new tank plans, help me plan it

Discussion in 'DIY' started by HiFidelity, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi Mark, picked up a pocket hole jig for $15 which was essential in my opinion so my screws can be recessed & sealed in that way they can never rust.

    What I will use your generous help for is perfect cuts, I don't own a saw and a decent one would eat a good chunk out of my build budget.


    I have a controller now, something I've never used before haha
    RO/DI setup is put together with 12g holding tank

    Was holding off on BRS order because they're out of stock on a part I need but I found an alternate route so I'm finally going to order my blukheads, street L's etc... but I need to get started on the carpentry work as well.

    I started staring at my empty glass tank I have which is 35"x18"x18" this was the tank I was initially intending to use, I started wondering if somehow I could use it with the stand I already have but it would require even more work adding support to the back to accommodate for the additional 3" of depth. Building a new stand from scratch would be ideal which is too daunting of an idea right now considering everything else....

    aaaah the choices :mad:
    neuro likes this.
  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Sure. PM me for when you might stop by. I have Sunday pretty free.
    HiFidelity likes this.
  3. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Haven't picked up lumber yet, I'll let you know once I have the supplies
  4. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    So I have gotten myself in an options predicament, here it goes...

    The Predicament comes in the form of how much work is too much to make it worth it? aside from drilling & plumbing etc. (which I can't gripe about since I have to do it on any other tank anyway) the part I'm not completely loving is the fact that I have to raise the height of the stand, about 5-6" to be exact, which entails some carpentry and such #rygh (Mark) (anyone tell me how to tag members?) has been so kind and offered me help with this part.

    My question now is whether or not this is all worth the work? I have an awesome 50ish Gal 18.5D x 19H x 34.5L custom built tank that was made out of 3/8" glass. and I'm wondering if I'm better off not bothering with patching a short stand to make it taller and instead build a whole new stand from scratch, one that actually has the right height etc. & call it a day.

    So in a nutshell these are the options I'm confused over;

    A. Keep working with the acrylic tank, extend the height of stand by 6" and refinish as well as drilling & plumbing. 15D x 20H x 36L

    B. Drill the glass tank & have new stand built from scratch. 18.5D x 19H x 34.5L

    Clearly the glass tank has better dimensions (shorter & deeper) my only predicament is not having the ability to build a stand atm due to lack of time & tools, which brings me to wonder if someone can build it for me? I have no idea what that might cost either!! so that introduces some additional pros/cons cons to either option;

    A. I can modify & raise the stand myself w/ the help of Mark (pro)

    B. I have to outsource a stand build (con)

    To make matters worse me & my fiance earlier today decided that the new tank is going into a whole other room where I have to worry more about how the stand looks against the furniture & color scheme; this is the family room that we already remodeled and furnished.
    Also the whole time I've been considering this acrylic tank & now I've worked up quite the curiosity about the look of acrylic, I read & heard a lot about colors being slightly more vivid through acrylic and being a photographer I can't help but wonder how much more? and how much more would I possibly prefer that.... umm yeah, so I'm pretty confused now
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  5. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    So many options/considerations! I'm confused too! :)

    If you have the stand built it might cost more than both tanks. How fancy does it need to be? A simple 2x4 stand skinned with plywood (lots of wood options to match/contrast with decor) would be easy to build. Since I have no idea how much skill/time/tools you and Mark have, it's a thing you have to figure out.

    As to glass vs. acrylic, I really, really like acrylic. It has NO color of it's own. It's refractive index is similar to water so there is less distortion. It does have that annoying negative of being extremely easy to scratch. With care I don't find that a problem. I have a 20 year old tank with no scratches.

    The color issues with glass are not that bad with smaller tanks. I do find the seams annoying and distracting but I'm sure that's just because I'm not used to them on a DT. I'm gonna have to like it because my next tank (isn't there always a next one?) will most likely be a rimless 180.
  6. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    ggrrrr, now she doesn't want it in the family room :confused:

    so it's back where I originally planned for it; a mostly unused room.

