Oh god what have I done?: Kelsey builds a reef tank

Lissa1987

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2018
Messages
287
Reaction score
356
Location
Tampa Bay
Lol This makes me giggle...I am secretely building a new tank (60 gallons-hopefully for seahorses) in our garage (entire first floor of the house so I have my own "workshop" area (I like power tools)) I was recently trying to build a sump (as I don't want to use my boyfriends credit card to buy anything so he doesn't know until it is built and beautiful), at which point I plan on convincing him it belongs upstairs with the 90 gallon tank.... So i find a large piece of glass (6-8 feet by 3-4 feet) sitting beside a dumpster literally just outside my neighborhood. It has drill holes in it so i figure its likely not tempered and load it into my jeep. I get it home in one piece and remove it from the back to place it on the floor close to my shop. I don't know how the thing lasted my loading (wasn't very gentle) the ride home and unloading (again not very gentle) but as soon as that piece of glass touched the floor (very gently) it shattered into a million pieces...Thankfully the significant other was out of town so i had a whole night to clean it up. The standard poodle on the other hand was very annoyed to be sequestered over 5 feet away from me while the clean up was in progress... I have quit a few cuts all over from the shatter but only a couple I have had to try to explain (again poor poodle is getting blamed...)
 

Lissa1987

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2018
Messages
287
Reaction score
356
Location
Tampa Bay
Lol This makes me giggle...I am secretely building a new tank (60 gallons-hopefully for seahorses) in our garage (entire first floor of the house so I have my own "workshop" area (I like power tools)) I was recently trying to build a sump (as I don't want to use my boyfriends credit card to buy anything so he doesn't know until it is built and beautiful), at which point I plan on convincing him it belongs upstairs with the 90 gallon tank.... So i find a large piece of glass (6-8 feet by 3-4 feet) sitting beside a dumpster literally just outside my neighborhood. It has drill holes in it so i figure its likely not tempered and load it into my jeep. I get it home in one piece and remove it from the back to place it on the floor close to my shop. I don't know how the thing lasted my loading (wasn't very gentle) the ride home and unloading (again not very gentle) but as soon as that piece of glass touched the floor (very gently) it shattered into a million pieces...Thankfully the significant other was out of town so i had a whole night to clean it up. The standard poodle on the other hand was very annoyed to be sequestered over 5 feet away from me while the clean up was in progress... I have quit a few cuts all over from the shatter but only a couple I have had to try to explain (again poor poodle is getting blamed...)
I was literally cleaning glass from the entirety of the 7 car garage that is "my side" It somehow even made it onto shelves about halfway up across the room...
IMG_5655 2.jpg
IMG_5816.jpg

IMG_2573.jpg
 
World Wide Corals - Quality Aqua-cultured Coral

champtain

Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
63
Reaction score
96
Location
Wisconsin
This is the funniest thread I’ve ever read. I’ve been banned from DIY projects because I don’t “clean up after myself” and “make too much noise”, so I’m going to live vicariously through you. Good luck, and remember, it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.
 
OP
kelseymybelle

kelseymybelle

Member
View Badges
Joined
May 18, 2019
Messages
53
Reaction score
208
Part III: Concerning my childhood OCD diagnosis

Dear husband,

You may notice I’ve been a little high-strung these past few weeks. On edge. Titchy, even. I’m sorry, I really am. There’s a certain frantic energy about me that I am trying desperately to keep in check, but I could swear it’s radiating off of me. The frenzy is palpable. This is not a great time for the kid to be teething. Please allow me to try and explain myself.

I have been consumed by plumbing. All are become PVC. The most crucial component of my first tank, my first venture into reefing, and somehow, cruelly, the least comprehensible. My inner monologue is frightfully repetitive and I’m nearing exhaustion. Unions. I must use them. But HOW do they work? And WHY won’t my usual compulsive YouTube research elucidate the mechanism?

Perhaps I would pardon you for presuming that this particular preoccupation is not particularly practical at this point in the project.

We don’t even have a tank, you might argue. And you’re right—the prospect of reassembling the 30 gallon now-rimless aquarium was daunting. But I would argue that, really, part of this is your fault. You’re the one who said I “might as well just get a different tank.” And when I casually mentioned that maybe I could go bigger than the 30 gallons I had planned initially, you gave an affirming grunt. I take back my previous statement—I am comfortable placing blame for the state of my browser tabs squarely on your shoulders.

For you see, dear husband: I have found myself The New Tank. And it is a steal. Not free, not by any means, and nothing rimless or fancy, but a 90 gallon reef-ready is a major upgrade from the meager setup I’d been planning. Factor in a motivated seller and the included sump, skimmer, stand, and canopy, and please understand that THIS is this tank I was meant to have. THIS tank I will not break. And THIS tank I will plumb beautifully and expertly and you will be ever-so-proud of how cleverly I assemble this whole system—the moment I make myself understand unions.

