Gablami’s 260 gallon Rimless SPS Build

Gablami

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Figured I would start a build thread to keep track of all I’ve done. I’ll warn you off the bat, that this isn’t going to be one of those threads where I bury you in posts over a few days and end with an updated FTS full of colonies :p (I love those threads). My tank isn’t here yet, but I’ve got it all pretty much planned out in my head.

I have a 74”x34”x24” custom tank and wood-wrapped steel stand on order from CDA. I placed the order mid January and I was told to expect a 16-18 week build time.

One thing that I think is a bit unique with this build, is I’m planning on keeping the back clear without any pumps or cables along the back. I love the look of a clear back panel. It really opens up the reef to me, and makes it feel much more natural. This obviously makes everything else more challenging as it affects placement of pumps, plumbing, light mounting, cleaning, fan cooling, almost everything!

Let’s start with the basics:

It will be rimless with 3/4” starphire glass on the viewing panels. There will be reinforced vertical seams, starboard reinforced bottom. It will be a corner tank, with the external overflow on the left side with a clear back panel.

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It’s going to go in this corner.

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Mar344

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Following! I'm planning a very similar build. 72"x30"x25". Love the idea of keeping the overflow pane clear.

Do you have a plan for lighting yet?
 
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Gablami

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I struggled with the dimensions of this custom build. One of the great things about a custom build is you can choose EVERYTHING! One of the drawbacks (besides price) is that you can choose EVERYTHING!

What helped me decide on those weird dimensions (74x34) was someone told me that “every inch matters” and I wanted this to be the biggest tank I could fit in that spot. I left 3” in the back for ventilation and in case I wanted to put any mp40s along the back. The height limit was 24” for rimless tanks, so that made it easier, but initially I was thinking of going eurobraced and 30” tall. (More on rimless vs eurobrace later).

Now onto stand height: Did I want to the stand to be higher so that the tank is more at eye level and have more room down below for equipment? Or lower, so it’s easier to work in? I struggled over this question for weeks. Ultimately I went with lower, mostly because I decided on rimless. Rimless is a more modern, minimalist clean aesthetic. A lower stand goes along with that. If I went eurobraced I would have gone taller, so you’re not looking down onto the eurobrace when you’re standing next to the tank. When you look at the rimless tank makers, Elos, Red Sea, etc, their rimless tank stands are lower, which go along with the entire aesthetic of the structure.

There are countless posts of reefers asking about eurobrace vs rimless. Yes, to state the obvious points, eurobrace is stronger and lighter (and cheaper!), and there is less water splashing. Rimless feels a little more risky, is heavier and more expensive. But I think the main point is the overall aesthetic of the tank/stand. If you’re going to go with a traditional canopy, I think eurobrace is the obvious choice. I don’t understand why sometimes I see people putting regular canopies over their rimless tank. If you go rimless, I think you should go with a floating canopy or an exposed lighting structure.

So overall, I think tank height and stand height conundrums can sometimes be approached by answering the rimless vs eurobraced question first. After you know that for sure, the other questions get easier. And if you don’t know the answer to rimless vs eurobraced, look a bunch of photos. Not full tank shots, but the ENTIRE setup (tank/stand/surrounding space). Often a FTS will be jaw dropping but a shot of the tank/stand in the room is not what you’re looking for. I think once you’ve seen a good number of tanks in rooms, you know more whether you gravitate towards rimless or not.
 
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Gablami

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Following! I'm planning a very similar build. 72"x30"x25". Love the idea of keeping the overflow pane clear.

Do you have a plan for lighting yet?
Yes! Let’s jump to lighting. I’ve had experience with all LEDs (kessil) then did LED/T5 hybrid, and experimented with a 6 bulb Sunpower with reefbrites. For this build I want to go all LED. I don’t want to change bulbs, and heat is a major factor for me (I’m in California, so I’m cooling my tank with fans more often than heating it).

So for LED only, for an SPS only tank, I wanted good quality, even coverage. Initially I was convinced I would go with 10 XR15s with diffusers spaced out evenly. But the costs made me hesitant to bite the bullet. Almost more than the costs, the idea of managing all those cables and power bricks was giving me a headache.

Ultimately I decided on Orphek Atlantik v4 gen 2. For big tanks, the price per acreage just can’t be beat. I spoke with James at Orphek, and he said 3 panels for a tank oriented perpendicular would work. I decided to go with 4 panels.

For awhile i struggled with how to mount the lights. But I think I’m going with the top diagram.

AE84C66E-1A1C-4A98-A925-8654EDEF54FB.jpeg
 

Mar344

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Yes! Let’s jump to lighting. I’ve had experience with all LEDs (kessil) then did LED/T5 hybrid, and experimented with a 6 bulb Sunpower with reefbrites. For this build I want to go all LED. I don’t want to change bulbs, and heat is a major factor for me (I’m in California, so I’m cooling my tank with fans more often than heating it).

So for LED only, for an SPS only tank, I wanted good quality, even coverage. Initially I was convinced I would go with 10 XR15s with diffusers spaced out evenly. But the costs made me hesitant to bite the bullet. Almost more than the costs, the idea of managing all those cables and power bricks was giving me a headache.

Ultimately I decided on Orphek Atlantik v4 gen 2. For big tanks, the price per acreage just can’t be beat. I spoke with James at Orphek, and he said 3 panels for a tank oriented perpendicular would work. I decided to go with 4 panels.

For awhile i struggled with how to mount the lights. But I think I’m going with the top diagram.

