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Gtstricky 04/14/2008 08:08 PM

Newbie 90 Gal build thread
Well I thought I would start my build thread.

Here is what I am starting with:

A used 90 Gal RR tank bought used yesterday:


Rear and Left side

The tank will be located in a finished portion of our basement. I have been debating on if I should build it in-wall or use a stand. The wall the tank will be on backs up to an unfinished portion of the basement. I decided to go with the stand however I will be plumbing through the wall. The sump will be located in the unfinished portion of the basement which will allow me to go as large as I want, be as spread out (messy?) as I want.

So the planis:

90 Gal RR tank (going to repaint the back and put in a Durso)
Stand (to be refinished)
Canopy (maybe depending on how the stand looks)
Sump (home made for 1/4 acrylic, I am thinking 40X16X16)
Top off system
Lights (unknown)
Skimmer (really unknown)

ggk1988 04/14/2008 08:51 PM

If i could have put my tank in wall. I defintely would have. In walls have a much cleaner look. Either way you go just take your time and get the right equipment the first time, otherwise you end up spending more money and more time fixing. Good Luck and Have Fun.

D to the P 04/14/2008 08:59 PM

you can build your own sump yeah, but if it is hidden than why not just go for a big ol' Rubbermaid tub, not the containers that are just large I mean an actual large plastic tub with built in drain hole. I don't think they are that expensive, and than you wouldn't have to worry about buying acrylic and trying to make it look nice and be functional. Your best bet for a skimmer is to get the biggest one that you can afford, but I would aim for something that is rated for twice the size of your tank, I like the ASM brand of skimmers, many others like the octopus's. The lights will have to be decided after you figure out what kind of corals you want to keep. I would recommend looking into T5 lighting because they are really functional and can go over top of any corals as long as you have a good system with enough bulbs. Good luck, and keep us posted.

Gtstricky 04/14/2008 09:32 PM

I am building it mainly for the experience. So far it looks to be $105 for the sheet of acrylic and $10 for the Weld-on #4. I figure with all the mistakes I make plus the large tub I buy when I give up is should end up costing me about $500 :)

Ok here is a total newbie question:
How do I determine what size bulkheads I have? Is it the size of the hole in the glass or the inside diameter of the bulkhead?

demonsp 04/14/2008 09:34 PM

I see no power heads..

D to the P 04/14/2008 09:34 PM

inside diameter. well experience is the foundation for knowledge, hows that for a fortune cookie response haha. just make sure ask around before you get to the real plumbing (not sure how experienced you are with stuff like that, no offense) so you don't end up wasting money, or worse.

D to the P 04/14/2008 09:37 PM

haha, he didn't even get close to putting the tank where he wants it and you already are on him about power heads. talk about pre emptive! he is right however, start looking into getting some powerheads for water movement. Recommend getting 2 koralia 4's (one for each side of the tank) and seeing what you need after that (maybe even another two). You can't rely on your return pump to circulate the water in the display tank.

demonsp 04/14/2008 09:41 PM

You dont mix new water batches without water movement and as soon as water is in the tank you need movement. But he may have some.

D to the P 04/14/2008 09:49 PM

I agree with you, and thats good information that he won't have to look for later if he didn't know better, I'm just saying its funny that we often repeat what we say in every thread to the point that things like this are the first thing even mentioned, even before Welcome to RC! haha.

Gtstricky 04/14/2008 09:51 PM

yup forgot to put them on the list.

I bought 2 koralia 4's and the tsunami wavemaker last week (used on RC). They look great. I also bought a used pump, a Turbo Sea 790-P that I think will be my skimmer pump.

I also got my RO/DI system up and running. That was the first thing I worked on. I will get a picture of that up tomorrow.

demonsp 04/14/2008 09:54 PM

Its never to late to ask about water moevment.First koralias dont work well on wavemakers then wavemakers need proper setup for it to work. In a new setup a good circuler flow is much better and more effective.

