How to Upgrade Your Saltwater Tank Like a Reef Junkie

While there is nothing wrong with a nano saltwater tank, if you’re a reef junkie, you’re very likely want to upgrade…quickly. And upgrade in true reef junkie style is what one of my VIP clients did. Not only did he upgrade, he went over the top by having me plan and construct his whole tank.

His build included taking over part of his garage, putting holes in walls…i.e. re-arranging his life around his fish tank.

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Comments for this article (69)

  • Daniel Ransom says:

    I love big builds… And no BS water changes is a reef junkies dream 🙂

  • Mark H. says:

    Pretty sweet Build Mark, your tank looks awesome in the back ground as well.

  • Joel Sabin says:

    Awesome build! How’d that cotton candy taste?

  • Stephanie says:

    I love it! I had a 135 built into my bedroom wall when I lived back east it was sooo tranquil! I can’t wait to do a big built in tank again.

  • John M says:

    How did you close up the holes around the pipes going in the garage so the car gases do not get in the house?

  • Jerry M. says:

    Nice build Mark. Any concerns with temperature extremes in the garage when it comes to the RO/DI unit longevity and water storage?

  • Earl says:

    Cool build, I would like a much larger tank, but have restrictions. I live in an apartment and the wife said I have as big of a tank as I’m gonna get. She doesn’t understand, so 50 gal. is it. It is a nice tank still, I love it.

  • Travis Belcher says:

    Awesome build! Can’t wait to see the rest. I was wondering though, where can I purchase those 50 gallon tank for the mixing station?

  • Rocco Crea says:

    Nice build out. Looking forward to see what kind of flow you put in there and your automation system. When I did mine I also had to put in a dedicated 20amp circuit to run it all.

  • Ryan S says:

    Great video Mark! Thanks!

  • Mustafa says:

    Mark please do an update on your tank I see some fishes in the background but want to see everything in detail

  • Blake says:

    Hey Mark, where do you get that rock from??

  • Kerric Peyton says:

    I’ve seen this tank and it looks even better in person! Great job!

  • kevin says:

    I would like to know where you got the rock from also. I tried looking for real reef rock but couldnt find anything for sale.

  • Jordan says:

    Looks amazing Mark! Good build and love seeing the videos!

  • Eli Gonzalez says:

    Two thumbs up

  • Jordan…*ahem*…you are next!

  • Jerry…the garage was getting warm this summer and the owner had a chiller on hand just in case. However in true reef junkie style he enclosed the garage bay and made it temperature controlled!

  • John M…no cars park in the garage so exhaust gasses aren’t an issue.

  • Joel…the cotton candy was SOOO good!

  • Dino D says:

    Awesome tank can’t wait to see it when it’s done!! So… When ya coming to my house?! I have lots of room!!

  • christina says:

    Aww man!! U left us with a clifhanger!! Or should i saylive rock hanger lol bueatiful tank tho! I envy you because you have made your passon your job! And thats is awesome! I really need to make a career out of this!

  • Ethen says:

    hey Mark how can someone be your VIP costomers and if i need help how can i contact you to arenge an agreement. i would like to start a new tank and this time i want a profitional to do it for me. i will pay anything becuse i know in future will save me alot of money. so please let me know. thank you as always.

  • Ethen says:

    Hey Mark how can someone be your VIP customers and if I need help how can I contact you to arenge an agreement. I would like to start a new tank and this time I want a professional to do it for me. I will pay anything because I know in future will save me a lot of money. So please let me know. Thank you as always.

  • Jp says:

    Did you use any sort of protection for the stand against rust? You didn’t. Mention anything about it? Thanks

  • Chris says:

    I like these videos you post Mark very helpful thanks heaps and keep up the good work. And by the way where do you get all your cool shirts 😉

  • Matt says:

    @ Christina – Haha… Live Rock Hanger… love it… totally agree though… I hate it when Mark does that… 😛

    @ JP – If its a high enough grade stainless steel then it won’t need any protection… In fact its better than powder coating or painting… 😉

    Just love this build… Very jealous Mark… I’d love to do this stuff for a living… Especially when someone else basically gives you the right to spend lots of money on things 😀 Hope your enjoying yourself and your client is loving the new tank 🙂

  • ed says:

    where did you get thoes white tanks to store the water, and how much were they. ty ed

  • Richard L says:

    Upon Neptune’s anouncement of this new tank build, the oceans wept with joy and their reefs sang out in a unified chorus welcoming their new brother.

    BTW, you should do a bio piece about the owner. Sounds like a really cool guy.

  • Richard L…I’m open to interviewing the owner. I’ll have to work it out with his agent but I *think* I can get it done.

  • Rick says:

    Mark…Where can I get RO/DI Storage vessels like that?

  • Chris…I get my shirts here

  • Rick (and everyone who asked), the barrels can be found at any online plastic store. I think I got these from US plastics.

  • Blake says:

    what about the real reef rock??

  • Blake…what about the real reef rock?

  • dave decarli says:

    mark i have tried several times to down load your book “stop the confusion” to no avail. do you know what the problem is? i bought your other book last week but that came u.p.s this one looks to be download only. so any help would be cool. thanks dave

  • Blake says:

    Where do you get the real reef what I meant haha

  • Thierry says:

    Very nice build … i am jalous 🙂 Can’t wait to see the rest …

    I would place my bigger tank inside a wall (like some kinda window) with all the stuff in the room behind but my wife is against it … suppose the sump and stugg taking over the wardrobe in the room behind the tank is allready enough for her lol

  • Thierry says:

    @Dave: if you are talking about the small guide on Mark’s home page then I have to tell you it works perfectly; just fill in your name, lastname and email and click the button; you’ll get a mail with explained in it how and where to get the small guide.

    Hope this helps

  • Josh Rodriguez says:

    Cool video. How much would a custom tank of that size be? With all the equipment shown

  • Jay-R Quiambao says:


    Cool video. I want to know where can I order that type of custom sump. That the type of design I want except few thing. Let me know I would like to order one?



  • Blake (and everyone else interested in where to buy Real Reef Rock), LiveAquaria carries it, Pacific East Aquaculture carries it, and Aquacon carries it.

  • Blake says:

    where do you trust to get yours from out of those three sites and can you get them wholesale from any? Or do you just buy at cost?

  • Fernando says:

    Sooo nice! Im a beginner that just hopes to be at that level some day.

  • Ethen…I just sent you an email to talk about your build.

  • Reggie says:

    I like a clean sump. I’m not too keen on using the sump as a frag nursery. That would mean you would need strong light and that means also becoming a nursery for nuisance algae that end up feeding your main tank. Also, algae will build in the skimmer and bubble trap, which you will are a pain to clean.

    I would rather like to see less rocks in the main display — move them to the sump instead. Also, if you are using filter socks, you probably don’t need a bubble trap, which means more space for rocks, pumps, reactors, etc.

  • Blake…I’d get it from Live Aquaria. I think Premium Aquatics sells it too.

  • Jay-R…the sump in this video was made by a local acrylic shop who won’t ship. If you want the best sump money can buy, contact Raj @ My Reef Creations.

  • jon says:


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