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

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Eagle_Steve

To many tanks!!!!!
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Thank you for taking the crap day I had at work and making me smile. Good luck on the tank and I look forward to seeing all of your updates and what is soon to be an awesome reef.
 

Lissa1987

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@Lissa1987 Oh nooooo I'm so sorry your glass exploded!!! That must have been heartbreaking. Do you have a backup plan for a replacement pane? Keep me posted!
I actually broke down when i had to go to the pet store for dog food (his isn't cheap) and treats so I quietly added on a 20 gallon long to the purchase to become my sump...lol deceit at its worst but he will like it when its done...
 
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kelseymybelle

kelseymybelle

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@jmsalt1 -- ha! you caught me. And here I thought I played the accident pretty convincingly...

@GK3, @acesq, @btmedic04 -- thank you so much for your kind words! Everyone on this forum is so helpful and knowledgeable; the site's become an invaluable research tool and I'm excited to be able to contribute :)

@Eagle_Steve -- I really hope your day improved a little after work :) When in doubt, a blanket solves many problems.

@NeverlosT -- Part of how I'm feeling comes from knowing that I have, just, SO many more options now (livestock-wise) than I had assumed I would when I was initially planning the tank. I know I want to try my hand at rock flower anemones down the road, and I really love the look of LPS-heavy tanks. Part of the fun is discovering all the different things there are to keep at all levels of the tank, and how the species will interact. It's super cool! I am 100% open to suggestions or recommendations, of course :)

@count krunk -- yes, it'll be hard plumbed—with the exception of the return line, which I'm going to be running with braided vinyl up the back of the tank. I figure I'll probably want to upgrade the pump to a DC model in the not-too-distant-future, and will consider switching it up at that point if need be. I'm excited to give PVC a shot. In fact, my (early) birthday present arrived today! I asked for, and received, a gate valve.

@eggplantparrot -- You want proof?? Last month, I attended my first-ever local frag swap. This is embarrassing but please look at my face when I met the guys from BRSTV:

TCMAS.jpg
 

eggplantparrot

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@jmsalt1 -- ha! you caught me. And here I thought I played the accident pretty convincingly...

@GK3, @acesq, @btmedic04 -- thank you so much for your kind words! Everyone on this forum is so helpful and knowledgeable; the site's become an invaluable research tool and I'm excited to be able to contribute :)

@Eagle_Steve -- I really hope your day improved a little after work :) When in doubt, a blanket solves many problems.

@NeverlosT -- Part of how I'm feeling comes from knowing that I have, just, SO many more options now (livestock-wise) than I had assumed I would when I was initially planning the tank. I know I want to try my hand at rock flower anemones down the road, and I really love the look of LPS-heavy tanks. Part of the fun is discovering all the different things there are to keep at all levels of the tank, and how the species will interact. It's super cool! I am 100% open to suggestions or recommendations, of course :)

@count krunk -- yes, it'll be hard plumbed—with the exception of the return line, which I'm going to be running with braided vinyl up the back of the tank. I figure I'll probably want to upgrade the pump to a DC model in the not-too-distant-future, and will consider switching it up at that point if need be. I'm excited to give PVC a shot. In fact, my (early) birthday present arrived today! I asked for, and received, a gate valve.

@eggplantparrot -- You want proof?? Last month, I attended my first-ever local frag swap. This is embarrassing but please look at my face when I met the guys from BRSTV:

TCMAS.jpg
i can't really tell tell from the picture but I think you look slightly excited? :D
 

Lissa1987

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@jmsalt1 -- ha! you caught me. And here I thought I played the accident pretty convincingly...

@GK3, @acesq, @btmedic04 -- thank you so much for your kind words! Everyone on this forum is so helpful and knowledgeable; the site's become an invaluable research tool and I'm excited to be able to contribute :)

@Eagle_Steve -- I really hope your day improved a little after work :) When in doubt, a blanket solves many problems.

@NeverlosT -- Part of how I'm feeling comes from knowing that I have, just, SO many more options now (livestock-wise) than I had assumed I would when I was initially planning the tank. I know I want to try my hand at rock flower anemones down the road, and I really love the look of LPS-heavy tanks. Part of the fun is discovering all the different things there are to keep at all levels of the tank, and how the species will interact. It's super cool! I am 100% open to suggestions or recommendations, of course :)

@count krunk -- yes, it'll be hard plumbed—with the exception of the return line, which I'm going to be running with braided vinyl up the back of the tank. I figure I'll probably want to upgrade the pump to a DC model in the not-too-distant-future, and will consider switching it up at that point if need be. I'm excited to give PVC a shot. In fact, my (early) birthday present arrived today! I asked for, and received, a gate valve.