PLEASE say yes. As a Mother’s Day gift. All I ask is that you let me adopt this tank. I promise I will clean it and make it brand new again. And I promise that once I have this tank, I will relax a little bit and give the plumbing talk a break. No, you can’t look at the pictures the seller sent, that’s not the way it’s going to look once I’m done with it. Also I will probably need your help picking it up. This is one tank I won’t be able to stroll home.
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics

vetteguy53081

Well known Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Messages
18,424
Reaction score
31,208
Location
Sheboygan, WI
Dear husband,

You may notice I’ve been a little high-strung these past few weeks. On edge. Titchy, even. I’m sorry, I really am. There’s a certain frantic energy about me that I am trying desperately to keep in check, but I could swear it’s radiating off of me. The frenzy is palpable. This is not a great time for the kid to be teething. Please allow me to try and explain myself.

I have been consumed by plumbing. All are become PVC. The most crucial component of my first tank, my first venture into reefing, and somehow, cruelly, the least comprehensible. My inner monologue is frightfully repetitive and I’m nearing exhaustion. Unions. I must use them. But HOW do they work? And WHY won’t my usual compulsive YouTube research elucidate the mechanism?

Perhaps I would pardon you for presuming that this particular preoccupation is not particularly practical at this point in the project.

We don’t even have a tank, you might argue. And you’re right—the prospect of reassembling the 30 gallon now-rimless aquarium was daunting. But I would argue that, really, part of this is your fault. You’re the one who said I “might as well just get a different tank.” And when I casually mentioned that maybe I could go bigger than the 30 gallons I had planned initially, you gave an affirming grunt. I take back my previous statement—I am comfortable placing blame for the state of my browser tabs squarely on your shoulders.

For you see, dear husband: I have found myself The New Tank. And it is a steal. Not free, not by any means, and nothing rimless or fancy, but a 90 gallon reef-ready is a major upgrade from meager setup I’d been planning. Factor in a motivated seller and the included sump, skimmer, stand, and canopy, and please understand that THIS is this tank I was meant to have. THIS tank I will not break. And THIS tank I will plumb beautifully and expertly and you will be ever-so-proud of how cleverly I assemble this whole system—the moment I make myself understand unions.

PLEASE say yes. As a Mother’s Day gift. All I ask is that you let me adopt this tank. I promise I will clean it and make it brand new again. And I promise that once I have this tank, I will relax a little bit and give the plumbing talk a break. No, you can’t look at the pictures the seller sent, that’s not the way it’s going to look once I’m done with it. Also I will probably need your help picking it up. This is one tank I won’t be able to stroll home.
Beautiful and sweet !!

Here is your first member vote:
Y E S
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
kelseymybelle

kelseymybelle

Member
View Badges
Joined
May 18, 2019
Messages
53
Reaction score
208
Part IV: Pics or it didn’t happen

I am delighted to be able to share the following pictures with you all. May I present, for your viewing pleasure, the gnarly 90 gallon I picked up pre-owned and my process thus far to get it all cleaned out—but first! what might have been, had I not overestimated my skill with a putty scraper:

whatwouldhavebeen.JPG


But let us not grieve for what may never be. What is dead may never die.

Onwards to glory, and a 90 gallon reef!

Step One: Assessing the work I would have to do, based on the seller’s pictures.

When considering my purchase, I requested some images of the sump setup (it’s been established that I am preoccupied by learning just how best to plumb my first reef system). I bought this tank and sump bundle knowing full well what I was getting into:

OldSump1.JPG


OldSump2.JPG


This was not on-brand. I could fix this.

Step Two: Buying it anyway and bringing it home.

We got the tank, stand, and all accoutrements home without major mishap, somehow. But now I had a freshly reassembled, completely filthy, secondhand saltwater system living in the garage and that sand was starting to smell.

sumpbulkhead.JPG


I scooped the majority of the old sand out with a dustpan (sorry husband) and trotted happily to the grocery store to purchase ten gallons of distilled white vinegar.

Step Three: Ignore the leaking bulkhead and run system with vinegar solution.

In order to dissolve the calcium and freaky algae that had built up throughout the system, I ran the full original setup (in the garage) with a 1:9 vinegar-to-hose-water solution for two straight days. By the second day, the majority of the gunk had settled at the bottom of the tank, and the rest came off with a sponge and minimal effort.

vinegar2.JPG


theaftermath1.JPG


Step Four: Drain vinegar solution and run bleach cycle.

After flushing the vinegar out of the tank and sump, things were looking and smelling better. I refilled the system with hose water, poured in two gallons of unscented bleach, and let it all run for another 48 hours. By the end of all this, both the tank and the sump were looking nearly new. As I was draining the bleach solution, I added (a probably unnecessary amount of) Seachem Prime in an effort to start getting things back to normal before the final rinse and dry routine.

tankrinse.JPG


tankrinse2.JPG

cleansump.JPG


Step Five: Spray paint the back of the tank, poorly.

Used Rustoleum 2x in a semi-gloss black. I did my best. It looks great from the front of the tank, which is really all that matters. No pics of this, but please imagine that the whole process went smoothly.

Step Six: Reassess plumbing and sump needs based on preliminary experiences.

So here's what I've decided I need to do, in light of the things I've learned so far.

