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120 Gallon Tank - Purchased! Now What?


emmajaneholly
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Okay, so let me start out by saying that I have the worst possible timing known to man. We are buying a house on Friday, and I had to go out and buy a reef aquarium today because I just couldn't wait any longer. I'm justifying the purchase because my birthday is next Sunday :).

 

Anyway, I'm committed now - but all I have is the tank (so literally, I JUST bought the aquarium). I decided to go with a factory glass Aqueon 120 gallon (48x24x24) drilled aquarium because it as easy and on sale. It's still sitting in the back of my car (since I'm MOVING!) and I have no idea what the size of the holes are yet and what bulkheads I'll need.

 

Now, I'm completely overwhelmed! My significant other is really handy (whereas I am NOT, I don't think I even knew what a bulkhead was until I started doing research), and has agreed to help me with this stuff, but he's also really busy (Mostly since we're MOVING!). I am trying not to break the bank all at once and purchase things in phases - but I'm also really anxious to get started. My local shop is happy to help me out a lot, too, but I would like some input from you guys before I dive in head first.

 

We are going to build a stand and an LED fixture, I think. I don't know how big the sump will be able to be since we have not built the stand yet - but I can speculate given the size of the tank. Here are the things I could use some input on:

 

1. Lighting. I'd like to go with some powerful LEDs and I think we will build our own. I know reefledlights.com is a popular source, but I'm not sure what DIY kit I should go with for a 24" deep tank. I'd like to have powerful lighting so I have the option of getting lots of different corals as I learn what the heck I'm doing down the line and not need to upgrade my lighting. What are your thoughts on that? Size of heatsink? Number of LEDs? Spread? Optics?

 

2. Plumbing. THIS is where I'm feeling really overwhelmed. The tank is drilled in the bottom and the overflows are on the back. I have been watching Bulk Reef Supply's videos, which are great, but I think I need a little more guidance as far as WHAT I need to purchase in order to have fail-safe plumbing and filtration.

 

3. Protein skimmer. I'm not sure what the optimum GPH is for a 120 gallon reef tank, and what brands are good. Favorites? Also, what would be the ideal sump size, or is that all dependent on size availability? I'm considering buying a new sump, but that might not be super economical...

 

4. Wavemakers. Same issue - not sure how much water movement I need for a reef tank with diversity and different corals. I just know I want to vary the current so I don't ambush the inhabitants all the time at the same flow rate, correct?

 

Are YOU overwhelmed now? I'm sure I have lots of other questions but I will save them for later. Thanks in advance for helping me screw my head back on straight!

 

Emma

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Okay, so let me start out by saying that I have the worst possible timing known to man. We are buying a house on Friday, and I had to go out and buy a reef aquarium today because I just couldn't wait any longer. I'm justifying the purchase because my birthday is next Sunday :).

 

Anyway, I'm committed now - but all I have is the tank (so literally, I JUST bought the aquarium). I decided to go with a factory glass Aqueon 120 gallon (48x24x24) drilled aquarium because it as easy and on sale. It's still sitting in the back of my car (since I'm MOVING!) and I have no idea what the size of the holes are yet and what bulkheads I'll need.

 

Now, I'm completely overwhelmed! My significant other is really handy (whereas I am NOT, I don't think I even knew what a bulkhead was until I started doing research), and has agreed to help me with this stuff, but he's also really busy (Mostly since we're MOVING!). I am trying not to break the bank all at once and purchase things in phases - but I'm also really anxious to get started. My local shop is happy to help me out a lot, too, but I would like some input from you guys before I dive in head first.

 

We are going to build a stand and an LED fixture, I think. I don't know how big the sump will be able to be since we have not built the stand yet - but I can speculate given the size of the tank. Here are the things I could use some input on:

 

1. Lighting. I'd like to go with some powerful LEDs and I think we will build our own. I know reefledlights.com is a popular source, but I'm not sure what DIY kit I should go with for a 24" deep tank. I'd like to have powerful lighting so I have the option of getting lots of different corals as I learn what the heck I'm doing down the line and not need to upgrade my lighting. What are your thoughts on that? Size of heatsink? Number of LEDs? Spread? Optics?

 

2. Plumbing. THIS is where I'm feeling really overwhelmed. The tank is drilled in the bottom and the overflows are on the back. I have been watching Bulk Reef Supply's videos, which are great, but I think I need a little more guidance as far as WHAT I need to purchase in order to have fail-safe plumbing and filtration.

 

3. Protein skimmer. I'm not sure what the optimum GPH is for a 120 gallon reef tank, and what brands are good. Favorites? Also, what would be the ideal sump size, or is that all dependent on size availability? I'm considering buying a new sump, but that might not be super economical...

 

4. Wavemakers. Same issue - not sure how much water movement I need for a reef tank with diversity and different corals. I just know I want to vary the current so I don't ambush the inhabitants all the time at the same flow rate, correct?

 

Are YOU overwhelmed now? I'm sure I have lots of other questions but I will save them for later. Thanks in advance for helping me screw my head back on straight!

 

Emma

 

The stand can be just a simple 2x4 structure

stand.jpg

stand2-1.jpg

For the overflow you'll need one of these to get surface skimming but wider

OF-1.jpg

Plumbing can be easy if you remember water out, filter sock, skimmer,fuge ?, return

my current sump

intake-side.jpg

return-side.jpg

on-top.jpg

returnarea.jpg

Do not count the return in your "water movement" this will be handled by power heads in the tank, Vortechs, Maxijets or some other brand

Can't help on the skimmers as I build them myself or the LEDS

HTH

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Wow your diving right in, busy week end (nutty)

 

For a sump I would recomend going as big as you can. Under a 120 you can easily have a 33L or 55 depending on the hight of the stand. It will give you plenty of room for your equipment and a nice fuge. And still leave half of the cabnet empty for extra equipment, it never ends.

 

Flow will depend on what type of tank you are doing. If its softy / LPS you can have less flow. SPS like more flow. If you have the money a MP 40 would be awesome for a four foot tank, adjustable too.

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I hate to be the wet blanket but it seems like you may be better off taking things a little slower. Perhapse buying a used system would be a better way to go? It would be cheaper and then you would learn first hand what you really want out of a system. I might have gotten the wrong impression from your post but it seems like your saying you don't have any previous experience with SW; if so you then really don't know wether you are an acrylic or a glass person. There are other things, like how deep to make your sand bed or how to aqua scape, that are based on personal preference and you won't really have an opinion until you have some experience. I hope you don't think I'm being a jerk, I would just hate for you to put all the time and money into this tank only to wish you'd done things differently.

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Wow, you guys are on top of it! Thanks! All very helpful suggestions - I was feeling lost and now have a good starting point. I don't anticipate I'll have this up and running anytime soon, need to learn a lot more and piece everything together and make sure I do everything right the first time. So I appreciate the suggestions! I'm sure I'll have many more questions!!

 

Here's one, actually: there are four holes drilled in the bottom (so it has dual overflows). I know the Bean Animal overflow is popular these days - and likely for good reason. But I don't see this working with four holes that are drilled in the bottom via two overflows. Any plumbing plans or suggestions?

 

Thanks again!

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Of course you can use the holes any way you like. For my 75 gallon (now freshwater) tank I used one as my overflow and one as the return so I didn't have anything going through the back of the tank wall. Then I upgraded now I have it that way anyways (laugh)

 

Feel free to ask all the questions you like. We always have opinions, some even helpful (whistle)

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