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Old 05/16/2020, 09:11 PM   #1
CassandrAlys
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Setup Plans & Dreams

Hi!

So, once upon a time I had a mixed reef tank, with way too many mistakes and unplanned disasters. This time, before I buy a damn thing, I'm doing all the research my heart can take.

Now, it'll be a while before I can purchase anything- the plan is to build the house, and the reef I'm planning is PART of that plan. It won't be inset into a wall (I'm too afraid of the humidity damage inside the walls *shivers*, but we're rearranging windows and changing the scope of the room to be able to showcase it the way I'd like.

We're planning on building a custom stand that will house the lights above and all the equipment below. It'll be close to a window that I plan to use to drain the water from the water changes, rather than hauling it back to the kitchen (not that that's too far off, but simplicity is best). And for those of you concerned about sunlight, the windows we're getting have blinds inset- the type you see in Germany?- to ward off extra algae growth. Also planning on putting the tank on a separate breaker and plumbing water to the outside of the house just behind the tank (at the very least a spigot, but possible even an outdoor sink).

I know I want a mixed reef tank, and it will be a minimum of 125 gallons, possibly up to 180. It's unlikely it'll be larger than that at this point, but I'd like to plan for the 180 just in case. (It's always better to highball those numbers than see them creep up!) I also want to automate as much as humanly possible, so that when I do take my vacations I don't have to have someone at the house on the daily.

At the moment, I'm looking for advice on your best automated systems & what they're used for, what equipment you feel is necessary for a healthy, mixed reef tank (to include lights and anything else you can think of), what test kits you feel are necessary, and any other advice you have. It's been so long since I've had a tank, and my life has changed more than I could have imagined. I want to do it right this time, from the very start.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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Old 05/17/2020, 06:01 AM   #2
tailgamerllc
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Well the first thing I would like to say is good luck with your house and tank build. I will suggest that you pickup a Apex Neptune or similar system to monitor the tank and sump. I have one and its great. You can use it to create a automatic water changing system, monitor parameters, monitor for leaks, notify you via text if any parameters are abnormal and most importantly shut down each outlet remotely if need be. This provides a lot of flexibility and room for expansion.

The second thing that I suggest is a auto water changing system. Both of the things that i have suggested will allow you to leave your tank for a period of time and not worry as much!

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Old 05/17/2020, 09:13 AM   #3
CassandrAlys
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Glorious!

Thank you! This is exactly the kind of information Iím looking for ^.^


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Old 05/17/2020, 11:11 AM   #4
Vinny Kreyling
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Do NOT try draining out a window please.
It can kill plants & if you get snow or a freeze & need a water change are you going to open a window? Will you have a basement? If so plan on everything under the tank there.
Makes life so much simpler. Salifert test kits are well respected.
Neptune Apex or German GHL are the 2 automation systems to look at.
Decide on lighting by taking a look @ BRS TV Videos, plenty of useful information there.


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Old 05/17/2020, 11:54 PM   #5
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No basements here, much as I wish it were possible. We live in something akin to a swamp, so it just isnít an option. And while Iím totally down to open the window for water changes (yes, even when itís cold), we can put an outdoor sink right by said window so it isnít going straight into the ground. Itís something weíve talked about anyways.


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Old 05/17/2020, 11:58 PM   #6
CassandrAlys
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Whoops, missed the second part of the message there. Iíll take a look at the other automation system shortly, but Iíve spent hundreds of hours watching the BRS videos. The messages everywhere seem to be ďTHISĒ is my right way. But also there are other right ways. *shrugs* Itís tricksy to decide which direction to go because there seem to be a lot of wrong answers with some right ones mixed in.


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Old 05/18/2020, 08:31 AM   #7
Vinny Kreyling
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Always another way but the "better" way is the one with the best results. My old Neptune AquaController II has had 1 glitch since purchased many moons ago. The new models seem to have more. GHL, on the other hand is tougher on the learning curve with less problems on stability. You pick the 1 you like & trust with your system. I like DC water pumps. Because my pump runs in the sump heat becomes a problem. The 1st pump I had did great, for a year. Short story It & the backup died & too many AC pumps did not work so I had to bite the bullet with one of the most expensive DC pumps, but it works. If you want reliability & dependability sometimes you have to pay for it. Do it right from the start. I have had too many skimmers & lights already.


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Old 05/19/2020, 03:49 PM   #8
MarkW64
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Good luck with the build! Itís great to be able to plan a system before the house is built ó thatís what I did 16 years ago. There are things which are much simpler (and cheaper) to do as part of construction, rather than later. My 230 gal peninsula tank separates our primary eating area from our family room. Itís weight was included in the loads used when engineering our structure, the custom stand matches our kitchen cabinets, sufficient electrical outlets were located appropriately, etc. There was one additional thing we did that I would highly recommend: the plumber placed a washing machine connection box in the wall where it would be hidden inside the stand. It included cold water supply (which the RO/DI remained connected too), hot water supply (which I never used), and a drain (which was used for the RO/DI waste line and water changes). IMHO, thatís far better than having to rely upon a window and an outdoor sink.


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Old 05/22/2020, 01:58 AM   #9
CassandrAlys
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You guys rock!

@MarkW64
Oh my goodness thatís an amazing idea- I will definitely discuss that with my husband, and Iím sure he will agree!

We have an open concept design going so I donít think itís going to be used as a barrier between housing sections (though I DID propose the idea of a second one in our bedroom/office to separate the areas... Hey, a girl can dream!)

And weíve definitely talked about extra supports and outlets, but Iíll be looking back at this post while going over construction so itís a great reminder- thanks!

@Vinny Kreyling
Yup! I have every expectation that our setup is going to be monstrously expensive at the start. Our goal is to start buying replacements for all the jet equipment about a year into it (maybe sooner for the heaters?) as a Ďjust in caseí for when things inevitably go sideways. Basically just a once a month purchase of some major piece until we have an entire replacement set. Itís going to hurt the wallet for a while, but I donít even want to think about unnecessarily killing our future friends in there. So, weíll live! And I tend to over budget for this anyways- never hurts to have extra!

Thanks for the advice on the specific equipment! I love hearing individual experiences Iíll definitely be researching all the reviews of every piece recommended.


You guys (& gals?) rock. Thank you so much!


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Old 05/23/2020, 01:54 PM   #10
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I'd highly recommend GHL contoller as their products are backwards compatible and really bulletproof. Yes the learning curve is more challenging but it's worth it


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Old 05/24/2020, 08:14 PM   #11
CassandrAlys
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Thanks!! Iíll definitely look into it


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