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Brian Tesch

BT's 75Gallon Build

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Hey Guys,

After having an awesome Custom Built-in 60G Seahorse Tank I'm ready for a large tank where I can house more than just a few soft corals and some Macro Algae that I am limited to in my current Seahorse setup. I've started this thread a bit late since I already have the design and have already purchased about 70% of equipment and materials. 

But first, here a picture 3 years ago building my built in tank (The first 1.5years it was a freshwater planted).Also, the tank was built as a side project why I was remodeling my house. 
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1st Picture Before. 2nd Freshwater Tank built into Towel Closet. 3rd. Seahorse Tank few weeks after setup. 

Anyway... lets back to the current business the new 75G, let me start by saying the overall goals I would like to achieve, ranked in order of personal importance. 

#1: Design. Probably the most important factor in any tank is the design and attractiveness. (except for my 125G bass tank in the garage I could care less about that sucker). Not only do I want healthy colorful livestock but I want an aquascape to lay the foundation of the tank and a stand that is equally appealing and adds "beauty points" to the overall display" 
#2:  Ecosystem / Equipment / Health.  Basically, I want my tank to be able to house a variety of fish corals and maybe a few clams healthy. However, I also want it to be balanced with the second #2 below.
#2: Cost Decided to tie this with the category above because I didn't want to look like a monster for putting costs in front of all my future livestock, HOWEVER, I'm not about to starve so my future tang has a better standard of living than myself. Basically, I want a nice looking tank but am also operating on a budget as a college student. I hope at the end this tank will be the best bang for my buck. 
#3: Maintenance Everything about my Seahorse tank is a lot of maintenance. Everything from the shape of the tank (36x20x18) down to the horses themselves makes it a fairly time-consuming tank, my hope for my 75G will be to have a low maintenance system. Maybe not the "Ultra Low Maintenance" systems the BRS crews are building but still lower than average. 

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On the left is a brief sketch of the end goal tank design and the sump. Sorry I didn't have 10 hours to spend building a 3D model on Autodesk. Some people are in college and cont have time for that. Anyway it's not in scale or anything so the tank looks small and stand looks bulky, that won't be the case. However, it does a good job of showing my stand goals. 

Each "line" in the sketch represents a seem in the wood. Panels marked with a C will be able to open. All of the cabinets will be European style with hidden hinges so that stand has a modern clean look that I really love. Similar concept to the red sea systems.

As you may have guessed my overflow and return plumbing will be on the left side of the tank, so the tank will be able to sit flat against the wall. But also could be used as a peninsula tank in the future. Currently, I don't have a place for a peninsula tank so I will not bother on finishing and polishing the back, however, I'll throw in a quick backer board so no light leaks out the sump and will allow me to have the option of building it into a peninsula down the road. 

The stand will be built in 2 structural pieces. The bottom/ left side will be a single piece. You will be able to slide the tank in from the right and nudge it against the left side 2x2 supports. Then the hood that will be built similar to most hoods in that it sits on the frame of the aquarium. One key point is that the hood will slide in from the right and lock with the main structure via the roof will be a single piece of plywood all the way across. So that will fit inside the walls of the left side and should make a seamless finish, that's strong, and will easily be taken apart in the future. 

Let's briefly talk sumps. 

I'm using a 40G Petco breeder as a cheap sump I will be installing some ABS dividers from Tap Plastics. Almost ordered some cool semi clean neon acrylic green dividers but honestly, ABS is 1/2 the cost and will block 100% of the light between the chambers. 

Anyway, Im using a Bean & Animal overflow design that will go directly into the sump. Literally directly since the sump will sit in the left corner of the stand that means since its offset the overflow pipes are a straight shot into the sump. 

The refugium is going to be roughly 15 gallons which will be 20% of MD. I'm planning on using the triton method. Everything else is pretty standard, one thing I am doing is building an in-sump small 10"x10" frag tank/nursery. It will be plumbed attached to the main return pipe so I can regulate flow but also would technically be its own little system in you close the pipe. Again part of the reason is just to have a little frag tank, but also I would like to try out raising a baby clam (2" ish). A friend has a fair amount of success with baby clams by placing them in separate chambers then the main display a few times a weak with the water full of phyto allowing them to eat a lot of phyto. This is my approach on that concept basically during normal hours of operation its apart of the main display water volume, but maybe for an hour, I can turn off the valve and poor in some phyto allowing him to eat. Any clam experts out there? Am I crazy? 

