2XAl's 125 Upgrade


Salt Addict
Hi All! First and foremost thanks for reading my thread. My wife and I picked up a 125 off Craigslist this week for pretty cheap money including a stand, heaters, HOB filter (ditched already), and some glass hoods. I plan on building a canopy for it but wanted opinions on how to do the actual changeover from our 90. Couple things to note in the beginning:

-Our 90 gallon probably has 100# of LR in the display with 20-30# of rubble in the sump. I think I will need 20-30# of new LR to make the 6' tank not seem so empty.
-We have been planning this for the future so the sump and skimmer are both sized for a 125. My DT flow will be low so a couple more powerheads are in order (thinking about trying the knockoff MP40 to work in conjunction with our Koralias powered through our Apex)
-I could only afford a 4' light when we set up the 90 so we are looking for recommendations for the 125- I have been kicking around the idea of the LED's linked in the '125 gallon lighting recommendations' thread.

So we have already decided on a few things:
-we have crushed coral in the 90 which hasn't given us a single nitrate problem but they are ugly as sin, we will be using white sand in this one with a shallow sand bed
-The back will be painted black, the only spot in our house a 6' tank will fit with the structure to support it is centered in front of a window so I am trying to keep the UV exposure down.

Here's where I need the Living Reef Community to weigh in. I want to change everything over in one day, mostly because I want to use the profit from the 90 when it sells to fund new lighting for the 125. Since we are using 'live sand' and water/rock from the 90 I don't think we will have a problem with a cycle, but my question is with the new rock. If I buy 25# of base rock will I cause a cycle, even if it will only be 20% of our rock? I want to save some money and get base rock and let it seed from our existing stuff, but not if I risk cycling and killing my fish.

Thanks in advance and welcome to opinions, comments, pitfalls, etc.

Wish us luck!
i dont think 25lbs of rock will cuz a mini cycle in your tank you should be fine sense you use all the rock and water from you old tank it will be just like doing a water change good luck with the move
Yeah, what kind of price? And the 125, was that the one the guy in the classifieds section on here was selling? I'd go with either LEDs or a MH for your tank. Search craigslist for em, or check out these lights reefbreeders. They are pretty decent lights, each covers a 36" area for LPS and SPS in the mid of each. Keep us updated! :)
No I didn't find it on here- got this tank off local CL. I honestly haven't thought of what i'd sell it for until I get the livestock out of it.

Anthony thanks for the tip on lights.
heres the 90 now:

and here's the 125 now:

I'm priming the wall in the back corner tomorrow- that would be where the protein skimmer overflowed on the corner tank we had and ate through the paint :grumble::grumble:
Well, think about a price on the tank bud. I couldn't take any livestock (except corals) and even corals I'd be hesitant about. I have a couple hundred pounds of LR and probably about 100 lbs of base rock. So, I'm good on rock. I wouldn't even need a stand for it (I'd take it depending on the price lol). Also, is the tank drilled or not? Let me know prices bud! And, if you need help with the breakdown and transfer let me know! Depending on where you live in MA, I'm like 2-4 hours away lol
well all of the livestock would be moving into the 125 so the sale would include the tank, a couple plexi covers I made, and the stand. The tanks only up here are listed for $200. with the stand I would think I should start at $250, knowing I would take $200. If you're serious I would let it go to someone on here for $175.

The tank is NOT drilled, a tight box o water with no penetrations. I live in Halifax, google maps says 4 hours. I would be willing to meet in RI (like providence?) which would cut the drive down to 3hrs
Let me talk to the old ball and chain and see what she says. We originally wanted to upgrade to a 125-180, but, a extra 90g wouldn't really hurt much ;).
Looking for some more advice- I found someone locally who will sell me 40# of dry rock and a 6' t5 for 150- if I put the dry rock in with everything though do you think it will cycle? I'm going to do all new 'live sand' so that should avoid a cycle from sand.
I'd skip the live sand (you don't know how long it sits in the bag). And no, I don't think you'll cycle from the dry rock.
Well I picked up a 6 bulb T5 today for $100. It wasn't my first choice for lighting but it will be a starting point for now. It averages out to an extra 1.4 watts per gallon over what I have now and I have seen some good coral growth so I am excited. I need to figure out either a hanging system or bite the bullet and build a canopy. I painted the back glass this weekend and got 40# of dry rock to use as a foundation. (Also finish prepped the wall from the skimmer mess of doom-hopefully painting that tonight) No matter what it's coming along nicely, now I just need to finish polishing the glass, pick up some sand and a couple more powerheads and we should be ready for the changeover! :bounce:
Glass all painted:

Lights on, disregard the glass haze more scrubbing on tap tonight:
What did you paint the back with? I tried to roll paint on mine and it cracked and peeled when I removed the masking tape.
Ordered 160# of sand (free shipping FTW), a couple more powerheads, and some new bits and pieces for new return nozzles tonight.

I painted the back with an acrylic latex, rolled right on seems good so far.
My wife and I got everything changed over. My RODI has had quite the workout and everything is doing well. Some coral polyps are sttill hesitant to open up but otherwise everything looks good. Pics to follow
Hopefully this pic shows up, we got a new tablet yesterday and nothing makes you feel old like getting your butt kicked by technology! So far so good for livestock, it ended up being the equivalent of a 50% water change. We used 80# of sand, approx 100# of live rock in the display and 30# in the new and improved rubbermaid sump. Our acrylic sump from the 90 wouldnt fit in the skinnier doors so my wife got creative at about 11pm on Friday night. I dont want to push my luck but im itching to get a new fish today, a 125 seems REALLY empty with a pair of fat clowns and one melanarus wrasse. I scored the 6 bulb t5 cheap but I really don't like it. Time to start saving pennies for led. Pay no attention to the dora the explorer light stands. I realized when we were halfway changed over that I never tracked down stuff to hang the light. Its ok though because I wouldve been disappointed in the final product anyway