And We're Live! Buddys 75g Setup


SPS Addict
First of all, I want to tank everyone and their advice given in the "New to Reefing" thread. You all have been a tremendous help in making one of my dreams a reality; Owning a beautiful saltwater aquarium. Although mine is still in the beast stage, its a beauty in the making.

After deciding to get away from cichlids, i thought i'd try my luck at a saltwater aquarium. I gathered all my equipment and took inventory. After talking to a few hobbyist locally, I discovered my stuff was outdated and so it begins.:helm2:

Here is what I started with:


later, everything in the picture was replaced excluding the vho ballast, and powerheads.


note: I also purchased 2 sureflow mod kits and magnets for my maxi 1200s, t5 endcaps with standoffs and reflectors

For my sump i decided to use a 20g long, i would have liked to use a 30 gallon but didnt have enough room under my stand. I used 1/4inch acrylic plexi glass for my baffles

Needed Tools


do make note of those old VHS tapes... came in handy for the 1" gaps in my bubble trap. The sump took me 3 days to complete, with silicone cure time and leak tests.

I also drilled my aquarium, I did not want to see an overflow box, IMO it gets in the way. I would have pictures for this but the camera was dead during construction, sorry :[ I was told 2x 1" bulkhead overflows would give me a good water supply to my sump and mag 7 return. I bought the drill bit from ebay for 15$ and some plumbers putty from lowes. Made drilling the tank an ease. Just be sure to use duct tape on the inside so the glass disc that is drilled doesn't fall and crack the opposite side.

After drilling and installing my plumbing, i decided to test it for leaks and functionality. To my surprise, it was a success!





a few days later, i began construction on my DIY canopy. Again, camera was dead but i did snap a few shots after i finished it before paint. the canopy frame and skin is all pine and cost roughly $100 after finished (not including lighting). I'm in the process now of getting 2 fans to keep the HO t5s cool. Heres pics before it was painted black to match the stand.


Then came the live rock... By far, the most stressful step in this build. It was hard deciding what I should buy (live rock, base rock, dry rock and so forth based on quality). After a lot of searching and a decent drive, i came across a pet store in pensacola fl; the owner made me an offer i couldnt refuse. I purchased premium liverock covered in beautiful purple coraline algea for under $3.50 a lb and with my purchase, he also threw in some live sand. Since he was so nice, i decided to buy my ro/di unit from him (Also gave me a great deal on this as well). So needless to say, i scored a decent amount of goodies!:^:
I was so excited to get everything setup, until i discovered it takes FOREVER to make fresh water! But after hours of patience and plenty of video games to keep me occupied, I was able to manage. I mixed my salt yesterday and added it to the tank today. Few hours later;after testing water parameters, I added all my sand, live sand, and put the live rock in. Its Alive!!!:bowdown:

Here are the pictures as it stands in my living room. wouldn't it be nice if saltwater aquariums cycled overnight? Lol, and so the wait begins.



Skimmer in action:

Drain from DT:






Live Rock:


and that about wraps it up for now, more to come soon. Any additional advise is welcomed as i'm still learning so much.

Next is deciding a stock list of fish and corals for the future. I could use some help with this so stocking ideas will be greatly appreciated!
Before I continue, I should warn that I don't have my *own* tank set up yet, but I've read a lot and I've watched several builds over the last year and a half.

I was very impressed with the custom canopy! I like how it matches the stand in terms of style and sleekness!

Now, one thing that I noticed was that the water level in the sump was really close to the rim of the sump tank. If the power was to go out or a pump was to fail, would the space left in the sump be enough to catch the water that will fall from the pipes?

Like I said, no expert, just my two cents. I hope someone with more knowledge in this department could chime in!

Anyways, welcome to the salty side of life!!
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I know you weren't asking for advice so much as sharing your tank, so I hope I didn't overstep a line by posting that :S
There is an inch and a half to 2 inches from the rim when power is shut off. I put the overflows as high as possible to avoid excess water draining out and i drilled 2 holes in the return pipe for a siphon break. truly one is needed but id hate for that one to be clogged by a snail so a 2nd for backup is nice. I have my sump water lines marked so i know where to fill to when doing water changes so hopefully, i wont have any floods... esp since im on the 3rd floor of my apartment!

I'll update some more pics tomorrow when the tank isnt so cloudy and ill also take a pic of the sump and water levels.
Everything looks great so far! If I were you I'd shut off the power to your tank so that it drains into the sump and you can set the water height in your sump. That way you'll have some peace of mind and know when you leave the house that you'll never come home to a flood.
I appreciate it dreamwalker, can never bee too catious. Thanks all! BL1, could you explain to me the process of marking the lines on the sump? I marked the levels when its running and when its off but not exactly sure if i did it correctly. Thanks sniffles! DIY helps me save money, and gives me even more to do. Its becomes a sense of pride ;D
No problem!

I don't know about you, but I'm a visual learner, so I love to see it done in pictures or video. For what BL and I were talking about, I suggest this video as it shows clearly the steps: (I would skip to 3:10 simply because I"m not sure how accurate the info he gives at the beginning is :S)

[ame=]YouTube - Episode 51 , pt3, How To Set Up A Reef Tank, LA Fishguys[/ame]
Very helpful video! thank a ton

Update: Tank is clearing up. Will check water parameters once i get some coffee in my system.


The neat part is, i stacked the rock with cloudy water, couldnt see anything i was doing. Just had to feel my way around and surprisingly it turned out quiet nice. I have a lot of places to rest corals to which im super excited about!
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The neat part is, i stacked the rock with cloudy water, couldnt see anything i was doing. Just had to feel my way around and surprisingly it turned out quiet nice. I have a lot of places to rest corals to which im super excited about!
:Cheers: No problem!

Lots of amazing nooks and crannies for little critters here and there! I think you'll have a happy tank before long!:bounce:
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Looks really good!

But are your rocks on the sand or the glass bottom. If they are sitting on the sand you are going to want to push all the sand forward and put the rocks on the glass. Not doing could cause a rock slide in the future as the sand slowly dissolves away or gets moved around by the critters in your tank.
its a combo of sand and egg crate, the sand is so shallow, i can poke the egg crate through it and the rocks displaced alot of sand when i stacked them and sat on the eggcrate. I could hear it scraping the bottom of the tank when doing so. the most horrid noise ever. I will double check to make sure that the rocks are mostly on the bottom and not the sand
Sounds good.

But i think that eggcrate might keep you from keeping some sand dwelling creatures. Just keep that in mind when you are stocking your tank.
Beautiful setup so far! As Erin said, shrooms and zoas are a nice way to start out with coral. Also look into Ricodera mushrooms..they have beautiful texture and color!
Im pretty sure i have baby snails in my tank. I saw one, it was white and moved from one side of the tank to the other hours later. Will post a picture tomorrow after work.