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Old 08-04-2017, 08:43 AM
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New 150 gallon anthias garden

Hi all,

After taking a few years off to focus on some other hobbies (mainly dart frogs and green tree pythons), I am finally ready to take the plunge back in to reefing. My wife didn't love all the chirping and fruit flies everywhere, and thought a reef tank would be a better fit for our family now that we have a daughter- so who am I to argue with that!


I was originally planning on something conservative like a 75 or 90 gal but when I saw an immaculate 4' 150 gallon tank on mr that came with a custom 40" sump, about 175lbs of dry rock and real reef rock, a classic reef octopus skimmer, a myriad of powerheads/pumps/Wavemakers, test kits, refractometer, and even a few buckets of un opened I/o salt (and im sure im forgetting something) for just $600 I couldn't say no.


This will be the largest reef I've ever attempted and the size is a little daunting, but I know a lot of great reefers out there that I can call on for help and I've got a great resource in the guys over at complete aquarium in Bedford so im going for it.


Here's the tank as it currently sits in my garage





Once I got the tank home my next step was to figure out lighting. It was a tough call because this tank will primarily house anthias some of which are not fond of high lighting, but I will be keeping some sps towards the top so I needed a solution that could provide adequately strong light where I need it without blasting the entire tank. As often happens, the solution presented itself as I was scrolling thru the mr for sale page. I ended up picking up two ai hydra 52's and a 48" reef brite strip for such a good price that I don't want to say it, but I will say it was less than a single new hydra 52 would have cost. I am pairing these lights with a two bulb t5 retrofit by Hamilton and am very happy with the color blending and versatility this set up offers. I may opt for two more 52's in the future but for now I've got plenty of light to get started. I've been planning and acquiring equipment for almost a year now, so there's is no rush to get corals or fish in the tank once it's set up.


My most recent equipment pick ups were all at RAP (where I won an mp10 that I couldn't use on this build unfortunately) a wifi enabled 4 pump dosing system and custom three part reservoir (I'll be using aqua forest balling liquids for macro and micro supplementation), an ice cap ato system, and a brand new overflow kit from the great people at marineland who mailed it to me free of charge even though it's a used tank and they know im the second owner!


I plan on having a very open hardscape that will consist of 1 large column and a "c" shaped structure linking it to a second smaller column (pics to come). So here's where I need your help- since im not using a lot of live rock, biological filtration will have to be supplemented. I've been toying with lining half of the bottom of the tank with marinepure 8x8x1 plates and then covering it with an inch or so of special reef grade or small screened crushed coral. This should allow for easy syphoning of detritus while providing tons of surface area for benes. Im also going to add two of their large "rocks" to the scape for some additional help with denitrification. Beyond the marinepure and the oversized skimmer, im not sure what else to add as far as filter components. Since I'll be keeping anthias, a well stocked fuge is a must, but Id love to get your thoughts on any reactors, or other filtration equip I may need. This tank will not have a heavy bioload (12-20 3" anthias and a few one off's and that's it) but Id like to achieve an ulns. I was thinking of either running an appropriate amount of chemi pure blue or a brs reactor with carbon and gfo. And that's pretty much it to start...


One last question Id love your opinions on is whether or not I'll need a chiller. I keep my house at a constant 72 degrees year round with a 1-2 degree swing at most (usually downward). Im trying to get this thing running for under 3k (not counting livestock) and I've got about $1500 left to spend so a chiller is going to take a bite out of that. If I can avoid running a chiller, Id spend the savings on a good dc return pump and an als add on fuge (which would give me another 20 gallons of total water volume). If I do get a chiller it will be a used Aqua logic drop in, which are going for 200-300 so not the end of the world, but space and money are at a premium.


