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That vision-thing...

Posted 09/17/2011 at 06:28 PM by Spaced Cowboy
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So this is the build-thread, finally . I closed down my old 180 gallon system last November, and started planning and slowly buying (as I could afford) the equipment and parts to upgrade to the larger system. Some of this is therefore already done. The plan is that the build-log and reality ought to converge around the time when I'll be adding water to the system, around Xmas, hopefully. With that out of the way...

The tank is ordered - itís 8í long by 2í wide by 2í deep, with StarFire glass on the front panel. Itís replacing my previous 180-gallon tank, which was too narrow (18Ē), too tall (31Ē), not long enough (6í) and is made out of normal glass. Along with the tank comes a custom-design sump, loosely modelled on Melevís [URL="http://www.melevsreef.com/acrylics/sumps/f/sump_f.html"]model-F design[/URL].

Iím going to build a custom stand, following the basic design set out by [URL="http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1169964"]RocketEngineer[/URL]. Iím going to face it with Red Oak, and do some nice trim to make it look good. I was originally going to build the tank into bookshelves on either side, but reading about how books and salt-water don't really mix long-term has persuaded me against that. I think it'll look pretty clean standing alone though, so no real problems there.

Iím going to use a [URL="http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1541946"]Bean Animal[/URL] overflow system, using both the ďreturnĒ and drain bulkheads in one of the overflows as drains to the sump, and having the return come over the back of the tank. I'll put the third 'emergency' drain into the other overflow and actually use the return there as a return. Hopefully there'll be enough of a weir (22") that surface-skimming will occur. Since the tank is in the main living room, having the water motion silent will be very welcome...

The skimmer will be a [URL="http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1532624&highlight=warner+marine+k2"]Warner Marine K2[/URL]. Of course, as soon as I bought one, it seems theyíve stopped production of them [sigh]. However, theyíre supposed to be great skimmers, and theyíre quiet. Both of these properties are independent of whether theyíre still in production, so Iím still happy...

Controlling the tank will be my new DIY controller... More details on this later.

Lighting will be done using DIY LEDs. Iíll be using the [URL="http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/driver/cat4101.png"]CAT4101 design[/URL] [URL="http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1759758&page=11"]I first proposed on Reef-central[/URL] many moons ago. I think a lot of DIY people on Reef-central are using this same design, itís tried, tested, simple to implement and above-all cheap I have a modular (2í by 1í) design that combines the elegance of a wooden facia with ducted-air through extruded aluminium LED mounts. Each light-module will talk to the above controller, and Iíll be able to simulate clouds crossing the tank, etc.

Finally, behind the tank I intend to install a [URL="http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1868825&page=3"]shadow-box[/URL], to give the illusion of far more depth than I really have. Yes, this will increase the maintenance, forcing me to keep the rear of the tank clean as well as the front, but look at those pictures. Itís worth it.

I've got a little bit of a head-start on the actual work, so hopefully I'll be able to keep up, posting pictures etc. in a timely fashion as I get more done...
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