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Old 03-12-2007, 11:21 AM   #1
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Build thread - 180 gallon - final tank pics added 7/22

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.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:59 AM   #2
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$1600 for a "custom" fuge Considering you could have built it yourself for around $100 or less is quite insulting to come back with prices that supposedly were "at cost". Not that the help wouldn't have been nice but you're better off on your own with "help" like that.

You still might be able to contact some lfs and see if they would be willing to contribute any supplies for advertising.

Is it going to be an in the wall tank or on a stand?

Dual pumps sound's great along with all the other equipment
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:01 PM   #3
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Sounds like a fun project! Wish I had a house . Cant wait to see some of the action, good luck.
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:17 PM   #4
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Sounds like a plan Scoot. Cant wait to see it develop. Good Luck on your endeavour.
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:44 PM   #5
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I am doing a 180 as well. I think there must be sales on these in more than one place

I would rethink the pumps if it were me. If your going external, why not get a real external. I have used a PCX 40 to pump 16ft up and it did well. This was on a single overflow and it flowed more than I needed. I am using a PCX55 right now and it feeds my prop system as well. I am not real familar with the 18 so I am not bashing it but you don't see them used externally.

I am using all 4 bulkheads as drains and will be supply the tank with a Dart pump. These are not good for high head but my tank is moving downstairs so it should work well for me.

Good luck with your build.
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*180 gal Display, 100 gal basement sump, 33 gal refugium, 3x250 MH, 2x160 VHO actinics, zoos, some softies, LPS & lots of acros and other SPS.
*100 gal prop tank plumbed into main system w/ 2x96 PC lights and 1x150 MH,
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:20 PM   #6
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good luck and don't forget the pics!
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:20 AM   #7
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Ellisz, Mag drive pumps (danner pumps) are both in-line and submerged. I have a Mag5 on my closed loop, almost 16 months now. I have to admit that when I read that Scoot was using Mag 18s for his returns I was surprised, but I think they will work. I would probably go with a sequence or a dart but the Mags will work!
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:23 AM   #8
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I knew they could be used externally but I did not think the were very efficient in a high head situation like that. I don't know everything though As long as the head loss curve looks good for the Mags, then all should be good.

In my basement sump, I had about 16 ft of head. On the head height calculator, the Mak4(PCX40) will double the flow of the Mag18. The scenario I used was 17.25 of head loss and the Genx made 536 gph and the Mag18 made 304 gph.

It all depends on the situation though. It took me awhile to find a pump that worked in my situation.

Good luck.
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*180 gal Display, 100 gal basement sump, 33 gal refugium, 3x250 MH, 2x160 VHO actinics, zoos, some softies, LPS & lots of acros and other SPS.
*100 gal prop tank plumbed into main system w/ 2x96 PC lights and 1x150 MH,
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:25 AM   #9
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ellisz, yeah, All-Glass is having an "open house special" right now, I think the sales prices are everywhere. Got mine for $525 (!!!)

tecwzrd - in a custom cabinet, part of a wall system. We've calculated the weight at around 4,000 pounds. The home builder has checked structural loads on the floor and subfloor and everything checks out. The tank is over a foundation wall along one axis, and a steel beam along another. Worked out great.

Regarding the "custom sump", yes I was in fact insulted. I can have Glass-Cages build me one to my specs, with bulkheads, bubble traps, baffles, etc., for $220 shipped. To come back to somebody who's obviously got a little experience in the hobby, with prices like that, is just insulting. Especially when I pick up the exact same tank from a local vendor for 1/3rd the cost he was giving me, and he was supposed to be giving me show-home prices. He was either trying to make a few bucks, or isn't big enough to get decent wholesale prices.

There will be at least 50,000 people through this house seeing the aquarium this summer. It's his loss.


On the pumps, I appreciate the input. This is somewhat a cost issue. I'm really strapped for cash - building a new house can do that - and I'd rather go with two returns - I'm going to add head pressure splitting a single pump with a "T" to feed both returns, plus if the pump fails, there's no flow to the display tank.

But note ellisz that I said I was going to use 2 mag 18's. Two of them can be had for $210 total, which isn't bad. The plumbing will be straighter with two, as I can set the pumps in a location that will let me get a straighter shot up to the tank, plus, the two are more efficient than a single mag 36.

But now after looking up those pumps you mentioned, they're not too exensive either. I'll do more reading on them.

One question regarding head height - do you calculate the input as well? I know you add a foot of head height for each 90 degree bend in the pipe - do you include bends in the input line to the pump as well? That would be a reason to do the pumps submerged in the sump, but that becomes a heat issue. I'm trying to get by without a cooler, I think I'll be fine since the filtration is all in the basement.

Here's a shot of the tank (not too exciting) sitting in my wife's Suburban, waiting to be taken to the new house:



And here's the wall where the tank will go. The wall starts at the center of the pic, and goes to the right. The plumbing that's there now isn't tank-related.

You'll notice there's a cold air return - that will vent into the top of the canopy where the MH ballasts will go, and where the fan will pull hot air out of the area over the tank.

Also, the outlets are in there now for the ballasts and powerheads if I use any, and two of those are switched on the wall, so I can turn the MH lights on and off with a light switch.

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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:33 PM   #10
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Thanks for telling me I paid too much! I know a guy that is buddies with a LFS owner. He got his 180 at cost for $425. I pd $600 after getting quotes for $700 and even $800.

The GenX PCX40 is an relatively inexpensive pump and will deliver a lot more flow. I bought one used for less than $80. I got my Dart for $125 and I will keep the PCX40 for backup. I have a PCX55 that I am going to sell. I ran my tank and frag system with the PCX55. Mags are great pumps though.

I am planning on cutting the overflow teeth out and putting in some plastic gutter guard. My friend did this and both overflows handles the Dart wide open. This was with all 4 holes as drains. I am doing this as well but it makes for a plumbing mess

Check out my build thread. I have the stand and canopy built and I will be plumbing the sump in today or tomorrow.

I love the pic of your house. Those arches are awesome! I am doing my finishing the basement with the tank upgrade so I know the cost! I think I have spent $200 in plumbing parts alone! Plus I did a home theater room that still needs some work finished up
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*180 gal Display, 100 gal basement sump, 33 gal refugium, 3x250 MH, 2x160 VHO actinics, zoos, some softies, LPS & lots of acros and other SPS.
*100 gal prop tank plumbed into main system w/ 2x96 PC lights and 1x150 MH,
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