Rudy's 60G shallow reef tank

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by jellygeee, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. jellygeee

    jellygeee Guest

    Hi All,

    Finally, I have time to start working on this new tank. Some of you might have seen this tank in Green Marine Corals.
    I bought the frag tank setup with the idea of converting my display tank to a shallow reef tank. In my current DT, I always run out of room when I have new frags, not to mention with the RBTAs that I kept. I don't have a sump in my DT, which cause me to put all the equipments (skimmer, frag racks, heater) in the DT, hence they take up some spaces. I neglected my DT for a while and I lost a bunch of corals, but now I'm ready to start again.

    Below is the list of tank and equipments:
    - 60G TruVu acrylic frag tank with 2 overflows (side by side)
    - 30G glass sump
    - 39 Watts Tek T5 Light fixture with 6 bulbs.
    - Reef Octopus skimmer (I believe this is the OCT-EXT-160 version)
    - 2 Koralia 2 powerheads
    - 1 return sump 1050gph (not sure of the brand)
    - The tank will mainly be softies and LPS (probably will put some easy SPS, e.g. Bali Greem Slimer)
    - Thinking also of running a dosing method in the future (but need to research more)

    Pics of the equipment can be found here:
    Tank Pictures

    Before I start the tank, I want to get your advices and expertises about the tank and things to be fixed. If there is anything that should be upgraded or fixed, please let me know. I would rather go the long road of fixing the things so that I won't regret it in the long run.
    Some things come to mind:
    - Should I add a protection foam underneath the tank and sump? If so, where can I buy/get it? The current one seems to be too thin.
    - Plumbing parts: Are they okay or should I make some improvements? (e.g. adding a valve stopper in the side that flows to the sump)
    - Stands: Anybody has an idea of how to fix the stand cosmetically? (e.g. adding sides and doors to it). I am not a handyman when it comes to wood work.
    - Sump: Should I upgrade to acrylic sump? There are some small quakes once in a while (living in South San Francisco).

    If there are things I missed, please let me know. I have been following BAR for some time and have met some great members and seen their tanks (please forgive me if I happen to drool while oogling your tank). This is a great place to learn and improve on reefing skils, while trying to promote propagation of marine life

    Thank you in advance.
    Cheers,
    Rudy ;^)
     
  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Looks like a fun project.
    Yeah, stand could use some cosmetic improvements. Looks a bit wimpy to me as well.

    Tricks if you are only semi-handy:
    Lowes has nice 4'x4' x 1/4" plywood with nice oak veneer. Easy to work with.
    Buy pre-made molding, and put it over all of your joints.
    Use very light colored stain. Dark shows imperfections.
    Do not build doors. They are hard to make look nice. Instead, just hang a large
    piece of plywood from hooks. And put molding on that "virtual door" that overhangs
    joints to hide the seam.
     
  3. sfboarders

    sfboarders Guest

    Looking good Rudy! Been wanting to see this build thread for awhile. :D

    I put foam under the acrylic tank. You can but it at HD/Lowes. I believe its around the insulation area of the store close to the wood.

    I would just leave the sump. If it works no need to replace it. Mark gave some good tips regarding the wood. I built a door and it came out crappy. I ended up ordering one.
     
  4. phishphood

    phishphood Guest

    Looks like it's going to be great. What're the dimensions on that baby?
     
  5. jellygeee

    jellygeee Guest

    Mark: Thank you for the tips. I'll head over to Lowes to check out their 4'x4' x 1/4" plywood with nice oak veneer.

    John: Honestly, the tank has been collecting dust in my garage, so I need to get started on it. I saw some foams being sold in TapPlastic too. Are they any different from the ones sold at Lowes/HomeDepot? Between, how's the progress on the frag tank? I have to check with you about drilling the holes in the frag stand. Great job on that =)

    Mitch: The tank dimensions are 48" x 24" x 12" (4ft x 2ft x 1ft).

    I actually stumbled into this site while googling for DIY Stand. Seems easy to follow with the step by step instructions. Any advice about this? I am tempted to build one from scratch, but I don't have any tools for it.
    DIY Stand

    Thanks.
    Rudy
     
  6. jellygeee

    jellygeee Guest

  7. sfboarders

    sfboarders Guest

    Looks good Rudy! Great looking stand!
     
  8. jellygeee

    jellygeee Guest

    Tank has been running for about 1 week.
    I did made some mistake in estimating the height of the stand, so now I don't have much wiggle room in the sump area. I used the Mahogany Red as the color of my stand. You can definitely see the imperfections of the stand from some angle, so excuse the newbie work.

    I have some leakage in the return overflow. I didn't see this leak until 1 day later. I tried to twist it, but it only made the leakage worse. It's about 1 drop of water for every 1.5 minutes. Since I didn't install it to begin with, I am not sure how to open or fix it. I am a bit bummed out at this point (after putting all the hard work in this tank and stand).

    Can anyone give a suggestion on a best way to fix this? Below is some pics of the area that is leaking. You can see the drop of water in the second pic.
    Thank you for your advice in advance. =)

    Rudy

    Attached files /attachments/sites/default/files/IMG_7743.JPG /attachments/sites/default/files/IMG_7744.JPG
     
  9. 99sf

    99sf Guest

    Rudy, your new system looks great. I'm no plumber, but in the bulkhead photos, it looks like the bulkhead is installed backwards. Usually, the smooth side goes inside the tank and the part that can be tightened with a wrench goes outside the tank.
     
