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Old 12/08/2017, 03:56 PM   #1
Dugless
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The Mammoth Nano - An acropora reef

This is my very first build thread. I’ve been getting weird looks from friends and family when I try to show pics and talk coral, so I thought I would give this kind of thing a try.

Experience
I’ve been keeping a reef aquarium long enough to have experience with air stone protein skimmers and old tech lighting that sat atop glass covers. As the natural progression goes, my reefing history worked its way from small 29 gal aquariums to my most recent 250 gal SPS dominant reef. Most people talk and dream of the next big tank, always adding a couple hundred gallons each upgrade. Instead I find myself talking more about changing the bits of my setup that bothered me and could use improvement.

Goals
For this build I know I want to focus almost, if not entirely, on Acropora. The color shifts and care needed to grow these underwater gardens successfully has always fascinated me. In my opinion, every other coral just seems to lack the breadth of interactive responsiveness that acros do.

I also know I want high quality equipment that makes success easier and looks clean enough to display in my living space. I’m a bit OCD and I hope to invest in a setup that will give me many years of service. The old adage of buy once and not many times over still holds true for me.

Having recently moved halfway across the country to chase a girl, I left my hometown of 30+ years and now reside in the Pacific NW. Because of this, I am planning this build to be easily (if that’s possible) relocated if need be. I am a planner, so it definitely makes life interesting not knowing what the next few years have in store. So instead, I plan for the unknown.

Aquarium
For the first time in my life I find myself outside of a personal home. This is a large contributing factor to the downsize to a smaller aquarium. I wanted something large enough for 1 or 2 bigger fishes and enough real estate for plenty of coral. My previous Deep Dimension sold me on a tank that has a large footprint, I don’t think I could ever go back to something narrow. I also wanted something shorter as it makes for easier maintenance and lighting. I decided on a custom 42”L x 30”W x 19”H, and this is roughly 90 gallons.

I look forward to sharing my new reef experience with you. Hopefully a successful one!





Last edited by Dugless; 12/14/2017 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 12/08/2017, 06:57 PM   #2
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Custom Aquarium

I narrowed it down to Miracles and Reef Savvy for the custom aquarium. Both of these companies have very good reputations from the research I did, but I couldn't justify the more than double cost of the Reef Savvy. In hindsight, I have some regret and more than likely will explore that option again when this tank is in need of replacement in the future.

My experience with Miracles was positive until delivery. In the end I had two aquariums delivered, each unique with their own quibbles and defects ranging from scratches to holes drilled of the wrong size and side. I would be less likely to blame Miracles as easily if the scratches I found were on the outside of the glass, but unfortunately this was not the case. After receiving the second aquarium, my follow-ups with Miracles went ignored and I was left choosing which aquarium had the least annoying problems.

The silicone work is much better than any off the shelf aquarium I have seen and the bevelled rimless edges are very cool. The glass is 1/2" starphire around and is really noticeable in comparison to the bottom of the aquarium. I'm also a big fan of the vinyl I had them install on the short side of the aquarium. It is a very tidy look overall.

I plan on a peninsular setup with the synergy overflow on the short end of the aquarium.





The Synergy overflow test fitted. My goal is to have the water line about an inch from the top once full of water.



Light scratches on the inside of the glass.



Small scuff/chip on the inside of the glass.



A few drips in the silicone work.





Last edited by Dugless; 12/10/2017 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 12/08/2017, 07:31 PM   #3
Indiana Reefin
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Very nice!
Can’t wait to watch this build!! What is your favorite acro? I think I like the tri-color or the hard bonsai the most


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Old 12/08/2017, 07:55 PM   #4
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Aquarium Cabinet

I planned on building the stand for the aquarium myself. This took some creative thinking and planning as I left all of my woodworking tools behind when moving. I knew I wanted to avoid framing lumber and rather construct everything from decent 1x's and plywood. I had built previous stands with 2x4s before and it is just more difficult to get everything within a tolerance I'm comfortable with.

My plans focused on allowing access from both sides as I expect to place a decent amount of equipment within the cabinet. Having unobstructed access would make it much easier to perform maintenance and handling any other equipment installs in the future. To allow for this, I glued three 1x6's to create a few beams for support.

I spent a good chunk of time planning sump, skimmer, ATO, and misc component sizes in hopes of getting everything to fit nicely within the stand. I'm really working to utilize the space I have and make sure everything has a useful purpose.





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Old 12/08/2017, 07:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Indiana Reefin View Post
Very nice!
Canít wait to watch this build!! What is your favorite acro? I think I like the tri-color or the hard bonsai the most
I've never been good at picking a favorite acro, but I must admit I enjoy SSC and smooth skinned pieces. Thanks!


