Waterbox My First Saltwater Build..... Waterbox Frag 55.2...... This is going to be great

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So I guess I will start with how I ended up starting my first reef tank. It's kinda ironic really.....

I have been in the aquarium hobby for over 20 years. I started a 75 gallon African Cichlid tank way back then and it's become a self sustaining colony and it's still going strong today. (See pics below). The reality was though that the tank had been neglected for the past 10 years or so. Not neglected maintenance wise, just neglected in the fact that I pretty much just cleaned it, fed the fish and never actually looked at it or enjoyed it.

Fast forward to November 2020 and I decided that I wanted to downsize. I was looking around and ended up settling on a Waterbox Marine X 60.2. I had always been intrigued by having a sump and this tank was about 1/2 the size of my current tank so it seemed like a good fit. This was a newly released tank and they were not currently in stock, which was fine because I was in no hurry. This turned out to be a good thing.

So one night while searching YouTube to learn about sumps a video showed up in my recommended that said 300 days no water change.


The title intrigued me so I clicked. I was in awe of what I saw. I had never really considered saltwater because I always thought it would be too hard. This video really opened my eyes to 2 things.

1. Reef tanks were amazingly beautiful and..
2. It was possible on some level to keep a somewhat simple reef tank.

Now don't get me wrong here, I am no dummy, I realize that the approach in the video is probably not the safest route to take, but it made me realize that you could make it as easy or hard as you wanted on some level.

After a few days I could not get it out of my head and I decided to change course and actually make my new tank purchase a Reef Aquarium.

So the endless hours of research started and I pretty much spent every free second watching videos or reading articles and threads.

So 1 last thing for this extremely long post. So you'll notice the build thread is a Frag 55.2, but I thought I bought a Marine X 60.2..... Well after about 12 plus weeks of waiting and still no delivery date on the tank I stumbled upon a thread here on R2R where someone was offered a Frag 55.2 instead of the 60.2 and they were in stock. I didn't even know this tank existed because it was discontinued and could only be found on the clearance page on the Waterbox website. So I called and got the info on the 55.2 and I actually liked the dimensions better as it was wider, deeper, but was shorter. I personally like the look of a shallower tank so I pulled the trigger.

Here I am about 4 months later and 4 months into the build. Still no water in it, but lots of work has been done. In the coming weeks I will update this thread with pictures and get everyone up to speed as to where I am at.

More to come......

Here's a picture of my 20 plus year old African Cichlid Tank.

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bluerider098

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The next thing I started working on was getting stuff for a QT tank. I took advantage of a sale on Waterbox Clear Minis and bought a 10 gallon at 1/2 off.

I plan to use Dr. Reef to QT my fish initially as I don't plan on having many fish, and the protocol for treating fish is a little intimidating. Corals look pretty easy as it's just a waiting game. Dip them initially then let them sit in QT for 76 days, or 6 weeks if you raise the temp to 80.6. Just watch them to look for hitchhikers and let any possible fish diseases die off.

Here is a list of the equipment I bought for my quarantine tank.

- Waterbox Clear Minis 10
- Aquaclear 20
- Eheim Trutemp Heater
- Hydor Koralia Nano Powerhead
- Aqua Knight A029 Light
- Inkbird ITC-306A

I also designed and made a custom Lexan lid but I will cover details on that in a later post.

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bluerider098

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While I was waiting for my tank to arrive I started working on a Saltwater mixing station. I planned on having 2 storage containers, 1 for mixed Saltwater and one with RODI water.

The first challenge was finding some storage containers. There were plenty online, but the shipping was as much as the containers. I finally settled on 2 20 gallon Ace Roto Mold tanks. With a hint from a post on R2R I first tried to see if I could buy them from Rural King. I was hoping that they could order them in with thier regular shipments and avoid the shipping costs. It ended up that they could not get the tanks, but they did give me the phone number of the manufacturer. I ended up calling them and they gave me the number of a local supplier. The local supplier was able to get me the tanks with their normal shipment and I didn't have to pay shipping.

