Mark's Carefully Neglected Reef

Users who are viewing this thread

Mark

Well-known member
Country flag
The aquarium hobby is one of the few passions that has stuck with me my whole life. My first saltwater tank was in 1990 when I was in middle school. It wasn't a huge success. The undergravel filter grew a lot of Cyano, and I remember my tomato clown treated the cyano like an anemone. My first reef was in 1995 reusing the same tank. It had wild Florida live rock(still legal then), flourescent strip lights, and a Skilter(anyone remember those?). I actually had good success given the time and equipment. For some reason, I had great luck with sponges in that system. Since then, I've had numerous reef tanks... And it would be boring to recap all the systems. But the highlight reel would show a wide variety of husbandry shifts, changes in types of corals, etc. I've had seagrass tanks, reefs running original Walter Adey dump bucket ATS, carbon dosing, true Jaubert system, you name it. Anyway back to the not so distant past.....

Around 2015, I noticed my longstanding 180-gallon tank was looking rough at the seams and deemed it ready to be replaced. This was the most recent pic I could find before tearing it down:
reef - 1 (1).jpg


In it's place I upgraded to a 225-gallon. The tank did well for the 3 years I had it.

reef - 2.jpg


Eventually, we would find ourselves wanting to remodel the main floor of the house. That meant tearing down the tank and moving it. We also liked the idea of converting the free'd up space to a play area for the kids. The good news is that we had just renovated our basement, and there was a good spot for a reef tank down there. The only issue was that the wall was shorter and would not accommodate the 225-gallon. So I found myself needing to downsize to a 5-foot Red Sea 625XXL tank:

IMG_0266.jpeg


That was 2018, and I thought I would be good to go for a while. But, it turns out the kids never use the "play room". And the family commented how they miss seeing the reef in the busy part of the house. It's hidden away in a dark basement, and gets very little attention except from me. So we agreed to put the reef back in the sun room off the kitchen where the old tanks used to be. I debated just moving the Red Sea, but I decided against it. There are a few things I disliked about the tank.

1) I hate ultra-clear glass. It scratches way too easily. All it takes is one scratch to offset the benefit of additional clarity.
2) I love rimless, but hate how close Red Sea and Waterbox have the water line on their tanks. Splashes are common when cleaning glass. I also had to rehome a surgeon fish because he splashed water a few time.
3) I hate center overflows. Corner overflows are much easier to maintain.

So with those revelations, I decide to order a custom tank from Planet Aquarium. It's basically their Mega-Matrix rimless 180 gallon, but I asked them to move the overflow to the corner and shorten it so that I would have 3" of glass above the water line. During a water change, I simulated the lowered waterline appearance on my Red Sea, and thought it looked great. The tank is still being built, so in the meantime, I'm doing some prep work.
 
Last edited:

Mark

Well-known member
Thread starter
Country flag
Thanks! I guess I should clarify on the title of my build thread. I refer to my reefkeeping habits as 'careful neglect'. What I mean by that is that I tend to let my tanks run on autopilot a lot of the time. I'm pretty slack on water changes and maintenance. But I don't let it get to a point that is detrimental to the organisms in my care. Quite the contrary. My tanks seem to do best when I keep my hands out of them. I do rely heavily on automation where I can, and leverage my Neptune Apex to keep me informed. For the next build, I'd like to try out automated water changes just to see how my experience will differ from my usualy 2-3 WC's a year.
 

OZ_SPS

Well-known member
Location
CA
Country flag
The aquarium hobby is one of the few passions that has stuck with me my whole life. My first saltwater tank was in 1990 when I was in middle school. It wasn't a huge success. The undergravel filter grew a lot of Cyano, and I remember my tomato clown treated the cyano like an anemone. My first reef was in 1995 reusing the same tank. It had wild Florida live rock(still legal then), flourescent strip lights, and a Skilter(anyone remember those?). I actually had good success given the time and equipment. For some reason, I had great luck with sponges in that system. Since then, I've had numerous reef tanks... And it would be boring to recap all the systems. But the highlight reel would show a wide variety of husbandry shifts, changes in types of corals, etc. I've had seagrass tanks, reefs running original Walter Adey dump bucket ATS, carbon dosing, true Jaubert system, you name it. Anyway back to the not so distant past.....

Around 2015, I noticed my longstanding 180-gallon tank was looking rough at the seams and deemed it ready to be replaced. This was the most recent pic I could find before tearing it down:
View attachment 16296

In it's place I upgraded to a 225-gallon. The tank did well for the 3 years I had it.

