Josh and Tiffany's RSR 250


Earlier this year, my wife and I were talking about upgrading our IM Nuvo 20 to a larger display tank. We thought we'd go for an IM Nuvo 40 or something similar...then @Jonathan Chia decided to break down his tank and I went, "Huh, that seems like a good idea."

So now we have a Red Sea Reefer 250, which will be our first non-nano display tank. Specs:

Tank: Red Sea Reefer 250
Lights: Kessil AP9X
Sump: Trigger Ruby 30 (with thanks to @The_Lazy_Reefer)
Return pump: Sicce Syncra 3.0
Dosing: GHL Doser 2.1
Controller: None at the moment; came with a Profilux 4, but think I want to stick with the Apex controller ecosystem and upgrade with a KH Director later on
Flow: 2x ReefWave 25 gyres and 1x Octo Pulse 2 wave pump

There was a bit of a delay between agreeing to purchase the tank and being able to take it down, so my wife and I decided to try negative space aquascaping after watching this video from BRS. @Srt4eric had a whole bunch of dry rock from a breakdown he let me play with, so I built a PVC 'shell' of the RSR 250's dimensions and started playing with scape ideas.

Early ideas:






Started coming together...



Aaaaaaand complete!





Next step: plumbing and the sump.

After getting a comparatively-undersized sump for my 50 gallon frag tank, where the primary considerations were "it is a sump" and "won't overflow if there's a siphon", I decided I wanted a nicer, more accessible sump. My wife and I have also really wanted a mandarin since we started the hobby, and wanted a decent-sized refugium to grow enough pods, so that was a factor. Finally, after being annoyed by my "it works, but isn't aesthetically pleasing" plumbing, I decided I wanted to try and make this look good.

I decided to upgrade the V3 sump (which will be for sale/trade soon if anyone's interested) to a Trigger Ruby 30 sump. This necessitated redoing the plumbing, which I thought would be a bit of a challenge since Red Sea Reefers use metric plumbing. Fortunately, I live a mile and a half from Neptune and they have metric to US couplings, so one 32 mm x 1" and two 25 mm x 3/4" fittings later, I was in business.

The plumbing is still a work in progress, but I think it's looking good so far. I have the main and emergency drains dry-fitted and ready. Because I really hate disconnecting and reconnecting hard-plumbed return pumps, I'm going to hard plumb it to the return chamber, and then soft-plumb the "last mile "to the return pump. I'm hoping to get everything fit and cemented in tomorrow (9/13) after work so I can start filling the tank.



Supporting Member
make refugium chamber close to return pump and separate from skimmer chamber, this will maximize the amount of pods for the mandarins, I can give u a huge chunk of my chaeto when u setup your refugium


make refugium chamber close to return plump and separate from skimmer chamber, this will maximize the amount of pods for the mandarins, I can give u a huge chunk of my chaeto when u setup your refugium
That's the plan!

The skimmer chamber is right in front of where the drains are. The whole middle section is going to be a refugium; and thank you so much for the offer of the chaeto! I'll take you up on that when I'm ready to set up the refugium.

EDIT: And my wife is also excited for any excuse to come back for more pho. :)


I got much less done today than I'd hoped, primarily due to me making a boneheaded mistake and allowing a bucket to overflow and spill 8 or 9 gallons of water all over my kitchen. Fortunately I got it cleaned quickly, and @Srt4eric was awesome enough to make sure I hadn't done any real damage.

BUT! Plumbing is finished and cemented in.


And water is being added to the tank in kind of a slow-motion leak test.


(I checked and made sure it was level in all dimensions; it's not as uneven as it looks there.)

I also purchased my sand tonight and opted to try out a mixed bed: 20 lbs fiji, 10 lbs oolite. I like the aesthetics of smaller-grain sand, but I don't like the sandstorms they kick up, so I'm hoping this'll give me the best of both worlds.

Assuming no more dumb mistakes on my part: tomorrow will be adding sand, finishing filling the tank and sump, and leak testing everything.


Aquascape looks great! Feel free to swing by and help me build mine :)
Thanks! I think doing it once is enough for me. I tend to obsess on things and, when I can't actually do mental work on it, it drives me a bit nuts. :)

Nice sump! Great Scape!
Thank you! My wife's been really happy to hear the compliments on the scape, since she had a heavy hand in making it.

@IOnceWasLegend Are you sticking with the Sicce or going DC? I had a Sicce 3.0 and immediately switched it out. I can’t stand the buzzing vibration noise!! I’ve been meaning to put my journal together. I’ll have it up soon enough!
I'll likely go DC at some point. I really like the Varios pump I have downstairs in the frag tank, and I'd be interested in an Ecotech at some point, but—given the expense in this purchase—that's going to be a, "Down the line" upgrade.


So, I fired up the return pump yesterday...and got a leak. In the least convenient place possible on the return. After fretting about how to fix it, I removed that section (MAN I love unions), pulled at the joint,....and realized that, somehow, none of the cement I'd added in had formed a weld because it came apart in my hands. I'm honestly kind of baffled, because all my other plumbing passed with flying colors. So yet another trip to Lowes, one coat of primer, and lots of Red Hot Blue Glue later, the return line is good to go!

I added the sand today and began filling the tank in earnest.




We officially have a large box of water sitting in our living room! I haven't officially switched it on yet, though, since I'm about ten gallons of water shy...but should have that ready in about an hour or so. :)


After thinking about it a lot, I've opted to use the same fishless cycling method I've used in the past (four drops ammonium chloride per gallon, coupled with nitrifying bacteria mix (Dr. Tim's One and Only, in this case; the 120 gallon size for my ~80 gallons of total volume)).

Dosed the ammonia this morning and measured at 2 ppm. Got curious and checked before bed (~14 hours later) and am already down to 1 ppm with ~0.25 ppm nitrite. Fingers crossed the cycle goes quick.