Water Lily Reef (180g In-wall)

Discussion in 'Large Aquariums 180g - 399g' started by DLHDesign, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    01/06/18 - Day 0
    We bought a new house (okay, well - we bought a dirt lot where they will be building a house...), which means it's time for a new tank. It also means that I GET A FISH ROOM!!!! <squeee!!!>

    We're not building a custom home, but will be customizing the house - very likely post-closing as the builder doesn't seem inclined to add my fish room as part of their initial build (go figure)... So as we were signing our paperwork, I snapped a few pics of some of the plans. Relevant to the fish room, the house has a 2-car garage with an attached "Storage" area. One of the walls in that area is the "Nook" (read: dining room) on the other side. So the plan is to enclose the Storage area, divide it roughly in half (we also need a small workshop space) and put a new tank in the wall between the Storage and Nook. There's a bathroom also sharing a wall of the Storage, so that's where the water and drain will hook into. I've been told we'll have pretty much carte blanche when it comes to power, so I'm just working on the assumption that I'll be able to get 2 dedicated 20amp circuits for the Fish Room (and 1 or 2 for the workshop as well). Here's the plans (such as they are):
    upload_2018-1-6_0-51-50.png

    The wife and I have done our fair share of remodeling and I do a bit of 3D printing, so to the drafting program I went to "carve up" the walls and such:
    upload_2018-1-6_1-2-15.png
    Basically; make a big archway leading from the Nook into the Storage, add a door from the hallway to the Fish Room, and wall off the Storage area from the rest of the garage. I've not yet added the dividing wall between the Fish Room and Workshop (nor an exit door into the garage) as I want to see how much room I'll need for equipment and such. Note that we'll need to store a ski-boat in the garage, so I'm trying to keep the rooms as small as possible while still be useful.

    I decided that I wanted to be able to see into the tank from the sides a bit, so (pending wife approval), I've kicked out the tank some into the Nook. I also wanted a smooth look to the whole thing, so continued the kick-out depth from floor to ceiling. My current thinking is to decorate the kick-out using something like shiplap, so that I'm not trying to match the drywall that will exist in the rest of the room. That'll be a design choice with the wife, I'm sure, but for now I'm going to assume that I will just need a "faux wall". Also included is some matching countertop (which my be too expensive - we're likely going with quartz as it's worked well in our current home):
    upload_2018-1-6_1-7-58.png
    I'll be adding some kind of above-tank access hatch to the hood; for now it's just the general shape of things.
    The tank itself will be a glass 72x24x24 (180g). I'm really hoping to be able to work out some kind of "infinite background" on this tank, so I'm going to avoid anything on the back wall if I can help it. For that reason, I've laid things out with two overflows - one in each side towards the rear:
    upload_2018-1-6_1-12-29.png
    The ones I've got in there now are the EShopps Eclipse M's. Two of those would give me 4x 1" drains via 2x 1.5" bulkheads. I'm looking to run a Bean Animal drain system, so I guess that means I'd just have 2x emergency drains - never really a bad thing. I've not placed any of the returns just yet; I figure they'll come in from up top and not be drilled into the tank itself.

    From within the room, I wanted to try and add in some sound-proofing, so I figured I could put up some easily-cleaned "second wall" (perhaps even with some insulation between) under the tank:
    upload_2018-1-6_1-27-32.png

    For the stand, I started off with the idea that I would get a friend of ours to build it out of 1x1 steel bars. But even at just material cost (including powder-coating), I think that would get expensive - and wouldn't really add much value to the build. Better to save the budget for other areas, I figure, so I laid out a stand using 2x6's and 2x4's:
    upload_2018-1-6_1-30-15.png
    The green elements (darker green are the 2x6's) are the things I am pretty sure are needed for structural support (or that I don't care if they are there). The yellow pieces are just there to support the interior "second wall", so they may get reduced/removed once I decide on the material for that.
    The big question I have on this design is the orange and red pieces. I'd like to put the sump under the tank, basically, but don't really want to have to deal with the post in the middle of it. Given the 180g tank size plus quartz slab, are those pieces needed for structural support? Is there any way to remove them (by doubling up on the cross-beam, for example)?
    Am I missing anything required on this stand? I've seen several comments on "over engineered" stands while researching this, but I'm not quite sure where the line is in that regard...

