New 50g lowboy frag tank build

andrewkw

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Another build thread! For the past few years I have been growing extra corals in a 55g that was previously a hospital tank. The absolute worst sized tank ever constructed. I had a 48x18x8 frag tank. Since I got rid of that tank I have missed it greatly. Last week while on a trip to Detroit I picked up a zoo meds lowboy.

This tank is definitely "off the shelf" quality but for the price I have no complaints. There is nothing you can just buy in this price range with these dimensions. That being said there certainly is some sloppy construction as far as silicone, the trim isn't perfect and even the glass doesn't have a perfectly flat feel. The glass is thin enough that one person can comfortably carry this, but 2 makes it much easier given the dimensions 48x24x10.

I have wanted one of these tanks since they came out, now I finally have one. Surprisingly there are not a lot of reviews on the tank itself despite being out a number of years. At this price, I paid $159 USD, anyone who has space for one should get one. I don't actually do a lot of coral selling locally, but I have started bringing large numbers of frags with me when I make a trip back to the Toronto area where I'm from and the cash / credit will pay for new corals. Long term I would like to greatly expand my grow out potential but that will have to wait until I am in a more ideal location. Living out in the middle of no where does give me plenty of time to play around with tanks and one thing I hate in displays is frag racks. My display tank is corals on display and my frag tanks are corals growing out. There are lots of corals in my display that need trimming but I've had nowhere to put them.

I do have some other tanks, a nano tank, a 90g that just isn't quite right but I am very happy and proud of my main display tank see https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/112-gallon-mixed-reef-is-looking-like-a-reef-again.309857/

I am hoping this build will take 3-4 weeks.

Tank at the store - Sea World Inc in Detroit is one of the largest fish stores I've ever been in. Maybe the largest. So much dry goods - with good livestock selection as well.

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IMG_2004.jpg Their show tank.

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Just a few quick pictures to show some sloppy craftsman ship. I know some people would complain but there are no scratches on the glass, while I haven't filled it yet I assume it holds water fine. The small silicone line scared me as I thought it was a crack.

The bottom the silicone is even worse. The only one that bothers me is the glass edges not feeling perfectly flat. None of these issues effects my happiness with the tank. There were smaller seapora frag tanks for more money I could have bought or a custom tank if I wanted to spend even more.

I have started to get things ready, and this weekend I hope to get a bunch done and be 3-4 weeks max away from getting frags in the tank.
 
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andrewkw

andrewkw

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Drilled the tank with the help of my wife. Couldn't have done it without her spraying me with the hose while I drilled :) While I have drilled several tanks this is the first one I've done in many years.

I have an elite aquatics overflow box that has been in storage for 3 years. Originally it was going to go on my 180 gallon but I broke that tank when I moved. No point buying one for this tank even though technically I probably paid as much for the overflow as I did for the tank itself.

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I have a million more things to do including build a stand, but having the tank on this table is making me think. Maybe I should paint the bottom white? It's going to be bare bottom, most of my tanks are bare bottom but I never put anything on the actual glass. Later today I will complete a list of all the things I need to do to get this tank going..
 

Jaengle

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Following too.... Bought a couple of these brand new off CL last week. Will pry set up one ans ell one.
 

Jaengle

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Drilled the tank with the help of my wife. Couldn't have done it without her spraying me with the hose while I drilled :) While I have drilled several tanks this is the first one I've done in many years.

I have an elite aquatics overflow box that has been in storage for 3 years. Originally it was going to go on my 180 gallon but I broke that tank when I moved. No point buying one for this tank even though technically I probably paid as much for the overflow as I did for the tank itself.

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I have a million more things to do including build a stand, but having the tank on this table is making me think. Maybe I should paint the bottom white? It's going to be bare bottom, most of my tanks are bare bottom but I never put anything on the actual glass. Later today I will complete a list of all the things I need to do to get this tank going..
Gave you seen Fish of Hex you tube videos?? He painted these tanks, back and bottom black. His build videos are in YouTube.
 
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andrewkw

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Gave you seen Fish of Hex you tube videos?? He painted these tanks, back and bottom black. His build videos are in YouTube.
I have watched a lot of his videos and knew he had these tanks but just checked out this specific one. I've always spray painted my tanks but maybe using a roller would be easier. Certainly looks easier, but I still think I'll go with white. Tomorrow I hope to get the paint and some 2x4's. I will just be making a rocket engineer style stand. Not super handy but never had issues building this style of stand. Additionally I'd like to paint the room first now that it's warming up. This fish room doesn't operate like a normal fish room. I don't have filtration for my display tanks in there, just frag, qt, and storage. The room has a door in it so I don't think there will be too much issue painting with corals in the tank. I'll take it slow and do it over the course of a couple of days. I am also going to replace the awful office grade carpet with some cheap vinyl flooring. Should be relatively easy to do and affordable. I'd just rather get this done now so it won't be as big of a deal if there are minor spills and so that one day which may not be anytime soon, but when I go to sell this house I won't have to move the tanks out, replace the floor then move them back in.

