Hello all! Thanks for checking out my build.
I started with an aquarium as a kid getting a 20g tank when I was a little kid and had it till about 2006. I never really did much for having good looking aquascaping in the past, but early last year my coworker showed me planted aquascaping and I was amazed and wanted to get back into having a tank. I ended up with a Tetra 3g cube that I have running on my desk at home, I have a Betta, 2 dwarf frogs, some nerite snails, and some ghost shrimp (provided they don't disappear, I think the betta eats them). I'm keeping that one heavily planted in a low tech setup, with some Java Fern, Anubis Nana, and some Ludwigia. So I finally talked my wife into getting another larger tank and that's when I went on the craigslist hunt for what I describe below.
So I've picked up a former 125g saltwater tank from a craigslist deal for about $325. It included the stand, canopy, and some crappy equipment. Turns out the stand was junk and so was the equipment. I attempted to recover the stand, but there was an accident destroying the stand while I attempted to get it prepped for refinishing.
My tank plan is to be a heavily planted community tank that is more so on the low tech side of things. Fish and plants to be determined later. I don't want to add CO2, but part of me wants to, so maybe one day after getting the tank up and running for a year or so. For the sump I'm going to keep it strictly filtration. I was initially thinking of running some biomedia, filter floss, and some ceramic rings. But yesterday I came across poret filter media and I'm now not sure exactly what I want to do. Oh well I've got time still.
I've been browsing the reef community on several forums and I'm finding some great ideas about how to design the sump and other features. For example splitting the heater into 2-3 units versus one giant heater as I've determined from an article on the BeanAnimal site that I need anywhere from 900w down to about 180w depending upon the room temps. I used 68*F for a low and 74*F for the high room temp with a tank estimated temp of 78*F. However I never run my house that low in the winter, yes I live in the desert and it usually doesn't get too cold here and if it does, you bet I'm using my homes heater!! On average I should need only 200-300w to maintain the tank, yes that is not including the lighting or the pump in the sump tank.
I also was reading an article about power strips and after reading that article I'm going to make my own power panel in the stand using standard home outlets, yes I'll seal everything for moisture. I also have an electronics background so this won't be an issue for me. I might have to end up bringing in a dedicated power line for the aquarium, as my den has my PC and is only a 15A circuit as well as who knows what else the builder wired into that circuit. Once I get all my equipment figured out I'll do the math and see how much power this thing is going to draw to determine if I need the dedicated circuit. I do however want to get the sump running with a battery backup for temporary power outages, mainly during monsoon season when we can get some nasty storms that can knock the power out.
On to the tank build:
Here's the tank being leak tested/decontaminated using 10ppm bleach being run overnight. As I wanted to ensure there was no cross over from the saltwater bacterium. This was the "filter" they were running on their tank, it's a reef octopus skimmer, but it worked for a great circulation pump for me @ 2000L/hr or ~500gph.
Stand after I removed the damaged MDF from where they let the saltwater get under the tank.
I sanded the stand down to remove the "painted" on stain that they tried to restain the stand with. As well as I wanted to beef up the structure so I built a 2x4 header to strengthen this stand.
I made the mistake of putting the front and back headers together before putting them in the stand and one got stuck while going in and was hanging in the air, I turned my back to go flip the garage light switch and the whole thing fell over and popped every single nail that was used to put it together out. So this is what remains of the stand..... Well this was before I took it camping with me and turned it into a bond fire!!
So I started from scratch on the stand build after a two month frustration hiatus. I did lots of googling stand builds and finally decided upon a design for the framing. Here is where it currently sits. The front two support beams are only just wedged in as I'm still deciding how I'm going to do my cabinet doors. The dimensions for the stand are 73"L x 24"D, as one day I plan to use this stand in the hope of coming across a 240g tank that's 24" deep.
So I couldn't decide upon what I wanted to cover the exterior with so I went hunting for some better lumber sources than Lowes or Home Depot. I found this store on the southside of town with over 100 varieties of wood to choose from. Most of it was rough cut 4/4 boards that were from 6" -12" in width, but as I'm not a skilled woodworker I had no idea how to use 98% of what they sold. The place is Woodworkers Source Your Friendly Lumber Supplier
. So due to the fact that the venered wood sheets I would use were in the $100-150 range, I decided I would not go that route and instead head back to the big box stores. So after going and looking with my wife I am going to use Pine, as I can find decent pine trim pieces between Lowes & HD.
I know I'm missing some stuff, but it's late and my brain is starting to shut down on me. More to come as the build goes on!