Freeman's 125 (Some fish are in!) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Freeman's 125 (Some fish are in!)

It's the new year and that means a new project! I decided to recap my adventures over the past couple years in the hobby, more for me to view the progression.

My first tank was actually never stocked with fish. It was going to be a 5 gallon acrylic aquarium with glowlight tetras and neon plants. During my research process, I decided to use real plants and prior to stocking ended up ditching glowlight tetras since the tank was far too small.





5G Puffer Tank Journal
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/808978-5g-dwarf-puffer-tank-pic-heavy.html

My second tank was a 30G tall tank that was given to me by a coworker. I built that stand out of a couple 2x4s and scrap wood. It was a very budget build and ended up being a great learning experience overall.






Planted Community Tank Journal:
Planted Community Tank adventure

My next tank was a 75g tank with a DIY overflow and 55g sump. There were a ton of hurdles and it was, again, quite the learning experience. I ended up running this tank until I realized I was going to move! So I set out to give away/sell everything I could. I had never built a full stand like that and it turned out alright, but I know I can improve moving forward.







75G with 55G Journal:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/858145-freemans-75g-tank-rip-retired-sold-11.html

At the same time, I started a shrimp only 20g tank. I had previously housed my shrimp in my sump but wanted to put them on display.





Shrimp Stump Journal:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/944458-underwater-shrimp-stump.html



After selling my 75g and all the plants, I still needed something! I set up the 55g sump as an all in one aquarium to house a few tiger barbs until I moved. I eventually brought this tank with me to my new house.





55G Tiger Barb Journal:
Tiger barb species tank (55g DIY all in one aquarium)

That pretty much brings us up to speed. Ive been kicking around the idea of a custom tank for a long time and it seems like the budget wont be there for a few more years. So, in the meantime, Ive been casually searching Craigslist for tanks. I stumbled upon an acrylic tank that met my requirements; 1- Large, 2-Cheap!

In comes a 125G (ish) acrylic tank. The tank measures approximately 72x18x24 (LxHxW). The tank is made from acrylic with a 3/8 brace around the top. It had center overflows made from acrylic as well. The tank was quite dirty and will require a bit of work to say the least. But at less than $0.50 a gallon, it was a project I was willing to take.

I had it sitting upside down outside between a few chairs while I sprayed out some of the debris.






After that was done, it was time to start tackling those old overflows I dont plan on using.





I taped the acrylic around the overflows just to give myself a visual indication more than protecting the acrylic. It took me awhile to sand these down.




Initial sanding out of the way and tape removed.





Wiped back. Im not worried about the clarity here. I will cap the holes with 6x12 pieces of acrylic held down with some Weld-on 16. Wont be able to see them after the substrate is put down.






Heres the tank full of sanding dust. Ill clean it out some more, adhere the patches, and water test the tank.





Im actually not sure if it will hold water yet. I imagine it will though. I plan on tackling a crack on the top center brace as well as the exterior overflow box.

The exterior overflow box will be something like this:




The idea is to cut a slit towards the top of the side of the tank and mount an external overflow box made from acrylic. Ill have to support the PVC, but that wont be an issue. I am still trying to work out a viable and pretty way to keep floating plants out of the overflow. Something I could not achieve previously.

If everything goes smoothly, and the tank holds water, I will be working on the stand in the next week or so. The plan is something similar to this:




I want to hide the side overflow with a cabinet of sorts. The stand will be about 40 tall, giving me approximately a foot above the sump to work in before I hit the 2x6 horizontal supports. I have a 55g and a 75g tank available for the sump. I am leaning towards the latter but it will require some work before being used as well.


The next couple updates should just be patching the tank, drilling the side overflow, making the overflow box, repairing the brace, and then testing the system. After that, I'll sand and buff the acrylic viewing panels, paint the sides that won't be visible, and start on the stand.
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Last edited by Freemananana; 03-04-2017 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Title update
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post #2 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Today I built my acrylic overflow out of some scrap 1/4" acrylic I had from a previous project.



Not pictured would be the lid. The scrap bits are for supporting the lid.



Try to ignore the filth on the tank. Drilling and sanding and not cleaning does that. The exterior overflow measures 16"x6"x4". It will house 3 1.5" downpipes and be connected to the main tank with a 15"x1" slot that will have some gutter guard to keep the fish out.



I haven't finished cutting out the slot, but you can see the drilled 1" holes.
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post #3 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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My winter project tank (Running!)

Very little work today. I am clamping a portion of the overflow and letting the weld-on 16 dry until tomorrow after work. I did finish cutting out the slot. Not perfect, still a bit of clean up left. But after that is finished, I'll scrub the tank out and remove all the debris.



I decided to show some of my Google Sketch Up drawings I had made. Initially I had planned to drill the side with an internal overflow box. But it would either have to be extremely low or extremely deep to work in due to the 4" side brace there.



So I changed it up and made it an external overflow.



It is just a 2x6 stand that is missing quite a bit of the support. I will have a diagonal support as well for a tank this size.



