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SRC Tank build


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This is a new year for SRC, as part of our aim to provide more educational information for our members, we will be starting a new tank this year. which we hope as we document the process and stock up the tank, it will be the source for us to share some useful information, equipment reviews, reefing tips and tricks as well as when we try to review some of the myths and fact in reefing.

Stay tune and don't forget to subscribe to our tank build thread and check out the process of this build .

 Brief introduction of the setup;

Main display tank - 48" x 24" x 20" ( Lx B x H )

Sump tank - 48" x 21.5" x 15"  ( L x B x H )


Equipment list

Main return Pump ; Ecotech Vectra L2
Chiller Pump ; Nyos viper 2.0 
Chiller ; Hailea HK500A
Lighting ; Ecotech XR30 Pro x 2 
Wave maker ; Ecotech MP40QD x 2 + Reefwave 25 x 2
Skimmer ; Nyos Quantum 220
Filtration ; Clarisea SK3000 roller filter

Supplement & Dosing
Dosing pump ; Kamoer X5S 

Computer & Monitor
Apex Neptune + Trident

The main display tank will be build on site by Aquarium Artist












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Main tank up - This will be a brace-less shallow tank with one side crystal glass.



Overflow system and return 

Overflow compartment


Herbie over flow piping design 





This is typical how the Herbie overflow system works ( Photos from internet )







Installing the DD weird ultra flow comb , reason why we chosen this is due to the fact that comparing to traditional overflow comb, the DD weird ultra flow comb design allow greater surface area of " overflow " allowing faster turn over which is critical if you are running a strong pump . 

weird overflow.jpg


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Applying back drop 

Installing the backdrop black omaya sticker.. This may look easy, but once you see how Vincent does it , it really is a skill and not easy as many of us though it is by simply just sticking a pcs of sticker. Without proper preparation work, the air bubble will be trapped into the sticker which will make it look ugly.




It is important to leaving some spacing behind for ventilation , easy access of wiring ect... 


Application of the back drop sticker done



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Installation of piping work

By making use of color pvc piping, the flow of the system can be easily identify. 

32mm Red pipe - Down flow

25mm Orange pipe - Return pump








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Sump tank design 

The sump tank design we work out with aquarium artist, tried to maximize the sump space in order to increase the total water volume as well as space for more equipment to add if any in future ( Reactor, calcium reactor, zeo reactor ect ) . The in build water top off tank also save the trouble of having to setup a separate top off tank externally as well. Having a greater water volume has its advantages as it allow more room for error and help maintain the stability of the reef tank. Which is why it is always easier to start a bigger tank than a smaller tank for marine setup. 



The secondary mechanical filtration chamber after the clarisea filter matt allow placement of filter floss before water passes thru to the biological filter chamber below for both nitrification and probably denitrification process to take place as well.


Secondary chamber for filter floss.


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Piping work & Design

Changed to white tank connector to match the fitting


Red pipe for overflow and orange piping for return .




Water passed through clarisea roller filter fleece before passing through the secondary mechanical filtration chamber


Blue piping for Chiller line.


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Biological filtration- The heart of the bacteria system 

Biological filtration chamber for placement of filter media that is home to the bacteria that helps convert harmful ammonia (NH4) into nitrite (N02) and with the use of some better filter media, it can helps culture anaerobic bacteria to break own Nitrate ( N03) as well also allowing greater fish stocking option. 






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  • 2 weeks later...
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Water cooling 

The cooling of the tank, we will be using the latest mode Hailea HK500A 1/2HP chiller, and power by a NYOS viper return pump where water will be pump from the sump back to the sump tank itself before returning to the display. 



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Apart from pump and wave maker, lighting is one of the most equipment for good coral growth and coloration. With a proven record of use in coral farming, and many SPS keeper worldwide, we will be using 2 unit of ecotech XR30 pro led for this setup which will be mainly SPS. 



RMS single arm


After install


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Add on the diffuser as well in order to have a more balance look. For those who has been using the old G4 like myself would know it is very troublesome to install / change the diffuser as it require removing the original casing, lens but for the new G5 it come with magnet attachment which you can just clip on right away. 





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Water Flow

Water movement in a reef tank is important as not only does it help remove debris from the bottom of your tank, it also helps bring foods over to corals, remove slime from corals that might suffocate them as well as carrying fish waste into the overflow system.

We will be using 2 x Ecotech MP40QD with 2 X RedSea Wave 25 gyre wave maker for this purposes, and i feel MP40 can create a strong powerful flow, where gyre pump provide a wide and gentle flow on the surface of the tank. 


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Aquarium Computer & water monitoring

Although it is not necessary to have, but it is good to have as having a aquarium computer system for example Apex Neptune system with the Apex trident allow you to easily monitor your system parameters like, PH, ORP, salinity and with the help of trident is is able to auto test for your tank KH,MG and CA. ( No more manually testing with test kit ) !

With a wifi connection, these aquarium system even allow you to remotely control your aquarium on the go and being able to notify you if anything went wrong before any disasters strike. 


