Ron Reefman's new 90g build

Ron Reefman

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I'm going to be building what I expect to be my last tank. It will be a 36' x 30" x 20" which is about 90 gallons. I've just ordered the tank glass and managed to find a local supplier who has access to low iron glass. So the front will be 3/8" low iron and the rest of the tank will be 3/8" regular glass. I also ordered a 1/2" thick sheet of white acrylic that will end up 1" bigger (37" x 31") to set under the bottom glass. I'm going to have a 3/8" or 7/16" groove routed 1/4" into the acrylic at the edge of the bottom glass. If I go 7/16" I want the extra 1/16" to be under the bottom glass. Most aquariums have the side glass sitting on the top side of the bottom glass. I intend to attach the side glass to the out side edge of the bottom glass so it will sit snugly into the groove in the acrylic. I'll probably use white RTV silicone for all the assembly, but I'm considering using 3M Co. 5200 marine adhesive (in white) to attach the side glass into the groove of the acrylic and RTV silicone between the side glass and the bottom glass.

My goal here is to have the glass held in place by the silicon just like most aquariums are. But the groove in the acrylic base will create a 'hold' that should strengthen the side glass ability but having a 1/4" of acrylic 'wall' that will also hold and seal the bottom of the tank. Also, the 1/2" thick acrylic should create a stable base for the tank to sit on. I'll still use a thin yoga pad under the acrylic and the stand it sits on will have a 3/4" marine plywood top with either white Formica or white FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic) as a top cover.

I'll be using white RTV silicone for all the vertical seams in the tank and for the glass box overflow that will go in the back. There are 2 reasons for using white silicone. First, the stand is made with 2 kitchen cabinets (reinforced by me) that are high gloss white enamel finish which is what all the other cabinets in the house are as well. Second, I've never seen an aquarium made with white silicone, so this should look a bit different than most other tanks. And anybody who knows me, knows I do like to be a bit different!

This tank will be bottom drilled with 2 large drains (1 to do the drainage and 1 to be an emergency drain) and one slightly smaller return like. Currently I'm thinking 1 1/2" drains and a 1" return that may split into 2 behind the overflow wall or maybe just use a 1" loc-line that ends up with a 'Y' at the end.

So at this point I'll open this up for any comments, criticisms, suggestions or whatever. Don't hold back if you have negative things to say. I learn from everybody and negative comments mean just as much to me as compliments. I intend to be very detailed in my commentary and will add lots of photos as I pick up supplies and start the build process. And I have a number of other semi-unique ideas and plans for other parts of this build.

For those of you who are not familiar with my current tank, it's a 2'x2'x20" cube that I made. This new tank will be a replacement/improved version that gives me a bit more room for aquascape, corals and Rock Flower Anemones. Here is a pic of that tank with my 16g independent 'holding tank beside it.

full system.jpg


Almost FTS June 2019.jpg
 
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Peace River

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I really look forward to watching this build come together! With as many builds as you have done (including building the tank) there is sure to be a lot to learn!!!
 
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Ron Reefman

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Well the white acrylic will be rough cut and ready on Monday to go to another shop for routering and final cut. The acrylic is $100 and the 5 sheets of glass (4 normal and 1 low iron) is $300. The glass will take 7 to 10 days to get here.

My mind is just racing with ideas and possibilities! I'm thinking maybe the over flow should be 1' wide in the middle of the back and then I could set 2 gyres up, 1 in each back corner and run them vertically? I also intend is do a raised rockscape again, but this time as a 3 sided pyramid. The peak against the back overflow and with some sand at the base on both sides and the front.
 
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Ron Reefman

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After reading you are drilling into the bottom of the glass for an overflow. What about drilling into the top of the back and doing more of a ghost overflow? I feel those are way more sleek looking!
I agree 100%. Thanks for the suggestion. I considered going with a 24" thick tank rather than the 30" so I would have room behind the tank for pipes.