View attachment 16297

Eventually, we would find ourselves wanting to remodel the main floor of the house. That meant tearing down the tank and moving it. We also liked the idea of converting the free'd up space to a play area for the kids. The good news is that we had just renovated our basement, and there was a good spot for a reef tank down there. The only issue was that the wall was shorter and would not accommodate the 225-gallon. So I found myself needing to downsize to a 5-foot Red Sea 625XXL tank:

View attachment 16298

That was 2018, and I thought I would be good to go for a while. But, it turns out the kids never use the "play room". And the family commented how they miss seeing the reef in the busy part of the house. It's hidden away in a dark basement, and gets very little attention except from me. So we agreed to put the reef back in the sun room off the kitchen where the old tanks used to be. I debated just moving the Red Sea, but I decided against it. There are a few things I disliked about the tank.

1) I hate ultra-clear glass. It scratches way too easily. All it takes is one scratch to offset the benefit of additional clarity.
2) I love rimless, but hate how close Red Sea and Waterbox have the water line on their tanks. Splashes are common when cleaning glass. I also had to rehome a surgeon fish because he splashed water a few time.
3) I hate center overflows. Corner overflows are much easier to maintain.

So with those revelations, I decide to order a custom tank from Planet Aquarium. It's basically their Mega-Matrix rimless 180 gallon, but I asked them to move the overflow to the corner and shorten it so that I would have 3" of glass above the water line. During a water change, I simulated the lowered waterline appearance on my Red Sea, and thought it looked great. The tank is still being built, so in the meantime, I'm doing some prep work.
This is true inspiration. Thank you for sharing..
 

Mark

Well-known member
Thread starter
Country flag
Thanks everybody for following along! That will help keep me motivated. There's a lot to do, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. But I know I'll be happy I did the work up front. I'm hopeful I have to have time this week to replace a wobbly metal storage rack with one built out of 2x4, where my Brute Trash cans(RO, Saltwater) and reef supplies reside in the basement. The goal is to make it sturdy enough to move my fish and coral Q-tanks onto, and free up some space.


Gorgeous tank! Can’t wait to see the new one being set up. And I hope your old tank is done making you pay for talking about replacing it ;)

I was hoping as well, but found a puddle in the basement(dangit!). I have a ball valve plumbed on the side of the Brute trash can that stores my RO/DI, It's high up so that I can only drain about 5 gallons into a bucket. I stupidly left the valve open. :-( Luckily the water supplying the RO/DI has two solenoids plugged into float switches, and the floats are plugged into a timer that only lets the unit run for 2 hours at a time. My initial logic with putting the floats/solenoids on a timer was that it would reduce the impact of a flood if the float switches got stuck or something else. A 2 hour run on a 25gpd RO, means I'm only making 2 gallons a day. Enough to keep up with evaporation, plus a little extra to ensure the trashcan is full enough to make salt water on occasion. I'm lucky that my foolish mistake last night only resulted in a small puddle, thanks to the timer only allowing the RO/DI to run for 2 hours. The puddle did make a small patch of carpet wet, but didn't reach far enough to set off my leak detectors.

IMG_0348.jpeg



I should probably add another leak detector. I'm also thinking of replacing the timer with an Apex outlet, so I can program some logic to shut off the solenoids if the leak detectors go off.

IMG_0349.jpeg


In other news, the new sump came in. In all the random reefkeeping methods I've tried, running a fuge with a skimmer has always worked best for me. It's not that I think it is THE best method or anything like that, but I think it works best for my hands-off approach. I'm not the guy that changes filter socks weekly. I don't really fear detritus. I figured, the Trigger Triton Series sumps would be a good solution, so I ordered one. I *hope* it fits in the stand. lol.
IMG_0346.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Mark

Well-known member
Thread starter
Country flag
Our basement is 95% finished, which doesn't leave a lot of unfinished storage space. It didn't help that my reef stuff was taking up more space than it should. So starting Friday afternoon, I worked on taking down a wobbly storage rack above the Brute trashcans used for RO and Salt. I replaced it with a sturdy wood rack so that I could move my Q-tanks there, and consolidate reef gear by leveraging vertical storage better. This free'd up room for family stuff, and makes it a lot more clean.

"No disassemble Number 5!":
IMG_0350.jpeg


24 hours later:
IMG_0359.jpeg


I still need to tidy up the RO related 1/4" tubing. I can definitely shorten some runs and use mounts to clean it up. Next up, I need to start running the AWC lines and cabling to where the new reef will reside. Fortunately that is in a room directly above this space, so the distance is not too far. I still have the floor support jacks in place from when I had my 225 up there, so I don't have to think about reinforcing.
 
That looks amazing. All you people with these “basement” things...I’m getting a bit jealous! 😉
I’m jealous too!
All I have is a dirt crawl space under the house and I’m petrified to “crawl” in there. All I can think of is snakes, roaches and black widows:eek:
 
Top