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Equipment and controller cabinet

As the sump tank is fully maximize with the in build auto top off compartment, there is a need to hose the equipment outside of the cabinet, especially the chiller. Thanks to @aquarium-artist which help us to customize a special cabinet to hose all the controller and power point externally. 

It is ideally better to have the chiller placed outside or in a separated compartment of the sump tank as not allow it allow better ventilation for the chiller for max efficiency, it helps prevent any water vapor from the sump tank entering the chiller itself causing any form of corrosion. 

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The top board where it will house all the controller ect... 
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Taking measurement of all equipment. 


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finally cabinet is done, and now for the messy wires lol..

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Fixed a tray to hold all the dosing container


Chiller in and container for the Apex trident drainage .




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Aquarium Backup 

Although it might not be necessary , it would be nice to have some form of backup or notification to protect your tank.

For example the apex aquarium computer with the ' heartbeat" function which is able to send email notification if anything went wrong when it is unable to connect to the house internet prompting you to check on your tank.

Whereas for a backup battery, it is able to power up your wave maker or pump to last for a few hours before power is resume in the event of a power failure. 


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Water Top Off

For the auto top off, we are using the H2ocean compact ATO with a float valve that will be connected to the RO/DI unit directly for top off once the level in the top off tank drop. 




Auto top off valve


Auto top off pump 


Optical sensor for the ATO.


water top off float Connected to external RO/DI unit ( to be setup)


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Rock scaping

It will be a bare bottom tank for ease of maintain , however due to personal preferences, having a sand bed not only play a part in the aesthetic view of the tank, it allow you to keep fishes especially some wrasses that required a sandbed to rest, and in some extent it helps in providing additional biological filtration to the system as well. 

For rock scaping and design, i find it easier to work with dry rock and set your design before filling it with water. Epoxy and glue is commonly use to set your scape to join the rock together. 






Various support structure is use to hold the structure in place before it dry up.


In this quest for the ultimate quest for the best aqua scaping. i tried employ  the Rules of third method to help better visualize the scape better. What it does is we equally divide the tank display into 3 section each to try to visualize the overall view of the scaping, when the focus is the center of the eyes tend not to view the entire aquarium, and making the emphasis point of your aquarium away from the center, the viewer will notice that the entire aquarium in a different view.






With the method, it also allow better visualize of the height of the scape that you are going to set, and making room for possible placement of the types of corals you want to place there and making sure there is room for the corals to grow ect.. 



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However, the disadvantages of using dry rock or dead rock, it lack all the ' live ' macrofaunal, sponges commonly found in live rocks. So in order to introduce more 'live' to seed our new tank, i picked up some of the live rock from Ah Beng aquarium and added them to the sump compartment.

However like all ' live rock' it could come with some bad hitchhikers as well, for example mantis shrimp, crab or worms.. so it is important to treat your live rock and inspect for any hitchhiker before putting it into your tank. 

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Life rock fill with ' live' , sponges, mussel and even some mushroom can be found on them as well. 

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Start of tank cycling

The process of tank cycling start with the establishing of bacteria colonies that helps regulate the nitrogen cycle in our reef tank that convert harmful ammonia to nitrite and them to less harmful nitrate. 


However, there are ways that can helps speed up the process including the use of bacteria products as well as using bacteria colonize filter media or rocks in a established matured tank.




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Mixing of salt mix 

There are numerous brands of saltmix in the market, and depending on what you keep, it is best to find a salt brand with the suitable parameter that suit the corals that you intent to keep.

Since this will mainly be a SPS deliciated setup, a low KH balanced salt is preferred. 



ideally, find a clean big water drum / container that is able to house the water for your next water change and use a power head to help speed up the process of the melting. 



it is also good to take note of the amount / weight of the salt that you be using for your next water change.





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Note Taking

As a reef tank is dynamic , any changes could result in either a good or bad respond to your corals or fishes. Thus it is always a good practice is to keep a good record of your tank parameter, changes make to the tank or any recent event that allow you to retrieve and see what was previously done to try to find the root of the issue. 

You could use a simple note book to record the weekly water parameter testing, supplement used ( added) and amount ect or download an aquarium note taking app to keep track of your water parameters.. 


Having a chart to study past record is a good way to monitor the changes to your system .The ultimate aim is to have a stabilize reef system without causing any shock to the live stock in the tank.



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  • 2 weeks later...
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Skimmer - the heart of the filtrations system in a marine system. 

There is no doubt that the skimmer is one of the most important aspect equipment of the whole marine tank system , and not only does it provide oxygen level in the water , a good skimmer helps remove waste from the water before it break down into Nitrate or phosphate. 

The skimmer that we will be using is the Nyos 220 skimmer which is rated for 2000 liters of water, it is recommended to use a "over sized" skimmer especially if you are keeping a high bio load system ( Fish only ) or deliciated system which consist of mainly SPS corals which required a more demanding water parameters.







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