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Old 03/02/2018, 09:41 AM   #1
PyroSteve
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Trashed 29 Gal./10 Gal. to Mini Reef & Sump

I’ve been wanting to set up a Mini reef tank for over a year now. I couldn’t decide on what size tank, rimless or not, AIO or sump, equipment, etc. Eventually I got analysis paralysis and did nothing, not to mention the price was more than I had anticipated. Then I came across this 29 & 10 gallon that needs some tlc and decided this will be my mini-reef project.

The stand is a little unstable and really dirty. The 29 is heavily water stained, has a chip in the top left corner along with cracked top trim. The 10 gallon is in pretty good shape.

The game plan is to refinish the stand (paint or stain will depend on how it looks after sanding) and add a few corner braces. The 29 gallon will need an overhaul. First is to clean it up and fill the chip (maybe cover it with some vinyl trim or something) to make it presentable. Next, I’m going reseal the tank and try and go rimless by removing the cracked trim and add some glass bracing. If it’s still in one piece at this point, I’ll push my luck and try my first attempt at drilling a tank (with the 10 gallon being used as the sump).

I’ve seen a few builds similar to this and they came out great and I hope this project can come out as nice. I’ll also try and keep track of what the project is costing since I’m on a budget of around $500 excluding livestock.

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Last edited by PyroSteve; 03/04/2018 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 03/02/2018, 08:59 PM   #2
Slowhandhatcher
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a few ideas, t5ho light or black box leds the ones with wifi app by evergrow are nice i use three on my 220 and jebao power heads with wave maker super affordable and super powerful. i used to use eshopps overflows on my 55, but if its not tempered glass drill an overflow its so much better if you don't have to worry about losing siphon.


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Old 03/03/2018, 10:35 PM   #3
PyroSteve
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Originally Posted by Slowhandhatcher View Post
a few ideas, t5ho light or black box leds the ones with wifi app by evergrow are nice i use three on my 220 and jebao power heads with wave maker super affordable and super powerful. i used to use eshopps overflows on my 55, but if its not tempered glass drill an overflow its so much better if you don't have to worry about losing siphon.
Thanks for the ideas. A Black Box Led & Jebao pump are on the radar. Definitely drilling the tank. I'm using DIY PVC overflows on FW tanks in the basement but I'm always concerned about a flood. Plus, I want to try it to see how hard/easy it is. If it goes well, I'm going to do it to the others too. Same reason I'm trying resealing this also. I've got a 55 that needs a reseal bad. This is my test subject. Otherwise I would've just bought a 29 when they're a buck a gallon.


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Old 03/03/2018, 10:48 PM   #4
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Cleaned the tank with Bar Keepers Friend to get most of the hard water stains out. Removed the broken top trim and started removal of the old silicone. The tank still has the manufacturer sticker - All-Glass 1989 - A 29 year old 29 Gallon! It definitely needs a reseal!

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Glass is etched a bit but hoping it will disappear with some water. All ready for the new silicone. Just waiting on the delivery. Should be here Monday

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Old 03/04/2018, 03:42 PM   #5
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On to the stand. Upon further review, I decided that to paint the stand. Itís had a rough life. Too many dents, dings scratches and chunks missing to go nuts with the refinish. Quick sand with 120 and 2 coats of black oil-based will have to do.

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Old 03/04/2018, 05:47 PM   #6
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Interesting. I will be interested to see how everything goes. For the cost of a tank, I personally would buy new, but I understand that isn't in everyones budget. Keep the updates rolling!


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Old 03/07/2018, 06:39 PM   #7
PyroSteve
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Interesting. I will be interested to see how everything goes. For the cost of a tank, I personally would buy new, but I understand that isn't in everyones budget. Keep the updates rolling!
Yeah 29 gallons are cheap enough and I could end up getting one if this goes south and leaks or breaks when drilling but my goal is to get the rimless look (like those nice Deep Blue tanks) with nothing hanging on the back. Today I did the reseal in black.

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All cleaned up and touched up. Looks a whole lot better than when I brought it home last week! Hope to water test this weekend.

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Old 03/08/2018, 03:50 PM   #8
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So I have some down time while the silicone cures. Trying to rockscape and everything looks like just a pile of rocks. I came up with this...

