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Vision 180 Mixed Reef


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#1 K22

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:43 PM

Hi guys,

Though I'm already at the grow out stage, I'm starting this tank thread more for documenting growth, though I will include some early pictures of the build and what not for your perusal.

Current equipment list is:

Vision 180, drilled & sumped
Acradia Classica 2x150w 6500K
Custom LED array based on 5050SMD's and ATMega328
Sump lit with 3x 6500K E27 ES Reflector
Deltec MCE300
Newjet 3000 Return
Teco TC10 Chiller/Heater/UV
Vortech MP10W ES
Tunze 6025
Tunze Osmolator
GHL 3-Channel Independent

When I originally started this build, the key for me was to keep it simple, and I do think I've achieved that. Here are some pics of the build:

Tank was drilled with a 27mm Ebay bit, I took it slow and had no issues. I did a lot of reading before I decided on the hole/overflow size, and couldn't see any real benefit to going larger. The standard 21.5mm pipe I've used for this build is readily available and cheap, so it seemed like the logical choice. The overflows are made from small acrylic food grade containers I bought in Tesco for a couple of quid, drilled at the appropriate height. I had originally planned to build custom overflows from acrylic, and still do, but with these just sat on the shelf I couldn't resist getting it set up! Swapping them out when I get round to making the acrylic ones will be a five minute job.

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Of course, sumping the tank was easier said than done, as the cabinet is an awkward size. I ended up redrilling the entire cab and shifting all the supports to get a 30x12x15 ClearSeal sump in. The two centre supports were removed, and replaced with 25mm Steel tube at the front, which were given two coats of Hammerite. The rear support was moved a far back as was possible, and all the cabinet feet moved to accomodate the new support locations. The box section is held in place by rubber door bumps which are screwed to the cabinet top and bottom. There's no space for the hinges anymore so the doors are to be held in place magnetically. This is something else I've not gotten round to.

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For the baffles, I picked up an old tank from the Friday Ad 'free to good home' section and cut it up. I also added a tank connector from the skimmer section to the return section that's capped off with a 6mm hole, so the flow through is fairly low. I added this as failsafe should the ATO die whilst I'm away. Under normal operation the water overflows into the return section from the skimmer chamber; under failure the water no longer overflows, but equalizes between chambers due the flow through the bulkhead caused by the pressure difference between chambers 1 & 2, this way the return pump gets an extra few days before it runs dry. As a byproduct, it helps to force water through any media placed in section 1. Here it is without the supports.

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As you can see, the Deltec is a really tight fit, but in using a HOB I get more volume which was one of the reasons I chose it. There is of course, just enough space to slide it out at the back for maintenance. The right hand side is to be a DSB/Fuge, and will be an adjustable, tapped flow. The left hand side is designed to be rotated to flow into the DSB section for water changes. Having it adjust in this way allows the return pump to be moved to the DSB section whilst the first two chambers are drained and cleaned without affecting the tanks operation. The first two chambers hold a combined 27 litres, or 1 barrel to make life easy.

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Supporting the halide was a problem that I thought about for many weeks, I didn't fancy drilling the walls as I couldn't find any brackets that were suitably attractive, or at least unobtrusive. I scoured the Internet and every hardware store I could think of, but stumbled upon the solution in the form of bird feeders in the local garden centre. They're Shepherd's Crooks made from 10mm steel and powder coated black, and had the perfect gape for the tank, what are the chances. I cut them to size (1.86m tall out of the box!) and secured them to the back of the cab, top and bottom, with 10mm rubber-lined 316 hoseclips & 50mm M6 screws. I've lowered them by around 7 inches since this picture; if you cut too short first time round there's no going back!

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The DSB consists of 60Lbs of Caribsea Aragamud. Surprisingly there were loads of twigs, stones, bits of plastic, shells and seaweed mixed up in there. I lost a fair bit of depth when I removed the rubbish after I'd added water. No doubt this was due to a loss of silt and a degree of compaction when I was rummaging through the sand, the DT looked like it had been filled with hot chocolate! In hindsight if I hadn't disturbed the bed after filling I'd have 5-6 inches of DSB rather than 4. But I think I was right to remove all the crap, who knows what kind of problems those twigs and other foreign objects could have caused. Better safe than sorry.

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The tank is now ready for filling with RO. Look how clean it is :)

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Look how clean it isn't :(

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2 days later, the tank is finally clearing. It wasn't all in vain!