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bluerider098

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Next I started working on building the stand for the water storage containers. I didn't have very much room where I wanted to put them. My goal was to be able to store buckets of salt under the stand, and I wanted to be able to fill buckets from the containers of needed. I had a brand new Magdrive 7 pump that I bought for a closed loop on my freshwater tank like 15 years ago and never used, so I decided to use that for my mixing pump.

So after using some masking tape, the containers and the pump I mocked up on the floor the overall size of the stand. Once I had this I went to the computer to design the stand. Here is what I came up with.

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I was fortunate that I had enough scrap pieces of wood lying around that I had everything I needed to build it. Unfortunately I didn't take many photos detailing the progress as I built it.

I pretty much use pocket holes to join everything together and I happened to have some sheets of black plastic that my work was going to throw away that I used to cover the plywood on the top of the shelves. It looks nice and provides some water protection. After I put everything together I ran a 3/8 radius bit around the edges of the shelves to remove the sharp edges and give it a nice look.
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bluerider098

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Once the stand was built it was time for plumbing. I purchased the 4 Stage Value Plus Water Saver 150gpd RO unit from BRS to supply water to the station and I had to figure out how I was going to hook everything up. The Magdrive pump that I planned on using to mix the saltwater is set up for 1/2" plumbing so that is what size I decided to use for everything. I probably spent way more time than I should have on designing the plumbing for this, but for whatever reason I really struggled on how I wanted things plumbed.

I looked at lots of pictures of mixing stations online and the most common theme was to plumb the fresh and salt water containers together with a series of ball valves to direct water between them. I understand the concept here of being able to make RO water in 1 tank and then transfer it to the other tank when your ready to make more saltwater. This design makes sense of your going to use it solely for making saltwater, but in my case I wanted the freshwater container to double as my ATO storage container. With the other designs I believe that a small amount of saltwater would contaminate the freshwater container when the valves were switched. I suppose you could use a check valve to prevent any back flow but I was already limited on space.

So since my containers are relatively small I decided to keep the 2 plumbed separately and if I am in a pinch where I need more than 20 gallons of saltwater, I can use buckets to transfer water from the fresh water to the Saltwater container.

I purchased what supplies I could locally, but most of the fittings/valves I ended up buying online. (On a side note I ended up having to make 3 separate orders because like most plumbing jobs you never get everything you need the first time ) Most places near me didn't have much in 1/2 inch for whatever reason. Similar to the examples that I looked at online, I used true union ball valves everywhere so that I could disconnect the plumbing and clean the barrels of needed. I also ordered 1/4" RO tubing, neat aquatics tubing clips, a 3 way valve from BRS to hook up the RO water to the barrels and float valves from Amazon to automatically shut off the water when the containers are full. The float valves are the exact same ones you can buy from BRS but they were like 6 dollars cheaper on Amazon.

So I think the easiest way to show what the final design looked like is to show a picture of the finished product.

First here is what a typical setup looks like that's plumbed together. I found this picture on Google images. Obviously someone from R2R lol.
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Now here is a picture of my finished product.
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This post is probably already to long and wordy so I will save explanations of everything and some more detailed pictures for my next post.
 

bluerider098

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I will share a few more details about my mixing station in hopes maybe it will make someone's life a little easier if they want to build thier own. Here are a few more pictures.

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The first picture shows the 3 way valve for directing the RO between the 2 different tanks. Each tank has its own float valve to automatically shut the water off when the track is full. The white valve right below the RO canister is the flush valve for the RO membrane on the RO unit. I just relocated it to the spot shown so it's easier to access.

The second picture just shows the smart power strip, ATO controller, and both the fresh water line for the ATO and the salt water line I plan to use for doing auto water changes. I put both the pump and ATO on a smart power strip so that I could turn the circulation pump on and off without plugging and unplugging it, and I could also put it on a timer when moving the saltwater. It also asked me to schedule the ATO to be disabled when doing the auto water changes with dosing pumps. I bought the smart power strip from Amazon (Gosound) and am using the Smart Life app to control it. For organizing the lines and cords I have been using the Neat Aquatics RO tubing clips. They work really well and I used them to organize all of the tubes going to my tank. I will show more on that another time.