AE84C66E-1A1C-4A98-A925-8654EDEF54FB.jpeg
Wow love that layout! Thanks for the info. Whats your experience with Kessil? I have been thinking about doing a T5 Hybrid with 2 T5 bulbs and hopefully 2 of the new AP9x (if they ever come out).
 
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Gablami

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Wow love that layout! Thanks for the info. Whats your experience with Kessil? I have been thinking about doing a T5 Hybrid with 2 T5 bulbs and hopefully 2 of the new AP9x (if they ever come out).
I had two AP700s and 4 T5 bulbs. I think for LED/T5 hybrid, Kessils are the best option given its unparalleled shimmer. I have no specific complaints about that combination. Kessils alone do result in a good amount of shadowing.

I used 2 blue plus and 2 coral plus bulbs which give a little bit a whiter appearance, but you can use the Kessils to give it whatever appearance you like.

With 4 bulbs, I had the T5 doing the heavy lifting during the peak periods. With 2 bulbs, the Kessils will have to do a little bit more, but they are more than up to the task. I was only running my Kessils around 30% max power.
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Mar344

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I had two AP700s and 4 T5 bulbs. I think for LED/T5 hybrid, Kessils are the best option given its unparalleled shimmer. I have no specific complaints about that combination. Kessils alone do result in a good amount of shadowing.

I used 2 blue plus and 2 coral plus bulbs which give a little bit a whiter appearance, but you can use the Kessils to give it whatever appearance you like.

With 4 bulbs, I had the T5 doing the heavy lifting during the peak periods. With 2 bulbs, the Kessils will have to do a little bit more, but they are more than up to the task. I was only running my Kessils around 30% max power.
84F4A738-2BAC-46A4-B5D0-7BD4C1910B05.jpeg

A7F6DC12-EDBC-451C-9BEC-EE465D275C3D.jpeg

07BC22DB-484C-4A8C-AFC4-B50F941026FE.jpeg

E41D931B-09AF-4C34-9EA4-53AFB43B2EA7.jpeg
dang! What incredible tanks! That is exactly what I've been planning! Thank you so much for sharing. And the pics!
 
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Gablami

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I put a lot of thought into how to hang my lights. My prior build I had a floating canopy. I was happy with it in general, but sometimes it got in the way with tank maintenance. It was also very awkward to change the t5 bulbs, and it was difficult to remove or place large items into the tank (like acclimation boxes or traps).

In this build I wanted a fixture that I could raise or tilt to gain access to the tank, and have easy access to the lights themselves. I’ve seen some impressive builds where this is motorized, but I didn’t know how I would hide the machinery, and I worried about the motor one day breaking.

So I found this solution:

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A outdoor bench bracket that folds upwards. It’s galvanized steel, and a pair of them can hold 500lbs.


I bought a pair of them, but when I received them, I realized that they were slightly at an angle (not perpendicular to the wall). I decided to grind down the steel block to allow it to sit at a right angle.

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The bottom one is post-grinding and the top is pre-grinding.
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Then I spray painted them white.

To be continued...
 
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Gablami

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I needed to reinforce the wall to bolt the brackets in. I found the studs and cut out a large piece of drywall. Then reinforced with 2x10”. Then parched it all up and painted it.

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I have always been intrigued by 8020 extruded aluminum. I wanted to use it for my light fixture. 1010 extrusions are 1” thick, which fit perfectly inside the brackets. Since contact between aluminum and steel can lead to galvanic corrosion, I bought nylon washers to keep the two from touching.

I bought m4 screws of varying lengths and tnutz that would fit. And attached the orphek atlantiks directly into the beam.

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I mounted the lights 12 inches above the rim of the tank, so with 1.5-2” or so from water level, it’ll end up being being between 13.5-14” from water level.

EDIT: After installing the 8020 extrusions to the bracket, there is enough play in the brackets that you can probably level the extrusions without having to drill off any off the steel bracket. Just FYI, for anyone trying to do this.
 
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Gablami

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How easy does it flip up and what’s your plan to hold it up (if you were planning to)? Love the clean look
The actual movement of the bracket is super easy, but the weight of the fixture makes it hard. Each Orphek atlantik is heavier than it looks at 17lbs, so the four lights plus the 8020 is about 70lbs. I can tilt it up completely by myself with a step stool, but it’s not easy.

I was originally thinking I might install a white hook in the wall above it and have a steel wire hidden on the fixture that I could use to keep it in place. But now that I see it in place, I don’t think I’ll need it. Orphek’s recommended hanging height is higher than most lights and there is plenty of room between the top of the tank and the lights. I think I’ll only need to tilt it up to put in or remove large rock work or perform some major maintenance on the fixture (like remove and replace one of the lights).
 
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Gablami

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Great idea on the mounts
Very cool. Im looking forward to following your build.
Thank you! I wish I had more stuff to design and build because it’s my favorite part of tank setup. I just heard back from CDA, and they said that they are delayed 3-4 weeks because of COVID19. So I’m probably looking at late May or June I’m guessing. That’ll be almost 6 months from deposit! :oops:

I’ve already installed two 20AMP breakers and run the wires through the crawl space and set up the gfci receptacles in parallel.

I also ran an Ethernet cable (Apex on WiFi is no good).

If you’re wondering why a light switch is so low, I didn’t want it to show behind the tank, and it was too much work to move it onto a different wall, so I just moved it down so it would be behind the stand.

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Preparatory work still yet to be done:

- drill another outlet to the crawl space for an airline for the skimmer and the ATO line (30g ATO reservoir under the house).

- plumb a water change drain in the crawl space (have a large drill bit and a 1” female NPT tap ready to go).

- reinforce the joists under the tank location (at the end, already have the cement bases and jack posts)

- minor water change station changes
 

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