cypho's 36" DIY reef

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by cypho, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    Hello TCMAS,

    Allow me to introduce myself, long time reefer, new TCMAS member. I've been out of the hobby for a few years due to a tank crash and a cross-country move (it seemed unwise to rebuild knowing that I would have to tear it all down before too long). Moving was so much easier and less stressful not having to worry about the aquariums, but now that things have calmed down, it is time to dive back in.

    To kick things off, about a month ago, I cleaned up some old used-to-be-live rock and put it in a 40-breeder that is currently sitting on the floor in the utility room. I added a few small pieces of live rock from New Wave Aquaria and put a 2x65w compact fluorescent light over it. The old rock does not look very lively yet; there are still very few if any pods and no new coraline growth. About a week ago, diatoms, red cyano, and hair algae started to take hold so I added a few snails to knock that down. I also have 2 young clownfish (Amphiprion mccullochi) in a quarantine tank.

    The display tank is still very much a work in progress. While I wait for the live rock to mature, I am taking my time planning everything out and I intend on DIY'ing as many parts as I can.

    I started off by building a 2x4 frame around an old 40-breeder that will be the sump. The display tank will either be another 40-breeder or if I am brave enough I will attempt to build a 36Lx24Wx18H tank out of 3/8" glass. I am designing the stand to accommodate either size.

    [​IMG]

    Currently I am in the progress of wrapping the frame in Oak and building a Raspberry Pi based aquarium controller/monitor. I'll post more pictures and info about those projects later.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I look forward to meeting some of you at this months meeting.

    Cheers,

    William
     

    Attached Files:

    #1 cypho, Feb 1, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  2. jellob0y

    jellob0y 75gl, 20gl sump, THANKS AJ
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    Looks interesting can't wait to follow the makings of this Tank. And look forward to meeting you at this months meeting as well
     
    #2 jellob0y, Feb 1, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  3. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Welcome to TCMAS!

    And from the beginning stages of skinning your stand, I'm liking the look of it!
    Flat panel posts, crown/trim around the top and trimming out the bases of the posts. Nice!

    Also a great viewing height, but I hope you have a stool for cleaning. I do.
     
  4. Xavier

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    Welcome!

    Looking like a great start. Interested in seeing how the controller works out for you.


    Xavier
     
  5. Kepler

    Kepler Former: Koletang

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    I'd love to hear more about that controller and relay board. I have an arduino controller project in the works.
     
  6. SSPReefer

    SSPReefer I contributed!
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    They just released the new raspberry pi 2. Has the same foot print as the B+ but has a quad core processor and 1gig of ram now.
     
  7. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    Thanks for the kind words.

    I decided to go all in. I'm building the tank!

    I just submitted an order for the glass. I hope my math was good - not very much room for error with the glass.

    I was on the fence if low iron glass was worth the extra cost, after making my rounds at a bunch of glass shops, the place I liked most did not do low iron which made the decision easier; no low iron glass for this one. Plus a good aquarium design includes excuses for why you need yet another aquarium, right?




    [TABLE]
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    [TD="align: left"][/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 3, align: center"]Aquarium Dimensions[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]Length[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]Height[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Nominal Volume[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Actual Water Volume[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]36 1/ 2[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]24[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]20[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]76[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]55.2[/TD]
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    [TD="colspan: 3, align: center"]Glass Dimensions[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]Length[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Front[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]36 1/ 2[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]20[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"] 3/ 8[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Back[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]36 1/ 2[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]20[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"] 3/ 8[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Right[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]23 1/ 8[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]20[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Left[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]23 1/ 8[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]20[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]W[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Bottom[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]35 5/ 8[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]23 1/ 8[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"] 3/ 8[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]This piece has 4 holes[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]12 1/ 2[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]3 3/ 4[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1 3/8[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]15 7/ 8[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]2 3/8[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]19 3/ 4[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]4 1/ 4[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]2 3/8[/TD]
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    [TD="align: center"]23 1/ 8[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]3 3/ 4[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1 3/8[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Info used for calculations[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Silicone Gap[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"] 1/16[/TD]
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    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]Overflow Size[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Floating Bottom Space[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"] 1/ 4[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]12 1/8[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]6.1875[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Holes From Back[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]3 1/16[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Hole Spacing[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]1 1/ 2[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Hoes From Overflow[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"] 3/ 4[/TD]
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    [TD="align: right"]Water Level (from top)[/TD]
    [TD="align: right"]2 1/ 2[/TD]
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    [/TABLE]
     