The third picture is just showing the no drip quick disconnect that I will use for filling the tank after manual water changes. By closing off the ball valve at the top of the tank and opening this one I can use the mixing pump to pump the water to my tank. This way you don't have to haul buckets.

The last picture is just the hose and filling valve that I made to hang on the side of the tank or sump. I got the idea for this from a Fish of Hex video on YouTube. I thought it was a great idea so I copied it.

I guess one last thing to mention that I forgot to share in an earlier post was that I used the Oatey Fusion single step pvc glue to glue all Of my plumbing together. It doesn't require primer and allows for a little more time to move the fittings around after gluing compared to the normal primer and glue. I really liked this because it was cleaner looking without the normal purple primer and it didn't instantly set like the normal glue does. Just make sure to read the directions because you actually apply the glue 2x before putting it together.

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bluerider098

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Around the time I was finishing my mixing station I got a text from FedEx to schedule a delivery of my tank. Fast forward a few days and Fedex notified me about 30 minutes before arrival and they showed up right on time. The tank was delivered undamaged and the FedEx driver even used his pallet jack to push it up my driveway into my garage.

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It was packaged very well and had no external damage. Here are a few pics of how it was packaged.
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I was pretty excited to get something accomplished so I went straight to putting the stand together.

The box and packaging for the stand were undamaged, but as I got everything out and started examining the pieces there were some panels that had damage. Since the packaging was not damaged it means that the pieces were put in the box damaged. Here are some pictures.

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I decided that it wasn't major damage and that I could fix it. The edge where the paint was delaminating I used wood glue and tape to hold it down while the glue dried. I used a sharpie to cover up the other damage. Luckily the edge where the paint peeled up was going to be under the tank so it would be held down and not visible.

I ran into a few other issues as well. The threaded inserts for the leveling feet had been painted over making it impossible to thread the feet in. I had to use a dental pick to pick the paint out of the threads. The other issue was that the holes for the threaded inserts were too deep in the wood, so when trying to level the stand it would just push the threaded insert further and further into the stand. It took me awhile to figure out why my adjustments to the feet wasn't doing anything. I ended up using washers to take the load off the inserts and transfer it to the stand. 2020 hindsight I probably would have just pulled them out and filled the hole with superglue and put the inserts back in. I would probably still have still used the washers as backup.

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Other than those issues the stand went together easily. Think of Ikea furniture. There are metal pins and dowels to align the panels and locks that you turn to hold the pieces together.

It was a little challenging trying to level the stand due to the number of feet and the fact that you cannot access the ones in the middle of the stand without flipping the stand over. So what I ended up doing was moving all of the feet except the outside 4 corners up all the way and just used the 4 corners to level the stand. Then I checked my floor to see how level it was in between the feet. I was fortunate that there were no dips or bumps so I basically just flipped the stand over and just used the level as a straight edge across the feet and adjusted all of the others to match. After doing this the stand was level and sturdy. The door went on easily and has adjustable hinges so nothing really to note there.

Now my stand was pretty small, but I am not sure how someone could adjust the feet on a much larger stand and ensure that they were all touching the floor evenly. I recommend to Waterbox that they design the stand so that the bottom of the stand goes in last giving you access to all of the leveling feet. That way you could adjust all of them perfectly to the floor, and the put the bottom in when done. I am also not sure how someone would do this on carpet, I think you would have to put a board down under the stand or something to give you a flat surface.

I did reach out to Waterbox about my issues and they were very quick to respond and compensated me without question for the damaged parts. Definitely first class customer service.

Here is a picture of the assembled stand and tank.

