150 Gallon Cuttle Farm Army tank build!


Haliphron Atlanticus
While everyone has been having fun at Tonmo II, I was hand sawing wood in my bathroom building my new tank!

It is a new 150 setup to hopefully house Sepia Officinalis. I didn't realize it was going to be such an undertaking and even though Ive done most DIY, Ive spent a good amount of money so far. I live in a loft with no garage and a concern for making too much noise, so much of the wood I had to hand cut. I'm going to start looking like a fiddler crab soon with the amount of exercise my right arm is getting.

Here are the basics to the tank:

-150 gallon display glass tank (Drilled the back bottom two corners to create two 1 inch overflows) I didn't drill the bottom for it was tempered glass.
-AquaEuro Recirculating 265 skimmer (Plumbed external from sump for less heat)
-30 Gallon sump with DIY trickle wet dry containing 1 cubic foot of biobale and a small refugium.
-PanWorld 50PX-X (Externally plumbed With a fan modification dropping the tank temp 2 degrees)
-Wavy Sea wave maker
-Icecap Vortec pump for circulation and less heat. (I know expensive..Very nice flow, circulates water ALL over the tank without too strong a force or suction. Im incredibly impressed with it)
-Dual 250 Watt MH and 4 36" T5 39 watt for lighting. (MH will only be on for a couple hours a day)
-Custom made Stand and Hood

I still have a lot of work to do, but thought Id share my project.

Here are some pictures-

Current State of the tank With an almost finished hood. (The Rock work is temporary for I'm waiting for some agrocrete shelf rocks i made to kure. All the rocks in the tank will be placed on top of the shelf rocks which will be 6-8 inches off the sand allowing for a lot of surface area for the cuttles to bury and play)

Sump and Skimmer

Return pump with Fan mod (Looks pretty Star Trekky)

Inside the hood (Still need to add T5s)

I was attempting to design the tank to have the lowest temperature possible. It seemed to be a good design for water temperature is usually 2-4 degrees above ambient. Sitting at 77-79. With a fan for evaporation, I was able to get it to low 70s upper 60s.

Mostly, I wanted to post this to document and share my new source of joy and frustration, but if you have any questions or comments, they are greatly welcomed. I have a million pics from the process of my tank build also, so If you want to see something in detail, just ask!


Haliphron Atlanticus
If your interested in costs, here is my list.. Its totalling to be much more then I anticipated, but I purchased a few pricey items that I feel would be good investments in the long run. Also, I used so much trim for the stand, tank and hood, that it basically double the cost of the wood required for just the structure. I added victorian trim to the tank itself, with the top piece holding curtain rod mounts. I plan to have a red velvet curtain that can easily be placed on the tank. This is not only for aesthetics, but to block the light from the tank if Im projecting a movie in the same room. =)

skimmer -280
stand - 102 - trim
90 - wood, panels, and hardware
50 - lights and hardware for doors
sump and parts - 60
Tank - 200
Pump - 112
plumbing and valves - 60
wavysea - 250
vortech 330
tank trim 100
sand 60
dual 250 electronic ballast and bulbs and reflector - 250
t5 retrofit 4x36" - 150


Haliphron Atlanticus
Opcn;97131 said:
Two questions.

1) Where did you get a dual 250 ballast with reflectors for 250?

2) Why do you have so much light on a cool water tank?

1.Used on Craigslist. It was a good buy. Came with generic electronic ballast, spider reflectors, and 2 bulbs supposedly 2 months old.

2. Halides come on for only a couple hours a day. Which is enough for the corals I plan on keeping. Its actaully not much light for a tank this size. To keep temperatures down, The entire back of the hood is open and the MH are about 10 inches above water level. With the MH on half the day, water temp rises maybe 1 degrees. My plan for temperature control would just be a fan for evaporation and I plan to add a 10" fan in the hood for this, along with cooling from evaporation, this would negate any heat from the lights as well.

For the majority of the day, the tank will be lit with just four 39 watt T5s.


Haliphron Atlanticus
Opcn;97135 said:
Its looking like 2100 or so wasthe total for any one like me who was wondering,sorry if you don't like seeing that number.
The tank probably could have been done easily for around 1000-1200. It all depends on how cool you want it to look and how much time you want to dedicate to maintenance.

Personally, Aesthetics and more automation with less hands in the tank are high on my priority list.

Most of the tank was funded by selling off old equipment, tax refund, Bday )tank was bought by my girlfriend), and selling one of my squid sculptures. :razz:

The vortech although I feel works amazing, really put me on the cup o noodles/mac n cheese diet this month though!


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Paradox;97137 said:
Yup, its nice to even have something holding water! With no cephs, I still find myself staring into the tank.

Once its all stable, Ill be able to baby sit your cuttles if the need ever arises again.
When is it going to be stable? :grin: I may need you to baby sit my cuttles while I revamp my entire system.


Haliphron Atlanticus
Thales;97144 said:
When is it going to be stable? :grin: I may need you to baby sit my cuttles while I revamp my entire system.

Not sure yet. I dont have all the correct test kits at the moment, But I used almost all live sand and live rock. The bio bale was in my old system for about 1 month before being transfered. The tank has been going for 2 weeks now.

Without accurate test kits right now, I dont know if Im still expecting a mini cycle or if Ill have one at all. When are you planning on revamping and how long would that take you?


Haliphron Atlanticus
cuttlegirl;97142 said:
Your stand and hood are beautiful! Maybe you should start custom designing stands... It would fit so nicely with my 150-year-old house :grin:.
Thanks! Sounds like a lot of work though. I cant wait until Im done with the tank for Ive been spending too much time slaving away and not enjoying. Plus if you see the stand and hood up close, you will notice a lot of imperfections. If I had a real woodshop it would be much nicer.

Now to vacuum all the saw dust out of my bathroom before the girlfriend comes home...


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Paradox;97196 said:
If Im unsuccessful in my Officinalis quest, Ill have the answer to your question.. =)
I was really impressed by the Pharonis they had at MOTE, too... they looked and behaved quite a bit like Officinalis but were a bit more cryptic when resting... Of course, I haven't heard of any suppliers except the NRCC, who can't sell to private ceph-keepers, so they're probably even harder to get the Officinalis


Haliphron Atlanticus
Thales - Just checked water parameters again (but with crappy test kits) All still seem to be in perfect parameters. How many cuttles and at what age are yours? Ill need to know what kind of bio load to expect and to setup a food tank.

Monty - Ive not had the opportunity to see Pharonis in person. The rare amounts of times Ive seen Cuttles in public aquaria, they have always been Officinalis. Wish I coulda been there to see them!


Haliphron Atlanticus
Thales - Just let me know if you need anything. Im going to plumb in a small live food tank soon, and throw some grass shrimp in there and watch my parameters. If nothing changes, Im going to assume Im good to go.

Been finishing up the hood today. Here is a current picture. I made it so it is actually 2 pieces that can slide apart if I really need to get my hands in there.


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