Gtstricky 04/15/2008 09:11 AM

Anyone have opinions on these two skimmers:

AquaC EV-180
MR-1 from My Reef Creations (rated at 175 gal)

I can get the first one for around $300 or the second for around $200.

The MR-1 uses a Beckett and the AquaC uses a spray injector.


D to the P 04/15/2008 10:01 AM

I know a lot of people like aqua c's, but I do not have experience with either one of them, sorry. I figure if I'd respond anyway to give your thread a bump so maybe someone who has used either one of them can respond to you.

Gtstricky 04/15/2008 10:30 AM

Thank you... I am leaning towards the MR-1 as the Aqua C sounds a little tricky to adjust.

Gtstricky 04/16/2008 10:17 AM

Well here is the skimmer I am getting. I am going to remove and plug the second injector for now and remove the extra riser I think. This skimmer should be able to handle a much larger tank if I ever get there. It is a MR-2.
Should I set it up in the sump or external?

D to the P 04/16/2008 03:18 PM

in sump

Gtstricky 04/16/2008 05:51 PM

Here is where the tank will end up. It will be next to the stairs where the book case is now.

I am planning on putting the sump on the other side of the wall. You can use the door as a reference point to understand the location better.

D to the P 04/16/2008 07:04 PM

looks like a good place for a tank to me. You will definately enjoy the room you will have putting the sump behind the wall. now just tell your kids to go play somewhere else haha.

Aquarist007 04/16/2008 07:08 PM

here is a great example for you to refer back and forth too
Tswifty's 90 gal build

Gtstricky 04/22/2008 07:09 AM

This weekend I got the tank cleaned up and painted. I added some fresh stain to the stand. I still need to seal it. I also added some Kilz to the interior. It turned out nice. I used a darker blue then was on before. You can see the contrast in colors as I left the bottom painted with the old color since I will be using a sand bed. Here are some photos:

Cleaned up

with new paint

D to the P 04/22/2008 09:24 AM

Everything looks really nice. Hows the progress of putting holes in your wall?

Gtstricky 04/22/2008 09:45 AM

I bought a washing machine box this weekend. It looks like this (without the valves):

I am waiting until I get the tank in the basement before I cut :)

Gtstricky 04/22/2008 11:48 AM

Here is my first draft of a sump plan. 48" by 14" by 12" high.
Fuge is on the right, sump area on the left, return portion in the center. The current plan is to use an external pump. Each compartment will have a valved bulckhead leading to the pump. Only the middle valve will be open during normal use but for water changes all three can be opened. The pump will be plumbed to the tank and to the house drain pipe allowing for easy water changes.


D to the P 04/22/2008 12:35 PM

I've never set anything up like that, but I know most people say keep it simple. Don't do too much plumbing or you will just end up having more to worry about. That being said I don't think you are doing too much with this one. Hopefully someone who has built a sump of this scale will chime in.

Gtstricky 04/27/2008 07:46 PM

Well I built the sump this weekend. Overall I am pleased with my first attempt.

So lets get right to the pictures shall we...

Acrylic was delivered on Friday. I really lucked out because:
A) My local glass shop had a sheet in stock.
B) They had another job in my neighborhood and delivered it for free.

I went and got some of the plumbing supplies Friday also.

Gtstricky 04/27/2008 07:51 PM

Here is the cutting station I set up. I borrowed a saw and it did not have a guide rail long enough so I used the trashcan pushed up against my car. Hey... it worked...

Here are a couple of shots of the build:

Hey It holds water... well it did have a drip leak in one corner but a little weld-on #40 took care of that. :)

And a parting shot of my first 20# of live rock cooking away.

raen 04/27/2008 08:34 PM

go baby go! I am following this. I want an "in the wall" tank within 2 years in my basement. We are in the process of finishing so I am excited to see how it goes for you!

