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Mjarrett4 12-11-2013 02:25 PM

65 Gallon Reef Build
Ok. Here I go. I have been lurking around for a few months, thinking about doing a build and have decided (with the consent of the wife) to make the commitment to build a 65 gallon reef tank. I am fairly experienced with freshwater, we have a good local fish shop, and I am excited to get going.

I am making this post for a couple of reasons, first so that I can use the experience of the the many others on this forum, and to also create a running diary of the project's trials and tribulations.

I am going to be building the tank into a wall that conveniently backs into my mechanical room so, power, water and drains are all very close. I would like to automate as much as possible, simply because the resources are so handy. I will be doing a 75 gallon sump with refuge, and hope to get all construction, plumbing, etc. set up by Christmas so that I can add the Salt water, rock and sand and be up and running by the first of the year.

I am also thinking about doing a reef keeper for the automation end of things, and moving on to led lighting once everything gets established and funds allow.

That's all for now, pictures to follow, thanks for reading
Any tips are more than welcome, as I am trying to learn as much as I can!


Airgoose2222 12-11-2013 08:49 PM

Good luck! For a reel, the first thing I recommend you get is a RODI filter. This will save you headaches in the future.

Keithhjs 12-11-2013 10:21 PM


Originally Posted by Airgoose2222 (Post 2750604)
Good luck! For a reel, the first thing I recommend you get is a RODI filter. This will save you headaches in the future.

+1. Best money spent IMHO is a good RODI unit and a good skimmer. Better than doing the "upgrade later" after you realize you wish you had spent a few more dollars for better equipment.

manbeast 12-11-2013 10:37 PM

Start with the LEDs, you can find some cheap taotronic sand start there, it's cheaper to do it in the beginning than to switch later on . 65 gallon 36"x18" or 48"x12"

Mjarrett4 12-12-2013 12:05 AM

The tank is a 36 x 18 x 24 deep

Thanks for the advice pics soon to come!

manbeast 12-12-2013 03:55 AM

That's what I'm currently running as my reef, but am slowly collecting equipment to swap over to a 150

Mjarrett4 12-22-2013 02:14 AM

2 Attachment(s)
A quick update:

I have built the base for the display tank, siliconed the sump partitions, and collected all of the plumbing parts. Hope to have flowing water by tomorrow! Then to test and measure water drops and etc. then on to ro and salt mix. Attachment 213074. Construction

Attachment 213075
Display base with the sump tank resting on it

manbeast 12-22-2013 09:27 AM

Looks like an in wall build from the pics I don't remember if you mentioned that before, looks like it's coming along well but one thing that concerns me is the two cut off studs above the tank in the first pic, they really need a cross brace if you haven't already put one in so they can continue supporting whatever they had been before being cut

Mjarrett4 12-22-2013 07:47 PM

Yea, that is not a bearing wall. The header is there now. The pics were from mid construction, so it is all fixed now.

manbeast 12-22-2013 08:11 PM

Good to hear

Mjarrett4 12-24-2013 02:02 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Merry Christmas every one!

I have the tank plumbed and freshwater in it for testing and clean up. All seems to be working pretty well, but is a little loud from the overflow going into the sump, and a little from the return pump. Going to try to quiet that down a little bit! Here are some more photos, kind of tough with my phone as the area is pretty tight.

Front of display, not trimmed yet.

Overflow and return into display.
Attachment 213340

Attachment 213341

manbeast 12-24-2013 10:30 AM

Looking good, I wish I could do an in wall build but my house was built in 1860 so that's not gonna happen

Keithhjs 12-24-2013 07:26 PM

Looking great, can't wait to see it lighted up & with some livestock!

Mjarrett4 12-27-2013 05:23 AM

So, sand is in, rocks are set, water is flowing and a half of a shrimp swam down to the bottom and disappeared into the milky water.. Water was pretty cloudy when I set it all up, but after about three hours it cleaned up quite a bit! Can't wait to get up tomorrow and check the temp and salinity. I am very excited to watch the process happen!

I will try to post photos in the morning

Mjarrett4 01-03-2014 10:24 AM

2 Attachment(s)
The shrimp has more or less disintegrated, ammonia is up a little, the rest of the parameters are pretty good! What is the next step?

Attachment 214894

Attachment 214895
There are some little twig like algae growing on some of my live rock, not sure what it is.

Mjarrett4 01-08-2014 01:26 AM

2 Attachment(s)
So, decided I didn't like the rock, moved it, still not 100% happy, but it is definitely better. I have been tested the water hoping for the cycle to happen, but haven't seen much action. Ammonia did go up to .5 on the first, I would think that would have spiked higher. All others stayed consistently even, until tonight, when nitrates were at 20. Is this the cycle? I have no clue. I do know that I am getting some brown algal growth on some of the base rock. So that must be good, right. Been trying to be as patient as possible, but am ready for live creatures!

Here is a new pic,
Attachment 215717

And one of the brown algae,
Attachment 215718

That's it for now,

teklabs 01-11-2014 12:06 AM

That's diatoms. Normal for a new tank. It will go away soon.

Mjarrett4 01-11-2014 10:17 AM

Thank you, Craig! Going to do the big water change today and get ready for my clean up crew.

Mjarrett4 01-11-2014 02:56 PM

Well, today is the day for a 60 gallon water change. I have 30 gallons of new salt water circulating , will start the drain down and clean up as soon as the rest is mixing. This will provide a good chance to rearrange my rocks for good, remove some particulate, and get ready for the clean up crew.

Off to test the water, wish me good luck!

Good luck!


Mjarrett4 01-12-2014 09:35 PM

Water change went great, all parameters are in check! The clean up crew is in the tank and busily working away I got some really cool hermits, and snails, a cucumber and others, pictures to follow.

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