1) I'm converting the standard Durso drain/return setup into a Herbie overflow, and will run the return line up the back of the tank. No big deal.
2) I need a bigger sump. I also want a separate refugium.
3) This stand is on its last legs, and I'll need to construct a custom one.

I have a pretty cool idea for the stand and plans for a display refugium that I'm excited to share with you guys soon. Thanks for reading!

Vinegar1.JPG


Post-vinegar gunk. Super duper satisfying.
 
Last edited:

GK3

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
896
Reaction score
706
Location
Charlotte NC
Part I: Adventure Calls

I’ll preface this by telling you what I told my husband: At least I decided against the crocodile skinks.


And in my defense, you WERE out of town and therefore unable to stop me.


Although I’ll admit it was perhaps not the most well-thought-out plan, FREE was altogether too good of a deal to pass up. And consider the fortuitous circumstances: A 30 gallon tank popped up on a Curb Alert in my “general area;” 36” happened to fit my lonely tank stand perfectly; it was a beautiful day; you and our toddler were up North at the cabin—and to cap it all, I was emboldened by the Youtube playlist of “how to de-rim an aquarium” videos that had been autoplaying as I compulsively researched gate valves and comparison-shopped colored PVC pipe.

Here it was: My opportunity to prove to you, my skeptical husband, that I could ABSOLUTELY scavenge together a beautiful, modern, sleek-looking nano reef tank for my home office.

Yes, I realize you explicitly told me not to buy another tank. Yes, I know you’ve just left your job to become a stay-at-home dad to our 13 month old son, and that now the burden of financially providing for our family falls on my shoulders. Yes, I am keenly aware that my company works primarily with startups on a per-contract basis. But you must understand—I was going to spend no money on this ludicrous adventure. This was A Free Tank.

So I messaged the Curb Alerter to find out his address, to see whether I could even feasibly get to what had immediately become—in my mind—my new aquarium. After all, you were hundreds of miles away with the toddler and the truck. And oh, what luck—the tank was curbed a mere two miles away, in a neighborhood I’ve driven through many times. It was destiny.

All that remained was to get there. Simple. Were I one of those totally-got-my-****-together moms who, thirteen months postpartum, had resumed their daily jogs and yerba mates with Gal Pals in yoga pants, that two mile walk would have been a piece of gluten-free cake. I’m confident enough in myself to share that I, however, am testing the tensile strength of my sweatpants as I type this.

Undaunted, I unfolded my son’s stroller and flopped a couple of towels into the seat (I had A Plan). I put on my very best sneakers and my least stained sweatpants. I even put on a sports bra. And off I sauntered down the street, pushing an empty stroller and secure in my knowledge that this was a voyage I was meant to take, that this was a tank I was meant to have, and that you would be charmed by just how quirky and impulsive—and thrifty!—your wife can be.


IMG_2325.JPG


Three hours later I returned home, delighted with myself and my new tank. This was going to look SO cool as a nano reef. We even have a tank in the basement to use as a sump, and another to cannibalize for baffles and bracing for the display—because seriously, that pale faux wood grain trim has to go.

Horrifying trim aside, it looks pretty good. And when it’s sitting on the stand, I can take off my glasses and imagine the final setup, with suspended lights and beautiful plumbing and a thriving garden of soft corals. It will be just the thing to kickstart productivity during my workday and will make me seem like a Very Interesting Individual during video calls with clients.

This is a good idea, Kelsey. Good job today.
I just read all of the parts to your series. The whole time, the only thing going through my head was “I can math the crap out of anything, I totally understand gate valves, I could have totally helped with the broken panel - but d**n I just wish I could write like her.”

True talent, very fun read.
 

NeverlosT

SPS nut
View Badges
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
827
Reaction score
498
Location
San Luis Obispo, California
this is awesome. You are a new mom with the ambition to take on a reefing challenge and that is epic. Your writing is compelling and fun. That new tank is looking good!

if you need help selling this madness to yo-man, we have two kids (1.5 and 2.5 years) and they have always loved watching the fish! Stub a toe and cry? Run them to the tank and say "look at these fishies!", it works! So there you go. it is an educational and emotional support tool!

I do see one big challenge coming and I need to prepare you for this because your pace thus far has been impressive. Once it is all built... the step known as cycling cant really be rushed much and at best takes a few weeks. That's a hard time for a lot of reefers. I am impatient so its hard for me.

Do you have a plan for this masterpiece? What will the Sistine Chapel look like when it is done? Corals? Anemone and clowns? A school of barracuda??

Keep it up, I love this thread!
 
Earn WWC Rewards Points

What's better food for you fish. A High Quality Frozen or High Quality Dry Food?

  • High Quality Frozen

    Votes: 199 76.5%
  • High Quality Dry

    Votes: 43 16.5%
  • Other (please post in the thread)

    Votes: 18 6.9%

Online statistics

Members online
1,057
Guests online
3,816
Total visitors
4,873
CWT Aquatics - Acrylic Sumps, Tanks, and More!
Use pumps from different brands TOGETHER!
Top