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Shutdown in progress - tropical Juwel Rio300 48 x 26 x 20 - plunging into salty waters.


Hi, I'm Jon and I've kept tropical fish for many years before I moved to Tenerife for near 10 years. Since I came back about 6 years ago I got myself another tank and had kept some of my more expensive equipment stored in my parents loft so I got another Rio 300 and started again.

I'm currently living in Prescot, due to previous financial constraints I moved to a colleagues granny flat which consists of what used to be the kitchen and conservatory and outhouses that are now a bedroom, lounge and kitchen/shower room respectively but for £300 a month with bills included I couldn't complain ... and yes my lounge is currently a conservatory ! so in this 25-30° heat we're having right now I'm sweating and my tropical fish have been par-boiled ! ... until yesterday that is Big Thumbs Up

I'd always fancied keeping a marine tank, but it was a lot more expensive equipment and more involved to look after however over the last couple of years I've lost interest in the tropical and haven't been looking after it to the point I've been doing 1/3rd water changes maybe every 3-4 months :whistling: and topping up my autofeeder when it's run out. So when my mate helped me move it into Prescot and I'd told him about how I'd rather have marine ... he subsequently got the bug and bought a nano with some clowns and is progressing nicely from there with a few hickups in his current 1m tank with sump, but I've been involved with his journey and we've learnt a lot and now since I've recently doubled my salary I'm in the fortunate position to buy myself a house in Runcorn and I've decided not to move my tropical tank, but to shut it down and set it up a fresh with salty waters.

Over the last few months I've been gathering together some bargains as I've seen them come available in LFS's and on here (special thanks to Fish no Chips for my Deltec TC2560 at the spectacular price of £250 which has cleaned up like new !) and just yesterday I've sold my stock to Oasis in Manchester, so if anyone wants a beautiful big plec with a huge dorsal fin and fantastic brown and black colourations I'd get down there quick smart.

So today comes the joyous task of stripping everything down and cleaning everything up ready to move in the next few weeks. The valuation is being done as I type this and the mortgage offer is already in the bag since I was a week away from sealing the deal with another property before the seller pulled out at the last minute, so everything is in place to move quickly with this purchase provided the bank and solicitors don't mess about (the bank has already done there's by taking 3 weeks to order a valuation !)

The Plan ...

As I've said, I've got a Juwel Rio 300 and I've got the cabinet that goes with it which is narrower than the tank and split into 3 sections so is useless for a sump. Since the mate I spoke of works building stages and props for a big theatre company and my Dad was a 6th form Design teacher, together we've built a nice single void cabinet that is the same footprint as the tank and has lots of room for a big sump and plenty of space for reactors and CO2 tanks and everything else I'll need. It's unpainted at the moment and I'm a bit tired of the old dark wood effect so I'm currently liking the idea of painting it in a nice satin blue or maroon like I've seen some of the red sea ones ... and I plan to repaint the tank top and bottom strips to match after peeling the Juwel badge off and replacing it.

The internal filter box which has always been empty since I've always had a big Eheim Pro 2 external canister filter, so the internal box is now going to come out (I'd always kept it in for resale value, but now I'm going to make good with what I've got) and it's got a nice textured background on the back wall, but I just don't think it'll look right in a marine, that and it's impregnated with algae which was great for my plec, but will be all kinds of trouble later, so that needs to come out too. I'm not sure what to do with the back yet, I could paint it like I've seen in some videos or I might just leave it clear, it's one of those things though ... you can't change your mind after it's set up, so any advice or ideas will be much appreciated.

For the lighting, my tank came with a single Juwel twin bulb unit, but I've since bought a second unit and the relevant flap set so I will have 4x T5s which I intend to supplement with some LED strips I've seen on fleabay, they come in 3 strips, 2 white and one blue and I think they'll work nicely stuck to the underside of the 3 flaps between the light units. I know many people like the open top tanks, but I like the closed lid on this tank, it's clean and tidy and I think from a marine perspective it will reduce evapouration since much of it is condensed on the lid and would fall right back into the tank. I could rig up some fans to run occasionally to cycle surface gases and to help in cooling on hot days. Again, anyone with pros, cons, or opinions on that would be noted.

