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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Invic's 150+ Cube BB Build (Cycle Complete!)

The Tank is running well, the ugly stages are dead and gone. Corals are growing fast now, and the fish are happy. I've let the tiny frags grow out with no new additions for 6 months now.

Currently Beating down some algae, as well as lost a few SPS. The tank ran 3 months without really any attention during some Medical issues that limited time and well access to the tank.
Tank is trimming back down and I'll have it running lean and mean again soon! Until then time to Murder some Algae Muahahahahah!

Tank Operation Concept
Its the raw basics, Detritus (waste, poo, dead bacteria) is the enemy.
By the same token I know life gets busy and I get lazy.
So I am constantly looking to improve my setup in regards to time spent in clean up. Any part of the system that is a hassle to work with or clean I try to improve to make it easier. Simply because the easier something is to maintain the more likely we are to keep up in maintaining it.

Cleaning Routines with Time Involved

Every Week (+/- 2) days ~ Time 1 hour
Water Change! I wipe down the glass, blow out the rocks and siphon out all the detritus. Water change volume is about 15 gallons of the 180g total system volume every week.
Skimmer Cup/Neck is cleaned and emptied.
Every 4-5 Days ~ Time 3min
RO/DI water Top off storage container filling! Basically its takes 4-7 days for my Top off water storage bin to run low. (depending on time of year and weater) Simply refill and done. Top of water bin is approx 12g of water.
Every 2-3 Days ~ Time 5min.
Siphon to sock! I change my filter socks every 2-3 days. Prior to changing them I siphon out the display into the sump through the filter sock of any accumulated detritus.
Then I pull out the used filter sock and replace with a new filter sock.
Every 60-90 Dayys ~ Time 15min.
Water Storage Cleaning! I run my water storage Brute Trash can empty. Then wipe and clean and rinse them out. Over time bacteria does move into them and bio film growth can start. Basically the trash cans begin to "cycle"
Every 30-45 Days ~ Time 15min
Skimmer Full cleaning! Basically I pull the skimmer and fully clean all parts of the skimmer, this is added to a water change day routine.
Every Day ~ Time Doesn't matter.
Enjoy the tank, watch the fish interact or the corals grow. Or simply watch the micro fauna go about their little business. Enjoy the amazing peek at some of mother nature's greatest work.

11/30/13 Current Video

Tank Equipment
Tank: 150g Cube 36"x36"x27"
Lighting: 2x AI Vega Color AI EXT Mounting rails
Skimmer:SRO 3000 INT
Sump: Sump 40g Breeder. Placed in adjacent room
ATO: Tunze Osmolator
Return Pump Mag 12
Water Flow! 700gph return, 3x Tunze 6025 Powerheads, 2x Tunze 6055 Controllable Powerheads and 7096 Controller. I tried MP40's but the noise and vibration was to much and to scary, in the end happy where I ended up with the above powerheads.
Rock (Marco Rock, Carbi Rock, Some DIY and some LR to Seed added to finish the cycle)
Substrate None: Bare Bottom 1/2" HDPE Board
Saltwater Mixing 35g Brute trash can, with Mag 9.5 to mix and fill tank. (Serves as back up pump should the return pump fail as well)
RO/DI Storage Tank 35g Brute Trash can with a Mag 7 pump to easily fill ATO and Saltwater Mixing can.
Clean up Equipment 35g Brute trashcan with pond pump and 30' of hose for to siphon out the display into the can and then pump it to a drain. Siphon PVC and braided poly hose DIY Siphon wand.

Reef Tank, planning on LPS but mostly SPS. Also this tank will be BB with a black HDPE bottom silicone sealed to glass bottom.

Current Stocking Do not plan to increase the bioload more then this currently
2x Black and White Ocei Clowns
1x Royal Gramma
1x Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Pepe!) (After 6.5 years and a full Life Pepe has passed on)
1x Midas Blenny
1x Firefish
1x Orange Stripped Cardinal
1x Blue/Green Chromis
1x Blue Hippo Tang
1x Cerith Snails
3x Nerite Snails
1x Tuxedo Urchin

Current Corals
Neon Green Candy Cane (LPS)
Frogspawn (LPS)
Pink Torch (LPS)
Pink/Orange Plating Monti (SPS)
Yellow/Green Monti Spondes? Confusa? lol (SPS)
Green Polyp Toadstool (Tyree)

Big Stan The baby Hippo Tang. I go this little guy as a rescue of sorts. He was smaller then a Dime when I got him. Keeping him fed due to his size its hard to feed such a little fish. He's grown fast in a mere few weeks. He has doubled in size about every 3 weeks so far.

Almost 9 Months ago after having him for a week he perked up and fins healed. PVC in the Video is 1" PVC. He was a mysis shrimp hunter from day one lol.

