Sean's Waterbox 130.4 Mixed Reef Build


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It was a fun day today! OSA hooked it up with the new Waterbox and my brother came over and helped me put it all together. Almost perfectly level but will probably be making some final adjustments tomorrow.

Everything fit like a glove in the truck and OSA’s tank loading dock is key! My tonneau cover wouldn’t close by like a half inch with the blankets / pad below the tank but I covered it up with plenty of moving blankets for the trip back.

Very impressed with the Waterbox packaging. All panels were properly protected and assembly videos made everything pretty easy.

And there she is!! Fits nicely in my man cave. I can see the full tank while watching TV from my couch. Can’t wait! Overall, very impressed with the build quality minus having an issue with one of the door magnet mechanisms.


Still not loving that the drop ceiling is only 22” above the tank because of possible moisture / evaporation issues. Thinking about putting in some better moisture resistant panels above the tank or something. How far do you guys typically place your tanks off the wall?


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Starting in on the control panel design for the smaller side of the WB cabinet... no messy wiring this time around. Planning to have the panel removal with cabinet magnets.


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What’s the bottom piece (black rectangle)?
Desk grommet assembly that I can pull the Ecotech drivers through without disassembly of internal wiring harness. Wasn’t sure if the new MP40’s came as one complete wired assembly still or not so wanted an easy way to remove if need be.


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Got the waterproof, in cabinet LED strip lighting installed and got the control panel mounted with knobs / cabinet magnets for easy removal for access to power blocks and wiring behind. Ordered all the equipment for the tank and waiting for arrival to start buttoning things up!

Need to make one final equipment decision and it’s an important one, the skimmer:
Nyos Quantum 160
Reef Octopus 150/200 Elite SSS w/ Varios

Both options have internal pumps which is a requirement for my sump size to leave room for other equipment in skimmer section. Thoughts?





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Nyos makes a mighty fine skimmer, I have a eshopps axium x120 right now and love it. They do make a 160 that would probable work for you too. Just another option with a small footprint.


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Conversion fittings from metric to standard should be arriving today and I’ve been working on a manifold design to replace the Waterbox plumbing. Few questions:

1. I see gate valves to regulate flow on most manifolds which goes against everything I know of water flow principles. Should I go with gate valves or true union ball valves on the manifold? I was planning to run them full 3/4” and reduce to 1/2” after the valve.

2. I see an awful lot of “bullhead tees” in aquarium return piping which also goes against water flow principles but seems to be widely used in reef tanks all over. Thoughts?

3. See the manifold options below. Let me know what you guys think would be the best options.



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Control boards ready for paint. Pretty happy with the layout. Neptune templates were a big help. Bottom will house the (3) vortech drivers and the large desk grommet box works perfectly to pull the drivers in and out through for replacement or maintenance (MP drivers are permanent wired to external powerhead).


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My custom cut piece of 1/4” King Starboard arrived from These guys were awesome to work with if anyone is looking for a custom piece to avoid any cutting. Everything gets cut on a CNC so all edges are nice and smooth. I’ll be going bare bottom and didn’t like the look of the Waterbox leveling pad you could see through the glass. Intent is to silicone the sheet to the bottom glass and then silicone around the edges to create a good seal from detritus build up below.

Also, got a bunch of other testing equipment, salt, misc gear in and my Nyos 160 skimmer! These skimmers have come along way since I was in the hobby last. Loving the build quality.






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Control panels complete minus a few Ecotech driver mounts. Not sure why they provide mounts for pumps but not powerheads. Makes no sense. Onto other projects! Slowly but surely...



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Finished up the plumbing design today just waiting for some parts / pieces to arrive. Leveled the tank / stand.

Let the starboard cure for 24 hrs with the weight on it and it seems to have cured nicely. A lot of others said silicone doesn’t stick to it but I sanded with 120 grit and cleaned both surfaces with alcohol and seems to have at least made a good seal to stop any detritus from going below. Very happy with it. Pictures make it look more gray but has a nice black color.


Drilled my 10g tank and installed an ESHOPPS Eclipse overflow for the remote fuge. Need to build a stand still. These kits are great.


Last, mounted the control board in the cabinet and super happy with how it came out. Tough to get good pictures with the cabinet lights on. Just need a few more driver mounts to finalize. Still leaves plenty of room for storage in front / other equipment and power blocks behind. Planning to put an fan on the backside to pull heat from the cabinet as well.


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Finally got all the metric conversion fittings in. Hopefully getting the tank plumbed this week. I’m replacing all of the stock Waterbox plumbing within the cabinet to better suit my needs. Using the bottom half of 25mm (return) and 32mm (drainage) unions and BRS 25mm to 3/4” slip and BRS 32mm to 1” conversion fittings.



This is the return setup I will be going with. Remote fuge line will have a flow meter on it as well.



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Big thanks to Brad508 for coming over and helping me get the tank on the stand so I could get going on plumbing! Appreciate all the other members that reached out to help as well!

Final layout / planning done and started assembling return lines first (second picture). Stand / sump in the Waterbxes is tight with the (2) Aquamax reactors but I’ll make it work somehow.

I was able to get 4” straight piece into flow meter and that is absolutely maxed so hopefully that’s enough.

Trying to figure out how to hang the piping properly but the thick 1” union flanges make it more of a pain. Bit the bullet and bought the expensive pvc pipe clip hangers from BRS. Hopefully this does the trick.




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Returns up and hung. Finishing the drains tomorrow and hopefully remote fuge / loading rock in this weekend. The BRS pipe clips are expensive but they are definitely awesome once you have them laid out. Had to use different size clips so I had to buy some spacers for the smaller piping clips to level things out.





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Had a good weekend. Almost there! Water testing coming soon. The three pipes going through the back wall go to the remote fuge in the mech room. Calcium reactor and potentially future frag tank will be in mech room as well.



Also, was lucky enough to go over Paul’s house and check out his 420 gallon master piece! Good talks Paul and appreciate you having me!



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Remote fuge stand built... thing could probably support a 200 gallon tank but I wanted to learn the ins and outs of framing a stand the right way. Slowly but surely getting closer!




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Got a lot done this weekend! Finalized plumbing to main display / remote fuge minus the final locline fittings in fuge (waiting for them to arrive) and water tested sump / overflow box bulkheads.


Finished roughing CAT6 cable over for Apex. Labeled all wiring and roughed all wires to final locations and did a lot of cable management. Hung another board in the mechanical room behind the tank to mount the power blocks and hopefully keep all the heat out from under the display stand.






Getting salty next weekend finally!

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