Nano Cube DIY Build - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 43
Nano Cube DIY Build

Hello everyone. I'm currently rocking a Fluval Edge, but I've had enough of the problems with trying to get light all the way to the corners, and problems maintaining the tank without tearing all the plants up.

I really love how the edge is styled, with all of the hardware concealed, but wanted something a bit more practical.

I always really liked cube tanks, so, I bought a Dennerle 30l Nano Cube and set about building my own housing. Below is my guide.

First up, I wired up some GU10 lamp holders. These were £2 on eBay. You simply wire them in parallel straight to a mains plug. No converters required. I actually used the cigarette lighter trick from this thread for easy wire stripping and soldering. Bulb holders are just soldered in parallel.

I tested them out with my 3 LED 4w Day White bulbs from eBay (£10 set). Looking good!

OK, next up a thick 5mm piece of A4 acrylic, bought pre-cut from eBay. I drew around my lamp holders

...then cut them out using my dremel, cutting attachment and pillar mount (although you could probably do this with a drill and file if you had to, but I got a Dremel for XMas and have been looking for an excuse to use it).

The spotlight holders are from B&Q. These cost the most at £4 a pop. They aren't really necessary, and there are cheaper plastic equivalents but I wanted the splash-proof kitchen/bathroom ones and I thought they looked nice in brushed chrome. They just snap into the holes. No tools required.

To cut the rest of my acrylic, I just used a stanley knife to score the acrylic, cutting against a saw-edge to keep the lines straight. Then you just bend the piece and it snaps quite cleanly. The rest of the box is 3mm acrylic. I used 2 x A3 sheets altogether. The total acrylic cost was £12.

All glued (technically welded because it melts the acrylic together) with Tensol 12 adhesive. The bottle was about £7 from eBay. It is hard enough to handle in under 10 minutes.

...holding it in place whilst it sets with an Xbox box and guitar amp

Masking tape keeps everything tight. I stuck it in a way that didn't rely upon my crudely cut edges too much.

Just stuck the last piece! Then I cut some slits to slot over the edge of the tank for mounting.

Shot of the Dennerle 30l cube with cheap HOB filter. Filter was £7.50 from Amazon UK

The end result with filterintake poking out from the housing. It is insanely bright and a decent spread of light.

I think I'm going to add a strip of black sticky vinyl (some came with the tank) below the box straight down to hide all of the wires and CO2 hosing when it is up and running.

I can't wait to get some fauna/flora in there, but it'll have to wait until I move house I think. Extremely pleased with the result though!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 02:19 AM
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Fantastic start to a journal!
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 02:30 AM
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Very very very cool
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 06:32 AM
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That's a great DIY job. Marvelous! You will have no trouble growing with such a nice light.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 07:31 AM
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Nice light setup!
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 07:41 AM
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This is looking great! Makes me want to go into the garage tomorrow and start.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Thanks guys. It didn't actually take long at all once all the bits arrived. Maybe 2 hours?

Here is a bit of a better angle:

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-23-2013, 02:34 AM
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-23-2013, 03:35 AM
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Nice build!

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-23-2013, 04:20 AM
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-23-2013, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Originally Posted by jimmytruong87 View Post
It looks very nice. Where did u buy that cube tank?
It is a Dennerle 30 Nano Cube bought from Swell UK. It was only about £35 delivered and comes with a lid, underpadding and backing. The front edges are curved and seamless.

Last edited by mike_freegan; 03-23-2013 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2013, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 43
Hey guys

I started planting this up today (pics soon)

I got some Giant hygro ( Hygrophila siemensis ) and some Rotala rotundifolia.

Should I prune these back straight away? Or wait until they're rooted? The hygro especially could be much bushier.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 43
OK, giant hygro, dwarf hairgrass and rotala all planted.

Planted using Aquasoil Amazonia.

Fire extinguisher CO2 with a cheap combi regulator/solenoid from eBay.

Currently running lighting at 4 hours on, 4 off, 4 on

Dosing Vimi all-in-one, but I have some flourish in case it doesn't work so well.

I also made a cabinet out of an old set of drawers to keep everything tidy.

Finally, I put a strip of black vinyl down the back of the tank to give it that Fluval Edge look.

Last edited by mike_freegan; 06-30-2013 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Typos
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 01:09 PM
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glad to see LED's used as the alternative incandescents would quickly raise in temps both in the tank and ambiently. great looking light coverage. The clip on mount is a nice touch and adds to the style of the setup. well done.

"I am Groot", the faithful protector
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Well 3 weeks since planting and here's what it looks like. I got some pretty bad algae going on - I presume because it's not fully cycled and the filter was rubbish and offered poor circulation (now replaced)

Everything except the hair grass is growing after a good trim

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cube, diy, hood, led, nano

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