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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody. As of today I have started my complete DIY system. First a little background info about myself and how this came to be:

My first tank was a 55 gallon reef that I started back when I was 17 (now 22) and it went strong for three years. Being a student with three jobs was rough and I never found time to maintain it or money to upgrade needed equiptment. Around this time last year I gave away all of my livestock asside from my percula and yellow tang as I couldn't upkeep such a stocked system anymore. I had been out of school for almost a year at that point and was down to one job, but I started dating a girl with a child (not mine) that I helped care for and wow, talk about not being prepaired for what I got myself into! Never being home, the tank failed.. even with only two fish. Both tank mates died and now the 55 sits behind the garage. A couple month ago me and "the girl" split up for mutual reasons and I have found myself with lots of free time and only one job. Last week I got a huge raise (I am a mechanic for Audi BTW in Silverspring, MD) and I decided to treat myself to something by starting my dream build.

The tank is a 65 gallon AGA aquarium, 36" x 18" x 24". I have always found the 40 gallon breeder tank to have the perfect footprint for aquascaping and my original plan was to use one. When I went to the LFS with a tape measurer, I was greatly dissapointed to find it was only 16" high.... possible future frag tank? While searching around, I had my eye on the 65, knowing it was the same tank but taller, though I found it to be even too tall for my intensions. I decided to go for it and left with both the 65, and a 20-long to be used for a sump.

The stand has been constructed following very closesly to HNG's smaller tank build. I loved the idea of being able to lift the hood on hinges and having complete access to the inside of the tank with NO obstructions. Construction has consisted thus far of nine 8' building studs, 1.5"x3.5" all held together by 2" course screws. The legs are each 3"x5" (three studs with the .5" overhang of the front one trimmed off.) It is pretty beefy. After cutting and assembling the stand, I realized that my 20-long sump is about .25" too long to fit under the stand. It will be returned tomorrow and a spair 10 I had is taking its place. Tomorrow I should have most of the panelling done and possibly the hood. I will update as I have time to.

Here is the work so far:

 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
This build thread is going to include a DIY hood with 2x400watt 20k metal halides and actinics, a DIY double beckett injector protein skimmer that should support as much as 150-200 gallons, yet fits in my 22" tall cabinet, DIY closed loop plus a couple other neat tricks I have been wanting to try for years.

All of that being said, I am going for an EXTREMELY light bio-load. The only fish set in stone is a copper banded butterfly. I am up in the air on what else migh get allong with it, I can't have any fish that go after food like looters. Three would be my maximum allowance. If I could get a mandarin goby that would take prepped food, that would be awesome. This will mostly be an acro tank as I absolutely love the colors they put off under 20k MHs. It will have a shallow sandbed that will be regularly vacuumed and replaced in order to stay bright white under the lights. There will be a good deal of live rock which should be able to substain the bio-load easilly. My sump is mostly going to be for equiptment hiding and will not be lit.

Please ask away if there are any questions or advice about the system. I am very curious as to what people have to say about acros in particular. I intend on chaning 5-10 gallons weekly, but I wont have a regular calcium adder in this system. With my last tank, I dropped in calcium from the bottle (can buy it in LFSs) but did not monitor levels regularly. I know this is something I should do with mutliple acro colonies. What tests do you do and how often? Anybody using the drops? What other parameters should I be watching to be successful with acros? Direct feeding? Any advice on a potential tankmate to the copper banded butterfly and the potential mandarin (small reef happy fish)?
Thanks!
 

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Premium Member
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14,531 Posts
Great build so far ! I'm not that up to par on SPS corals but you will need a Calcium, ALK and magnesium test kit. SPS use a lot of Calcium and Alk so you will need to monitor those levels. Magnesium also plays a part in that equation but I cant explain why
 

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Carpe Noctem
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9,817 Posts
Good start minion... In fact the only thing I can think to mention is that 400s will likely be a bit much in the way of heat. I think that you would be just fine with the right 250 watt ballast/bulb combo:D Unless your thinking chiller:D

Look forward to some updates!
 

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Registered
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2,666 Posts
Nice, But I would agree a 400w MH may be too much without a chiller. 250w MH will still work great on tanks 24” high. Keep the pics coming!
 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well guys, I started to get a lot done today, but I a fried came over and I ended up taking a break to build a custom subwoofer enclosure fit to his car. I was easilly swayed with as much time as it would take while glue dried as that meant for extra hands to help move around the stand and cut large pieces of wood. I finished the braces in the floor of my my stand today and added the lower shelf. I also got all of the exterior panels in place on the bottom of the stand. Tomorrow I would like to start the hood.

