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Fyr Fishy
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517 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fyrfytr's 93gal AquaVim curved glass bowfront tank build!!!
Check it out, you'll be glad you did! (There's plenty o' pics!)
I like to do lots of research before I make a purchase and would love to pass on what I've learned...

Alright everybody, time for Tony to get building!
Join me on my journey back into the undersea world.
I had a 55gal FOWLR tank set-up back in my college days but I switched it over to freshwater when I entered the "real world" since I knew I would be moving a number of times. Now that I have a house, a wife, and a steady job it's time to get salty...

:a18:
My plan is to start out with fish, live rock, and softies in a shallow sand bed, but at the same time to not limit myself and have to re-buy equipment when the day inevitably comes that I want to keep LPS and/or SPS. So here's what I've decided on so far...

AquaVim 93 gallon RR seamless glass bowfront tank (48"L x 26"H x 18"D)
Built-in overflow has 1" drain and 3/4" return
DIY Fly Guy rockstand
DIY sump I'm designing to fit my stand ~30 gallons - details to follow
ASM G4 skimmer
Velocity T3 return pump
IceCap 660 ballast
IceCap retro T5HO's (4x 39W with IceCap reflectors)
Rid-Volt titanium grounding probe

Under consideration...
ReefKeeper 2 or AC Jr. Controller
Spectrapure MaxCap RO/DI w/ auto top-off
Won Titanium heaters
Eductor (DIY?) to throttle down the T3 while increasing in-tank flow
2 or 3 In-tank powerheads for additional flow
2x 28W PC Fluorescents to supplement actinic and provide dawn/dusk

The tank is already here, the decided on items are on their way here, and the under consideration items are exactly that... Please feel free to offer ideas, advice, suggestions, etc. I would not be this far along if it wasn't for the TRT board and all of you. I don't mind going slow and I want to do it right. So please sit back, relax, and follow along... I promise to post lots of pictures along the way!

Tony

I wanted to wait until I had a least a couple of pictures to post for all you pic lovers out there...


Macy (my boxer) checking out the new tank... Shipped from the AquaVim distributor in New York!




Shiny new tank... still in the box!

 

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i will keep a close eye on this i am thinking of a tank around the same stats, way to go cant wait to see it up and going
 

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lol i keep nanos that dont have alot of stuff along with them so its new to me to see what stuff is needed for a tank that size
 

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Administrator
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i have had good luck with my www.airwaterice.com RO/DI filter. much less expensive than the big namers.

i run an old AC II. i like it a lot. have only had one problem with it, and it was really a problem with an X10 device and not the AC II. nothing is perfect.

G~
 

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kid impersonator
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you should be able keep LPS with that set-up
looks like a good start
 

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Fyr Fishy
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517 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From the research I've done I'm hoping that the SpectraPure system will pay itself off in the long run by not needing cartridge changes as often. The sediment and carbon filters are .5 micron as opposed to 1 micron (making the RO last longer) and they claim their MaxCap DI beds are supposed to be good for 3.5x the capacity of other DI beds for about 1200 gallons of DI water each. http://www.spectrapure.com/St_MaxCap-RO-DI.htm Is that good? Are their replacement cartridges that much more expensive? How many gallons do you typically get out of your airwaterice before cartridge changes?

As for the controller, it seems the ReefKeeper II is more user friendly while the AC JR. is more adaptable/capable. I want to stay in about the $250 range. I think the ReefKeeper II will meet my needs but the jury is still out...:read:
 

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kid impersonator
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Thanks! So what is my limiting factor at this point in regards to SPS? I'm guessing it's either lighting or water flow. Is that correct, or is there other equipment I would need to add?

yes, the limiting factor would be lighting and flow
I'm not sure about how much light you need,
I think it's a minimum par value of around 200

I've seen some SPS kept in tanks under T5 bulbs
but they were "up top" in a shallow tank
 

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Cool to see another aquavim tank on here, its heckuva solid tank for the money (see my avatar, I have the 118g semi-circle). A couple things I might suggest, since I'm guessing your stand has some similar specs to mine. Oh and this would apply if you are doing everything under the tank in the stand (if you are doing things external, then ignore this). I have a 30g sump on mine, its an acrylic ADHI sump and fits perfect in my stand...I paid about $240 for mine. Depending on what you want for a sump, this problem isn't much more expensive than a DIY glass or acrylic. Also, I doubt the G4 will fit under your stand, I'm guessing there wont be enough clearance. The G2 was the biggest I could fit under mine...it seems to be working nicely tho on my 118g, so I'm guessing for a 90ish tank youll be ok w/ a G2. The Aquavim tanks are cool, but do have a few quirks you have to design around, so let me know if you have questions...my system is just starting to sort itself out, so I'm far from an expert, but I'll lend any help I can.
 

