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Tofu's 4ft Reef tank

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Hey guys!

This is going to be my 3rd tank thread in SRC! Hopefully its going to be the best out of the three as well. I hope you guys enjoy the tank build, and perhaps maybe find it useful as well.

I've been planning to get a 4ft reef tank a long time now, and finally got the chance to do so. My main considerations for the tank was really to avoid all the mistakes i made in the past, and to build something long lasting that corals and fishes can thrive in. After reading through many tank builds and threads from both local and overseas. I decided that the tank i wanted, would have these features:

1. External Overflow system: Hides all that hideous internal overflow box, and gives more room for rocks/corals/fishes. Attention is focused on the tank itself. This can be a side external overflow or back overflow.

2. Coast to Coast Overflow: Maximize surface skimming, takes all the film off the water. Improve skimming and air exchange

3. Bean Animal Overflow: There is every reason to have redundancy built into a tank, bean animal has not 1 , but 2 redundancy pipes in case of overflow. It is also one of the most silent overflow system.

4. A shallow enough tank: Since i'm more into sps, this allows for maximum light penetration everywhere in the tank.

5. Has to be a 4ft at least: Since I've already owned a 3ft, and 2ft, this next build had to go big, or go home. =D

6. Sump System: Have had the opportunity to use an IOS system currently on my 2ft. And i must say the lack of space in the IOS is probably the biggest reason why a sump will be better.

Here are some examples of what i had in mind and also got my inspirations from:





Well, after spending nights finding the right design, and getting the right dimensions for the setup. I called and text a couple of tank makers for a quotation. And instead, to my own surprise, I actually ended up purchasing a pre owned tank............This tank was everything i was looking for!

I'll be posting up more details and photos of the tank soon, including the moving, setting up, bleaching of rocks, cleaning of equipment and everything else with buying a pre owned tank. For now, its bed time :thumbsup: Thanks for reading

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Bro Tofubox, Congrats on the new acquisition! With your planning and meticulous nature, I'm sure this would be the best of the three aquariums and look forward to see your updates!

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Thanks guys for following along this build :thumbsup:

Heres some picture of the tank move and plumbing!

Tank being dismantled


Had to remove the front door, somehow this took the most time for moving the tank


Tank arriving at my place


Setting up the sump system


Picture of the main pumbling system that connects the manifold , returns, and refugium


The manifold system, with this, i am able to t off the return to use for any reactors


The complete plumbing with a cleaned up sump


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cant wait!!!! Must be damn exciting!..Your new setup il pass you those stylo"s Haha..

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When i was planning to do the build, Couple of tank makers that i called up insisted i stick to the original internal overflow, but being stubborn, i decided to take on the challenge and design one myself and pass them the blue prints of the tank dimensions. Needless to say, I was quoted a higher price due to the uncommon design i wanted. So after a good month or two, i got a txt from a friend saying he had a friend looking to decomm soon, and had the tank designs i was looking for. I immediately arranged for a viewing, and needless to say, it was the tank i had in mind all along. Some of you may already recognise the tank, this tank previous owner is Angry Ang Mo, and I have to say, he really spent alot of effort into designing this tank :thumbsup:

Heres some image of the tank after cleaning, scrubbing and washing out some pipes. Pipes were vinegar soaked for 2 nights. Tank itself was scrapped clean and used a cloth to vinegar clean the overflow.

Alot of the cleaning credits goes to my dad who meticulously scrubbed and cleaned every inch of the tank, pipes and sump. The tank looks as good as new now!

The top down shot of the overall tank + Cabinet


The Bean Animal overflow system +


External Overflow box


Side profile of the tank with the external overflow. There is a side panel which can be used to cover up the whole external box and return lines. Will show pictures at a later stage. With the side panels installed, u wont even notice an external overflow box.


Front view with dual side returns and center coast to coast overflow


Stay tune for the next update, I'll be posting up pics and describing the whole cleaning of equipments and bleaching of rocks.


