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Old 01/29/2017, 08:08 PM   #1
benbarfield
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My First Tank and Build Process

I'm 30 years old and have never had a fish tank before. I've decided it's time to check this off my list. I am completely new to the hobby and have been reading as much as I can about reef keeping based on suggestions for other successful reefers. I'd love to hear any input, comments, and suggestions on how to make this a successful reef tank.

I am planning on doing a mixed reef tank and have yet to decide on the exact size tank to do. I have narrowed down my choice to a 60x24x18 or a 72x24x18. I will post photos of the build process as I go...

I decided on placing the tank in my basement. Unfortunately I do not have space to make a tank room so I am doing a faux cabinet built-in tank. I have a section of my "man cave" that is unused space. The wall is roughly 8 feet long and 8 feet tall.



I started by cleaning the space and painting the wall with an outdoor oil based paint. I didn't think it through, since I painted in the middle of winter in Colorado. The smell was incredibly strong so I had to open the windows. It was really cold down there for the rest of the day. While I waited for the wall to dry I started working on the base frame for the tank.



I cut out the section of carpet and padding on the floor and put down a rubber liner. I also decided to take off the baseboard for allow for a tighter fit against the wall. Then I remember they do floating walls in Colorado basements so now I have a gap I needed to address. I also had an electrician come switch the outlet to a double recepticle GFCI. I've been shocked too many times to try this myself.



I used 2x6 and 2x4s to start building the frame for the tank. I also painted the wood with the same oil based paint. I got smart and left if outside to dry. Well, I thought I was smart. The beauty of Colorado are those freak snow storms that come in overnight. I woke up to a snow covered frame. After the snow melted and I let it dry out I painted the top of the frame.



Time for a test fitting. My beautiful and strong wife helped me carry the frame down to it's soon to be final resting place.



I surprised myself with this...






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Old 01/29/2017, 08:09 PM   #2
benbarfield
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To address the gap in the wall I decided to use a pond liner. I cut a piece to cover the gap and go underneath the tank frame. I them used a second piece of pond liner to wrap the bottom of the frame to ensure no water leaks out into the carpet. (At least that is my plan... fingers crossed)





Apparently my wife is sneaky with my phone. This is me securing the frame legs to the frame top.



I finished my bar in my basement last year and am planning on matching the cabinets of the bar on the tank as well. I will do a shell to go around the bottom of the frame and will put shelving up each side of the tank. I am planning on making another frame about the tank and creating another cabinet shell to hide my lighting and access above the tank.



That's where we stand today. More progress shots to come...


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Old 02/08/2017, 08:50 AM   #3
benbarfield
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I've moved this thread build to the tank build thread section. Titled Barfield Tank Build. Thanks


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Old 02/08/2017, 08:59 PM   #4
benbarfield
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Tank Arrived from an unlikely source

For some reason the thread is not showing up on the Build Thread Section so I will just continue it here...

I found a neighbor that wanted to get rid of their aquarium supplies due to travel. I got a 72"x18"x22" glass tank and "some other supplies" from them. It's late but so far I have found:

(2) 36-48 Inch Current USA Orbit Marine LED Aquarium Lights
Aqua Medic aCone EVO 1.0 Electronic Controlled Protein Skimmer
Aqua Medic DC Runner Controllable Pump
Eshopps R-200 Refugium

Here are some pictures of unloading the tank from my truck, hiding in the garage until I can clean it up, and all the other parts that came with the tank. Can't wait to sort everything out and to get some vinegar and start cleaning everything out...







Today was going through all the equipment and figuring out what works and what exactly I have. It was also tank-cleaning day. I soaked the powerheads in a vinegar water solution for a little while and started scrubbing off the old algae and calcium buildup. I did the same with the protein skimmer. I used a toothbrush to scrub everything clean and the vinegar solution worked like a charm.







While everything was soaking I started to spray the tank with the vinegar water solution and started scrubbing.



Finally the tank is scrubbed clean and sitting out to dry. Hopefully I will get the tank inside tomorrow so I can do some parts shopping and start plumbing this weekend. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.



The plan for this weekend is to drill the holes for plumbing and get the tank on the stand…


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Old 02/09/2017, 03:53 PM   #5
Reefgirl89
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Wow, you've put a lot of work into this tank set up! Can't wait to see the finished product.


