When I first saw the Solano 34g cube it was love at first site. Not wanting another saltwater tank I decided to build a modified version suited for sustaining a heavily planted neon tetra tank. What follows is my first attempt at working with glass and acryllic.
View of top with cover removed
Rear view of filtration area
Cube is 20"x20"x20", display area 20"x15.5"x20", filtration area 20"x4.5"x20"
Total capacity is approx. 34 gallons
Cube is constructed of 1/4" glass pre-cut by a local glass shop to supplied dimensions.
Filtration area constructed with acryllic and painted black with Krylon Fusion
Return pump is Rio 1700 rated @ 642 gph
Heater is Aquaclear 100W
Lighting is 5 F15W-T8-PL powered by a Workhorse ballast
Given that it was designed as a heavily planted neon tetra tank I wanted
1) maximum flow for filtration
2) minimal surface agitation to conserve present CO2
3) minimal turbulence in display area for the comfort of the fish
The Solano 34g comes with a 400 gph pump. If 400 gph is good then 642 gph is better provided I adhere to the three design considerations detailed above. To accomplish this I designed/built a custom spray bay. The ID of the pump outlet is 5/8". I calculated the area of the outlet and multiplied by 10 so as to drastically reduce the speed of the water as it is returned to the display area. I then proceeded to drill approx. 100 3/16" holes in the water return bar positioning all of them so they hit the back wall or point straight down. This worked out better than expected during water testing. While a substantial amount of water flows through the filtration area the display area and surface remain very calm.
Base and canopy are constructed with poplar and finished with three coats of laquer enamel.
I know someone will ask so I'll just go ahead and summarize costs incurred thus far:
$78 five pcs of 1/4" glass
$36 one pc of 1/4" acryllic 24"x48"
$10 sandpaper various grits (60, 100, 220, 400)
$7 Krylon Fusion
$10 two cans of spray laquer enamel
$34 poplar wood
$50 Rio 1700 return pump
The five bulb light system should easily come in under $100
The only way I would have attempted a project of this scope is because of forums such as these that have proved invaluable for resources and information.
Questions, comments and/or observations are welcomed.