The 55g will become the sump / fuge whatever you want to call it. I actually run my frag tank skimmerless but this will be where all the live rock stays and when I fill in the lowboy it can double as coral overflow. To start things off I will just use equipment I have. Once it's operational I will upgrade the lighting, flow ect. Since I have a bunch of stuff to do before I get the tank running I'll focus on that, get it running mostly with what I have then make changes.

I will have to order a return pump and probably some plumbing parts. I think the last setup was the last time I found enough random elbows to somehow complete my plumbing. Unfortunately the closest lowes closed so I'll have to order that stuff online. I did find a long piece of 1" pvc under my deck so at least I have that.
 
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andrewkw

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I spent most of the weekend working on everything. It's now or never for these renovations since once the room is filled with tanks and other stuff it will be impossible. I've got the far wall done so I can probably move the tank in as early as today, however it will be at least a week or 2 and likely 3 before it gets wet. I still need to figure out what I need which I should do sooner rather then later since shipping is slow here.

Vinyl flooring is quite easy to install. I did laminate once about 5 years ago and I found it difficult but doable. This stuff is easy to cut with a knife. The real headache is the prep and planning. I do need another box of flooring which I will grab later in the week, if my calculations are correct, I will have exactly enough flooring... If I'm off by one I'm just going to use 2 scrap pieces to fill the far corner. If I'm off by 2 I'll buy another box. I'm really not much for DIY / handy but I am really happy with how things are coming out. Other things I have done is paint the room - went with a blue colour that came out pretty nice. This paint is supposed to be good for high humidity so we'll see. I also stained the trim and door frames. The door will be stained next, but I can just take it off. There is a door to the outside in the room so using the low voc paint presented no issues, other then it's still cold outside here despite being late may. I believe yesterday was only 8c and it's been raining a lot.

I did not get a great before picture as the room was a huge mess. I found one from February 2018 which still looks like a huge mess. Now that the room is going to be nice I hope to have an easier time keeping it clean. Inside will be the 50 gallon frag tank with 55g sump. Two or 3 10g QT tanks and a 10 gallon nano reef. Also a skimmer graveyard, and random other equipment that I'm not using but keeping. There will be a little bit of non reef related storage, but maybe I'll finally get a book shelf and get my reef related books out too. The lighting in the room consists of a T8 fixture but I hope to replace that with a ceiling fan / light combo soon as the ballast has gone on it.

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I have to use this beat up $7 Ikea lamp until I replace the ceiling fixture or get a decent floor lamp... Only the back wall is completely finished there still needs to be some touch up on the wall to the right plus the other side of the room still needs to be painted. It's coming along, and actually turning out pretty nice!
 
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andrewkw

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I ran out of tile before finishing the room! I knew it wouldn't be enough but I didn't think anything of buying more the following week. Home Depot had a pallet of it, and every single time I've been there over the last few years the parking lot is always empty. Surprise surprise they sold out. Not a huge deal as I just ordered 2 more boxes online and they should be here in 3-5 business days. I had planned on already finishing. Even though I've been here nearly 3 years something like this really surprises me. Where I used to live there were at least 6 home depots within 30-40 minutes but here the next closest one is 3.5hrs.

Anyway back to the tank. I have started setting up the plumbing. I've never done the bean animal method, all my tanks have always been durso. In this case I don't even care about noise but since I have 3 drains in the overflow box I figured this is the way to go. The problem with the overflow box is it's barely 6" tall so it's hard to have enough room for 3 different sized height drains.

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It's hard to tell from this picture but the middle drain is almost at the bottom of the overflow box. Just a tiny sliver of pvc to raise it so the elbow will allow it to function. This has a gate valve on it. The left is the second drain. I can't put an endcap on it and still be able to put a lid on the overflow box. The far right is the emergency drain which is about an inch from the top of the box.

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I may try and get them a little closer but given the setup it's hard to get them perfectly the same height with a ball valve, a gate valve and a unionized ball valve. The ball valve I don't even know if I need. It's the emergency drain but I have it so I figured might as well use it. As I mentioned earlier I plan on using a 55 gallon sump so the top of the glass will only be slightly below the plumbing. I'm thinking I can rig something to the stand so the pipe can rest on this and not pull on the bulkheads. Otherwise I will have to look into some proper pvc supports. If anyone has any plumbing suggestions feel free to leave them. I'm never going to glue the inside pipes so all of that can be changed at any time. As for the rest of the plumbing I'm starting to glue those together so hopefully it won't be too much longer.
 
