Reef Maniac's "Indoor Reef"

Reef Maniac

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Well, after much nagging, here are some pics of my tank - but first some info...

My current tank is a 1.8m x 0.7m x 0.7m all glass tank, which I started building in April 2004 after my previous 1.5m tank had burst. This time I decided to do it right, and started with a new reinforced concrete floor (300mm thick below the tank, and 150mm thick over the rest of the sitting room). I then built a stand using 75mm x 50mm x 6mm angle iron, and cast a 75mm thick slab inside the angle iron using ABE Duragrout (a non-shrink self levelling structural grout with a compressive strength of ~65MPa).

stand1.jpg


Being a civil engineering technologist, I had to test the stand to ensure that my design was capable of supporting the load without excessive sagging. Fortunately, it was my youngest daughter's birthday, and I quickly organised a live load... Just as well, because the total sag measured 0.7mm at a live load of ~950kg - not too bad, but I decided to add an extra two legs in the centre of the span, and this improved the sagging to only 0.08mm over a total span of 1.8m.

test1.jpg


Next came the tank - I used 12mm plate glass on all sides and bottom, with 10mm Euro bracing around the top and bottom. The side panes were drilled for closed loops, and the overflow consists of a weir running nearly the full width of the side pane.

tank1.jpg


I constructed a steel frame using 50mm x 50mm x 5mm angle iron around the tank to support the cladding, and also to carry the weight of whatever I needed to keep above the tank (chiller, 50 liter kalk reservour, future surge tank, and possibly a 100 liter dark refugium...)

tank2.jpg


I designed and built the cladding myself, using solid oak wood and brass fixtures. This was quite a job, and took nearly 6 months to complete, working only weekends, and being assisted only by my wife and daughters.

tank3.jpg



tank4.jpg


I then added 3 x 400W metal halides, 4 x 36W power compacts and 2 x 40W Philips Actinic 03's - all wired by myself, and with self-made DIY luminairs (bent aluminium sheeting with aluminium mirror inserts.

diy_mh.jpg


diy_pc.jpg
 

Reef Maniac

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During this time, all my fish and corals which had survived the previous tank's disastrous cracking were living in a 3m plastic kiddies swimming pool in an outside room. Although they had initially done quite well in the pool, the room was not dust proof, and the notorious Free State dust storms caused a high level of water pollution. The lighting was also not optimal, and my corals suffered, whilst the notorious bubble algae and aiptasia took over the pool (because of the size of the pool, I could not reach most of the rocks to contain these pests).

Anyway, I started scrubbing the rocks and moving them into the new tank as soon as I had water in it. In hindsight, this was a mistake - I should have put up an "intermediate" tank, and monitored the rocks for algal and aiptasia regrowth before adding the rocks to the main tank, as three years later I'm still battling these pests :death:

tank5.jpg


tank6.jpg


As you can notice, by now I had also built and installed the 1.5m x 0.6m x0.6m sump tank. This sump was originally lit by a 250W MH, but I've since replaced it with 2 x 55W power compacts to reduce heat. I also run a DIY calcium reactor in the sump.

sump1.jpg


sump2.jpg


When I started the tank I ran it for about one year using my old Berlin XL skimmer, but have since replaced it with a Deltec AP902 coupled directly to the tank's overflow.

skimmer.jpg


And here, finally, is the tank with completed enclosure (although the doors directly above the tank still needed varnishing when the photo was taken...)

tank8.jpg
 
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Reef Maniac

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Corals

OK, time to show the inhabitants - corals first...

Two general views:
corals1.jpg


corals2.jpg


A *very large* Euphyllia sp. (rather closed when the photo was taken, as the MH's had already gone off for the night, but the fully grown Yellow Tang should give some idea of size...). Most marine aquarists in Bloemfontein have frags of this colony - GIVEN AWAY just to keep it from outgrowing the tank!

euphyllia.jpg


A close-up of a small portion of the Euphyllia sp.

euphyllia2.jpg


Goniastrea sp.

goniastrea.jpg


Favia sp. with feeding tentacles extended:

favia.jpg


A rather large Lobophyllia sp.

lobophyllia2.jpg


And another photo of the same coral:

lobophyllia3.jpg


A different Lobophyllia sp.

lobophyllia4.jpg


...and yet another:

lobophyllia.jpg
 

Reef Maniac

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A Porites frag which has grown in size from about 30mm to about 150mm (I rescued this one from a LFS in Bloemfontein, where the owner wanted to throw it away because it was dying)

porites.jpg


My famous bubble coral:

bubblecoral1.jpg


...and a close-up of the bubble coral:

bubblecoral2.jpg


An Acropora frag...

acro_frag2.jpg


...and the same frags after about two years:

acro1.jpg


A Montipora capricornis which had unfortunately died while my wife and I attended a conference in Canada:

m_capricornis.jpg


My favourite turbinaria sp.

turbinaria.jpg


and lastly two Trachyphyllia sp. which I've kept for more than 8 years now.

trachyphyllia.jpg


trachyphyllia2.jpg
 

leslie hempel

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very impressive!!!!
 

DragonReef

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Excellent Hennie, been dying to see this.

Did you have a baby lion fish (Volitans) in this tank at one stage ? Or am I confusing myself :lol:

That Turbinaria is georgeous ;)
 

Alan

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Stunning, i see you have some serious lighting there. How do you chill the water or did i miss something here?
 

Reef Maniac

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Hi all, and thanks for the kind words.

