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Tank Build! 100 gallon Fiji Cube rimless

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Fort Dodger, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Since a few people asked and seemed interested, I figured I would share a little about my new tank build.

    Since Fiji Cube was advertising here on the GIRS site, I posted their contact info and narrative of how it went ordering the tank here: For Sale - Fiji Cube custom tank builds

    To read about how the custom build tank project went up to the point where I received the tank, please follow the link above.

    So starting with this...


    I ordered a countertop from Menards and cut the backsplash off of it with a circular saw. Since I splurged on the tank, I'm trying to be budget-minded on all the rest of the items I have to purchase. The stand is a re-built old one that I got free with some trades.


    The sump is an old commercial sump from Casco, which I got used from my local pet shop. It was drilled for hard plumbing directly into the sump, but I've had those leak in the past so I plugged the holes and am just going to plop everything right into the sump from the top. The section on the right is where I will drop my return pump. I will drill the bottom of this section to draw water from below in an attempt to reduce bubbles.


    In my current tank, I have a rubbermaid stock tank for a sump, with a ton of crushed coral for media... and I have liverock and sand in the tank. This time around, I am going to skip all sand, and get rid of most all of my live rock. I got two cubic feet (stacked neatly) of Marinepure 2x2" blocks, which are supposed to give me the surface area of a whole crapload of live rock.


    Here is my high-tech zeolyte reactor. A good old 5 gallon bucket with a hole cut in the top, fit for a sock. So my incoming water will go into the sock, run over the zeolyte, then enter the sump on the far left where the bucket is drilled.


    This is a Bean Animal overflow. Supposed to be the shizzle these days. The guy on youtube said its a valved siphon with a Durso backup, with and a regular overflow backup after that. Its supposed to be really quiet. The valve on the primary overflow allows you to maintain a quiet, full siphon at all times. The overflows are at sequential heights, so that the quietest one does most of the work. Not that I would know, the thing came with three holes in the overflow so I'm just doing what some guy on Youtube said. Hope it works!

    The first U-pipes I put in there were too big, so I had to cut some 90 degree elbows down for a tighter fit. Incidentally, I was curious how on earth it got the name "Bean Animal," and I guess some guy picked up a nickname because he had a shirt in the 80's that said "BE AN ANIMAL" and the way it was written everyone thought it said "BEAN ANIMAL." LOL


    For plumbing, I'm using black flexible tube. My return pump is an Ecotech Vectra M1 that I picked up used. Its supposed to be very energy efficient.

    I will post more as I make more progress.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  2. Reef Medic Clay Well-Known ReefKeeper GIRS Member

    Des Moines, IA
    +72 / 0 / -0
    Looking good so far! Man, that's a LOOOOTTTT of marine pure!! I dig your use of normal, day to day stuff for plumbing and equipment. The vectra should be really nice and quiet. I know my DC return is stupid silent. My Radions are the loudest thing on my tank, actually!
  3. DangerJ Well-Known ReefKeeper Board of Directors Leadership Team GIRS Member

    Des Moines, IA
    +282 / 4 / -0
    Very cool. Great writeup and pics. Looking forward for more updates!
  4. Thanks!

    Today I drilled the compartment for the return pump. I added about 30 holes in the far corner, down low to draw fewer bubbles. Probably not going to make the cover of Cool Sumps Magazine. I might add a few partitions later.



    So I added regular old Reef Crystals, and after its all mixed I will be adding some carbon dosing, and a whole bunch of Zeobak, which has several strains of probiotic to grow on the Marine Pure and digest nutrients. For carbon dosing, I switched to Rum instead of Vodka. This is very important-- because Rum is more tropical than Vodka, right?

    I will probably give the sump a small dose of carbon every day, and will add some Zeofood in a day or two. After a week of this, I will probably fill the tank and let the bacteria start growing on the tank walls.

    For aquascaping, I would like to build something similar to the work of Youngil Moon, in Korea. Here is some of his work:


    Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 5.59.35 PM.png


    So to start I assembled a box of dead corals and dead live rock, and bought a roll of plastic dipped steel mesh. My plan was to use the mesh to twist and shape into a frame on which to wire the corals and live rock. Then, I could slather it all with setting plaster to harden into perfectly shaped aquascaping so I could zone out in reefy zen enjoying an awesome view in my living room. It was even going to be better because I would drill the dead plate montiporras with lots of holes for frag plugs, so I could easily move corals around.

