500 Gallon In-Wall

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by zoolan70, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    At the prodding of several board members, I've decided to put together a build thread for my new project. I've been on the hunt for a large used tank for some time and found one for a price I couldn't refuse. Unfortunately, it was in Nebraska. The guy was nice enough to bring it to Souix Falls, so I only had a 4 hour drive.

    The tank is a custom Oceanic tank. For those that don't remember them, their large custom tanks come with stainless steel powder coated frames, 3/4" glass, and an ABS, HDPE and glass laminate bottom. It is heavy. So very, very heavy. It took 8 of us, plus a mechanical lift, to get it into place. I'm confident we couldn't have done it with any less. In the end, it will be behind a bar, so it is higher than a normal stand.

    First, I had to level the floor under the tank and build a stand. I used reinforced thin set concrete to level the slab and it worked pretty good, except I had a lot of leakage under the framing. Fortunately, an air chisel took up the stuff that leaked out very cleanly:

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    I built the stand out of 2x6, with green treated on the bottom in case they get wet. The front of the tank is supported by the 2x4 wall studs.

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    Don't worry about the wiring behind the stand. That was just temporary until I was done, then I drilled all the new studs and ran the wire correctly.

    I used Kreg screws to tie everything together.

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    Uprights were added to frame the tank, and the drywall was cut out.

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    I will utilize three circuits for the tank. I tagged off of an existing one for the right side outlets:

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    I ran a dedicated 20 amp service for the lights and other outlets under and to the left of the tank:

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    Finally, I will use an existing 20 amp service in the furnace room to add more power to the left side, where I plan to add any extra stuff like a frag tank, ATS, etc.
     

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  2. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Woo-hoo! Build thread!

    But... no picture with that beast of a tank installed?
    I know it's in place and hopefully it's been cleaned out by now!
    I'll patiently wait to see the rest of the build; especially the sump.

    Good luck with the rest of the build!
     
  3. mnmuskyman2011

    mnmuskyman2011 Senior Member
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    This will be awesome. I'm following.
     
  4. OP
    zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    As requested, some pictures of it in the wall. I didn't take any pictures of the process, but if everyone wants to come over again, we can pull it out and do it again. :)

    [​IMG]

    And for size reference, my 2 sons. The one on the right is 6'-5".

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. dirtrider225

    dirtrider225 Junior Member
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    I feel a tank this size should be dedicated to sexy shrimp.
     
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  6. OP
    zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    OK, on to the fun stuff. First things first, I needed to make sure this beast held water before I did anything else. Initial water test went fine.

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    Now, my plan all along, if I couldn't find a good used tank, was to build one out of plywood. After all the hours I spent researching and planning, I had to give it a try in some fashion, so I made my sumps out of plywood! jlanger was nice enough to help me cut everything up, and I got to work with my screw gun. 3/4" plywood, screwed and glued. Screws every inch to inch-and-a-half and countersunk. Once they were in, I used wood putty to fill the holes and sanded them smooth.

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    I am doing 2 sumps, connected via 2-2" pipes. This way, if either one fails, or I just decide to change things up, I can get them out of the stand.

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    I coated them with 4 coats of West Marine epoxy, three applied while still tacky, and a forth added after a few days of curing and a good sanding.

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    I did fiberglass tape in the corners, just to add to the structural strength of the epoxy. I don't think it is needed, but fiberglass is cheap.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. OP
    zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    Next up, aquascaping. I used PVC for the pillars, and PVC pipe for the backbone of the arches.

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    The end overflows really impact my room to work. Each one is almost a foot on each end.

    I added a cross brace onto the sumps just for reassurance. They were coated with epoxy after they were installed.

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    I wasn't happy with the aquascaping so I added a few ledges. The PCV is just holding them up while the putty dries.

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  8. vandy10

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    Wow This looks to be an amazing build. Can't wait to see the results
     
  9. patent

    patent Ok Moderator
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  10. acharpenter

    acharpenter Senior Member
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    Awesome - about time you got the build thread up!!!
     
  11. clowning around

    clowning around I contributed!
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    Thanks for the interesting build
     
  12. marty9876

    marty9876 Banned
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    About time someone man up around here, enough of those little 300g fish bowls popular around these parts.
     
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  13. Flounder

    Flounder Senior Member
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    You suck! Jk that tank setup looks awesome, I'm jealous!
     
  14. Riley

    Riley I contributed!
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    I love big tank builds! 3/4 glass - what a beast! Looking forward to watching this come together.

    You should put some in-use covers on your outlets. No need to have a gfci trip just because it was splashed wrong.
     
  15. Flounder

    Flounder Senior Member
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    Do you have anymore aquascape pictures? I cant get enough of that
     
  16. Dalailammy

    Dalailammy Amphipod First Class
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    The one picture must have been taken after Sunday church.
     
  17. OP
    zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    When we last saw the "basement flooder" (as my wife calls it), the water test was beginning.

    The sumps are installed and plumbed together.
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    Here are some pictures of the back of the aquascape. As I said, I used PVC pipe, which I drilled and then installed short PVC rods into. The rock was drilled as well, then placed on the pegs, then zip tied.
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    I had to use the pegs, or the weight of the rocks kept making them just rotate on the PVC pipe. I'm sure there was an easier way, but this worked.
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    I debated on using a filter socks, and in the end felt it was worth the maintenance to use them. I went with CPR 4x20 filter socks and holders. Honestly, I only got these because I saw them at MACNA and he gave me a good deal, otherwise I would have just cobbled something together.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. OP
    zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    Good call! I've added them to my shopping list.
     
  19. OP
    zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    Now for the biggest innovation on the tank. I am going to heat it using hot water rather than electric heaters. I've read some really interesting threads about this and wanted to give it a shot. The basic concept is that you use a water re-circulation pump and a large coil of Pex tubing as a radiator.

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    I connected this loop to my existing home hot water loop on the return side.
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    You may be asking yourself "why did he use so many zip ties on that loop?!?!?". Well, let's just say that Pex does not like to be bent. Every couple of loops I had to throw another layer of ties on to hold it.

    Total cost for me to try this was less than $50, because I already had the hot water loop installed. All of the fittings are far away from the tank, so there is virtually no risk of the water in the loop entering the tank.

    There is a lot of talk about disease risk from doing this (things like Legionnaire's Disease). Well, I ran some tests when I plumbed this all in. It takes less than 20 seconds for the entire water volume in the loop to be replaced with new water. Each time the tank calls for heat the entire pipe will be flushed out many times over (that's why I used the cold side of the loop). I may lose some efficiency this way, but the water in the loop goes through the water heater more often.

    When I feel the loop, the incoming side of the loop is significantly warmer than the outgoing side, so the heat transfer is pretty decent. I'm using a Ranco controller for the loop right now, and that will end up being the backup for my Apex once I get all my equipment moved to this tank.
     
    #19 zoolan70, Sep 19, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  20. OP
    zoolan70

    zoolan70 Senior Member
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    Fresh water test went fine.
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    Plumbing was mostly complete under the tank.
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    The fresh water was drained, and the RO filling began. That was 5 days ago. It's still not full.
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    I'm thinking it will be full today. The tank is full, and the sumps are rising.
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