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Complete 30ish gallon build (with lots of pics)

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by apex_seeking, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. apex_seeking

    apex_seeking Copepod

    I’m the new guy so I figured it was my duty to share with you guys and girls what I’m working with.

    I got into reef keeping about a year ago and thought that I could do it cheap and easy if I went small. So I got a used Fluval EvoV. It ran fine but being the tinkerer that I am I couldn’t leave well enough alone and built a sump for it. The whole thing ended up being about ten gallons and a huge eye sore sitting on my kitchen counter.

    I knew I could do better AND upgrade to a larger tank so I began planning. I took everything that I learned from my 5 gal and applied it to this tank. This was my inspiration.


    I wanted to have a square shaped rimless tank with a central overflow that used a Herbie style standpipe setup. This was going to sit in our kitchen/living room so the volume of the overflow was a major concern. Working in a glass shop allowed me to get a hold of 3/8” starfire. I had the bottom panel drilled with three holes. I picked up some silicone from amazon and assembled the tank.


    I wanted to avoid issues with trying to creat the perfect amount of flow and sand blowing everywhere so I opted to go bare bottom. I used a sheet of 1/16 textured black ABS to line the bottom.

    The overflow was built using a dark tinted piece of acrylic cut with a router to have a 1/4” toothless weir. 1/4” was too small and I later found out the tank had no surface skimming ability so I have since added teeth.


    With the tank built, it was time to move onto the stand. I opted for 1 1/4”, 1/16” wall square tube as the frame. I wanted a shelf to hold my top off water and a few daily use items. The whole thing came together pretty fast.


    I ran into issues with the bulkheads lining up with the frame so I had to notch the frame along the top. I went over board. It was way more work than I should have spent on it and no one will ever know it’s there. (Except all of you who read this!)


    I skinned the whole thing with some scrap MDF I had left over from another project. I primed it with kilz to keep the wood from absorbing water and then coated it all with white oil based enamel to give it some extra protection from the drips and spills.

    Now I had to deal with the sump. My stand dimensions didn’t give me many options. Most sumps are rectangular and too long. Plus the expense of sumps seems outrageous so that too was built to suit. I amassed all the equipment I was planning on running and drew up plans. After changing the layout about a dozen times, I settled on a circular flow with a filter sock, space for a small skimmer and chaeto/ live rock section. I left the area for the return pump oversized so I could up the pump if I wanted too. It worked out well because I decided to add a reactor shortly after setting the tank up.


    I should have added a bubble catch into the return pump section but I can deal with it....for now.

    Now it was onto the rock work. I had looked at about 3,009,351 pics of aquascaping ideas. Towers, islands, caves and arches. After looking at everything I was ready to throw in the towel and just dump a bunch of rocks in there. It seemed daunting to try to create a “perfect” scene.

    But I came too far to give up now. I ordered some rock from BRS and picked up a few choice pieces from Elite reef. I used paleo super glue and an accelerant. It was surprisingly easy to build a “single rock” that fit the bill. After an hour or so, I had exactly what I wanted.


    I got the whole thing moved upstairs and into place. Then came plumbing...not my favorite.


    I set up a RODI system in my basement with a 30 gal trash can because I didn’t want to run to the lfs with 5 gal buckets anymore. It made filling the tank sooo much easier and I will never go without a RODI system again. It just makes life easier.


    Here it is all set up. Pretty proud of it.


    Sent from my iPad using MASC mobile app
    neil82 likes this.
  2. apex_seeking

    apex_seeking Copepod

    I’m using an AI hydra 26, Reef octopus bh50 skimmer, sicce 1.5 return pump, a true digital titanium heater system, an icecap 1.5 gyre and a digital ato.

    So far I have a pair of mocha clowns and a starry blenny. 3 rock flower anemones and I just picked up a rainbow bta. Only a few corals. I wanted the anemones to settle in before I drop too much money into corals just to have them stung to death.

    Sorry for the crappy phone pics.

    Most of the corals have been transfers from the 5gal.

    Everything is going great. The only changes I’d make would be small things. I do want to figure out how to increase my top off container and possibly place it in my basement directly below the tank. I’m just hesitant to plumb it up through the floor. But that’s for another day. Now I need to just go stare at the tank.

    Thanks for reading through my long winded post. I hope you guys enjoy it.

    Sent from my iPad using MASC mobile app
    NickP and TheRealChrisBrown like this.
  3. TheRealChrisBrown

    TheRealChrisBrown Tuna Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. B.O.D. Member-at-Large

    Wow! Great build! Very clean looking, I like everything about it.

    FOURSTARS Copepod M.A.S.C Club Member

    Very nice build and nice clean set up. You’ve got some mad skills there.
  5. apex_seeking

    apex_seeking Copepod

    Thanks guys. I really appreciate it. I didn’t have much of a choice. I have a wife that’s so so on the aquarium thing in the kitchen so I had to make it as clean and elegant as possible. She seems to like it, so...success?

    Sent from my iPhone using MASC mobile app
  6. SUS

    SUS Copepod M.A.S.C Club Member

    Very nice build! Can’t wait to see this come to life
  7. SkyShark

    SkyShark Tuna Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. B.O.D. Member-at-Large

    Fantastic build! Way to go fixing where the drain lines hit the stand. Totally something I would do... and then not be able to fix .

    Sent from my iPhone using MASC - Marine Aquarium Society of Colorado
  8. NickP

    NickP Copepod Platinum Sponsor M.A.S.C Club Member

    Amazing work, good job.
  9. apex_seeking

    apex_seeking Copepod

    Hahah! Right! When I saw that I screwed that up, I scratched my head for awhile. I really didn’t want to start over on the stand or have the bottom panel of the tank recut.

    Then a friend of mine who’s much better at metal work than I am made the suggestion of using a whole saw to cut it out. When he saw that I shaped and welded in filler pieces he thought I was insane for spending that much time on something that no one would ever see. But my knuckles appreciated it when I had to put the bulkheads in.

    Sent from my iPhone using MASC mobile app

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