Welcome to S.C.C.T., the Saltwater Club of Central Texas!

Welcome to S.C.C.T., the Saltwater Club of Central Texas

Thank you for visiting our site!

The Saltwater Club of Central Texas represents hobbyists in the Killeen, Temple, Ft. Hood, Waco and surrounding areas. We are along the I35 corridor, centrally located between Dallas and Austin.

If you are new here, please register and introduce yourself. Any and all aquarium hobbyists are welcome to register and participate regardless of geographic location. The more the merrier! Tell us about your saltwater experience, and your current or pending setup, and feel free to ask any questions.

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Author Topic: Saltwater/Reef Noob  (Read 1809 times)


  • Posts: 21
Saltwater/Reef Noob
« on: March 27, 2013, 06:45:01 PM »
Another SW/Reef noob here.

Currently running:
150 gal home built acrylic mixed reef with separate sump (in garage, drains/fills thru wall).
40 gal sump (craigs list "special" glass tank)
15 gal refugium (home built acrylic)
Diablo XS200 Skimmer
Home built de-nitrifier
Home built LED lighting
Apex controller
Home built electronic float valve/solenoid ATO system.
API test kit (currently replacing this with salifert kits)
Coralife 24gpd RO filter system with add on DI canister.  10 gal holding tank for ATO and RODI resevior.
Hydor Koralia 1000 and 240 GPH wave pumps and Hydor Wavemaker (will be replaced by a new Apex power bar when I can afford it)

I also run a 29 gal planted African Chiclid tank.  They are starting to outgrow the tank, there are 7 of them in there and they're starting to get a little big and more aggressive with each other.  So if anyone wants a Cichlid or two, feel free to speak up...  ;)  Otherwise, troublemakers might end up getting flushed.

I got into the hobby because it interests me of course.  I have built my own furniture in the  past, and figured... why not build an aquarium?  So I did.  Now I'm learning more and more each day about reef systems.  Lessons learned aren't always cheap, but valuable lessons usually aren't. 

I have a background in telecom and networking as well as PC computing of course.  I'm not a code programmer type though. 

Going to try to add an attachment and give you guys a current pic of the tank, its only 3 months old so I've got a ways to go to get it stocked, but I'm taking it one week at a time.  Just don't want to crash the whole tank by adding a ton of stuff at once.  Questions/comments welcome.  Great to be here guys and gals.  Hope I can be a valuable asset to the forums/club.


  • Gonz Aquaculture
  • Posts: 1253
  • Location: Leander
    • 270 Gallon
    • Mixed Reef
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 09:23:07 PM »
Welcome to the site. You have nice looking setup..

270 mixed reef tank


  • SCCT Admin
  • MVP
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  • Posts: 903
  • Location: Harker Heights
    • 105 Gallon
    • Mixed Reef
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2013, 10:00:46 PM »
Cool welcom to the site, any questions ask away
got it goin


  • Stay salty my friends!
  • Administrator
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  • Posts: 1311
  • Location: Killeen
    • 125 Gallon
    • Mixed Reef
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 09:12:32 AM »
Hey, welcome aboard!  Thats really cool! I would like to see how good of a job you did and curious about how much that cost to build?  If you dont mind me asking.  I'm looking at getting a 200+ sometime this year.  Building it would be really cool but id also be worried about it breaking. lol 

Looks like youre on the right path!  Good luck!  Just make sure you do youre research before any purchase!  If you havent learned that already....Ive learned that and still impulse buy...my latest is a large blue linkia.

Happy Reefing!


  • Retired
  • ']['exXxas']['itan
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  • Posts: 474
  • Location: Jarrell TX
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 09:13:34 AM »
Welcome aboard!  Sorry for the dns ban, your work addy was flagged with big RED banner lol!
You only sound insane if you try to explain reality


  • Posts: 21
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 11:37:49 AM »
Thanks for getting me going.

RE @ Falon

First the tl;dr
Interstate Plastics  You can buy the full sheets and have them cut, or just pick them up at thier Austin warehouse.  Note that you'll have to call or write them to get them to hold them at will-call for you.  They will have to enter a custom order as thier on-line system doesn't account for pickup/will-call.
x2 1/2in acrylic 4x8 sheet $310 each
x1 1/4in acrylic 4x8 sheet $158
x1 1/4in acrylic 2x4 sheet $41.60 (had to ship from CA) cost like $25 for shipping

1 Pint Weldon 4     $24.50
1 Pint Weldon 16   $22.93

Tractor Supply
Various syringes and needles used for glue, each a few bucks.  but unless you really know what you're doing here, just get a few different sizes, they're cheap enough to splurge.
3/4in Bulkheads $8-9 each.  They aren't meant for aquariums, but they're also super rugged and not likely to snap off if you get a little rough with your plumbing.

Home depot
1-1/4in Bulkhead $20 
2in bulkhead $25 (I didn't use these, but in the planning stages I priced them out)

Once again, the bulkheads from homedepot/lowes/tractor supply are not meant for aquariums.  If you're looking for something that looks nice, get them online.  These will actually hold a substantial amount of pressure and probably outlive the life of any aquarium.

--LED Lights--

I know, don't laugh  EBAY LED light strips for your car and ALOT of time soldering here, but hey, my corals are growing, and stuff ain't dying.  And I didn't spend $3,000 building them.
I used several strips of Blue and several Cool white.  There are alot of sellers out there, but you can usually find them for about $15 per 5meter strip.  They run off of any 12V DC power supply, which I also picked up from ebay for about $30.  Along with some relays from radio shack and timers from harbor freight, they work.  Custom built hoods out of 1/4in hardboard/high density fiberboard.  Primed and painted Gloss black inside and out, you can't tell that these aren't made of plastic. 