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As you notice from the picture the tank is in my basement. What you can't see is that's this room is also my office. So I will be able to enjoy my tank almost all day once complete.
 

bluerider098

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Once the stand was built and the track was sitting on it, I started experimenting with different aquascapes. I wanted to get a head start here so that I had lots of time to decide if I liked the designs I came up with.

I did some research before buying rock and settled followed the manufacturers recommendation of 1 to 2 lb per gallon of rock. I ended up purchasing Caribsea Life Rock, mostly because I liked the purple color and the fact that it was man made. (I want to contribute as little as possible to the destruction of coal reefs). Since I wanted an assortment of rocks I ended up ordering 20lb of standard Life Rock, 20lb of Life Rock shapes, and 20lb of Life Rock Nano Arches. On my first attempt of a rockscape I quickly realized that this was way too much rock.

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At first I thought I liked it, but after looking at it for a few days I decided it was too much rock. So I went back to the drawing board and experimented with a few more designs. I ended up deciding that I could get away without the nano arches, so I boxed them up and returned them. I bought them from Marine Depot and they took them back no problem, I just had to pay the return shipping.

So after changing the rocks around a few more times. I settled in on something I liked.

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I sat on this for another week or 2 and then stumbled upon a thread on R2R that was for having your rockscape analyzed. So I submitted some pictures and a very helpful member by the name of streetlamp suggested moving the rock in the front center over to the structure on the left. What a great suggestion this turned out to be. I followed the suggestion and really liked how it looked. I decided to stick with this final setup.

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I liked this setup because it has lots of different levels for different light needs and a few shaded areas for lower light stuff. Honestly the pictures don't do it justice. It looks much better in person.

Once I settled on this setup I took the rocks that were going to be sitting directly on the glass and sanded the bottoms. I just used some 50 grit sandpaper taped to a board and dragged the rocks across it. I am not looking to make a completely flat bottom here, just to any remove sharp points and to make the rock stable. The picture below is an example of a rock that I sanded. The white areas are where material was removed.

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You could do this same thing outside on the sidewalk, but it leaves permanent scratches on the sidewalk. Therefore I opted to go the sandpaper route.

Once I get everything else in the build done and I am nearing the point of adding water, I will remove the cardboard from the tank and then put the rocks directly on the glass and glue them together.
 

bluerider098

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I am still working on my control board, but will post when complete.

In the meantime I will shift gears a little and talk about my quarantine tank.

My long term plan is for this tank to be a miniature peninsula tank in my son's room. He is not old enough now so I am going to use it for a coral quarantine for awhile. I covered the equipment that I purchased for it in an earlier post.

The first thing that I had to figure out where I was going to put it. I didn't want a stand as eventually it will go on a dresser or desk. So after some thinking I settled on putting it on the file cabinet in my office. It's a steel file cabinet so it's plenty strong to hold the weight, but the top is just thin sheet metal and probably not quite up to the task.

So I decided to strengthen it with a 3/4" piece of MDF topped with my signature black plastic.

I cut a piece to match the top of the cabinet exactly, added the plastic to the top, used a 3/8" radius bit to router the edges and recessed some screws into it too attach it to the cabinet. Probably not the nicest thing ever, but it matches the theme of the water change stand.

The plastic on the top has scratches in it, but they were scrap pieces from my work so I can't complain. It adds a small amount of water protection to the wood and gives it a nicer finished look IMO.

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I am still working on my control board, but will post when complete.

In the meantime I will shift gears a little and talk about my quarantine tank.

My long term plan is for this tank to be a miniature peninsula tank in my son's room. He is not old enough now so I am going to use it for a coral quarantine for awhile. I covered the equipment that I purchased for it in an earlier post.

The first thing that I had to figure out where I was going to put it. I didn't want a stand as eventually it will go on a dresser or desk. So after some thinking I settled on putting it on the file cabinet in my office. It's a steel file cabinet so it's plenty strong to hold the weight, but the top is just thin sheet metal and probably not quite up to the task.

