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First Reef Build - 125 Gallon

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Good Afternoon All,


I am new to the forum /  Club and new to the reef keeping side of the hobby.  I have done freshwater for years, but wanted a bigger challenge.


We moved into our new house about 5 years ago and I had grand plans for an "in-wall" reef tank.  Well...you know how that goes and how life just happens.  :rolleyes:


Its time to get this project rolling!  Below is the equipment I had on had beginning this project:


- 125 Gallon Aqueon Tank. Not reef ready, but I will be drilling for an overflow.

- AquaC EV 240 Skimmer with MAG18

- Planned out 55 gallon sump, just hoping for a Petco 1$ per gallon sale in the next couple months  :fingerscrossed:

- Ordering a custom overflow from Modular Marine.  Will be drilling the side of the tank.

- Freshwater equipment I still need to sort through.


The tank will be in the wall between our living room and home office.  I wanted the tank visible from both sides, so I will put the overflow on one end and the returns on the other.  The first big step was to tear into the wall.  Doing my research, I was not convinced the wall was load bearing, but wanted to be safe.  I planned on installing a header.


I measured out the tank on the wall and planned height from the floor.  Then it was time to tear into the drywall and see what I had going on.





I had some wiring to re-locate, but everything else looked good.  Now it was time for DEMO!  What you can't see in the picture is I built a support wall on the office side.  This helped support the weight of the ceiling / roof while I was tearing out studs. 


This is the only really good picture I have of the wall after the initial tear out.




Here is the wall with framing about 98% complete.  I built the header out of two 2x12s with 1/2 plywood glued and nailed in-between.




Next was stand construction.  I had been looking up plans and ideas for a stand for some time.  One of the major things I wanted was the ability to eliiname all center vertical bracing so working on the sump would be easier.  This would mean over engineering the stand, which I could do.  :D   Top was framed out of 2x6 with 2x4 framed bottom and uprights.  Added 2x6 uprights to the front for added support and a mounting surface for doors if I decided to do so.





While I had the wall open I decided to add a dedicated circuit for the tank.  




One thing I wanted as well, was a reef controller setup.  I have been looking at the Apex system, but just need to save some money for one.  I wanted to do automatic water changes and ATO.  Plus, I am tired of buckets and running hoses from the bathroom!  


I installed pex lines in the wall.  The red line will run to the tub in the guest bathroom for drain and the blue will come from the garage / salt mixing / RODI station.




Here is the wall all drywalled back in with Moisture Resistant drywall and apparently my Star Trek nerdiness is in the picture too.  :D
















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Nice!  I am a huge fan of the office tank.  Have a couple in the office here too, very good stress relief (when tank is doing good  :D )

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I agree 100%, my original plan was to just use part the office space as a fish room and have the tank back painted with a center overflow.


Then I thought how cool it would be to see it from both sides, and since I spend a fair amount of time in the office I altered the design...it was a win win!


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Sorry for not posting an update sooner, been crazy busy.


Not much new has happened, but here are some more build pictures I found.


This is the wall after drywall and textured. First time texturing with a hopper spray gun. It was an interesting learning experience.




Wall primed and painted to match room color.




Stand primed and in place. I added a piece of pvc panel behind the stand. I thought it would be a good barrier and easy to clean.




Stand with plywood top and bottom.








More to come...


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View from the living room side. Started patching drywall in this pic. I tried to keep the drywall intact on the living room side. It did sustain some damage though, from screw pullouts and oppsies with the sawsall






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These are from today. Wall patches were sanded, a light texture sprayed over to blend patchwork, primed and painted.


I trimmed out the opening with 1x6 pre-primed pine and sealed all the cracks with window caulking.






The tank is currently full of water to leak test and check structure. Everything looks good so far


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Edited by MoparFan2016
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Sorry it's been so long. Between work and other home projects the tank build has been slow.


My overflow arrived last week and tonight I decided to drill! I have watched a bunch of videos, but this is my first tank I've drilled. I planned on moving it outside, but due to lack of muscle (125 is fairly heavy) and the weather I decided to drill inside.


I wanted water to keep the bit cool, but since I couldn't lay it on its side and it was inside, I had to make a makeshift drilling setup. I used a concrete mixing tub and a small pump from Harbor Freight to pump water up over the bit while drilling. I taped the template on the tank and clamped it with a large spring clamp.


Here is the setup. Not the prettiest, but effective.






Each hole took about 25 min or so to drill. I taped the backside to minimize chip out. I tried to get some pictures of the holes, but couldn't get a good angle without glare.


After the first hole I thought I made it without making a water mess...I was wrong

Apparently the water was running down and was filling the trim between the tank glass and plastic. It ran back to the first plastic brace and filled it with water. I noticed the water running down the wall and traced it back to the brace overflowing. Yikes!


Anyways...5 towels later we were good.




Here is the overflow test mounted.








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Finished the sump build. Just need to leak test! Can't wait to get it plumbed in.


Decided on the Skimmer - Return - Fuge configuration. The water will come in from overflow into two 4 x 14 in filter socks. Then into the skimmer section where the mag18 will pump the raw tank water into the EV 240. Followed by the bubble trap and return. I will divert via ball valve some of the return flow into the Fuge. This will allow a controlled flow. Not perfect, but will get it going.




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Thanks! I ordered all the acrylic from a company called TAP Plastics online. They have a cut to order section. I planned out the sump, then ordered all my baffles and pieces with the correct dimensions. They showed up in about 3 days. The best part is the only "cutting" I had to do was cutting the holes for the filter socks.


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Gotta love TAP! Cool build, wish I had space for a through wall in my house!


Oh and...Mopar or No Car!!! ????

You got it! That's my motto


It was my first experience with TAP and it was great, would use them again for sure! I'm lucky my wife has been patient with this reef project and my cutting a giant home in our living room wall lol




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