I'm new to the forum and would like to document my build. I will be documenting my build in detail so other beginners can learn from my mistakes or success.
I believe this is the right section for this but feel free to move if needed.
Well, it started as a present for my wife. See she has been asking for a fish tank for many years now and I have always been against the idea. I'm not a huge fan of fresh water tanks, nothing really against them just not my cup of tea. We were just cruising around Austin and she happened to point out a local fish store. I was immediately intrigued by the salt water coral and the vibrant fish. While I'll never would admit it to her I have looked into getting a fish tank in the past. Since I have never been a big fan of fresh water tanks and salt water tanks always intimidated me I was never able to pull the trigger on the tank. Needless to say we ended up putting in a order the very next day for a new tank.
Main focus is small school fish (Wife heading that part of the project), soft coral and a little SPS for balance and fill . We are hoping for a well balanced tank with an overall dynamic appeal.
Already on the way:
Tank: Marineland NV33012 93 Gallon Frameless. Size 29-7/8x29-7/8x 24-7/8. Glass thickness front/back 10mm, bottom 12mm, Two pre-drilled plumbing lines or 1" bulkhead fittings. http://www.marineland.com/Products/glass-aquariums-and-tanks/cube-column-aquariums.aspx
Stand: Custom made by NDstructible Welding. https://www.facebook.com/NDstructibleWelding/
Sump: Custom Advanced Acrylic Sump. http://advancedacrylics.com/
Reactor: BRS GFO & Carbon Reactor Deluxe. http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-gfo-carbon-reactor-deluxe1.html
Heaters: 2 x Jager TrueTemp Eheim tank heaters. http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/eheim-jager-trutemp-aquarium-heater.html
Still left to get or decide on (Each Item will have it's own additional post as to why I think it is the best item for the tank):
Pump: Echotech Marine Vectra L1 DC. http://www.aquariumspecialty.com/equipment/pumps/ecotech-marine-vectra-dc-controllable-pumps
Skimmer: Reef Octopus Regal 200SSS. http://www.marinedepot.com/Reef_Octopus_Regal_200SSS_Protein_Skimmer_In_Sump_Protein_Skimmers_for_Aquariums_Reefs-Reef_Octopus-CV25173-FIPSIS-vi.html
Sand: Carib Sea, Hawaiian Black sand. http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/hawaiian-black-arag-alive-live-reef-sand.html
Rock: Bulk Reef Supply, Fiji Dry rock. http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-fiji-dry-aquarium-live-rock.html
Lighting: Single Kessil AP700 LED light. http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/ap700-led-lighting-panel-kessil.html
Powerhead: Maxspect XF230. http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/xf230-gyre-pump-with-controller-2300-gph-maxspect.html
To start off with, we purchased a Marineland 93gal rimless cube. All the research stated that when you first get into salt water tanks the bigger the better up to 140 gallons. It is said that since the volume of water is more significant it can take more fluctuations in elements before the tank crashes. Given this information we assessed the space and location we had with the available tanks and respective sizes. We ended up with the 93 gallon tank due to it's four sided viewing angles, tank size, and small footprint. With the tank at 93 gallons and the sump tank at 15 gallons we should have a total system rated at 108 gallons. While at the time I was not fully aware of there reputation I was still hopeful of a solid build. While waiting for the store to bring the tank to the front ( the store was very busy at the time) we spotted the same tank on the display floor. We loved the size of the tank, but due to my OCD I started to look at the tank a little closer. The tank sides were not true and had sloppy silicon work with over sealed corners. This immediately made me worried about our tank. Once the store moved the tank to the front of the store we asked to insect it. They were very understanding and upon visualization of the tank we were very happy. The sides were square appropriate amount of silicone work and the bulkhead was nicely secured in place. When we placed the order for the rimless tank it was not made aware that I would not be able to build a canopy for it (rookie mistake, should have figured that one out by looking at the name), but hey roll with the punches. I will post close up photos of the tank we received once I get home from work tomorrow.
Next came the planning for the stand. My first thought was we need a steel stand... right? Well I'm sure most of you would agree that a wooden stand would have worked fine for this tank. Wood is great if you are in a low budget build or need something short term. Wood though is very specific in its behavior. In other words a lot more planning would have to go into the design. The boards would have to have their grains arranged to prevent warping with higher humidity, the wood can adsorb water and moister, along with overall deterioration (rot), different grades of wood stock comes into play as well and species of wood. While I'm not a carpenter nor am I a wood guru I feel that this was not the best route for us to take. While I'm sure some have thrown a stand together with spare 2x4"'s and ended up just fine, I wanted a more stable foundation. Since this stand will be holding the tank and all it's contents above all the support equipment underneath, I did not feel like we should go cheap and take the chance of loosing everything if the stand failed. In the end my wife and I decided that a steel stand fits our long term goals of a successful tank build with longevity in mind. In total the stand would need to hold around 1600 pounds (918 pounds of water[8.6lbs per gallon of salt water], 141 pounds for the tank and other equipment).
I called many local shops that specialized in welding to include most of the fish shops and most calls ended up without success. Most of the places I talked too had no clue on how to build the stand, out sourced it to other companies out of state and/or wanted an outrageous amount of cash for what they would produce. I searched the forums in hopes of finding a stand source that others have used before. It was not long after my search that the forum had just introduced NDstructible Welding as a new sponsor. After viewing some of their example photos and some IM messages I was put into contact with Nick. Nick and I communicated a couple of times about what I was looking for along with some design concerns I had regarding strength. He was very receptive to my concerns and address them appropriately. We ended up with not putting gussets into the design and increase the diameter of the steel from 1.5" to 2" along with mitered corners and circumferential welds. Steel adjustable feet (700lbs rating each) were attached to the bottom with a total left height of 2". The total stand height is 42" high. We wanted the talk taller for two reasons, one I'm a tallish guy and would hate to have to bend over to see the awesomeness ( yep you read that right), and since the footprint is smaller it would allow me to stack the support systems as needed. I had asked Nick to place four tabs on one side so I could attach a equipment support board. This board will hold the controllers, and reactors as needed. The tabs made attachment easier, but also help limit possible water intrusion into the frame(no drilled holes). If the tabs started to rust I can always have them cut and new ones welded without damaging the frame. I will be using a removable type outer shell that well be affixed to the stand via neodymium magnets n52. This will allow all sides to be removed for deep cleaning and/or access. One side will be the main access point for minor adjustments and observation of the system. I did not go with stainless steel due to the fact that magnets do not stick to stainless and cost. I have been looking at two options for the frame seal. One is powder coating which will run around $150 or using a bed liner material like Herculiner $30 - $80. With Herculiner I would be able to touch up damaged areas, but would not be able to get the smoothness for a flush finish between the stand had skin. I'm thinking I will go with the powder coating which will be a stronger or should i say a harder finish and would not be a headache when skinning the frame.
The results are below.
Man, all I can say is that finding a sump with what we where looking for was a pain. With the size of the frame 30x30 and accounting for the size of the steel tubing we have a total foot print of 30x26 rectangle or 26x26 square. We looked at many options from Trigger systems, Eshopps and simplicity. While some would fit the size and and some had unique features we were looking for none them were the right fit. Then we found out about Advanced Acrylics out in Jurupa Valley, California. John from AA was very patient with me and my ideas and we were able to come up with the design and with the expertise of John make it work. It is currently is production and will ship soon. Once it arrives I will take photos as and post them.
Well, this ended up being a very long first post. Let me know your thoughts and or questions.