I'll make a 2x4 stand for the 75g sump most likely.



The plan is to use some 45* elbows and not use 90* elbows at all. The baffles are just a brain storm. They will be 1/8" panes most likely. The plan isn't set in stone, but I'll be using foam as a mechanical filter and then some porous rocks for mechanical followed by a heating chamber and then the majority of the sump will be for the return pump and evaporation.



The return will go a long way, but I plan on using a larger than necessary return pump. Horizontal runs don't really detract from flow very much. I'll try and maximize tubing in the return as well. I'll likely make my own spray bar and do more experimenting with slots.



I added something similar to the initial drawing I had found in terms of the stand finish. I am planning on using spiral CFL bulbs but may opt for a lower powered LED and a shallower hood. I have a 24/7 I am going to use as well, primarily for the sunrise and sunset.



And the rear will be largely left open because it will be in a corner. Not sure how I'll do the framing yet, but I'm still brainstorming. The stand will be wrapped in 3/4" birch plywood most likely, since it is fairly cheap. I'll stain it to some what match the furniture in the kitchen/dining room/living room where it will be located.


Last edited by Freemananana; 02-19-2017 at 11:25 PM. Reason: Title update
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post #4 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 12:57 PM
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Wow those are some serious plans! I really appreciate the thought and engineering that goes into something like that.

Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. Looks like you have plenty to keep you busy for the foreseeable future!

Keep the updates coming.
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post #5 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Wow those are some serious plans! I really appreciate the thought and engineering that goes into something like that.

Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. Looks like you have plenty to keep you busy for the foreseeable future!

Keep the updates coming.


I'm actually an engineer by day and this sort of stuff just interests the pants off of me! I've always loved designing things like this and it's even more fun when it is something I can do. Wood working has been a 'cheap' hobby for me that keeps me busy in the evenings and this new acrylic tank is very similar. Glass isn't user friendly in comparison.


For those who are wondering, Google Sketch Up is EXTREMELY user friendly! I highly recommend it. Plus, it is free. I think it is more fun than hand drawn sketches as well. The 3 dimensional models are super neat and it is easy to keep the scale accurate to see potential issues, like my overflow box idea.


The next week or so will just be water testing and hopefully everything goes smoothly. I do have some repairs to do on this old 75g I have lying around. It is drilled in the corner, so I'll have to patch that. But, if it still holds water, it will be a perfect sump.


I can't express how ecstatic I am to have another decent sized tank. I may (big MAY) opt for automatic water changes. But I would likely need a whole house water filter ran in line to achieve that since I am on city water. Anyway, I plan on stocking some rainbow fish, Denison barbs, rummy nose, cardinals, cherries, cories, etc. My family really enjoyed the community look most, so I'll be mixing some schools. I should have plenty of space with nearly 200 gallons of water to work with.
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post #6 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:50 PM
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I'll throw in my two cents...

I love everything I see, except for one thing. You only need one gate valve. In this pic, the drain on the left and on the right don't need them. The center, which would be a full siphon, does. If you are following Beananimal's (SP?) design, the middle pipe would need controlled. The left one takes care of the little extra that the center one doesn't. if something happens and the center one gets clogged a little, the left one can become a full siphon. Then, worst case and the left one gets clogged, the right one becomes a full siphon. The right one should be high enough that under normal operation, it never sees water.

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post #7 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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I'll throw in my two cents...

I love everything I see, except for one thing. You only need one gate valve. In this pic, the drain on the left and on the right don't need them. The center, which would be a full siphon, does. If you are following Beananimal's (SP?) design, the middle pipe would need controlled. The left one takes care of the little extra that the center one doesn't. if something happens and the center one gets clogged a little, the left one can become a full siphon. Then, worst case and the left one gets clogged, the right one becomes a full siphon. The right one should be high enough that under normal operation, it never sees water.

+1, Agreed. I am following the bean animal design and only plan on having a gate valve on one (full siphon) along with unions. I MAY have been copying and pasting stuff and it ended up with three gate valves... You are, absolutely, correct. What I drew was purely a mistake while I was copying things. I'm a big fan of the bean animal design. Sadly, it took me much more research to finally grasp it entirely and trust it.
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post #8 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 07:08 PM
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+1, Agreed. I am following the bean animal design and only plan on having a gate valve on one (full siphon) along with unions. I MAY have been copying and pasting stuff and it ended up with three gate valves... You are, absolutely, correct. What I drew was purely a mistake while I was copying things. I'm a big fan of the bean animal design. Sadly, it took me much more research to finally grasp it entirely and trust it.
I used his system on two of my reef tanks, and then on a planted fresh water tank. If I have the room for an external overflow and a sump, it will always have this system on it.

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post #9 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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I used his system on two of my reef tanks, and then on a planted fresh water tank. If I have the room for an external overflow and a sump, it will always have this system on it.


