This will be my official build thread for my 180 gallon reef tank that's going into a new home. I've spent about the last 6 months planning this project, and its finally getting underway.
The tank will be installed in a section of a custom-built cabinet with a buffet counter/china hutch at one end. The plumbing will all drop straight down (more or less) to an unfinished area of the basement, where I've already got a water supply, a floor drain, a big laundry basin sink, and a 4" open-topped drain pipe.
The tank is 180 gallon all-glass I got from The Lizard King pet store in Omaha, NE, at a GREAT price. At this time, I plan to use flexible tubing for the drains, and PVC
for the returns.
I plan to drain the tank into a 50 gallon custom acrylic sump from Glass Cages, with a skimmer area, return area, and fuge area. The sump will be drilled for 2 external return pumps - 2 Mag 18's - one for each return line. That way if one fails or is plugged, I'll still have water flow.
The two Mag 18's will push more water than a 36 to the 12' head height, plus be more energy efficient. I'll be flexible with that, and might end up using a different set of pumps.
I'm going to add a UV
- the one I have now is too small, so I'll probably go with an 18W TurboTwist. I've got plenty of smaller pumps laying around to feed it.
I haven't figured out where I'm getting sand or LR
. I have aobut 100 pounds of LR
now, so I need 50 to 100 more pounds. I'd like a couple nice big show-type rock pieces. If anyone knows a good source, let me know.
The simmer I plan to use is either an AquaC 180 or the EuroReef 180, both placed IN the sump. I've had too many bad experiences with my CSS 125 skimmer going nuts after feeding or a PWC
and dealing with the mess that can cause.
I'm going to re-use my dual PFO 175W MH
ballast, and add a 3rd. The tank is 6' x 2' x 2', so that's perfect. Lighting won't be too intense on the bottom for shrooms
, but bright enough on top for anemone's. I'm probably going to add a couple strips of CF
lights as well for color adjustment/aesthetics mostly. I do need to replace a capacity in one side of my current MH
ballast. That's a 5 minute job, and will basically make it "like new". $17 from PFO for the part.
The tank is in my truck, ready for a leak test as soon as I can get some help getting it out. It's a heavy beast, at 340 pounds.
I wanted to mention that this home is going to be part of a local home show in July. With that, home owners usually get discounts on various items for the house, in trade for the advertising the vendors will get.
I contacted a local vendor about this project, since I didn't think I'd have time to deal with it. I clearly explained that I wanted to re-use whatever I could. Lighting, UV
, etc. He said he'd do it for cost, using whatever equipment I wanted to use.
The bid he came back with was just obnoxious. About 4 times more than I could do it myself for. The tank was almost 3 times more than I was able to get it for at a local store, and the custom fuge he included in the bid was over $1600. When I wrote him and explained I could get the tank for 1/3rd his price, and a custom sump with the same features for 1/10th from GlassCages.com, he decided he didn't want the project any more. I won't name names, but the experience left a bad taste in my mouth.
So, I'm on my own, and hoping for feedback/advice from the fine folks at AA.