0307181341a resized

The tanks is high so I built it up. Does this not look natural? Opinions?

Also it has algea from my FW tank it was in. What would be best to get rid of it, vinegar or bleach bath?


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Old 03/10/2018, 06:45 PM   #9
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After doing some searches it seems that the consensus is a 29 Gallon is too tall to convert to rimless without some bracing. I came across one thread where someone had a corner seam give out. Not good. So instead of just some small triangle on the corners I used this busted glass lid to add some support.

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Not the same effect of full rimless but I can live with it.

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Pretty much finished with the tank and stand. The cleaning, resealing, paint, and misc supplies cost about $40 (I even splurged on new hardware for the stand! ).

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Next up the plumbing


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Old 03/12/2018, 07:27 PM   #10
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That is looking real nice! Keep up the good work. Personally I think there is satisfaction in reclaiming something that needs some TLC. Good luck with drilling it.


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Old 03/13/2018, 10:24 PM   #11
PyroSteve
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Thanks! I can't let anything get thrown out! It's a sickness really. It's has been a fun build so far. I do have a concern about one of the tank seams which I posted in the another section of the forum. I'm hoping it's not a problem and don't have to trash the tank. For now I'll keep moving forward.

I did a water test and no leaks! It looks like the braces are good. There is a slight bow of about 1/16" which I have read is not unusual for 30-36" tank. I may add another center brace just in case.

0311181644 HDR resized 1

I didn't get the hole saw or bulkheads yet but started to mock up the plumbing. I had some fittings and pipe and, after a quick run to lowes, was able to finish up what I wanted to do. 1-1" overflow, 1-1" emergency overflow, 3/4" to 1/2" manifold with 3 ports and dual 3/4" returns.


cha-ching another $20

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Last edited by PyroSteve; 03/13/2018 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 03/14/2018, 04:21 AM   #12
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Just a suggestion, but if your going to drill the tank for the overflow, why not also drill it for the returns?

IMO and it's purely and IMO, I hate the way over the top returns look on a rimless tank, specially when the overflows are drilled in.

Looking good otherwise. Love that you repurposed the tank and stand instead of just going out and buying new. Elbow grease is a lost concept these days.


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Old 03/14/2018, 09:37 PM   #13
PyroSteve
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I've been going back and forth with the returns. I don't like that look either but I was thinking it would be easier if I needed to disassemble it. I could just lift the entire return off from the top. I did just order a 1 1/2 hole saw and the 3/4" bulkheads tho

I was going to buy a skimmer but I found this thing in my tub O' aquarium junk. We had a love/hate relationship way back. It'll probably work as good as anything else for this size.

0311181604 resized


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Old 04/11/2018, 08:54 PM   #14
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Finally got some time to work on my budget reef build. Most of the equipment has arrived and I was able to drill the tank and mock up the final plumbing and return pump. Confidence was not high when I broke a couple pieces of scrap glass drilling first to make a template but I just needed to get the feel for it. I was just drilling too fast. I bought the cheap (surprise!!) hole saws from amazon and they were slightly off balance so I had to drill tediously slow, but eventually SUCCESS!!

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Bulkheads, hole saws, elbows, strainer (plus overflow box) - $70

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Now I just have to tear it all apart and build my black box LED light mount.....


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Old 04/12/2018, 09:44 PM   #15
PyroSteve
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Mounting the black box LED to the ceiling was not an option nor was drilling into the wall, so my only option was to mount it to the stand. I was looking at the 80/20.com materials but I couldn’t justify spending more on a piece of square tube aluminum, a couple of brackets and shipping, than the cost of the LED light itself. So I went off to the big box hardware stores and came back with this...

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2”x2” x 72” aluminum fence end post (black powder coated) from Lowes, 2” & 3” black corner braces, some large washers and a bag of screws & nuts from Home Depot. I used a hacksaw and cut two pieces and drilled some holes for the screws to connect to the LED.

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I didn’t want to drill holes in the LED anywhere they could be seen so I mounted it to the side and used the screws, large washers (3/16” x 1 1/4”), nuts and the 3” brackets.

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The nice thing about the end fence post is it has holes on one side to run the wire to hide it.


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And the finished product!

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It’s starting to look like a reef tank....