More pics to come as things start to come together (tank is getting moved upstairs this weekend). This is a big move for me and im really going to be counting on your input and experience to make this tank a success, so please let me know what you think! Thanks guys!
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:46 AM
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:11 AM
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Unless you plan to house cooler water dependent anthias, then no in regards to the chiller. I currently keep a 70g utilizing a pair of Radions and a DC return pump and my ambient room temp is 77~78 degrees in the summer time. I utilize a 6" clip on fan above the sump on a controller and it can keep my tank temperature in the range of 78 and 79.5 degrees which is perfectly fine for my fish and corals. One thing that I will point out is that I have an open top with a screen cover vs a canopy. I think that this makes a world of a difference in regards to temperature. I use to house a RSM250 which is a covered all in one 65g tank in the same room and had a hard time keeping the tank temperature within acceptable parameters even with fans so an open top made a big difference.
Since you keep your home 5 degrees cooler then I do and if you want to keep the canopy, I'd say try it first with a fan or fans pointed down at your sump tied into a temperature controller, the evaporative cooling should be enough. Key to this is that the room is climate controlled which keeps the humidity within 50% and less in which allows the evaporative cooling to work. When a room is humid, this method of cooling does not work well.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:17 PM
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Thanks! I've never run a chiller before because I have always kept my home at a consistent temp in the low 70's high 60's. My last reef tank was 65 gal sps dominant and I was able to maintain temp of 78 with the heater cycling on pretty much year round. That tank was light by 8 t5's and didn't even have a sump. It had 4 large powerheads for circulation and a hang on the back remora skimmer and even with all the t5s and internal pumps temp was never an issue.

The scale of this project is beyond anything I've done before so when the lfs told me a chiller was a necessity, I thought Id better ask you guys.


I had been considering Randall's and/or pulcher anthias originally, but with the gorgeous dispars coming out of the Maldives now, I'll probably go with those with a few tiger queens and/or ignitus. My understanding is that dispars are a shallow water species and do ️ok in normal reef conditions. The tank is almost 32 inches tall and there will be plenty of crags, overhangs, and caves in the rock work, so if I can keep my temps around 77 I may try a deeper water species since the light shouldn't be to abrasive towards the middle and lowers sections of the tank. Either way I plan to run it with sand, live rock, and some sea grass and halimeda only for the first few months until I have a visible breeding population of pelagic Copepods well established. So I should have plenty of time to dial in temps and make adjustments/equipment additions if necessary. My goal is to have it up and running by the end of the month, with fish and corals starting to go in sometime between thanksgiving and Christmas. Total fish load will not exceed 20 3"-4" fish with the bulk of those being small relatively peaceful anthias of the same species.


I will be using a wood canopy (one of the conditions set forth by the boss) but plan to install the leds on top of it and I will run active cooling fans on the sides of the canopy to ensure good air turnover at the waters surface.


Any thoughts on marinepure plates under a thin layer of substrate? Im hoping to achieve some anaerobic space for denitrifying bacteria to grow. Thanks!
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:00 PM
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Like others said, you don't "need" to have a chiller with the normal fans setup. But there are so many cheap used chiller being sold here in MR, I would get one to hook it up for just in case. Less hassle than using fans if you don't like the noise or the awkward mounting positions for fans.
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:39 PM
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I had a chance to look at the equipment that came with the tank and was stoked to see a reef octopus classic 225 int skimmer in one of the boxes. The sump is also really nice!

What im not happy with is the stand. It's made entirely of 3/4 ply. From what I read about plywood tensile strength it should do the job, but im def going to add some stainless steel bracing to the inside to shore it up.


The other main concern I have is that the tanks rim slightly hangs over the 1/8 plywood on the top of the stand (im guessing the previous owner added a 4x2 sheet, but with the rim the tank is about 48 1/2") if I cut a piece of foam to exact dimensions and sit it on top of what's already there, do you guys think this very slight overhang on the plywood below would be a problem?


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Old 08-12-2017, 04:43 PM
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Here's another shot of the overhang. The previous owner did have it up and running on this stand as is for several months without issue, but Id like to avoid any pressure points on the tank if possible which is why I want to add foam board cut to match the exact outline of the tank.

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Old 08-12-2017, 04:47 PM
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Since the stand is a little janky, my plan is to run anodized aluminum L shaped supports along of the vertical seams inside the stand. This should hold the board together securely and add a little extra spine as well. I have some L braces and corner braces I can use too if necessary.

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Old 08-12-2017, 04:53 PM
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Here's a full shot of the back of the tank and stand to give the above photos some context
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:08 PM
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Just for the hell of it, here's one of the rock columns that will be going in.

This one will go in about the middle of the left side. There will be a slightly smaller column on the right closer to the front with lower rocks tying the two together in a "c" shape.
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