Dom's 50g project (slow project) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Dom's 50g project (slow project)

Disclaimer / note to myself : This is supposed to be a slow project. Will not have regular update. And that's okay with me! Also, its possible that i'm going to move in july. I told my GF that i will not set this tank before, but I will get it ready....

I've been in the hobby for almost a year. Started with a 10G coming with a kit. Started to browse kijiji for used aquarium and I now have a 15G, a 29G, a 30G and a fluval spec V. I also have two 5G that i use for quarantine and reproduction. In the last year, I've watch a lot of fish YouTuber and one that I like a lot is Corvus Oscen. He is really big on freshwater sump. So, because I'm curious, I've been looking to setup an freshwater aquarium with a sump. Because I'm living in an apartment, I cannot have a really big aquarium. Here is my journey!

I found a 50G with a stand for 50 CAD. Which is an amazing deal! The only thing was that the tank was dirty with a lot of calcium deposit and the stand had seen better days. And this is the beginning of my planning.

Plan
A 50G with a 20G sump underneath. I already have a 10lbs CO2 cylinder on my 29G that I'm gonna switch to this system. The tank is not drilled. I've been researching a lot, and because I'm in an apartment, I want the system to be as safe as possible. That's why i've chosen to drill this tank and to use the BeanAnimal method for draining.

Step 1 : The basics
So first weekend after getting the tank and stand. Finally having some time to work. What do I start with? Decided to start with the stand. Bought some paints and sandpaper; transformed my office into a paint workshop for the week. Took me 3 days to finish the paint job. I did a primer coat then 2 coating of paint while waiting 24h between the coats because the stand is made with melamine.

The stand
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I'm not a fan of the black for a color. And I don't like the hardware that came with the stand. Might change that.

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So this is after the primer coat. I used a paint roller like it was suggested on the box. Because it was my first time with it, I did not do a great job with it and there was a lot of micro bubble. Lesson learned : next time I'll go slowly.

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This is right after my last coat of paint. Because of my previous mistake, I did the paint with my trusty paintbrush.

The tank
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It's hard to see on picture, but there is A LOT of calcium deposit. I've started to clean the panel and rub some vinegar on the panels to remove them. I'm kinda satisfied of the result even if there is still some that are still visible. I forgot to take a picture after cleaning, it is going to be for next time. Also, there is a rim, but I removed it for easier cleaning.

Future update
1. The sealing needs to be redone. There are bubbles all the way, and it seams to be kind of an old tank so i'm not taking any chances.
2. I've ordered an eshopps eclipse large to set up an beananimal drain.

I'm not sure if i want to redo the seal and water test first or if i want to drill the tank first. I'm kinda scared to do the seal first and then chipping the tank while drilling because i've never done it before... I'll think about that in the next days.

I'll see you around!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Totally forgot, but did a quick plan for my 20G sump. I don't think i'll be drilling this tank, just put the pipes directly through the opening of the aquarium.

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I'll see you around!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 01:17 PM
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Looks like a great start there Dom!!! Keep us updated on how the build goes.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Had some time today, so decided the redo the silicone. Took my trusty single edged razor blade and went to town on the old seal. I noticed when i bought it that there was some bubble under the seal of the silicone. When I got to those parts, surprise surprise, there was water under it. I'm really surprised that the previous owner had it like that for 4 years and didn't had any leaks. Put some painter tape around the seams and then went to town with my caulking gun. First, i need to say it was not my first time doing silicone on an aquarium. I did a 10g, a 15g and a 29g before. Now that's said, here's some picture of my work :

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It's my worst work in all my four tanks. I probably put too much silicone in the first place so when i removed the painter tape, the edge of the beads just went up in the air. Tried to ''wipe'' it down again to be sure to have a tight seal, but did a mess. I'll wait 48h and try to clean it up with a razor blade but i'm not sure of the result. Kind of ashamed of the result sadly... I'm a bit pissed against myself and my shaking hands (was not like that before some change in my life).

My plan for now on is to wait that 48h for the curing, then do a water test in the bathroom instead of the living room. On the upside, i received my pump, overflow and bit to drill my tank today. If the seal is holding on, i'll probably drill the tank this week-end. In the mean time, i'll be looking for more information to paint the backwall black.