    I am not expecting Mark to help me build an entire stand haha...

    If I had one built it would not be anything fancy, just 2x4 frame then skinned and painted, I don't even care to have it stained, regardless I do like the finished product to look decent I guess I'm more a fan of fine handwork than exotic materials. As to finish I was giving myself only 2 options; lacquer white or piano black and it's looking like lacquer white due to the room it's going to be in now (or so she says :D) might help to mention that if I stick to the acrylic tank I first considered I will be sanding & painting the stand it already sits on.
  7. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    alright don't hate me, now I am considering another variable :eek:

    Unrelated to the other predicament haha this is more of an option I sort of spent some time thinking about today.
    I always advise friends to store their electronics outside of the sump area, that advise along with the very limited space in the stand and my desire for more & more & more haha with that I thought geee what if I stuck a cabinet next to the DT (in a corner between a wall and the tank) I could keep my top off water in there and benefit from extra storage along with a nice dry space for electronics leaving the stand occupied by nothing more than a sump & its contents. Then it struck me; I have always wanted a display fuge (Julian Sprung style).

    I have a 18" cube that could fit nicely on that cabinet next to the DT and I'm thinking I can split it evenly in half to allocate the a section for fuge and the other for frags, that gives me just over 10 gal in each section. a 10-12 gal fuge is plenty for my setup and the 9"x18" frag section would give me a transition stage for incoming/outgoing frags where I would have stand alone dimmable lighting and more controlled environment, I'm not interested in a full blown frag tank just yet so this would be all that I need considering my DT is only 45 gal.

    I would have to reconfigure plumbing with a long list of benefits in mind, some of such are; massive return stage in sump, space for a massive skimmer, well you get the idea.... I imagine I would have to get clever with how I'm going to route the fuge into the system, I do know that I want the water to run through the sump first - fuge section - frag section - DT in that specific order. I will likely need to run a second return pump from sump to fuge but I imagine the tricky part would be returning the water to the DT and doing all this in the most fail safe fashion possible.

    What do you think? I probably should start a new thread just on this topic if the idea sticks ;)

    If you are sick of all the side tracking and feel tired of this thread I forgive you :p
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    It is most likely easier to extend the legs than do a new stand.
    But if you plan on simple plywood, painted, neither is particularly hard.

    Sounds like you have a ton of ideas.
    I suggest you start drawing them out, and possibly pile tables/boxes where the tank
    will go to help visualize it.

    If a goal is to convince the wife to allow it back in the family room, the whole thing
    needs to be furniture quality. That means lights and canopy as well.
    It also means you really need to think about noise reduction.
    Honestly : You are probably better off in the other room, until you get it exactly how you want it.

    I have acrylic. Good Starphire glass is pretty nice. I don't particularly like regular glass, but that is just me.
  9. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    well, since I woke up this morning I believe I've come to my senses haha...

    I think I've firmly decided that I must give this acrylic tank a shot, merely due to the fact that I am that curious about the difference in viewing through acrylic vs glass. That means I will be extending the stand as I had planned.

    Now the one thing I can't quite ignore is the possible benefits of a dedicated fuge/frag tank side by side with the DT. I have to make some decisions and actually figure it out by the time the stand is nearly done because the sump has to be inserted into the stand & then blocked in, yes the sump will be semi-permanently installed into the stand due to its size and lack of openings in the stand, with this DT + Sump + fuge = 80 gallons of total volume :D.

    I no longer care to have the tank in the family room, I guess what caused me to be so attached to that idea yesterday is because the corner the tank was going to go in is the side of the house the garage is on and it just so happens that there was already a hole through that wall which meant my top off water would sit in the garage and not in the stand but now I realize that having a cabinet beside the DT resolves that as well...