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#2 daza

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 09:08 PM

Some nice ideas there got me thinking about my 260 vision.keep the updates coming.

#3 Blacktip

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 10:39 PM

Thanks for adding that. good to read.

#4 K22

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 10:58 PM

Never fear, there's more to come ;)

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#5 jason@jasonsaquatics

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 09:05 AM

Looking great

I love to see these step by step builds and its good of you to take the time to add the pics .I look forward in seeing the tank as it progresses

Thanks for adding the pics m8


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#6 dave14

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 09:11 PM

Looking good, I like seeing tanks from the very beginning
Keep the pics coming

#7 lindsay

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:05 AM

Great looking tank build,i like the way you worked the cabinet out to get as big a sump tank in that the cabinet size would allow.Often people sacrifice the sump tank size because of the way the stand has been built when as shown above it is a much better idea to make a few changes to the stand.
Thanks for posting the pics and looking forward to more updates.

#8 K22

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 12:14 AM

Great looking tank build,i like the way you worked the cabinet out to get as big a sump tank in that the cabinet size would allow.Often people sacrifice the sump tank size because of the way the stand has been built when as shown above it is a much better idea to make a few changes to the stand.
Thanks for posting the pics and looking forward to more updates.


I reckon the cabinet was about 29.9" wide from the factory :censored2: I have to wonder if it wasn't deliberate, just to p*ss me off! You can probably find 29.9" sumps on the Juwel website...

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#9 K22

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 12:40 AM

As promised, a few more progress pics for you ;)

With the tank finally clearing, I added a small bag of crushed coral to keep the mud down whilst the system settled which has since been removed. I think if I were to do it again, I would have removed all of the foreign objects from the mud whilst dry, leveled, then added perhaps an inch or so of oolitic to cap it.

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I also added a few kilo's of live rock to the sump for the critters to colonize. The flow through the fuge is really quite low for this reason, and it seems to work well. Here the sump is lit with an Arcadia light pod of some description, and I can confirm that it was absolute gash. I later replaced it with three 20w Kosnic ES lamps which all died within 2 months, apparently as they couldn't handle their own heat output :threatenlumber:. I now run three 6500K Roshan ES Reflectors and they've been brilliant. Chaeto/Rhodophyta pics to follow a little later ;)

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FTS and it's now starting to look something like a reef tank.

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This is the first scape attempt, which had the effect of clouding the tank again :censored2:

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I then had another crack at it a few days later and ended up with this. Still not exactly what I had in my mind, but with my fingers literally bleeding by this point, I decided it would have to do until I'd healed! The snails were then added; 4 Astrea Undoza (Crown Top Snails) and a big old Turbo to keep the algae in check whilst the system stabilized.

I would add that the live rock was cured in a 110 litre vat, heated and skimmed in the corner of my lounge for 4 months before it went in the tank, the water was changed out weekly, and the rock 'swished' twice a week. The amount of junk that came out of it over those few short months was incredible, I'd definitely do it again if I were to start a new build. There was really no cycle to speak of once the rock was added to the DT.

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After 4 weeks with just the snails and a third rescape, the first few frags were added. I still wasn't happy with the rockwork, but seemed simply unable to get it just so. We will meet again :mad:

Plating Monti
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Pink Hystrix
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Euphyllia
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Candy Cane
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Seriatopora (Top)
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FTS also showing a small Encrusting Monti far left
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At this point it's a pair of Ebay SunSun's doing all the work. I have to say even now, having since moved on to bigger and better things, that for the money those things are incredible. They were super reliable, quiet and shifted a lot of water. The only downside for me was the space that they took up, and the 'poundland' reputation, though I'd definitely recommend them to anyone on a budget.

More to follow ;)

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#10 dojo

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:17 AM

Nice work so far, keep the updates rolling in :good:

#11 K22

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 11:21 AM

Nice work so far, keep the updates rolling in :good:


It gets better, I promise :sign_lol:

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#12 Joey

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 12:18 PM

Great step by step thread mate and nice looking setup too.

More pics please :)

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#13 K22

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:09 PM

Great step by step thread mate and nice looking setup too.

More pics please :)


Gotta love the pics, though yours are a little more epic than mine. Should have asked for an EOS for Christmas huh :D

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#14 K22

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:40 PM

More pics as promised ;)

The crushed coral cap has been removed from the sump, the Chaeto and Rhodophyta Sp. have been added. The sump is lit here with the Kosnic bulbs.