Pictures for the day:




 

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Premium Member
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3,510 Posts
Looking great... can't wait to see how it looks a couple of months from now!
 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I am thinking about ditching the 10 gallon tank in favor of a DIY sump. The cabinet is 30" wide, 22" deep and 21" high. I could build a sump that spans 15" across, the full 22" deep and 12" high and still have a whole half of the cabinet to which I could dedicate to equiptment and have easy access to the whole sump, coming in at roughly 17 gallons.
 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, I appreciate you watching the build. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am personally.
Today I barely got anything done. I ended up working on my grandmother's car after work and tonight Heros was on (addictive.) I did get the hood started, I have the left panel completed and all of the pieces are cut for the interior frame. Tomorrow I should have more done. I also picked out some hinges for the hood, I am hoping they work out well. I actually spent a lot of time at Lowes today pricing out all of the PVC piping and wiring components. I should be making purchases on a lot of that shortly. I have so many questions left that I need answered that I don't know where to start. I will post each in the appropriate forum I guess.
 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Does anybody know a good 1200 gph external pump with low to no heat tranfer to the water and as low noise as possible. I need to run three of them, One for the closed loop with 0 head, one for the sump return with roughly 4ft head and one for the custom dual beckett injected skimmer.
I am also looking for info on beckett style injectors smaller than the 1408 so that I can use two on one pump instead of one.
Thanks.
 

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Sir Master Deuter the 3rd
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722 Posts
woo if you put in the 2x400 you would be at 12.3 watts per gallon! I would aim for the 250's for sure and that'll land you at 7.6 watts per gallon which is perfect. I have the 65 gallon as well and I have exactly 7 watts per gallon, that's really all you need when your packing the MH's.
 

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Sir Master Deuter the 3rd
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722 Posts
:popcorn2:I can't wait to watch and see what you do, I'm in the procces of building a 65 gallon right now. :thumbup:
 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
It's awesome to know that other people are going with this size tank. I'm rather excited to see your build as well. Do you have a thread?
The reason i was debating 400k halides is because I am going to be running 20k bulbs which have less intensity than 10ks or 14ks. I think I may stick with 250s, but only because I am beginning to be concerned about heat ever since I decided on a closed hood. I would like to place four fans in the hood, two blowing in from the walkway wide of the tank (left) and two blowing out from the right. I will be sticking a pair of VHO actinics in the hood as well. I am going to place them as far back in the hood as possible in order to get awesome color out of the acros stacked up towards the top. There will also be LED moonlighting. I plan to put a about six small UV LEDs in a line spaced out in the very front under frosted acrylic in order to take away from the "spotlight" effect that LEDs have. It should light up the white sand at night pretty well but leave the majority of the tank dark.

Tonight I completed the hood, the glue needs to sit over-night. I also cut out and mounted up the cabinet doors. I will have pictures later tonight if anybody searches these forums late.
I went out looking for trim to wrap around the edges before painting but I have been very undecisive thus far. I would really like to see some other aquariums before deciding. I should be ready for primer friday and have it painted this weekend. Then, maybe this weekend I can start building the sump.
 

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Saltwater Mom
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5,869 Posts
Sounds good, looks better! I would go as big a sump as you can, but make sure to leave room for pumps and other equipment you will be putting in the stand.
 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Well as of right now, I am going to have three Mag12s, and the custom skimmer down there. That should actually give me a lot of room for sump. My only problem is that my sump can't be very tall. How does 18" wide, 22" back and 14" high sound? That is about the maximum I could do, around 22 gallons. Do remember though that my skimmer is not going to be in the sump. I am also going to have an extremely light bioload. I am hoping all of this means for some fantastic water quality without the use of a DSB. I would like a refugium in my sump for algea though to keep it off the glass.
 

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Registered
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1,354 Posts
The 2 400W MH will be good if you are going with a 20K bulb and are going to keep sps or clams on the sand. Definately not overdoing it with the height of the tank. Watts per gallon is really not a meaningful measure, really need to look at height of the watercolumn, the PAR of the bulb/ballast being used, and the animals being kept.

As far as the Mag 12's, I would consider a good external pump that handles a lot of back pressure like a PanWorld 150PS for a duel becket skimmer. I really don't think the mag will cut it.

Otherwise things are coming along very well :)

If you are looking for trim ideas on the stand, here is one I built for a 65. The top and bottom piece are a solid trim I got at HD, and I just used a 90 degree molding on the vertical edges.
 

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Acroholic
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3,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the picture! I went out and got trim and primer after work. Tomorrow I will start trimming up the stand and getting it into its final steps towards paint. Do you mind me asking how you did the doors? They look fantastic, like you just bought cabinet doors. Is that the case or is there a special trim for such a job? My doors look plain :-(
 

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Premium Member
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20,603 Posts
your set up is coming along nicly.
as for the trim, you can pick that up at HD anytime you want. the molding is in the far back right side of the store ( most are laided out the same)
the panworld is a great pump. you can also look at sequence pumps too. as long as the pump is external you will not have too much extra heat going back to the tank.
if your going to have a CLS i woudl drill your tank soon and get the bulkheads
 

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Saltwater Mom
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5,869 Posts
The 2 400W MH will be good if you are going with a 20K bulb and are going to keep sps or clams on the sand. Definately not overdoing it with the height of the tank. Watts per gallon is really not a meaningful measure, really need to look at height of the watercolumn, the PAR of the bulb/ballast being used, and the animals being kept.

2 400 w mh on a 65 gallon tank seems a bit much. They run alot hotter than 250wts. I have 2 250's on my 90 and it has been more than enough light. Even my anemone's have all grown so fast I have had to find new homes. jmot
 
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