I'll talk more about equipment later, for now, I will through up a few more pictures of some stuff I have laying around the house ready to go. 
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#1: Plumbing! #2: Overflow #3: 75LB MarcoRocks

Edited by Brian Tesch
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Really nice right up Brian! Looks like you are doing an awesome job covering all the bases. I’m excited to see how you aquascape it. That’s always the hardest part in my opinion!
Oh also could you list your equipment when you get a chance? Curious as to your plan for flow, lights, return pump, etc.. :)


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Super enjoyable read, lots of good ideas here.  ABS dividers are a great idea, I hate the light spill over/algae growth!

I have a low maintenance system.  Some of my favorite things are:

- Auto water changes

- CR Monitoring (effluent flow, PH, tank PH)

- Skimmer collection bucket 

- Automatic skimmer collection bucket drain to sewer line (2x per week, no touching the bucket)

- Automatic skimmer neck cleaners

- RODI/kalk/topoff fully automated.

- Overflow has a float switch in case all overflows fail, shuts off return pump

- Notifications from apex on all kinds of stuff that could cause issues (leaks, overflows, PH of kalk, CR, tank, sump levels (hi/low/very high/very low...)

For me, these things make all the difference when life is busy!  It's definitely a good goal as people run hot and cold in the hobby and automation can help fill those gaps.

Good luck!

 

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Really like your planning - especially the stand with interlocking hood and the ability to convert to peninsula if/when it becomes an option.  Also intrigued by the built in mini frag tank in the sump (curious to see how you decide to light this in conjunction with the presence of the refugium).  Great start!

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6 hours ago, TheClark said:

Super enjoyable read, lots of good ideas here.  ABS dividers are a great idea, I hate the light spill over/algae growth!

I have a low maintenance system.  Some of my favorite things are:

- Auto water changes

- CR Monitoring (effluent flow, PH, tank PH)

- Skimmer collection bucket 

- Automatic skimmer collection bucket drain to sewer line (2x per week, no touching the bucket)

- Automatic skimmer neck cleaners

- RODI/kalk/topoff fully automated.

- Overflow has a float switch in case all overflows fail, shuts off return pump

- Notifications from apex on all kinds of stuff that could cause issues (leaks, overflows, PH of kalk, CR, tank, sump levels (hi/low/very high/very low...)

For me, these things make all the difference when life is busy!  It's definitely a good goal as people run hot and cold in the hobby and automation can help fill those gaps.

Good luck!

 

Curious about how your automatic water change system works? Do you premix bulk saltwater in a barrel and them pump it into a tank with a float valve or something along the lines? Or is there a device that can mix salt? 

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Update, Sort of Day 1. 

Spent some time today working on building the stand. I've had all the materials ready to go in my garage for a while so I was able to build it fairly quickly. 
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Now let me list out the equipment I have already purchased for the tank:

Skimmer: Bubble Magus 7 (bought used off craigslist pretty good condition)
Return Pump: DCP-5000 -I've had a DCS-4000 running on another tank for a few years and it has done the job well. 
Heater: Finex Titanium Series
Lights: 2 T5's paired with LED's (see below)
Also bought a used Jebao dosing pump good for 4 liquids. (for the triton method). 

Equipment I do not have yet: 

LED Lights: Have not purchased lights yet, mainly because I've already got the 2 T5's and although that's not much light it will work during the cycling process. I've sort of struggled looking for a decent light, powerful, but not an arm and a leg to buy. I've heard decent things about the Mars Aqua 165W. It's a black box, but they seem to last, the price is right, and 2 of those fixtures partnered with a nice T5 on each side should make a decent lighting setup for this size of a tank. 

Any suggestions of other LED's I should look at, roughly around $200-$300? For now, the Mars looks like my best option, the downside is they are not programmable. 

Any suggestions on wavemakers + or - the $75 range. Big-ish on that. Right now I am looking at the Jebao RW-8 series. That should give my 0-26x is the main displace and I am expecting to get about 12x-14x from my main return. 

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26 minutes ago, Brian Tesch said:

Curious about how your automatic water change system works? Do you premix bulk saltwater in a barrel and them pump it into a tank with a float valve or something along the lines? Or is there a device that can mix salt? 