    I guess that's enough of a start for now. As always; thoughts, input, and questions are always welcome!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  2. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Congratulation all the way around. Ahhhh another good build thread.:)
     
  3. najer

    najer Valuable Member

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    Sounds great, good luck. :)
     
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  4. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    1/8/2018 - Day 0
    Started work on laying out the plumbing. I'm not trying to get picture-perfect rendering, but I figured working out the pieces I need (including pipe lengths) and the general direction of the pipes would help.
    Basics:
    - Two EShopps Eclipse M Overflow Boxes
    - Bean Animal w/ additional emergency drain
    - Return pump is a Vectra L1
    - Current manifold-fed items include a chiller and GFO+Carbon reactor
    - Sump is likely a Trigger Systems Triton44
    - All plumbing is 1" (except for the 1.5" each overflow box uses internally)

    Red is "drain" (tank-to-sump) while orange is return (sump-to-tank):
    upload_2018-1-8_14-37-29.png

    The overflow on the left would be the gated bean animal drain and the main emergency standpipe. The other overflow would have the secondary drain and secondary emergency standpipe - which would be slightly higher than the main emergency and dump (hopefully noisily) into the return chamber instead of the start of the sump.
    The L1 would connect into the return line using 1" silicon tubing (as I have it now). The return line would end above the tank in two y-adapted 3/4 loc-line (which I'm not going to try to add to the model because I have more things to do with my time than mess with that...). I only need two manifold connections right now, but I like having another should I need it (and a bit of extra pipe in case I need a 4th).

    Optional (but likely) on the system would be a Neptune FMM hooked into three 1" meters - main tank return, chiller, and reactor. I plan on having an FMM for the Neptune ATO as well, so thought about just using two meters (main tank and reactor), but I also figure I could put the 3 extra ports to use with an auto-water change system as well...

    The wife brought up the budget for all this. Part of the new house move is that I'm going to end up further away from where most of my clients will be located. Not horribly far (~1-2hr drive), but not close either. She's the one driving for this and she sweetened the pot by offering up the solution of me getting my pilot's license once we move - something I've been wanting to get lately. The budget for that was set at $10k. I may end up dipping into (or even sacrificing) that in order to pay for this tank upgrade. So I guess that's my budget... I don't plan on keeping my current tank up and running (one goal of this system is to reduce the maintenance efforts), so we're just talking construction (knocking out and adding walls, electrical, plumbing, doors, ...) and gear. Gear I'll be able to cost out, but the construction costs I won't be able to figure out for a while. Need to find an engineer to do the actual drafting, but I need to get ahold of the actual plans for that area of the house (at least) before that can start. The house is supposed to take 6-7 months to finish and we'll take 1 month to move, so I feel like there's still lots of time to get everything going. But I'm sure that time will slip by faster than I want... Fun!

    Here it all is with my current stand design. I'm still not sure what I can do about supporting the back of the stand. In this version, I've shifted the center leg to the right to make room to get the sump in and out (mostly in). I added a support piece to the left side, but I don't know if this is even needed (or if it would even do any good)...
    upload_2018-1-8_15-1-18.png

    And the "illusion wall":
    upload_2018-1-8_15-3-50.png
    The idea would be to have rock-shaped cut-outs that are painted to look like live rock. Behind that would be a painted "blue screen". Likely a few blue LEDs above it all to give an ocean glow. Once the normal tank scape is in front of it, there should be an illusion of depth to the tank that exceeds what it would be without it. I hope. (Otherwise I just remove the illusion wall and faux rock pictures and just paint the back of the tank blue.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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  5. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    1/12/2018 - Day 0
    Had some downtime at work today, so laid out a mixing station:
    upload_2018-1-12_17-3-43.png
    Parts include two (2) 55gal holding tanks, a Pan World 50px-x pump, all the fittings, and a custom-built stand (which is tall enough to allow a standard 5gal bucket to fit under the drain-out; just in case. Pretty standard design, really...

    Also made a decision on where the fish room would end and the workshop begin. The "forcing" factors turned out to be the depth of the utility sink and the size of a double-width barn door for the workshop side:
    upload_2018-1-12_17-7-54.png
    The fish room measures 6ft x 11ft while the workshop is 7.5ft x 11ft (smaller than our current, but should be enough for the tools we have).
    The general layout of the fish room is that the plumbing will all be in the upper-right (there's a bathroom "above" the workshop), so the sink and mixing station are set there. I'll put a ~2ft "drying table" between the sink and mixing station. The ATO plumbing will go up and over the room (or else around the wall if that's too much head pressure) and into a small reservoir.
    Next to the DT will be storage and a table for testing and such. Above the table will be the "power wall" where all the apex modules and such will exist.
    The "bottom" wall will have a frag tank of some kind. I'd love to have a shallow tank, but don't think it'll be in the budget - I'll likely just use the 40g I have for now.
    The bottom-right corner will be for storage. I'd love to be able to fit in a quarantine station, but I don't have the 10ft distance required for protection from aerosol transmission in the room... Need to find out if glass lids are enough protection against this problem (if not well tested and found to be safe, then I'd pass - don't want to risk infecting the DT with anything).
     
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  6. ksfulk

    ksfulk Grow sticks, grow!!! R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Super cool to see you working on a new tank build :D Have you looked into the shadowbox style backgrounds? Its basically what you described above. There's a super long detailed thread about it here. I've always wanted to do something like that but its never really been in the cards at all.

