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Unread 07/17/2012, 10:58 AM   #1
lordofthereef
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LOTR's 27g "Cube" Build

I would like to start off with a fair warning. This build is going to be a long ways off. We are moving to New England in two months, and are looking at buying property out there. As such we will likely be moving AGAIN (much lesser distance this time) about 3-6 months after that. Needless to say, we don't want to move a stocked tank if we don't have to. Truth be told, I just sold off my BC29 system that I finally had running exactly as I wanted it due to a cross country move (Boston ho!). I told myself I would wait, but the deal on this tank was just too good to pass up. I got the tank, stand, and Vertex IN-80 skimmer for $100 and change. He also threw in about 20lb of Fiji Pink. For an added $20, the guy delivered it to my door from 3 hours away!

So why am I starting this now? Well, I never actually sat down to chronicle the makings of a tank and thought it would be fun. This is also my opportunity to get some input, BEFORE I go doing something irreversible. Lastly, it allows me to address the few things I didn't like about the BC29.

Below are the pics of what I have thus far (not much, I know!). I will be updating (again, SLOWLY!) with thoughts, equipment, etc. My goal is for this thing to be salty by Christmas, but we will see. With all we got going on this year, I may have to push it to New Years.








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Last edited by lordofthereef; 07/17/2012 at 11:43 AM.
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Unread 07/17/2012, 11:13 AM   #2
lordofthereef
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First and foremost, I will be doing a coast to coast overflow with beananimal drainage system. As you can see in the previous pics, the tank is already partially drilled. The original owner had a glass holes overflow (left hole - 1" bulkhead) and return (right hole - 3/4" bulkhead). The plan here is to bore another two 1" holes to incorporate the bean animal overflow. I know a guy that works with acrylic, and would plan on having him build me an overflow to spec before the move. I am also considering just using two sheets of glass and making my own overflow. Essentially I want whatever will look best. Suggestions are always welcome!

I did have a questions about the way glass-holes do their overflows. Do they utilize a special bulkhead or something? I guess I don't understand how there isn't the potential to cause a leak between the acrylic and the glass. I am probably over thinking this. This is essentially what got me considering glass over acrylic (logistics) in the first place.

As for the skimmer, I am undecided whether I will use it or go with something else. Cones seem to be the new "thing" in the hobby, but I am not sure how much improved performance I would get. Supposed to be a decent skimmer and is certainly over-sized for the system. I didn't get a pic of it, but the power cord is ungodly long. The thing has to be 10+ feet. Not sure what the thought process on that was, but it is the first aquarium product I have seen with such a long cord. I will have to add a pic to the thread. Maybe I can have some of you over for some double dutch?

Future Plans
Sump
Assuming I don't break the tank during the drilling (knock on wood) I would also have my acrylics friend make me a sump. I am not 100% decided on how that would work as there isn't exactly a lot of room to fit a sump back there. If I can take the bottom off the stand without damaging it (anyone with experience please chine in) I would plan on doing that, as I could fit a bigger sump in that way. Once the sump is back in place I would re-install the bottom. I haven't measured anything yet, but I think I could basically duplicate the footprint of the tank itself, if I wanted to, for the sump area.

Flow
My BC29 had an MP10wES on it and I plan to go with that again. Part of me regrets selling it, but it was a package deal, so c'est la vie! I am undecided on a return. That will be based on what is decided for the sump. I prefer external pumps, if at all possible, but I am not sure I will have the room, and if I did, whether or not a small enough pump even exists. It would be a waste to have a dialed back pump in terms of energy expenses.

Lighting
While I was certainly happy with my DIY setup over the BC29, the saving grace was being able to mount everything in the stock hood. I wouldn't begin to trust my skills at making a presentable DIY LED fixture. For such a small tank, I am considering just picking up an AI SOL or AI SOL nano. I am leaning towards the full sized SOL as the nano seems to only have a 15" spread. The standard sized light can also always be dialed back, so I wouldn't have to worry about TOO much light. That said, if the nano is good enough, I would love to hear opinions!

Controller
I have had the Reefkeeper before, but am now considering an Apex, mostly because of all the added modules (such as ecotech, AI, etc.) that are available. I would like to be able to monitor my tank when I am away, as well. Nothing is set in stone yet, so I have some time to decide.

Auto Top-Off
Had a Tunze Osmolator and couldn't be happier. Don't think I will fix what isn't broken here!

Dosing
I was doing kalk with the Osmolator on my previous system. While I didn't have a problem with it, I also didn't have a reactor. Basically just did kalk in the auto top-off. I am considering two-part with a doser. This is one part of the build I am not necessarily leaning one way or the other. I suppose I didn't mention that the tank will be mostly SPS with some select LPS, so some form of calcium dosing will be a must. Suggestion welcome, as always!


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Last edited by lordofthereef; 07/17/2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Unread 08/04/2012, 11:22 AM   #3
lordofthereef
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My acrylics friend from our local club drew up some sump designs. These are the final designs and am very happy with them. He is going to start building here soon and I should have my sump by the end of August. It is going to be painful to wait until the end of the year to get this thing salty!

The black rest on top is designed for an algae scrubber to sit directly on top. One of his friends also does acrylics on the side, and he will be building the scrubber. With this design, I can either run a scrubber or a skimmer. I have decided to go scrubber only, no skimmer. There are also some probe holders as well as heater holders incorporated to the left side of the sump. The full siphon will empty into an optional filter sock on the left there. The trickle and emergency drains will be in the center chamber.






