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  #1  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:00 AM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Location: Menasha, WI
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The Cherry Reef build thread

It seems that I've almost always had fish in one way or another. Most recently it was a cichlid tank and an indoor and an outdoor pond at our last house. But for the past couple of years we've been fishless. Before that I had a 55g saltwater FO tank, but then I got a job at an LFS and once my hobby became my job, I tore down that tank.

A couple of years ago my wife and I started talking about doing another tank - but this time a big one. I nosed around a bit but we never pulled the trigger. This fall we started talking again and things got more serious. Our original intent was 2 tanks - the sizes, where they would go and their future inhabitants seems to change on a regular basis. (discus, FOWLR and reef - any combination of those two on any given day) We decided to start with one and see where that went.

A few weeks ago we brought this home - a 125g AGA with the Megaflow overflows and matching cherry canopy and stand. (hence the name The Cherry Reef) The tank in the stand is a 40L that will eventually become the sump/fuge.




  #2  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:02 AM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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A few weeks before we ordered the tank I found RC - and my wallet has never been the same. Boxes started arriving on our doorstep - at first once a week, then twice a week, and sometimes twice a day. We knew roughly how much it'd cost going into this, and it was at this point that we were REALLY glad we only did one tank.

While the dry goods began to flow into the house the boxes that had just been sitting in the tank actually starting to LOOK like something.



This is a double edged sword - because what once looked like this....


Quickly started to look like this... and my wife is a NEAT FREAK!
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  #3  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:06 AM
slimbolen99 slimbolen99 is offline
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I bet your wife is just thrilled to have that beautiful dining room table covered in SW supplies. Mine would kill me, I do believe.
  #4  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:09 AM
McTeague McTeague is offline
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Nice tank!
  #5  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:11 AM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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The day the lighting came

One of my big hurdles was picking lighting. I needed to go retrofit because of the canopy, yet was hesitant to get too powerful because of electrical limitations. But at the same time, since we've never had a reef, I'm still not totally sure of what corals we'll be keeping. But it sure does look like it's leaning towards an SPS tank.

I ended up being able to run additional power to the tank - something I didn't think was a viable option at first. So on Christmas morning I got my present... I ordered my lights!

Like I said - I ordered on Christmas day. And two days later (yes - 2!), I had a 50# box from AquaCave arrive on my step. All Icecap - three 250w DE HQI MH's with 10k XM's and two retrofit sets of twin 36" T5's with a mix of Giessman bulbs.




Here's the ballasts for the MH's (top x3) and the T5's (bottom x2). I LOVE the blue of the MH ballasts - it's a shame to have to hide them.


I got the halides installed that night, but AquaCave accidentally sent the wrong standoffs for the T5's. They sent the right ones off the very next day - I'm expecting them tomorrow.

Incidentally, AquaCave is WONDERFUL to work with. And it's a huge bonus that they're only a few hours away. I wish I'd have found them sooner - I would have pretty much had free next-day shipping with everything I'd needed! My emails with questions are returned with PHONE CALLS just minutes later. Thanks Albert!

I'm also fortunate to be only a couple of hours from Drs Foster and Smith - next day shipping from them too.

Last edited by MrSquid; 12/30/2007 at 10:33 AM.
  #6  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:14 AM
kidako kidako is offline
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you just have to think of the end result,nice set up
  #7  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:15 AM
McTeague McTeague is offline
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Do mind if I ask how much the tank itself cost including hood and stand?
  #8  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:23 AM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Are you thinking "Where's the skimmer"? I'd originally ordered one of the new Xtreme 250's from Marine Solutions. Turns out I jumped the gun a little as reports have it that the footprint for the 250 is 16"x16" - which is too big to fit into my 40L sump. I'm trying to get that order changed to a 200 instead. Marine Solutions had been expecting the skimmers in shortly before Christmas, but apparently Canadian Customs didn't get that memo.

