Mike's Last Build

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by sfsuphysics, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    What's the other part? That acrylic additive it talks about in the kit? I think I can pick that up at home depot or someplace, you add it to mortar.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  2. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    Yeah I think white cap has it.
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Cool, I'll let you know when I need the stuff.
  4. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well today turned a 6 foot acrylic tank into a 4 foot acrylic tank. Still need to clean up the edges a bit, put in baffles, and a top, but I'm waiting until the solvent cures overnight and I'll give it a water test tomorrow to make sure it doesn't leak before putting any additional effort into it.
  5. Jeff Rehling

    Jeff Rehling Supporting Member

    I have some of the additive if you want to come to Bernal to get it.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Sure I'll shoot you a PM when I have some time
  7. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    Or you could bring it to me since you want to pick up a coral, I need the acryl stuff too, and mike needs the emaco from me anyway...?
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Ok, if you pick up a coral, then sure bring it to Mike and we'll Mike together later :D
  9. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    March... the month of birthdays. So my kid was born in March, and a lot of mommy friends my wife met at various Kaiser baby classes/sessions also have March (or there abouts) babies all around the same age, so that means lots of birthday parties... every... freaking... weekend.

    Anyways, more or less finished my sump. This was a work of love, and by work of love I mean I love not having to spend much money, which is exactly what happened here. This was an old acrylic 100g tank that was 72x18x18, there's a story here but I'll save that for another post... maybe, needless to say it had the top chopped off some time ago, and has been inside my greenhouse and outside on the deck for the better part of at least a few years. Now over time acrylic tanks tend to bow out regardless of bracing and these bows permanent warp the acyrlic... so that said.

    Step 1: Chop it down from 72" to about 48" to fit under my tank. The end piece is what I used because it actually was originally inside the back/front/bottom panel so great. Required some very careful trimming of that end piece, and even so I kind of had to force said mentioned bow flat gluing one side at a time, strange enough I actually got a fairly good fit so weldon 4 worked great and is WAY stronger than 16. However to add a little extra strength, tap plastics sells 1/2" "triangle" rods, they're 90° and are made to reinforce corners, so for like $6.25 for a 6' long section, I used piece of those to reinforce the ends... and oh boy that was messy ontop of messy... but whatever, I tested it for water tight, and it held water, so corner pieces are to strengthen anyways not to make water tight.

    Step 2: that extra 2 feet of front/back/sides... well those are going to be my baffles. Remember when I mentioned permanently warp... yeah... that goes for those baffles I created, as well as the sides of the tank that I had to glue them into. Do note it is practically impossible to do a really good glue job with the liquid Weldon on 3 sides when you slide the piece in between those sides, normally you'll do one side at a time and just build around the piece. Well there's some gaps... so I had to use the 16... but some gaps were a little too big, so I had to jam a piece on as a support. Oh yeah I not having a router table makes this a bit difficult as I used the one original end of the tank as a "jig" to square off my pieces, and while I did ok on it... I could tell after the fact that was a mistake to do. Oh yeah those joints are ugly as all sin.

    Step 3: Water test again to see if each baffled area holds water. I know the whole thing holds water, now I just care that each section will at the very worst have a minor leak.

    So here it is... don't judge :D

    So for a grand total of $6.25 I got me a sump... ok a little more because the Weldon was at no point free, but whatever. The point behind this build was
    1) I wanted to get something on the tank QUICKLY, water is already in with rock and cycling, no plumbing setup because no sump yet, with sump in I can plumb it and hopefully fill the whole sucker up to cycle every part of the tank.
    2) I did think about ordering acrylic cut to the sizes I need (or at least in the major dimensions) and to glue it all together, this was a test trial to see if I had the skillset to do it. And I think after this I definitely have a vote of confidence with a pretty firm maybe. Considering all the warped and out of square parts of what it started with, the fact it holds water, great, the fact I put in baffles, awesome, and more importantly it gives me an idea of what I really want in a sump and what needs to be done.
    3) So at some point this will be replaced, but whether I find a used one that fits my needs perfectly, or order acrylic and really take my time with it, this ensures that my tank is operation and it doesn't just sit there waiting for one aspect to get done.

    Ultimately I wanted a sump that was "Triton compatible" which basically means 10% of your tank volume for refugium space, which is what I did in the first chamber on the right the reason why I used black acrylic there for the baffle too. However after doing some calculation of the "empty" space in the tank, I cut back on that idea, made the baffle a bit lower, the most important part of the sump... no overflowing if power goes out. So like I said this is just something to get the tank up and running, leaving extra space is most definitely a necessity though. I haven't calculated how much space is in the refugium area but I think it's a bit less than 10%.

