finds out I break it before even getting it cleaned: "IF IT NOT SUCCESS, I WILL BE EXECUTE!"

Joking aside. Spending most the day cleaning it up today. The amount of coraline is ridiculous. All 4 panes of glass are covered in about 2-3 mm of hard purple coraline algae. The owner had upgraded to a 300 DD and just kinda let this tank go. I'm soaking paper towels in vinegar and sticking them to the glass to work on dissolving it. Otherwise the stand is in immaculate condition. No blemishes of any kind in the finish. No scratches to the outside glass. Seams are all perfect. I'm a happy camper. Also, when taking the tank down, he broke probably a good $300-$400 worth of sps frags and colonies that were just chilling in the sand. He said "If you have containers, take as much as you can fit." Score. I couldnt fit it all with what tupperware I had in the truck (didnt expect to get frags in this deal, otherwise I'd have come prepared), but I made off with a decent sized Bird of Paradise colony, Red Digi colony, Montipora Spongodes, and Jeremy's Montipora colonies. Good stuff. As I currently dont have any room left in the 55 for more stuff, they're all just sitting in the sand.

Agenda going forward: Clean glass to where it is in brand new condition, wipe and clean all salt creep and smudges from the stand. Redo the plumbing in my own image, do a full mock run/leak test with tap water in the garage, then begin cycling some new sand and about 20 lbs of new rock.

I intend to move over all of my existing sand and rock. Re-using sand is a hotly debated topic, but as I JUST replaced my whole sandbed not but 3 months ago, I think with a good stirring and saltwater rinse, the "old" stuff will be safe to use on the new tank without issue. It's less than 1" deep. only about 20 pounds dry weight total. I'll add just enough more to fill it out since I'll have more ground space to work with.

In it's current state it already IS an SPS dominant tank. There's about a 5 square inch now dead montipora spongodes colony encursted onto the overflow that we couldnt get off and was beautiful upon take down, but now its dry and dead. But technically...still SPS dominant ha ha. Anyhow. Setting the bar SUPER low. Here's two pics from before any work actually began. It smells about as dirty as it looks.



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I'd get it outside and do a 2 or 3 day soak with muriatic acid and water. Buy a gallon or two at a pool store or lowes or HD and see how much coralline it gets off. Also, alway pour acid into water and not the opposite.

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Man...that thought crossed my mid and probably would have saved me an entire day. But as I didn't have any friends off work today and I wanted to get the stink gone. A roll of paper towels and two gallons of vinegar later all the coralline algae is gone. Sheesh that was thick stuff. No idea how I'm gonna get the inside of this overflow cleaned.

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Well... I didn't figure it would be a good idea to transfer over all my sps into a tank where I left 3" of funk, mulm, detritus, sand, and general stinking foulness at the bottom of the overflow weir. Call me crazy lol. I guess I'm just being extra careful.

On that. I did get it all cleaned out for the most part. But this silicone is a nightmare to remove. Gonna take several days of steel wool and razor blade using. I need new bulkheads. I sure wish lowes or petco carried 1" bulkheads lol

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This is super exciting. But once again, I have the smallest tank out of the ARC members here in Bryan/College Station.

On arc...perhaps, in bcs nope. I know people who reef on a smaller scale

Well the smallest of our little musketeer group...but that's ok Manny...your tanks way better than mine.
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Regarding your GFO/BP issue, I find that if you stick with one or another, and water changes/skimmer, you should be able to control NO3/PO4. I took my GFO offline and am only using BP/water changes.

Maybe give it a try and see?

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Olaggie, I'll definitely consider that, as bio pellets are a lot cheaper to run than gfo. I considered also reducing my amount of gfo and bio pellets to less than half what I'm running now and seeing if that helps. Another member had mentioned that won't change anything in theory, but I've also read a lot of accounts of people seeing improvement when reducing their amount. We will see. Either way I will be changing it slowly over the month.


Got about as much silicone removed from that overflow as I could. It's smooth to the touch now (just looks hazy from the glass being dirty on the underside. Took about 2 hours of surgical scraping with a razor blade. Balancing on a ladder, leaned over sideways, my neck awkwardly bent so I could see down into the weir, and my armpit being jammed by the tank rim. Needless to say my back and neck are sore. I discovered silicone comes off much easier if it's dry. Finished it off with some fine steel wool. Let's hope it worked. I'll either be ordering new bulkheads from BRS this weekend, or if Niko has any in stock, having Dustin pick me up some tomorrow.

Glass is as clean as it's gonna get, and I've given up on the last bits of coralline. Sump is squeaky clean as well.

The pic shows my basic vision with the lights. Sitting on top of the canopy, with the base of the fixtures about 1" below the top of the canopy, allowing lots of open air inside the canopy for ventilation and temperature control, as well as shielding the light. I'll likely take a saw to the rest of the top and open it up entirely. The previous owner used 3 small led units that he had sitting on top, hence the center hole. Fans will be mounted on the back, blowing cool air from below, inward, pushing the hot air upward through the top. If I find the temperature is too much to handle, rather than get a chiller, I'll likely consider my halide experiment a bust, and just go straight to LEDs. Any ideas on a rail type system that is easily accessible from a store, simple to fashion, and won't require special tools?