This weekend I've been working on the plumbing and the sump/fuge. I'll get pics of those up later today. Thanks for reading!
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Last edited by MrSquid; 12/30/2007 at 10:37 AM.
  #9  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:25 AM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by McTeague
Do mind if I ask how much the tank itself cost including hood and stand?
I don't remember the exact breakdown, but the tank, canopy, stand, 40L, a couple of tubes of black silicone and the 2 Megaflow kits came to almost exactly $2k (with tax) from a LFS.

Last edited by MrSquid; 12/30/2007 at 10:32 AM.
  #10  
Old 12/30/2007, 10:28 AM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by slimbolen99
I bet your wife is just thrilled to have that beautiful dining room table covered in SW supplies. Mine would kill me, I do believe.
She's better about it than I thought she'd be. She's a neat freak AND she works at home. So it's a double-whammy there. But she does see that there's light at the end of the tunnel.

What's really bothered her is fumes. I painted the back of the tank with an oil-based paint about 2 weeks ago and she says she can still smell it. Yesterday I built the sump/fuge and the smell of the silicone really bothered her. I guess today I'll be firing up the heater in the garage so I can glue the manifold together. If the smell of silicone got to her, PVC primer and glue will kill her. (and yes... we'll be doing CURED live rock )
  #11  
Old 12/30/2007, 07:24 PM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Here's the sump/fuge being built. I forgot to take some pics once it was totally done - I'll have to get around to that. The skimmer chamber is on your left, then the pump chamber, and then you just see a part of the fuge. This picture was taken while I was working on it - there's a 3rd baffle between the skimmer and pump chambers.

Oh - and before I forget.... I HATE SILICONE!


Here's the finished manifold. Days like this make me REALLY glad we've got a huge heater in the garage. I was able to get it up to about 70 before I started working. Lucky for me I have a really bad sense of smell.


Got the ballasts installed today. Mounted them to some scrap melamine boards I had laying around, and then mounted the boards to the inside end of the stand. Above those is the power strip for my Reefkeeper 2.


Tomorrow's New Years Eve - probably won't get much accomplished.

But for now my wife's ecstatic because the kitchen counter is cleaned off and almost everything is off of the dining room table. Yay!
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Last edited by MrSquid; 12/30/2007 at 07:32 PM.
  #12  
Old 12/30/2007, 07:47 PM
customcolor customcolor is offline
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good name for your thead! ill finish watching till the end. at least you have pics now lol
  #13  
Old 12/30/2007, 08:35 PM
ACBlinky ACBlinky is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrSquid
This is a double edged sword - because what once looked like this....


Quickly started to look like this... and my wife is a NEAT FREAK!
Okay first, WOW, this is going to be a gorgeous setup - can't wait to see how this build goes!

In response to the above... I'm a neat freak as well, and if I saw that table covered in anything but tank goodies I'd have a fit. As it is, if that was my table I'd be ecstatic. A table full of reef supplies is a thing to celebrate!! Now... hurry up and put it all together so we can see it (and so your wife can have her table back)
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  #14  
Old 12/30/2007, 09:04 PM
db_triggerfish db_triggerfish is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrSquid

Got the ballasts installed today. Mounted them to some scrap melamine boards I had laying around, and then mounted the boards to the inside end of the stand. Above those is the power strip for my Reefkeeper 2.


This is going to be a great build, thanks for posting. I had plan to have my ballasts in the stand also but the wiring for my 2 ic 660 drove me nuts, looking at the mess of wires, so i placed them on the back on my canopy.
  #15  
Old 12/30/2007, 09:17 PM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by db_triggerfish
This is going to be a great build, thanks for posting. I had plan to have my ballasts in the stand also but the wiring for my 2 ic 660 drove me nuts, looking at the mess of wires, so i placed them on the back on my canopy.
Thanks. Looking forward to finishing the build and getting my arms wet. It's been too long!

