This is not necessarily a new build but it is a recent one. I started in saltwater about 20 years ago but never tried to have corals until 1 1/2 years ago. My first tank was a 75 gallon FOWLR. I had my favorite clownfish for 13 years and when I lost him it kinda did me in. I was fighting a terrible algae problem and the algae won. I had given up for about 3 years when I decided to give it a go again. This time with a reef. I dug out all my old equipment and purchased some new stuff and took the dive. I've been obsessed since.
This is my old setup. I was admittedly clueless about corals at this point. My first day of setting up about a year and a half ago. Hang on back overflow and all.
Right after setting up a friend of mine was moving and I inherited his small 20gal reef that he could not care for anymore. He had neglected it for several months and the nitrates were off the charts. I was able to save 2 clownfish and a rock anemone. I wasn't able to use much of the rock he had because they were infested with bristle worms. This is the stuff of nightmares. There were literally hundreds of them coming out of every hole in the rocks. I did save some of the rock and put it in my refugium.
Flash forward and after a couple of months I had this setup.
About a year in, I realized I wasn't happy with my setup and decided to do a major upgrade. I wanted to gain a little bit of depth from front to back but I was overall happy with the width and height. So I started pricing out tanks. I knew I wanted to build my own stand to accommodate my needs and match the style of my house. In the end I decided to go with TankmeUSA in Miami. Gaston is a pleasure to deal with and I love his attention to detail. He is a true perfectionist.
He had a waiting list so while he put together the glass I started building my stand.
The front piece is low iron the sides standard and the back is black. If anyone is on the fence about low iron glass, to me it was worth every extra penny.
The stand is coming together too. I did a bit of research on YouTube and used 2x4s for the frame.
The doors slide open to the sides instead of out with hinges. I also added a drawer to hold items I use daily. The top doubles as a workspace for acclimating and feeding, etc.
I used palette wood and aged it to give it the look I wanted.
both ends open also one side for access to the filter socks and the other for the controller.
Finally I received the call from Gaston and the tank was ready. Final dimensions are 48x20x20 (about 83gal). Gaston delivered the tank himself and helped me load it onto the stand.
My next step was plumbing. I decided on a Synergy Reef Shadow Overflow. This was the most intimidating part for me. I had never done plumbing on a reef tank before and I had to learn on the fly. In hindsight I would have done a few things differently with the plumb.
With the plumbing all set, it was time to transfer. These guys were not happy in their temporary home. I also had buckets full of rock and coral while I moved out the old tank and got the new one into position. I was using all my same rock so I avoided a new cycle.
I had to use a set of T5's temporarily. I was searching for some AI Hydra 26's online. My dad is a sheet metal worker and made the light brackets for me in the meantime.
I finally found my lights and I love them.
Using my handy drawer worktop to acclimate a coral frag.
The final setup.
Synergy Reef Shadow Overflow
Reef Octopus 110INT Skimmer
2x AI Hydra 26's
Bubble Magus T11 Doser
Tunze 3155 Osmolator
Trigger Systems Crystal ATO Container (5gal)
My Current Aquarium Controller is a Reefkeeper but I am saving up for an Apex.
I hope you all like my setup. I have lots more planned in the future for it.
I also have an Innovative Marine Nuvo 10 that I use for qt.