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Old 12/09/2017, 02:06 PM   #6
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After sourcing a miter and circular saw I began work on the cabinet. I really began to miss my track saw, planer, and other tools as I started into the project. Cutting and assembling always seems to go quickly, but the paint and prep is another story. I used pocket holes and tried to hide them as best as I could to keep the cabinet strong and sturdy.

I tried my best to match the paint color to the equipment I was planning for.


Since soft close hinges were just a few bucks more, I opted for them. Kind of cool. People go crazy for these things, if you've ever been to an open house you know what I'm talking about.


Many, many hours of prep and paint later. I think I put at least 4 coats on everything, possibly more on the interior. I hate painting! I really wanted a clean look without door handles, so I left a 2" gap above the doors to allow for easy opening.




Last edited by Dugless; 12/09/2017 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 12/09/2017, 05:34 PM   #7
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Nice tanks and build plan, but a 90 is not anywhere near a Nano.


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Old 12/10/2017, 10:36 AM   #8
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looks good, shame about the damage.


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Old 12/10/2017, 10:46 AM   #9
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Nice tanks and build plan, but a 90 is not anywhere near a Nano.
Agreed.

Coming along nice though. Wil be following.


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Old 12/11/2017, 03:36 PM   #10
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It fits! Like a glove actually, I was rather delighted by the fitment. The bottom trim is just covered by the stand and the height allows for easy maintenance without a step stool. All of these items were planned for, but it's nice when everything actually goes smoothly. That almost never happens, right?




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Old 12/11/2017, 04:06 PM   #11
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Nice!!

I weep for your beautiful floors though, lol. It's inevitable to get water all over the floor eventually.


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Old 12/11/2017, 04:10 PM   #12
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Nice!!

I weep for your beautiful floors though, lol. It's inevitable to get water all over the floor eventually.
The pics thus far probably do these floors some favors. It is just junk laminate. As long as water doesn't find its way underneath they're fine.


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Old 12/14/2017, 10:44 AM   #13
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Because I plan to be away for a week or more at a time visiting family or for work trips, I scooped up a leak detector off Amazon. I know there are options that tie into controllers, but this seemed very simple, effective and affordable. It will emit a noise and send texts/emails via a simple WiFi connection. The initial setup and connection took no more than 5 minutes. The bonus is no cords, so I can place it wherever I want and change my mind down the road if needed. This will definitely help put my mind at ease while away.





Last edited by Dugless; 12/14/2017 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 12/14/2017, 10:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dugless View Post
Because I plan to be away for a week or more at a time visiting family or for work trips, I scooped up a leak detector off Amazon. I know there are options that tie into controllers, but this seemed very simple, effective and affordable. It will emit a noise and send texts/emails via a simple WiFi connection. The initial setup and connection took no more than 5 minutes. The bonus is no cords, so I can place it wherever I want and change my mind down the road if needed. This will definitely help put my mind at ease will away.

What is this amateur hour in here? Everyone knows you use bananas for scale.


Side note, your pictures come out killer.


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Current Tank Info: 65 gallon mixed reef, Eshopps sump and HOB overflow, RO-110int skimmer, Reefbreeder 32" photons V1.
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Old 12/14/2017, 11:23 AM   #15
Dugless
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What is this amateur hour in here? Everyone knows you use bananas for scale.

Side note, your pictures come out killer.
I guess I wasn't aware of the banana scale. But those aren't a consistent size either, right? Haha.


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Old 12/14/2017, 11:26 AM   #16
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. But those aren't a consistent size either, right? Haha.
Shhh lol

That is a very nice looking tank. Looking forward to see how it fills out!


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My build thread:

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Current Tank Info: 65 gallon mixed reef, Eshopps sump and HOB overflow, RO-110int skimmer, Reefbreeder 32" photons V1.
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Old 01/11/2018, 04:36 PM   #17
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In the past I’ve used Tunze pumps, but I’ve always hated the time it took to clean them and how the cords interfered with a screen top. This time around I wanted to try Vortechs as they have better solutions to the aforementioned issues.

I went back and forth on whether or not to get MP40s or MP60s. In the end I chose the MP60 as I will be limited to placing them on the black short end of the aquarium and I wanted to be sure they would reach with enough punch.




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Old 01/12/2018, 05:38 PM   #18
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Every few years I research the progress LED lighting has made. Especially when it comes to replacing bulbs It is crazy to see how many different options are out there now and how much more polished the lighting fixtures are in comparison to even just 10 years ago. However, even with the fancy packaging and slick wizardry of functions, I decided on a T5 fixture. I still wasn't sold on LEDs for healthy Acro growth, and my plans for this tank are purely Acro driven.

