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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been mostly a lurker here for over a year, but here goes...

We are approaching the end of our (endless) kitchen remodel, so it's time to start thinking about a new tank. I had our contractor plumb faucets and a drain into one of our living room walls, as I really can't see managing a 125 with buckets.

I went up to my LFS yesterday to talk to the owner about ordering a tank. He suggested maybe looking at the Red Sea Reefers, and while they are very sexy, it would be about $1000 more than a "conventional" setup. I also sort of have my heart set on a six foot tank. So I think I'm going to go with Aqueon (sp?). Any reason I should look further? I have a choice of black or clear silicon - Are there advantages one way or the other, or is this a purely aesthetic choice?

I plan for this tank to have a sump - and will probably buy one premade rather than building my own, as I am the opposite of handy. The Aqueon has two drains and two returns, which should allow me to do some sort of Herbie setup, although I may decide to go with a spraybar for the return, in which case I could actually do a Beananimal.

I picked up two 36" Ecoxotic lights at the fabulous sale at F&S (wouldn't have known about that if I weren't reading here - thanks, TPT), but I don't think that will be enough, so will probably add a Planted+ 24/7 or two to that. I had intended to do BuildmyLED's, but that's no longer an option, I guess. On my current 29 gallon tank I have a Planted+ (the old kind) and a Monster Ray, and I've been quite happy with that combination, but couldn't pass up the price on the Ecoxotics. Is anyone here running Ecoxotic lights with something else? If so, what? I'm aware that neither the Ecoxotic or the Finnex lights are dimmable via an Apex controller, but a controller is not within my initial budget anyway. Still, might be worth leaving my options open. I know there's some extra component that can adapt the Ecoxotics to an Apex, but again, I am not handy. At all.

For substrate, I'm planning on black sand. There are no Tractor Supply's anywhere near me, but I think I can probably find something similar at American Soils. Suggestions for something closer than San Raphael are certainly welcome.

Stock will probably include Angels, Cories and Congo Tetras, not sure what else.

It will be a high tech tank like my current one, with pressurized CO2 and dry ferts.

The stand will also probably be Aqueon (if you use their stand, apparently the tank has a lifetime warranty), but I'm not crazy about the look of them - I may at a minimum replace the doors with some pre-built ones from Home Despot for a cleaner look.

Anyhow, I wanted to document this build, since I didn't document the last one, and I'm also looking forward to opinions and suggestions from people here.


The pic is my current tank, just before I trimmed yesterday. I also replaced the glosso in front w/hairgrass - it was just getting out of control - I'd cut it to the ground, and inside of three weeks it was all piled up on itself again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Two Ecoxotic 36' fixtures were wating at my door when I got home from work this afternoon. I took them out of the box and fired them up. Both work. Played around with the various settings for half an hour or so. Now to figure out how to hang them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Slow day at work today, so I've been trying to plan out a bit of plumbing. The tank has two overflows on the back - obviously the conventional way to plumb this would be with an drain and a return in each. But... I want the extra margin of safety afforded by a Bean Animal, or at least a Herbie.

There's basically three ways I could do this, I think:

Two returns, one from each overflow. One overflow drain is the Herbie siphon, one is the the trickle. I don't know of the trickle would be enough to keep the water in overflow #2 from becoming a bit stagnant, which I don't want.

Plumb one overflow with the drains, the other with two returns (one aimed down into the overflow box to eliminate the possibility of stagnant water).

The only option that would get me a full on Bean Animal would be to have the siphon and the dry standpipe in one overflow, and use the other for the trickle and the return. But could a single return keep up? And I still have the problem I have in my first option - will the trickle be enough flow in the second overflow.

Anyone else done anything like this? Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is really getting going now. The stand (Perfecto Monterey in red oak) will arrive on Friday. I ordered the tank and sump from my LFS yesterday - they should arrive next Friday. The wall where the stand will go is painted, and the last of the electrical is theoretically getting done today. We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel, and the tank is going on the other side of the wall where the kitchen sink is. Naturally, I had the plumber add taps and a drain in the living room:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, y'all. I'm having a lot of fun with this - although it's frustrating to be trying to set all of this up right before the big boat show out here. I sell boats for a living, so we're super busy at work right now. My power strips came in today:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

It's on the stand (and partially plumbed). The boat show is going to slow my progress a bit. It's really a big tank. I'll admit to feeling a little bit intimidated. Looking forward to having the time to get it set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Jinduan, I'm planning to use basically the same setup I have on my 29 - an inline diffuser feeding into a cerges reactor.

Boatshow and cleanup from same being (finally) done, I spent today plumbing and scaping. All four drains are done, I'll do the returns and the plumbing for the reactor next weekend (my weekend is Sun-Tue).

Can't wait to fill this up and start planting, but the three x 50lb bags of tahitian moon sand I ordered on Amazon netted me two bags of sand and one of wild bird food. They told me to give away the bird seed, so I freecycled that, everyone's happy there. However, the third bag of sand won't be here until Friday. So no water until then, no matter how fast I am with the plumbing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Returns plumbed. I think I'm going to re-do the one long run - it's headed slightly uphill, which I don't like. First time ever working with PVC - I'm quite surprised how quickly it all went together, although it's messier looking than I'd like.

 

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Two Ecoxotic 36' fixtures were wating at my door when I got home from work this afternoon. I took them out of the box and fired them up. Both work. Played around with the various settings for half an hour or so. Now to figure out how to hang them...
Don't you just love to come home to find stuff at the door? It's like a little mini Christmas!:laugh2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Filled the tank on Monday - everything is now working and leak-free. Need to re-build one of my returns because something about the way I've routed it really magnifies the vibration of the pump. I have three of the same pump - each runs nearly silently hooked up to the other return or to my water change hose, but they all make a pretty good racket hooked up to the return on the right side of the tank. Other than that it's all looking good. I should be able to start planting (at least some trimmings from my 29) later today - big planting will probably be Monday afternoon. Still trying to decide whether to hang my lights or just set them on top of the tank. I'm planning to start with just the two 36" Ecoxotic fixtures - will add 2 planted
+ 24/7's if the Ecoxotic's seem like too little light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Discovered that the glass lids I bought won't work with the returns as currently configured. They project too far into the tank. Since I was going to rebuild one return anyway, guess I'm rebuilding both this weekend. The trimmings I stuck in there this afternoon will just have to make do with ambient light until Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Set the lights up tonight. Well, one of the lights. I need to do a little rewiring. I'm really impressed with the shimmer I'm getting from the Ecoxotic lights. Sort of wishing I'd bought four 36" fixtures instead of two, but since that's not what I did, or possible now, I'll probably just get a couple of Planted+'s.

My weekend is pretty spoken for, but I'm hoping to rebuild the returns on Sunday afternoon and to get the co2 set up on Tuesday. Planting will get pushed off yet another week, with the exception of trimmings from the 29. Monday, we're going sailing, and Sunday morning we have brunch, so Sunday afternoon and Tuesday are all I've got, which as I type this strikes me as the definition of a first world problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Did a little more planting - trimmings from the 29 - yesterday. must try to get a picture in the dark tonight so you can actually see the whole tank and not half tank/half house across the channel.


 
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