So I decided to strengthen it with a 3/4" piece of MDF topped with my signature black plastic.

I cut a piece to match the top of the cabinet exactly, added the plastic to the top, used a 3/8" radius bit to router the edges and recessed some screws into it too attach it to the cabinet. Probably not the nicest thing ever, but it matches the theme of the water change stand.

The plastic on the top has scratches in it, but they were scrap pieces from my work so I can't complain. It adds a small amount of water protection to the wood and gives it a nicer finished look IMO.

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bluerider098

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Next up was the light. The Aqua Knight A029 Light that I purchased had decent reviews online. I asked around on the forums and the general consensus was that it was a good light for the price. I searched around on YouTube for reviews and I stumbled on a video of a 10 gallon nano build using this light by the Inappropriate Reefer.

https://youtube.com/c/InappropriateReefer

This was good 2 fold because he was successful using this light, and I really liked his style of videos. I am still to this day, 3 months later, trying to catch up on all of his past videos. If you've got time check his channel out.

Anyways when I test fit the light on the tank it was hanging off center quite a bit, even at the maximum adjustment.

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So I ended up using a hacksaw and cutting the bracket shorter to get it centered better over the tank. I unfortunately didn't take any pictures of before and after, but basically both pieces in the picture below were the same length originally. I cut the 1 piece down allowing it to adjust further back.

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And here's the finished result.

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bluerider098

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Sorry I haven't had any detailed updates lately. I have lots of items in process and will do detailed posts as I finish them.

I did get shopping confirmation for the top I ordered from kraken reef, so I am excited about that.

Here are a few more progress shots.
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bluerider098

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One of the features that I liked on this Frag series tank was the ability to add a manifold to the return line of the sump. They even put an standard 1/2" adaptor on it so that you can use US plumbing.

That being said I went ahead and made a manifold with 3 additional outlets, so that I have flexibility to add things in the future like a reactor or something. I do have plans to use 1 of the outlets to feed the refugium that I am making out of the ATO section of the sump.

Making the manifold was really pretty simple. I found some 1/2 Union ball valves that I liked on eBay and ordered some schedule 80 fittings from BRS (I only used schedule 80 for the gray color, as that heavy of pipe is not needed)

I decided to glue hose fittings into the ball valves for future flexibility. I can always swap out the ball valves if I change my mind. The only thing not shown in the pictures is the small pieces of 1/2 inch pvc that I used between the fittings.

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The only problem with this manifold is that it's heavy and it hangs off of the return bulkhead. I am going to support it somehow, but I haven't decided yet.
 

bluerider098

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I wanted to talk about my Klir Di-4 Filter Roller a little. I did tons of research before purchasing it. It sounds like the first release of it had some issues with the felt getting stuck and the turbulent water causing the water level sensor to falsely trip and waste the entire roll.

So based on all of that info and the seemingly endless hours of reading I came up with the following:
- All the new units come with a stronger motor to help with the fleece getting stuck.
- Additional deburring was done on the fleece guides to keep them from catching the fleece.
-The water level sensor should be installed facing away from the inlet of water.
-In addition the the factory deburring I lightly sanded all of the sharp corners that the fleece would touch during use to prevent any snagging.

I basically broke the edges of all of the triangle edges in the picture below. They were still really sharp from the mfg.

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All of the parts are nicely machined from plastic, so my recommendation to Klir would be to also run a chamfer or radius tool over the openings after they machine them to break the edges

The next hurdle was that it didn't fit into the sock opening on my sump. Apparently Waterbox makes their openings slightly smaller than 4" so none of the adaptors that came with it would fit. I called the mfg and they said that it could just sit on top of the opening and the water level would just be a little higher.

This was fine however I didn't like that it wouldn't make a very good seal on the opening and you would have to make sure it was centered. So after some thought I designed an adapter that would sit over the opening in my sump, and would fit the 4" adaptor. I had it made at work from a piece of scrap 1/4" Lexan, I designed the overall size slightly larger than needed so that I could trim the perimeter to fit exactly in the opening in the sump.

