In the hopes people will help keep me from making too big of a mess (and recognizing I am starting this a bit late in that regard), here goes....
I did a small 45 Gallon and it worked great, lots of trial and error and corrections along the way, but no disasters and stock is healthy, and plants are growing, and it is proving to need little maintenance.
And my wife liked it, so we decided on putting one in the living room, where it would be a centerpiece. Hopefully it's a centerpiece from being attractive and not more like a train wreck...
I tried for a while to get a used tank, but all were scratched badly. Local LFS made me a good offer on ordering a new Perfecto 220G tall, so did that.
Decided I would build a stand. I can build strong; pretty not so much, but figured that could be some trial and error also. Designed it to support from the frame, and not need the skin for stability, so I could put off the finish work until later.
The first task (being as I can over-complicate anything) was to find some software to draw plans. I finally settled on Sketchup Make, it was good and free. So here is the plan.
The goal was to be a tank viewed from three sides, with all the plumbing and ugly stuff coming up on a short side (here on the right) that I would later cover with cabinetry. I still haven't decided on whether to have a canopy, I wanted it tall so most people could be looking into the tank, not onto the top. It was also planned to be at about 36" which is the height of the sofa beside it.
Then I debated (including a thread here) sump or no sump, and long story short decided no sump -- use canisters.
So after a lot of false starts to get the tank (including a road trip to Tampa that didn't pan out), I got the tank on order, which meant I had measurements, and could start the rough carpentry.
So I'm off on one of many trips to Home Depot for lumber. The Sketchup program gave me a cutlist, so I pick out my 2x4's and a couple 2x6's, come home, cut the main members (not the cross braces yet), and ... run out of wood.
Hmmm... computer error? Of course not -- I had it do the cut list based on 10' 2x4's, and bought 8'. First of many mistakes to come. Back to Home Depot.
So construction begins.
I decided to screw everythign together with 2.5" wood screws, and decided to forego glue, as I didn't think connection strength was going to be an issue -- I had taken pains to have everything supported by compression. The strength both sheer and tensile was really about stability not load carry.
I also compromised a bit on stability to allow a lot of space inside. At one end I wanted drawers, and didn't want to make them, so I bought a ready-made, unfinished set at Home Depot. You can see them in the background. They just slide in one end. The other two thirds are to be filter space - I figure there's room for four good sized canisters there, plus space above for plumbing and electrical.
The rough work goes very quickly. The hardest thing is getting the cross braces with just the right length and angle. In fact my next major mistake was on the last brace. It was a bit tight, I drove it in with a hammer, and went to bed.
Before that, it had been square and level. I got up the next morning -- with delivery of the tank coming in a few hours -- and touched the stand and it rocked back and forth.
Second mistake was misunderstood as being the third mistake. The third mistake was using those metal joint fasterners they use on trusses... I don't know the right name, but they have punched out metal that form little nails and you hammer them in. Know the things?
Well, I had never used them, and won't again. Driving them in is HARD, and so I hammered and hammered and hammered the prior night.
And it's not level today.... hmmm... I just to the conclusion it was the hammering.
Long story short -- not. The problem was one brace was about an 1/8" too long, and pushed one side out of square, putting one set of legs at enough of an angle to throw everything off.
Spent two hours figuring that out, but after fixing the brace once again square and level.
And... tank arrives....
More in next posting... this last shot shows the approximate location (the sofa will come back up to it closer). That's a big piece of driftwood I picked up at the mover's place (he's a used tank seller, actually a used-most-anything-aquarium seller).