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Old 05/07/2005, 08:46 AM   #1
kimoyo
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Photo journal of my MCA 120

If there is one piece of advice I could give any new beginner out there it would be to read this site for half a year before you buy one product. I wasted so much money starting out and it’s my biggest regret.

Okay I decided to go with an acrylic 48"*24"*24 tank for several reasons. I'm a native New Yorker and I live in an apartment building. So going larger wasn't really an option. But I could have gone longer if I sacrifice depth and height, but from the many tanks I've seen I think that both of those dimensions are just as important as length. I also wanted a long external overflow, eurobracing, and a black back.

Since I decided to do mainly SPS corals the question of whether to go bare bottom naturally arose. I like the idea of BB but I don’t know if I like the look. I decided to do it anyway but with black starboard, we’ll see how it works out.


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Old 05/07/2005, 08:47 AM   #2
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Tank Construction

So, I decided on 1" acrylic! I know, talk about overbuilt, but I really think the thicker acrylic makes the tank look much nicer. I looked at several tank builders and got quotes but I eventually decided on going with Chris Boelke from Midwest Custom Aquarium. Chris has been making tanks for about 8 years. I don’t believe he is that well known on this board but he does quality work. He gave me a good price and made the tank very quickly. He built an awesome tank!! I had him do a seamless seal on the front two corners, it came out awesome. Here are some pictures.

Beginning the tank



All four sides on.



Seamless front sides. Picture doesn't due it just. It’s as if the front and sides were made as one piece in that shape. It’s not bending because you can see how the acrylic was bent. With this, you can't see where one side ends and the other begins.



External overflow



Tank put together but unpolished and unrouted. Check the huge cylinder tank in the background. That thing is a monster.



Completed tank pics.







This is good picture of the seamless front edge. You can see the seam where he put the top on but nothing on the sides.



Overflow




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Old 05/07/2005, 08:48 AM   #3
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Tank Shipping

So when i asked Chris how he was going to ship it and how much the crate is, he replied "what crate?" Chris doesn't ship his tanks with crates! At first when I heard this I was like what are you talking about? You just built this wonderful beautiful acrylic tank and you going to send it without a crate? He told me that he had so much trouble in the past that he thought the best way to ship it was wrapped up and on pallet without a crate. He feels the shipping companies are less careful when it’s crated. I was skeptical until I picked it up yesterday.



This thing was wrapped up tight.

I'm going to digress a little because my Dad helped me get this up to my mom's apartment and it weighs around 250lbs. Just him, me, and a furniture dolly. I was worried at first because of the stairs and how much it weighed but I've carried grocery packages home that took more work. He really impressed me (and I've known this man my entire life) with how he figured out how to get it in. I mean this thing is heavy and we did like no work, just the two of us.

When we got it upstairs and started unpacking, we just kept unpacking and unpacking and unpacking. I mean literally, Chris must have put 3" of layers of cardboard and foam around the tank. I don't have any more pictures yet because I don't have a stand and I can't really get any good pictures with the lighting in my room.


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Old 05/07/2005, 08:49 AM   #4
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Equipment

The stand will be metal and this is the design I was thinking.



Maybe without the center leg in the front, I have to see what the builders think. It will be 2"*2" 1/8" tubing. I'd like to get it powdercoated but I don't know where to get it done in the city. I also want to attach the light to the stand somehow. Maybe rods extend up and over the tank but I'm not sure yet.

Filtration will mainly be done by a Deltec AP600. I will also be using an emperor aquatics uv sterilizer, filter socks w/ carbon, and possible phosban or rowaphos in a reactor (not sure yet). Eventually I will add ozone and a calc reactor, but I want to get most of it up and running before I do that.

