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Shawn's 240 Long


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Many of you have seen my BC29 build where the man formerly known as JeeperTy mentored me through the setup and maintenance of a marine aquarium (Link in signature). Before launching in to this thread I would like to thank Ty for spending the time and energy to mentor me through the process and everyone else in ARC for all the helpful feedback. I would have never been able to find my through on internet forums and YouTube alone and beaten the frustrations that come with reef keeping. Thanks! grin.png

I knew that I wanted a much larger tank before I bought the BC29, but made a deal with myself that I needed to maintain interest in the hobby for at least a year and be able to maintain a healthy smaller aquarium. I made it almost a year... whistle.gif

I love the 240L, 8'x2'x2' foot print and decided that if I ever saw one come up for sale at a reasonable price, that I would go after it.

So, here it is. With my fiancee, Kaye, and puppy, Sifu, who are both very supportive of the new project. Kaye is supportive because she likes to see me happy and nerd out on stuff... Sifu likes to sit in front of the tank plotting my fishes inevitable demise in which fantasy he finally finds the exact spot in the glass where he can bite through and eat them.


Overall, this project is still a learning opportunity for me.

There are MANY topics that you don't learn from the upkeep of an all-in-one system and especially a small one. Things like plumbing, skimmers, calcium reactors, keeping large fish, etc... This means that I need to get a bigger tank to start learning the next level.

That said, I am not planning this out to be the end-all-be-all project where I open up the wallet and throw everything at it--I am just not there yet. I need more time and experience in the hobby to even know what I want out of my eventual "dream tank." I am going to go through the process of this tank slowly and piece it together over time. I will be combing the ARC classifieds religiously and be posing tons of questions for those who are interested.

Next Steps... Cleaning and polishing the tank...

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I have to say, Dan. I am going to be picking your brain especially hard through this process, because if I did have enough knowledge, experience, and funds to build this into a dream tank now, I have a hunch that it would come out a lot like yours. smile.png

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Pick away! And thanks! 8' tanks are really the best in my completely unbiased opinion. ;) Great combination of length, not too big, but big enough, and not insanely expensive, but not cheap.

Right off the bat, if you haven't bought pumps for water movement in the tank yet, I really would recommend the Gyre 150's. They are amazing across 8' and produce some crazy good flow. You could possibly get away with 1, but if you do SPS, for sure get 2.

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First off, I'd like to say congrats on the new tank Shawn. Second, I'd like to say that I've obviously taught you nothing as your tank is 240 gallons and not 240 liters. [emoji23]

Very exciting new tank sir. I am happy to pass you along to Dan now and he'll be your problem... uh.... I mean he'll be your delight in working with to get this beast setup! [emoji4]

All joking aside, I have a good feeling about how this tank is going to come out!

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It'll be nice to have a "sister" tank. And I'm a fan of acrylic although it does scratch easily, the peace of mind is worth it to me. Plus you can buff it out when it does get scratched. (Yes, when, not if).

So have you given thought to your overflow type? Sump size? Return pump? Skimmer? Etc...

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Heh. Yeah, Ty. Maybe I should change the title of the thread to "Shawn's 240g Long" instead of "Shawn's 240L" so that they don't get confused smile.png

So, I don't have much choice on the overflow. I am not sure if you can make it out in the picture above, but it is a center overflow. Here is a picture (sorry for the low quality, it is the only that I have on hand):


Also, it is drilled for a closed-loop. You can see the holes on the side of the overflow in the pic... Honestly, I have been researching CL systems for the last week and still only have a vague idea of how to set it up. Not the functionality of how a CL works... Inlet, Pump, Output... but in how to set it up to get the best flow. That said, I definitely want to fully utilize the CL. My goal will be to produce all the flow for the tank from the two main pumps. I am heavily researching OM 4-ways to create flow patterns in the CL.

The difficulty that I am running into is that I have absolutely zero experience plumbing anything. So, going from zero to plumbing not only a sump and equipment for a 240, but also a full CL system is overwhelming. unsure.png

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So, one of the things that you may have noticed is that the tank is acrylic and came with a stand and canopy.


I need to refinish both of them. The color of the stand is too light for my liking and I will need to strip and stain it to match other stuff int he house. Also, the tank itself was scratched to hell. I have spent the last couple weeks refinishing it.

It started with scratches like this all over the tank:


I was pretty sure that I could get all these types of scratches out pretty easily. But then some of the scratches toward the bottom of the tank were deeeeeep.... like this:


So, anyway, I decided to just refinish the entire thing and just start fresh. I started by sanding the entire tank with 600 grit sandpaper by hand. This was an extremely scary process that had the tank looking like this when I was finished:


My arm almost fell off three times while going through this process. You have to imagine that it is a lot of area to cover and then you have to go for a very long time to get some of the deeper scratches to come out. Then I went and bought a finishing sander and wet sanded the whole tank again with 1000 grit and then 2000 grit. In the picture below you will see the 1000 grit on the left and 2000 grit on the right:


By the time I got to 2000 grit, I was starting to get less anxious. I could see that I would at least still get to see through the tank.I found that there were still some spots where I hadn't managed to get the deepest scratches out and I had to spot treat some of the spots through the whole process again...

Once there, I turned to the Novus system and took the entire tank through all three steps of that. I have to say, the Novus system produces some pretty incredible results in my opinion:


I ended up completing the entire tank in about a week and it looks beautiful. biggrin.png

I am ready to start thinking about plumbing.... :)

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Stunning tank Shawn and great work!

