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Old 07-20-2016, 12:47 PM   #1
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Zach's 120 Gallon Reef Resurgence

Hey all!

First off, let me introduce myself... I’m not new to reef-keeping, but I am returning after a long absence from the hobby and I'm very excited! My girlfriend and I recently moved in together and in going through all of our stuff and cleaning things out I stumbled across all of my aquarium equipment. Look, it was an honest mistake - I was cleaning it all out, taking stock of what I had and a little spark went off... LET'S SET UP ANOTHER REEF TANK! I HAVE ALL THE STUFF... (I didn't have all the stuff, I've been buying things left and right getting to where we are today including a used 120 gallon tank/stand/hood). Ok, wait, let me back up... here's the progression of things since the beginning of my reef addiction.

I’ve had a 10 gallon nano back in 2009:


I’ve had a 33 gallon long w/ 20 long sump in '09-'10:


...and I’ve had a 55 gallon w/ 20 long sump in '11-'12:




Now, we’re embarking on a new adventure… a 120 gallon (4’x2’x2’) with a 55 gallon sump/refugium in the stand. It’s going to utilize two 700 GPH glass-holes overflows on either side of the back wall as well as dual 3/4” loc-line returns in the center. The sump will contain skimmer, fuge, etc.

Build List:
• 120 Gallon - 4’x2’x2’ Drilled Glass Tank
• Custom Stand and Hood
• 2x250 watt 14,000k Hamilton Metal Halide Lights supplemented w/ PC
• Coraline Super Skimmer
• Danner Supreme Aqua-Mag 9.5 Return Pump
• 3/4” Loc-Line Returns x2
• Glass-Holes Overflow Kits - 700 GPH x2
• EHEIM Jäger Heater - 300 Watts x2
• PC Fuge Light
• RO/DI set up in water closet with 3x 44 gallon Brute Trash Cans set up for RO/DI storage, salt mixing, etc.

without further ado, photos!

07/20/16 - 120 Gallon (4'x2'x2') Tank, Stand, Hood


07/20/16 - 55 Gallon Sump/Refugium in Stand


07/20/16 - Setting Up Live Rock Curing "Tank"


07/20/16 - Live Rock Curing in "Tank"


07/20/16 - Ammonia Test - 2.0 PPM


So, that brings us up to date. Currently, the live rock (dead!) is cycling in the trash can in the water closet in the garage. The rock has been sitting in a bucket for the past couple of years so it's dead rock at this point. I bleached the live rock, rinsed it and now it's sitting the the trash can cycling while I wait to get the tank ready and the dining room painted in anticipation of the tank. I set up the "Live Rock Curing Trash Can" last night (07/19/2016) and this morning (07/20/2016) when I checked the ammonia it was already at 2.0 PPM. We're well on our way to cycling. I guess there was more dead material on those rocks than I had figured.

Well, that's all for now, I'll keep updating as things come along. I'm currently waiting on another shipment from glass-holes for the return loc-line equipment and one more 700 GPH overflow and then I'll be drilling the return lines in the back of the tank, plumbing it, and then leak testing the whole system in the garage while we get the dining room painted and ready for tank installation.

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Old 07-20-2016, 2:16 PM   #2
Bcavalli Bcavalli is offline
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Great to see you back in the hobby! We all love pictures and look forward to seeing your progress.

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Old 07-20-2016, 2:30 PM   #3
Danh Danh is offline
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Looks like you've got a nice set up going there. The old 10 and 33g tanks look great!

I'd keep an eye on posphate in your curing tank as well.

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Old 07-21-2016, 7:49 AM   #4
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Checked my levels again this morning. Needs a water change asap!


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Old 07-21-2016, 8:13 AM   #5
Danh Danh is offline
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That's in your trashcan?

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Old 07-21-2016, 10:49 AM   #6
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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That's in your trashcan?
sure is... quite a lot of die off apparently.