When it comes to T5s, ATI seems to be the leader from all the research I did. To be honest, I had been eyeing a powermodule hybrid for the last few years, and decided to finally pull the trigger. I really like the simplicity of the fixture, the hanging cables, and the single cord. It really is a clean bit of kit.

Alongside 8 bulbs of T5 power, the unit comes with two banks of 75w LEDs with white, blue, and violet colors. These LEDs really do add the shimmer if you're into that kind of thing. I seem to be on an island in preferring a flatter look. I will use the LEDs for adding that extra 10% of color pop and for a gradual dusk/dawn setup. The programming isn't fancy, but I'm more of a set it and forget kind of guy. Stability is the key anyhow, right?

I did order the unit from Sewatec in Germany as the bigger online retailers in the states wouldn't order a white fixture for me, but I would never recommend them. The unit was delivered with bulbs installed and one broke in shipment and boogered up a reflector. Vacuuming the broken bits out wasn't fun. They also charged me for a hanging kit that wasn't included and packed the improper power supply cords for other items in my order. They were less than helpful and made me feel like I was trying to con them. I will avoid them in the future and suggest others to do so.






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Old 01/12/2018, 10:01 PM   #19
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Beautiful fixture, good choice on going with the white. Too bad the hassle just to get the white fixture wasnít worth the trouble. The stand and tank are very nice as well. I will be following ur build. Thanks for sharing.


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Old 01/13/2018, 09:43 PM   #20
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I'm a big supporter of keeping things as simple as possible, but even more importantly I'm chasing stability. With that in mind, an aquarium controller is a must when coloring coral. My research again led me to German engineering, and I went for a GHL Profliux 4. The components of this controller might not be as popular or diverse as the Apex offerings, but it is robustly built with capable powerbars and high grade probes. I do enjoy that everything is run through the controller itself and there is no need for additional boxes for different functions. The unit itself is clean looking, but the buttons on the front are very frustrating to use. Really, you would have to be very determined to use these regularly.

I will admit that being a Mac user has slowed my progress with programming the controller. I've had the unit installed for over a month and I'm still struggling with attempts to make a WiFi connection. Even with GHL's email correspondence and diving into what I consider the very technical side of things, I'm still not able to connect wirelessly or via my web browser like promised. While the customer service is much more personal, I'm starting to get a bit nervous that I will never get this connection business sorted out. I work on a computer everyday and I admit I find myself lost when following the instructions to update the different settings suggested by GHL.

I built a small shelf within the stand to house the doser and controller. To keep with the theme, I chose the white casing for both of these components. The blue pump heads are a nice touch.




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Old 01/14/2018, 11:20 AM   #21
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Very nice stand and overall aquarium build thread. What type of paint did you use on the stand? Oil or water based? Just curious on how the interior will resist water and humidity. Also I’d be real careful with water around the laminate flooring. I did a room that had a back patio and after two years of just letting my dogs out thru the seasons it peeled and ruined the flooring. Would suck to have to break that tank down to replace flooring. I replaced mine with the wood like looking ceramic.


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Old 01/14/2018, 11:25 AM   #22
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Very nice stand and overall aquarium build thread. What type of paint did you use on the stand? Oil or water based? Just curious on how the interior will resist water and humidity. Also Iíd be real careful with water around the laminate flooring. I did a room that had a back patio and after two years of just letting my dogs out thru the seasons it peeled and ruined the flooring. Would suck to have to break that tank down to replace flooring. I replaced mine with the wood like looking ceramic.


Totally agree, my laminate floors around the tank look like the Rockies! I think I will go with tile on the next go around.


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Old 01/14/2018, 03:51 PM   #23
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What type of paint did you use on the stand? Oil or water based? Just curious on how the interior will resist water and humidity.
I used water based paint. There will be some humidity, but the sump will be covered to reduce evaporation and should help with moisture as well. In my experience, water based paint is more than sufficient if looked after. My very first aquarium had raw plywood inside the stand and I saw no issues after many years.


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Old 01/14/2018, 03:57 PM   #24
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Totally agree, my laminate floors around the tank look like the Rockies! I think I will go with tile on the next go around
The worry with any wood floor is a spill in which water gets underneath the flooring, and this causes it to cup. Iíll be sure to use towels when doing maintenance. Barring any major disasters, they should be fine.


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Old 01/14/2018, 07:09 PM   #25
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Looks like it will be a nice setup. I’d probably trim the pad under the stand flush with the stand though. Will look cleaner and won’t stay damp and hold water as easily with spills.


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