My 240g tank journal

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crazy loaches
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My 240g tank journal

Post by crazy loaches » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:08 pm

Table of contents:
1. Getting the tank - 11/13/07
2. Building the stand, Part I - 11/13/07
3. Building the stand, Part II - 11/14/07
4. Setting up tank and painting - 11/15/07
5. Driftwood - 11/18/07
6. Plumbing, Part I: Spraybars - 11/21/07
7. Plumbing, Part II: Sump tanks - 11/22/07
8. Plumbing, Part III: Filter boxes - 11/28/07
9. Building the stand, Part III - 11/30/07
10. Plumbing, Part IV: Pumps - 12/01/07
11. Plumbing, Part V: Filter Boxes Revisited - 12/03/07
12. Plumbing, Part VI: Misc Plumbing pics - 12/08/07
13. Lighting, Part I - 12/13/07
14. Automation, Part I - 12/24/07
15. Automation, Part II- 12/26/07
16. Fertilizer Calculations- 1/7/08

Links above will probably open in a new tab or window for you unless you right click on the link and copy the shortcut, paste into the address in your browser.

Its been nearly a year since I purchased this tank and finally am making some progress! I've mentioned a little about it hear and there but its finally time to start a thread on it. I can't wait to get this completed. So here is my build journal, which I'll try to document every aspect of setting this thing up with as much DIY as I can. There has already been many design changes but I will document everything as it happened, including any mistakes I may happen to make along the way. This is my 'Dream Tank'. I know this doesnt compare to some of the other behemoths out there, but an 8 foot long tank with about 300G is bigger than I thought I'd ever go, and actually too big for my current house. But we made it fit :). So here goes...

Some quick specs:

Tank
- 240G glass tank 2'x2'x8' Reef Ready (overflows installed) from Glasscages.com (btw I purchased this after hearing nothing but good things from GC, it wasnt 'till later that I started hearing some mixed opinions... so far so good).

Stand/Canopy
- DIY stand & canopy out of tongue and groove pine over top a frame built with 2x4's, 2x6's, etc.

Filtration
- In tank overflows plumbed into DIY sump totaling 66g. More specs to come.

Lighting
- DIY T5HO will probably be 8x54W. More specs to come.

Inhabitants
- This is to be a heavily planted tank for my Loaches (mostly Clowns and Zebras), and haven't decided on rest of stocking. I know clowns aren't ideal with plants, this will sort of be a big experiment. I will mostly only use tough plants though.

I am also going to try to plumb the tank for automated water changes as well as fully automate whatever I can.

*Since I'll have lots of pics I will only display pics at 400 pixels wide, just click on them for a larger pic. Also, as some of you know I host my website and all my pics of my home computer so if my images aren't coming up then its something like my computer or router needs reset, etc, and should be back up within a day or so. But please, if you see anything that isnt working right, send me a PM or something, as I might just have to reboot the router or update IP address etc.
Last edited by crazy loaches on Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:23 am, edited 28 times in total.

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crazy loaches
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Post by crazy loaches » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:10 pm

Ok, since I am still working on transferring pics and editing, etc, I'll post the first few pics I took when I got the tank earlier this year:
Image
Met the delivery truck locally and we slid it into the back of my truck.

Image
I actually off loaded the tank by myself. Please excuse my terribly messy garage. Its literally packed full, took me a good bit just to clear out a big enough spot for the tank. Beefed up my saw horses a little before hand, and they held the empty tank just fine. The tank spent a good many months sitting there in the garage. But I spent many of those months gathering equipment and designing different aspects of the tank.

I was a little rushed when purchasing the tank. I probably should have waited 'till I built the stand so I could move it right in. But I mistakingly assumed that GC only came to Columbus once a year. They had only 1 date on there calender, which was just a couple weeks away when I first noticed. Ends up they come up here often, and just delete the old entry and put the new one in. But because I thought I had but one quick chance this year, I purchased what they had on hand (insufficient time to custom build a tank). If I had it to do over again I probably would have designed the overflows differently, or not at all (and built my own DIY PVC ones). Oh well, I am just going to go with it.

Next to come will be the construction of the stand...

newshound
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Post by newshound » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:15 pm

hahaha
just saw some guy do the same thing on the planted tank :wink:
drain your pool!

mvigor
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Post by mvigor » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:45 pm

Replying so I'll be subscribed for e-mail updates when you add more to this thread. I am looking forward to watching the progress!

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crazy loaches
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Post by crazy loaches » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:59 pm

newshound wrote:hahaha
just saw some guy do the same thing on the planted tank :wink:
I see what your talking about, I think someone stoled all my stuff! lol. :wink:

Yup, and it'll probably be on two or three more forums once I get 'round to it. Nice thing is I can just copy and paste from one forum to another, for the most part - some forums do use different code like here at LOL using phpBB I have to take all the "" marks out of the URL links that the vBulletin powered forums use, but thats pretty easy to do.
Last edited by crazy loaches on Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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chefkeith
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Post by chefkeith » Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:53 pm

Nice size tank. The loaches will love that large footprint.

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crazy loaches
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Post by crazy loaches » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:11 pm

Here are some pics of the stand construction:

Image
Starting to build the stand. I am trying to build it so that it can be somewhat easily broken into pieces that will fit in and out of the house easily.


