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Old 12-21-2011, 09:09 AM   #1
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Benjamin's 75g Garage Build (FOWLR to Reef)

This thread will document my 1st saltwater build. Here are some recent pictures of the tank. I will keep this updated with a date on my server.





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Old 12-21-2011, 09:19 AM   #2
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As of today (12/21/11) I have pretty much finished my first FW DIY build over the summer/fall and I decided a few months back I really wanted to try my hand at a SW setup. I have been reading up and watching videos since then and combing Craigslist for weeks. My plan was to start on this build after the holidays but my hand was a bit forced by an amazing deal I found this week. On top of being a great deal, the guy is super into SW and delivered everything to my house for free due to a quick move. I'm unsure of some of the brands since I haven't dug through it all but here is SOME of what I picked up for $250:

  • 75g undrilled tank
  • 29g tank
  • 15 tank
  • 48" T5 fixture with LED moonlights (currently the LEDs aren't working)
  • Stand & canopy (soon to be trashed)
  • 50lbs of live rock
  • 50lbs of live sand
  • HOB protein skimmer
  • Powerheads
  • Fulva digital heater
  • 5 5g jerry cans
  • 2 canister filters
  • Tons of misc equipment and chemicals including salt mix to get going

Everything I got, except for the actual stand was only about 6months old. His tank looked very well maintained in the photos before breaking it down. The best part was that the guy delivered this and was super into it and said I could call him with any questions while I was setting up everything.

My garage was 1/2 converted into a "man cave" this summer (bar, tv darts etc) and my plan is to set this up where I have access to water and room for error as I learn over the next year. I power washed and painted the slab when we moved in 3 years ago and it's becoming more like another room than a garage. It's still a mess but I have been cleaning up over the last few weeks to prepare for this project. This tank will be a FOWLR in an effort to learn. The plan is to move to a reef setup at the end of the year as I stabilize, learn and buy equipment. I'll only be buying reef compatible fish for the tank this year. Here are my plans over the next few months:

  • Clean up!!!! LOL
  • Insulate the garage door and outer wall opposite of the tank
  • Upgrade my electrical box to isolate the garage on it's own circuit (it's currently shared with the laundry room)
  • Paint the wall behind with Killz and possible cover with something water proof for splashes and spills
  • Break up and reinstall my workbench with more support for the tank
  • Raise cabinets or remove them and build shelving
  • DIY overflow/return through the bench
  • DIY sump with refugium
  • RO/DI filter and water storage off the water heater hook up
  • ATO system from the water storage
  • Use the 29 gallon for a sump and refugium
  • Use the 15 gallon for a quarantine tank
  • Use a extra 10 gallon to raise feeder brine etc possibly
  • Gear up for the summer by adding on a chiller

Everyone knows how builds go, so I'm sure some of this will change. I'm already debating the sump as I would like a breeder. The good thing is that is something I can change up down the road.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:27 AM   #3
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Here is a panoramic of the left side of my garage. The plan is to have the tank at the far right near the water heater. Sump and water storage will be fit nicely below. I'm a bit concerned about the salt water and my water heater rusting but I asked earlier this month about salt creep and humidity and I get the impression it won't be an issue. #1, I have learned that salt doesn't evaporate and #2, I have learned salt creep only happens in areas with bubbles and other turbulence. The garage is easily opened up and is pretty big so I don't think humidity will be an issue at all. I'm also considering building a barrier between the water heater and right side of the tank which will be about 12" apart at the moment.

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:20 PM   #4
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So I have already had my first problem and I haven't even thought about getting started on this build yet. Apparently the tote the LR came in yesterday is cracked and I have a slow but growing leak. I had to make some quick decisions to avoid a possible flood in my garage already and decided to transfer both the LS and LR into the 29g donor tank.

Unfortunately this meant placing the LR into a sand storm. I didn't really consider what this will/could do to the LR but I had to move everything as the LS was just sitting in a tub and the LR container was splitting. I hope I can clean this up before moving it into the 75g and that it's not going to kill too much off

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Old 12-21-2011, 11:07 PM   #5
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The sand has settled some today. The rock is covered like a tree after a good snow. Should I be concerned?

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Old 12-22-2011, 01:02 AM   #6
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That will be sweet! Good start.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:22 AM   #7
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Last night I worked on both tanks. I finished my LEDs in the cichlid build and then I got one of the Eheim canisters crudely hooked up. It's starting to clear up well but jesus the rock is sssoooo dirty :/
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:00 PM   #8
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Get the rock right, now before its in the tank. If you think its dirty, clean it. Don't rush. Cause once its in, its harder to deal with.
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:28 PM   #9
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I'm off next week so my plan is to fill another tank, get all the rock out and then dip them in the other tank and clean them. My biggest question is... should I use the fine live sand I was given or go with something else?
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:30 AM   #10
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My buddy asked me last night what color background I was going to do.... I DON'T KNOW! I haven't even thought about it yet! Opinions?? Black??
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:32 AM   #11
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I'm partial to black.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:40 AM   #12
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I like black too.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:09 PM   #13
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I'm happy to report that I saw a snail crawl across one of the rocks today so whatever was alive has most likely survived the nasty transport and container changes!
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:19 AM   #14
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I can't sleep tonight for whatever reason so I'm up reading and drawing plans for the upgraded workbench. I want the front of the workbench to be open without a center support. I really want a lot of room to work and eventually to have a 40-55g sump. (I'm actually talking to someone about a 55g on CL right now so it might happen at the start) Should I use a 2x6 for the front brace? I should mention that the back of the bench is bolted to the wall studs. I will have a few braces through the middle and vertical ones along the back as well. I was thinking maybe doubling up on a 2x6 across the front and then the house could fall around it before the tank. Thoughts?
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:35 AM   #15
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Happy holidays everyone. Here is a little post Christmas update. I'm off this week and have tons to do outside this build but my goal is to have the stand (workbench) and shelving/lighting mount above the tank done this week. I would love to get the sump and plumbing done but I think it's a bit too ambitious and I'm really trying to find a 55g or 40g breeder to use as a sump. Might be overkill but I have the room and over filtering can't hurt.

I worked on breaking down the existing workbench that runs about 12' along my garage wall and has housed junk for the last 2 years yesterday. After a lot of clean up and frustration I'm done with the upgrade. It rained all day and my garage is filled with Christmas boxes, trash from gifts and the tank and equipment I bought the other week. Needless to say, working on this sucked in the tight, cluttered quarters.

I ran out to HD at 6am yesterday and grabbed about $50 of wood or so. I decided to go with 2"x6"s, bolts and no center brace. I also ran a beam across the back of the stand which will be about 6" from the wall and under the back glass of the tank. Also, everything is screwed to the wall joists for extra support. It's probably 200% overkill but who knows if I'll setup a 2nd 75g to the left in the future











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Old 12-28-2011, 11:34 AM   #16
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Looks great! Nice job, looks strong to me.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:35 AM   #17
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What are everyone's thoughts on painting this vs. leaving it raw? This isn't a cosmetic build here... I was just wondering if painting it with Killz would help with moisture issues or spills etc or if it's not worth the time.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:13 PM   #18
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I started painting the glass today as well:



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Old 12-28-2011, 03:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbee2828 View Post
I started painting the glass today as well:



The paint job looks great!
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:49 PM   #20
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I've done about 4 more coats this afternoon. It should be as black as it can get now. I'll post more pictures later.
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