Deet's 150g Reef Build...

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Builds' started by DaddyDeet, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. DaddyDeet

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    Well, the day has finally come to start a build thread on my 150g reef project.
    This will be my first "large" system, as I currently only have an IM10 reef this is quite the jump in size....which obviously means quite the jump in planning, time, and money.
    It's been just about a year since I purchased the primary equipment (ie. Tank, sump, return pump) and have picked things up along the way as well. I also have yet to buy some small pieces of equipment as well (ie. Powerheads, ato..) but primarily I have all the equipment to get it started.

    Equipment list..

    150g high DT (drilled rear back left corner)
    Eshoppes eclipse L overflow
    Trigger Emerald 34 sump
    Eflux return pump
    Red sea c-skim1800 skimmer
    Triton pump to feed skimmer
    Radeon xr30 (x2)
    Heaters (x3)
    Plumbing materials

    Now...I started with setting the plumbing up before I did anything else. After buying the skimmer, I realized that it was going to be slightly more complex to plumb, since the skimmer is MASSIVE and would not fit well enough in the sump chamber. I was going to have to run it externally, and feed it from a separate pump within the sump.

    When I made enough room in the stand for the skimmer alongside the sump as opposed to IN the sump, this created an issue with the back brace of the stand, being smack in the middle of where the overflow plumbing would drain into the sump. I was going to have to get creative. So the plumbing is a combination of both rigid sch.40 and flexible tubing.

    20181103_101511.jpg 20181103_101519.jpg 20181103_101532.jpg 20181103_101550.jpg
  2. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    Now that the plumbing from the overflow has been "figured out", time to figure out the skimmer. The pump feeding the skimmer from the sump runs at "up to 850gph" so considering it only has to push water through about 2.5 feet of tubing, it's going to be a bit high for for the recommended 400gph for the skimmer....insert ball valve here....
    Then returning the water back to the skimmer. Here lies another challenge, the skimmer will need to be raised between 4 to 6 inches in order for the return from the skimmer to be higher than the rim of the sump....I have 1x10 pine molding that will be cut into lengths to raise it 1" at a time...then I'll laminate the molding for rigidity, and to keep it from sliding on itself. (Have not gotten to this stage yet) 20181103_102822.jpg
  3. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    The next aspect I'm working on currently is the scape.

    This has got to be the most frustrating
    I was not about to spend a thousand bucks on rock (and manage to not get divorced). So I went with 160lbs of coral base dry rock. 40lbs of which is shelf rock, so at least i had some flat, smooth surfaces to work with if needed.
    At first I tried the pile it and see method...which did not really give it the look I was going for, and had several suggestions from members in regards to keeping it from being too symmetrical, which was certainly good advice. Here is how it started.

    20181021_153155.jpg 20181021_153217.jpg 20181021_153244.jpg

  4. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    Obviously, this scape wasnt going to work...just looked too....blah...and the JB water weld I was using was simply not going to cut it for what I was aiming for, aesthetically.

    The next thing I tried, was to do the hole drilling, and fiberglass rod to pin rocks in place.
    This was fairly easy, but the angle of the drill bit would never stay straight, thus creating difficult angles to match in the adjoining rocks. I feared the only way to do it with some success was to drill through multiple rocks at once, so they have a definite match on angle and the rods would then fit well in between them.
    Drilling through 2 rocks at once horrified me, and I was not willing to turn all my rock into rock rubble attempting such a task.

    Some of the pics of the holes and rods method.

    Keep in mind, since the angles weren't great, at the point of these photos, some rocks were pinned together so strong from having to bend the rods that the nearly had to be broken to get in and out of place. And other rocks were held together by a
    Needless to say, I was headed in the right direction, but still not satisfied and at ease with the solidity of the scape. I need more dramatics in the height, and the symmetry, or lack there of . 20181023_200447.jpg 20181023_200533.jpg
  5. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    I needed a more sturdy approach, since I'm trying to get some height off of an already precarious I needed it to be rock solid.
    I did some research and what people are using with success and theres a lot of "dont buy "x", you can get "z" from home depot for half the cost.....
    But none of these options had definitive evidence or testimony in their favor for me to trust it. I mean, everybody knows everything on the internet is true, so I should have just trusted the stuff out there...but I must be a bit of a skeptic.
    The biggest of these mysterious recommendations was hydraulic cement from big box home improvement stores. I read a lot of things about people having great success, and on the contrary a lot of stuff about it being a ph nightmare after you fill the DT with water. This was also something I wasnt willing to risk...I'm sure I'll have enough issues that happen naturally, I dont need to add to the mix with snake oil products that end up screwing me up after the fact.
    I posted the question about the trustworthiness of hydraulic cement in my nano build thread, and my night in shining armor, @Nart, swore by Emarco 400.
    I did some research on it, and it certainly seemed like my best bet. Theres not much bad I can say about it, other than it sticks out like a sore thumb...but coraline will allegedly cover over it just as well as rock, so I'm ok with it knowing theres a point where it wont be so noticeable. (Sidenote: I did not see that there was a pink option until after I already had it. I didn't pick a color on brs, so maybe they just dont carry it...who knows..)

    So I tear down the cave structure and start again using emarco....

    I'm still in the process of building, I like to build a section, and let it get solid, before I try to add additional rock weight to it...but tgus far, here is what I've got....the top part of the "cave" I made using shelf rock, so I've got a flat surface to try to do something drastic from it, and have an even surface.

    So from here I keep plugging away, and slowly building something I can enjoy...
    I will update accordingly as things come together...

    20181103_095006.jpg 20181103_095020.jpg 20181103_095046.jpg
  6. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    Very nice so far. Marco is a good product. What are your plans on the back glass?
  7. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    I think I'm going to leave it black....painted from the outside...I tossed around the idea of putting a ledge on the back with silicone...but affraid it wont hold and catastrophe would ensue....
  8. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    BRS sells a rock ledge that’s held with magnets that looks cool.
  9. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    The magnet route definitely seems safER....but I'll see what it looks like after I'm done playing with rocks...just made another couple additions now that the cement is hard.....I'm working from left to right 20181103_121816.jpg 20181103_142654.jpg 20181103_142704.jpg 20181103_142720.jpg
  10. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    I like that. Plenty of swim thru for the kiddies, and plenty of places to put corals.
    Speaking of kiddies, have you thought about your stocking plans?
  11. Nart

    Nart Well Known Member Member

    Very awesome! That top rock scape is going to be very nice once you start placing corals on it and letting it grow in. Great job.
  12. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    Haven't thought about stocking options yet...I'm sure itll be well
    I'm still trying to imagine just getting water in it for steps.
  13. OP

    DaddyDeet Valued Member Member

    Yeah didnt turn out too bad on that side....I gotta start cracking some of those rocks on the other side and see what I can come up with...the only thing i know i want is the crescent shape cove....but dont know how it will end up....theres a lot of rock that can be broken up and used more creatively, I'm sure..

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