    With the tank sitting into the nook a bit, is there access to the entire tank top from the rear then? I can forsee an issue or three if you have the top of the tanks access split between two rooms, or if you can only access it from one side. Since the display side has the facade that stretches to the ceiling I wasnt sure if that was immobile or not.

    Stand questions - I had a similar sized tank for my last one and when I built the stand I had a... quintet of engineers "helpfully describing" what would work best for this amount of weight. My stand was basically the same as your drawing, but I was told it was extremely important to have the "upper" and "lower" boxes as rigid as possible, meaning that I think I had four or five 2x4s running across it to keep those boxes rigid. I believe it was because of some torsional forces that would come through the tank as a result of the water movement (its been 2 years, so I dont recall exactly). Anyhow, the stand itself was solid once the tank/water was on it. You can see the stand in the first post in this old build thread (here) if youd like. I only did two or three stanchions in the back and one in the front and didnt have any issues with that setup.

    Good luck! I cant wait to see this one develop!
     
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  7. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks for the link - lots of great learnings (that I was prepared to go through myself, but can now cut out some of the trial-and-error phase!)

    Yes; that's the plan. My current tank (Reefer 525XL) is 22.6" deep (as you are familiar with yourself, I imagine) and I don't have any issues reaching any of the tank with my extended scraper. The faux-wall front will open up when needed (still TBD how), but I'll try and do most of my maintenance from the fish room. I'll likely have a sturdy step-stool in the room, I'm sure.

    Good to know! I've designed for just one now (in the middle), but there's no reason I couldn't add more; there's nothing I plan to do under there that couldn't use more places to attach stuff to.

    Thanks for the info! No updates to the designs tonight - my "downtime" has been taken up getting all those little "to-do's" for the current house done so that I don't have to worry about them later. Today I patched a hole in our foundation (previous owners...) that was letting critters into our crawl-space, fixed a deadbolt that wouldn't lock, replaced a (leaking) sprayer hole in our sink with a (non-leaking) blank, mowed the lawn, and cut back our blackberry bush... Yeah; not as much fun. :-\
     
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  8. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    ;Stig:D
     
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  9. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    1/22/18 - Day 0
    Yes; I suppose I should have an update here, shouldn't I? The past 10 days have mostly been spent designing - and then rejecting - various lighting rigs. I'm just not sure whether I want a static install (cheap/easy, but harder to work around), a rail system (most expensive install, but easier to work with), a pulley system (moderate price, can work around, but not as easy as a rail system), or some kind of hybrid rail/pulley (too complicated - KISS!)... I've looked at various resources for both (videos, other build threads, pics, etc.), but I just can't seem to decide on this one.
    My current tank has a liftable hood that I spent some time designing to look nice and move out of the way when needed, but that was mostly limited by trying to keep the profile and footprint as small and clean as possible. It started off as a pulley system, but the wife had the ah-ha moment of a reduction on the rigging by using hinges. I've lifted the hood all of three or four times, however - not really enough to justify the effort put into using the hinges (which was not insignificant).
    With this build, I'm not limited by any sort of visual desires (it'll all be behind a faux wall), so it's purely functional. The main support for the rig (whatever it is) will be the arch that is more forward in the tank than centered, so I either need to extend things all the way across the room (in the case of rails) or else secure it to the ceiling (in the case of a pulley). Or I do the rails, but use a pulley system... Ugh. And now my brain spins on it again... :-( Totally happy to listen to any suggestions, so fire away if you've got 'em! (Lights will be a Radion + T5 rig much as I have now.)

    Today, however, I took a break from the Great Lighting Rig Conundrum and spent some time designing out the frag tank. I thought about custom-designing a frag tank as well, but I'm starting to feel the pinch of this build already, so I figure I'll just start off with the 10gal breeder I have now, but spend a bit of effort/money to plumb it into the sump. I'll be able to update it later (fun future build). I decided (yay - decisions!) to go ahead and give it it's own pump rather than use the manifold. That way I can keep it cycling during feeding/maintenance/etc. and also will be able to control the tank's general flow a bit easier.

    Here's the current layout of the room:
    upload_2018-1-22_21-48-59.png
    This pretty much finishes up all the "built-in" components. The lower-right will have shelving while the power center will be above the frag tank (purple). A countertop will go between the sink and tanks. I've considered putting a QT/hospital tower in the lower-right, but am worried about aerosol transmission in such a (relative) small space... Note-to-self: research whether tank lids are an effective way to prevent aerosol transmission.

