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.
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.
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.
#1: Plumbing! #2: Overflow #3: 75LB MarcoRocks