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andrewkw

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Thanks! I love peninsula tanks but have never been able to have one. Since 90% of this room is just my random reef stuff, why not? One day I do plan on a peninsula display but that is years away.

I am pleasantly surprised how well the room is coming along. I am not much for diy projects but once this room is done I’ll probably tackle some other projects I’ve been procrastinating about.

I will be starting the tank with existing equipment but as soon as I get it going I will start upgrading. I have tons to move in there :

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I really don’t know what it is about my frag tank but it really does well, hopefully adding in the lowboy will not effect this.
 
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andrewkw

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Are you plumbing them together??
Yes the 55 is becoming the sump. This system currently runs super simple. There is no skimmer. There is just a lot of live rock and a little bit of macro algae, and a little bit of nuisance algae although nothing too serious. I currently don't plan on having a skimmer but there really is no plan other then putting the 55 under the tank and the corals from it in the lowboy. It made more sense to invest in the room around it now and not have to move the tank again, then get more equipment later. I have enough stuff laying around to get it going. While this is a tank I've wanted for a long time, I just happened to have the opportunity to buy one finally and I'm not the type of person who lets a tank sit empty in the house for months or even weeks on end.
 
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Tbabcock

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Yes the 55 is becoming the sump. This system currently runs super simple. There is no skimmer. There is just a lot of live rock and a little bit of macro algae, and a little bit of nuisance algae although nothing too serious. I currently don't plan on having a skimmer but there really is no plan other then putting the 55 under the tank and the corals from it in the lowboy. It made more sense to invest in the room around it now and not have to move the tank again, then get more equipment later. I have enough stuff laying around to get it going. While this is a tank I've wanted for a long time, I just happened to have the opportunity to buy one finally and I'm not the type of person who lets a tank sit empty in the house for months or even weeks on end.
Mine is a work in progress but i wanted to do it like yours but it didn't look right in the space i have set aside for it. Made a pull out drawer to test and frag on.
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andrewkw

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Everything has more or less been on hold, but a couple of days ago of this I decided I'll just plumb the tank. I just barely had enough plumbing parts. I really didn't want to have to order a few elbows online. I ended up using some 45's where I would have preferred 90s but couldn't find them locally. I knew the 55 was going to be hard to reach into but it's even harder then I expected. This is fine though, as the original frag setup was just the 55g and I would have to remove the frags to reach into it. I can still use this later for overgrown corals or as a fish prison.

The water level sits a little low in the tank but it wasn't possible to put the overflow any higher. I could always cover the bottom of the teeth but for now I'm just leaving it. The transfer was a real pain, but I don't appear to have lost any coral. I did water changes on my other tanks to limit the amount of new saltwater (with super high alkalinity) I added. I had been running this system super hot by accident 82-83, but with the extra 50 gallons of water volume it's sitting at about 80-80.5 this is still my warmest tank but nothing seems to mind. I never intentionally got the temp so high, but when I finally put an inkbird on the system it read 83 but everything was fine so I just left it. I have 2, so I usually try them both together to make sure they are accurate and then move one back to another tank.

The reason everything was on hold is the flooring I ordered came smashed. I'm not mad that it came smashed, things get damaged in shipping all the time. Especially when the package just consists of a shipping label. I am mad that it took 2 days to send out after a shipping label was created and even madder at the return policy for damaged. I wanted them to just send me 2 more boxes and they can take the damaged ones back. The only options they gave me where to send them back and reorder at my expense and within 7 days of them getting them back they would refund me OR take them to the store for a refund which still has not appeared on my card. After complaining on social media they offered me a $20 discount to keep the destroyed flooring and no refund. I complained further and mentioned the nearest home depot is a 53 minute drive from me and sent google maps directions. They decided after another full day to up their offer to $20 discount + $20 gift card and no refund. Finally I had it and took them back to the store. I was hoping the refund would be faster but I guess I'm just going to order 2 more and have them shipped to the store Monday. Now I'm almost done and 2 boxes is not a lot of money, but on principal I should not have to pay twice to get once. This is home depot not some little company. The one time I got damaged from an amazon package after 2 minutes in a chat I was given the choice of refund or reorder and it was done within 10 minutes.

Once I get all the corals arranged nicely and or get the flooring complete I will take some better pics. The water has cleared nicely though and everything has room. It's nice not to have corals on top of corals, on top of corals. I plan on doing a lot of trimming in my main display so it looks more like a display and less overgrown.
 

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