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yes, the limiting factor would be lighting and flow
I'm not sure about how much light you need,
I think it's a minimum par value of around 200

I've seen some SPS kept in tanks under T5 bulbs
but they were "up top" in a shallow tank
Oh and for lighting, their canopies are a little weird, does yours have the access lid on the top instead of the front? This makes lighting a challenge if you do. There has been some bad rap out there on Catalina lighting...but I went with them b/c they custom fit T5s to my need (5.75 in for 4x39w). If you went with them, you could probably get 10 T5s across your tank, but this might block your access? Or is your access door 36" across? Mine was super weird to figure out b/c of the semi-circle shape and a square door that is only 24 in across...I ended up attaching a 4x36 T5 to the back (covers about a third of my access opening) and put a 400w MH on the door itself, in front of the T5s...I havent ventured to SPS as my tank is very young (up for a month), but I do think this setup seems like it provides a ton of light.
 

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Fyr Fishy
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517 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the AquaVim info. Yeah, my top access door is 42" x 10" so I went with the 4x36" light set-up. The whole set-up will fit on the door itself. I could have fit the 4x48" light setup under my canopy but it would have totally blocked the access door and would have left the front of the tank unlit.

My front doors are 24.5" tall and the inside of the stand is 27" tall. The ASM G4 is 24" tall. I'll probably have to remove the collection cup to get the skimmer body out of my sump, but I don't imagine I'll be doing that very often. The big challenge with the G4 (and part of the reason I'm doing a DIY skimmer) is the size of the footprint. As for cost, I'm not buying an acrylic sump and putting baffles in it. I'm actually designing and building the entire thing. I'm hoping my acrylic costs will be less than modifying a pre-built tank (and I can get exactly the size I want). With the stand pushed up all the way against the wall I can slide a 28"W x 16"D sump between the door hinges. I could make it a little bigger, but I'm afraid I would not be able to get it out of the stand after the tank was set up.

As for other AquaVim questions... are the bulkheads they provided decent quality? Have you had any problems with them leaking? I know most of their accessories are pretty cheap imports so I was considering replacing them right off the bat. Then again, it can't be that difficult to make a decent bulkhead... How about the door hinges? Mine seemed to have some early signs of rust on them. Any other AquaVim advice you may have is greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Here's the opening I have to work with.

 

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kid impersonator
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Oh and for lighting, their canopies are a little weird, does yours have the access lid on the top instead of the front? This makes lighting a challenge if you do. There has been some bad rap out there on Catalina lighting...but I went with them b/c they custom fit T5s to my need (5.75 in for 4x39w). If you went with them, you could probably get 10 T5s across your tank, but this might block your access? Or is your access door 36" across? Mine was super weird to figure out b/c of the semi-circle shape and a square door that is only 24 in across...I ended up attaching a 4x36 T5 to the back (covers about a third of my access opening) and put a 400w MH on the door itself, in front of the T5s...I havent ventured to SPS as my tank is very young (up for a month), but I do think this setup seems like it provides a ton of light.

lighting on the corner/bowfront tanks are very dificult
I made my own canopy and have (1) 250w MH and (2) 65w PC's
 

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Thanks for the Aquavim info. Yeah, my top access door is 42" x 10" so I went with the 4x36" light set-up. The whole set-up will fit on the door itself. I could have fit the 4x48" light setup under my canopy but it would have totally blocked the access door and would have left the front of the tank unlit.

My front doors are 24.5" tall and the inside of the stand is 27" tall. The ASM G4 is 24" tall. I'll probably have to remove the collection cup to get the skimmer body out of my sump, but I don't imagine I'll be doing that very often. The big challenge with the G4 (and part of the reason I'm doing a DIY skimmer) is the size of the footprint. As for cost, I'm not buying an acrylic sump and putting baffles in it. I'm actually designing and building the entire thing. I'm hoping my acrylic costs will be less than modifying a pre-built tank (and I can get exactly the size I want). With the stand pushed up all the way against the wall I can slide a 28"W x 16"D sump between the door hinges. I could make it a little bigger, but I'm afraid I would not be able to get it out of the stand after the tank was set up.

