New to Saltwater and in middle of new build. Please help!

Discussion in 'New Hobbyists' started by MikeyD, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. MikeyD

    MikeyD New Member


    This is my very first post. My name is Mike and I live near Modesto, CA. I love aquatic life and currently I have 3 planted tanks that I've had up and running for nearly 2 years now. I have 2 - 55 gallon tanks and 1 - 20 gallon tank all using the Walstad method and thriving. I successfully bred blue dwarf gourami and sold them recently and so I'm onto my next challenge :)
    Since I work at home full time, I finally decided to take a big leap and get into the Saltwater world specifically reefs. I think I got a great deal on a like new 135 gallon long on black stand and includes Tom Rapids Pro Filter RP3 protein skimmer pump with 3.5 gal. reservoir tank , two powerheads, heater, two stage lighting hood, stand has small water damage but not bad at all. He was asking $200, but ended getting it for $150. Was this a good deal?

    So here I am today:

    Here is my tank pics and sump. I'm in a HUGE dilemma and can really use expertise as I build out both the stand and tank. So as you can see my tank which actually comes out to be 140 gallon 72" long x 18" wide x 25.5" tall has no overflows built into it....not sure if this is a good thing or bad yet lol. It came with the Kollercraft Tom RP3 sump which I haven't even used and HATE IT already :) .
    My cabinet in the pics I attached is still being built and I have some middle supports to add but not sure if I should entomb a large sump/refugium all in one in there that I won't be able to get out or move the supports to make room for a smaller sump/refugium? I can still change things if I have to. It measures 74" long x 24" wide x 28" tall. I used 2x4 in the construction of it and will still be putting up the walls in all the way around with 2 smaller doors on either end and 1 large door in the middle. My question is this. I don't like the RP3 hang on back and not sure how you all feel about it, but I want to get rid of that sump and put the largest refugium/sump all in one below. With legs in the way the largest measurement of a tank I can put in the would be 37" long x 19" wide x 16" tall so that's almost a 50 gallon tank which I would love to do but not sure. I can maybe go 18" tall but I would basically have no room to reach in there because the top 2x4 would be in the way. So my other question is should I cut new 2x4's that are taller to raise the table higher than 28"? Also, can I build my own refugium/sump from scratch and buy a 40 gallon tall or 50 gallon long tank from Petco when they have the $1/per gallon said and then glue in my own glass chambers etc? Or is there a better way like ordering the kits I see on ebay that I could put in my tank?
    I should probably add that I'm doing something crazy and adding 4 (I wanted to add 6 casters but my neighbors said I'm way over killing it and 4 would be fine lol) - 6" caster wheels that each support 650 lbs. because I will need to move this in a few years when I replace the floors in my house or decide I want it somewhere else. So currently with casters it will stand about 34.5" tall then the tank on top of that which is another 25.5" inches.

    Since my tank is glass, how can I add a MUCH BETTER pull and return water line with new pumps? Should I do that or what else would you suggest? I was thinking 1.5" pvc painted black one on each side, one of them will be suction and the other the return and I was looking at getting 2 of the Jebao DCP-5000 or DCP-8000 and then some type of system that monitors both motors so that if 1 fails it will kick them both off to prevent flooding. OR do I go to a local glass shop and ask them to drill 1.5 or 2" holes at the bottom and if so approx. what would that run? I don't feel safe drilling glass at all.

    I'm not in a hurry to build this, and want to build it right. So PLEASE tell me what I need to do :) Do I raise the stand higher? Do I pipe it the way I'm thinking? And how do I prevent the refugium underneath that I want to put from overflowing?

    I know I rambled on and on and appreciate everyone's help! As you can see my mind is ALL over the place and I just needed to stop for today and stop stressing and hopefully hear back from someone tomorrow morning when I wake up to start again and you all can give me good solutions.

    PS. - BTW is that metal bar in the top middle of the tank suppose to be there to hold the tank together as it gets filled with water? My neighbor says that's crazy and the previous owner must have made it himself and I tried to tell him it's normal to have that for a tank this size, but I am wondering a little if I'm right and is it ok to have that bar?

    Attached Files:

  2. jay0705

    jay0705 Administrator Staff Member

    Welcome Mike. I check in on and off while at wrk so I don't have alot of time to help you. However, that metal brace is a bit odd. That's definitely after market, any tank that size now has a built in brace for that. SW will rust the hell out of that.
    I'll let other more experienced stand builders comment on that part of it for you.
    The price you paid was indeed a good deal tho
  3. MikeyD

    MikeyD New Member

    Hi Jay0705.....thanks for the response. Ya not sure what to think of the brace. I thought it was standard on tanks like this. Yesterday when I filled it up, I took the brace off and the top glass you see there in the middle with the brace fell into the tank because the tank flexed out a little on the long sides. Certainly concerning to me but not sure if that's normal for 135-140 gallon tanks. Looking forward to any other advice you can all provide.