D to the P 04/27/2008 10:59 PM

I think that sump looks great. I can't wait to see it up and running. You did a really nice job, it looks very clean. I like in the one photo how your dog is kinda looking out the door like he's saying "what the hell are you doing?"

supercon71 05/06/2008 06:20 AM

Nice looking. As you know i'm doing my own in-wall 90 gallon oceanic tech tank build as well (click on the red house), and I see a lot of similarities between our two builds (even though mine is in wall).

I'm not sure about what you want to do, but I removed all that insulation on the drywall. For one thing, it will get damp (at least with my high volume sump) and secondly the amount of debris it creates is just too much and too close to the water, so I removed it. I'm still trying to think about the best way to protect the exposed drywall from dampness, however.

Even though i'm running an Iwaki external rated at 1000 gph and up only about 3 feet, I am not relying on it for tank flow (in fact, as you know, i've restricted the flow of it a good amount). Right now i'm using 3 HK4's.

Anyway, looks good.....i'll tag along.

Gtstricky 05/09/2008 08:45 PM

While my wife was out of town this week (with the camera) I got a lot done.

The plumbing has been completed and tested. I only had one small leak which was fixed. The sand and live rock was put in and the system is up and running.

I ended up turning down the flow on the return pump. It was really flowing and was a bit loud. If I guessed I would say it is between 450 and 500 gph. The three power heads are a bit much. I like the 2 koralia 4's as they are very quiet but they start in reverse about 50% of the time.

I also have a maxi-Jet 1200 with a mod kit. I like the flow on that also but it has a hum to it every once in a while. If I have all three going and the pump turned up it really moves.

Here are some pics.

Sump. The electrical cords will be moved this weekend sometime.

Another sump

Tank. Gotta love the light. I ordered a Aquactinics constellation but they are back ordered for another week.

Some of the rock. I have a little more but I am still thinking through the layout. This is not where it will be:

lemkerailroad1 05/09/2008 09:39 PM

looing great, wish i would have put a refug in my 220g

very nice setup

Gtstricky 05/11/2008 08:23 AM

Anyone have advice for how secure the rocks need to be? I moved the around a bit and they seem like they are not going anywhere.

Also, can the rocks touch the back glass in adeq spots?

Aquarist007 05/11/2008 09:05 AM


<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12516853#post12516853 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Gtstricky
Anyone have advice for how secure the rocks need to be? I moved the around a bit and they seem like they are not going anywhere.

Also, can the rocks touch the back glass in adeq spots?

just make sure the large rocks are the base and as you move up the reef they become smaller--there is one rock in the middle that looks like you should reverse it--the bigger is over the smaller.

Rocks shouldn't touch the glass but can, as long as they are not load bearing and are going to create pressure against it.

great build by the way:smokin:

Ritten 05/11/2008 09:12 AM

That large one on top looks like if you moved it to the bottom and supported it with another smaller rock you could make a pretty cool cave with it? Nice build thread.

Gtstricky 06/29/2008 12:16 PM

Here are a couple of updated picks:

full shot



skimmer (MR-2)

newreefbishop 06/29/2008 01:07 PM

Looks great......

Aquarist007 06/29/2008 02:17 PM

great setup--could you possible post these pics of your setup in this thread

I think you setup would be a value to alot more reefers that access the site looking for ideas

D to the P 06/29/2008 04:57 PM

things are looking great! what all for livestock do you have in that tank now?

Gtstricky 06/29/2008 05:55 PM

I have:
2 Clarkii (clowns)
Yellow watchman (Shrimp Goby)
Neon Goby
Pygmy Angelfish
Powder Blue Tang

RBTA (the Clarkii has hosted TODAY)
2 Claims from here

D to the P 06/29/2008 07:02 PM

Sounds like a nice stocking list. How about some individual pics of the fish so we can get to know the family haha.

LoyalConvict 07/16/2009 02:28 PM

updated pics please!

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