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Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:47 am
by stefanm
Ok I'm starting up my first aquarium, which will be a reef tank, on a budget, lol....I had figured around 40k, obviously not going to happen, have calculated it'll will be around 85k up and running so I think. I have done a ton of research, a few things not finalised or decided on, maybe you guys can offer some input.

Tank-Done, need to drill a few more holes, as I'm going to run a bean animal drain system, internal measurements are 40" x 20" x 24" (LxWxH) Approx 75 US Gallons.

Light-Diy LED, got tips from another forum, by the expert Jedimasterben, will be running a bluefish mini controller and 4-5 channels, still to order the heatsink, drivers and power supply, I'll be making a case for this, as i'm not allowed any wires hanging anywhere.

Sump-not done as yet, pretty much figured it, it's just a matter of cutting the glass and siliconing it up.

Chiller-DIY job, with drop in PVC seamless coated copper coil, 1/2 hp compressor.

Pumps and wavemakers- Suggestions please

Protein Skimmer- Still not decided whether or not to make one myself, any one had success on here with a DIY protein skimmer? Looks straight forward.

Sand- This stuff is expensive, i'll need at least 30 kg's of it, not putting in my sump though, is 2" depth enough? any reliable source?

Salt- I'm going to be using NSW, so not an issue, will be running it through a filter and UV

Stand- still not decided whether to go with a tubular steel frame or timber frame, I think timber is working out cheaper.

Live rock- found a classified ad for it 160 kg, I think 20-30 kg's should be enough?

I think that's it, apart from test kits, nets etc.

Any advice/tips?

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:50 am
by bappa
great :-bd

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:01 pm
by stefanm
Not many active members on here?

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:24 pm
by kumar
well you must be kidding : ) .... right?

From the reef veterans I have interacted with, all they had to suggest was to get a "personal loan" when building one. Thats something you missed, I think your pretty much have it all now.

Pumps- Jebao DC6000 might be good
Wavemaker- RW15 pair with controller would suit well.
For stand- Id have gone for strong L beams with wooden cabinet covering.
For salt- NSW? did you consider the logistics involved?
Chiller- are you sure the coating over the copper will stay put in long run?
Skimmer- its straightforward until you arent considering any fluid-dynamics involved inside the container, prolly you should look at ATS, cheaper and does a better than DIY job.

what kind of overflow are you planning?


Not discouraging, but do keep in mind the years you will stay committed with reef, your maintenance cost wont be any less.

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:51 pm
by mithun
If you are building reef, dont go for DIY skimmer.. you need max performance.. trust only the best brands!

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:40 am
by stefanm
kumar wrote:well you must be kidding : ) .... right?

From the reef veterans I have interacted with, all they had to suggest was to get a "personal loan" when building one. Thats something you missed, I think your pretty much have it all now.

Pumps- Jebao DC6000 might be good
Wavemaker- RW15 pair with controller would suit well.
For stand- Id have gone for strong L beams with wooden cabinet covering.
For salt- NSW? did you consider the logistics involved?
Chiller- are you sure the coating over the copper will stay put in long run?
Skimmer- its straightforward until you arent considering any fluid-dynamics involved inside the container, prolly you should look at ATS, cheaper and does a better than DIY job.

what kind of overflow are you planning?




Not discouraging, but do keep in mind the years you will stay committed with reef, your maintenance cost wont be any less.


Yes, I have considered the logistics of using NSW, not an issue, I have a friend with a fishing boat, only the initial filling will be a pain, I will be mechanically filtering the water and running through a UV steriliser.

The lights, I have ordered or priced up most components, in total it'll cost me 30k give or take, i'm keeping tabs on all expenses. I have built a driver board for the LDD's and am awaiting the pricing on the LDD's and the power supply, hopefully it'll be a bit cheaper than Mouser. Some led's have reached, got some more from China which have cleared customs and are on the way to Goa, will see what duty is applicable (hopefully none).

As for the pumps/wave maker, I was considering those two models, I'll be running one wave maker so start with.

For the stand, i'll be going with a wooden, I have more or less finished my design, i'll be doing some of the carpentry myself and will do the polishing and painting myself.

The coated copper coils will last, there are quite a few people on Singapore and Philippines forums that have been using for over four years, I wanted titanium, but the guy who is selling them had quoted for it, has been unresponsive to a couple of questions relating to the dimensions, without the dimensions, I can't size the sump.

I'm not sure I would want to run an ATS full time, die off of algae could be a potential issue in the future, I think for a couple of months max it's fine, it's quite a controversial subject, I spent a good 2 days researching before reaching my conclusion. I think I can make a proper working skimmer, not the airstone type though.

For the overflow, I'm going to run a beananimal type, easy enough. I have already drilled my emergency overflow, actually two of them, kind of a cock up by my LFS, but it'll work out ok.

As i'll be probably making the cabinet next week, I can sort most of the plumbing out and build my sump, this time i'm doing it myself, as it's for my daughter my glass guy will either give me at cost or free of charge.

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:52 am
by stefanm
mithun wrote:If you are building reef, dont go for DIY skimmer.. you need max performance.. trust only the best brands!


I'm looking, even scouring OLX, incase i get lucky with a second hand one.

Reef Octopus seem to be ok for the money?

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:33 pm
by mithun
sure.. its pretty easy to find a second hand skimmer for a 40" tank size.. thats the most common size range people opt for and leave prematurely :P

Give me a call in case you dont be able to source one yourself, I will see if I can arrange one for you,... whats your location?

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:17 pm
by stefanm
I'm in Goa, not many reefers here, as far as I can tell.

Re: Starting my first aquarium, reef tank.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:58 am
by stefanm
fan controller off.jpg
Some of my Lighting equipment has reached, so for my build I will be setting up as follows (copied from another forum)

I have prerequisites for the build, firstly wiring should be neat and not visible (as far as possible) and the enclosure should be sleek, looking close to a manufactured unit.

So the LED's will be in 3 clusters, without any secondary optics, this is to cover a 40" x 20" surface area, the depth is 24"

Each cluster will comprise of the following;

Luxeon royal blue 16 up
Bridgelux Vero 10 Neutral white 90 CRI - 1no
Cree XPE Blue-4no.
Luxeon Lime-1no.
Epileds Cyan-1no.

Powered and controlled with the following,

Meanwell LRS 350-48
LDD H Drivers, Royal blue 3 no. 1000-H, Vero 10- 3 no. 350-H (350 not in stock, can I use the 500-H?) XPE Blue-1 no, 1000-H, Cyan & Lime 1no. 700-H
Bluefish Mini
DIY driver board

There is no stock of the 1000-H in India, so I might order along with the Bluefish mini and the Luxeon limes, though because of the value it will attract customs duty, unless I send to my sister in the US to repack, undervalue and mark as a gift.

The cluster will be mounted something like the picture below, wiring will be on the perimeter of the LED's and hidden under an acrylic cover. of approx 12"x8"x1.25", I have a 92mm fan for each section, now a question, the heatsink vendor can mill the heatsink to house the fans, the fans themselves are 25 mm thick and the heatsink 32 mm, the fans are controlled by a thermostat, not sure whether to recess them 19mm with an acrylic cover of 6mm thickness so they sit flush or to let them sit flush in the heatsink and the cover to just have a circle cut out, which would look tidier? The cover will have slots cut out, hopefully by CNC router.

Cluster.jpg


fan controller off.jpg


fan controller on.jpg