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Tank Build! Been a long time but diving back in. 180 gal build

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by got2lb, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Well most of you don't remember me but a few probably do. I haven't had a tank setup in a long time. Mine was taken out by the ice storm in 09 or whatever year it was and I ended up breaking it down.

    I bought a 180 gal a couple years ago with intentions of getting it going but as everyone knows time gets away from us as we have 3 kids that are all very active with sports etc... We're getting ready to start finishing off our basement and my wife said either we're setting it up or getting rid of it. So I guess I'm setting it up.

    The tank will be going in our living room on our main floor of the house. Lots of things have changed since I was last in the hobby. I'm kind of looking at basically doing a FOWLR, the reason I got into saltwater back in the day was because I always wanted angels but of course they don't work well in a reef. So I'm looking at putting an Emperor Angel in the tank and we'll see what else I guess.

    Equipment I have already:

    180 gal tank and home made 2x4 stand, (need to finish it off still)
    some random pumps (not really sure what they are)
    40 gallon breeder I'm going to make into a sump
    Apex controller (got a deal on it when I bought the tank, have never used a controller)
    Just lined up some rock to buy and am going to pick it up in a week or so.

    Things I'd love some input on:

    Looking at the idea of an external skimmer this time around instead of an internal since I'll have room under the stand with only a 3' sump.

    Sump layout

    The 180 has 2 holes drilled in the back but no overflow boxes or anything like that. Not really sure how to plumb it up. Figured if I ran an external skimmer I'd run one to the skimmer and one to the sump.

    Was looking at the cheap ebay (chinese) led light fixtures, anyone use them?

    Jebao pumps? Kind of hit and miss from what the little i've read so far.

    RO/DI unit, any preference on brand etc...

    Looking forward into getting back into the hobby. It'll probably be kind of a slower build but should keep moving forward. Please feel free to enlighten me with all your knowledge. Thanks for all the help and info up front!
     
  2. Buku Well-Known ReefKeeper Leadership Team GIRS Member

    540
    Ankeny, IA
    Ratings:
    +195 / 4 / -0
    Well since you've been out for so long. Bulk Reef Supply is pretty much everyones go to around here. They are based in Minneapolis so the standard shipping is normally here next day.

    They have a some Skimz and Reef Octopus external skimmers on there. Im not sure if you're looking for new or used. I know I don't see many used external skimmers very often, but that doesn't mean someone isn't sitting on one.

    If you're doing FOWLR I would just go with cheaper LEDs. No sense in spending top dollar on nice figures just for that application.

    My go to is Ecotech Vortech MP40s. They are controllable with different wave patterns available and they last for years. I don't think Ive ever come across anyone who had any major complaints with them. I have never ran Jebao powerheads and I heard its hit or miss on their product, with horrible customer service. For the price difference you could get a lot of Jebaos for the cost of a couple Vortechs.
    Rossmont Mover Powerheads - Bulk Reef Supply
    These are new and Ive never used one, but they seem to be in the middle ground for powerheads. Gyres are popular, but I don't like the flow pattern. Also moves the sand underneath the gyre down to bare bottom(maybe someone else has had better luck with them)

    For an RODI unit, honestly they are all pretty much the same with different labels. You just need to make sure you have a PSI of 80-90 for optimal waste to water ratio and higher GPD. I think the most cost effective units are BRS units, but I could be wrong. I run a Spectrapure MaxCap 180GPD. Its on the higher end, but has 4 filters on the bottom. One of them pulls out silicates. Here is a link to a video on RODI units that BRS made:

    RO/DI Series - Video Series - Bulk Reef Supply
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  3. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Seeing as I know how people like pictures I figured I'd throw a few of the initial ones up. Not much to look at yet, but we'll get there.

    First off a picture of my old tank.
    [​IMG]

    40 Breeder soon to be sump
    [​IMG]

    Apex stuff (I have no idea what all this is)
    [​IMG]

    The 180
    [​IMG]

    And this is where the beast is going
    [​IMG]
     
  4. jeremy Acro Addict GIRS Member

    Davenport, IA
    Ratings:
    +815 / 4 / -0
    Nice. The apex stuff. Looks like some float switches for an ATO, a temperature probe, the brain of the controller, and the energy bar 8.
     
  5. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Well I've been getting a little work done on some things. The stand that came with the tank when I bought it was just a cheaply made stand and painted black. My wife wasn't having that in the living room so I've been working on redoing it a little bit.

    I've also been meeting some great people and getting some good deals on rock and some equipment for the build.

    Start of the stand rebuild. The skimmer I am planning on using is about 37" tall so needed to make some more room. Knocked the bottom out of it and then added 3" to the top rim of the stand. This brings the bottom of the tank to 43" which is actually a better viewing height anyway. Unfortunately I'm 5' 9" tall on a good day so I'll be using a step ladder to do pretty much everything in the tank.

    [​IMG]

    I hated the black so I painted everything white to make it a little brighter inside the stand when I'm working in there. Also added a sheet of plywood to the bottom of it and caulked around all the seams to keep as much water in the stand as possible if it would arise.

    [​IMG]

    Then of course I had to pick up some "pretty wood" to make the stand look nice. 2 4x8 sheets of cabinet grade maple plywood.

    [​IMG]

    And of course everything can't go good when I'm working on things. I was making sure I can actually get the sump in through the door openings (it fits) and just barely tapped the tank against a board on the stand and it cracked! Got to love it, brand new 40 breeder. Those $1 a gallon tanks are pretty weak!

    [​IMG]


    Thinking the tank may be still able to be used. Was thinking I could use that end for the return side and the water level will never be that high anyway. Thoughts?
     