Here is a picture of the Lexan piece and the second is with the Klir adaptor. It looks like there is a bunch of clearance but that's just because the opening was chamfered and it removed the protective paper. I measured the 4" adaptor and had the whole in the Lexan be .010" larger to account for potential roundness error. It was a very nice fit.
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In order to get it to sit all the way down in the opening I had to use a razor blade to trim the excess silicone around the tray in the sump. It's hard to tell from the picture but I just trimmed the lumps flush with the glass.

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Here are a couple of pictures with everything installed.
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I am very happy with how it turned out.
 

bluerider098

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Update: I glued the rocks together a few days ago. Yesterday I added the sand and filled the tank with water. I played with the settings on the return pump and dialed in the gate valve on the return.

Since the Vectra pump gets calibrated visually I have no idea what kind of gph I am running, but it's enough that the RFG's that I put on the return lines seem to be working.

When I turned on the MP40 it blew the sand all over the place. I am not sure what I am going to do about that quite yet. Even when I turn it down to 25% there is a slight swirl of sand. Moving the Powerhead higher in the tank didn't seem to help.

On another note Danner (Magdrive) is sending me a new seal for the leaky pump on my water change station at no charge. Pretty good since the pump was bought 16 years ago.

Here are a few pics. I know that I still owe some updates on my controller cabinet and a few other things.

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bluerider098

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I added some Dr. Tims ammonia last night along with one and only. We will see how things go.

I have have been getting some high and low temp alarms from my Inkbird, but when I check it the temperature is not high or low. I think it might be because I had 1 of the probes in the skimmer section of my sump, which is where the heater is. For now I moved both probes to the inlet section of the sump and see if the alarms go away.

On another note my refugium conversion on the ATO looks like it's going to work well. I have it running now with nothing in it, just water flowing thru it.

I will do a post later tonight with pictures of what I did.
 

bluerider098

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Refugium Update: So I really searched to find a good example of where someone had converted the Ato into a fuge, but was only able to find a few vague examples.

In 1 example someone just let thier ato overflow into the other chambers. I didn't feel real comfortable with this example as the water would be very near overflowing the sump.

In another example someone used an HOB overflow between the ATO and return chamber. I really liked this idea as it didn't require any modifications to the sump. The issue with this solution in my mind was the reliability of the overflow maintaining a siphon at a low flow rate.

So I decided to drill the sump between the Ato and the skimmer chamber. This offered a few advantages. First was that I could have a safe water level in the fuge and by installing a bulkhead I could add a screen or something in the future if needed. The plan was to have the return pump feed the fuge via the manifold that I installed on the return line.

So on to drilling the sump. I wanted to accurately place the holes higher than the water level in the skimmer chamber so that the water would flow out of the fuge into skimmer section. Having not run the sump yet I wasn't sure what the water level would be so I asked around a bit and settled at around 9 inches. With this info I made a wood jig to locate the holes.

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I ordered the 35mm glass hole saw from BRS which was what you need for a 3/4 bulkhead. Since the bit is for glass I didn't want to drill the hole thru the wood jig with it, so I used a 1 3/8" Forester wood bit to make the holes in the wood jig. The diameter of the glass bit was slightly larger than the holes in the jig so I then ran the glass bit thru the holes as it was only removing a very small amount of material.

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Next up I clamped it in place along with a support board on the back side of the glass. My thinking on the support board was to help with chipping as the glass bit broke they the backside of the glass.
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The next hurdle was that there wasn't enough room to fit a regular drill in the sump to drill the holes. I ended up borrowing a 90 degree air drill from a friend of mine that you can see in the picture above.

Drilling the holes was really pretty easy. As I drilled I didn't add 8any downward pressure I just let the weight of the drill do the work. I would stop occasionally to add more water to the hole but that's about it.

