TheKingInYellow goes bare black bottom - 50g SPS dominant!

TheKingInYellow

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*** UPDATED EQUIPMENT LIST - AUGUST 1 2019 ***
  • 36" x 18" x 18" Starfire front tank with internal bean animal overflow and dual returns
  • 28" x 14" x 16" sump
  • Clarisea Gen2 SK-3000
  • Apex Classic with 2 EB8s, WXM, LMK, lab-grade PH probe
  • Dual Sicce Syncra Silent 1.5 returns with VCA Random Flow Generators
  • 2 Ecotech Radion XR15 G4 Pro lights with diffusers and RMS hanging kit
  • 2 AI Nero 5 Wavemakers
  • Bubble Magus Curve 5 Elite Skimmer with AutoAqua monitor
  • Santa Monica Filtration RAIN2 TAS with Sicce Syncra Silent 1.5 and 2 GEM5 lights
  • Bulk Reef Supply deluxe carbon reactor w. 0.8 ROX and MJ1200 feed pump
  • Tunze Osmolator 3155 ATO

**********

So this will be my first build since a rogue powerhead fell into the sandbed of my 20g shallow and crashed the tank. I had a bunch of gear on hand, and then this project, like most reef tanks, got OUT of hand.

I had:
  • PicO DB18 - All Starfire glass w/ Starfire cover, black Silicone
  • Tunze 9001 Skimmer
  • Apex Controller w/ Temp Probe, pH Probe, EB8, Display Module
  • Apex Lunar Simulator Module
  • EcoTech MP10wES
  • Eheim 100w Heater
  • AI Prime - Black
  • AI Prime Tank Mount
  • Tunze Osmolator
  • BRS 5-Stage RO/DI unit w/ 2 x 20g Brute Tubs
  • ~25lbs of Marco Rock
  • 1/2" Black HDPE for the bottom
Not a bad little tank, but one discussion lead to another, and instead I sold off the Prime, Vortech and Skimmer and ordered a 36 x 18 x 18 Starfire with a 20g sump. The DB18 will likely remain as a coral QT tank with another QT tank for fish to come.

The tank arrives on August 1st, and is being custom built with a center back bean-style overflow and dual returns. Black silicone, black painted back, black tape, euro bracing all around. The returns will run off Sicce 1.5 or 2.0s each with a 3/4" VCA Random Flow Generator. Other equipment ordered and arrived already includes an additonal 30lbs of Marco Rock and some Aquavitro Bond to create the aquascape, pumps and plumbing for the RO/DI and SW mixing station, and I bought a skimmer on sale:


Bubble Magus Curve 5 Elite. Picked it up for $229 CDN which seemed like a killer deal.

Next step was to start working on the SW mixing station. This is the largest SW tank I have had and before I would simply mix in a 5g bucket and buy RO/DI from my LFS. That's not going to work with a 65g-ish system.
 
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TheKingInYellow

TheKingInYellow

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To make sure the mixing station would stay strong and flat I built the top as a torsion box with ply on the top and sides and MDF for the interior bracing:


Torsion boxes are ridiculously strong and stay flat so they are ideal for this sort of project. The legs are attached to the sides because I got lazy and frankly even with 500lbs on top of this, the glue and screw combo will handle the weight fine.


The mixing stand got three thick coats of Kilz primer and is as waterproof as I can make it shy of dipping it in epoxy.


Plumbling layout is pretty simple, a 1,000gph pump in the SW tank and the 100w Eheim heater I had already will handle mixing and pumping water to buckets for water changes, I figure 8-10g changes are more than ample. I will add a similar plumbing arrangement to the RO holding Brute to move water to the SW mixing tank later.




Next up, the custom stand.
 
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TheKingInYellow

TheKingInYellow

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I drew up the stand plan in Tinkercad and gave myself an extra inch in each dimension for the top of the stand so that I be sure to accommodate the overflow plumbing.


Total length of the lumber was about 60', all in 2x4. Fortunately one of my local lumber yards gets surprisingly square stock at good prices. Total cost under $20CDN and by far the cheapest part of this tank :D


I fancy myself a bit of an amateur woodworker and have a fairly well equipped garage shop so this was a fun project. Joinery was all done with my Dowelmax doweling jig which is an absolute godsend for this sort of cabinetry style of assembly. The carcas and face frame don't have a single screw or nail anywhere, it's all dowels and glue and you could park your car on it without feat of the joints failing.

The top and bottom frames are held together with 5 x 1 1/2" dowels at each corner, and the centre braces each have three.




The top has two centre braces mounted vertically to support the centre of the tank and provide a place to screw hangers for the overflow plumbing.

On the first day of work I managed to get the rest of the lumber cut and ready to finish the caracass:

 
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TheKingInYellow

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The bottom frame of the stand has four braces laid horizontally to support the sump.


The legs were also joined together with the Dowelmax, with six 2" dowels in sets of three top and bottom.


Two vertical braces were also added to the rear of the stand and the whole assembly was dry fitted and checked for gaps, level, etc:


 
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With everything looking good I did the glue-up on the legs, top and bottom frames.


Those were left to dry overnight and then the legs and back braces were drilled for 2" dowels and the entire assembly was glued, clamped and left 24hrs to cure.




Rule #1 of woodworking, you can never have too many clamps!
 
