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Old 07/06/2020, 02:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: O.C., CA > Vegas
Posts: 32
Dream Large Tank Build - Unlimited Budget - Need Suggestions

Good afternoon fellow hobbyists,

It has been about 7 years since I last visited RC. Since then, I have been paying my dues by building my career and raising a family. That said, I am ready to finally pull the trigger on my dream reef tank. However, since it has been well over 10 years since I actively researched equipment, I am looking for suggestions from other hobbyists.

I will be moving into my dream house in a few weeks. I have two options: 1. A smaller tank approximately 750g (60L x 60W x 48H) inside the house; or 2. An approximately 2,500g (120L x 96W x 48H) tank outside in the backyard.

I prefer the tank indoors, but given concerns over the humidity, caustic nature of salt water and having to create holes in my new house, is making me lean towards going all out on an outdoor tank (with a canopy that will be retractable).

I will be striving to create what has often been referred to as the Japanese style Reef, which will be characterized by distinct open spaces and feeling of a zen garden.

What I do have is a brand new Bubble King 650 protein skimmer. I purchased this over 14 years ago thinking I would start collecting choice pieces of equipment along the way.

I also have various live rock, about 1,000 pounds, from Walts from 15 years ago, which I will be re-seeding in a few large vats with new live rocks.

I would like assistance with the following items:

1. Best glass tank manufacturers for large tanks - Looking for eurobracing with open top with clear glass (i.e. starphire);

2. Massive water flow internally - Industrial grade waveboxes strategically placed in multiple places. I really like creating crazy water movement within the tank. This captures my vision of a reef environment I would like to create. If you have any ideas, please share them.

3. Lighting recommendations would be great. I know that LEDs have become the standard now, which was the direction this hobby started to go about 10 years ago. Specific brands and models would be helpful.

4. Any other useful equipment recommendations would be appreciated.

This will be a project in progress, so do not expect a lot of activity. My purpose is to get help with ideas so I can make the right decisions for this long awaited project. I am just glad I will finally be able to get the process started.

I really do not have a budget for this project. I like nice things, and I do not mind spending money for quality high-end equipment. I have saved up quite a lot in my slush fund for this project over the years, and it is a childhood dream come true for me.

Thank you in advance. Given my long work hours, I will attempt to respond when I can. All ideas and suggestions are appreciated. Thank you.


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Old 07/06/2020, 07:38 AM   #2
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Location: South Dakota
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For a tank that large I really canít contribute much to your knowledge base, but I can sure get some popcorn and cheer you on! Iíve never seen an outdoor reef tank, the concept is intriguing.

Sounds like a great project and I canít wait to see it.

This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 07/07/2020, 02:00 AM   #3
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Location: O.C., CA > Vegas
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hhaase - Thank you for your interest. It will be a slow process since I want to get the right equipment, and given my long absence from the hobby.

One side of the backyard of my house has a large dead space, where I plan to use for my side project. The good is it is quite spacious for my needs, and I can spread out placement of my slice of the reef and I can position it so I can have full access from all four sides.

The problems I foresee is the drastic fluctuations of temperatures... the heat (brutal summers) and the cold (cold, but not frigid temperatures during 3 months in winter), as well as the UV damage to the tank, silicone and the equipment if proper protection is not in place. I was hoping others might have had experience or had conducted their own research and due diligence with these parameters.

Thank you.


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Old 07/30/2020, 02:02 PM   #4
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Geeez and Im stressing over buying a used $300 tank lol

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Old 08/02/2020, 11:05 AM   #5
Michael Hoaster
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Location: Boulder, CO
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First off, congrats for getting to the point where you can afford to do this! Jealous!

Just be careful you don't go too nuts. Practicality is still very important, no matter how much money you can throw at it. An outdoor tank sounds very impractical. It would make more sense to build a small outbuilding to house it.

A 48 inch tank depth is also challenging, both for cleaning and for lighting. My 30 inch deep tank is a pain to clean, and I'm tall. 48 means you are getting pretty wet every time you clean the sides. If its a pain to clean, you won't keep it clean.

I doubt there are any LEDs that will penetrate that depth. You may be limited to 1000 watt metal halides.

Check out yukonblizzard's thread "3,000 Gallon Indoor/Outdoor Aquarium Build" in the 'Large Reef Tanks' forum. His tank is indoors, but has an outdoor viewing panel onto a shady patio. You may find this thread inspiring.

I'm very excited for you, and look forward to seeing what you come up with!

As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 08/02/2020, 04:04 PM   #6
SALTWATER since '73
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Location: Katonah, NY/ San Fernando Ca./ Sea Isle City NJ
Posts: 6,201
A 'small' 750g inside tank should be acrylic, not glass.
Just bought a new house , myself, and thinking to upgrade from my present 6'x5' 500g to 8'x6' 800g...acrylic!


Jan. '11 TOTM Manhattan Reefs

Current Tank Info: 500g & 200g acrylic DTs/2 separate reef systems
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Old 09/07/2020, 09:23 AM   #7
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Old 09/07/2020, 09:53 AM   #8
Four drachma
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Posts: 133
This sounds amazing!

I think if itís outside, and you have a retractable top, natural sunlight will give your tank all the light it needs for coral growth. Youíll want some nice LEDs for enhancing the colors in the evening while viewing your tank.

I agree with some of the other comments, that cleaning will be a challenge, but not impossible, might mean climbing in on a weekly basis.

I have a 400 gallon, with 32Ētop to bottom, Iím 6í4 with long arms so itís no problem cleaning the glass every 3 days. Iíd get tired of it tho if I had to climb in and spend an hour cleaning the glass.

Iím also moving in the coming months and canít take mine with me...should you be in the market for an established reef and over 1500 lbs of live rock?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Old 10/19/2020, 09:09 AM   #9
Vinny Kreyling
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Location: Miller Place, NY
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Try contacting O2manyfish here on RC. He is in CA & has outdoor tanks. You can swap ideas & such.

250 gallon mixed reef, 2 Reefbreeder's Photon V 2, Deepwater BLDC 12, DAS EX-3 Skimmer, MTC mini cal, 2-3/4" Sea Swirls, Aquacontroller & 6 Tunze pumps.
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