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Old 02/09/2017, 04:10 PM   #6
Mikee002
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Looking good so far... Following along.


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Old 02/10/2017, 10:04 PM   #7
benbarfield
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New Stand Top

I had a moment of panic and decided the particleboard for the top of the stand was a dumb move. I’d be just asking for trouble if/when it got wet. I’ve had a couple of long days at work and have been unable to work on the tank. My wonderful wife went to Home Depot and picked up a piece of plywood for the new tank stand top. Not only did she pick it up, but when I got home tonight the top and bottom was painted. She earned major wife points. I wonder what she wants…




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Old 02/11/2017, 03:27 AM   #8
steve1981
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My First Tank and Build Process

Looking awesome dude. Lovely home too.


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Old 02/12/2017, 09:51 AM   #9
benbarfield
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Next steps are to install 2 new circuit breaker lines to supply the tank and add a new exhaust ventilation line from above the tank. Adding two new lines to ensure if power is tripped the tank will still have power from the other line. I will then install a humidity controlled exhaust fan. Lets hope the wife doesn't get too mad about some "minor" demo to the drywall and side of the house. Going on vacation for a bit so hopefully getting this done soon...


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Old 02/13/2017, 11:54 AM   #10
Malign Reefer
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Looking good, keep it up.


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Old 02/13/2017, 05:35 PM   #11
enveetie
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if all of that is your approach to your first tank, and im assuming to many other things in life, you're going to be just fine. i can tell you appreciate the details, which will make all the difference.


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Old 03/05/2017, 12:14 PM   #12
benbarfield
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It's D-Day...

Demolition Day. I started off by taping off the rest of the basement so no dust or drywall would get into the electronics and bar area.



This is the utility room where I will be running the ventilation and water lines to the tank. I plan on cutting a new exhaust vent to the outside for the tank within this room.



Then I realized it would probably be easier to just create a “sterile room” where the cutting would be taking place. Let’s call it a moment of clarity…



This picture shows where the access point for electrical and ventilation will be above the tank. I plan on using conduit for the electrical because it will be behind the cabinet built-ins around the tank and honestly will be easier to install. The ventilation fan will be installed and I the second photo shows where the air intake will be above the tank. This allows for a constant movement of air throughout the built-ins and will prevent humidity from ruining my house. At least that’s the plan. Ok, lunch break is over and back to work…






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Old 03/05/2017, 01:38 PM   #13
skiingfast
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Is your fuse box in the utility room or are you pulling wires across the house?


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Old 03/05/2017, 04:55 PM   #14
benbarfield
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No. The fuse box is on the side of the house. I am installing 2 breakers and 4 circuits to ensure that if something gets tripped not everything will stop working. Probably overkill but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I am going to run the wire from the box into the utility room and from the utility room I am running the wire through the drop down ceiling next to the new exhaust ventilation. I am also running my ethernet cable through there as well. I will post pictures as I do it. Probably on Tuesday I am going to try and knock out the wiring. I got indoor/outdoor PVC conduits that will house the wiring. My water lines will also run through the dropdown ceiling from the utility room to the tank.


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Old 03/05/2017, 06:09 PM   #15
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Old 03/07/2017, 10:30 PM   #16
benbarfield
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more progress...

We’re making some progress. Slow but steady. Started off by getting ductwork sealed with Duct Sealant Paint as seen below.



It took about 2 hours to dry. Now the war was about to start and I didn’t even see if coming. I slid the first vent tubing into the ceiling from the utility room through the access hole I made in the drop down ceiling. I attempted to use self-tapping metal screws to secure it to the next section of ductwork. The photo below shows the duct sealant I used to connect the sections. The second photo is the view from the access point into the drop down ceiling above the fish tank stand. On the left side you can see the ventilation tubing that is starting to turn the wrong direction. The gray pipe on the left side is going to house the electrical lines to supply the tank.