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Phos reactor up and running with Osmotics phosphate remover. Next to rowa, one of the dirtiest, dustiest medias I've ever had the misfortune of using. Whilst it obviously pulled some phos out, it seemed unable to get phos down to the really low levels that I needed for the SPS. I'm now running the Bio-Phos 80 as recommended by Linds and it's EPIC :D

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Deltec MCE300 doing what it does best. I've been really happy with it, though wish that the neck was part of the cup. It performs really well after a clean, but the neck which is integral to the skimmer gets grimed up so quick, it realistically needs to be stripped and cleaned weekly, a bit of a chore. Trouble is with such limited space, you're also limited in skimmer choice. Of course I could have always run a NAC or similar in the sump, and shortened the DSB but I wanted as big a DSB as possible, and this was one of the compromises.

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Algae starts to proliferate over the rockwork as expected, but the corals don't seem to mind! 6 weeks growth on the Seriatopora :)

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Pink Hystrix starts to sprout some branches! :dance:

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And a new Duncan

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Ricordea Yuma picked up from a fellow reefer, which has since almost taken over a good sized section of rock. There must be at least 10 of the little buggers now, and I thought they were supposed to be slow growing!

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Ricordea Yuma feeding response

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Pistol Shrimp added (Alpheus Soror), later turns out to be a serial killer, but I love him all the same :love:

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And don't forget to join us for our next instalment, when we'll be giving further details on the custom moonlight controller! :sign_lol:

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#15 K22

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:36 AM

Just broke out the new Salifert mag kit (07-2014) as the old one (07-2013) ran out this evening, and I'm now reading 100ppm higher?! A quick Google and I find that Salifert claim this is due to the evaporation of MG-3, which over time will cause the test kit to give lower & lower readings as fewer drops are required due to their increased concentration. Still, 100ppm over the life of a kit seems quite a lot :o Make sure those caps are on tight boys and girls!

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#16 lindsay

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:27 PM

The tanks coming together really well,great pictures that clearly show early coral growth.I like the sump lighting and will look into that lighting when i get a bit of time,how often do you thin down the algae?.It used to be a regular topic when it comes to the accuracy or should i say inaccuracy of test kits which i dare say Salifert has had its fare share of.After reading a few of them even i changed over to a Tropic Marin dkh test kit but went back to Salifert because i preferred the Salifert one,i could not agree more with the advise you have given about putting the lid on as much as possible even while doing the test because apart from evaporation i think allowing o2 in also degrades test kits,that said over time most test kits degrade a little.
Good to hear you like the Bio phos 80 which i also like,its the first media i have used that works slow enough to add an element of control over phosphate levels in a system instead of rapidly removing most of the phosphate then not working at all.
Great tank thread,looking forward to the next update.

#17 K22

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 01:57 AM

Thanks for the kind words Linds. Regards the algae, I really don't thin that much... when I do, it just grows back again :D Realistically with this lightning you could thin 4 weekly, removing around half the algae at a time. I am confident that the new test kit is correct, just surprised by the 100ppm difference; hopefully the orange box will be a green one again very soon!

As I did nothing more than list the 'Custom' moonlight controller in my opening post, I thought I'd give you all a closer look, because it is pretty cool (though I would say that 'cause I designed it!). The LED's used are 5050 Surface Mount, which as far as LED's go are pretty powerful. They're not in the same league as the 1w Cree's or the types used in LED lighting units, but then nor do they cost anywhere near as much. A 5m reel of 5050's is around £30, so they represent excellent value for money. Wavelength on these SMD's is around 460nm.

The spec for this build was in essence a controller that would simulate the phases of the moon with a high level of accuracy, by adjusting the brightness of the LED's (via PWM) to mimic the brightness of the moon that day. Whilst I won't bore you with the technical details (though if anyone wants anything further please ask), the controller is built around an ATMega 328 & programmed with an Arduino. I would add that I didn't build the controller myself, my good friend Mr Nick (much better at soldering teeny tiny components) put it together for me, I was just the grumpy client with the spec sheet! I used the Julian Date (JD) System for this implementation due to it's incredible accuracy; give it any date you like, and it'll tell you the phase of the moon. Unlike many of the commercial implementations which are only accurate to within a few decimal places, this custom controller performs calculations based on a 29.530588853 day moon cycle :whistling:

I initially mounted directly to the underside of the halide, giving me a total of 120 SMD's

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A second power cable was run into the halide alongside the original, giving it a factory look

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The LED's worked really well, but unfortunately after a few months of use the heat from the halide was too much, and they started to fade into oblivion. The max operating temp of these LED's is around 80°c. I've since devised a new mounting mechanism, whereby the LED's are mounted to 20mm Aluminium strips, effectively sinking them, which are then mounted to the inner edge of the tank surround. The drawback is that I can only get 90 LED's onto the split sinks due the the centre brace, though in any case light output is increased as they're closer to the water. Unfortunately I don't have any pics of the new mounts, but am more than happy to take some if anyone's interested.