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Old 07-21-2016, 10:51 AM   #7
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Looks like you've got a nice set up going there. The old 10 and 33g tanks look great!

I'd keep an eye on posphate in your curing tank as well.
Thanks, I wish I had more pictures of them available. I'll have to dig through some old storage to see if I can find any from when they where more mature.

I'll check the phosphate in the curing tank and report back!

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Old 07-21-2016, 12:14 PM   #8
Danh Danh is offline
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I didn't check phosphates when I was curing and I think I started the tank a little earlier than I should have. It turned out fine though.

I don't really think to you need to do a water change on the trash can. Just leave it.

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Old 07-21-2016, 7:40 PM   #9
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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I didn't check phosphates when I was curing and I think I started the tank a little earlier than I should have. It turned out fine though.

I don't really think to you need to do a water change on the trash can. Just leave it.
Really? I was thinking it would be needed to do water changes, but I suppose you're right... as the ammonia drops and the cycle continues i should just end up with nitrates and at that point I'm good to go to with setting up the tank and *hopefully* having a short cycle.

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Old 07-22-2016, 9:18 AM   #10
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Levels this AM. 07/22/16.

It's coming along! I've been busy this week and throughout this weekend with a big bicycle stage race. I'll be racing every day through Sunday so not a lot of time to mess with the new tank.

Almost all the equipment is in the garage, I'm just waiting to drill two more return holes in the tank, plumb it up, do a leak test, re-paint and re-skin the stand and hood, and then move it inside after we paint the dining room.

Really looking forward to it!

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Old 08-15-2016, 10:59 AM   #11
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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We're making some progress... I'm excited to fill everyone in on what's been going on.

Dining room progress:

The dining room has been painted, walls, ceiling and trim. The light fixture is going to be changed for something a little more modern to offset the older style furniture in the room. The furniture is my Grandmother’s, she lives with my parents now and my girlfriend and I decided to bring some of her furniture in to our place. My girlfriend is going to recover the old looking fabric on the chairs and once we add wall decorations and the final touches I think it’s going to be a really great looking room with vintage furniture, modern updates and a beautiful reef aquarium. The color was off putting to me at first but with lots of photographical motivation, my girlfriend has convinced me it’s going to look great.

The tank is going to take the place of the long serving table on the left side of the photo.


Plumbing progress shot:



Completed plumbing:



Manifold plumbing for future expansion:

I’ll be adding a carbon reactor, a gfo reactor and likely some form of calcium supplementation system via this manifold. I’m also considering some way of automating water changes via this system, going to have to do some more research on that front.



Completed plumbing with lighting doing a leak test:



Leak test report: I’ve got two small leaks from the bulkheads on the right side. I believe the main leak on the overflow is from over tightening the nut. The gasket seems to be bulging. I’m going to loosen the nut a tad and try and get the gasket to take it’s original shape back rather than bulging out.

The other two leaks appear to be from the return line 90’ that screws into the bulkhead. I hand-tightened it what I felt was appropriate and used teflon tape but i’m still getting a leak.

Options to fix: Seal the connection with a PVC/acrylic cement without disassembling or cut the PVC, add a coupler/union and try and reseal/rethread in the 90’ elbow. Same goes with the 90’ on the overhead. Not really sure how to go about this now. Thoughts? Opinions?

Remaining steps in order to bring tank inside:
  • Waterproof/paint stand before skinning.
  • Paint all plumbing black.
  • Paint back of tank black.
  • Repair broken center brace using acrylic cement and strengthen using acrylic sheet.
  • Add new fans and grills to hood.
  • Modify hood to include doors at front for easy access to tank for feeding, etc.
  • Make +/- 150 gallons of ro/di water and subsequently turn that in to saltwater.
  • Aquascape using cycled dead rock.
  • +Many more steps…

That’s all for today folks, thanks for reading along!

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Old 08-15-2016, 10:16 PM   #12
FutureInterest FutureInterest is offline
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Looks great I love the detail you're including in here and the evolution of your tanks over the years.