  4. silverado61

    silverado61 Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the site Mike. The stand looks like its coming along just fine. Are you going to put a skin on it? If so, I recommend building the corner uprights out with more 2x4 so that they're flush with the top and bottom framing. That'll make it easier to attach the skin. You also might want to consider installing two more upright supports in the center front and center back for support redundancy.
    As far as the center piece on top of the tank, do you know what type of metal it was made from? Also a birds eye picture of the tank frame so we can see what you have to work with will help us advise you on what to build and install to make it more secure and perminant. But over all it looks good.
    As far as the casters idea, keep in mind that anytime you put anything containing liquid on wheels when you attempt to move it, each time it stops moving the water will start sloshing back and forth creating a wet mayhem on your floors. Especially if you try to move it on carpet. Just a thought.
  5. MikeyD

    MikeyD New Member

    Hi Silverado....thanks for the welcome :) Ya the stand is not even half done I did plan on add the 2x4 that sit flush with framing and do plan on putting on skin and then painting black. Do you think I can put the center 2x4's on top of the crossing 2x4 and put in 2 screw on top and bottoms to help support rather than put it in how you see it now on one of them?
    Also, on the brack not sure what kind of metal, but it looks like it's make for the tank and really hasn't rusted bad at all since the last guy owned it. I'll probably empty the tank later today and take it off to start making height adjustments to it. Looks like right now I want to probably go another 7" inches up which will give me a 28" overall height between the 2x4's. Then I can snap some better pics.

    As for the casters, as much as I don't want to do them, I know I will have to eventually move it to put in new wood flooring in our house or if I ever do decide to move it. I know this tank if it weren't on casters would be really really bad idea to move it. I also want the tank at more of a eye level in the middle of the tank. BTW the caster will lift the cabinet up another 8" . I think I will do just 4 casters with 2 straight non-turning on one side and 2 rotating casters on the other. The casters support 650 lbs each. Do you think I'd be ok or should I put on 6?

    Oh before I forget my neighbor says he can take the metal support bar to work and wire wheel to take off the little surface rust on it and he says at his work they use a very expensive rust inhibitor coating that he can dip it into and then we can paint it black....would this work you think? He also said he can make me another support bar just like it so I can spread them out evenly.

    Thanks for the quick tips and I will get those pics soon!

    Attached Files:

  6. silverado61

    silverado61 Well-Known Member

    I dont really understand your question about the center 2x4 across the supporting 2x4. Could you clarify?
    Casters. I'd put 6 on. All turning with 2 locking at opposite corners.
    Tank center brace. If he powder coats it it might be ok.
  7. silverado61

    silverado61 Well-Known Member

    Oh, and dont use ball casters. Use wheel casters. Ball casters won't support that much weight.
  8. 2quills

    2quills Administrator Staff Member

    The metal brace is usually a sign that the original plasti brace across the center of the tank cracked or was damaged. I dont recall a time were tanks this size were made without them. It can be cleaned up and painted to protect it from rust. I wouldn't leave the tank full without it. I've had a couple of tanks leak over the years and it isn't fun.

    The stand should be plenty sturdy once it has the plywood skin on it. Most folks tend to over build stands for piece of mind and that's perfectly cool too.

    Welcome to the salty side.
  9. MikeyD

    MikeyD New Member

    Cool thanks Silverado and 2quills for the great info so far. I think I'm going to resell the tank for the same price maybe a little more than what I got it for. I don't see a spot on the tank anywhere where there were plastic braces that may have broke. From what my LFS said is that it was probably built by Aquarium Masters a few years ago and at the time they had junk sometimes and glass wasn't great quality and they actually used the center and outer glass on the top and siliconed it from factory to be a brace which failed every time. He also said he doesn't trust the black silicone used on the edges from this company because it's not good quality and after 5-7 years it will certainly develop leaks. So I've decided to sell it and already had 7 bites in 2 hours after posting, so I'm sure by the weekend it will be gone.

    I will then buy a new 135 gallon tank with 1 overflow. I realized after I bought this that it would probably work much better in the saltwater world to have less points of failure lol.

    I'll keep you all posted! Thanks!
    silverado61 likes this.
  10. jay0705

    jay0705 Administrator Staff Member

    Go with a 125 it will be cheaper then a 135. Predrilled w over flows wont be cheap but well worth the investment
  11. silverado61

    silverado61 Well-Known Member

    I opted to put my overflows on the back glass only because if bottom overflows spring a leak for any reason the whole display can drain out.
  12. MikeyD

    MikeyD New Member

    So I have a choice from 3 of my local LFS stores. 2 of them say get the Aqueon 125 gallon reef with single overflow currently $539 or so and it was just on sale for $364 but that ended July 13 and they can't give me that price or there is another LFS that sells Aquarium Masters tanks and it's a 135 gallon for $399 with single overflow or dual for $499.