I was not super happy with how the holes turned out. I got a fair amount of chipping and the holes were actually at a slight angle.
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I think my flaw was the fact that the 90 degree drill was putting pressure at an angle due to the weight of the handle. This uneven pressure caused the hole to be created at a slight angle which led to the chipping. If I was to do it again I would figure out a way support the drill and apply even pressure. If there had been room for a standard drill I could have used a guide like this one at BRS.

Drill Press Attachment for Hand Drills

Why does BRS recommend this? If you have never drilled glass before it can be a bit daunting. To make it easier we highly recommend a drill press to keep your drill from jumping around and allowing you to have nice smooth control of the drill bit. These presses will work for many other...
In the end you couldn't see the chipping after installing the bulkhead, but I am a perfectionist and it bugged me.

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Here is the temporary setup installed under my tank.

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I am still waiting on another bulkhead as you can see in the pictures. BRS is currently out of stock.

Overall I am happy with the finished result. With this design I can use the ball valve on my manifold to control the flow and by having the bulkheads on there I can add a screen if needed or even turn it back into an Ato by plugging the bulkhead if I needed too.
 

bluerider098

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Quick update. Day 3 of Dr. Tims fishless cycle. Tested for ammonia and got somewhere between .5 &.25 ppm. Per the instructions I dosed another 4 drops per gallon. We will see what it measures tomorrow. I forgot to buy a nitrite kit so I won't know the nitrites until the kit arrives later this week.
 

bluerider098

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am finally doing an update on my controller cabinet. Surprisingly I think I spent more time trying to figure out what I was going to do for my controller cabinet than I did on anything else so far.

So in the beginning I had originally planned to try and fit all of the controllers, dosing containers etc. In the tank stand. I didn't know how I was going to do this but it seemed like the most straightforward solution. I searched the forums, Google images, YouTube etc. for what seemed like weeks looking for ideas. I couldn't really find any ideas that looked like they would work, and when I finally got my tank and saw how little room there was I knew that it was going to be too cramped to put everything in the stand. You probably could have made it work, but it would have made maintainence more difficult.

So I moved on to finding a separate control panel of some sort. I looked some at the premade boards you can get from BRS etc, but having to mount them outside my cabinet kinda ruined the clean look.

Next I found where people were buying a generic cabinet like a Besta cabinet from Ikea and adding thier own board to mount the controllers. I liked this idea and started searching for a cabinet that would work. I swear I looked for a solid 2 weeks, Amazon, Ikea, I was even looking at possibly buying another aquarium stand. At one point I had settled on a Besta cabinet, but when I went to purchase it, it was unavailable.

So finally I said screw it, none of the pre made cabinets was going to match anyways and fiddling with trying to mount the controllers to a board with all of the wires inaccessible behind it seemed like a bad idea anyways. I decided to make my own.

So the first thing I did was come up with a list of current and possibly future equipment that would have to go in it.

I came up with the following:
- 3 Ecotech controllers
- 2 4 packs of Versa dosers
- 2 Klir controllers
- Inkbird
- Dosing containers

Since I was going to design this in CAD I needed to measure all of the items and make dummy models of them to help me design the cabinet. Since I didn't have a Versa dosing pump or any dosing containers I had to search the internet to find some dimensions. Thankfully the dimensions of the Versa pumps were on the box so I looked at some pictures of the box online to get them.

On to the design. The 2 goals that I had in mind was to make it match the height and depth of the tank stand and have easy access to the wires. The first design I came up with ended up looking like a pop machine at McDonald's or something. . That wasn't going to work.

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Version 2 I liked better but it still didn't love it.

image002_101175293129892.png

While staring at version 2 for awhile a light bulb went off on my head...... Add a side door. That would give me access to the wires and power strips, and I could fit the dosing containers in there. In my first 2 designs I was going to use a DJ power strip to turn every thing on and off because it wouldn't be easy to get at the power strips, but with a door I wouldn't need that. Just open the door.

Here is the final design. Picture 1 is doors open, picture 2 doors closed.
I will cover building it next time.
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