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Here's the controllers LCD out of the casing during testing. It displays the current date and time, phase position (in this case position 19 of a possible 30) and the relative power of the LED's. A full moon is represented by 100%, whilst the maximum brightness of the LED's is 318%, shown as 'MAX'. A full moon equates to 31.45% of max brightness. I programmed it this way as the controllers main function is to simulate the phases, and they're much easier to interpret when a full moon is @ 100%.

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The controller itself sits in a self contained ABS box measuring approximately 10cm x 5cm, with input and output connected via respective 2.5mm and 2.1mm jacks. This means it can be completely removed from the system without needing to mess with any of the wiring, and the different jack sizes make plugging it in back to front impossible. It also has a Lithium battery backup to hold the settings should the power fail or be removed, and is replaceable should the need arise. If anyone would like pictures of the inner workings of the controller, let me know and I'll get some pictures up.

At present the system is programmed as follows:

@ 06:00 the controller calculates the current phase of the moon, then ramps the LED's over a period of 30 minutes to a brightness which reflects that phase. During this ramp up period, power percentage is displayed as R-PH (Ramp to Phase).

It runs @ phase until 09:30, at which time it ramps to max brightness over 30 minutes (LED's @ 318%, displayed on the LCD as 'MAX'). During this ramp up period, power percentage is displayed as R-MX (Ramp to Max).

@ 11:00 the Halides switch on, @ 19:00 the halides switch off. The LED's run @ 'MAX' between the hours of 10:00 and 20:30.

@ 20:30 the LED's fade to the calculated phase over 30 minutes, this gives an hour and a half @ full brightness for evening viewing. During this ramp down period, power percentage is displayed as F-PH (Fade to Phase).

@ 23:30 the LED's fade to off over 30 minutes. During this ramp down period, power percentage is displayed as F-OF (Fade to Off).

Then it's a simple case of rinse and repeat, with the controller calculating how bright the LED's should be based on the current phase of the moon :good:

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#18 TrevC

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 10:21 AM

Nice read.

Tank is coming along nicely.

Very interrested in your sump lighting, what reflectors and bulbs are you using?

They seem very bright compared to the 6500K low wattage one I'm using. Mind you I did buy cheap ones from fleabay!

Keep the pictures coming, an FTS of the LEDs lighting the tank would be good :good:

TANK 48 x 24 x 24

NO LIVE ROCK WHATSOEVER

VORTECH MP40
2 x Tunze Nano

48 x 18 x 17.5 SUMP
NO LIVE ROCK IN HERE EITHER!
SCHURAN JETSKIM 150
SCHURAN JETSTREAM 1 Ca REACTOR
"GYRACTOR" running "BIO PEARLS"
EHEIM 1262 RETURN PUMP

FISH AND CORALS SUPPLIED BY
JASON's AQUATICS


#19 K22

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 03:41 PM

Nice read.

Tank is coming along nicely.

Very interrested in your sump lighting, what reflectors and bulbs are you using?

They seem very bright compared to the 6500K low wattage one I'm using. Mind you I did buy cheap ones from fleabay!

Keep the pictures coming, an FTS of the LEDs lighting the tank would be good :good:


At the moment I'm using Roshan 6500K E27's with built in reflectors, I wouldn't recommend the Kosnics as pictured unless you have fans to cool them, and am not surprised the three Kosnics appear brighter given that you're only running one bulb. I'll take a FTS of the LED's when I have a moment, not something I already have. In any case I'd like to get the thread up to date before adding a recent FTS, that would just spoil the fun :good:

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#20 K22

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:31 PM

So today's tests show that nitrate has increased to 5ppm over the last few days. I can only attribute this to the filter floss having gone biological, as I haven't done my usual weekly water/floss change (for the last 2 weeks :blush:) having been so busy with Christmas. I'm currently mixing 100 litres of salty goodness and won't be adding the normal 30g of mag to each barrel which should also bring the mag into line on my new Salifert '+100ppm' mag kit :threatenlumber:... win win!

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