However, at 30" this will stick out from the wall more than I'd really like. The space between the tank and the dining room table is OK at 24" which is what we have now. That extra 6" starts to make that gap seem a bit narrow. I consider myself lucky that my wife OKed 30". So I want to drill the bottom and go straight down into the sump/refugium and not take up even more room having pipes behind the tank. And the 30" tank gives me more room inside the tank which is one of my primary goals... without getting too big. I had 4 tanks at one point and this is suppose to be a 'downsized' tank for me! :cool:
 
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Blitheran

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I agree 100%. Thanks for the suggestion. I considered going with a 24" thick tank rather than the 30" so I would have room behind the tank for pipes.

However, at 30" this will stick out from the wall more than I'd really like. The space between the tank and the dining room table is OK at 24" which is what we have now. That extra 6" starts to make that gap seem a bit narrow. I consider myself lucky that my wife OKed 30". So I want to drill the bottom and go straight down into the sump/refugium and not take up even more room having pipes behind the tank. And the 30" tank gives me more room inside the tank which is one of my primary goals... without getting too big. I had 4 tanks at one point and this is suppose to be a 'downsized' tank for me! :cool:
Good to know the boss is giving the OK haha!
 
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Ron Reefman

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I haven't committed to any single design for the overflow, so a ghost is still a possibility... what's a couple more inches of lost space when we're talking about a classic looking tank! ;Greedy;Hilarious:cool::eek:
 

saf1

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Could always do a coast to coast but instead of a box use a single piece of glass. From the side it would be like a triangle I guess if you will. I've seen a few of these which gives you the traditional Bean Animal fail safe and a smooth weir for optimal skimming. This way the back of the tank is only needed for plumbing which should be bulkhead fitting 90 depth I guess. Two returns 1 inch plumbing over top for redundant pumps connected to sea swirls :)
 
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Ron Reefman

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Could always do a coast to coast but instead of a box use a single piece of glass. From the side it would be like a triangle I guess if you will. I've seen a few of these which gives you the traditional Bean Animal fail safe and a smooth weir for optimal skimming. This way the back of the tank is only needed for plumbing which should be bulkhead fitting 90 depth I guess. Two returns 1 inch plumbing over top for redundant pumps connected to sea swirls :)
I don't understand this part, "From the side it would be like a triangle." Do you mean the weir would be, say 4" or 5" out from the back glass at the top and sloped in to the back glass at the bottom? I've never seen one like that. How far down the back glass was the weir attached? How far out from the back glass was the top of the weir? It seems it would have to be fairly big in order to clear the PVC 90's. Besides, I really think I want the back of the tank right up close to the wall with just enough room of electrical wires. This tank will already be 30"+ out from the wall and that's about as much as I'm wanting to take up given the limited room size and space between the tank and the dining room table.

My thinking is that a 3' long coast to coast that runs top to bottom (seriously considered) is wasting space, although looking very classy. I'd rather have the extra 3" or 4" of space in the tank at the sides than behind a weir wall. I'm leaning toward a center overflow of about 12" wide by 3" thick. That's room for 2 drains of 1 1/2" and a return of 1" pvc pipe with the bigger rim on the bulkheads and 2" between bulkheads. But that way I have a foot on either side that will be an extra 3" of tank space front to back.

My current tank has over the back return plumbing and I want to do away with that. Returns will most definitely be through the overflow (either from the bottom or through the back glass). I've had sea swirls before and they are OK but I don't see them as being a big improvement, especially considering the big black boxes that sit on top of the back of the tank. I'm kind of hoping to have an acrylic frame screen made for the top of the tank and not have any need for cutouts to get around anything above the top rim of the tank.
 
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saf1

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I don't understand this part, "From the side it would be like a triangle." Do you mean the weir would be, say 4" or 5" out from the back glass at the top and sloped in to the back glass at the bottom? I've never seen one like that. How far down the back glass was the weir attached? How far out from the back glass was the top of the weir? It seems it would have to be fairly big in order to clear the PVC 90's. Besides, I really think I want the back of the tank right up close to the wall with just enough room of electrical wires. This tank will already be 30"+ out from the wall and that's about as much as I'm wanting to take up given the limited room size and space between the tank and the dining room table.