@eggplantparrot -- You want proof?? Last month, I attended my first-ever local frag swap. This is embarrassing but please look at my face when I met the guys from BRSTV:

TCMAS.jpg
I absolutely love your kids mismatched socks...Completely real.
 
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kelseymybelle

kelseymybelle

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Part V: A Stand is Born.

This portion of the project has been an adventure. One in which I have encountered many perilous obstacles, most of which are the ordinary sort and a few of which are entirely of my own making.

You may recall from le quatrième chapitre of my thread that I needed to build a new stand for my pre-loved 90 gallon. I justified this expense (both literal and time-wise) a few different ways:

  1. During the tank cleaning process I managed to get an extraordinary volume of water on and in the stock stand. The hood was largely spared, but the stand I’d inherited was damp, peeling, and probably headed for disaster.

  2. The stock stand was also not ideal in terms of height and design. I have a Crazy Idea for a multi-level refugium/sump system and I needed a taller stand to make it happen; one that ideally didn’t have that inconvenient center brace. My husband and I are also giant viking people, and have to stoop to properly view most factory-ready stands. A taller stand was in order.

  3. That danged YouTube—and the infallibly charming Joey, King of DIY—made it sound like any moron can build a simple, stable, and cost-effective stand out of 2x4s. I could be that moron.

I pause my narrative here to highlight a theme that seems to have arisen as I’ve lost my mind over corals: Fortuity, and the happy serendipity that this particular (expensive) fancy has overtaken me at a time of year during which I might reasonably expect presents and preferential treatment. See exhibit 2: My whimsical manipulation of Mother’s Day to get my husband’s tacit approval to proceed.

In this case, a Sign from Fate that I should attempt a stand build came in the form of my supportive father, who is both the smartest man I’ve ever met and very handy with his collection of woodworking tools. When I asked him for help building a simple and sturdy stand, he gallantly agreed and even—even!—hinted that he might foot the bill for the lumber. (I say “hinted” due to the inherent ambiguity of the SMS medium). I was grateful for the help and exceedingly hopeful that I’d interpreted Dad’s text correctly—you see, my birthday is approaching and I thought that, perhaps, he would see the stand materials as a gift. I then felt guilty for hoping this and proceeded to budget for the lumber anyway, just in case.

To cut to the chase: We set a date to buy materials and build a stand.

And buy and build we did! I have no idea what I would have done without my Dad’s help on this. “Help” is really not giving him enough credit—he built a beautiful and very sturdy stand for my tank. I mostly supervised. Thanks so much, Dad!

Construction1.JPG

Construction2.JPG

Construction3.JPG

Construction4.JPG

Construction5.JPG

Construction6.JPG


The following day, my fabulous mother drove the newly-built stand frame the 40 miles from their home up to my house (she was rewarded for her trouble with a playdate with her grandson). Here’s the new stand structure in situ:

ChrisforScale.JPG


For scale, my husband is 6’4”. The stand measures in at 41” to the top of the plywood—this will give me plenty of room, hopefully, to maneuver the plumbing as my muddle my way through that part of this project. And please know that it's not as crooked as it appears in the picture above. I promise I used a level and it's definitely parallel to the floor.

Next up: Drill a hole in the plywood for the overflow plumbing and decide how the **** I'm going to cover this beast of a stand.
 

eggplantparrot

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Part V: A Stand is Born.

This portion of the project has been an adventure. One in which I have encountered many perilous obstacles, most of which are the ordinary sort and a few of which are entirely of my own making.

You may recall from le quatrième chapitre of my thread that I needed to build a new stand for my pre-loved 90 gallon. I justified this expense (both literal and time-wise) a few different ways:

  1. During the tank cleaning process I managed to get an extraordinary volume of water on and in the stock stand. The hood was largely spared, but the stand I’d inherited was damp, peeling, and probably headed for disaster.

  2. The stock stand was also not ideal in terms of height and design. I have a Crazy Idea for a multi-level refugium/sump system and I needed a taller stand to make it happen; one that ideally didn’t have that inconvenient center brace. My husband and I are also giant viking people, and have to stoop to properly view most factory-ready stands. A taller stand was in order.