Yes, premixed.  There is a 425 gallon saltwater container in the garage.

Apex pumps water out of the sump for a minute.

Apex fills it back up from the mixing container (it has a jebao pump in it). 

This comes out to about 5 gallons at a time.  Since it is only 5 gallons, I don't even bother to heat it.

It was very handy when I had a levimasole tank crash.  I did several small water changes a day and swapped out 400 gallons or so.

Before that I ran a dual head peristaltic cole parmer pump for water changes.  It worked as well but the tubing would break now and then.  Same concept though, premixed saltwater.

No doubt there is someone out there that automatically mixes their salt too!  Allot of automation junkies in this hobbie :D

Nowadays I don't do many water changes but its on standby if necessary.

This guy has a video on his, looks similar to the way I run it...

 

 

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Update Day 2: SUMP
Got back early this weekend so decided to spend a little time to silicon the sump together. 

As mentions above I used a 40G Petco tank for the basis of the and ordered all my baffles from Tap Plastics cut to size. Also mentioned above I used ABS for the baffles for a number of reasons. 
#1: 1/2 the cost of acrylic. 
#2: 100% opaque so it will cut down on the amount of light going from the refugium into saying the Skimmer chamber. 

So far I am happy with the choice, one thing to note about ABS is that it only has 1 smooth side. The other side is textured. That isn't a big deal for me since each baffle will only have 1 of its sides "lit". So Since all the texture sides are not on light producing sides I am not worried about scrapping algae off. The textured side isn't exactly rough either, just has a bunch of bumps, see picture below. 
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Ended up going with sheets that were 3/8's thick because it was only about 10% more than the 1/4 cost so "why not" but ultimately baffles that thick is overkill.

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#1: Baffles Dry Fit. #2 Baffles Attached. 
Key Chamber Dimensions: 
Refugium: 16x18x12T 15G
Mini Frag Tank 10x10x10T 4.5G

Last note is the baffles are all cut to the top of the tank while the flow heights are drilled on the side to help cut down on light going over the baffles. Will probably create some simple walls to go around the refugium light and the frag tank light to add even more light protection.  

In the refugium 4x 1" holes were drilled which should handle the targeted at just under half full. 

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That sump is looking really sharp Brian!  I like the choice of the opaque ABS a lot... may have to copy that if I ever end up building a new one.

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Now that midterm week is over and my life has a few hours of free time again (*inhales) I was able to build the frame of the hood today. 
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Nothing two crazy, simple frame made out of 1x2's with 3/4" plywood over the top. The roof, of course, hangs over on the left side to slide into the main portion of the stand. Decided to trim some wood off the front area of the frame where the door is going to create a larger access. In total there is  9inches above top of the tank inside the cavity for the lights which will put them 8 inches over the water level once everything is in place (Water level will be 1inch below the top of tank). The total height of the access door is 7.25" when the door is flipped open which will allow me to do anything I want day to day. It will be really easy to slide off during maintenance if I need more space to work during cleaning. 

Next step will be to install the panels on the right side of the hood and the door in the middle. 

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Finally, got around to building the bottom half of the stand yesterday/today. Originally I was planning on having the front just be 2 big doors. But I ended up scrapping that idea putting a 4-inch border on each side of the doors. Also, I originally thought I wanted the doors to go from basically floor to tank (and I built it that way) (see the first picture) but I wasn't happy with the look so I trimmed the doors and threw up a permanent board along the top of the doors the better frame the doors in. 

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Didn't like the look above doors were too tall and didn't look finished. 

End Product: 
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Still, need the build the left side of the stand and finish the hood, not to mention sanding and painting the whole thing. 

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I really like your stand, hurry up and get a tank on it!


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13 minutes ago, Paratore said:

I really like your stand, hurry up and get a tank on it!


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Thanks! I definitely have a good amount of time in the next few days set aside to finish this thing, however, the Seafood & Wine Festival is this weekend in Newport and.. uh... I love Seafood and wine.  

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Getting closer...
Planning on getting this thing wet either Saturday or Sunday.