My thinking is that a 3' long coast to coast that runs top to bottom (seriously considered) is wasting space, although looking very classy. I'd rather have the extra 3" or 4" of space in the tank at the sides than behind a weir wall. I'm leaning toward a center overflow of about 12" wide by 3" thick. That's room for 2 drains of 1 1/2" and a return of 1" pvc pipe with the bigger rim on the bulkheads and 2" between bulkheads. But that way I have a foot on either side that will be an extra 3" of tank space front to back.

My current tank has over the back return plumbing and I want to do away with that. Returns will most definitely be through the overflow (either from the bottom or through the back glass). I've had sea swirls before and they are OK but I don't see them as being a big improvement, especially considering the big black boxes that sit on top of the back of the tank. I'm kind of hoping to have an acrylic frame screen made for the top of the tank and not have any need for cutouts to get around anything above the top rim of the tank.
I didn't explain it well enough, sorry. My tank has an external overflow and I wish I did it differently. I went external because I wanted to save space inside the tank. I saw later someone use a single pane of glass for the overflow rather than the box design and it still worked but saved a bit of space inside. Outside of the tank still has a space requirement for the plumbing but it may not be as much. You can put the valves lower to adjust the flow / siphon or for maintenance.

Crude drawing below. Side of tank with overflow box internal or external. The green line would be the angle I was talking about and the gray areas would be the space saved. Hope this helps if not ignore me :D

1564845611457.png
 

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HI Ron,
Sounds like you got a very good deal on glass but I would probably have opted for 1/2" on the sides and 3/4" on the bottom. I have a tendency to over build. My builds have always had the side panes go around the bottom with a 3/8" space under the bottom. By doing it this way I could eliminate the need for a cushion under the bottom glass. I assume you had the edges polished.

I have tried a couple of different overflows on my builds. The first tank I built was a 100g peninsula. It had an external box but the weir was made by cutting a portion of the end panel of glass slightly shorter than the surrounding panels. The water flow was very nice and smooth. I used a Bean Animal setup and drilled on each side of the weir for the returns. I really liked that tank with the 2 long side and one short side views.

The next tank was a traditional in the tank box/weir but I made it c2c and as narrow and shallow as i possibly could for aesthetic and internal space saving. This time the sump was located in an adjacent room which happened to be a laundry room. That was very nice and convenient vs digging in an under the tank cabinet.

The Cadlights tank was the first bottom drilled tank I ever had and I learned to like it except for the fact they did not drill the right sized holes and it was a little tight to work in the smallish internal box.

If I were to ever build another tank and I won't, it would be a floating design. I would have engineered brackets extend (cantilever) out from the wall to hold the tank and all of the plumbing and electrical would go through the wall into an equipment room on the other side. There would be nothing under the tank, just open space.

Anyway it sounds like you are keeping busy. Good luck on your build.
 
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Ron Reefman

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HI Ron,
Sounds like you got a very good deal on glass but I would probably have opted for 1/2" on the sides and 3/4" on the bottom. I have a tendency to over build. My builds have always had the side panes go around the bottom with a 3/8" space under the bottom. By doing it this way I could eliminate the need for a cushion under the bottom glass. I assume you had the edges polished.

I have tried a couple of different overflows on my builds. The first tank I built was a 100g peninsula. It had an external box but the weir was made by cutting a portion of the end panel of glass slightly shorter than the surrounding panels. The water flow was very nice and smooth. I used a Bean Animal setup and drilled on each side of the weir for the returns. I really liked that tank with the 2 long side and one short side views.

The next tank was a traditional in the tank box/weir but I made it c2c and as narrow and shallow as i possibly could for aesthetic and internal space saving. This time the sump was located in an adjacent room which happened to be a laundry room. That was very nice and convenient vs digging in an under the tank cabinet.