    Skimmer section had to be big enough to handle the skimmer I have, ATI Bubble Master 250, which has a rather large base, external pump, and I wanted a little extra room for things like heaters as well.

    Finally the return pump area I wanted to be big enough to hold enough water so I didn't have to rely on an ATO too much, I will have one, I just don't want to have to do daily fill ups if possible. I did put in a baffle to deal with bubbles, which is not something I ever had a sump, and never had an issue with microbubbles in the display either, but either way like I said this is a test bed sump.

    I was going to put a brace on the entire thing, cut out holes, make some polycarbonate lids and what not, but... that's an expense I really didn't want to put on a temporary setup. The baffles are more than strong enough to keep it from bowing too badly, so it'll have to do for now, and lipstick on a pig would definitely be the call if I did.

    One thing I'm thinking of putting it, and that's a bubble trap chamber for the return, just something simple to keep any bubbles going from the overflow confined and let them spatter and spit inside a box instead of the inside of the stand. I can put that together really easily though.

    I also thought about buffing out the acrylic to make it a bit prettier... but again, the time and effort into doing what will essentially be tossed when I get a new sump, is not something I care about. I will say quite a few of the scratches become a bit less noticeable when filled with water, which is not to say they disappear, they simply don't make the acrylic look as frosty as it seems.

    There's the adjustable skimmer baffle area. It is a feature a lot of sumps have nowadays, so wanted to see how how easy it was to make, and it's not terribly hard. The hard thing is finding something @#$! square so I can rip a grove that's perfectly vertical! Either way it still works. I manage to get the clear side to be flat with the baffles, so that's a fairly good glue job, it's the back side which was all sorts of trouble... but it's black so mistakes blend it easier there. Oh unfortunately I misplaced my fricking screws/washers/nuts for the baffle. Put them all in a bag, and put the bag... somewhere, unfortunately don't know where that somewhere is.

    See at one point I had them! Oh well, luckily the moveable baffle can be put in later, and I promise I'll be cleaning up the area (I know some of you are judging what you see in the background of the pictures!).

    So here is one of said learning points in this project, these two baffles.
    First I put in the bubble trap baffle, which in hindsight, there's plenty of room to work with on the other side I should have done that second, because the skimmer baffle actually holds back water, the bubble trap baffle just diverts the water and hopefully allows bubbles to rise rather than go through the system.

    Second, here comes the "permanent warp" part to bite me in the ass again. I made the baffle square with the sides but I forgot to make it square with the bottom, and this is only something I noticed the next day after all the solvent/glue was set. the top part is about a quarter inch closer to the end than the bottom part. But whatever again this baffle diverts water it doesn't hold it back. However I was using some wood as a spacer for the skimmer baffle, I glued it up, and after a couple minutes noticed it looked very crooked... and realized it was crooked because I used the crooked baffle as a point of reference for the spacers, unfortunately it was weldon 4 that was used, so it doesn't take long to set, luckily I was JUST within the window that it was still a bit gummy and managed to yank it out and reposition it. So that baffle is straight, however there's a permanent "goop" mark on the acrylic showing the mistake

    Lastly, I drew some lines on the acrylic to let me know where I wanted the baffles, which was great. Super easy to do, and totally easy to rub off after all is done... that is unless you actually glue the piece ON TOP of the lines you drew... so yeah, as good as the seam may be, there are marks all inside it :D :D :D :D... whatever as long as it works I don't care if it looks like chit!

    It was at this point that I was envious of all the people out there who have CNC machines who do this for a living. Nice perfectly square cuts that I can do pretty well myself with a trim router but only if I have a reference that is also straight to start with :D

    Welp, tomorrow I'll fill it with water and hopefully the baffles don't blow out.
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Tiny leak on the black baffle, could probably live with it, but I'll smoosh some #16 along the seam just to seal it off. Ironically it was the seam that I thought was flat with #4 doing the job, oh well, ugly is the new pretty right?
  11. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Beware that marinland tank
    I am currently dealing with a second leaker from them

    If it’s not too late I recommend you find another tank brand

    I’m sorry to inform you of this news
    But I would ran from a marinland tank
  12. rygh

    rygh BOD

    I would do more than that. Leaky seems can be hard to plug.
    When I make DIY goofs like that, I cut a small 1/4 x 1/4 strip of acrylic, and weld that into the corner.
    Makes joint really strong, and seriously stops leaks.
    Vincerama2 and ashburn2k like this.
  13. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Supporting Member

    Leaking baffles are not a huge deal though, are they? Unless they make the whole baffle fall off. I think smooshed #16 would work.