    I already put the stand & tank in the area where I want them (in the empty room) and today I'm going to sit the cabinet & the fuge/frag tank next to it & stare at them.
  10. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Suggestion : Make a single big long stand for all 3 fuge/frag/display tanks.
    The big advantage would be to give you a whole lot more uncluttered room underneath for sump and equipment.
    You can also section off an area away from humidity for electronics.
    It might look a lot nicer as well. Like it was meant to be unified, not a collection of random things.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Good point Mark, the only issue plaguing this build is that this is essentially sort of an extended temporary tank, the location where I want the tank to ideally be is not going to be ready for it any time too soon and this translates into a lack of desire to put too much into it. The primary reason I went with the acrylic is because it already had a canopy & stand then later I began to think of clarity and such. If I had to guess I would say I'm going to run this setup for 1-2 years.

    I'm beginning to think that I should just go with the flow on this build & use the opportunity as an experimental stage to figure out what & how I want the fuge to be, specially since it's going to be a bit out of the way & out of direct sight. Eventually I might end up buying a Starphire rimless tank or something along those lines when the permanent location is completed. Then I can build a very cool stand, considering that all the plumbing & sump etc. is going to have a dedicated room :D but I won't spend time talking about that here since it's more in the distant future.

    Oh & in case of the suggestion of keeping my current setup until then that's out of the question since I'm beginning to dislike & feel discouraged by my current tank and that's a very bad thing to experience in this hobby haha.
  12. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    So about the stand, I'm trying to figure out all the lumber I need. (bare with me for my terminology is horrendous sometimes)

    The tank is currently built almost entirely out of plywood. The load bearing sides and such are made of plywood then skinned with pine (I think it's pine) and there is quarter round molding glued at the corners.

    I plan to frame it on the inside to the correct height then slap plywood all around the bottom & try to make everything line up perfect, I don't care for matching the finish because once done I'm painting the whole thing lacquer white. I would like to get rid of the rear panels, they're plywood and they cover almost the entire back of the tank leaving only about 3" gap in the middle, definitely an inconvenience when it comes to plumbing

    I wanted to run my choices by you guys to see if you think I'm on the right track;

    2x3" studs to frame the stand at the corners and a couple of 2x4 braces to go across the top & bottom of the stand.

    1x6" pine planks, 2 standing planks to replace the rear panels and one standing on either side (left & right) for added support.

    The molding & skins are simply glued on so that's pretty much straight forward, I imagine the only hard part is making perfect cuts.

    How does that sound, and did I miss anything?
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    By removing the entire back panel, you lose all shear support left/right.
    Will it topple like dominoes if you push really hard on one end?
    That is an issue with quakes.

    I would suggest leaving the back panel, but cutting several large holes in in for pipes.

    Plus, the back panel keeps moisture away from drywall in your house wall.

    Otherwise seems ok.
  14. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hmmm the problem is the back panel has soaked water when the tank was last used and I doesn't look like it's as strong as it should be so that's why I figured I should replace it anyway, I guess I can replace it with the same size pieces but new, or one solid panel with holes cut where needed...

    Originally I figured this tank is held up by plywood and no frame, once I add my 2x3 frame it should be far stronger than originally designed and this led me to want to replace the back panel with solid wood planks instead of the fiberboard but clearly I was never attached to this idea.
  15. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    You could just add a couple of diagonal 1x6 (or 2x4) boards for shear support. No need for a full panel.
  16. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    If the back panels are some form of composite (MDF or particle board) and have been wet, REPLACE THEM! I'd use 3/4" plywood. It's more stable that dimensional lumber. You'll get lots of shear strength by attaching to top, bottom and a side. IIRC you have access to a pocket hole jig? That would do the trick. There are stainless steel pocket hole screws, BTW.

    I'm not sure why you want to add an internal frame. Fitting a frame within the existing box might be harder than you think. If the box is sound, I'd just leave it be.

