Reef 924 is what happens when you give the right aquarium company the freedom and resources necessary to build out a truly “dream tank”. Reef 924 is not your average, high-end reef tank, this particular build has more thought, planning and equipment than an average fish store. Wet Work who designed and installed this aquarium took a lot of time to tell us all about this particularly exacting aquarium process and build-out so we hope you’ll soldier on for two posts while we try to tell you about how epic a reef tank build can actually be.
The project planning for Reef 924 took 14 months and the owner wanted the ultimate reef system with only the finest equipment, something genuinely unique that no one else had. We Works felt that Elos was the only company that could deliver this kind of aquarium, and they worked very closely with Nicola Gandini — dozens of Skype sessions, emails, texts — to arrive at the display pictured.
The aquarium itself is 9 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 35 inches tall. The vertical panels are double-laminated 19 mm low-iron glass and the bottom is triple-laminated with Elos’ standard large build anti-seismic panes. They, of course, were the originators of the so-called “phantom” bottom. The corner joints are mitered.
The overflow was of particular concern. Wet Work and the client both didn’t want any equipment visible in the display so the overflow tower had to accommodate drains, returns, closed-loop intakes and discharges as well as two 6155 Tunzes and a 6095. A centered overflow wouldn’t work because symmetry looks silly in a reef so it was offset it toward the far end from the typical initial view when walking into the room.
Cabinet work was all done in-house by Elos. The exterior is Lamborghini matte black lacquer, the interior pure white lacquer. If you’ve seen their work, it is indeed exquisite. 150 feet away from the main display, the quarantine room was carved out of a section of garage. They installed individual fish and coral quarantine systems as well as 500-gallons of bulk water storage.
Water changes on the quarantine tanks are accomplished entirely by gravity and head pressure simply by opening then closing a few valves. Water changes on the main display are accomplished by two Pan World pumps that are linked to the main display’s Apex system. Both new and old water travel through lines that run from the fish room up into the attic, over the breezeway, down the inside of a wall, then buried in the concrete floor.
They removed and replaced floor tile, troughed, then backfilled. A couple hundred gallons can be transferred in minutes. The discharge pump draws from the largest standard size of Dreambox refugium which fills with water that first enters the sump. The supply pump discharges directly over the dedicated return pump that discharges at the far end of the display.
One of the two primary drains splits to supply 59” x 14” refugium filled with Miracle Mud. Incorporated into this, fabricated by MRC, is the support structure for the UV Sterilizer, a convenience bracket for the refugium light used to get it out of the way when harvesting and three dosing stations for the addition of Triton Method liquids.
Inside the display’s cabinet is a custom Dreambox fitted with a Super Marin 300 with a RD3 Speedy 50w pump and slave. There is also a dedicated RD3 80w for two large reactors and two RD3 80w return pumps. One goes directly to the far end of the display under the sand while the other supplies the carbon reactor and 120w HO UV Sterilizer before returning to the short side of the display.
There are two closed-loops, both powered by RD3 80w pumps which are 0-10v Apex-controlled. In the photos you will see that the main return and all closed loop exits were carefully camouflaged. Main display illumination is provided by four custom 120 cm long Planet Pro LED fixtures currently running twelve strips each. If necessary, we can add as many as 18 more per light, but PAR measurements currently do not indicate this will be necessary.
The reef structure was made for this build by Torsten Luther of Korallenwelt. It is a highly porous ceramic material which they have used with great success in many other displays. Wet Work loves it for its otherworldly appearance and how beautifully it creates light and shadow as well as numerous hiding places for fish and resting places for corals.
Check back for part two where we get to show you what kind of tank all this planning can create