The Cadlights tank was the first bottom drilled tank I ever had and I learned to like it except for the fact they did not drill the right sized holes and it was a little tight to work in the smallish internal box.

If I were to ever build another tank and I won't, it would be a floating design. I would have engineered brackets extend (cantilever) out from the wall to hold the tank and all of the plumbing and electrical would go through the wall into an equipment room on the other side. There would be nothing under the tank, just open space.

Anyway it sounds like you are keeping busy. Good luck on your build.
Interesting John, I checked 2 sites that recommend glass thickness for this size tank and both said 1/4" glass! This is only a bit bigger than the biggest tank I've made before. And thanks for mentioning the fact that you mounted your side glass around the outside of the bottom glass. I've never done this before.

I will have the edges scuffed rather than polished, that gives the silicone a better surface to grip on. The upper edges that will be exposed and the front and back glass edges that will be exposed will be 'shaved' which is just a very small 45 degree cut on the edge to take away the sharp edges.

Since we both had Cadlight tanks, I agree completely with your opinion about the wrong size holes (metric) and too small (not as much flow as I would have liked) and a very cramped overflow box (especially since I split the return and did 2 loc-line nozzles).

I wish I had the room to run plumbing out the back, but I don't and the room behind the tank is a bathroom with everything (tub, toilet & cabinets) on that wall.

Glad to see you still hang around here after selling off your tank. And thanks for touching base.
 

jtl

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I'm sure the glass will be just fine. All of my tanks have been 4'+ so I wanted to make sure I had no or at least minimal bowing. I learned from a guy on RC years ago that built lots of tanks as a side job. He could be a real jerk and was eventually banned but he knew tank building. He probably would have suggested 1" glass but that is easy to do when you are not the one paying for it. I believe my Cadlights tank was 1/2".

Still racing?
 
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Ron Reefman

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I'm sure the glass will be just fine. All of my tanks have been 4'+ so I wanted to make sure I had no or at least minimal bowing. I learned from a guy on RC years ago that built lots of tanks as a side job. He could be a real jerk and was eventually banned but he knew tank building. He probably would have suggested 1" glass but that is easy to do when you are not the one paying for it. I believe my Cadlights tank was 1/2".

Still racing?
I think our Cadlight tanks were metric and the glass was either 10 ro 12mm which is just over 3/8" or just under 1.2".

Yes, I'm still doing auto-x. We are on summer break right now and start back up the first weekend in Sept. I did a Porsche Club auto-x a couple of weeks ago at the airport festival grounds at the Venice airport. It was a small site and tight course. I guess I'm spoiled by running on a runway at Buckingham airport in Ft Myers.

Do you still have your Miata? I hope to get mine back this week. I'm taking it easy for a couple of days while I'm recovering from a skin graft on my nose and 12 stitches along my ear which was the donor site.
 

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I think our Cadlight tanks were metric and the glass was either 10 ro 12mm which is just over 3/8" or just under 1.2".

Yes, I'm still doing auto-x. We are on summer break right now and start back up the first weekend in Sept. I did a Porsche Club auto-x a couple of weeks ago at the airport festival grounds at the Venice airport. It was a small site and tight course. I guess I'm spoiled by running on a runway at Buckingham airport in Ft Myers.

Do you still have your Miata? I hope to get mine back this week. I'm taking it easy for a couple of days while I'm recovering from a skin graft on my nose and 12 stitches along my ear which was the donor site.
What sanctioning body? Never did really understand the wonky (to me anyway) rules with SCCA so gave up years ago trying to play in that arena. Ended up just playing in the HPED or closed track events with my car. I personally preferred the openness of tracks anyways. My buddy on the other hand runs SCCA with both a Miata and a 66 mustang he built both specifically for SCCA.
 
