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jakesweep

Jake's Reefer 250

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Well, I've paid my deposit to the reef gods and they provided much gear. This thread will chronicle my first tank in 12 years. Things have come a long way since then!

Current FTS (leak test):

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I picked up a Red Sea Reefer 250 on eBay for $500. I had to drive a couple hours to pick it up, but no biggie. It's kiddo approved! Both of my kids are super excited to start a tank after a recent trip to Mote Marine over Spring Break.

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All the stuff is there. The plumbing is in good shape, and everything is super clean. The cabinet has some screw holes, but no biggie.

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This thing is a beast compared to any tank I've had. My last reef tank was a 20L with no sump. I've had freshwater aquariums in the past, but nothing over 30 gallons. I've also never had a rimless aquarium. It was one of the must-haves when I was obsessing over which tank to buy. The stand tore down easily for transport, and somehow I squeezed everything into my Subaru Impreza!

It's going to be awhile before I actually get saltwater, rock, and sand in it, but there's still plenty to do in the meantime.

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I bought a pile of gear. Unfortunately, I didn't know about the kickbacks from Marine Depot to Buckeye Reef when I placed my orders. I'll definitely use the link from now on though!

 

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I picked up 3 Noopsyche K7 Pro II LED fixtures off of R2R. I had just read a well-written and thorough review on R2R about them when they popped up. Just so happens it was @crimsonvice who wrote it! Thanks for being so thorough! I was lucky enough to snag them for $325 shipped. I bought the arms for them from The Coral Reef TN for $36/pc. https://www.ebay.com/usr/thecoralreeftn.

 

Other gear:

- Reef Octopus Varios 6 (probably too much pump, but I'm making a manifold)

- Reef Octopus Classic 150-INT

- (2x) VorTech MP10

- Marine Depot KleanWater 4-Stage Economy RO/DI System - 100 GPD

- HMO 200 Watt Titanium Heater with Digital Controller - Finnex

- Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155 ATO

- AquaMaxx Fluidized GFO and Carbon Filter Media Reactor - XS

- Titanium Ground Probe

 

I bought a Seneye that I'll probably return. I told myself I didn't need an Apex, but then I talked myself into it. So I'll probably send the Seneye back. So now I have:

 

- Seneye Reef Monitor

- API Saltwater Liquid Master Test Kit

- API Reef Master Test Kit

- Neptune Systems APEX Wi-Fi Controller System

- Neptune Systems Magnetic Probe Rack (MPR)

- Neptune Systems DOS (for auto water change)

Edited by jakesweep

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We're planning on ripping out the carpet and installing Bamboo flooring next year, so I figured I would get started a little early! I was a little apprehensive about having everything on carpet, so I cut out a footprint for the stand and installed a piece of MDF to take its place. This helped to level the tank and ended up looking pretty good. It's not going to make moving the tank next year any easier, but I think it's a good temporary solution.

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Edited by jakesweep

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I also installed some in-cabinet lighting, and added some door catches since the doors didn't always stay completely closed. Opening the door on the right-hand side opens a switch that turns the LED rope lighting on.

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Got the lights installed. The arms are good quality and they adjust easily to different heights or horizontal extensions.

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I am a tinkerer who loves to take things apart. I really wanted to see what the drivers and circuitry looked like to see if there was any chance of modifying them to take 1-10v. I'll figure that out later, but here are some pics of the internals:

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And the LED array up close

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Dry fit the plumbing for the manifold which will serve the Aquamax reactor and the ATO which I will be turning into a mini-refugium. I might stub out one more valve for a future addition. I would love to get a bigger sump with a proper refugium, but this will have to do for now. Hard-plumbing the return pump was way more of a pain than expected. I'll be changing the last few inches out for a flexible tube.

 

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Filled the tank for a leak test! There was a slight leak in the manifold where the 1/2" pipe joins the T's. Not exactly sure how that happened, but I had a few extras on-hand, so I rebuilt the upper manifold. It's a hodgepodge of gray schedule 80 and white schedule 40, but I'm not concerned about that.

 

The tank held water though!

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2 hours ago, Muttley000 said:

Very nice and appreciate the great write up!  Cool the kids are involved too, it will be that much better getting to share the hobby with them.  Curious what are you doing with the third light?