As for other Aquavim questions... are the bulkheads they provided decent quality? Have you had any problems with them leaking? I know most of their accessories are pretty cheap imports so I was considering replacing them right off the bat. Then again, it can't be that difficult to make a decent bulkhead... How about the door hinges? Mine seemed to have some early signs of rust on them. Any other Aquavim advice you may have is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Mine actually didn't come with bulkheads, so I got them from the LFS. The tank is a friggin rock...no issue with leaking or worry of it leaking...I think the glass is 5/8"? At any rate, it just feels incredibly sturdy. I also read from another person here (Mccarver I think) that their accessories weren't as great as the tank, so I just didnt order anything extra (they did throw in a free 24" T5 unit, which is actually fairly nice).

As for the top access it does get annoying, right now I have to get a ladder which I cant store in my living room, drag it down the hall and climb over the tank any time I want to access it, even to feed. I think I'm going to buy one of these Ben Franklin chairs, so I have something attractive I can leave out next to the tank (http://www.widerview.com/gg1012.html), if you have any other thoughts on easy access, definitely let me know. I've thought before about taking a saw to the hood to make it front access...

So the lighting. I think the IceCaps look awesome...buuut...I would check the specs and make sure you can fit the another 4 T5s or MHs in front of the retro before buying. You might not want now, but call it hunch, you are going to want at least 8 T5s or some MH down the road.
 

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Fyr Fishy
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517 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My tank came with a free "plumbing kit" and a cheap NO fluorescent fixture. The plumbing kit is just the two bulkheads, a PVC standpipe, and a PVC return pipe (oh and a super cheesy siphon for emptying the tank) but hey, it was free. I may just buy new bulkheads from a trusted source because the last thing I want to do is change them out after filling the tank.

In regards to getting on a ladder to feed, doesn't your hood have a feeding tube built into it? I thought all the Aquavims did. Or is it that you need to specifically target your feeding in the area of certain corals?

My lighting plan includes adding two 12" PC actinic bulbs at the front of the tank in the "bow" area. It would take a little creativity and maybe some minor modifications to the canopy, but I could put a couple of MH fixtures in that bow area or to either side of the T5's if I really need to. Right now, I'm just trying to limit my lighting as I would really like to avoid getting a chiller.
 

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Fyr Fishy
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517 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Santa (UPS) came today!

Well, this should be the first of many deliveries in the coming weeks. I'm excited I can actually get moving on my set-up now! Today my lights and return pump showed up from Reefgeek. I'm very satisfied with my experience with them and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in the products they sell. Greg provided great advice and customer service over the phone, their prices are excellent, and the items arrived on-time and well packaged. Big thumbs-up for Reefgeek!:thumbup:


P.S. The IceCap reflectors aren't gold, they just have a protective film on them.

 

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My tank came with a free "plumbing kit" and a cheap NO fluorescent fixture. The plumbing kit is just the two bulkheads, a PVC standpipe, and a PVC return pipe (oh and a super cheesy siphon for emptying the tank) but hey, it was free. I may just buy new bulkheads from a trusted source because the last thing I want to do is change them out after filling the tank.

In regards to getting on a ladder to feed, doesn't your hood have a feeding tube built into it? I thought all the Aquavims did. Or is it that you need to specifically target your feeding in the area of certain corals?

My lighting plan includes adding two 12" PC actinic bulbs at the front of the tank in the "bow" area. It would take a little creativity and maybe some minor modifications to the canopy, but I could put a couple of MH fixtures in that bow area or to either side of the T5's if I really need to. Right now, I'm just trying to limit my lighting as I would really like to avoid getting a chiller.
Yea, its only like 20 for bulkheads, might as well. I got that siphon and have actually used it for some random things! I think its made out of the thinnest plastic I've ever seen, and all the writing is in Chinese right?

Yea, mine has the feeder, but everything you drop there just gets sucked into the overflow. I'd also buy those super long aqua tongs, I just ordered 32" ones and cant wait for them to get here...I'm sick of sticking my cheek in the water just to put something on the bottom of the tank!