    Frag tank plumbing:
    upload_2018-1-22_21-54-42.png
    The frag tank will use a Herbie drain in the same type of internal overflow as I plan for the DT. I've found the Herbie drain on my 525XL to be difficult to keep quiet, but I'm hoping that the lower volume of water in the frag tank will help. And if not; it's in the fish room anyways. :)
    I'm way over-building the stand in preparation of having more tank on there someday. The lower section will house a small fridge/freezer where I'll store the food and such for the fish (the wife will like not having fish food in the people-food fridge). The rest of the table will be used for testing and food prep. The electrical/control panel will also be above the stand (and frag tank), so it'll be within easy reach if needed. I'll likely be placing a tablet out in the front-side of the tank for "walk by" checks of things. Part of the control panel will include a small flat-panel touchscreen (run off a Pi or the like) where I can have (slightly) bigger buttons to mash on.

    In terms of design elements; the wife asked if it was okay if we planned on the facing to be shiplap. Umm... Okay! I figured I'd have to sell her on the idea, but it seems that we've come to agreement on it without needing that. Yay for easy wins. :)

    Today was also the day I dealt with the new house's power supply. Part of the purchase deal was that the builder is going to include a 3kWh solar system (benefit of being in CA is that the state is pushing for new homes to be energy neutral). In talking with the solar installer, I upped that to a 4kWh system (fish tank and hot tub will easily push us outside the realm of their base expectations - which were already "only" providing a 74% offset with the 4kWh). That'll do for a start on the solar front, but just in case I checked out their roofline estimates and determined that I have another 1kWh of "prime" roof and another ~3kWh of usable area. I designed and installed our current 7.4kWh system from scratch and on my own, so it was a funny conversation where the sales rep kept trying to stay "high level" and I kept diving into the details and asking questions that resulted in a lot of, "I'll have to ask our techs that...". Didn't mean to put her on the spot (she did well enough and gave me the info I needed quickly enough), but I did warn them that I knew what I wanted...
    After I got off that call, I called up my reps over at Tesla to ask about getting two Powerwalls for the new house. Seems like I'll just have to go back to their normal sales queue, so I put down my $500 deposit for that as well. Between the upgraded solar system, more efficient house, and double the battery supply, I have hopes of being able to hit in the 80% offset range...

    While discussing smart-home features, I also plan on adding a Buoy water monitor to the house. I was part of the team that started this project (back when we didn't even have a brand name for it) and I think the team has moved it forward enough that I'm willing to put it on my home. I still have a prototype unit on my current home that is hooked up to a Pi and calls into an AWS (Amazon Web Services) backend, but I shut down the backend a while ago, so all I really have is a large flow meter hooked up to an LED that blinks when I use water. I stare at it from time to time with no water on to ensure that nothing is leaking in the house, so it's proven to be useful for that, at least. With this new tank, I plan on having an "always on" setup with the RO/DI, so the current gen Buoy will give me a way to shut off the water to the house should that spring a leak. I'll have an APEX leak detector near the floor of the RO/DI tanks, so if that goes off I'll know to shut off the water to the house. I'll have to check if I can set up some kind of listener for the leak notice that can automatically trigger the Buoy shut-off... Beyond that security aspect, I'll also be able to get a water profile on the house. May even be able to isolate how much water I use for the fish tank!

    Next up, I hope to get out to the plastic store to pick up a few smaller pieces of blue, clear, and black acrylic. With these and the spare 10gal breeder and LEDs I've got, I'll try to build out a working model of the "infinite background" idea.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
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  10. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    2/4/18 - Day 0
    Turns out that there are two colors of "transparent blue" available to me. :-\ I wasn't really sure which would work better, so I picked up a piece of each. The first one I worked with was the darker of the two. I built a box the size of the 10gal (roughly 24x12 or so) and 2" deep. I used the dark blue for the tank-side face and sides, clear for the back, and black for the top and bottom. The top I hinged with the ever-useful duct tape. I added some white (~10k) and blue LEDs to the lid and a piece of white poster-board was taped to the back. The bottom I left a bit long so that I could shove it under the tank to keep it in-place.
    IMG_3147.jpg
    IMG_3148.jpg

    I then headed out to the workshop and sorted through all my various sandpapers. Turns out, I had more options than I really wanted to think about:
    IMG_3149.jpg
    Figuring I could also go heavier, but never lighter, I started with the 2000 grit. Gave the blue acrylic a nice rubbing until it looked generally uniform, then tried it out behind the dry, empty tank:
    IMG_3143.jpg
    The above is with the blue light on, white off. I had thought that the blue LEDs would be my "night time" while the white would be "daytime", but it turned out that the blue LED's gave the impression of being brighter. Makes sense when I thought about it for a few seconds; the blue acrylic is filtering out part of the full white spectrum, so it would take more (or more powerful) white LED's to get the same intensity as the blue. My eventual plan is to put a dimmer on the LED's anyways, so I just moved forward testing the blues and will worry about the day/night effect later...
    The dry, empty test looked good - the wife confirmed my impression that it did seem to add depth to the tank. Not "infinite", but I wasn't expecting that with a 10gal tank sitting on the counter anyways... I went ahead and filled the tank, adding some "rocks" and using a spare light I have to simulate tank lighting.
    (A note on the pictures here: they don't do the effect justice. I'm sure it's something about depth perception and/or the camera's focus or something, but I didn't spend too much effort trying to capture the effect.)