  6. Roman Experienced Reefkeeper

    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Ratings:
    +242 / 3 / -0
    I wouldn't use it. Water rises when return pump is off.
     
  7. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Hmm, kind of forgot about that. Considered placing another piece of glass over it. I'll have to stop in and see how much a 40 breeder is selling for now i guess.
     
  8. tbraz

    168
    Marion, IA
    Ratings:
    +10 / 0 / -0
    i think you would be fine with a small piece of glass and some silicone, its awfully high on the tank and won't be submerged very often.
     
  9. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Well unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the local get together at Craig's place today but on the flip side I was able to get quite a bit of work done on my tank stand this weekend.

    Tank Stand all trimmed out:

    [​IMG]

    Doors:

    [​IMG]

    Tank stand stained:

    [​IMG]

    Doors stained:

    [​IMG]

    Our woodwork in our house is a deep cherry stain on maple wood. I'm having a hard time getting the stand any darker. I put 3 coats of stain on it and it just wont get darker than it is. It's about right before I wipe it all off after it's coated. I'm kind of a novice in the woodworking aspect. Any pointers?
     
  10. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    double post
     
  11. GoodGreef Well-Known ReefKeeper GIRS Member

    670
    Clive, IA
    Ratings:
    +239 / 2 / -0
    It depends on what you're staining with. Oil base? Is it a spray or brush on? What grit sandpaper did you use on the wood prior to staining? If you can do it delicately you can leave a wet stain on rather than wipe off. This can cause color variations but if you have steady hand or are using a spray you can get a uniform color and let it dry without wiping. Another option if you are using an oil base brush on is to buy pigment and add it to your stain for a darker color. If you're using one of those all in 1 stains sometimes the ratio of pigment is too low, especially if you use a fine grit sandpaper on the wood before staining.
     
  12. GoodGreef Well-Known ReefKeeper GIRS Member

    670
    Clive, IA
    Ratings:
    +239 / 2 / -0
    Also let me add. Maple is a very dense wood, I don't know if that's the right word. It doesn't have as much openings for pigment to get down into it like say oak. So you might want to try a dye. I don't know how well dye will cover over the previous coats but you could cover part of the back of one of the panels with 3 coats of stain and test with dye over the top after the stain dries. If it holds and looks good then just coat the stand with the dye. Probably the next best option is to get a gel stain and try that. If the dye works for darkness but you don't like the sheen of it or finish you can spray more stain on top of the dye for a final coat. I recently did this on a humidor I built where the exterior is cherry, very similar to maple in density and it worked great.
     
  13. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    I sanded with 220 before applying. It's a gel stain which I've never used before. It was the only stain we could find that color. I think the color is red mahogany. I'm applying it with a brush, but don't think I can get it even enough without wiping it. Kinda thinking the builder might have sprayed all our woodwork to get the finish that's on it.
     
  14. GoodGreef Well-Known ReefKeeper GIRS Member

    670
    Clive, IA
    Ratings:
    +239 / 2 / -0
    It's probably a spray on dye with a lacquer finish or stain on top of it. Maple hardwood is probably the hardest wood to stain so most people use dye. I would go to somewhere like a woodworking shop near you and see what dyes they have in. Most hardware stores have it. What I greatly recommend is General Finishes water based dye. Just make sure you have dried the gel stain at least 3-4 days before applying a water based overcoat. Here is a link Water Based Dye Stain | General Finishes I love their gel stains and dyes and in addition to the humidor I mentioned I used their gel stain to refinish all our oak windows in the house. I don't know your exact location but the Woodsmith Store in Des Moines area carries it. Regardless of brand, use a water based dye and if you want more shine finish it off after it dries a couple days with a lacquer or more of the gel stain.
     
  15. GoodGreef Well-Known ReefKeeper GIRS Member

    670
    Clive, IA
    Ratings:
    +239 / 2 / -0
    Found a video for you too.
     
  16. gburkart

    gburkart Well-Known ReefKeeper

    467
    Ratings:
    +110 / 1 / -0
    i paint for a living (since 1987) and an easy way to darken it is to by a can of varnish and add some of the oil based stain to it.dont make it to dark or you'll only get one coat on.we do it light and apply 3-4 coats.it ends up done and no further coats necessary.sand lightly between each coat as well.
     
  17. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Thanks for the video. I actually went to put a coat of poly on after work. About 20 hours after I got done staining. It started taking the color off. Luckily I did it in an inconspicuous spot where you won't be able to see it. I took a clean rag and wiped everything down again and there was still some stain left on that hadn't been all wiped off before and it obviously wasn't dry. Going to let it sit a few days before I try again.

    Good idea with trying to add some of the stain to the poly. Will that work with adding the gel stain to it?
     
  18. gburkart

    gburkart Well-Known ReefKeeper

    467
    Ratings:
    +110 / 1 / -0
    yeah if they are both oil based it'll work
     
  19. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Well my order from BRS came in today with my bulkheads in it. I'm waiting for the stain to dry so figure i'd start dry fitting my plumbing.

    There are only 2 holes drilled on the back of the tank about 4 feet apart. After doing some researching I am going to make a pvc weir across the tank. The interior plumbing I probably won't ever actually glue. Don't really see a need for it, and that way I can get it level and the water level exactly the right height.

    I don't have the slots cut in the pipe yet and I need to pick up a couple of street L's to go into the bulkheads but you can kind of get the idea. Standpipes on the outside with unions below to remove the plumbing.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. got2lb Well-Known ReefKeeper

    528
    Clarksville, IA
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    Ok after taking my sweet time getting things going my 180 is finally up and running! Looks like photobucket killed all my old pictures but here's a recent full tank shot. I'll get some more pics after I get some wiring and stuff cleaned up.

    [​IMG]
     

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