For circulation I decided to go with a low sump flow. Because the deltec can be gravity feed the sump will flow at the recommended flow of the deltec, at around 160gph (I think). The return pump will be an eheim 1250 (317 gph) tee'd off. But in the tank I will have two tunze 6100's running on the multicontroller. Both do 3175 gph, use little electricity, and they will be pulsed with the multicontroller. I will also run my chiller, aqua logic delta 1/3hp, off a recirculating eheim 1260 (635gph) in the sump, which btw will be a rubbermaid container. The chiller and eheim 1260 will be run off the same controller so the pump starts when the chiller starts.

Lighting took me a while to figure out. I decided on running 2 250DE MH's and 4 T5's. I'm using Sunlight Supply Reef Optix III reflectors and Blue Wave IV's (w/IceCap e-ballast) for the halides. For the T5's I’m going to be using a SLS T5 retrokit with the reflectors replaced by IceCap T5 reflectors. I wanted the triad e-ballast instead of the icecap 660 which overdrives the bulbs, but I also wanted the icecap reflectors which are a little better than the SLS reflectors for the t5's. So premium aquatics worked out a deal for me. I will start out with 2 XM 10k 250W DE bulbs, 3 ati 54W t5's blueplus (or blue), and 1 ati 54W t5 actinic. Hopefully, the halides will only run for 4 hours a day with the T5's taking care of supplementation lighting and the rest of the day. I'm also using a pfo 1W moonlight.

My equipment is brought mostly from
Midwest Custom Aquarium - www.midwestcustomaquariums
Premium Aquatics - www.premiumaquatics.com
Deltec - www.deltecusa.us



Last edited by kimoyo; 05/07/2005 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 05/07/2005, 09:33 AM   #5
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That's thick acrylic! Looks like some nice planning you have going on. I wished I planned some more: would've built a much larger stand myself rather than buying through a LFS.

How can this possibly be done on a graduate student's budget? What are you studying by the way?


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Old 05/07/2005, 09:35 AM   #6
Jeremy B.
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The tank looks awesome in 1" acrylic, very nice!


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Old 05/07/2005, 09:44 AM   #7
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nice keep us updated!!

Luncnbucket


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Old 05/07/2005, 09:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Potsy
How can this possibly be done on a graduate student's budget? What are you studying by the way?
lol, I had to get comfortable with the idea of debt. Stipends aren't that bad at a lot of schools and you can get loans if you need them. I'm studying physics though.


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Old 05/07/2005, 09:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy B.
The tank looks awesome in 1" acrylic, very nice!
Thanks Jeremy, you guys are great over there at PA. I've bought or will buy most of my stuff from Jason.

Thanks Lunchbucket. I'm going to try to do as much as I can but I'm in finals right now but I hope to have up and running very soon.


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Old 05/07/2005, 10:09 AM   #10
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I actually majored in physics for about 2 years and when I got to the quantum mechanics and complementarity I said "Ok, that's all for now. Thanks for the memories" and promptly changed my major to something that more nicely fits my limited four dimensional understanding of the world.


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Old 05/07/2005, 10:58 AM   #11
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That's gonna be one hell of a sweet tank when it's done up! Good luck with that dood


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Old 05/07/2005, 02:17 PM   #12
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looks good. Can't wait to see more pictures.


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Old 05/07/2005, 10:15 PM   #13
kimoyo
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thanks guys.


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Old 05/08/2005, 06:04 AM   #14
merlock116
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Quote:
[i]Maybe without the center leg in the front [/B]
I'd definitely go without the center support in the front. you can have the stand builder do a mini-truss on the front section like this:

[IMG]http://*******.com/504qat[/IMG]

I'm a fan of open-top, pendant lighting with these light "yo-yo's" installed:

It's the coolest thing in my system other than the calcium reactor. You can move your lights up and down instantly, no pulleys, cords etc. Just push/pull to the desired height.

sun lift light hangers

These can be had at any hydroponics website (ie bghydro) or you can look in yahoo yellow pages for keyword "hydroponics." They're about $25-30 per pendant. If you had two pendants, it would cost $60 etc.