    IMG_3145.jpg
    After playing with various combinations and configurations of lights and light positions, what I discovered was that reflections on the back glass are really going to be a problem. I tried positioning an LED strip just ahead of the glass in order to eliminate it, and while that was the most helpful, it did not eliminate the reflections entirely. On the one hand, it would be kind of interesting to be able to see behind the scape of the tank, but in the end it just caused me to have a hard time "seeing" the depth I would like to.
    In the end, I think what I'll need to do is build my scape forward from the back wall. I was really hoping to keep all rocks at least 3" away from the edge of the glass in order to make cleaning the glass easier, but I would rather have a good-looking tank that's a bit harder to clean. (Plus, I'm hoping that I'll be doing less glass scraping with this tank in general...) To that end (back-wall forward), I figure I'll aim for a "canyon" look; a mostly-empty center with sloped edges rising towards the surface. To help make it look a bit more dynamic, I'll add in some shelf rock to give me kind of a "stepped" look.

    SO, with that plan in mind and a BRS sales staring at me in the face, I ordered 60# of Tonga shelf and 120# of reef saver:
    IMG_3152.jpg
    As you can see, only one of the four shelves arrived unbroken. No fault of BRS or anything, of course - that it arrived in as good a condition as it did is thanks to their generous packing. Just the nature of ordering big, heavy, odd-shaped things that break easily. A bit of Tetris and I sorted out which pieces fit where. All it will take is some epoxy - perhaps a few small rods if needed - and I can get them all back together easy enough. Assuming that's what I need, of course - I've not tried to do any kind of layout with them.
    The shelf pieces, in fact, all went into a bleach bath (2.5gal bleach, 25gal RODI water), where they will remain for at least a month - I want those things dead. The reef saver will get a good rinse and quicker bleach bath (1-2wks) later on just to make sure there's nothing on them either (and because it's not hard nor expensive to do). Everything will come out of the bleach, into a dechlorination bath for a few days, then into a bucket to cure. Once cured for a month (likely involving a few water changes), I'll let them air dry for a bit. Then it's into new salt water and - so goes the plan - begin the process of cycling the rock in the Brute cans using some Dr. Tims. My goal will be to have clean, cured, cycled rocks that will be ready to use in the new house the day the tank is set up and can be filled. I don't expect that'll give me a fully cycled tank, but at least it'll give me a good head start... So goes the plan. :-|
     
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  11. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    2/23/18 - Day 0

    Let's see; where did I leave off... All the rock is in bleach. Because I'm lazy, the Reef Saver took an extra ~2wks before it made it into the bin. Not really a big deal - there's nothing alive on that rock anyways.
    IMG_3179.jpg

    Those will come out on or around 3/3 (same day as my next 1/2 marathon run, in fact); after which they will transfer into new water with a generous helping of Prime. A bit of time in that (until the phosphate is low and level), and then I'll likely do a test layout. It's still a bit early for that kind of thing, but the next step after the curing is to start cycling the rock. Once that process has begun, I'm obviously going to want to keep them in water as much as possible...

    A friend of the family has offered to help me out with a metal stand (build it for cost). He does fabrication and such for motorcycles, so he's got a pretty good touch at welding (from what I can tell - I don't know much about it, to be honest). But he knows how to do strong welds, and that's really all I care about. He doesn't really know aquariums, however, so I'll be going back into the rendering program to replace the wood stand above with a metal one. 2x2 seems to be the best option, so I'll use that. Beyond that info, the desire to keep things as open as possible under the tank (which makes the metal stand option awesome), and scouring the forums here for other metal stand samples of similar sizes to this one, I think I have a pretty good handle on what is needed in terms of the design of the stand. Once I have the design, the wife (engineer) will geek out and determine what thickness will be needed (this is her job not because I don't already know the answer (1/2"), but because it involves her in a way she really enjoys - small wins add up, eh?) as well as perhaps all the various loads on the stand... Once the stand is built, I'll have it powder-coated to match whatever color scheme I use (thinking orange (Neptune) and purple (wife and girls like purple), but also blue or green...).

    Beyond that, I've been buying up gear on the "for sale" forums that I'll want in the new tank that I don't already have. Two IceCap 150's (which are now discontinued) to finally get the Gyres hooked into the Apex, a Neptune ATK along with a second FMM (total of 6 more sensor ports - one of which will be for a sensor in the skimmer cup), an auto-cleaner for the skimmer neck, two DOS pumps (one for auto-water-change, one for Triton additives; need one more..), another XR15 Gen 3 (total: 4), ... I think that's about it so far. Still some things to go, but I've already saved enough money on the gear that if I needed to buy everything else new I think I'd still be within spitting range of my target budget... (Yes - that was a joke; I don't have a budget. This IS an aquarium, after all!)