This was the point that the tubing was hitting the recessed light. I tried bending the pipe from each end, using a broom handle to try and wedge the pipe over the light housing and finally the screws stripped out and the middle section of duct work was now free in the ceiling. I pulled the other section of duct from the utility room and spent the next 2 hours trying to get the free section of ductwork out. I finally had to make my access point above the tank larger. I cut a larger hole and was able to get the duct pipe out from the ceiling. At this point it was back to the drawing boards for the exhaust ventilation. The photos below show the once stuck duct piece, the larger ceiling access point, and my battle wound (I should have read the caution sharp sticker on the side of the ductwork)…







I decided to take a break from metal and move on to plumbing, electrical, and woodworking. Next I started setting up my water access to where my RODI unit will be in the utility room. I still need to tap into my house water line and run a new piping to the fitting. The second photo is of the ceiling access point in the ceiling where I ran PVC lines to house the water lines to the tank. The bent gray PVC line is going to house the water line tubing.





While the water line piping dried, I moved on to the electrical lines. Along the side of the water line PVC, I added another PVC line to house electrical. A 2x6 was installed and secured to the framing studs behind the drywall. The ceiling access point was trimmed with 2x6 as well and will serve as an access point and house the exhaust ventilation fan.






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Old 03/07/2017, 10:31 PM   #17
benbarfield
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even more progress...

Last thing I did today was access the waste line. The first photo shows the waste line access point under the tank stand. The second photo shows the new trap that will be connected to the current waste line in the wall. My protein skimmer and drain line will enter the new trap through the top screw part. In the third photo you can see the new trap under the tank stand. I will get a better picture of it in the next update.







I just finished my parts/components list for the tank and will be ordering this week. I am going to tackle the ventilation again later this week. New plan is to predrill the self tapping screws and then use a 90 degree angle screwdriver to secure each section of ducting as I try and wedge it through the ceiling. If that works then I can apply the duct sealant all over the connecting seems. Thanks for following along and look forward to any comments, thoughts, and suggestions you may have for me…


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Old 03/08/2017, 08:50 AM   #18
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Coming along very well.


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Old 03/08/2017, 09:02 AM   #19
Oeste
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Looking good!


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Old 03/08/2017, 09:33 AM   #20
hartin461
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Following along...Good looking work


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Old 03/08/2017, 04:01 PM   #21
skiingfast
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It's looking great.

I once got cut from duct just like that. Ouch.


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Old 03/08/2017, 04:16 PM   #22
abrooks12376
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Nice build! you're doing it right for sure!


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Old 03/11/2017, 02:34 PM   #23
benbarfield
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And it’s back to tackling duct installation. I finally conceded. The 5 foot sections I could not get connected and into the ceiling. I found some 6” diameter 3 foot sections of metal ducting and put those in place. I connected the tubes and labeled them to ensure correct fitting. I predrilled holes into the ducts so I could easily screw in the self-tapping screws once my space was limited in the utility room and in the ceiling. Next was to seal the long seal with duct sealant paint as seen in the picture below.



While the sealant paint was drying we made a Home Depot run for thread sealing tape. Why you ask, well… I came down this morning and there was standing pee water below the tank. The small plug on the new overflow piping was not threaded right when screwed on and apparently had been slowly leaking for 2 days since I last worked on the tank. After a shop vac, roll of paper towels, Lysol wipes, and feeling very happy about the pond liner I placed below the stand, the leak was cleaned up. I put a cup below the plug while we went to Home Depot.



Just to make sure the sealant had enough time to dry while we were gone we made a pupperchino stop. The dogs love Starbucks…



Once home, the thread tape was installed and I tested the piping for leaks. Nothing leaked, so I will check it again throughout the day and tomorrow.

Once the first duct was in place I connected the second duct to it and sealed the seams with duct tape and then covered the tape and sealed edges with duct sealant paint as seen in the picture below.



I went from the utility room to the access point cut in the ceiling above the tank to ensure the ducting was sliding past the recessed ceiling lights. My wife was documenting while I worked.



Ducting is almost done. I need to add the corner piece and extend it through the rest of the utility room and out the side of the house. Probably next weekend I will drill the exit hole in the side of the house. Next will be running water lines and electrical and drilling holes in the stand top for plumbing the tank. I am placing the parts order this weekend so hopefully nothing is backordered and I am get this tank up and running in the next few weeks.



now it’s time for a beer, cheers…


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Old 03/11/2017, 02:54 PM   #24
Diana A
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It is coming along nicely!


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Current Tank Info: 60g SPS started May 2014 bare bottom.
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Old 03/11/2017, 04:13 PM   #25
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Looking amazing staying tuned


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