I suppose I should (re) introduce myself, my name is Josh and about 5 years ago I used to be fairly active on this forum. Some of you old timers (Lol ) may remember my DIY 34 gallon setup complete with cfl lighting and paintball co2.
A quick pic:
And you might remember the awesome thrift store score I made with this 75g acrylic aquarium:
Well life happened and although I slowly but surely worked on that monster I found very little time to post my progress. Two moves, another kid and several work promotions later I have finally decided to pull together all of the pics I took along the way and do a proper build thread. I want to thank the members of this forum in general for the incredible community and resource you provide. I would have never been able to put all of this together without the support, ideas, and all around awesomeness of this group! I hope you like it...
It all started with that acrylic 75g tank I just told you about. I decided I wanted to build a furniture grade cabinet and incorporate all of the equipment in a way that made the mechanical side look almost as nice as the exterior. I sat down and made this design in Google Sketch up.
I wanted it to have very clean shaker style lines with a minimal amount of trim. I also wanted the hood to be as absolutely thin as possible.
The only problem was I had very little money and lived in an apartment with no real space to work, I was not deterred however and proceeded to purchase scraps of birch plywood from the cut bin at the local Home Center. I cut them to size with a circular saw and straightedge and began assembly on my patio.
and it went together well.
You may notice I strayed from the normal severely overbuilt stand we've all made before (you know, 4x4 posts to hold a 10 gallon tank? ) and instead stuck to more standard cabinet construction with four solid sheets (top to bottom) of 3/4" plywood braced by 1x lumber frames and capped with a top and bottom sheet of more 3/4" ply. All of the connections are screwed and glued and I can tell you I would be comfortable sitting in that thing with a car parked on top, it's solid as a rock! It also gave me three completely separate storage cabinets under the tank.
Anyway, it was now time to stain, I went with Minwax Polyshades in "Bombay Mahogany".
and third coat:
Starting to look like a stand!
I made the doors from some more 1x3 boards and sheets of 1/4" plywood, I did use my father in law's table saw for that part along with his door jig.
I cut some keyhole shaped holes in the top for the plumbing (had to pass PVC ball valves through them, more later), and threw a sheet of foam on top.
This is the inside of the cabinet, the hooks are to hold my filter system.
Tank drilled with bulkheads and valves in place.
So then it was on to the hood, I said I wanted it thin and I was not kidding! I also had almost no money so the best bang for the buck was a total of 6 4' T8 tubes placed as close to the water as I could with a bright white coat of paint as a reflector behind them.
I assembled the frame and made grooves in the boards to run the wires through. (after the wires were in place I glued the top sheet on and they are completely hidden.)
There is wiring for the 6 T8 tubes and their ballasts (mounted to the back), a row of 12 LED night lights, and two fans for cooling and condensation removal.
Here are the tubes in place:
and a full shot with the stand, tank, and hood.
I bolted some 2x2 lumber to the back of the stand and ran them up behind the tank to the hood. I mounted hinges on the top so the entire hood is hinged to lift up and out of the way for maintenance.
(I have since properly mounted the ballasts and fans and removed the tape)
The next step was filtration / circulation. I wanted the three cabinets in the stand to each have a specific use, the right one was for the pump, filter, and co2. The middle is a hospital tank and liquid fert storage. The left is for electrical / automation equipment and dry storage. I designed the filtration system to fit perfectly in the right side cabinet. It consists of a Quiet One 4000HH pump (980 gph!! ) fed through a 1" inlet on the bottom of the tank. It goes into a household whole house water filter that I stuff with poly batting and then into a 2" PVC co2 reactor. It then goes back up to the tank through a single hole in the bottom and into a piece of 3/4" PVC that runs along the back as a manifold with six 1/2" outlets on it. Each outlet can be individually aimed.
There are also several valves in place so I can isolate any part of the system for maintenance and also a valve at the lowest point with a hose connection for water changes.
Here is a shot of the pump and filter:
and that FTS from above shows the PVC setup inside the tank:
and here's the pump cabinet itself, fully assembled.
Here's the whole thing complete with water and everything.
I used a mix of the eco-complete from my 34 gallon setup along with some turface pro league in tan for the substrate.
Here is a shot of the fully assembled system:
Here is what the lights look like turned on:
and The moonlights:
(just did a major overhaul, still growing in...)
And Night Shot:
This is how I clean the filter:
Future plans include automatic liquid dosers, feeding, water top-off, lighting, co2, and heat all controlled by electronics in the left side cabinet, for now it's just power strips and lamp timers with a manual valve for the ATO (guess that makes it an MTO - Manual Top Off?) plumbed into my refrigerator's ice maker line.
Hope you like.