    Can anyone recommend one over the other? Also I think the tank I have now might be a Aquarium master because they still make their tanks the same way and put the glass on top right & left of tank and a thick glass in the middle that is siliconed to the sides. I spoke to someone at Aquarium Masters and they said they have customers that have their tanks for 20 years with no issues and I told her what happened to mine. So I'm kind of leaning away from it.

    So I guess question would be what do you all think of the 125 Aqueon with dual overflows if I can get it on sale again for $364 + tax? I don't think I have a choice on the Aqueon but on the Aquarium Masters I can custom order it with 1 or 2 overflows as well as Black or Clear silicone for the corners.

    Here is the 125 gallon reef ready Aqueon:

    Here is the 135 gallon reef read Aquarium Masters tank :

    Help I'm confused and want to make the right decision THIS TIME :)
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  13. silverado61

    silverado61 Well-Known Member

    I've always been a duel overflow fan myself.
  14. 2quills

    2quills Administrator Staff Member

    Dual overflows converted to the Herbie drain method. Silent and fail safe is the way to go. You'll thank yourself for it in the end and the system wont be nearly as noisy as running the drains the traditional way.
  15. MikeyD

    MikeyD New Member

    Ok next question I do want to do a Reef tank and we all know people say if your going to do REEF then TALL Tank is question is WHY? Aquarium Masters has a 120 but it's tall and not as wide and Aqueon that's the same?
  16. 2quills

    2quills Administrator Staff Member

    Your LFS can order Aqueon with dual overflows as well they probably just wont give it to you on sale.

    I'm not a huge fan of the 4 ft wide, 120g tanks myself. I used to have a 120g tall, that was longer just not as deep from front to back.

    Taller, to me doesn't necessarily mean better. It's just personal preference and usually requires stronger lighting to penetrate to deeper depths for corals. Longer is usually better for fish, more room to streatch their legs so to speak is the general consensus there.
  17. lmforbis

    lmforbis Administrator Staff Member

    I like the dual over flow especially for a large tank. I set one of my returns up as an emergency overflow with a pipe just over the water line. I only have experience with marineland corner overflow tanks. I had a 125. It was around $400 maybe 3 years ago. I replaced that with a 120 high last year and that was $700. The 120 has much thicker glass because it is a tall tank.

    As for the stand. Ditch the wheels. This tank will be around 1500 lbs. minimum, wheels will not be stable. Any twisting force, say from moving over an uneven floor, can cause the glass to break.
    On your vertical supports put a piece of 2x4 at each vertical support that sits between the upper and lower frame. You want the weight of the tank to be supported by the wood supports not the screws that hold it together.

    This is an example of how I did mine.
    My stand is 60" wide. I used 2x6s instead of 2x4s for the upper frame. This allowed me to eliminate center vertical supports.
  18. lmforbis

    lmforbis Administrator Staff Member

    In my opinion the shallower tank is easier to light. In a reef lighting is the most expensive part. You need more light in a tall tank to keep coral all the way down. When I bought my tall tank that is one of the things that the store owner warned me about. Tall tanks are harder to clean. In a standard 125 you will be able to keep larger fish because you have a longer length for them to swim. Eventually everybody wants a tang and they really need the 6 foot length to thrive. You have more space to put coral as well
    I went from a standard 125 to the 120 tall. For me it works better but that is more of a space issue. I needed to move the tank and the wall it had to go to was not long enough for a 6' tank, my front door wouldn't open if I kept the 125. The new location allowed me to move my sump down to a room below it in the basement.
  19. MikeyD

    MikeyD New Member

    ya I'm thinking long.

    Got a new from you all. So called several LFS and now another brand came up in a few of them. Elite tanks? They said the warranty is not as good as Aqueon but the quality of work is way better the silicon is thinner and put on more professionally. They also said the glass is noticeably clearer as it contains less Iron in it and other stuff. It's the same price for a Dual overflow 135 gallon long they want $499 plus tax. Only problem I'm having now is finding any reviews on Elite tanks lol.
  20. 2quills

    2quills Administrator Staff Member

    Looks like a small local company in Cali that's only been around a few years.

    I doubt the glass is thicker than what Aqeuon uses in their reef ready tanks. The standard tanks use the thinner glass. Anything else would be ungodly heavy and unnecessary.

    The low iron glass is a big plus though.

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