    #7 cypho, Feb 3, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  8. BEAV9900

    BEAV9900 Senior Member
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    Pretty jealous. This is the size of tank I've been looking for. Will be following along!
     
  9. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    4 weeks since since I ordered the glass and it is finally time for an update.

    Building the aquarium took a lot longer than I expected. I made some mistakes along the way ( I ended up cutting the silicon out and re-glueing 4 times and broke 3 pieces of glass ) but in the end I am reasonably happy with how it came out.

    Lessons learned.


    1. Do not use masking tape in hopes of easier cleanup. It just makes it harder to see what you are doing and harder to see if the silicone is bubble free.
    2. Do not drop the glass.
    3. Do not let a heavy piece of glass crash into the partially completed aquarium or you will break more than just the piece you dropped.
    4. Do not use pressure to push joints together, you will just squeeze all of the silicon out of the joint.
    5. Even when you have waited a few days and the silicon looks and feels cured, do not use pressure to push the joints together, the silicon is still liquid in the middle, you will squeeze all of the silicon out of the joint. It takes at least a week for silicon deep in the joint to dry.
    6. Do not trim the extra silicon until you are 200% sure (how ever long it takes you to be 100% sure, wait that long again) it is cured all the way though. Silicon shrinks as it dries, which creates negative pressure within the joint, if you break the hard outer crust too soon, the negative pressure will suck a lot of air into the joint.
    7. Apply the silicon and then step away - do not even look at it for a week. All attempts to "fix" imperfections before the silicon is fully cured make your problems 10x worse.


    For some reason, the glass dimensions are no longer showing in my last post. I can't seem to get a table to work anymore. Re-posting as an image.

    The glass shop did not have hole saws for the 1 1/2 inch bulkheads in my original plan, so ended up going with 1 1/4 inch bulkheads.
    aquarium dimentions.jpg

    I used the floating bottom method. First I placed few 1/4" pieces of wood to hold the bottom glass off of the ground.
    IMG_5705.JPG

    Then glue the front/back/right/left around the bottom. These corner clamps are great, they hold the glass in place and at perfect 90 degree angles.
    IMG_5714.JPG



    Don't do this, even after 2 days, applying pressure will squeeze all of the silicon out of the seam.
    IMG_5720.JPG


    Don't do this either. Not only did the dropped piece break into a million pieces, it chipped the two pieces of glass it hit on the way down.
    IMG_5722.JPG
     
    #9 cypho, Mar 8, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  10. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    I built the overflow box out of a single 24 x 17 x 1/4 inch piece of black plexiglass. I bent the plexiglass by heating it with a heat-gun. Plywood provided insulation to keep the heat where I wanted it. The 2 holes in the overflow are for 3/4" bulkheads, returns from sump.

    At 17" tall, there is a bit over 2 1/4" from the top of the overflow to the rim. I am going to paint the back piece of glass black, but only up to the top of the overflow.


    IMG_20150307_183746.jpg
    IMG_20150307_185349.jpg
    IMG_20150307_194417.jpg
    IMG_20150308_102049.jpg
    IMG_20150308_144959.jpg
    IMG_20150308_200346.jpg



    I've started working on the plumbing, from left to right:

    3/4" bulkhead: return from sump - 1" PVC below bulkhead, 2x3/4" PVC above
    1 1/4" bulkhead: always dry, path for powerhead cords
    1 1/4" bulkhead: durso standpipe, minimal water flow.
    3/4" bulkhead: full syphon drain.

