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Mark Lehr's 180 reef build
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.03.10(Tue)19:36    Post subject: Mark Lehr's 180 reef build Reply with quote

Hello everyone. Its been a while since I spent much time here... life gets in the way sometimes. Anyhow, I am beginning a project that I thought would be fun to share, so here I am! Wink

This last week I moved into a new condo. My fiance' has been gracious enough to agree to a 180 gallon reef aquarium on the back dining room wall. The tank and stand are set to be delivered tomorrow or Thursday, depending on shipment.

I thought I'd share some pics and document the tank progress.

I began with a shipment of Fiji Dry Rock. I placed the rock into a 55 gallon storage tote, with live rock from another aquarium to help seed it along. I made a quick temporary skimmer out of a 2 Liter.




Choosing a skimmer was easy for me. I love the ASM skimmer line, so I went with the ASM G3 to place in my sump.


I decided on the Finnex TH800 Titanium Heater, with a HC-0800 electronic controller, of course.
Wink

The aquarium will be a Perfecto reef ready. I opted for the Perfecto because of the overflow designs, which are removable for removal of unwanted pests. The overflows will accomodate 1800 gallons per hour total flow, but I felt a mag 1800 would be sufficient.


I think that is all the fun I have to share at the moment. I will post more updates and pics as things develop.

Mark
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2009.03.11(Wed)12:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh, great post Mark and hope to see more on this.
Best wishes for your success... it's always exciting setting up a new system, are you going with a mixed reef, SPS or...?
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.03.11(Wed)20:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've learned over the years that my aquariums always seem to evolve into more than I originally expected. At the moment, I am planning to keep things simple.

I currently have a 38 gallon reef that has completely outgrown the space. My immediate plans are to upgrade this tank into a 58 bowfront that I had laying around, allow the 180 to mature to my liking, and then transition the reef into the 180. At the moment it is just softies... leathers, mushrooms, buttons, green star, yellow star, hammer, etc. We'll see what the budget allows. Cool
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.03.19(Thu)4:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally, the aquarium was delivered. It is a Marineland with removable overflows. The front and side glass panels are starphire glass.

Some more pics. Sorry for the quality, I had to use my cell phone to take these.


A few shots of the drain pipes and return pipes:








A unique view of what it feels like installing the overflows:
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.03.28(Sat)13:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a lot to share at this point. My tank is 1/2 full of water, with power heads for circulation and about 100 pounds of live rock. I have another 50 pounds of live rock on the way. Currently I am just waiting on my sump to be built. More pictures to come in short order.
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.03.31(Tue)18:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

More dry rock arrived today from Marco Rocks. This order was Key Largo rock, and again I am very impressed with this vendor. Great price, great rock, quick delivery.

A few pics for you:





This is obviously not the permanent rock placement. I just put the rock into the tank to allow the curing process to continue, and to seed the rock with actual live rock. Hopefully my sump will be in place this weekend and I can get started on the actual aquascapping.

Just for kicks, a picture of my 58 bowfront:


When the 180 is ready, I may move this 58 into the 180 and go fish only on the 58. Or I may just use the 58 for grow out. Who knows...
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Maintenance Man
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Joined: 31 Mar 2009
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: 2009.04.01(Wed)3:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is great, thanks for sharing with us Mark.
How long roughly does it take to seed the rock to a level you are happy with?
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.04.01(Wed)19:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first batch from marcorocks was 125 pounds of Fiji Rock. It has been about 6 weeks. I seeded it with 20 pounds experienced live rock. Today the pieces are virtually indistinguishable. I have noticed that my diatom bloom in the 58 is more aggressive on the dry rock, but this is to be expected. I really rushed this 58 in place when I moved last month.

I plan to allow the 180 a good 3 months for the rock to really mature before I do much with it. I believe in extreme patience with marine systems. I generally don't even test ammonia and nitrite to confirm the cycle. This part is obvious. I am more concerned with getting some nice coraline algae growth, seeing Nitrates being to drop, seeing a nice copepods and amphipod population begin to multipy, and having predictable and stable alkalinity and calcium levels. At this point I consider the tank mature and begin to add the more expensive and sensitive livestock. This generally takes 4 months or longer.
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.04.11(Sat)7:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still in the set up stage, but my live rock display is coming along. Hopefully I find the time to get the sump installed this weekend. I am getting married in 2 weeks, so life has been busy! Here are some pics:

First, building a cave:




A few days later:


From the left:


From the right:


And a full view:



I'm not totally satisfied with the live rock layout. The display on the left side of the tank may have to be rotated 45degrees counterclockwise. I may still add more rock. The primary focus of this tank will be fish, but it will have a nice supply of corals as well, which makes aquascapping a unique challenge.
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Tigerissey
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Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Location: Lancashire - UK

PostPosted: 2009.04.11(Sat)9:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks very good.

I agree with you, after looking at the bottom few photos a 45 degree rotation would look perfect and give you better space for attaching corals.

Looking forward to more.
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