Image
The top taking shape. I know the design is kinda weird, but this is basically going to be able to set on top of the frame of the stand and it will be the part the tank actually sits on.


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Building the frame front and back panels.


Image


Image


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Starting to take shape... I did notice however that my design was off for the 'joists' across the top. I designed the columns so that the side sections were a little wider than the center. This was to accommodate the sump tanks. But I wanted solid support running from base to top and the pieces on top were equally placed so I've changed them so the joists line up with the columns.


Image
Here you can see what I was talking about in the last pic. I relocated the cross pieces directly over the columns. I'd also like to point out that bit on my drill. One handy piece... it drills and countersinks with one end and a simple flip and the other end has the screwdriver. A simple thing like that can save a lot of time and hassle. With this lumber you probably dont need the countersink, but I use it on other projects to.

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chefkeith
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Post by chefkeith » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:35 am

Great job on the framing for the stand. That looks like a very solid design.

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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:36 am

Great job on the stand! I like your design. What height did you decide on for the stand? I look forward to pictures of how you put the tongue and grove siding on.

Are there any problems with your Glasscages aquarium? I have not heard any negatives about them. I am thinking of buying from them too so I would like to know about any potential problems.

newshound
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Post by newshound » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:11 pm

bomb proof!
like the bronco
drain your pool!

andyroo
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Post by andyroo » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:28 pm

I'd quiety disagree- probably better to have tank in-hand then build support to fit. Gives better forum for design-mind (as my wife calls it). You can see all aspects and move forward most efficiently/effectively/creatively. With ours, it was originally built based on someone's waste-glass after another project. Base was built to measure based on the owner's height -he was a 6 and a half footer easy- and wanted to observe from standing. Works well for us though, as our balcony is lop-sided. Bless third-world builders :)

How thick is the glass?
I've been having a terrible time finding math for glass thickness for larger tanks. Hope to up-grade by 100% next year.

A
"I can eat 50 eggs !"

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crazy loaches
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Post by crazy loaches » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:15 pm

andyroo wrote:I'd quiety disagree- probably better to have tank in-hand then build support to fit. Gives better forum for design-mind (as my wife calls it). You can see all aspects and move forward most efficiently/effectively/creatively. With ours, it was originally built based on someone's waste-glass after another project. Base was built to measure based on the owner's height -he was a 6 and a half footer easy- and wanted to observe from standing. Works well for us though, as our balcony is lop-sided. Bless third-world builders :)

How thick is the glass?
I've been having a terrible time finding math for glass thickness for larger tanks. Hope to up-grade by 100% next year.

A
Yeah you do need to make sure to build the stand to match. But as long as you have exact dimensions shouldn't be a problem doing it ahead of time. The only problem with me is I have a crazy schedule and not often I can gather a few friends to help, so it would have been better in my situation to do it all the first time. No big deal though.

The tank is 1/2" glass which is the standard for 120g up to a few hundred gallons (not sure exactly). 3/4" thick was available but at additional costs obviously, and would have had to been custom built. If it was in a spot of a lot of traffic, 3/4" would be a little extra security. Acrylic would also be a good option. But when I started the project I was trying to keep it as cheap as possible, though I have deviated from that mentality along the way.

Mark in Vancouver
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Post by Mark in Vancouver » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:30 pm

I've never had a 120g going, but even the first time you fill a 65 or 70 gallon tank, it feels like a huge gamble. It's a lot of water to have in the middle of your home! Even when I'm refilling my 30 after a water change, there's a slight feeling of trepidation...

Great looking DIY stand, Tristan.
Your vantage point determines what you can see.

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crazy loaches
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Post by crazy loaches » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:12 pm

More stand pics:

Image
I didn't really take into consideration the overflows when I built the stand. Nothing major, but I needed to cut out a section for the plumbing and bulkheads. The piece isn't weight bearing really so no big deal.


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The whole thing built & disassembled to move inside. The front and back separate, the top comes off, and you can also see the plywood backing and the MDF I'll lay across the top.


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Most of the pieces in the house. Sorry its messy! I guess I was too excited to get the tank into the house... will have to clean up a bit.


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Getting it all put together.


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My son is rather excited that I built him a new playhouse.


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I just wasn't sure if 2 2x4's was going to be strong enough for the columns. Remember we're talking about over a ton of weight, probably around 2,500 lbs. I'd guess. I figured it would be easy to add a 3rd 2x4 to the front, spanning between the 2x6 base and 2x8 top. That would also turn the 2x6's and 2x8's into load bearing pieces.


Image
Since I was adding the extra piece after the fact, I cut each one so that it was a very tight fight so as to be useful for support. Now I basically have the equivalent of 8 4x6 columns. No worries now.


Image
Everything is in place, 3/4" foam will cushion the glass-bottom tank. I am actually going to cover up the frame with tongue and groove later. I just need to get the tank out of the garage to have the space to work on the finishing pieces.

Mark in Vancouver
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Post by Mark in Vancouver » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:51 pm

It will be handy if you ever need to park a bus on top of it. Great work.
Your vantage point determines what you can see.

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