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ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

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ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Thu 03 Dec, 2009 12:34 pm

Well as people may have noticed I mentioned in a few other threads that I have been tasked with the construction of a reef tank for the Research School of Marine Sciences at the Australian National University.

This tank will be a stable ecosystem that can supply a constant stream of frags to be used for experiments on the trace element composition of coral skeletons as well as the effect of higher/lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
I hope that It will also be able to be used as a resource for anyone who wants to study reef organisms.

Am currently in the planning stage, but will be trying to get things moving as soon as possible!

Currently I have decided on the size as 6 foot long x 4 foot wide x 2 foot high (due to budget and space constraints I don't think I could go larger) The tank capacity will be ~1200L not considering the sump.
I am having a stand welded up in this size which will hopefully be done soon.

Equipment choice has proven to be very difficult in order to keep within budget but still get the best, most reliable equipment possible, I really don't want to have much upgrading in the future.
Am tossing up the following options:

Lighting

2 x ATI powermodule 10 x 80W (two of these will fit nicely over the 4 foot width of the tank, but there is $5K in those two units alone :nut: )

Skimmer

Vertex Alpha 300, Pretty solid on this, want a very powerful skimmer for the potentially high bioload

Flow

Hard decision, may be going with a Tunze 48,000LPH kit, have had good experiences with Tunze, and have had very bad experiences with Vortechs,
Had considered a closed loop, but not too keen on all that plumbing

Heaters,

2 x Eheim Jaeger 300W units (two for redundancy)

ATO
Tunze Osmolator

Return

Still battling with this question, would like two pumps for redundancy in case something goes wrong, thinking about a sequence, or red dragon pump

And I have yet to find a tank builder nearby, though I am willing to try travel a bit further afeild to find a tank of flawless quality

Anyway, I would like peoples opinions regarding equipment choices, I want to do this once, and do it right!
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Thu 11 Mar, 2010 2:48 pm

Just to prove that I am still progressing with this project...

Lost of things have happened since the original post, decisions have been made and fancy toys purchased

Equipment that I now have include,

Vertex Alpha 300 (I love this machine, can't wait to get it cranking!!)
2 x 5000LPH return pumps from Aquasonic
Tunze 48,000 LPH flow kit
Tunze Osmolator
3 x ATI sunpower 6 bulb 80W lights

I also (after months of design questions) have finally recieved the stand I designed from the Machining workshop at work! Its bloody beautiful

Next step is glass, I have decided to go shallower but wider and longer

This is what the stand looked like after we wrestled it into my lab (with 4mm clearance on the final corridor)
Image

And this is what it looks like after I spent a few days painting and attaching the marine ply
Image

You can see my baby (the Alpha 300) hiding away under the stand
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby FullScaleMarineLife » Thu 11 Mar, 2010 2:52 pm

This is gonna be one sweet tank... :thumbsup:
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby sydneydrewid » Thu 11 Mar, 2010 3:22 pm

looking good :)
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Basenji » Thu 11 Mar, 2010 3:33 pm

Baby? :o
Are you sure it's big enough? Only looks like its a foot in diameter :roflmao:
What a beauty :thumbsup:
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Thu 11 Mar, 2010 3:49 pm

Basenji wrote:Baby? :o
Are you sure it's big enough? Only looks like its a foot in diameter :roflmao:
What a beauty :thumbsup:


Yeah I'm pretty sure you could fit a whole human baby inside the skimmer... :spit:

Perhaps "beast" or "monster" better describes the skimmer!
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 4:30 pm

Well after several weeks of having the glass cutters say that the glass will "be there tomorrow" only to not have them arrive the glass sheet finally got delivered today,
So I got straight to work building the tank,

Image

I just need to do the bracing now, but buggered up the length on one of the euro braces, will need to get 50mm cut off them before I can continue
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby RedLineR » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 4:45 pm

How are you going to put the skimmer in once the sump comes? It doesn't look like a lot of the head room under the stand.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby n0rk » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 4:55 pm

This is a hell of a list of equipment... I'm following along with a hella lot of excitement :o
BENJAMIN ::: If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE LOOKING FAR TOO CLOSELY. I FEEL VIOLATED.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 5:12 pm

RedLineR wrote:How are you going to put the skimmer in once the sump comes? It doesn't look like a lot of the head room under the stand.


It fits, I made sure of that!! it might not look big but the side that is facing the photo is just over 4 foot, there is about 7cm to spare above the head of the Alpha (It had to be a tight fit to fit the skimmer in, and get the stand through the door, i had 5mm clearance getting it in the lab!)