  3. That danged YouTube—and the infallibly charming Joey, King of DIY—made it sound like any moron can build a simple, stable, and cost-effective stand out of 2x4s. I could be that moron.

I pause my narrative here to highlight a theme that seems to have arisen as I’ve lost my mind over corals: Fortuity, and the happy serendipity that this particular (expensive) fancy has overtaken me at a time of year during which I might reasonably expect presents and preferential treatment. See exhibit 2: My whimsical manipulation of Mother’s Day to get my husband’s tacit approval to proceed.

In this case, a Sign from Fate that I should attempt a stand build came in the form of my supportive father, who is both the smartest man I’ve ever met and very handy with his collection of woodworking tools. When I asked him for help building a simple and sturdy stand, he gallantly agreed and even—even!—hinted that he might foot the bill for the lumber. (I say “hinted” due to the inherent ambiguity of the SMS medium). I was grateful for the help and exceedingly hopeful that I’d interpreted Dad’s text correctly—you see, my birthday is approaching and I thought that, perhaps, he would see the stand materials as a gift. I then felt guilty for hoping this and proceeded to budget for the lumber anyway, just in case.

To cut to the chase: We set a date to buy materials and build a stand.

And buy and build we did! I have no idea what I would have done without my Dad’s help on this. “Help” is really not giving him enough credit—he built a beautiful and very sturdy stand for my tank. I mostly supervised. Thanks so much, Dad!

Construction1.JPG

Construction2.JPG

Construction3.JPG

Construction4.JPG

Construction5.JPG

Construction6.JPG


The following day, my fabulous mother drove the newly-built stand frame the 40 miles from their home up to my house (she was rewarded for her trouble with a playdate with her grandson). Here’s the new stand structure in situ:

ChrisforScale.JPG


For scale, my husband is 6’4”. The stand measures in at 41” to the top of the plywood—this will give me plenty of room, hopefully, to maneuver the plumbing as my muddle my way through that part of this project. And please know that it's not as crooked as it appears in the picture above. I promise I used a level and it's definitely parallel to the floor.

Next up: Drill a hole in the plywood for the overflow plumbing and decide how the **** I'm going to cover this beast of a stand.
yayyy! more more more!
 
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GK3

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kelseymybelle

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Part VI: In which I am Very Brave and plumb a reef tank.

You guys.

I did it.

This update is WAY overdue and I'll admit it's due to a couple of different factors, chief among them being my insistence on attempting to do this post in rhyming verse. I'm sorry I'm not sorry; it would have been great. I gave up, though, in favor of sharing with you all the most exciting news: Two nights ago, I finished plumbing not only the 90 gallon display, but also the 20 gallon refugium I have set up under the tank stand.

Would you like to see pictures?

Of course you would.

Witness, if you will, my exceptionally ham-fisted attempts at measuring, cutting, and cementing PVC pipe. Witness my maddeningly millennial preoccupation with having a "pretty" plumbing setup. Witness my spectacular inability to make the runs totally straight, and my errant disregard for the rules of the Herbie drain.

TL;DR: Photo dump incoming.
 
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kelseymybelle

kelseymybelle

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Before we jump into my first attempt at plumbing, I suppose we'd do well to briefly show just what ended up happening with the stand. Some of you may very well think I ruined it with the final look, but I think it's got a lovable "she tried her best" sort of vibe that I personally find very endearing.

Step 1: Go to Menards and impulse-purchase materials to cover stand.

We needed a pretty simple way to wrap the stand and finish the edges. Mission accomplished.

Menards.JPG


Step 1b: Abandon plan for a simple beadboard wrap; purchase porcelain tile, incorrect adhesive, and cheap molding for stand's corners.

Whoops.

We returned home, excited and blissfully ignorant of proper installation procedures.

Step 2: Throw it all on the stand and admire handiwork.

StandWrapping.JPG
StandWrapping2.JPG
StandWrapping3.JPG
StandWrapping4.JPG
WrappingStand5.JPG


StandWrapping6.JPG
Standwrapping7.JPG


Step 3: Wilt a little and resign self to sand paper, purchase wood filler, and warm to the idea of an open-front stand.

 
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Do you run TWO return pumps for redundancy and to be safe? (check all that apply)

  • Yes I run two return pumps..

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  • No it's a waste..

    Votes: 78 12.2%
  • No but I would like to..

    Votes: 157 24.5%
  • No but I have a spare return pump...

    Votes: 304 47.4%

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