Interesting overflows . I've not seen that before in a 120. Can you please post a shot of the interior of the 120 from the side?

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Old 08-16-2016, 6:45 AM   #13
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Looks great I love the detail you're including in here and the evolution of your tanks over the years.

Interesting overflows . I've not seen that before in a 120. Can you please post a shot of the interior of the 120 from the side?


Thanks! The overflows are from glass-holes.com. Each of them is rated for 700gph. They are fairly noisy at the termination of the drain pipe in the sump. Trying to think of a solution to that. Not sure how far under the water line they should terminate. Still fine tuning.

Here's some pics.






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Old 08-16-2016, 8:36 AM   #14
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Looks really good. I like that these overflows take a lot less tank real estate than a typical reef ready setup.

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Old 08-16-2016, 11:00 AM   #15
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Looks really good. I like that these overflows take a lot less tank real estate than a typical reef ready setup.
Thanks. These seemed fairly well documented and is a huge upgrade over the original overflow situation the tank came with. The original setup was just 90' elbows coming through the holes with overflow strainers. The original owner of the tank said "it's quiet and you can just rotate to adjust the water level.". It was unsightly, seemingly going to be loud and really not what I had in mind.

The glass-holes overflows are really well built, they came with all the right parts and tools. The overflow in the tank is very quiet, I just need to get the drain pipes to quiet down where they terminate into the sump.

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Old 08-16-2016, 12:33 PM   #16
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Leak Test Part 2 Update:

Last night I went home and disassembled the return lines and the drain lines at their respective unions. I added two new unions to the 3/4" return line directly below the 90' elbow out of the bulkhead. This allowed me to easily disassemble the whole plumbing situation and get a grip on the leaky bulkheads and threaded elbows. I removed the existing teflon tape and used a non-hardening TFE paste thread sealant on the elbows. I loosened the bulkhead nuts a little to help with the distortion in the gaskets from over tightening and then reassembled the whole shebang.

I turned the return pump back on, did a quick wipe down of the plumbing and crossed my fingers. I checked it a couple of times throughout the night... no leaks. I checked it again this morning... no leaks. Just checked it again on my lunch break... no leaks.

LEAK TEST PASSED!

Here's a photo of the back of the tank (again!) showing the two new unions I added at the return line 90' elbows:



I think it looks pretty good for my first time plumbing up a more complex system such as this.

Thanks for tuning in again!

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Old 08-16-2016, 2:44 PM   #17
xilez xilez is online now
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Sweet! Leak tests always make me nervous.

Will you be painting the back of tank or using tint/vinyl or anything?

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Old 08-16-2016, 3:06 PM   #18
zachxlutz zachxlutz is offline
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Sweet! Leak tests always make me nervous.

Will you be painting the back of tank or using tint/vinyl or anything?
I was nervous as well, the first leaks weren't too bad and luckily fixing them wasn't too hard.

I'm exploring my options on how to handle the back of the tank. I've painted them in the past and it always turns out nice but it's, obviously, very permanent. I can't see any reason why I wouldn't want it black so painting doesn't seem like the worst option, but the ability to swap it out using vinyl for a different color in the future is appealing.

I'll make a decision soon... I have to paint the PVC and I already have the black paint... I think I'm leaning towards paint.

Thoughts?

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Old 08-16-2016, 3:19 PM   #19
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I dont think you can go wrong with either, I have never painted... I did vinyl to my tank last night, and it looks funky. I am going to try window tint on thursday and if that doesnt work, I will resort to paint.

You could either do Krylon Fusion of Plastidip (which would peel off technically).

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Old 08-17-2016, 7:28 AM   #20
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I had to peel off some old paint before and it came off very easily. I believe you'd be Ok with the krylon fusion.

I also just used some non-hardening pvc paste for the first time and have to agree that I trust it more than the Teflon tape!

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