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The 180 build from the ground up

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by Pth03001, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    Good Morning everyone and nice to meet you,

    (Disclaimer: this is unreasonably long. Let me just say I was planning on this being a paragraph or two but as I kept typing I found that I could not stop. Maybe it was therapeutic but it has been a long process and as usual I underestimated just how big an adventure this really was.)

    I just signed up for the MASC forum but have been looking at its boards for a long while now. I wanted to thank everyone who has posted their discussions which have helped me out in planning and putting together my own tank. It has been a 4 year venture which has taught me a lot of patience. I did not want to rush into the hobby and be overwhelmed so I’ve pieced things together, read a lot of information and did a bit of DIY. As for now I have snails and hermit crabs in the tank as she has just finished her cycle last week. Yesterday I finished setting up my QT tank and I am looking forward to its first arrivals. Sad to say I think I will be waiting till this upcoming Sunday to add fish as that is my next day off.

    So, the build itself. Well I started 2 years ago this coming Christmas with piecing together equipment. I started out first with an RO/DI system, because why not start with water first, nothing gets the imagination going like fresh TDS free water! After that I grabbed rock, a brute trash can, heater and circulation pump and started to clean up my rock. And for the next year after getting the rock I put together more and more items to get my 75 gallon up and running. That’s when I found the 180 on Craigslist…

    Many of my plans and equipment started with universal items which could be used for different sized systems thankfully and I had not wasted (much) money on buying equipment twice. Additionally the tank came with rock, sand, Protein skimmer, UV sterilizer and much more. In one fell swoop I upgraded from a 75 to a 180 and got closer even still to it being up and running.

    One thing was an issue though, I broke the bank with the fell swoop and had to take a pause to save up again. My wife who has been super supportive though this entire venture wish for me to next purchase a stand to go with the giant glass box which now took up a corner of our basement. I preferred to build it myself but she was a bit hesitant about this idea, what with 2000 pounds of water and whatnot standing or crashing on my handyman skills. But after some back and forth, YouTube videos and the King of DIY helping me out I convinced her that I could make something that would do the job. Also I sold it as a cost savings, which looking back on it was debatable.

    So, I built the skeleton and then started to create a covering to make it look like a piece of furniture. Home depot became my best friend and nemesis quickly. I put together the boards, stained, polyurethaned ‘em and attached it to the frame. This I did in stages and it was a labor of love without doubt. On the interior of the stand I ended up trying to protect it as best as possible from the elements that it would be exposed to. I started with a couple Kilz coats (which I wished I had not done now but it is too late for that). After that coat though I covered the base of the stand with a spray on coating making it water resistant. I used this spray on stuff actually for the base where the sump will go and then both sides of the plywood which the tank would sit on, hoping it will make it water resistant and prevent it from warping if water contacts it. The stuff is aquarium safe and ended up getting the idea from Joey on King of DIY. After this painting was done I finished but painting the interior of the stand with an enamel used for painting refrigerators. I used the white paint on enamel instead of the spray paint version and put two coats of this stuff on all my exposed wood. That being set I felt much better about this pieces possible longevity when exposed to all the moisture and salt it will undoubtedly be exposed to.

    Once the stand was done I framed up the canopy using 2x2 boards. I decided to hang this from the ceiling instead of having it lay on top of the stand. I realize more now that this could be limiting in my ability to get into the tank easily but I have 19” of clearance from the rim to the top of the canopy and I think/ hope that will be enough. After this I again framed the canopy and stained and sealed as described before. A couple additional things I did with this were to place 1” holes in the sides to run wires and also two vents to increase air flow through the tank. I ended up getting two wooden unstained vents from home depot, cutting out the necessary space and placing them in the two sides of the hood. They stay in well and I can control the air flow with a dampener. Sooner or later I will be adding fans to increase the flow more but that will be a project for another day. Beyond this I made the canopy with two pieces of plywood as the base which would attach to the ceiling. This I anchored into the floor joists with numerous 4’ or 5”. This gave me 1.5” (two ¾ pieces) to drill into and hang hooks and any other heavy objects anywhere I want within the canopy.

    Next step was filling the tank, which I was finally able to do at the end of this past August, before going on a long awaited and much needed vacation. I have some amazing friends who agreed to stay at my home while I was away and they ended up keeping an eye on the tank as she cycled. I had almost gotten the plumbing done before I went on vacation but failed pretty hard in the fourth quarter with time running out. I ended up having a small leak around one of my pipes and in trying to fix it I snapped one of my PVC ball valves while trying to tighten it (one of the nice ones too, SUCK). An additional reason the plumbing was not done sooner is because I am a spaz and had to paint my PVC with Green being the intake or dirty water and blue as the clean water back to the tank. This took a week to set before I was able to install it. As for the snapped ball valve, well I had not planned ahead well and did not leave a lot of space to remedy this problem. I ended up, after returning from vacation taking a saw to the Pipe to remove a piece and reconstruct part of my return feed. That makes it sound easier than it really was though. I ended up sawing through 3/4” PVC pipe with a small saw blade (only the blade) with about 2” of back and forth space to work with. I felt like I was breaking out of a jail in an old time western movie. Each pipe took 20 minutes lol.

    Well I took the rest of the weekend and got the water running through the sump, got the skimmer up and running and everything working as it should. I tried to take my time and had a large amount of metal hooks to run wires away from water, keeping drip loops and gravity in my mind. As part of the extended vacation I had I ended up finishing the last pieces of the stand that, as well as the matching bar to go with the tank! Because who needs to relax on vacation. I added a 3 foot cabinet to the left side of the tank which has a top which lifts up like a piano and door which opens the entire length of the cabinet. The door of the cabinet as well as the wall has hole board throughout it so that I can hang all my chemicals (QT Tank) nets, testing kits and also do some cord/equipment management.