Had a 135 scratched to hell and decided to just sell it then do the work. Yes I'm lazy.

Had a 240 next, but the build took too long and I lost interest...

Have you decided on full reef, fowlr etc... ?

Stocking list?

Equipment list?

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Nuxx, after my arm almost fell off refinishing this tank, I would never call someone lazy for not wanting to do it. It was a serious undertaking. That said, I really wanted this foot print and for the price i got it for with the stand it was the only way I could convince myself to get into a tank this size.

I do know that it will be a full reef. I hope this build doesn't take so long that I lose interest, but I have to say, I am currently overwhelmed a bit. :)

For instance, I was just researching where I could get bulkheads and other plumbing pieces in Austin today, let alone installing them, let alone figuring out how big the diameter of all the plumbing should be to ensure that water flows through it at the right rate from the pump that I haven't bought or researched yet...! yikes. unsure.png I am going to be researching my butt off over the next several months. I think it will be a pretty slow process.

I think that the next step is to stain the stand and canopy. Then, I need to figure out what I want to do about this closed loop system long term, so that I can plumb it and the return pump to a Rubbermaid and get this thing cycling while I look for a skimmer and sump.

I know it is probably a little unorthodox to want to get it running before you have things figured out like the skimmer, but I think if it is running I will be much more apt to want to work on it--If it has some fish living in it it will make it more real... and I will feel like it is giving me something back and it deserves all the extra work to improve it. tongue.png

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So, the more I research the plumbing of my tank, the more confused I become. If anyone could shed some light on it, I would appreciate it.

There are four holes coming out of the bottom of the overflow:


The large one is a 2.5" hole and the three little ones are 1.25" holes. From what I can see on BRS that means that they can fit 1.5" sch80 and .5" sch80 bulkheads respectively. But that seems really small for a return. Looks like with ABS bulkheads I could fit 1.5" and .75" bulkheads.

Also, there are two holes on each side of the overflow and two on the top of the tank:


The ones on the top of the tank are clearly returns, but what about the ones on the overflow? Maybe those are all just inlets that need bulkheads as well? Are they all inlets for the CL? Or maybe the bottom set are holes are outlets from the closed loop that you would plumb through to get water movement at the bottom of the tank.

Any ideas out there?

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WOW! That looks SO much better! Amazing what a boatload of elbow grease can do to an totally scratched to heck acrylic tank!

The holes on the side of the overflow are your closed loop holes. The lower holes are the inlets, plumb with a bulkhead and strainer. The upper holes are either returns for the closed loop, or more inlets to make the suction less strong...

As far as the 4 holes in the bottom of the overflow, you have many options how to use them. This would be my suggestion...

  • Expand 1 x 0.75" hole to accommodate a 1" bulkhead.
  • Use the 1.5" bulkhead and 1" bulkhead for your return drain lines plumbed using the Herbie method.
  • Use the 1" line as your full siphon, and the 1.5" line as the emergency. So 1" line should be 6" from the bottom of the overflow inlets, 1.5" should go to within about 1/2" of the overflow inlets
  • Plumb the 4 holes in the sides of the overflow all as inlets, put in bulkheads with strainers
  • Combine 2 inlets so you have 4 --> 2 --> bulkheads in bottom of overflow
  • Use 2 closed loop pumps, one left side, one right side - this way you can create alternating currents and not needs quite as large a pump. Perhaps 2 RODC-5500.
  • Plumb closed loop and return lines through the top of the tank

Again, that's just how I'd do it. You've got a lot of options. :)

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Nuxx, after my arm almost fell off refinishing this tank, I would never call someone lazy for not wanting to do it. It was a serious undertaking.

One time I used a slightly more aggressive cleaning pad on our acrylic and didn't noticed I scratched the whole front panel.

Used the mighty magnet kit, every level of sandpaper...

Took me two days to clean up a 120x31" panel.




Still have some faint scratches only I can see, but 95% are gone.

I'd say just get a 100 gallon Rubbermaid tote from Tractor Supply (~$70) and start curing your rock.

Lost interest because of things out of my control.

Ended up wanting a much larger tank by the time all the issues with the 240 were over...

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So, I have made some decisions / purchases on the build. I went with a Skimz Oval SV223 and it showed up today. grin.png


A lot of ARC folks seem to have a good experience with them. This one has a really nice footprint, for a skimmer that is rated for over 500 gallons, due to the oval design. People have also reviewed the pumps as high-quality and over their power rating. I just hope it works well :)

There have many more decisions made as well... Many of them due to a trip to Dan's reef and some great conversation.... thumbsup.gif Thanks again, Dan.

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So, I have been tinkering around with the tank project over the last week.

I decided to stain the stand because I really didn't care for the light color:





I chose a dark walnut color because I think it goes nicely with the floors. That said, I the world's worst decorator so I pretty much just know I want to make it darker, sand it, stain it, add poly, and hope for the best. smile.png

Also, I plumbed my overflow as well. I had four holes to work with as it was plumbed for a closed loop:


Using two of the holes, I installed a Herbie as suggested by Dan. It has a 1" full siphon and a 1.5" emergency.


For the two other holes I plumbed inlets for closed loops. Each inlet starts with a tee that pulls water from each side of the overflow. Why two inlets? I decided that I really want to avoid power heads or anything else on the front or side walls of the tank if I can avoid it, so I am going to try something a little unorthodox and have two closed loops going through the tank on two separate DC12000.... stay tuned for more on that. smile.png

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Holy cow you've been busy! The stand looks so much better! How far below the water line is the full siphon? The picture looks very far but that could just be perspective.

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