I intend to invest in a controller once I know what's left after paying mortgage deposits/fees etc. since I work away 4 nights a week out in my truck, so even if there's nothing I can do about it, it'd be nice to know what's going on in my tank just by logging in on my phone or laptop. The Apex Neptune looks like the best option with the ability to control equipment from the powerbar and from what I can understand the I/O module looks like it could be used with some relays and solenoids etc. to control more stuff like RO filters and ATU plus it's ability to control LED lights I could one day upgrade my lighting, so I plan to incorporate an Apex into my system for both the peace of mind while I'm at work and the automation of some of the maintenance like water changes.

I intend to setup an automated water change and RO top up working off the Apex controlling solenoid valves to run a timed flush through the RO filter, then diverting to one of 2x 120 litre barrels which will gravity feed straight into the sump via a regular float valve to provide evapouration topup and will have a float switch to turn the RO filter back to a timed flush before turning it off. This barrel will then be pumped into the second barrel once the float switch indicates insufficient water for a waterchange, the Apex will then cancel further automated water changes and indicate with an LED on the cabinet that I need to mix salt before water changes can continue. A second float switch in the top of this barrel will turn off the pump which is filling it. The automated waterchange will be done via the return pump being diverted to the nearest household drain while water from the salt mixed barrel is being pumped either direct into the display tank, or into the first section of the sump.

The sump I intend to build myself from scratch to take up the majority of the cabinet. My skimmer is an external one, but I don't see the point in it taking up so much space when it could be sat with water flowing round it and work just as well, so the only thing I can think of so far that needs to sit outside the sump is a CO2 bottle for a Calcium Reactor in the future. The Apex can all be mounted to the walls, the topup is being piped through the wall from the garage behind so as long as I leave 20cm or so down the side I can pretty much fill the base of the cabinet with sump and probably go to a good 18 inch high. I'm interested in the idea of a home made algae scrubber to deal with nutrients so I'll have to think about a light somewhere, but other than that I think it's going to be a fairly standard sump ... I'm not keen on the idea of deep sand beds, so the sump will be mostly there just to increase water volume thereby diluting toxins and to house equipment and maybe a bit more live rock if it's needed.

I intend to run a single return pump, likely the Jeboa 12000, which I know is overkill for the size of tank and sump, but my plan is to hard pipe it pack up to the display, possibly piped round to multiple outlets, but mainly to be Teed off in the cabinet with taps to feed everything else that needs water flow like the skimmer and the Eheim 800 UV filter I've got and any media reactors will be flow controlled via taps off the main return line. You might be thinking 'ok but what happens when the single pump fails ... everything crashes' that's why I'm thinking of setting up 2 identical return pumps, both hard plumbed into the same line with some form of flow sensor or pressure switch to tell the Apex when something is wrong with the pump and it can shut that one down and start up the reserve and notify me by email to pick up a new one on the way home at the weekend. I think this could be quieter than the 101 pumps my mate seems to have accumulated with just a single pump running to feed everything, but with the redundancy of a second backup pump ready to go if the primary fails somehow.

So that's roughly it, these are my ideas, how many make it into the final product you'll have to stay tuned to find out. I haven't mentioned anything in my plan about what fishes or corals I'm going to put in it ... because ... well ... I don't 'plan' to put any in ... so far all my planning has gone into designing a system that I can live with in my current situation of only being home at weekends. I like the Regal Tang (does anyone not have a favourite tang, even if their tank might not be quite big enough for it to grow out) ... I really like the Mandarines and anything unusual and colourful ... but after years of tropical fish, marines are all unusual and colourful !

Nothing yet worth showing with photos, I've got a couple of my cabinet being built but I'll keep them back until I've got some progress with the other modifications to report after I've moved and settled a bit in the new house.

So that's where I'm at right now, I look forward to your feedback but mostly to having a nice trouble free colourful tank to look at while I'm home from work :biggrin:

PS. I'm not sure how long you can make these threads or how many pictures you can post in each, but I'll reserve the first couple of reply posts for future use as either photo archives or to try to organise and section the thread if it gets too long or if major changes happen in the future ... if this isn't allowed mods can delete them as they won't be used for the time being.
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Re: Shutdown in progress - tropical Juwel Rio 300 48 x 26 x 20 - plunging into salty water

Reserved for pictoral timeline of build


Re: Shutdown in progress - tropical Juwel Rio 300 48 x 26 x 20 - plunging into salty water

reserved for post build major updates or modifications


Re: Shutdown in progress - tropical Juwel Rio300 48 x 26 x 20 - plunging into salty waters

Look forward to it.


Re: Shutdown in progress - tropical Juwel Rio300 48 x 26 x 20 - plunging into salty waters

Hahah that's much more of a plan than I ever had!