    BTW, pics are always good. :)
  17. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi John,

    Yes the back panel is MDF, kind of stupid considering they used 3/4" plywood everywhere else. I am replacing that part for sure just because of the damage...

    The reason why I have to frame the stand is because I'm adding 8" of plywood to the bottom to raise the whole thing up. 3/4" plywood is all that's supporting it now, if I add a new section of plywood there is no way to securely increase height without the frame. Basically there is visibly going to be an 8" platform under the stand, matching materials and finish but I will be leaving the seam so that it looks like the stand is in fact sitting on a platform.
  18. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I decide to resurrect this thread since it was left to rot haha

    Crappy tanks are all gone (except for my current 50 breeder) here's what's happened since;

    -Sold all acrylic tanks & stands
    -Setup 50g 35x18x18 in the garage after old tank broke
    -Bought 60g starphire cube
    -Bought 58g Illuminata rimless glass tank, 36x21x18

    Looking back at this thread and what I just typed I must sound like the most indecisive reefer on the planet which is a fair observation haha. I've owned 5 tanks in the last 3 years and the Illuminata is my 6th and should be last (for now)

    I opted for the FW version of the Illuminata so there is no overflow or holes anywhere (perfect). I do not like stand pipes & ugly oveflow baffles running the height of the tank therefore I decided to pull the trigger on this tank that way I can build any overflow my heart desires :D


    -Demolish an old useless wet bar in our house, bonus features: existing water & plumbing under cabinet :D aaaaaaaand there is a closet sharing a wall with this bar (mini fish room) furthermore it's semi-adjacent to my garage where I keep my water station so plumbing through the walls is an option.
    -Place tank in this wet bar and create somewhat of an in-wall concept and maybe skin the whole face around the tank with only the front pane visible.
    -Design/Build overflow based on location of tank, likely BeanAnimal running down into the cabinet.
    -Figure out what to do with a whole closet to utilize for equipment - stand alone fuge, oversized sump, algae scrubber, possibilities are endless.

    That's a rough concept, I still am not set on an overflow other than it should be BeanAnimal. I'm kicking around the idea of either cutting the tank with no overflow box inside tank OR simply drill and build a very slim overflow box similar to the Ghost overflow.

    Last week I worked 50 hours and the house project list is long and dreary so this is not going to be done overnight but I am happy that I finally settled permanently on a tank size and location, at least I can slowly start working on different parts of the setup.

    Obstacles? yes of course, fiance refuses to let me work on the bar because I haven't finished removing popcorn from our ceiling :confused: so I'll have to finish that project before I'm allowed to rip apart our bar, but that could possibly be a few weekends away.

    Any thoughts? I've always loved the Rimless Illuminata, specially now that I found one I can build my own overflow into, the bar is exactly 36.5" wide so the tank will fit this space like a glove, depth allows for max 3" external overflow box to hang off the back of the tank which I'm hoping is going to be big enough, if not I can cut a window into the wall behind it which is cool considering it will allow me to access the overflow from the other side of the wall which is our laundry room.
  19. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Give yourself wiggle room. You dont want a tank to barely fit in a spot. Draw things out and also make sure you have adequate cabinet room. My sump and cabinet area is SO cramped. I cant add any more equipment even if i wanted. My brs reactor barely fits and is difficult to maintain. I never clean the pump because i have to take out a bunch of equipment to access it. Make sure you easily access your tank to move corals rocks etc. Let the sump breathe to avoid mold/co2 buildup. I considered the bean animal set up but didnt have the room. My herbie set up is absolutely quiet. Ask if you need any equipment ive got a holesaw, pvc cutter, dremel etc collecting dust.

    Haha not sure what else to say. Start making a list and buying stuff ;)
  20. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Only 5 tanks? I think that shows great restraint. I've got 7 tanks with water in them and an undisclosed number (just incase my wife ever reads this! :) ) that are just gathering dust.

    How the heck did you get popcorn on the ceiling? Movie night must be a real wild time!! :p:D:p:D

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