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Ron Reefman

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What sanctioning body? Never did really understand the wonky (to me anyway) rules with SCCA so gave up years ago trying to play in that arena. Ended up just playing in the HPED or closed track events with my car. I personally preferred the openness of tracks anyways. My buddy on the other hand runs SCCA with both a Miata and a 66 mustang he built both specifically for SCCA.
It's a local club called The Gulf Coast Auto Crossers. They have a website at GCAC.com. They run pretty much pure SCCA rules. I run a 2017 Toyota 86 now and I have a 2008 Miata hot rod with a turbo charged 2.5 litter Ford motor that is build to run 18 pounds of boost and should make 450hp when it's done. It's still a work in progress and currently runs 8 pounds of boost and makes 250hp. I road raced SCCA for almost 20 years (early 30's to late 50's). Then I quite and moved to Florida. After I retired and had a 15+ year break from racing I bought the Miata (much more stock back then) and tried my hand at auto-x. It's MUCH different than road racing or track days. And at 70 years old, I really seems to come at me too fast! I run just about the middle of the pack after being 'indexed' by handicap.

What tracks do you run at? When I raced I was mostly in the Midwest, but I did venture out on a few long road trips like Big Springs, TX, Gateway (St Louis) and Watkins Glen, NY. Now that I'm in Florida I've done track days at Palm Beach and Sebring. I still want to get to Daytona and Barber Motorsports Park.
 

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I think our Cadlight tanks were metric and the glass was either 10 ro 12mm which is just over 3/8" or just under 1.2".

Yes, I'm still doing auto-x. We are on summer break right now and start back up the first weekend in Sept. I did a Porsche Club auto-x a couple of weeks ago at the airport festival grounds at the Venice airport. It was a small site and tight course. I guess I'm spoiled by running on a runway at Buckingham airport in Ft Myers.

Do you still have your Miata? I hope to get mine back this week. I'm taking it easy for a couple of days while I'm recovering from a skin graft on my nose and 12 stitches along my ear which was the donor site.
Skin cancer? I am going in for an excision in a couple of hours to get rid of some squamous cell.

I still have the Miata. Should have let me know you were in Venice and I would have gone over an cheered for you.

I was curious so I looked at the Cadlights site and the glass is 1/2" on both the 48" (mine) and the 60" (yours). I once checked for any distortion and it was very minimal.
 

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It's a local club called The Gulf Coast Auto Crossers. They have a website at GCAC.com. They run pretty much pure SCCA rules. I run a 2017 Toyota 86 now and I have a 2008 Miata hot rod with a turbo charged 2.5 litter Ford motor that is build to run 18 pounds of boost and should make 450hp when it's done. It's still a work in progress and currently runs 8 pounds of boost and makes 250hp. I road raced SCCA for almost 20 years (early 30's to late 50's). Then I quite and moved to Florida. After I retired and had a 15+ year break from racing I bought the Miata (much more stock back then) and tried my hand at auto-x. It's MUCH different than road racing or track days. And at 70 years old, I really seems to come at me too fast! I run just about the middle of the pack after being 'indexed' by handicap.

What tracks do you run at? When I raced I was mostly in the Midwest, but I did venture out on a few long road trips like Big Springs, TX, Gateway (St Louis) and Watkins Glen, NY. Now that I'm in Florida I've done track days at Palm Beach and Sebring. I still want to get to Daytona and Barber Motorsports Park.
Sounds fun. Your new Miata sounds like a beast. I recall people used to put the 89 - 91 5.0 Mustang engines in them but I heard they are nose heavy. Yours sounds more balanced.

Open track events would be Sears Point / Infinity Raceway and Thunder Hill are the two main areas that are close to me. I used to run in the beginner groups. My wife's requirement for me was easy - I have to be able to walk away physically and financially :) So that would limit me to 1 or 2 evens a year, track insurance, etc. I was using my daily driver anyway which was a 89 LX back in 2001 - 2003 and recently 2015 GT/PP with minor suspension adjustments. GT350R springs, steeda adjustable struts, few bushings. Basically firming it up but maintaining daily driver ride comfort. It was also our touring call if you will. Trips like Sacramento to Vegas to LA and back. Was planning Sacramento to Key West Florida :) Unfortunately I sold the car last year. Considering a used GT350 but probably not in the cards...
 
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