180g (36" x 36" x 32") Cube Project Complete

DipSpit

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It was a heck of a journey - for myself and my girlfriend whom I live with - but the end result was worth it!

I was looking to upgrade my 90 gallon tank into something challenging and enjoyable and I ended up finding a great deal on a 180 gallon cube in Mechanicsville, Pa. I currently live in Norfolk, Va. so my Father (who lives in Lancaster, roughly 45 mins away from the tank) was nice enough to get it and store it for me to retrieve the following weekend.

The start of the build was a frame utilizing 2x4's, pocket holes, and lots of wood glue to make a strong foundation for this tank. I topped it off with some 3/4" ply and insulation foam board to ensure a smooth surface for the tank to rest on.

Here it is pictured with the sump underneath and the top not fastened.





Sometimes my dog likes to help.


Next I used poplar 1x6's, again, pocket holed/wood glue to make the skin. I know people usually do plywood - but I like the look of finished 1x's.

After wood filling and sanding I used the good ol' Zinzser primer to put on 3 coats (sanded after each with 320 grit) then finished with some Sherwin Williams Superpaint (two coats - what I have on my walls currently). After that I secured them to the frame using wood screw under where I know the trim would be placed. Then started placing the trim.



I had some friends from a local reefing group come over to help me lift this heavy guy up so I could finish the trim.



Next were the door panels.

I made the panels using pine 1x3's, again pocket holed, some 1/4" birch plywood, wood glue and desired trim. I sanded, used 3 coats of primer and 2 top coats. I first made the frame that would support the up to down load of the panel then fastened the birch to the frame.

To keep the panels snug I countersunk neodymium magnets into each of the four corners of each of the openings. These corresponded to 4 neodymium magnets on each corner of the panels.





The next step was the plumbing / apex / electrical component / hardware install

I went with a DCT-15000 to power the setup (this is way overkill but I wanted some room) using 1" plumbing. It runs 4 reactors, a refugium, and the dual 3/4" returns at halfway throttled. Thing is a beast.

The Apex, MP40's, Tunze Osmolator, DJ Strip, Skimmer - anything electrical was installed at this point.

I also wired up a 1/4" solenoid to add redundancy to my RODI (which is plumbed to the resevoir under the stand via float valve). If the float valve should fail, the solenoid is only on for a total of 2 hours a day (which is enough to keep up with evaporation).









At this point before I added water (some of the photos above are out of sequence) I started to become worried about my floor because my house sits on a crawl space.

I decided to pour 4 concrete footers under each corner of the tank, measuring 6" in diameter and 20 inches deep, and to use a 4x4 frame sitting on top of 4 loli columns rated for 18k pounds each, heh.

Unfortunately due to the height of my crawlspace I had to dig each one with a garden trowel, through some real ****** clay.

It took about a case of Miller Lite to get it done.

Next it was time for the canopy.

The canopy contains 4x 16" SB Reef lights and a 250w 20K Radium Halide center mass. The goal here was to make something as light as possible because I wanted it to hang. I used aluminum rods to suspend the lights inside the frame of the canopy.

Unfortunately the joists were not centered above my tank so I used a 3/4" plywood plate, secured that to the joists and then secured the canopy using high strength museum exhibit cables. I was too nervous to secure the canopy using toggle bolts.





I used the Apex dimming cabled and spliced into each SB Reef Light's dimmer circuits to enable to dimming of Blues and Whites to be controlled separately via apex.

Next was aquascaping, filling, apex programming, etc. Not a lot to say there.

I ended up adding a DoS unit to handle automatic water changes. It pulls new saltwater from a reservoir in my basement and the waste water is plumbed into the waster drain of my house.

Here is the mostly finished product. I do actually have to finish some aesthetic things - hiding some cords, closing in the gap between the back and the wall, and some minor touch up paint, but overall I call it done!

I will update when/if I add things! Next up is setting up a 4 part doser which I plan to use in conjunction with the Koralin-Zucht line.



Thanks for reading!
 
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Diesel

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Amazing my friend.
 
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DipSpit

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Oh also forgot another snaffu -

When I went to power it all on the breaker kept tripping. I had to go into the panel and install a dedicated 20 amp circuit for the tank! Was real mad about that - right when I thought I was done....


 
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DipSpit

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Holy schnikies that's a lot of light! Love the built. Avast makes great stuff. Well done sir.
Yeah it is a lot of light, heh. I havent noticed any bleaching yet though so, so far so good!
 
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DipSpit

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#reef2reef, #worldwidecorals, #mywwccontest
 

Diesel

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Oh also forgot another snaffu -

When I went to power it all on the breaker kept tripping. I had to go into the panel and install a dedicated 20 amp circuit for the tank! Was real mad about that - right when I thought I was done....



IMO ALWAYS have it's own breaker for the system and GCFI.
 
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DipSpit

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IMO ALWAYS have it's own breaker for the system and GCFI.
Yeah I should've though of it. It wasn't a big deal though since I am on a crawl space - just down over and up through the bottom of the stand.

The next step is installing a generator transfer - but I'm not quite there there, thats a little advanced.
 

Diesel

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I would hire a professional to do so.
 
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DipSpit

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I would hire a professional to do so.
I don't believe in that, heh. Theres nothing a pro can do that I can't learn how to do (unless it requires an industry specific tool, which I doubt it does).

After enough reading and talking with people in the industry usually reach a level of confidence and go for it. For reference, before I started this tank build, I thought about hiring a professional to do some of the work for no other reason than I was intimidated.
 

Diesel

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A generator is a no brainer to have a pro do the work.
In many cases as the generator will be gas feed to run if necessary and for that I would like to have a licensed pro to that just for insurance purposes.
If there is a default the homeowners insurance will cover the damage as in case of a fire.
Besides I'll pay $200 a year for twice a year checkup and once a month test to see if all is working fine.
Oh and I'm a home builder and can do the work easily but I prefer my contractors do it.
 
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DipSpit

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New Addition - Black Longnose Tang!

Was a bit worried about the Zebrasoma Tangs fighting - but with a clear size difference and a few days of a multi-nori station set up they are getting along great!
 

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