Wes's Builds; 4 projects, nearly 10 years, 270 - 350 Gallons

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So I've been meaning to put together a build thread from my various builds over the years to showcase to family and friends so here it goes. 4 total builds

1st saltwater tank, 350 Gal total contained in a 9'x5' space. 2011-2014. Atlantic Beach NC

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2nd Tank, 270 Gal total 2014 - 2017. Yuma AZ

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3rd Tank 270 Gal Total 2017-2018, Yuma AZ

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4th Tank 270 Gal total 2018 - present Merritt Island FL

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wes urquhart
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Chapter 1

So my story starts out much the same as everyone's I believe. There I was in 2010, stuck on an amphibious landing ship with the Marine Corps deployed on an expeditionary unit for 10 months at sea when I was sent a book. Salt water aquariums for dummies with a note from my fiance at the time, "I want a fish". Being the astute and bored Marine that I was I decided to look into this salt water aquarium thing.

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wes urquhart
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So I set off to plan my tank. I spent many hours on my work computer downloading everything I could read at the super fast rate of something less than 56k internet. I dove into scientific journals and probably read every article Randy Holmes-Farley ever produced at the time. All this without ever having actually done anything with fish before.

Now at the time I was a single Marine stationed at Cherry Point NC so naturally I lived in an absolutely dilapidated rental home in Atlantic Beach paying $500 a month. I was 1 block away from the beach which should tell you how small my place was. But it was perfect for me at the time. So because I didn't have much room to work with and this being my first aquarium i naturally decided it would be a lot easier to go as big as possible, after all, "the solution to pollution is dilution!"

So after contemplating my tiny rental house I decided I could spare a small 10' x 5' section for the entire project and no more. That was my starting point.
 
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wes urquhart
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And of course I researched tons about husbandry, chemistry, DIY projects and read up on the basics of woodworking and plumbing which Ive also never really done before.

In the end I decided I was simply going to have a 210gal display tank with 2x 90 gal tanks directly under it on mounts so the 90 gal tanks could pull out like a drawer. the sump on the left would be a 2 chambered DIY plywood/expoxy deal with a surge tank ontop to give a wave like feature to the display tank. Pretty simple.
 
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wes urquhart
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When I returned from deployment I got right to it. Bought a ton of woodworking equipment and supplies and just basically followed my 3D models and measured very carefully. I used mortise and tenon joints on the frames using a combination of router and chisels. I wish i had taken more pictures during the build but I was extremely surprised and pleased to find that everything actually fit together rather nicely on the woodworking side. The local aquarium had some surplus holding tanks as well at the time and I purchased a 210 gal tank from them for the display tank. This pic shows the build coming together.
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