Always glad to hear it! I was skeptical once upon a time. I really should have drilled my last tank, but that is a discussion for another time. I don't believe I will every go back to a single drain or a HOB overflow after having a bean animal myself. I have plenty of space where this tank is going. My only size limitation is the length of plywood. I can't have a 3' deep overflow because my 8' sheet won't cover it in one span. The 4" I've allotted myself should be enough to mess with the stand pipes. I plan on leaving about 8" beyond the overflow inside of the stand as well.


I may be opting for a cheap LED array over this tank and a 12" hood instead of the drawn 24" hood. Just to cut down on the tremendous size of this behemoth!
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post #10 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Today was a fairly short, yet productive one!

Starting with the dried, and very strong, overflow box. This 1/4" overflow box feels pretty good.



I moved the tank to the back porch to start my clean up. Can you tell I have a 3 year old daughter? This half price shop vac does some serious work! Cleaned up all the dust from grinding and sanding in seconds.



The plan was to go to town with a couple packs of Mr. Clean magic erasers. I read this on a reefing forum as a suggestion for acrylic tanks. I've ever heard it is reef safe! So I may keep these handy for algae clean up as well.



Front pane cleaned up. The can of spray paint is for clarity clarification. It isn't super clear, but it cleaned up pretty well. I will water test it before I move to 1000/2000 sand paper and polish.



The mist obstructs the view. It does need to be polished at the very least.



Here it is nearly cleaned up. There are a few spots that need to be cleaned up before it can be called 'done', but it was getting dark and was good enough for now.



Some more clarity shots.



The bottom is the most damaged panel and with the mist cleared away, it is fairly clear. There are a couple larger scratches, but nothing overly concerning.



Tomorrow brings capping the bottom and attaching the overflow! After that, filling it (if I can find a darn exterior level surface) and water testing.
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post #11 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it is tomorrow! Actually, the day after tomorrow most likely. I had ordered a 12"x12"x1/2" piece of acrylic and it came in. This is to patch the old overflow in the center.



5 seconds later on the table saw and I have my 6"x12" patches.



I took them outside, applied a generous amount of Weld-On 16 (enough to create a layer between both pieces when pushed together). I set some brake rotors on top to sandwich them down.





Not exactly pretty, but pretty sure it will be enough and it will be covered by sand.



I also had some Weld-On 4 that I used to repair the hairline crack in the brace.



After letting the crack setup, I patched over it with some spare acrylic.



The whole reason this is upright in these photos is so I can attach the overflow box.



After about 12 hours, here it sits.





I'm going to wait a few days before I water test it. Still looking for a spot I can lay this down on that is outside of the home. It MAY end up being the garage, which is less than ideal. I'd much prefer the porch. But the porch is sloped toward the yard for runoff that gets inside. Regardless, that is where I sit.

I was at a few fish stores looking for some loaches and saw a rope fish. I really do enjoy their weird eel-ness.
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post #12 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 01:08 PM
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Looking good so far! I remember the sanding and polishing was the worst. But once that is done, the clarity is amazing! Looking forward to the success of your tank.
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post #13 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Looking good so far! I remember the sanding and polishing was the worst. But once that is done, the clarity is amazing! Looking forward to the success of your tank.
Thanks! I imagine it will be a lengthy, multi day, process for me. I need to go to an autobody store and find some 1000+ grit sand paper since my local hardware stores only had more abrasive sand paper available. And I'll pick up some novas polish as well. I only need to polish 2 panels and I don't plan on doing the brace, bottom, overflow side, or rear. So I'm hoping the 24 sq ft that I have to polish isn't bad! [(6'+2')(1.5')(2)] [(length+width)(height)(front/back)]. I'm still thinking of how I want to do the backing on this tank. Probably just paint it black with krylon. Any suggestions on what I should do on the inside of the overflow box? It may not even be visible though.
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post #14 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 07:46 PM
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Thanks! I imagine it will be a lengthy, multi day, process for me. I need to go to an autobody store and find some 1000+ grit sand paper since my local hardware stores only had more abrasive sand paper available. And I'll pick up some novas polish as well. I only need to polish 2 panels and I don't plan on doing the brace, bottom, overflow side, or rear. So I'm hoping the 24 sq ft that I have to polish isn't bad! [(6'+2')(1.5')(2)] [(length+width)(height)(front/back)]. I'm still thinking of how I want to do the backing on this tank. Probably just paint it black with krylon. Any suggestions on what I should do on the inside of the overflow box? It may not even be visible though.
Most auto shops have high grit sandpaper. Love the concept and implementation so far!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
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post #15 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Most auto shops have high grit sandpaper. Love the concept and implementation so far!

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Thank you! I'll make a stop and pick some up.

I actually did a small water test and found 3 leaks. One is going to take some effort to repair, but it was VERY slow. So I have hope still. I have a call into the local plastic company to pick up some 1/2" square stock. So I'll reinforce the trouble corner and get back at it. The other two are from me. I went a little light in the corners of the overflow and two points had small drips. Nothing I didn't expect, but I did, of course, have hopes that nothing would happen.
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