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Evergrow LED Black Box and DIY mount - $135



Last edited by PyroSteve; 04/12/2018 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 04/18/2018, 06:30 AM   #16
rum_pride
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Awesome build. Everything is looking really nice. I’ll definitely be following along


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Old 04/23/2018, 09:39 PM   #17
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Thanks RP! Itís taking longer than I thought. I got to put the sump together this weekend. I got tried of messing with the Sea Clone and MP1200 and ordered the K2-50 skimmer from Premium Aquatics. Great service from them BTW. I heard good things about this skimmer and it has the perfect footprint for a 10g. I also had a Phosban 150 Media Reactor to add to it....

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The 10 gallon is REALLY small for 3 section sump. I wanted a refugium and ordered a nice pre-made 10 gallon kit but water level was 6Ē and the K2-50ís sweet spot is between 7-8.5Ē water height. So now I had to do what I didnít want to do, and modify the kit....

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Chambers set-up refuge-skimmer-return....9Ē-8Ē-7Ē right to left...

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So hereís the completed sump including a DSC4000 return pump. Itís a tight fit!

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with return pump, skimmer, reactor, Acrylic baffles with 4Ē sock kit (not in pic) = $275 Already over budget @ $535 and still need a heater, wavemaker & ATO (plus another purchase is on the way!) but having fun and learning so itís all good.

One of the things Iíve learned is building a small tank is just as much work as a big tank!


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Old 04/24/2018, 01:58 AM   #18
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Wow that is tight. I have a waveline DC Pump and I know it's roughly the same size(about like a soda can).

One thing I see might become an issue. With the skimmer in the section next to the return, you might end up with quite a few bubbles spilling over and getting sucked up in the pump. It will either cause cavitation in the pump(ruining the pump), or quite a few bubbles in the DT.

Why not the first section?


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80G SCA Build: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2560256

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Old 04/24/2018, 02:00 AM   #19
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Also if those baffles are acrylic or plastic? Hopefully you left about a 1/4" gap between the baffle and glass? Acrylic swells when wet, and if the baffles are tight to the glass, it will crack the glass.


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80G SCA Build: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2560256

Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

"He's just taking his lunch to work"
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Old 04/24/2018, 05:53 AM   #20
rum_pride
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This is an awesome build thread. Iím definitely a fan of refurbishing an old tank. Everything is looking really good. Best of luck with the rest of the project. Iíll definitely be tagging along to watch your progress.


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Old 04/24/2018, 07:45 AM   #21
PyroSteve
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Also if those baffles are acrylic or plastic? Hopefully you left about a 1/4" gap between the baffle and glass? Acrylic swells when wet, and if the baffles are tight to the glass, it will crack the glass.
Hmm... I didn't know that. There are quite a few people selling these acrylic sumps kits (OceanBox Designs, Modular Marine, Jax Racks etc.) pre-cut for Aqueon glass aquariums. These were snug and no way 1/4" gap. In fact they said if making a custom set, they would need to know the aquarium I.D. within a 1/32"? I did google them and couldn't find any issues on any of the reef forums. I know they have sold hundreds of them so you figure word would get out right? The biggest problem for acrylic baffles I read was to make sure they're at least 1/4" so not to bow and use the correct sealant for plastics (which I did). I guess I have to decide if I want to use this or rebuild it with glass.


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Old 04/24/2018, 07:53 AM   #22
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Plenty of thread about acrylic baffles breaking glass sumps, just do an RC search.


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80G SCA Build: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2560256

Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

"He's just taking his lunch to work"
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Old 04/24/2018, 11:49 AM   #23
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I see what you mean. Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to email the manufacturer and get their thoughts. I'm hoping they know the tolerances of their products. I have another 10 gallon so a redo might be worth doing.


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Old 04/24/2018, 12:21 PM   #24
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Just glad I could save you the headache of a broken sump. As long as there is space between the glass and acrylic, it should be fine. If not you know what will happen.

Emailing the manufacturer for their tolerances would be a good plan.


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80G SCA Build: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2560256

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Old 04/24/2018, 12:23 PM   #25
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Lately I seem to be the bearer of bad news in build threads......


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80G SCA Build: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2560256

Originally posted by der_wille_zur_macht:

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