175G with 75G sump DIY stand!
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:09 AM   #1
moonshinetheslacker
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175G with 75G sump DIY stand!


Hey everybody! A quick update for those who may remember me from a while back-- I quit my job, moved from Maryland to California, and went back to school. The DIY asian themed aquarium stand in my signature is unfortunately no longer with us. I have also been fishless for over a year. That is, with the exception of the tank I set up in my son's classroom.

Now... it's winter break. I have three weeks before winter semester starts, in which time I need to build a three foot tall stand for a 175 gallon tank. The height is so it will be seen over the top of the couch, and so I'll be able to fit my 75 gallon tank underneath it as a sump (sort of).

I also need to clean 20+ years of calcium off of the tank. I tried cleaning it with vinegar about a year ago, but it barely touched the calcium. This time, I'm going for the tactical nuke approach. C-L-R baby! I'm going to be spending a good deal of time cleaning all the CLR residue off the tank after I get the calcium off, but I don't see any other way to get all this junk off my tank.

I also need to set up a light system for it. I'm planning on using an array of LED flood lights. I've used the floods for my 75 gallon tank, as well as my son's class room's 20 gallon high, with great success. I'm thinking I'll use two 20W floods, four 10W floods, and ten 30W floods. I've used a 1W per gallon rule with these for the two tanks I mentioned above, and have kept low light plants very well. I'll have a great deal more than that, set up on separate switches, so if [read: when] I decide to go with high light requirement plants, and injected CO2, then I'll just flip a switch and have the lights ready.

ON TO THE COOL STUFF!

As mentioned, this is a 175 gallon tank. It's six feet long, two feet wide, and two feet tall. I think it will look really cool if there isn't any kind of center brace whatsoever. Just four legs, and that's it. So I picked up some 6x6's, and 4x4's. The 6x6's will be what the tank actually sits on, and the four by fours will be used as legs. I want to have a slight arts and crafts feel to the stand, but I also need to keep it minimal, as my time requirements are very stringent. To see what I have planned, just check out the pictures.

Questions:

1. My 175G has three holes drilled in the bottom. I'm having issues figuring out how I can use my 75G as a sump, since there's no overflow box. Also, the 175 will be visible from all sides (not against a wall or anything) so I don't want to hang a DIY overflow on the side or back, as long as I can avoid it. I was thinking about using a solenoid valve, as well as a relay and a float switch. If the water gets too high in the 75G, then power would be shut off (through a normally closed relay) to the canister filter, and power would also be shut off to a normally open solenoid valve, going from the 175G tank to the canister filter.

2. I don't want to have any upright pieces in the stand other than the four legs. So what I am planning is using four by fours for legs, and a six by six for the edges of the stand. Does anyone see any problems with this? Also, I think I could get away with using 4x4s, but I think the look of a big honkin 6x6 will be much cooler.

More pics to come as I work on the stand. I've spent all day sanding. The only four by fours around which were straight, were rough hewn redwood (for outdoor use). Which means I'm in the process of sanding everything down to smooth. What... a... pain!

Regardless, let me know what your thoughts are. Positive, negative, neutral, whatever. I value everyone's opinion, whether I end up using it or not.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:53 AM   #2
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Looks like its overbuilt but better be overbuilt than under. Looks good though.
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:31 AM   #3
anastasisariel
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Why use a 75 gallon as a sump? I'm not saying you shouldn't, just wanting to know what the reasoning is.
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:51 PM   #4
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Deano85: Yeah, I think it's overbuilt, but I'm not sure. I know the legs are much stronger than they need to be, but that's just part of the look that I want. Although the 6x6 is part of the look that I want, I'm still wondering about it. I think the smallest board I could get away with would be a 4x6. I'm pretty sure a 4x4 would eventually bow. I would really like Hoppy's thoughts on this, as I believe he's an engineer.

Anastasisariel, I am planning on taking the step to discus, and would like to breed them. I'm assuming I'll have the same issues with discus as I did with my angels. Primarily, the eggs getting eaten by the other females once the lights are out. And, discus being what they are, I would like to be able to move the eggs, and parents, to some of the exact same water they were already in (but a different tank, where they can be alone) in order to limit stress.

It will also keep my water changes down, as I'm not prepared to give daily 50% water changes daily, as many discus owners suggest. I figure if I only keep six to eight discus, along with a few of my other favorites (german blue rams, kuhli loaches, etc.) then I won't have to worry about overstocking either, since I'll have 250 gallons to play with.

Oh, and I already have the 75G, unused, sitting in my garage

I'm not sure what else I'll use the 75G tank for in the mean time, but I'm sure I'll be able to come up with something fun.

Now for more questions:

I am planning on doing a red mahogany stain on the wood. The 6x6's are pine, and the 4x4's are redwood. In order to save time, I want to just hang a curtain/tablecloth material over the openings on the front and side, so here are my questions for all you personal designers out there:

1: What color should the fabric be? I was thinking an olive green.

2: Should I hang the fabric over the top and front of the 6x6's, and only allow the overhanging parts, and legs to show? Or should I hang the cloth from under the wood, allowing the entire 6x6 to show? Which would be more dramatic?

3: Should I have some sort of pattern on the fabric?

4: Are there any questions that I should be asking, but am not?

Thanks for your opinions, and thanks in advance for any help!

If anyone wants, I can take pictures of where the tank and stand are going, so y'all can see the layout and color scheme of our place.
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:06 PM   #5
Deano85
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You could laminate 2 2x8's together. It always amazes me how weak a store bought stand looks compared to our diy stands. I'm confident my 40g stand could hold a pickup.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:47 PM   #6
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It is called over engineering the stand, the wood they use can effectively hold the weight. In our eyes - The aquarium lovers - would not allow for the margin of error that is present with their "weak" looking stands. I built my own stand for my 75 gallon tank, made it out of 2x2s, 3/4" plywood, a decent amount of trim, and some glass inserts for the doors. It came out amazingly and cost half the price of any comparable stand and canopy! I am right there with every other over engineering DIYer, Keep up the good work!
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:00 PM   #7
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For a 6' horizontal span with no center brace I believe you're supposed to use 2x8 (or 4x8) to support the tank. Vertical supports are less important and I believe 4x4 should suffice.

I just set up a 190 with a 75 gallon sump and I'm happy. If I was rich I probably would have built a custom sump but the $50 the tank cost was well worth it to me. Good luck!

Take a look at RocketEngineer's thread about recommendations for wood size: Link
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:17 PM   #8
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My 75 has 3-4 holes in the bottom. It is designed for a "standpipe" type overflow and water return. You just run a PVC pipe into the bulkhead and the height of the PVC is the water level of the tank.

Large lumber such as the 4x and 6x is more prone to cracking and checking. You'd be better off laminating (gluing up 2x material face to face) 2 x 6 for the horizontals and 2 x 4 for the legs.
Arts and craft style would have used a quarter sawn oak IIRC not a pine or redwood. The finish is generally an ammonia fume.

Rdmustang, you can get away with a 2 x 6 on a stand because you don't have any point load like in a floor situation. The weight is more on the corners and the middle is spread pretty evenly.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:05 AM   #9
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++ on laminating vs. 4x lumber. And ++ on vertical support is not that important (relatively). IIRC the amount of weight a single 24" 2x4 can support is like 20k lbs.

I used 2x6 for my 125G (no centre brace) horizontal beams, but I believe the 2x8 statement is correct for your weight category.

75G sump will be excellent...I have 50G on the 125, almost too small sometimes...!
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