    IMG_20150308_200754.jpg

    IMG_20150308_161545.jpg
    ( I am not sure yet how everything will line up with the sump / if all of those 45 degree elbows below the bulkheads are really needed)
     
    #10 cypho, Mar 8, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  11. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    Final update for today.

    For lighting I will be using two Giesemann Nova 2 pendants ( 250W HQI MH ). After more than a decade of use(abuse) they have started to look a bit shabby.
    IMG_20150207_095528.jpg



    I took the pendants apart and removed all of the damaged/peeling paint with an electric orbital sander.
    IMG_20150207_105406.jpg



    After a few coats of paint ( high-temp spray on enamel ) and some new galvanized steel cable, they look as good as new.
    IMG_20150308_160457.jpg
     
    #11 cypho, Mar 8, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  12. Riley

    Riley I contributed!
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    I was thinking about this tank the other day wondering how it was all going together. All these updates look great. Nice choice on having a dry pipe through your overflow for power cords. That is a feature I don't see used enough. Looking forward to seeing how the water test goes.
     
  13. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    Today I installed the overflow plumbing. It was a tight fit but I did get it all in there. The top pipe fittings are painted black so there will not be any white pipe visible from the front of the tank.

    I need to trim off the extra teflon tape on the bulkhead and spray some paint down the inside of the dry bulkhead pipe. How did I miss that? I did not notice either issue when I was assembling, but it sticks out like a sore thumb in the photos.

    IMG_20150313_220829.jpg

    IMG_20150313_220625.jpg
     
    #13 cypho, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  14. tolene

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    Glad it is going so well, fun to follow your progress. How did you design the controller? What will it be able to do?
     
  15. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    I have not put too much time into the controller yet - I'm focused on getting water in the aquarium first.

    When I pick back up work on the controller I'll post more detailed info but here is quick preview: So far all it can do is turn on/off 16 outlets, but in the back of my mind I want to have sensors galore and to automate everything possible. At the top of the list is a return pump gph flow sensors, salinity sensors, float switches, auto-top-off and the ability to control the speed of jebao DC pumps and powerheads.
     
  16. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Yea!! Another reefer afflicted with OCD!
    Although, I actually ordered black PVC pipe and fittings.

    Nice job on the overflow and plumbing.
    I like your thoughts about running the power cords up through the overflow. I also hate seeing cords going over the sides.
     
  17. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    I thought about looking for black/grey PVC fittings, but it took at least 5 trips to home depot, menards, and lowes get all of the right fittings. If I had to wait a week for delivery each time I realized I needed a different fitting, I would never get water this thing. If the paint does not hold up, I may look at replacing it with colored PVC now that I have an exact bill of materials worked out.
     
  18. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    I have the lower plumbing complete. I used the thin-wall low pressure PVC pipe because it has a larger internal diameter for better flow. It is only rated for 200 PSI - but that is still more than 10x what the most powerful aquarium pump could generate.

    Water up is black. Water down is grey.

    The fitting with a wire hanging out is a water flow sensor. I can not think of any great utility in knowing the precise amount of water the sump pump is pushing. But for $15, why not?

    The bulkhead in the sump is plumbed into the sewer. This is to make water changes easy (just syphon water into the bulkhead) and possibly one day automated. It also protects against flooding - water will just go down the drain before it ends up on the floor.

    The wire for the sump pump runs out the back of the stand, though the wall, into a closet. I am going to try to keep all of the electrical work in the closet. This is both for safety (keeping electricity away from water as much as I can) and for convenience (it is impossible to keep the wiring organized when it is all stuffed into the void behind the stand). It will also keep the sump area looking nice and uncluttered.


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    #18 cypho, Mar 15, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  19. OP
    cypho

    cypho I contributed!
    Lifetime Member Event Committee

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    No leaks!!

    I need new MH bulbs, one is way bluer than the other. They are both 20K, but one must be somewhat older.

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    #19 cypho, Mar 18, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  20. Pumbooris

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    Beautiful set up! It looks super clean with the rimless tank and the halides hanging! Great job!
     

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