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Old 05/08/2005, 08:53 AM   #15
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Fantastic work!!!! That is a beautiful tank! I love the integrated overflow which doesn't take away room inside the tank!!!

Mark


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Old 05/08/2005, 11:09 AM   #16
kimoyo
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attml,
yeah Chris did a wonderful job. I really bugged him about it so he knew exactly what I wanted.
merlock116,
There's a stand thread on here with a link to another thread about the truss but I didn't really want to do it. I didn't like the look but also I'm thinking this might already be overbuilt for my tank weight. I don't think it would be a problem to take out both middle legs, but I'm not sure. What do you guys think?
Paul


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Old 05/08/2005, 04:23 PM   #17
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yeah thats the thread i was thinking about.


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Old 05/10/2005, 07:47 AM   #18
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awesome looking tank.

If you take out the middle supports your still going to have to brace the stand.
Triangles in the top corners might give you the strength you need. I'm not an engineer so I can't calculate if this will work. I know there are lots of engineers on RC who could help you out though, try a post to get their attention and see what they say. also there is this stand you can look at,
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...94#post4877394


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Old 05/10/2005, 08:05 AM   #19
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Thanks jthnhale,
I'm thinking I might keep that middle front leg because when I skin the stand the doors will meet there when closed. The other idea I had was to take both the middle back and front legs out and instead put one leg directly in the middle of the entire tank. I was thinking thats a great place to have support but I'm worried about it being a hinderance for my supplies (sump) under the tank.
Paul


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Old 05/10/2005, 02:54 PM   #20
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Hey Guys,
So I thought about this and I think I've come up with something I like for attaching my lights to my stand. Now remember that the overflow for my tank comes out 5" so I can't put my tank any closer to the wall regardless of the stand. So...



Whats cool about this is that the bars in the back can be removed, they'll be secured with bolts. Having them permantely attached to tank would make it difficult when moving. Also, since the lights and reflector don't way that much I don't think there will be any issues. Then I was going to attach





These are closet maid or configurations by rubbermaid sold at home depot. My lights would then attach somehow, maybe similar to the way Salt-Reefer or jeffbrig did theirs. So what do you guys think?


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Old 05/10/2005, 04:19 PM   #21
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The canopy will actually be supported by the tank. I'm thinking it will be 3 sided with the back open for the closetmaid stuff to go over the tank. I could attach the canopy to the closetmaid but when I move the lights up and down I don't want to have to worry about adjusting the canopy.


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Old 05/12/2005, 09:31 AM   #22
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Nice tank, I like the external overflow, I would have done one on my tank if the location allowed for it.

As far as the canopy goes, I have the full weight of the canopy, return plumbing, and all of my lighting and ballasts sitting on the top of my tank. With a robust 1" tank, there's no reason it can't support the weight of these and more. I'm not sure what the shelving rails buy you, unless you are planning to use that to adjust the lighting height.

Looks like a good project you're planning,

Jeff


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Old 05/12/2005, 06:26 PM   #23
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I just stopped by the welders, they said they would do the stand as pictured above for $350. So I thought that was cool. They are going to use a primer and then paint it. This stuff should hold up well with the salt water. So I should have the stand sometime late next week .

Got my deltec AP600 in today. Actually I have a lot of equipment already but haven't had the time to open it. I will soon and post pictures.

Hey Jeff,
Thanks for the input and your tank looks great BTW. I was planning on using the shelving rails to adjust height. But maybe I should do something more like what you did. Any ideas? I'm not sure what the best platform would be to hold the lights, and how to attach it to the rails. I have to figure it out soon because they start building it next week.

Paul


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Old 06/09/2005, 06:45 PM   #24
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any updates?


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Old 06/09/2005, 06:56 PM   #25
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Hey bassman,
Yeah I'll make an update by the weekend. I got a lot of stuff done but I was also moving at the same time. I'm very happy I got my stand yesterday and the tank is on it. I'll make an update real soon. Thanks for asking.
Paul


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