Put the final coat of paint on the bottom portion of the stand today to finish it off.20180301_185132.thumb.jpg.2cc4bdc590e78cd4c2163d1cdd79f86a.jpg

I also drilled the tank and installed the overflow. I don't know about you guys, I always psych out before I drill any glass It seems. I start every glass drilling with a silent prayer, but its so easy and I've drilled so much glass with literally nothing going wrong ever.
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Finally, I finished off the evening with a bit of electrical. 
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For my electrical, I ended up purchasing a standard 14 gauge 50ft extensions cord with 3 sockets on the other end. I plan to cut it in half.  The male end will go straight to the main panel (in the photo) and power the first switch on the top left which will control the entire tank. From their, the switch will power the middle 2x double duplex switches and the receptacle on the top right. The 4 switches in total will power 1 of the receptacles below. The other half of the extension code will also be powered by the main switch and thread it way up into the canopy of the stand and power my lights and wavemaker. (Only need 3 sockets in the canopy so it works perfectly.  


~~~~~~~~~~

I've been thinking a lot about my ATO. First of all with everything inside the cabinet (sump) I will be left with a 9.5"x18" space. I really do not want to throw the rest of the space away to an ATO reservoir, and there's a chance I'm selling my house this summer, so, for now, I will refrain from tapping a few holes in the wall for my water line. 

What I preliminarily decided on is two small reservoirs. One tall but skinny reservoir that will sit directly next to the sump that will measure 3.5"x18"x22" which I will make out of ABS except for the front which Ill get a clear piece so I can see into it. It'll hold about 6gallons~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
For the second reservoir, I will build it horizontally underneath the tank. The tank sits on plywood which sits on vertical 2x4s (refer to early photo) so I have a lot of 3.5" unused space horizontally above the cabinet. I will build my second reservoir 24"x15"x3.5" that will fit inside the "rafters" It will connect with the bottom reservoir via a tube and a float valve. The top reservoir will also be fed by a line going over to the side of my tank to the upper door. From there it will have a quick connect fitting where I can plug in my tube coming from my RODI water. In total both the reservoirs will hold 12 gallons~

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Really like your stand Brian! Very well
Thought out build.


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Really liking the way that stand is turning out.  Loved the idea of the interlocking canopy and the enclosed end for plumbing so nice to see it come together.

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10 hours ago, Brian Tesch said:


fSnapchat-1979048351.thumb.jpg.da75f5b78a96be34914db19308cef724.jpg

 

Lol this picture.  "Here goes nothing!"  Looking really sharp Brian, really looking forward to seeing that stand finished.  Did you end up using that spray epoxy on it?  Looks like it but just curious. 

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1 hour ago, youcallmenny said:

Lol this picture.  "Here goes nothing!"  Looking really sharp Brian, really looking forward to seeing that stand finished.  Did you end up using that spray epoxy on it?  Looks like it but just curious. 

Thanks, Greg! As you know inspired by your red sea I was wanting to do an epoxy coat on this thing, however, I decided to do 2 layers of regular white paint first. (What you see in the photo) and at this point, I'm going to stick with just the painted finish. With an epoxy, you always risk going down a rabbit hole after the perfect finish (a hole I know quite well). I'm also building a new coffee table and I'm epoxyed out. 

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Right on.  Well, you could have fooled me.  Looks really clean.  I seriously am in awe of your craftsmanship.  

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Right on.  Well, you could have fooled me.  Looks really clean.  I seriously am in awe of your craftsmanship.  

Same lol. Now I look at my stand and say to myself...”should have done better”


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Big day today. Movin day (for my tank at-least). Anyway, I was able to stage the tank today, the hood isn't finished but that's no big deal, my priority is to get water in the tank then finish the hood at my leisure while it's cycling. 

First had to move the old 55-gallon freshwater out of the room.
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And then the new tank, its definitely looks bigger than I expected in this room. Oh well... priorities. 
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Heres a shot with the unfinished hood staged on top. 


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And then with the doors open. (Plumbing / Wire management / Electrical isn't finished) 

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Tomorrow:
-Finish Plumbing
-Build hardscape
-Finish Electrical / Wire management
-Flood this thing. 
 

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Looks really good. Excited to see what you do with your aquascape. And your stand/canopy look awesome.


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36 minutes ago, Paratore said:

Looks really good. Excited to see what you do with your aquascape. And your stand/canopy look awesome.


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Been messing around with rocks for the past hour or so. Not sure if I will stick with this layout, but here is an option for the hardscape. 20180303_220405.thumb.jpg.4c213b1614d2fcde11c781f1419cab15.jpg

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