On a side note, i've mesured the tank. It isn't a 50g like the previous owner told me. My tank is 36'' long, 16'' wight and 18'' height. So like an inverse 40 breeder. Oh well, it was still a good deal for 50 CAD.

I'll keep you updated with the seal!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quick new update after the weekend. Filled my tank with water on saturday morning on the stand with the new paint. Because I was not sure of the integrity of the silicone seal that i've applied, I decided to do the water test inside the bathroom. We are on monday morning, still no water spot on the stand or underneath of the bottom glass. Feels good!

I'm slowly progressing to the most stressful step of my process : drilling the tank. I have my Eshopps Eclise Large looking at me right next to my desk in my office. It's almost as it is saying: "When are you going to install me in that big tank? " So tonight is prep night! Gonna drain my aquarium, put it back on my work table, put back the trim in place without silicone it yet. I'll use the template from inside the tank to figure out the ideal water level, then i'll remove the trim and put the template outside for the drilling action. I also need to figure out the height of my return bulkhead at the same time.

I'll see you around!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Had more free time that i've figured out before. So I did the most stressful steps in my project : drilling the tank. Was so scared to break the tank while doing so. First things first : install the template from the inside with the trim, draw on the outside of the tank, remove the trim and then use some C clamps to hold the template outside of the tank while drilling. Since the tank is made with around 1/2'' glass, it took around 30 minutes per hole... My first two with the drill bit included with the eclipse went really well.

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Test the fitting of the box to give myself some motivation before the last hole was drilled.

For the return bulkhead, i didn't have any template. Because it was smaller than the bulkhead included in the Eclipse (1'' vs 1,5''), i had to make my own. Didn't have any small piece of wood to do so (only 2x4, but my saw for my drill are not deep enough to do that), i used a scrap of acrylic that I had laying around. Finally did the last hole without any complication. Feeling great with myself, I moved the tank to my office/construction site/improvised painting room/gaming room to paint the back of the tank black. I find that painting is one of the most relaxing thing ever.

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Yesterday was my club meeting and when I came back from it, I decided to glue my panel inside my sump. Because it was only a 20g, i finally decided to only do a 2 room sump. Because it was late (meeting ended at 9h30 pm, but I had to do 1h45 of driving to go back home), i did not take any picture of the sump. It's going to be for next update!

My next step are : drilling some more holes in the back of my stand (already have 2) for my pvc pieces, installing the aquarium on it and starting to cut and dry fit those pvc pieces. I can't wait to do that!

Untill next time, i'll see you around!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 08:22 PM
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Nice work on the drilling. Can't wait to see this one up and running!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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I had a big weekend in term of this project! Having more than 2 days really was a blessing. I did all my plumbing shopping on thursday and started to dry fit everything. On friday and saturday, i did all the plumbing and hard fitting. Learned so much by doing that. First, I'm now a pro with thread tape. Second, the next time i'm gonna do that, i'm not gonna cut holes before getting ready to plumb. Trying to get the plumbing the right way for the little holes was a pain that i don't want to do again. On sunday was the big test day. Filled the bad boy with some water and hope for no leaks. There was leaks... The included bulkhead with the overflow box were not tight enough... Learned that lesson : always double check those thing. Once that was okay, noticed that the water level was too low, even with the overflow box placed as high as I could go with the trim. Decided to insert a piece of acrylic (the same one that i used as a template) in the inside box to raise the water level and used some nylon screws to hold it in place. It was not perfect, so I did two little slot in the acrylic to hold the piece. Now we're talking!

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The calm before the storm

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Starting a battle plan with those pieces

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Plumbing nearly all done!

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Aquarium filled before the little modification

Future plan
I'm not done yet! I need to repaint the back of the aquarium because the leaks damaged the paint in some place. I was also planning to do a cerges reactor, that's why you see that there is a pipe hanging there.

Once that is done, i will need to start filling it for real. I'm not sure how i'll be doing it. I have 3 tanks that i think i'm gonna tear down to make some rooms in my apartment. I think i'm gonna use the tropica soil and flourite mix that i've put in those three tank inside this one. I'm not sure, I think i'm gonna use the week to think about it.

I'll see you around!


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