    But no.

    Most of the corals broke while trying to drill them. The "setting plaster" set up nicely, but dissolved when I put it in salt water, and clouded the water making a chalky, soggy mess. So, I might have to try concrete instead... and fresh concrete might not be reef safe for longer than I want to wait. So... I might not have my wonderful aquascaping for quite some time. I might have to start off with plexiglass frag racks, a few pieces of dry rock, and what's left of my dry old monti plates.
  5. Roman Experienced Reefkeeper GIRS Member

    Cedar Rapids, IA
    +254 / 3 / -0
  6. Barrett GIRS Member

    Urbandale, IA
    +86 / 0 / -0
    Or if you don’t want to spend $50 for emarco 400 you can use quickcrete mortar mix. It comes in 5 lb bags and is ALOT cheaper than emarco.
  7. Cool.

    Marco's "Emarco 400," I was told, is BASF concrete repair mortar, designed to bond concrete to concrete (concrete and dry rock are both held together using calcium phosphate bonding). BASF calls it "Emaco R 400", which I am told is what Marco sells as their "Emarco 400". A spec sheet is shown below.


    The liquid polymer additive is concrete bonding agent, and I could be wrong but I would guess the one in Marco's "Emarco" is probably also an Emaco product.

    So if you are going to build an exhibit-grade large seascape, you could probably buy it in bulk and save, but for us hobbyists... since I don't really need 50 pounds of the stuff, and don't want to spend $70 to get the repair mortar and concrete bonding agent from the local construction supply store, $42 sounds cheaper, and I like the idea of having it delivered straight to my door with free shipping so I don't even have to drive to go get it, I will order it from Bulk Reef Supply! Thank you for the recommendation guys.

    After my last reefscaping debacle I want to make sure it sticks together. Also, since I am going to be building some cantilevers it will probably be worth it for me to get the stuff from Marco's designed to bond rocks to rocks, with the concrete adhesive additives and even a small bucket included. Hopefully I can drill my rocks to add some steel too just to be on the safe side.

    I will probably use some quickcrete mortar to build some additional shelves :)
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  8. I got some Emarco 400, some dry rock shelves, a few pieces of dry rock, some ceramic frag shelves, and some concrete shelves that I made from quickcrete, some stainless screws, and a few big long brass screws.

    The shelves I made myself were poured into concave depressions in dry dirt, then while still green were transferred to be cured in water for about a month, then set outside for about 2 months. They were ground down on the bottoms to be flat, as were dry rocks, so that I could set them directly on the bare bottom tank. All of the rocks and shelves were sprayed down with the Emarco bonding agent, and then drilled and screwed together and glued. After gluing the various shelves and dry rock together with Emarco 400, everything was put into 5 gallon buckets for further curing. After about a week of curing, the structures were all allowed to dry out, and then they were sprayed down with a black emusified concrete dye. Here is what they looked like after drying in the sun and wind for a day:

    rocks 1.jpg

    After putting everything into the tank, here is what the rocks look like:

    rocks 3.jpg

    rocks 4.jpg

    rocks 5.jpg

    rocks 5.5.jpg

    rocks 6.jpg

    I am hoping that the black rocks, with the black background, and black foam under the tank will make the corals & fish look nice and bright.

    I got some flooring and set it up against the tank stand to see what it would look like if I "skin" the stand with it. I think I need something darker to go with this tank. Not sure what will look nice, but I'm not 1000% excited with this "skin" for the stand.
  9. Reef Medic Clay Well-Known ReefKeeper GIRS Member

    Des Moines, IA
    +72 / 0 / -0
    Well that looks sweet!!
  10. Thanks! Hopefully it doesn't break or all fall apart! I'm waiting for all of the rocks to dry, to be sure all the bonding agent & color has cured. I was wanting to make some new concrete shelves but ended up just using some I had previously made.

    I got a couple of new black storm clowns to go in the tank, so I'm really excited to get everything cured and see all of my test levels stable so I can start adding stuff to the new tank.