8 months ago, when he moved into the 150g.

Then today....The freight train...

Highlights and Details of Parts of the project.

Rock Work Setup and HDPE Board Installed

Screen Top Cover

Sump in Operation Video
New Sump Video in operation. Its almost silent not that you can tell by the phone mic picking up noises funny lol. That gurgle running water noise is amazingly loud in the video when your at the sump its barely noticeable, Oh duh hahahaha that is the RO system hose trickling water into a Brute can behind me :p I am a dork

Sump Setup in Adjacent Room "Sump Corner" The two Brute cans are for water storage, One is for Saltwater Mixing and the other is RO/DI storage. The small Tan Tub is my ATO water tank.

The two Brute cans are for water storage, One is for Saltwater Mixing and the other is RO/DI storage.
To make life easier I built two Pump Rigs that sit inside of the Brute Cans.
RO/DI one is a simple mag 9 Pump and valve with a hose. Simply to shuttle water into the ATO tank, or move water into the Saltwater Mixing Brute can.
The Saltwater Mixing Rig runs a Mag 11. Simple valves to recirculate and mix water, and a hose line to fill the sump during water changes to replace siphoned out water.
The Mag 11 Pump in the mixing Brute is also a backup pump for the 150g tank's return pump. So if the Tank pump fails I have a back up on hand, but I get to use it in the mean time to make life easier. The Mag 9 pump also is capable to push the return on the display if I am super unlucky and lose both Mag 11's at the same time. lol

Sump Design Note: I had the Baffle depth a bit higher then recommend 6"-6.5" which is optimal for this skimmer. I built the sump with far to high of a baffle so built a simple riser to keep the skimmer at 6" depth for best performance.

Filter Sock improvement
Bad picture of the filter sock setup. Basically instead of putting in a baffle to keep the water height high around the sock, I just used a PVC pipe open end cut straight sitting on the bottom of the tank. The PVC diameter is the size of the filter sock Ring diameter so it simply just sits in the PVC pipe. Trick is to cut a small hole or notch to the right size to allow water to leave just fast enough to not overflow. So start small and slowly enlarge it if you have to.
Its cheap, no glass work and best part is its not attached so I can remove it to work or clean the sump ect.

Filter sock holder/Baffle
4" filter socks, 4" PVC pipe 14" length

HDPE Bottom board, Prior to cleanup and final touch ups

DIY long siphon hose setup Revised ($7)

Brute trashcan in place ready for some siphoning!

Noise Level Test Video. 2x Tunze 6055 (On pulse mode ramping up and down. 3x Tunze 6025. I love these powerheads now :)

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Continued from the first post

Test Drive in Tap water during equipment cleaning of Skimmer

ATO Tunze Osmolator - Test drive of equipment prior to going live

AI Vega light layout diagram
NOTE: I ended up with a 7" AWL height and 9" between the lights in the end. SO the following is a bit off.

Couple of AI's videos on one of a couple of their mounting options for reference.

Original Post #2
Picked up some Dry rock this weekend, as I have plans to DIY some rock and use mostly dry rock. Goal is Shelves and Columns. Due to first time using Dry rock planning to do a RO soak to remove lime from the DIY rock crete mix, then start a cycle and leech all the phosphates I can out of the rocks.

Being a good soak and cycle time on the rock, getting a head start I figure is a good thing. So when its time for the tank to go wet I am not stuck waiting on my rock. Plus eager to do some rock work when the tank is not live and my weird ideas are safe to try!!

I know the minimum dimensions of the tank so playing with some rock setups and planning for what I need to DIY make is pretty simple. I plan to keep 4-5" gap around the whole tank from the glass, to let me fat hands have room to clean glass as needed.

Here is some of the rock, I picked up some Agricrete and Marco dry rock to use as parts to the final product.


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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Play time! So now I have some rock to play with. Best way to figure out what you can do with the rock is setup a card table toss down some cardboard and Draw a outline of the tank bottom on the cardboard. This lets you see how your stacking and the spacing. (I have not draw the line for mine yet)

Time to act like your kids! heavy weird building blocks. The more you screw around with them stacking and playing the more ideas you get really. Just messing around with out glue or anything so that when it comes time to Glue rock or DIY make missing parts in my case you really know what you want and need.

Few Rock stacks I did. Nothing holding these but gravity and keeping the centers of weight in line.

Really like the 3 piece column I stumbled into.

Sort of a tabled ridge I stacked up.

Both Pieces front on.

Top View to see the depth. Actually none is higher then 12" right now and average width of about 8-10"

· Aquatic Philosopher
15,750 Posts
Totally jealous right now... but I guess I will pull up a couch :couchplus:

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Congrats on getting the new build going. Are you transfering the 30 to this or keeping both?
Still deciding if I will leave the 30 up for a frag tank or not right now. Might just make some racks out of egg crate and see what I can grow.

