After my old 450 liter aquarium got a bit too crowded I decided it is time for an upgrade. Took me a while to build it, then few months of cycling followed and this is the current stage of my new reef:
About the tank:
Start - May 1 2017
Tank size - 180 cm х 75 cm х 70в cm
Sump size - 140 cm х 60 cm х 52h cm
Total system size - around 1100 liters
Steel stand - hot dip galvanized
Marco Dry Rocks & Inodenesian Dry Rocks 75 kilos - treated and cured before using them
Live Fiji Rocks - 10 Kilos *E-Marco-400 - aquascaping mortar kit
Coral sand 90 kilos
Circulation pumps 2x - 12 000 lph и 10 000 lph
Powerheads 2х Vortech MP40 + 2х Maxspect Gyre 250
Custom skimmer with pump 3300 lph
Temporary light unit 400w, custom made by me - Full Spectrum LED, with Cree Royal blue , Blue, Cyan, Warm White, Deep Red, 420nm, 430nm (hyper violet).
Aquariun computer GHL Profilux 3 with Ph, Temp, Orp, Conductance Probes.
For long years with my previous aquariums the water changes were not fun as I had to move 10+ buckets every time from the aquarium to the bathroom and back. The aquarium is in the living room and the nearest water outlet / drain are 4 meters away. So with the new system this had to change. I quickly disassembled the laminate and started working the floor with the rotary hammer machine:
I planned to install the RO-DI system right next to the aquarium. For regular water changes I am using a pump to move the waste water 4 meters away to the drain. All installed and moving on:
Setting up the tank
After I disassembled my living room and put it back together it was time for the tank. A friend was helping me with the process. I bought the Crystal glass and started building the tank.
I wanted the steel stand to not have feet because that would mean that all the weight would be concentrated in just a few points. And we are talking about ~1 ton. But then how would I get the tank leveled if I needed to, once it is filled with water. The solution was a steel rectangular frame placed right under the steel stand. This way, the weight of the aquarium is distributed evenly onto the bottom frame, not only in a few points but which also allows for subsequent leveling.
I wanted when I look through the aquarium to get the feel of an endless underwater scene. For this purpose, the background of the aquarium is a transparent diffuse wallpaper, and the wall behind it was painted white. Thus, after illuminating the aquarium, an illusion of infinite depth is created.
The laminate underneath the aquarium is not water proof so I decided to put together a plastic basin in which to place the sump. The idea behind it was not to prevent any potential leaks. On the left side of the sump there is about 30 cm of free space available for filters and reactors and I wanted to prevent any splashes of water on the floor while I am servicing these reactors.
And we started the assembling:
The aquarium pipework took many hours but the result was satisfying:
I rinsed all 90 kilos of dry sand thoroughly with fresh water... which took over 10 hours.
They act as the aquarium filter by hosting the beneficial nitrifying bacteria. These bacteria get their energy by the oxidation of inorganic nitrogen compounds. In simple words they consume the toxic ammonia & nitrite and turn them into non toxic nitrates which then are consumed by the zooxanthellae (algae) in the coral. Corals actually comprise an ancient and unique partnership, called symbiosis, that benefits both an animal and a plant. The animal (the coral) hosts the algae which use photosynthesis and nutrients from the water to produce energy, where some of it is absorbed by the coral. Therefore rocks in the reef aquarium are probably one its most important components. The best option is to use live rock only. But you can also start with dry rocks and use some live rocks that will transfer beneficial bacteria and other organisms from the living reef into your home aquarium. That was my case. I've already had 50 kilos of dry Macro Rocks. Additionally I bought 25 more kilos of dry Indonesian rocks, where at the start I added 10 kilos of Fiji Live Rock to "seed" the dry ones. In less than 6 months the dry rocks were full of life and also covered with coraline. That said, I highly recommend to treat and cure the dry rocks prior to putting them in the tank where this process could take up to 30 days. The purpose is to remove any remaining dirt and/or dead organisms and also to remove as many of the precipitated phosphates within the rock. However I will describe the dry rock treatment in another topic. Until then here are a couple of pictures.
After completing the rock treatment process and after the rocks were thoroughly dried we started building the rock structures. I had bad experience with my previous reef tanks where the rocks were placed one over another and were not secured, which often led to a rock falling down that could potentially break the aquarium glass. This time i took a different approach. With 75% of the rocks, out of the aquarium, we built four main pillar structures. The bonds between the separate rocks in these pillars were secured with polyethylene cable ties in order to get the desired pillar shape and then we additionally used aquascaping mortar E-Marco-400 on the joins which made the pillars extremely solid. These four pillars were then put in the aquarium where we finished the the rock work with the remaining 25% of the dry rocks. We again used cable ties and epoxy to achieve a really solid final rock structure.
The rock structures were ready, the sand was added and I started filling the tank with RO-DI water.
Once the system was filled with water I added the reef salt.
Around 3 weeks later, after the tank has cycled and there were no ammonia or nitrite, I introduced the first inhabitants.
And this is my reef tank few months later. You can no longer distinguish the dry rocks from the live ones.
I hope my story was entertaining enough :) If you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to post bellow.