I also had to cut the bulkhead off the return pipe. Unfortunately now it's going to be difficult to see precicely how tall I need to make to to where it seats completely into the new bulkhead, and comes perfectly over the edge into its "seat" at the top of the weir. Just may require a lot of guess and check.

I also plan to incorporate super flexible silicone tubing into the plumbing that way I don't have to be SO precice with measuring PVC, reducing noise (hopefully), and making future removal of everything easier. If i move or sell this tank some years down the road I don't want to put the future owner through all this headache of re plumbing and bulkhead replacement.

Another downside is that the sump is so big, I won't be able to fit my ato reservoir under the stand like I had hoped. Oh well. That's what I like to call a "First World Problem". Totally original term. I coined it.

Refugium...substrate or no? Miracle mud? Oolite? Crushed Coral? Special grade? Barebottom with rubble? Decisions decisions. I've read support for every one of those. Primarily goal is pod reproduction. Secondary goal is macro growth for phosphate and nitrate reduction. Fuge dimension is 12"x14"

I'm coming down with some sort of sickness though, so no more work today. I've got UFC to watch and beer to drink tonight. Seems counter intuitive. Beer and sick...oh well.






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This is super exciting. But once again, I have the smallest tank out of the ARC members here in Bryan/College Station.

On arc...perhaps, in bcs nope. I know people who reef on a smaller scale

Well the smallest of our little musketeer group...but that's ok Manny...your tanks way better than mine.
I wouldn't say so Dustin. I would trade you tanks in a heartbeat. Yours is newer than mine is and although neither is a long established tank, mine if fully running and operational and you are still fine tuning and tweaking yours. That's all. Give it a while and stabilize your parameters. You will see that mine will not even be able to compare to yours in beauty. Now Jonathan's, well that's a different story. There is some fair competition for me there.

Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk

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Got a little more work done today. So as mentioned the canopy needed some modifications to run my metal halides. The top was previously closed in with three small holes that the LEDs sat atop. I don't feel comfy with setting my halide pendants directly on wood due to how hot they get. Might not be an issue, but just don't want to chance it. So I wanted them suspended so they hang freely from hooks.

After toiling over ways to do this I kinda winged it and broke out the tools. Did a plunge cut with the circular saw and opened up a rectangle on top. My end result was a rectangular frame that I screwed and glued to the insides of the canopy. The canopy is a perfect 12" tall, making the top of it roughly 13" from the water. The extra frame is 6" above the canopy, and the lights hang to around and inch under the top...so in a round about way they're 12" off the water. May be too high for some but this will help greatly with ventilation, workable space, and par won't be an issue as I'll also be supplementing with BML lights as well.

Not the flashiest design but it's functional and sturdy. I'll likely apply a dark stain and clear coat as close to the original canopy color as I can, but as it will be tall enough to basically be out of sight, perfectly matching and clean finish aren't a big deal. Just needs to be dark. The pendants will hang from hooks and be perfectly shielded. I'll also be putting a coat of white appliance epoxy on the inside of the canopy to aid in light reflection, and wood preservation.

Waiting on bulkheads to arrive in the mail before I can begin cycling.





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Lol I was seriously sore for 3 days like I had done am intense full body weight lifting session. Though it did motivate me to get back into the gym

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You two are a couple of goobers that's all there is to it.

Quick update:

Replaced the bulkheads and rebuilt the return standpipe. The old one got all hacked up to remove the bulkhead. Easy enough. Instead of cutting the stand pipe little by little until it fit perfectly into the little groove in the overflow box, I used the Dremel to open up that seat a little wider and deeper. Fits perfect.

So I've got the overflow plumbing done and perfectly clean, as well as a perfectly clean weir thanks to some muriatic acid. New bulkheads fit and don't leak. Score. I officially hate removing silicone but got it all.

Decided to go with silicone tubing. It's very flexible, doesn't kink as easily as vinyl, and is very easy to work with. My big goal was ease of removal if need be. It flexes just enough so I can slide the sump clear to the left and have a more useable space on the right side of the stand, while still allowing me to use my built in bracket in the sump so I don't have hoses laying around everywhere. Will wrap with foam insulation for light shielding. Not sure what to do with the other two brackets in the skimmer chamber.

Canopy looks sloppy because it's covered in sawdust, and the cuts aren't perfectly square, but bear in mind, this will be 68" off the ground so most people would have to stand on their tip toes to get a good look at the top. The top of the light bracket is about 75" from the ground too, so unless a freakishly tall person comes to see the tank and has a thing for tops of canopies, my meticulous nature will not be applied to the look of the top because it's mostly not visible. The light hanging frame is being stained now and the first coat is drying.

Halides fit and hang wonderfully. I've got about 1/2" clearance all around for them so they won't be touching the wood, and they're about 1/2" into the top, so the only spillage will be in the very back, and reflection out the top. Very happy with how simple and effective it turned out.

Next step is to get the tank moved to more level ground, as it's in the garage toward the front, and there's about a 7 degree slope, so I won't put more than about 2" of water in it right now. Also want to sand the inside of the canopy and coat in white appliance epoxy.

Lol sorry to tease yall, but there won't be any livestock pics for quite some time, just boring bulkhead pics. It's exciting to have no leaks! Also picked up this shiny co2 setup. Perhaps a calcium reactor is in my future. Either that or my planted tank is about to look a lot better.






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