Clowns, Gramma Toadstool, Stylopora, Frogspawn, Candy cane Corals will all move to the new tank. Zoa's and Xenia I think I will leave in the 30g or setup a shallower tank for frags and softies my wife likes.

Porcelain Crab will rejoin his old roomates in the new tank, and I think the extra space will allow the Cherub Angel enough space to not cause issues with the clowns as they did in the 30g tank. (Crab and Angel live in my old sump running as a nano right now)

Then some new roomates, one or two Banghai cardinals and a wrasse I think.

Freshwater tank is going to come down to free up the dining room area for the Mrs. I'll miss the rainbows their very fun to watch. May start the tank up again in the future.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Will get the tank in the house in about 4 weeks. Ordered new furniture for the new house and if I measured everything right it all should fit. So waiting on it before I buy the tank, in case we can fit a bit larger tank hehe.

"Oh look the couch allows a couple extra feet of room...." 4' tank just grew to 6' tank muahaha :)

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I like that rock Vic.. very cool..
Thanks, picked through bins of rock for like 2 hours just to put half of it back and then underestimated the weight of the rock haha.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay a few more options playing with the rock. Adult building blocks :)

Just another gravity stacking. Needs more smaller caves for fish wanting to hide. Left side needs a small arch off the backside adding more height I think, which will make it seem like more depth.


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Couple things I am considering:

Using some 4" SCH 80 pipe (black) Cut 1" rings off to use as bases for the rocks that contact the bottom of the tank (HDPE Black) To keep them from collecting Detritus can fill them with DIY rock mix, then set the rock down into it, gently work the mix so its slightly sloped up to the rock. Would limit detritus build up under the rock, also add some weight and stability allowing for a bit more extreme unbalanced weight above on the rock structure. I like to keep rock work modular, so if I need to pull a piece I can. I think being modular and removable and having each section free standing and balanced on its own would allow for some changing as needed.

Bad Picture of how I would separate that rock work if it was my final setup.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Playing with some more rock stacking for a few before dinner :) Realized top view is really the most important. Top view really gives you an idea of how much area you have to mount many corals, and more importantly what is going to get light where.

Again more gravity stacking playing around to inspire me for when I make some DIY rock myself.

More column vertical stacking

Few more stacks trying to build a more shelf and depth to a single piece.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Where you located in Indiana?
Greenfield now, recently moved from Indy.

Making up frame work for some DIY rock now. Time to see if I can make DIY look a bit more natural while being a bit more tank functional. Should have a pic of one frame in a bit :)

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One thing that I think is the hardest with DIY rock is well making it as natural as you can and at the same time get the most out of it flow, easy to clean, good coral space ect.
The problem of course is well us :)

Playing by natures rules...
Symmetry is just something you don't see mother nature churn out in large areas.
Chaos Theory the more erratic the better, don't place things level, try not to make anything "Straight" Patterns are good but rough patterns. Making smaller parts and combining them is probably the best idea. Every time you mix up a new batch of rock mix it will be a bit different then the last which should lend to the rock being made up of different old growths ect. Nothing is uniform in appearance in rock, different textures, and "grain" so to speak. Making a rock structure all one piece I think will add more of a challenge since its hard to fill in gaps and not leave "man made" marks behind especially in those areas.

Well so far that is my only thoughts on it so right now its a theory as I have not made one yet so we will see! (Yes I have a lot of time to sit and ponder a projects at work most days lol)

Starting out with a over ambitious rock frame, made from eggcrate. This simply gives me a road map and also allows for some lateral strength inside the rock mix. It should allow me to make getting rock mix to adhere and bond with strength without a thick frame and suspend more weight out in the "air" so to speak.

Here is the first test drive frame. Needs a bit more and will take a decent bit of artistic flair I bet before its done.


· NorthernIndianaReefer
828 Posts
I made 90% on my 150+ LR. Looks nice but wish I would have made more abstract shapes as I like the bonsai aquascape. Natebro has some cool shapes he did. Maybe he can give you ideas.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
LOL well the Bonsai is 80% done..... Lets just say that was a phone book size book of lessons learned! My other ideas for modular "pours" and combine have to be better then stucko supreme :)

Might take pic now....but might wait till later its a bit of a disaster area in my garage right now after that LOL fest.....Thank goodness the wife wasn't home :)

Egg crate works well but you need to allow for thicker coverage, also working in stages from bottom to top is going to be key, doing it all at once is well LOL. Since the frame is flexible it flexes and really you need the base and trunk to harden prior. It doesn't look very man made right now at least....
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