    As far as the tank itself goes (you know; the thing that makes all the rest of this not stupid to have), I got a quote and time estimate back from Reef Savvy. Price was fine; timeline was not. It would take them longer to build my tank than it will take for my house to be built (the house is still just a dirt lot ATM). I'd also put other quote requests out and got a good one back from Crystal Dynamic Aquariums. They are here in CA as well, so the cost savings in shipping was a nice bonus. They suggested that as this was an in-wall tank, I might consider eurobraced to help prevent splashing and to cut the cost by ~$1k. While that's tempting, I already struggle with cleaning the waterline on my current (rimless) tank. Adding in bracing would make that chore (and it is a chore) even more laborious. I like saving money, but I think the goal of an easy-to-maintain tank will win out on this one. Unfortunately, I'm not able to put down a deposit right now as we're in the middle of our design choices on the new house. Once we finish those (next week), the builder will collect the final deposit for the house. That plus taxes coming due means that the cash reserves we have are lower than is comfortable. Not a big deal; I think they have a 3-4 month lead time right now or something; which is shorter than the 5-6 month the builder has been giving us. I'll likely put the order in later next month.

    Finally; I've started to think about what I want to do about my control center. We've gone ahead and added two dedicated 20amp circuits to the room and I'll have two EB8's. Plus all the modules and DOS pumps, I'm envisioning a cable nightmare. I don't doubt I'll be able to organize it all, but I'm also interested in making it look not scary. But I can't quite justify the cost of doing some kind of acrylic solution if I have to pay someone to cut out all the pieces (assuming they are not simple lines; letters and such). So one of the things I've been thinking about is using my 3D printer (and assorted purchased parts, of course) to build a CNC machine. (The wife has a Cricut, but that can't really handle anything thick enough, I don't think.) Looking at the parts I'd need to print, I figure it's about a week or two at most, so that's a decision I'm sitting on for a bit. The real problem, to be honest, is I don't really know what I want in terms of a design... :-?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
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  12. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    2/27/18 - Day 0

    Turns out that the wife has her own projects she's working on and doesn't really feel inclined to math up the stand design. :-( So rather than just trust that all will be well, I've started a thread here on the stand specifically. Feel free to chime in on how much I've over-engineered the thing...

    Beyond the stand, I also worked on re-routing the return plumbing to flow up the back of the tank rather than around the side. Along with this, I also wrapped the illusion box around the sides of the tank so that everything behind the walls will seem deeper than it actually is. I'm hoping it'll work out, because I'm not sure how I'll be able to mock it up. One thing that I'll likely do that won't be in the renders will be that the corners will be rounded - not a hard edge. This should make getting soft, even lighting easier...
    upload_2018-2-27_0-10-23.png
    The red plumbing are the drains (bean animal + extra emergency) and will be 1". The brown is the return lines that will be 1.5". The orange will be return lines and/or manifold ports that are reduced down to 1". (These aren't the actual colors I'll use, of course - just for id purposes.)

    One challenge with wrapping the illusion box around the corner was that I had to think about the drains. I've already decided on the EShoppes Eclipse M and that uses a 1.5" bulkhead to get through the tank. So my thinking was that I could use two bulkheads - one to get out of the tank, and one to get into the drain box. Then just connect the two with a short piece (~3") of 1.5" pipe. Something like this:
    upload_2018-2-27_0-18-32.png
    (Where the illusion wall would fill that open space.)

    If you can think of a reason why this is a bad idea, let me know. I'm not totally sold that the extra effort of wrapping the illusion wall will be worthwhile...
     
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  13. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    How is the progress going
     
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  14. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Let's see...
    - Tank is ordered and 50% deposit paid. So that's in-progress (I think).
    - Most of the gear I need that could be purchased used has been gathered. Still some new gear to get (2x COR-20's, new heaters, some other minor things), but no rush there.
    - No progress on the metal stand yet. Need to contact the friend who will do the fabrication.
    - Still no solution on the light rig. I'm trying to figure out whether I want/need to augment the four XR-15's (Gen 3) that I have with T5's. I've got the diffusers for them, so I may need the extra power - and will likely need the spread as well. But I like the idea of lower power usage...
    - All the rock has exited curing and is sitting on my garage floor. My intent is to test out some layouts with it before it all goes back into the bins to be cycled. I've got everything I need for that (both the layout test and cycling) - it's just finding the time.
    - The new house was supposed to break ground today, but will be delayed till later in the month due to weather. Boo! New finish date is estimated to be late August/early September. So looking at an October-ish move-in...