  14. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Did that for obvious gaps, ones where I could slide a piece of paper between the seam, for ones where I can't it's simply a filet weld (yeah I know Weldon 16 is kind of horrible at doing that but whatever it's all internal).

    Erin, I'm well aware of the Marineland risk. Unfortunately there's no plan B for this tank. And I put too much into this build/stand/etc right now to change my course, the stand fits a 4x3 footprint and there aren't other manufactures that do that size unless you go custom and to be honest I can't justify the cost of custom pricing.. If it ends up leaking I will curse and scream and deal with it if it comes. When I said Mike's Last Build, I pretty much meant it... well sorta, there will be 40g breeder tank that houses my anemones, so obviously I'll just downsize a TON, and if I win the lottery ... but then technically it won't be my build I'll pay someone to build it for me so I don't have to deal with all the back aches of making everything work :D
    Kensington Reefer likes this.
  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Ok, plumbing done* (* still need return pipes, but that pump is currently in use... will swap it out when water gets taller)

    Was tempted to go with fancy colored PVC, but then after thinking for a while I really didn't have a particular color theme I wanted with this tank other than black and white, and I'm not paying a premium for white PVC, and black PVC... I mean it came to not wanting to wait for shipping, and it probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 times as much so whatever, white with red writing it is... if I REALLY get annoyed with it, I can put up some plastic tarp and just spray it with Krylon Fusion, but form follows function
    If you're wondering why one tapers down, it's because 1) it's the full siphon drain, and I don't know if I'll push enough water to get a proper one with 1.5" (or more to the point if it'll restart), and 2) the reason I didn't put the reducer at the bulkhead ... because the bulkhead is more expensive piece here, and like this I can still cut the pipe off if there are any "whoops" issues.

    So this is going to be a bean overflow setup, the main drain is a full siphon with adjustable gate valve this is 1" pipe through most of it, the secondary drain is full 1.5" and should be more than sufficient for handling whatever the siphon doesn't get should trickle into that so won't be a lot of high velocity gurlging, and the last pipe (one on the far left) is the emergency in case the other two fail.

    And here we have flow! Just some tap water going through the pipes now and returning right back to the external overflow box to test everything out for leaks and to rid that layer of PVC cement scum, I'll clean out sump later.
    Repurpose of an external overflow box, basically a bubble trap stop to prevent spritzing inside the stand, even though I did put a lining of white plastic inside to deal with it, that is more for spills. There's my black and white theme! :D

    And here's the emergency pipe, dumps directly into the return pump chamber and high enough that it will make bubbles that get pushed to the main tank to tell me something is wrong to give me a visual cue that something is wrong... I'm sure I could put an Apex flow meter on the pipe that sends me a text if the pipe has water flowing through it... but nah I'll go old school :D.[​IMG]
    Apparently what I used was Polywall, ok there's my plastic of choice, I'll cut out around the inside opening at a later date.

    Still need to build a support for the pipes on the back of the stand, but I need to throw in a trim piece along the bottom of the tank first, but the pipes are supported on a lip where they enter the stand, and I kind of had to support the emergency pipe since there was a good torque on it because nothing is supporting it like the other two pipes.

    So ok, this was not the most thrilling of updates, but spring break is coming up for me in a week, so hopefully I can finally finish everything up to make it a running tank, then I can work on stuff outside and around the tank. Just want to get fish in it already! Still need to build my rock structures too, I'll bug Mike and see if he has any Emarco to spare, or I can just order some and it'll be here sometime next week as well.

    But the most important thing was accomplished with this... none of the pipes have leaks!
  16. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    hoping for the best
    stay dry!
  17. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well if it does leak, lets hope it leaks out the back into the fish room that has a floor drain and is water proof :D
  18. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    I have plenty of emaco, don’t have the other additive part tho
  19. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I thought Jeff was going to drop it off?

    Oh well, he did mention something about visiting him to pick it up, either way I can do that.
  20. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    He asked for a dbtc coral, and said he would pick it up. Hasn’t happened

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