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At the risk of sounding like a shill, one of the reasons I love this dowel jig is that everything comes out dead square:




With the carcass complete, I picked up a sheet of MDO which is plywood with a single face of resin-impregnated MDF. It's usually used in exterior sign making because it is perfectly flat, takes paint well, and is extremely water resistant. Exactly what you want in an aquarium stand. I opted for paint over a natural wood finish since it is easier to coordinate with any room should we opt to move the tank later.


I sheeted the sides and sump shelf with the MDO and simply screwed it to the carcass. No glue or anything needed here, the material isn't really for any strength beyond some shear resistance and the screws are more than ample to handle that.


The face frame was assembled with the Dowelmax as well, and then screwed to the front of the carcass. I left a small gap at the bottom and top so that the weight will not rest on the MDO in any way, all of the weight will stay on the 2 x 4s. The stand will have trim to hide the gap anyhow. The top was the last part screwed down.



 
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Took the kids to the local HD and let them pick the trim for the tank. I like to involve them whenever I do any woodworking even though they are a little young to work with most of the tools.

They picked a rather 'eclectic' mix or trims...


Regardless I could work with it, and once the stand was trimmed out, it received three coats of Primer as well.


My wife selected the paint colours. The living room has a deep red wall where the tank is going and she chose a complementary blue and ivory scheme. The stand was painted first.


The interior was left with just the primer as the white will help with visibility when working in the sump. I trimmed out the front panel to keep with the cabinet design style.


The front panel is attached with a clip on hanger system that uses a nylon button on one part and a latch on the other.


The button was mounted to the panel, and the latch to the stand. The last step was attaching the hardware and the stand is complete!





 
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While I am waiting for the tank to be delivered I took care of any other small projects that could be done in the meantime.

I installed a GFCI outlet in a waterproof enclosure for the tank.


I did a cardboard cutout of the tank footprint and did a test aquascape, then used Bond to assemble the arches that will sit on the larger rocks at the bottom of the tank.




This was the last work I did on the tank before heading off on vacation. The rock was placed in a tub with a heater, powerhead, air pump and a raw shrimp and left to start cycling. The tub has had two doses of Prodibio biodigest and is cycling now.

That brings us up to today! I'm back from that vacation and I'm waiting on the tank to arrive and rock to continue it's cycle. The next step is ordering the rest of the equipment.

Right now I am leaning towards:
  • Dual Sicce 1.5 returns
  • 36" Aquatic Life T5 Hybrid (DX possibly?)
  • 2 AI Nero 5 Powerheads
  • 2 AI Hydra 26HD
  • AquaMaxx or equivalent Algae Reactor
  • Carbon Reactor
  • Several Pod Hotels (printing them on my 3D printer right now!)
  • Dual 150W Eheim Jager heaters
Ideally the tank arrives in the next week, and I can move the rock into the sump and order the Neros, returns, heaters and the Algae Reactor. I am still debating the lights, as I would like full control through the Apex which would mean Radions and Vortechs so I need to decide ASAP since this could mean altering the wavemaker order.

Too many ideas, too little money!
 

Blutspitze

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WOW! So gorgeous. I love to see build threads where there's so much.... actual building. I hope someday that I'll have the skills and tools to do something like this.
 
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WOW! So gorgeous. I love to see build threads where there's so much.... actual building. I hope someday that I'll have the skills and tools to do something like this.
Thank you for the kind words. I have too many hobbies but it's handy when two of them intersect like this. Starting this new tank has my wife asking me about Seahorses and my LFS just so happens to be starting their breeding program this fall...
 
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I meant to add that the sump won't have room for a refugium, so that plan is the go algae reactor or possibly a scrubber, with pod support from the pod hotels that I am printing. A mandarin is my non-negotiable dream fish and going BB high flow isn't going to help with pod population so that is a priority in the sump and filtration design.
 

Blutspitze

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Thank you for the kind words. I have too many hobbies but it's handy when two of them intersect like this. Starting this new tank has my wife asking me about Seahorses and my LFS just so happens to be starting their breeding program this fall...
Ooooo, seahorse/pipefish tank would be neat for sure. Someday I want to have a jelly tank myself - it just seems so calming....
 
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Ooooo, seahorse/pipefish tank would be neat for sure. Someday I want to have a jelly tank myself - it just seems so calming....
Yup, we would do one upstairs but there is no way I can keep it cool enough. Winnipeg has brutal weather swings and I'm lucky if my AC can keep my living room at 77 in the summer. I wouldn't trust a tank to stay below 78 or 79 on those days. Fine for a reef, not so fine for Seahorses.
 

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Yup, we would do one upstairs but there is no way I can keep it cool enough. Winnipeg has brutal weather swings and I'm lucky if my AC can keep my living room at 77 in the summer. I wouldn't trust a tank to stay below 78 or 79 on those days. Fine for a reef, not so fine for Seahorses.
I'm surprised that the swings are so big and it gets so hot, even in summer - it's rather far north.
 
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TheKingInYellow

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I'm surprised that the swings are so big and it gets so hot, even in summer - it's rather far north.
It doesn't get crazy hot, today should hit about 89. We hit high 90s on occasion. Of course we routinely hit -40 so...

edit: Oh dang, I wonder if I can get the Filter Sock holder removed from my sump design:

 
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Blutspitze

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It doesn't get crazy hot, today should hit about 89. We hit high 90s on occasion. Of course we routinely hit -40 so...

edit: Oh dang, I wonder if I can get the Filter Sock holder removed from my sump design:

Interesting - maybe time to look into a new AC then :D . Also, the roller filters seem pretty awesome. I'd love to have one at some point.
 
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