Cheers Nork, I wanted the best equipment, and funny things happen when you aren't spending your own money :devil:
I'm going to experiment with other things you may be interested in like a Cryptic refugia, and we are going to do interesting things with altering the CO2 concentration of the air getting fed into the skimmer...
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby n0rk » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 5:19 pm

That'll definitely be interesting to see, in a sump under a tank that size you could set up an amazingly full cryptic zone, and with it being what you're anticipating to be a high nutrient system it'd let them grow pretty quick. Are you planning on stocking with fish to keep the bioload input up, or controlling it via controlled addition of lab-grade stuff?

Not a bad way to blow a bit of cash, that's for sure. Especially satisfying when you're not footing the bill... :devil:
BENJAMIN ::: If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE LOOKING FAR TOO CLOSELY. I FEEL VIOLATED.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 5:47 pm

One of the awesome things about this project is its going to be a resource that others can use, so we (I) will definitely be stocking with fish, as we have a leading fish biologist who's students can do their honors projects in collaboration with my tank etc

I want it to be pretty close to a natural system too, well until we start messing with chemical parameters, though I'm hoping this can be done in separate experiment tanks
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Fri 16 Apr, 2010 9:35 am

I finally finished all the bracing, just have to clean up and install weir and build a sump, Which I will probably be doing today as my sump glass is ready to pick up!

Image
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby n0rk » Fri 16 Apr, 2010 11:27 am

It's only when you look at it relative to everything else you realise this is a big sucker :o bring on the water!
BENJAMIN ::: If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE LOOKING FAR TOO CLOSELY. I FEEL VIOLATED.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby damer » Fri 16 Apr, 2010 2:04 pm

looks good.

where did you get the skimer?
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Daz the reefo » Fri 16 Apr, 2010 2:25 pm

whoooa big Mumma!!! nice project to work on. tagging along on this build.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Fri 16 Apr, 2010 3:19 pm

damer wrote:looks good.

where did you get the skimer?


Michael from Reefing Life,

Cheers for all the comments guys, was going to build the sump today but decided to stay home and leak test my home tank... oh the choices, go to work and build a reef tank, or stay home and build a reef tank :roflmao:
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Tue 20 Apr, 2010 12:24 pm

Had a good morning at work,
Built the sump, installed baffles and installed weir into the main tank, Just need to drill the tank, get some foam for underneath it and do the plumbing and this puppy will be ready for water!
(Pics coming tonight of sump etc) :thumbsup:
Last edited by Unagiman on Tue 20 Apr, 2010 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby n0rk » Tue 20 Apr, 2010 12:40 pm

Good to hear buddy :thumbsup: now, git'er done so we can see this puppy runnin'!
BENJAMIN ::: If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE LOOKING FAR TOO CLOSELY. I FEEL VIOLATED.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Tue 20 Apr, 2010 4:26 pm

The new sump,
ran out of Rhordosil V2 sillicone so ended up using my good Black Perenator sillicone from Germany, feels like such a waste using it on a sump

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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby n0rk » Tue 20 Apr, 2010 4:29 pm

When you consider the calibre of the equipment that's gone into the rest of the build mate, I'm sure you'll be forgiven by the reef gods.
BENJAMIN ::: If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE LOOKING FAR TOO CLOSELY. I FEEL VIOLATED.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby chuin » Tue 20 Apr, 2010 8:40 pm

Soooo, I'm assuming - as are all the rest of the locals - that there will be some sort of official opening of the tank when it's wet :cheers: This would be awesome to see this in action.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby snapper01 » Wed 21 Apr, 2010 1:46 pm

Looking good :clap: Can't wait to see this monster up and running :pirate:
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Fri 07 May, 2010 3:14 pm

Have still been plugging away at this build, just finished the plumbing today,
Which of course means fresh water test on Monday which is damn exciting

Image

Please excuse the crappy Iphone photos, I ride to work every day and don't really want to risk my SLR getting damaged!
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby n0rk » Fri 07 May, 2010 3:27 pm

:clap: Woohoo! Looking good mate. Good luck with the FW testing.
BENJAMIN ::: If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE LOOKING FAR TOO CLOSELY. I FEEL VIOLATED.
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby spanner » Fri 07 May, 2010 5:16 pm

Noice... Good to see my $30k "donation" to RSB being used imaginitively lol
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby mcloughlin2 » Fri 07 May, 2010 6:12 pm

Wow looks the goods thats for sure :clap:
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Tue 11 May, 2010 2:52 pm

Thanks guys, This tank is now full of fresh water (I used a fire hose to fill it up :roflmao:) no leaks, pumps/ plumbing work fine, if the power goes off the water fills the sump up to almost exactly 1cm from the top...

Now I just need to organize a SW delivery and a heap of LR :thumbsup:
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby johnact » Wed 12 May, 2010 12:16 am

who delivers sw in canberra??
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Re: ANU Multi Purpose Reef Microcosm

Postby Unagiman » Wed 12 May, 2010 9:28 am

I have been told that Redtree do, 1000L for $270 or something.
but we have some contacts over at UC who apparently have a 3000L tank on a truck that we might be able to borrow...
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