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Last edited by lordofthereef; 08/04/2012 at 11:37 AM.
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Unread 08/04/2012, 01:05 PM   #4
rbp 4 135
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Shout out to MJB tanks and the GRIS guys! MJB is building me a tank to replace one just like yours I screwed up drilling.


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Unread 08/05/2012, 02:00 AM   #5
lordofthereef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbp 4 135 View Post
Shout out to MJB tanks and the GRIS guys! MJB is building me a tank to replace one just like yours I screwed up drilling.
Awesome. Hope to see a build thread!


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Unread 08/05/2012, 02:16 AM   #6
lordofthereef
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Here are the rough cuts of the sump. Looks like all he needs to do is start putting this baby together!




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Unread 08/06/2012, 03:39 PM   #7
codyreef29
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cool of and a note I had a 14 gallon cube break on me not during drilling but afterword i didnt put all the bulkheads to test it and cracked down the middle. don't fill your tank with bulkheads they can break.


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Unread 08/07/2012, 09:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codyreef29 View Post
cool of and a note I had a 14 gallon cube break on me not during drilling but afterword i didnt put all the bulkheads to test it and cracked down the middle. don't fill your tank with bulkheads they can break.
Good advice...

I've seen it happen too. Even in a glass tank with only a couple bulkheads I thread my pvc fitting in the back of the bulkhead BEFORE tightening up the bulkhead. That way I have to hold the bulkhead itself rather than relying on the glass panel to take the pressure.

Thanks for the "shot out" guys


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Unread 08/07/2012, 09:23 AM   #9
twilson
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Do you have any finished pics of this project? I am putting together an almost identical setup


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Unread 08/10/2012, 09:38 AM   #10
lordofthereef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twilson View Post
Do you have any finished pics of this project? I am putting together an almost identical setup
The project is as you see it. Take a look at the first post.

I will not be setting this up any sooner than Dec '12. The sump and scrubber should be ready by the end of August, so I will certainly be doing a water test at that time.


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Unread 08/20/2012, 05:33 PM   #11
lordofthereef
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Some more pics! Sump is getting close to done!







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Unread 09/01/2012, 05:04 PM   #12
lordofthereef
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Some finished pics of the sump from half a dozen different angles. The second to last pic shows the scrubber, without the LED lights attached, for an idea of how this thing will look all set up.


Thanks Mike, you are amazing!










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Unread 09/02/2012, 02:10 PM   #13
lordofthereef
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Fit test time!!!

Mike delivered the sump and tank last night. I decided to do a fit test just to be double sure everything fit. It turned out there was a small piece of wood I had to remove that we didn't calculate for (basically there is an extra reinforcement strip on the front left where the hinges for the door go that I didn't account for).

The wood didn't hammer out as nicely as I hoped it would. The only real damage was to these two pieces that I removed. They should be an easy replacement.



Here is that extra piece that I was talking about. I had t remove it. Hoping to replace it with something about half as thick so that there is still something there. The hinges work fine without, but a piece of the hing hangs over the side as is.
Before

After


I didn't want to splinter any of this wood since it was cosmetic... here is my ghetto tool I used to gently pry it off.



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Unread 09/02/2012, 02:16 PM   #14
lordofthereef
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The sump fits like a glove with a little bit of wiggle room on all four sides. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Bonus points if you can spot the protocol droid!



And with the wood pieces placed back on (I am replacing these with new wood, just didn't get it yet)



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Unread 09/02/2012, 02:19 PM   #15
lordofthereef
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Overflow

Mike did a phenomenal job on the overflow. Here are a few pics. I am going to be running open top, so I plan to either paint the white pvc parts jet black with some krylon fusion, or just order some black pvc parts after the move. I am leaning towards the latter. Opinions?






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Unread 09/02/2012, 02:22 PM   #16
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Glamor Shots

Some pics of how the tank, overflow, and sump look all completed. I didn't pull the scrubber out of the box because Bud packed it ready to survive a nuclear explosion, so I figured it would be less work to just toss it on the moving van. I will get pics of it in operation once we are settled in and getting salty. For now enjoy these dry tank shots.

I am heavily considering painting the stand a glossy jet black. In pics, the stand looks bad (looks all dinged up for some reason). In reality it looks ok, but I think gloss would make it look more classy. Thoughts?





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Unread 09/06/2012, 02:35 PM   #17
MJB Tanks
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Great pics, scrubber will be so easy to maintain right there in the center. You had some great planning ideas going into the sump design...I can't wait to see it getting salty!

Keep in touch and thanks again


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Unread 09/06/2012, 03:15 PM   #18
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Lookning good! In fact, that sump looks so much better than your tank, lol!

Seriously, that is one sexy sump.....well done!

Good luck on the move!


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Unread 09/06/2012, 05:03 PM   #19
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beautiful job, the heavy gloss black will look nice and clean and go weel with the clean lines of the acrylic


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Unread 09/07/2012, 12:05 AM   #20
lordofthereef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirofucci View Post
Lookning good! In fact, that sump looks so much better than your tank, lol!

Seriously, that is one sexy sump.....well done!

Good luck on the move!
Sump looks nicer than the tank... That was exactly my feeling too lol! I might still consider having Mike build me the display out of acrylic. My holdup is scratches... Had a 150 acrylic display and I a clutz... Scratches galore! He did say he'd be willing to ship. DecisiOns, decisions!


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Unread 10/05/2012, 12:34 PM   #21
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Maybe you should go rimless....

How soon before you get to unpack and start playing with the tank?


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