    I've picked up two more clients at work - which has resulted in 50-60 hours per week looking at a computer screen. The resulting pay is nice, of course, but I have little urge (or, to be honest, mental facilities) to be looking at my computer more than I have to. Even now, I'm waiting on a process to finish before I get back to it... :-\

    We also have been struggling to find a dining room table for the new house that fits our needs and space. So I've set out to build one... Likely not the best choice in terms of time use, but I enjoy working with wood and projects like that require a significantly different part of my brain and body. So even though it will likely use a lot of time up, it's healthy. Never built a table of this type, however, so I'm starting with a new computer desk using the same general techniques.
     
  15. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Sound like everything is falling into place, just with some delays

    Have you thought about getting a wire restaurant shelve and using the for you light right and the suspend it?
     
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  16. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    It's the "suspend it" part that I'm still on the fence on... I need a way to move the lights out of the way in order to clean the tank and such. There are several options (lift up, slide out, tilt, ...), I just need to find one that works. I'll likely have the lights ~10" or so off the water normally, but will need to get them clear of the top of the tank by at least 24" - preferably more. There's plenty of space both above and behind the tank to build a rig, and it's all in the fish room, so I don't need to worry about the aesthetics overly much (though I don't want it to be unsightly if it doesn't have to be). Like I said - lots of options, just need to pick on that will fit the bill...
     
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  17. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I completely understand. It's one of those, I will see when the time come of how it will be done.:)
     
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  18. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    3/22/18 - Day 0

    I toyed with calling this "Day 1", but decided to hold off until I at least have a tank. The reason for the decision is that I'm growing things. Small, tiny things, but it's a start.
    My cycle has begun:
    IMG_3237.jpg
    Each tub has about half the rock (~90lbs each), about 30gal of new-mixed salt water, about 4oz of Dr. Tims, and ~3oz of ammonia (measured to about 2.0ppm). Added a heater and pump, plugged it all in, and covered it up. Hopefully I can get all the rock to cycle before September... ;-)

    Before the rock went into the tubs, however, I went ahead and built out a demo "tank" and stacked the rocks up a bit. I wasn't really going for anything final; I just wanted to see if the 180# of rock I have will fill up enough of the tank. In the end - I'm not sure...
    IMG_3234.jpg
    Obviously the sagging strings didn't work out all the well for setting up the "rule of thirds" grid, but - again - I was just trying to see how things would fit. I think I may need another 20-30# of reef saver...

    A few more angles; though - as I said - I'm not really satisfied with the layout pictured here:
    IMG_3235.jpg IMG_3236.jpg
    I almost regret getting the tonga shelf, to be honest... It's harder to work with than I hoped it would be; though that could be because I was just trying to stack it all up. I expect I'll have to bind everything together using acrylic rods. I'm not giving up on it; I'm sure I'll find a way to make it work that makes me happy. :)

    Got some more equipment today. BRS got in the Core 20's, so I went ahead and ordered a pair (primary for the DT and backup/spare for the Frag Tank). I considered getting a different pump, but I'm pretty much all-in with Neptune gear at this point (I'll list it all out at some point) and the COR-20 pump is a good fit for the tank. Filling up the curing "tanks" also used up the last of my black-bucket Red Sea salt, so I ordered 2 buckets of the blue - which is a switch I've been meaning to make for a while now. The current tank's numbers run pretty close to the blue (closer than they do the black I've been using), so this should result in more gentle water changes. I also ordered a set of 55gal vertical storage tanks. These will fit in the new room better than the 55gal drums I currently have. I already have the pump standing by for the new mixing station, so I'll likely build that out and swap out my current one well before the move. I'm going to use one of the 55gal drums to capture waste water - similar to how I do it now, but I'll remove the float shut-off and instead hook up the overflow to the house drain line. That way, I'll capture 55gal of waste water (for filling the kiddie pool and such), but not have to worry about emptying it whenever it's full in order to make more RODI water. That'll be a nice relief as the pump on the current waste line has trouble with air getting in the line and I usually have to create a syphon by sucking on the garden hose to get it going. :-| In the pump's defense; it's an old pump I used in beer making, so not really suited to the job - but it's what I had on-hand at the time. It's been a champ, but time to give it a break.

    We met with a construction contractor today. Asked whether he would do the work on both the current and new house, but the new house is outside the area he is willing to work in. So we'll have him help us with the current house (pulling out our current stove - which we'll take with us - and cutting in a replacement), but will continue looking for someone to build out the fish room/workshop...
     
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  19. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I like the scape concept, Try StoneFix for bonding:) The stuff works great.
     
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  20. DLHDesign

    DLHDesign Ex-Noob R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    4/7/18 - Day 0

    I feel like I've made some meaningful progress on the tank, finally! I still need to get the stand started, I don't really know what the status of the actual tank is (my emails have gone unanswered; not so worried that I've found time to call... yet), and the new house has only just begun to be built (something I'm sure this storm system will put on hold for a while), but other than those big things, I've got some other stuff sorted out...