For the wire mess, I picked up a couple of those cord organizers. 1" wide flexible plastic tubing, slit the entire length. All the wiring/cords will fit into them. They're usually used for TV/stereo installs.
  #16  
Old 12/30/2007, 09:28 PM
steve1963 steve1963 is offline
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Looking real good.

Everything is being done well from the start.
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100 gallon
Purple,blue,sailfin and yellow tangs.Coral beauty and 2 damsels.
65 gallon fuge in basement with picasso trigger.
  #17  
Old 12/31/2007, 06:03 PM
pmpier pmpier is offline
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Beautiful set up!
  #18  
Old 01/02/2008, 06:48 PM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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I had the day off today and got the lights finished up. Except... I can't fire them up yet. The harnesses for my T-5s aren't long enough and extensions won't be here until Friday. And Aqua Cave was out of the connector cables for my MH's, so those are on their way yet too. (though if they're not here next week I'll just hardwire the lights to the ballasts)

Here's the finished canopy laying on our living room floor. Easier to see everything here than once it's on the tank.


From inside the tank looking up


On the tank and opened up



I had planned on wrapping up the plumbing on the system today, but I think I'm going to end up having to pull my sump out to get my skimmer into it, so the final plumbing will have to wait until next week. (skimmer should be here Monday)
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  #19  
Old 01/05/2008, 09:59 AM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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My skimmer comes today! That means I can make all the final plumbing connections tonight and hopefully leak test it tomorrow! If that goes well, I'll fill it with RO/DI water on Monday and get the rock ordered ASAP from Premium Aquatics.

I AM nervous about the flow into my pump chamber - not sure if I planned that right, but I'll find out. My I've got 2 Ocean Runner pumps - a 6500 that will feed one of the 2 returns, the fuge (which empties into the pump chamber) and a relief line to take any backpressure off the pump - that relief line will feed into the pump chamber too). The other pump is a 3500 that will feed the other tank return and it too has a relief line that will feed back into the pump chamber. I went this route so that if one pump goes there's a backup. If the 2 pumps are too much, I'll pull the 3500 and get creative with the one 6500.

After I got the lights wired up earlier this week, I realized I was going to need extension harnesses for my T5's. They arrived yesterday so last night I got to fire them up for the first time. My wife said "Wow - does it HAVE to be so bright?" Hmm.... what's she gonna say when the MH's are on with them? (waiting for harnesses for the MH's - I think they'll be here Monday. I have a couple of leftovers from my light order coming from Aqua Cave, and something shipped yesterday for Mon arrival)

The bulbs in back are Giesemann AquaBlue+. In front it will eventually be 2 Giesemann Pure Actinics, but Aqua Cave only had 1 so they were nice enough to send a Giesemann PowerChrome Actinic+ at no charge to hold me over until they get their shipment of Pure Actinics in. Once again, OUTSTANDING service from Aqua Cave!




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  #20  
Old 01/05/2008, 11:50 AM
HBtank HBtank is offline
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Curious, why two 660 ballasts? A 660 can drive 4 X 48" bulbs on its own..

Also, I would seriously consider getting those ballasts out of the stand and onto the back of the canopy. There are few reasons. That area is just bad in general for any electronics, with a much greater chance of corrosion, or worse, direct salt creep/splash. Also, in the case of an overflow, a fire hazard. Another reason is if you need to remove the canopy to work on it, it requires much more effort in that configuration, as opposed to just unplugging them and removing the whole canopy by itself. There is also better cooling outside the stand. I personally removed every bit of electronics out of the stand so if it were to overflow, I drastically reduce the chance of major shorts/damage.