    I picked up a bargain on a 5' long Reef Bright XHO to augment my Kessil A360w's, and will have to build a new mounting arm for my lights. I'm planning to have mostly acros, but will have some other SPS and LPS in there too, maybe a nem or two.
  11. Waterrat41 Addicted Reefer GIRS Member

    Des moines
    +117 / 0 / -0
    You stated you were using some brass screws in your rock work? wasn't sure if I read that right....That raises a red flag, copper and copper alloys can be lethal to many reef inhabitants.
  12. Derek34 GIRS Member

    Manchester, IA
    +19 / 0 / -0
    I'm also concerned about the stainless steel screws. Seems like I've heard even high grades of stainless steel may rust over long periods of time in saltwater.
  13. Crapola... I forgot about the copper in the brass. I tried to find out what the screws actually are made of. I know they are brass colored, but they could be hardened steel for all I know. I will have to contact the manufacturer and find out. If they do have copper, I only have three of those 6" long screws in there, and can probably get them out without too much of a problem.

    So far as the stainless, thankfully it was mostly used to hold stuff together while the Emarco dries. If it rusts away no problem. After putting this thing together I learned that a lot of guys like to use plastic zip ties... I'd probably recommend that instead of what I did to anyone reading this!
  14. Derek34 GIRS Member

    Manchester, IA
    +19 / 0 / -0
    With the stainless rusting away, that would cause detrimental problems in your tank.
  15. Yeah that sounds kinda bad. I was at a local pet shop and saw the owner with a piece of rusty steel, a clamp or something, and he pitched it into his sump. I asked him what the heck he was doing and he explained to me what a GFO reactor was.

    Stainless steel doesn't rust in air because the chromium in it bonds with oxygen forming a layer of chromium oxide that prevents the iron in it from rusting. When exposed to saltwater, the NaCl catalyses the oxygen transport to the iron and you get Fe2O3, aka Ferric Oxide, aka "rust." Rust, whether granular as in Granular Ferric Oxide (look up GFO reactors) or in any other shape, helps remove phosphates in reef tanks.

    I certainly appreciate the helpful comment though, it sure seems to defy common sense that people would want to put a bunch of rusty iron grains in their reef system to let them rust away.
  16. For an update, here is what the tank looks like today:


    I tried to make the lights look kinda stealthy. There are 4 Kessil spotlights and a Reefbrite XHO there, plus a strip of low-power blue LEDs which run in the evening after the main lights shut off. Its presently got an MP40 powerhead on the back left blowing across the bottom to keep detritus from building up, an MP40 on the back in the middle-rightish, and an MP10 on the upper right. The little box on the upper left has a couple RBTAs and a clown in it, I'm trying to decide if I want to setup a little nem tank.

    I've made a lot of mistakes in the setup:
    1. Bare bottom and new Marine Pure media. I would probably not do that again because it took forever to stabilize. Even with the Zeovit system I had ammonia spikes when I wasn't expecting them. Thank goodness the system has finally stabilized. My previous system had deep sand and was very stable, very quickly. If you're going to switch to a bare bottom system, be prepared to be patient.
    2. Skipping quarantine. I was told that "marine ick" grows in sand, and that if there is no sand, it can't live out its life cycle to reproduce. OK, for the record, no. I introduced a new fish, which got stressed and developed ick, and I assumed it would just go away because, hey, I had no sand. Then it spread to several other new fish, which all died while my kids were here visiting. Kids are so honest,... mine said, "Dad, you're really not very good with your aquarium." (I want to laugh and cry at that comment!) I should have quarantined.
    3. Skipping the PAR meter. Going from a dark basement to a South-facing, bright living room made my aquarium appear less bright. Going from about a 3 foot tall tank to an 18" tall tank while at the same time adding a Reefbrite XHO to the four spotlights was enough of a change that I started to get some bleaching. I eventually got my corals to look happy again at 50% power, and not even running the Reefbrite XHO at all. I'm going to keep them low for a while until I can borrow a PAR meter and then bring them back up.
    4. Skipping Mg tests. This is one I probably should have tested. With the lights running full bore, my corals were eating up a ton of calcium, and I was adding a lot of Kalkwasser to keep my pH up there around 8... Evidently those corals were also eating a lot of magnesium. I started to get some RTN at the base of some of my acro corals. I called an experienced reefer buddy who asked a few questions and then asked what my Mg levels were... after confessing that I didn't know, he said "I had that happen from the base once-- my magnesium was low. Throw some magnesium in there right away just in case that's the problem." I did, and it was. I dumped some magnesium in there post haste. The next morning the RTN had stopped.

    All in all a humbling experience!

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