    And I think that is it, the build is complete and the tank is ready for fish (post QT of course). For however impatient I am right now about seeing fish in the tank I have to use what I have learned over the last 4 years and remind myself that the fish will only be 4 to 6 weeks away once I get them. It is hard to wait as you all know but I have no excuse and everything to lose if I don’t.

    Thank you all for the read, skim or view and I hope you like it. I am sure I’ve made mistakes and I have a lot to learn still. If you have any suggestions please feel free to throw them at me, I don’t get hurt feelers about it and I really appreciate the help. Thanks again,


    Patrick
     
  2. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    Here are the photos
     
  3. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    Maybe this will work a second time.
     
  4. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    Well its seems my files are too large, Ill have to share the photos when I get home if this last try does not work
     
  5. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Club Member

    Welcome to MASC. As someone who has been working a build for many years as well, I feel your pain, although wish my wife was more supportive of my tanks. haha Congrats on getting it wet. Look forward to seeing the pics.
     
  6. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    So I finally got to it, here they are
     

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  7. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    So after the initial facing and rock work I advanced to this....
     

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  8. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    And here are some of the final shots, including the bar which I just finished up most of today.
     

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    Fourthwind likes this.
  9. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Club Member

    Looks really good in that room. Nice work on all the details
    What are you planning for stocking?
     
    Pth03001 likes this.
  10. SkyShark

    SkyShark Barracuda Staff Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Club Member

    Looks great! Why did you regret painting the kilz in the stand?
     
    Pth03001 likes this.
  11. neil82

    neil82 Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    Nice build! Fun to read through. It came out looking really good. What is the flooring material in that room? Welcome to the forum!
     
    Pth03001 likes this.
  12. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

    Good Afternoon everyone!

    Sorry it has taken so long for me to get back to you all but life and projects have been taking over. Over the last week I have ended up completing a trim piece for the bar, 4 doors for the cabinet (have a couple coats of polyurethane to do) and mounted a TV down here to round out some of the entertaining possibilities of the basement. Ill attach a picture of the new overall as well as my limited stocking inside the tank right now. As for stocking I have 4 fish in the system currently which are a pair of Naked clownfish and a pair of Banggai Cardinal fish. I had a bit of ammonia issues with the QT tank while they were in there so I have researched that out a bit more and think that I didn't cycle the QT tank long enough. All seems to be well with these hardy fish though and I am continuing to cycle the QT before I put more fish in there. I guess I can put up a picture of that system as well. It is a 55 gallon tank I got super cheap from a yard sale and the tank includes a heater, HOB filter for a 55 gallon tank, powerhead and some plumbing parts. I build that stand as well for the 75 gallon I was setting up but have not gotten to yet.

    As for stocking the I am thinking for the following, probably in this order: Diamond watchman goby, McCosker's flasher wrasse, Foxface Rabbitfish, Unknown at the moment type of Anthias group (Bartletts, Ignitus or Lyretail), Bellus angel pair and 1 - 3 tangs which are still undetermined (candidates include yellow tang, Kole yellow eye, Powder Brown, purple tang or powder blue). After all of that I would still consider a Red Mandarin but only after a years worth of success and proper copepod population could be maintained. With all of this being said I was curious on anyone's opinions on Anthias in groups, size of group appropriate for a tank this size and fish list this large and specific species suggestions. Also I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the Tangs I was choosing. I wanted to go with the smaller sized Tangs because the tank is only 5' wide and I do not want to overcrowd the tank. Hopefully the fish list is not too ambitious for a first tank and any honest suggestions or tweaks are very appreciated.

    As for the Kilz primer paint I had read on a forum that oil based paints are not suggested for use around aquariums. Now I have not been able to find these posts again and the more I think about it the more I am curious whether the auther meant not to paint with Oil based paints around the aquarium due to the fumes being harmful to water quality. Since everything was well dried I may have missed the mark on whether oil based paints in initial builds is actually a harmful. That being said I do think that painting and many other aerosols around a tank which is up and running could be not so good for the tank itself. I have read about it causing algae issues and other water quality problems.

    As for the flooring I ended up using a ceramic tile which I got at Home Depot. The floor used to be a crumby stained concrete which the previous owner did. Unfortunately the previous owner did not pull up the glue from the floor prior to staining the concrete and there were raised glue bits throughout the basement. When I went to install the floor I ended up taking 2 days and a rented floor buffer to strip the floor of all the nasty glue and stain. It was a back breaker and then some! I am very happy though with how it came out as well as happy that friends of mine talked me out of installing it myself.

    Thank you for all the warm welcomes to the forum, taking the time to respond and the compliments on the tank itself. I'll keep plugging along with it and posting when I have the time and ability. Further updates to come will be the addition of new fish to QT and then the tank, getting a 8 bulb T-5 unit I got off of Craigslist and addition of soft corals hopefully around Christmas/New Years if all goes well and water stays nice. Also does anyone have experience with cleaning the back of a tank which is only 3 - 4 inches off the back wall... Its been a struggle!
     
  13. Pth03001

    Pth03001 Copepod

  14. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    Looks awesome! Great job
     
    Pth03001 likes this.
  15. neil82

    neil82 Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    Cleaning the back wall of the tank is tricky. When I used to do this, I used a glass cleaning tool with a long handle. I have since resigned from these duties.
     
    Pth03001 likes this.

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