I think there are a lot of ppl here w/o a chiller (me included, I wont get one) who run MH. And if you put in 8 T5s heat won't be an issue at all. I started out the same saying I was definitely sticking to T5s, but eventually cracked and went with the MH/T5 mix. I just have a couple fans cooling under my hood. ($6 each from target) I think it would at least be worth starting a thread specific to your lighting, listing (1) what you'd like to keep (2) your tank dimensions (3) desires as far as avoiding a chiller, and see what some other folks here suggest. I am pretty sure tho that 4 T5s, even overdriven w/ ice cap individual reflectors, isnt enough for a 93g tank, especially since its a very deep 26" tank, unless you never see yourself doing SPS. The ice cap is a sweet unit no doubt, the best available, but if it doesnt allow you to expand (at least doubling the wattage you have), it may not be the best for your tank.
 

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Fyr Fishy
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yep, that's the same Chinese siphon I got... glad to hear it may be useful!
:lol:

I'll also have to give those aqua tongs some consideration. I don't mind sticking my arm in the tank but would really like to avoid sticking my face in it...
:barf: :fish:
As for my lighting situation... I just may have to start a new thread. The way I'm looking at it now is that in the near future I will likely only be keeping fish and some softies. If I'm willing to give up my top access I can upgrade from 4x39W to 4x54W just by replacing the reflectors and bulbs, all other parts would be re-usable. However, there is no way possible using the IceCap reflectors that I could fit 8 T5 bulbs in my canopy. Maybe I could squeeze in two short ones in addition to what I have, but chances are I'll have to add a MH fixture if I decide I really need a lot more wattage. Do some research on T5's on ReefCentral, I think you may be surprised by the success many users are having with them.
 

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Fyr Fishy
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517 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
SpectraPure MaxCap RO/DI

Well, ordered my RO/DI system today from SpectraPure. Another vendor I would highly recommend. I spoke with Bruce last night and got a lot of good general information about the MaxCap system as well as a new microprocessor controlled system they have in the works. Today Dana and J.R. helped me piece together my system. I decided if my fish and coral were going to have top notch water, so was the rest of the family. I ordered the drinking water kit with a 4 gallon pressurized storage tank and an ice maker kit (both RO only, not DI), a DI auto top-off line for my sump, and another DI line for filling buckets in my garage for water changes. It was a little pricey when everything was all added together, but I think it will pay itself off fairly quickly as I won't be buying bottled drinking water or RO/DI from the LFS anymore. In case anyone is interested, here is a drawing of my planned set-up (with a couple of cut-and-paste pieces from the SpectraPure website.) It's just the major components, I did not include check valves, T's, etc...

Currently, I'm working on painting the inside of my canopy with a few coats of KILZ (3 so far) so I can get my lights mounted. A question regarding light mounting... should I mount my IceCap 660 ballast in the canopy or in the stand? Both would be exposed to water evaporation, but I figure the canopy would be hotter and wetter. I'm leaning toward putting it in the stand, although having it in the canopy would be nice so I could take the canopy off without having to disconnect any wires. Opinions?

 

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How is the build going? Sorry it took me a bit, been studying and working like a mad man and maintaining the tank is all I really have extra time for. As for the T5s, I just went to buy some frags from a guy that has 6 48" T5s 54w on a Tek fixture running over a 75. His growth is awesome. I had another thought on your lighting, you could use the ice cap now, then supplement it with one of the catalina fixtures down the road to add 4 more T5s if you want. They custom make em and for $200 I got a 4-bulb 36" T5 unit custom made so it is only 5.75 in wide, I'm guessing that would fit?

Check out the guys tank here (also posting it in a purchase thread since I gotta get studying and dont have time to take my own pics): http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=9621827#post9621827

Oh and I was clued into a GREAT idea for the Aquavim hoods. Yesterday I was getting incredibly angry about how difficult it is to access the tank, and decided I have to figure something out because it is a 2 person job to do anything without removing the hood (which is itself a 2 person job). The suggestion is to attach a sliding track on the wall behind the tank so can slide the entire hood up the wall. The guy I got the frags from said there was a thread about it on RC, he is trying to find it for me. I am 100% doing this because the top access is just not workable...trying to reach anything on the bottom of the tank involves getting your head wet, and to use tongs you need someone spotting you, b/c your only view is top down, no way to work on the tank and see the tank from the front at the same time.
 
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