...Did you have a baby lion fish (Volitans) in this tank at one stage ?
Yes, and I still have him in the tank. He has grown to about 150mm in length, and I will have to find him a good home soon, as he is eyeing my other fish with that hungry look in his eyes.

Here is a photo of the lion taken some time ago- I've just not had the opportunity of taking such a nice photo since.

lionfish.jpg


i see you have some serious lighting there. How do you chill the water or did i miss something here?
No, you did not miss anything - there is so much information to cover that I've omitted many technical aspects. When I built the tank I installed an extractor fan in the ceiling to the side of the tank. I also built a *very small* work area next to the tank, as can be seen in some of the first photos. This vertical "shaft" with the extractor fan directly above it works like a chimney, and causes quite a good flow of air over both the tank, the sump, and the "crawl space" above the tank where the MH ballasts are located (also to be seen in one or two previous photos...). So, with one extractor fan I manage to cool the ballasts and lamps, and increase evaporation of the water from the tank and sump. This set-up works quite well, and I've managed to survive two summers with no serious overheating (although on seriously hot days I had to use a second fan blowing onto the sump...). As finances became available a few months ago I treated the system to a Hailea 500 chiller, which I installed in the "crawl space" close to the extractor fan. The chiller does help to maintain a more stable temperature, and I'm glad that I made the purchase - currently the temperature fluctuates between 25.5 C and 26.5 C.

I am not a coral expert; but i think this is Acanthastrea...and a stunning one at that
Thanks for pointing this out. Some corals are so difficult to identify, you may be quite correct with this one - I suppose that I will never really know for sure, as I'm not prepared to kill it and examine the skeleton, which is the only accurate way of identifying these corals...

Hennie
 
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cybervic

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I've had the privilige of seeing this tank about a month ago, It's really awsome and the photos well... just don't do it justice.
 

Hill

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Did you measure the weight of all the friends on the stand. You obviously know ladies are notorious for lying about their ages and weight. :lol:

oh and any of you daughters looking for a husband? I need help with my tank. :lol:

Jokes aside, great system. I like the idea of the little room over to the side. The vent into the roof. Does it just go into the ceiling or does it outside completely. The reason I am asking is that I want to build a similar setup but was wondering about channeling salt air into the roof. Don't need the nails, etc in the roof trusses rusting.
 

Reef Maniac

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I've had the privilige of seeing this tank about a month ago, It's really awsome and the photos well... just don't do it justice.
Hey, THANKS for the compliment... Hope to see you at my house again this Sunday for the Central South Africa Marine Aquarist's meeting (cybervic is a member of the club, and as he's living in Kimberley we can't call it the Bloemfontein club anymore :) )
 

Reef Maniac

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Did you measure the weight of all the friends on the stand. You obviously know ladies are notorious for lying about their ages and weight. :lol:
Tell me about it... I had to sign the official secrets act before they agreed to climb on the scale LOL. I did ultimately get to weigh everyone after threatening to lock up the punch if they did not co-operate.

oh and any of you daughters looking for a husband? I need help with my tank. :lol:
Sure, and I'm looking for a few son-in-laws to clean my tank, carry water, frag the corals and fetch my beers, not to mention help with building the next "ultimate" tank - come to think of it, they will have to build the new house for the "ultimate tank" first, so any builders, plumbers, electricians, glass workers, pump engineers and/or water carriers are welcome to apply... but no surfer dudes or beach bums, though, unless they can dive and own private coral reef islands, that is...

I like the idea of the little room over to the side. The vent into the roof. Does it just go into the ceiling or does it outside completely. The reason I am asking is that I want to build a similar setup but was wondering about channeling salt air into the roof. Don't need the nails, etc in the roof trusses rusting.
My vent just goes through the ceiling. The house has a very high, steep-pitched roof, with the air space above the ceiling nearly double that of the house interior, and I'm not concerned with water vapour accumulating in the roof. After nearly three years, I can safely say that it's not a problem.

Even if the above-ceiling air volume was much lower I doubt if water vapour would cause much problems - the above ceiling void is usually well vented to the outside. The high temperature in the roof during the day (when most evaporation occurs) would also keep the vapour from condensing, and would dry out any moisture which settled on the wood during the night.

Hennie
 

Hill

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Tell me about it... I had to sign the official secrets act before they agreed to climb on the scale LOL. I did ultimately get to weigh everyone after threatening to lock up the punch if they did not co-operate.


Sure, and I'm looking for a few son-in-laws to clean my tank, carry water, frag the corals and fetch my beers, not to mention help with building the next "ultimate" tank - come to think of it, they will have to build the new house for the "ultimate tank" first, so any builders, plumbers, electricians, glass workers, pump engineers and/or water carriers are welcome to apply... but no surfer dudes or beach bums, though, unless they can dive and own private coral reef islands, that is...
Sorry dude I am out. I don't mind cleaning tanks, carrying water, fragging, fetching and drinking beers and planning and building tanks. But I draw the line at brickwork and plumbing. No matter how hot she is. :lol:

My vent just goes through the ceiling. The house has a very high, steep-pitched roof, with the air space above the ceiling nearly double that of the house interior, and I'm not concerned with water vapour accumulating in the roof. After nearly three years, I can safely say that it's not a problem.

Even if the above-ceiling air volume was much lower I doubt if water vapour would cause much problems - the above ceiling void is usually well vented to the outside. The high temperature in the roof during the day (when most evaporation occurs) would also keep the vapour from condensing, and would dry out any moisture which settled on the wood during the night.

Hennie
Thanks for the feedback. And great reply. :lol:
 

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