Thanks for checking it out! The kids being involved makes it much easier to justify to my wife. She's totally on board, but I think she's much more excited about it since the kids are into it.

I haven't decided exactly what I'm doing with the 3rd light. It will either go on the main display so I can run 3 lights at a lower intensity, or it will go on a small frag tank in the near future.

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I hooked up the Varios 6 and the MP10s, turned on the lights, and let things run for a few days. No leaks in the tanks or plumbing, and everything seems pretty stable as far as flow to the sump goes. These lights shimmer nicely! I realized today that I'm eventually going to want to buy the wireless upgrade for the MP10s. You can get the new boards directly from EcoTech for around $50. This along with the WXM module will allow for Apex control.

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Here's the mixed pipe plumbing. Looks kind of janky, but it works for now. I really like the Schedule 80 unions and fittings much more than the schedule 40 stuff. I'll probably re-plumb it all in the near future anyway knowing me.

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I started cooking some RODI water over the weekend and it did NOT go well. I followed the setup instructions to a T and made ~15 gallons of water. I pulled a sample and it tested at 220ppm TDS :(

My tap water from the faucet is around 270ppm, so we're not getting very far here. I'm not sure if its a bad meter or a bad RO membrane. My DI resin is brown already because I didn't take a reading before putting it back in. I just assumed that the RO filter was doing its job. I also went to the store and grabbed some distilled water which showed 16ppm TDS.

I'm going to call Marine Depot this morning and talk with them about it. I did order a Smart Buddie booster pump and a pressure gauge which should be here this week.

ro_filter.thumb.jpg.ccd3788b4401b9b0f1f4814661372d50.jpg. Really hoping to cut down on waste water.

 

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I also drilled and installed the mini refugium over the weekend. It was my first time drilling glass, and it was super easy. Got everything plumbed up and looking good!

 

After drilling:

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Installed 1/2" bulkheads:

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Plumbed into the system

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And that brings us current! Updates might be a bit slow for the next few weeks. I emptied the tank in preparation for some other projects going on in that room. We're going to build some built-in bookshelves on either side of the aquarium and that will require us using a paint sprayer. I want to get that all taken care of before getting it wet with saltwater.

I also ordered 80 pounds of dry rock from https://floridadryrock.com . Can't beat the price, and a few people highly recommended it. I just got confirmation that it's shipping today (super fast turnaround). I also purchased 40lbs of live AragAlive sand over the weekend.

I'll update once the rock comes in and I start playing around with 'scape ideas :)

 

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A few updates:

1. The dry rock should get here tomorrow. It's Billy Hays Dry Rock, which is from one of those ancient inland reefs in FL. Looking forward to playing with some scapes!

2. I ordered a custom lid for the Reefer from Clearview Lids! https://www.clearviewlids.com/collections/red-sea-clearview-aquarium-lids/products/reefer-250-clearview-lid

3. I bought a 5.5 gallon glass tank from Petco the other day. I'm going to drill it and use it for a refugium instead of the little 2.2g Red Sea ATO container.

And finally my wife and I made a lot of progress on the room this weekend. We finished building out the built-in bookshelves and got the first coat of paint on them. The Reefer is going to live right between them. All of the electronics are going to live in the first cabinet to the right. Here's a pic before painting:

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Thanks! This is our second "real" woodworking project. We're really happy with how it came out, and it was actually relatively easy. I just can't wait to get it done and get the tank up and running!

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A few more updates! Things are moving along. I had trouble leveling the tank before, so I constructed a heavy-duty base with adjustable feet. I'll stick some trim around it when we finish painting the shelves. The first coats of paint are on, too (only the first coat is on in the pic). One more coat should do it.

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Also the dry rock came in! It looks really nice, clean, and porous. He shipped some good sized pieces too. I only pulled out a couple pieces from the smallest box, but here's a good sample:

dry-rock.thumb.jpg.093d7874e92376a2ac3434edcf2a78db.jpg

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Finished painting the shelves and couldn't help but to move the tank into place. My wife is a trooper for helping me lift that thing so many times. Just need to put the last 2 coats on the cabinet doors then re-hang them.

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Edited by jakesweep

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