    I've got a sump! AND some plumbing supplies!
    IMG_3248.jpg
    I took advantage of a BRS sale to get $50 off the Trigger Systems Triton 44 (trust me; it's buried in there). I toyed with the idea of both making my own (by first making a CNC machine, then buying the materials, etc.). I looked briefly into having a custom sump built by a local manufacturer. In the end, I don't have time for the former (fun as it would be) and I likely wouldn't have saved any money on the latter. Aside from "ready for the Triton method", I don't really have any specific requirements for the sump. So this deal made sense and I went for it. Now to store the thing for 5-6months without it breaking...
    The plumbing is for the water mixing station. The containers are on their way, so when they get here I'll have everything I need to build out a mixing station that can more easily handle not only a larger tank size, but also the automation which the new tank will have (powered ATO instead of gravity-fed, AWC, etc.). But most importantly in the short-term, the new setup will use a far superior pump, which should make the water changes on my current tank much easier...

    Next biggest accomplishment was to set up the frag tank. Or it's temporary setup, at least:
    IMG_3246.jpg
    The tank is a 24x24x12 I got off Amazon (right price; good reviews). The tank will eventually have a shadow overflow added and be plumbed into the main system. But for now, it's set up and will be used to put any corals going into the new tank through a 76+day QT period (fallow, effectively). Every coral in my current system has been dipped and QT'ed already, so this process is just to clean out any lingering fish parasites from the early days of my tank (when I knew less than I do now).
    The gear in the tank is a Gyre 130, Radion XR15 G3, one of my backup heaters, and a Seachem Tidal 55. The current location is on the counter (>10ft from current tank) under some cabinets, so the whole thing had to be under 18 inches tall. I ended up building the rail out of some spare MakerBeam XL I had around. I designed and printed out the mount points for the light (seen near the top; two small black "L" shapes) as well as the feet to slot onto the top of the rimless tank. Seems to work rather well, and when I move to the final location, I can replace the short 6" legs I've got on there now with some slightly longer ones (8-9") so that I can get the light the right height off the water surface. I'll likely also look into using the same material over the new DT - it's light, easy to work with, and endlessly flexible. And while it may not be the cheapest option possible, it also shouldn't break the bank.
    What made me happy with this whole tank was how easy it was to hook up the Radion to my existing WXM. Even though it's across the room (~25ft) and in the cabinet, the frag tank light was picked up and plugged in without effort. I gave it the same profile as my center light for now, but will use the SenEye's par meter to get it to an appropriate intensity.

    While I was 3D printing stuff, I also solved another problem I had. I have picked up a Kessil H380 off the forums. I also had a gooseneck that I got along with a bunch of other gear from someone getting out of the hobby. Unfortunately, I did not get from them the mounting bracket for the H380 - only the smaller profile light. So I broke out the calipers and spent a few minutes designing a bracket. A few hours later, I had the prototype:
    IMG_3245.jpg
    I reprinted it in black (and at a higher density), so now I'm all ready to light the new fuge! I'd put it over my current fuge, but (a) I don't have anything in there that really needs light and (b) the 525XL sump fits pretty snugly into the cabinet; there's not really enough room along the sides to fit the gooseneck mount (not without hanging the bolts over the water - which just seems like an invitation for rust to get into the system...).

    Finally, there was this little adventure:
    IMG_3240.jpg
    Basically; a single DOS head for both ALK and CA dosing. It works - basically - because I flush a fair amount of tank water through the system after every dose. It's still running; not clogging and no more precipitation in the tank than before (when I had 8 dosing heads on the tank). I've not yet decided if I'll use this type of system on the new tank, however. I've got 3 DOS pumps already (and passed on a 4th at the last minute), so I have enough pumps to run both the AWC I want as well as the 4 parts of the Triton system. The solenoids I've used can certainly be repurposed into other areas of the system (RO/DI, etc.), so I don't feel that I'm out of pocket on this little experiment. I think the tipping point is comparing the info I have on the Mag dosing (which is on it's own pump head and all the logs therein) versus the Alk and Ca (which requires some mathematical juggling to sort out what's been done when). I'm lazy, in other words, and like the "at a glance" charts that the Neptune dashboard provides.

    That's it, really. Most of my focus the past few weeks has been on work (which is going well with lots of new clients - even potentially one in Singapore, which may let me get out that way for some diving, if things go well...) and fixing up the stuff around the current house - fireplace sweeping, painting, cabinet repairs, etc... And the family - I do make sure to spend time cuddling with my wife and two girls as well. The wife and I just celebrated our 5 year anniversary, in fact. Went out to see a movie (we rarely get nights out alone)! Ready Player One was a better book in some ways, a better movie in others, IMHO... :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
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