Wall of Text Version about the tank build...

The tank build wasn't really that bad.  I used 1/2in Acrylic supplied by Interstate Plastics (they have a website, but don't let the shipping fool you, you can pick it up at thier warehouse in Austin... \o/ for no shipping charges).  I actually wrote thier customer service department and bought 1 whole sheets (4x8) of the 1/2in. and 1 sheet of 1/4in.  They can also supply you the Weldon cement used to glue the stuff together.  I used Weldon 4 and then ran a bead of Weldon 16 down each seam just to make sure there weren't any leaks.  Most of my joints came out really nice.  Some of them, not so nice.  I used tips from melevesreef on how to use the "pin method" when building, and it works great.  I made a home built scraper out of a few pieces of 1/4in Popalar and a razor knife blade, worked great, but I've found that scraping the edges in both directions makes the job alot easier than trying to make single direction passes over and over.  Also, I've read several sites that say "let the weight of the plastic hold the pieces together".  This is a nice sentiment, but when I spent about $1k in plastic, I used clamps after all.  I found that using clamps resulted in better joints with less/no bubbles. 

If I had it to do over again, there are a few things I'd do different.  I might try to use the other type of Weldon, they make a 2 part cement like epoxy that is recommended for aquarium builds (specs show that it has a MUCH higher strength, although it's probably not needed).  I'd also buy the whole sheets and let Interstate cut them to my specs.  The warehouse in Ausin has a really nice, and big saw that they use.  I cut mine on my table saw with my wife's help.  You just don't know how damn heavy a 4x8 sheet of 1/2in acrylic is until you and a friend try to pick one up and manhandle it around in the garage.  Especially when your friend is about 115lbs soaking wet.  Also, half way through cutting the stuff up, my trusty table saw blade I was using got a little too gummed up and I had to make a 9:00pm run to Home depot to get a new $80 blade.  After cleaning the old blade the next day, its good as new again(keep in mind you can clean a table saw blade free from acrylic junk with some acetone, just soak it in the stuff).  I just didn't have the time to let it soak that night.  Most of my cuts were really good, the problem is, you want ALL of the cuts to be really good, or you'll end up with messy joints, bubbles and the occasional leak in the corner.  I only had 1 leak, and it was a small one and easy to fix, but it still erks me that I missed it when I was glueing it all up.  Also, if you're going to be cutting the stuff yourself using a table saw, get some Bostik dri-cote and coat the blade with it when the blade is new.  I've use the stuff for years while cutting hardwoods and it really keeps the blade(s) from getting gummed up with whatever you're cutting.

Manhandling the tank around the garage to get it into different positions wasn't all that much of a problem.  I thought it would be more delicate and I'd have problems breaking pieces off of it, but never experienced any issues.  Starting 1 Friday night, I glued the back to the bottom, waited 12 hours, then both sides, waited 4-5 hours, and then the front.  I then waited a few days and then ran my weldon 16 down each corner and joint to make sure everything was nice and sealed.  At this point, the tank was pretty solid.  I had it up on the stand and drilled my holes for plumbing, I actually got inside the tank for this and it was a little cool to be able to get all the way inside of a tank, maybe it's just me, but I've never done that.  By the next Thursday, I glued the top piece on (made from 1/4in arcylic, which was cut about 1in oversized)  I used a Trim Router with a flush cut laminate bit to trim all the edges, and to cut the holes in the top.  Lastly I used a 1/8r roundover bit in the trim router to go all the way around the top and around my holes to take off the edge.  You can use sandpaper to do this, but if you have the bit and the router, it only takes about 2 min to go around the tank. 

After a few days I placed the tank on the stand and got the plumbing piped in and leak tested the thing in the middle of my garage.  Remember, my plumbing goes thru the wall into the garage where the sump resides so I wanted this stuff not to leak AT ALL.  I let the tank run for a good 2 days and found my small aforementioned leak and fixed it by building up some weldon 16 and acrylic and injecting it into the tiny crack, while applying a vaccum to the other side of said crack.  By this time, it was Tuesday and the tank went in the house and was filled with my live sand, and I started filling the tank with RODI water from the filter.  My filter is pretty slow, so it too until friday to get the system up to the right levels.  Once everything was running I mixed my salt in a few scoops per hour into the sump and just let the thing run.

By Sunday I learned that my Harbor Freight 2850 GPH pump was a heat monster and even with no tank heaters, the temp in the tank was sitting at a whopping 85F.  So back to amazon for a real aquarium pump.  Replumbed the thing in the next week and been going well ever since.

If you have any questions/comments about building with acrylic, I've made some other tanks and projects with the stuff as well.  Learned some lessons, some cheap, some expensive.  Also, if you want help building, or need something cut or even want to do an entire aquarium build, just drop me a line and we'll see if we can work something out. 

Anyways... here's a link to my FB album, anyone feel free to send me a Friend Request if you like, just let me know you're from SCCT, so I know you're not some internet identity thief wannabe.  :)



  • Posts: 187
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 12:23:22 PM »
Very impressive. 


  • SCCT Admin
  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 903
  • Location: Harker Heights
    • 105 Gallon
    • Mixed Reef
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 09:35:27 PM »
Holy ship.....  Man good stuff, well def will keep u in mind
got it goin


  • Posts: 1
Re: Saltwater/Reef Noob
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2017, 10:21:21 PM »
Welcome aboard!  Sorry for the dns ban, your work for https://www.grosseteste.com/bathmate-review-results the Bathmate addy was flagged with big RED banner lol!

Hows you tank coming along now xebec?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 12:58:59 AM by Hanlin »


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