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  1. #1
    MARSH GUEST
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    My Reef Lab Buildout

    Hey all!

    My dream has finally come true! I have finally convinced my wife to allow me to have an in-wall tank AND (more importantly) a LARGE room to house additional tanks and a dedicated marine biology research lab. I will document how things are progressing as the system and lab gets up and going.

    So a very basic overview:

    Main tank: 120 gallons reef ready
    Sump: Roughly 90 gallons, will hold about 75 gallons of water normally.
    Quarantine tank: 20 gallons, able to be connected to main system when needed.
    Frag tank: 20 gallons, able to be connected to main system when needed.
    Research System 1: 4 10 gallon tanks, all of which can be independently connected/disconnected from main system for stability.
    Research System 2: TBD, this system will be 1-2 years down the road once I get familiar with the hobby's research needs.

    All of this will fit into my dedicated research lab which is roughly 20' x 20'. I will post exact dimensions when I remember to measure.

    Research Plans:
    Nothing extensive yet, the first goal is to get all the plumbing done and get the entire system stabilized. Once that is accomplished I will start the first two research projects:

    1. Breeding Banggai Cardinalfish. Plenty of people have done this before, I am going to start this project just to get used to breeding fish again. Will move onto something more complicated once I have gotten these producing like clockwork.

    2. The "DIBS Turbo". Once I have a stable system I will contact lesd and get some of these snails shipped up here and begin to work with them again. Again, nothing special about working with these snails, but I will use them to practice scientifically documenting their life cycle so I can use these skills with a more difficult species later.

    These two projects plus beginning to collect specific corals I want to attempt to breed (especially brooding corals) will keep me busy for at least the first 2-3 years. Then the REAL fun will begin.

    Hello my name is Brian and I'm a total science geek.

    Brian

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  3. #2
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    The Lab Research Bench

    So the shell of the research lab was built nearly two years ago when we moved into our current house.

    The only part of the lab that was completed back then was the research lab bench. I wanted a black slate research lab top just like at most university research labs but that was cost prohibitive. So I went with a stainless steel bench instead:

    Well, I will post a picture once I figure out how to make the picture smaller or host it online......says picture larger than my quota....back soon.

  4. #3
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    So testing posting a link to my image of the research lab bench:


  5. #4
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    The Main Display Tank

    So my wife only had two requests for the fish tank this time: A very pretty main tank and all the support and messy stuff hidden, so she agreed to a nice in wall tank AND the all important lab space with a door that can close off the unsightly back area. I debated about what size main tank to use, but settled on the 120 gallon with its nice compact footprint and affordable price.

    120 gallon in wall tank.



    All that dead rock is from my old 75 gallon tank system in Houston, I saved EVERYTHING from my days there knowing I eventually wanted to start again.

    The tank went "wet" about two weeks ago and I have been waiting to finish the research system before I order my new live rock. I plan on quarantining my rock in the research system so I can look for undesirable hitchhikers and also document all of the awesome life that comes in on the rock.

    At the same time I was working on the main tank I built the table that will hold the first research system, my frag tank and my quarantine tank:



    You can see the nice 6 foot sump already in place here. The research table is 8' long and 36" wide.

  6. #5
    MARSH GUEST
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    Research System Starting to Take Shape....

    As mentioned above the research system will be 4 10 gallon tanks (capable of being isolated to test up to four different conditions), a quarantine tank, and a 20 gallon frag/broodstock tank.

    I also was able to setup my RO/DI unit in the furnace room and run the water lines through the wall so save space in the actual lab room. Here is a picture of the sump and to the right of the sump is my 30 gallons of saltwater and 30 gallons of RO/DI water. One of the things that bothered me with my Houston setup was when I forgot I was making water and would flood the laundry room, so this setup includes an automatic shutoff on the RO/DI system when the float valve in the trash can is triggered. Water changes (which will be infrequent) should be easy. Old water is currently manually removed but I have the piping setup where I can put a small pump in the sump and feed the water through the wall to the RO/DI wastewater line just need to connect the piping. Then water changes will literally be flip one switch to remove 30 gallons and then flip another switch to add 30 gallons of new saltwater.



    The next image is a hot mess as we are still plumbing the entire research system, but it is nearly ready to be cemented together:



    You can see the 4 10 gallon research tanks on the right hand side of the image, the twenty gallon closest to the camera is the frag/broodstock tank and the far one is the quarantine tank. You might also notice the two American DJ power switchers that are mounted high up to avoid splashing on the outlets. The lab has two dedicated 20 Amp circuits and I've divided those into 10 Amps of load on each DJ power switcher to avoid their limit of 15 Amps.

    Finally, I did a little soldering last night and tested my first 175W MH light for the main tank. Let there be light! That is it for this update, will do another once the lights are mounted over the main tank.



    Brian

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  8. #6
    BOD MEMBER steveb's Avatar
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    That is really nice looking setup Brian. Looking forward to your posts and updates. Any thoughts on which fish species you are likely to tackle after Pterapogon kauderni?
    Last edited by steveb; 03-19-2018 at 08:38 AM.

  9. #7
    MARSH GUEST
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    And forgot to mention, happy for this to be an interactive discussion thread Any questions? Ask away....

  10. #8
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    Looks like Steve and I cross posted I have not picked the next species of fish to breed yet. The Banggai was easy because it is a threatened species and I'm all about trying to remove some pressure on it and encouraging others to breed them as well.

    The next fish will be probably be a species that hasn't been done before or one where HOW to breed it is not known publicly. Ideally it will be one that is popular but not readily available captive bred so we can reduce the impact of collection on reefs. I will need to spend some time researching what others have been doing, I know there are dozens of species available now captive bred and given the status of reefs in the wild we need to raise that number quickly.

    I might have to try clownfish next but I hope not, everyone knows how to breed clownfish, I want to contribute knowledge to the hobby on new species.

    Brian

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  12. #9
    Supporting Member reefling's Avatar
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    Glad to see you posting again Brian. I bought my first coral from you. Are you still in Indiana?

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
    Corey Ingram

  13. #10
    MARSH GUEST
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    Quote Originally Posted by reefling View Post
    Glad to see you posting again Brian. I bought my first coral from you. Are you still in Indiana?

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
    Yes, and will be staying in Indiana as far as I know, I just miss my MARSH family and thought I would share what I'm doing up here. I do go back to Houston once every 2-3 years so will try to arrange next trip to coincide with a MARSH event

    Brian

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