4 x 5L bottles of artificial white vinegar. Bought from tongsan at bedok north. Cheap and good!

2 x Clorox for the bleaching of rocks

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wa bro i see u clean everything up so nicely ah make me reconsider my plug and play sia. maybe i should tompang livestocks everywhere, slowly clean up whole tank set and sump before running ah... :/

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No wonder this tank looks soooo familiar LOL ... Congrates bro, you are one lucky chap to have gotten his tank at just the right timing , save you all the trouble !

Your tank thread would add a new breeze of fresh air into this otherwise...still and humid forum :chair:

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The timing could not have been any better :thumbsup: I was really lucky to have waited it out during my planning phase. Definitely saved me a lot of the trouble especially with the plumbing of the external overflow system.

Just to share with everyone, heres a more detailed picture of the piping. Indeed a very good design by the previous owner.

The use of the secondary return pump can be switched on only at night or when traveling overseas. Great idea for redundancy.

The only flaw in this design that i can see, is that the beneficial inhabitants of the refugium will get skimmed out. But its not an issue to me. The main reason i suppose its design this way is to maximise volume of refugium within the sump system, since the center compartment is built to sit the skimmer at 25cm.


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wow!!what is the size ? looks like 30"breadth..

Hey Siowaro, u are right its 30" width, the overflow box is another 5"

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Nice tank ! My future tank I wanna use beam animal piping too... good choice !

Thanks ReefzLover. I definitely support the idea of having a bean animal for anyone planning a future tank. Silent with built in redundancy.

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Choosing rocks for a tank build might be one of the hardest choice for me personally. I had experience with many types of rocks, both live, dead, cured and uncured rocks. To be honest with you, even if u buy cured rocks from a farm or a reefer, u can never be too confident in them. Basically there's 2 main problems with using live rocks. 1. Pest and hitchhikers 2. Po4 locked in the rock.

Eventually, I decided to use dead rocks for one simple reason: I could find the best way to eliminate both problems.

There are tons of method to cure dead rocks if you look it up online

1. Boiling rocks 2. Vinegar soak 3. "cooking" live rocks 4. Bleaching live rocks 5. Hyposalinity

The common bleaching method will be to bleach it for 24hrs followed by a muriatic acid bath.

Since Muriatic acid is impossible to get hold of here in sg, I decided to go with bleaching live rocks followed by sun drying a week (to remove decaying organics) and 2 weeks (maybe longer) of soaking in RODI with dechlorinator (to remove phosphates). The pros of this: U kill every dame thing. The cons: You risk having left over chlorine, basically killing everything still.

I got most of my rocks from kind fellow reefers. They were given to me free, so i saved tons of money already.

The first step was to soak the rocks in 1 part Bleach to 10 part Water. This was done for 24hrs, removed, scrubbed and spray down with fresh water. Since the rock were in pretty bad state, i had to soak down for an additional 24hrs. Unfortunately, i forgot to take pictures of the soaking. But its pretty straightforward.

Heres a pic of before (notice the amount of decaying organics):


Heres after the 2 x 24hr bleach



Sun drying the rocks for a good week. This is tedious. As u need to bring in the rocks at night, take them out in the day, and watch for the rain.



The rocks were than soaked in RODI water with dechlorinator added. (Only half the amount is shown here, the rest are still being sun dryed) U can use any water treating products like Seachem Prime.


So, I am still undergoing the whole curing process. At the end of the process, i'll be using a calibrated ph monitor to test for the water, if it gives me a reading of 7, thats when i know the rock is clear of chlorine. To be honest, will i use bleach again next time? Yes and no. Yes because it does a great job at dealing with decaying organics. No because I just don't feel at ease even till now. A much better way to cure the rocks would probably be to cook them. But that requires plenty of saltwater mix and hard work. If you are going to cure dead rocks, you can decide whats best :thumbsup:

Thanks for viewing, will be updating my equipment list next and the cleaning process.

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