Here is how I have mine:



Nice start though! That will definately be a SPS tank. You will find that amount of light will burn many LPS and softies.. Grow out some SPS and create your own shade for them though.. heh
  #21  
Old 01/05/2008, 01:21 PM
customcolor customcolor is offline
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Quote:
My wife said "Wow - does it HAVE to be so bright?" Hmm.... what's she gonna say when the MH's are on with them?
just remind her it wont look so bright when the water is in it. i have a 10 gal cube in out bedroom as a night light and when the water gets lower than the trim it realy shines in my eyes.
our 125 is in out livingroom with halides and it aint so bad.
  #22  
Old 01/05/2008, 07:51 PM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by HBtank
Curious, why two 660 ballasts? A 660 can drive 4 X 48" bulbs on its own..
It was a live-and-learn deal. I picked up the T5's as retrofit kits. Each kit had a ballast. NOW I know that the ballast will handle 4.

Quote:
Originally posted by HBtank
Also, I would seriously consider getting those ballasts out of the stand and onto the back of the canopy. There are few reasons. That area is just bad in general for any electronics, with a much greater chance of corrosion, or worse, direct salt creep/splash. Also, in the case of an overflow, a fire hazard. Another reason is if you need to remove the canopy to work on it, it requires much more effort in that configuration, as opposed to just unplugging them and removing the whole canopy by itself. There is also better cooling outside the stand. I personally removed every bit of electronics out of the stand so if it were to overflow, I drastically reduce the chance of major shorts/damage.
I'm going to see how this works and move them if needed. I'm going to put fans in the stand for any heat. Plus they're about 2' from the sump - hopefully that'll keep them clean. Putting them behind the canopy was shot down by my interior designer wife - she doesn't even like that you can see cords. If needed, we've got space next to the tank where we can place some sort of cabinet for the ballasts and get them away from the tank completely.
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  #23  
Old 01/05/2008, 08:44 PM
Kannin Kannin is offline
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Very nice build... I agree on the wattage. You're getting close to 8 watts per gallon on a shallow tank... SPS!
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  #24  
Old 01/05/2008, 08:53 PM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by customcolor
just remind her it wont look so bright when the water is in it. i have a 10 gal cube in out bedroom as a night light and when the water gets lower than the trim it realy shines in my eyes.
our 125 is in out livingroom with halides and it aint so bad.
That's exactly what I told her. Plus she's seeing a lot of reflection off of the bottom and back - plus all the crap I'm keeping in there right now.
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Last edited by MrSquid; 01/05/2008 at 09:21 PM.
  #25  
Old 01/05/2008, 09:37 PM
MrSquid MrSquid is offline
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Got my skimmer today - it's one of the new MXS (Xtreme) 200's. Here it is - I put the soda can in there to give you an idea of the scale. 8" diameter, about 22" high. The pump is a mesh-wheel modded Sicce.


I pulled the return pipe off it to show the angled piece that goes a T to give control over the flowthrough rate. Rotate the return tube to restrict or open flow. I'm guessing most (all?) in-sump skimmers are like this - I've never used one before so I don't know if that's true or not.


OK - here's my 1st real official headache with the tank. I got antsy and built my sump BEFORE I had the skimmer in-hand. I had two pieces of acrylic siliconed across the end of the sump holding the PVC that will feed into the sump. Those pieces of silicone made the skimmer chamber too short to hold the skimmer. DOH! I've got room front-to-back, o I pulled out those acrylic pieces and tomorrow I'll re-silicone them along the side of the sump.


Can you say "10 pounds of $@#% in a 5 pound bag"? In the upper-left corner there's a UV sterilizer on a shelf. I have a feeling that's what's going to feed the fuge - along with the phosban reactor. (not what I planned, but it's a backup in case my original plan goes to hell if I have problems with flow rates) The UV has a mounting brackit with holes on it, and I put some long nails into the board through those holes - lift the UV up and over and it comes out easily for changing bulbs - but it's not going to slide anywhere on it's own.

The small PVC manifold that's just laying crooked by the pumps is meant for the 2nd pump if it's needed - that's the one that would feed the 2nd return on the tank. Who knows how this'll all work once there's water flowing...


Here's a 2nd angle showing the baffles better.
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