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Michael’s 200 Gallon Custom Glass Aquarium

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"When I was looking to order a special tank I went to Custom Aquariums. I am very happy with this tank. It is a 200-gallon tank and I couldn't be happier."
- Michael Crawford

Michael Crawford's 200-gallon reef display starts with a custom glass aquarium from . The rimless aquarium measures 48" x 48" x 22" tall. The tank has filtration plumbing holes cut through the glass in the upper back side of the tank, one for the skimming overflow and the other for water return.

Mike is a talented aquarist with 30 years of experience designing and building marine aquarium systems, and 20 of those years with corals. Mike has seen it all, knows the strategies that work and the fads that have not.

Designing and building coral reef aquarium filtration systems from components is a part of Michael's hobby, and the filter for his aquarium is a compilations of pieces that he has had for many years combined with a few new parts and some interesting DIY solutions.

Water leaves the aquarium through a silencing overflow box which drains to the filter system in the basement. The filtration includes a refugium, protein skimmer, calcium reactor, carbon reactor, and carbon dioxide injection (for the calcium reactor). The system is controlled by a monitoring mechanism that measures hardness, pH and other parameters and let's Michael know when conditions change and may need attention.

Michael's sump reservoir is a 50-gallon barrel that is plumbed to another 50-gallon mixing barrel. When he performs a water change he can premix the marine salt solution, let it age, drain an equivalent amount from the sump reservoir and replace it with new water from the mixing barrel.

Michael has a DIY in-line heating system that incorporates two submersible heaters resting inside a network of 2" PVC that water passes through and around the heaters. The control dials for the heaters are accessible outside the pvc housing because of Michael's ingenious use of compression couplings from an old chiller unit.

Water is returned with a powerful external pump that can lift the water from the filtration system in the basement up to the aquarium on the main floor.

The tank is set on a home-made stand that straddles the top of the stairwell into the basement. Michael also built the canopy that sets over the aquarium and contains the lighting system that Michael also designed and built.

Michael is an electrician by trade, so building his own high-output LED lighting system was a given. He built them out of the LED chips, heat sinks and fans that are installed large coffee cans mounted inside the canopy. The power sources for the lights are located away from the aquarium. Supplemental florescent T5 tubes even out the light and reduce the shimmer.

Michael's reef aquarium, filter system and lighting units are very effecting, and he is able to grow a wide array of corals, and can grow them so well that he is able to sell fragments from the tank back to the aquarium store to support the cost of the aquarium.

Thank you Michael for choosing to be a part of your reef aquarium build.