  10. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    To fix the drip, use lots of silicone.
    Lower water level.
    Unscrew bulkhead nut a ways.
    Put lots of silicone in there all around the bulkhead on the inside of the tank.
    On tank near hole, pressure side of nut, and threads right at the hole.
    Try to squish some into the hole around bulkhead as well.

    It should seal it well. But don't worry, it is not permanent. The silicone does
    not stick that well to the plastic, so you can get it apart.

    Agree that bulkhead seems backwards, but maybe that was done for clearance reasons outside.
     
  11. xcaret

    xcaret Supporting Member

    Great work !

    ...

    ***oops ! I see it inside
     
  12. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

    Looking good Rudy, what corals/fish do you have now in it>
     
  13. jellygeee

    jellygeee Guest

    John, Christina, Mario, Charles: Thank you for your nice comments =)
    Charles: Just the old fish (4 clowns and 3 green chromis) and old corals (2 anemones, 3 acans, 3 zoas and some gsp and mushroom). I want to make sure things are stable before I add new livestock.

    Mark: Several questions:
    1) Will the silicone be toxic to the tank (in case if if I have a few drops into the water)?
    2) Do I unscrew it from the inside of the tank? Sorry for the newbie question. I never attach a bulkhead before so I assume if's counter clockwise to unscrew. I tried turning it but it's pretty tight, might be due to the silicone glue that is still in there. Prior to setting up the tank, I did notice some silicone peeling off from the outside joint. Do I have to use a specific wrench to unscrew the bulkhead cuz it seems I will break it if I use a metal wrench?
    3) Where do I get the silicon glue? Tap Plastics or Home Depot?
    4) Is the silicone appliced to both inside and outside of tank?
    5) How long does it take for the silicone to dry?
    6) A coworker mentioned of using a rubber ring gasket for both inside and outside of the bulkhead? Is that a good solution compared to using silicone glue or doing both?

    Thanks,
    Rudy
     
  14. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Gotta have a gasket on the inside.
     
  15. 99sf

    99sf Guest

    Although your questions are directed to Mark, I think it would be easier to just replace the bulkhead, scrape away the old silicone, and put the new one on with the tightening part on the outside of the tank, gluing on new elbows.
     
  16. jellygeee

    jellygeee Guest

    Christina: The current return overflow is using a clear tube being tighten to a pvc pipe, then it's connected to the bulkhead (under the non-tightening joint). That's the reason why it is reversed (pic 1 of the leaking joint doesn't show the connection between pvc and clear tube, but you might get the idea).

    Yeah, I might have to just replace the bulkhead with a new one. If I decide to reverse the bulkhead position, I may have to figure out ways to connect the clear tube to the bulkhead.
     
  17. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    First, I agree with 99sf:
    If practical, replace the bulkhead with a new one, with the threads/nuts on the outside.

    > 1) Will the silicone be toxic to the tank (in case if if I have a few drops into the water)?
    A drop or two should be fine. The solvents are an issue though, so be careful. Also, open a window when doing this.

    > 2) Do I unscrew it from the inside of the tank? Sorry for the newbie question. I never attach a bulkhead before so I assume if's counter clockwise to unscrew. I tried turning it but it's pretty tight, might be due to the silicone glue that is still in there. Prior to setting up the tank, I did notice some silicone peeling off from the outside joint. Do I have to use a specific wrench to unscrew the bulkhead cuz it seems I will break it if I use a metal wrench?
    Yes, you must unscrew it from inside by turning the nut counter-clockwise.
    I have used standard large metal wrenches with no problem. But yes, there is the possibility of damage.
    Of more concern is damage to the tank. If you are purely turning the nut, it should be fine,
    but make sure not to torque it such that the bulkhead would tilt, as that would put a lot of pressure on the tank wall.

    > 3) Where do I get the silicon glue? Tap Plastics or Home Depot?
    Yes, HD, Orchard, other places. It specifically says aquarium safe.

    > 4) Is the silicone appliced to both inside and outside of tank?
    Actually, inside/outside probably does not matter much in this case.
    In a higher pressure situation, it is key to put it inside.
    But in this case, you could probably do just the outside, and it would be fine.

    > 5) How long does it take for the silicone to dry?
    Several hours. Best to leave it overnight.

    > 6) A coworker mentioned of using a rubber ring gasket for both inside and outside of the bulkhead? Is that a good solution compared to using silicone glue or doing both?
    A gasket on the inside will not help because it will leak through the threads between nut and pipe.
    And in fact, that might be what was done wrong in the first place.
    A gasket on the outside might work instead of silicone yes.
    I am not a fan of rubber gaskets, mostly because the cheap ones often provided rot or move easily.
    But done right, with a good quality gasket, it would be fine, so that is a viable alternative.
    A lot of people put a thin film of silicon one both sides of the rubber gasket before using it.
     
  18. jellygeee

    jellygeee Guest

    Thank you for all your help, Everyone, and thank you the detailed explanations, Mark.
    Trying to find a bulkhead and rubber gasket is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I went to HomeDepot but had no luck
    I went to OSH and fund the acrylic glue (safe for aquarium) and a rubber gasket that worked.

    I lowered the water level and removed the bulkhead from the tank. There was a rubber gasket on the inside of the tank. I moved that gasket to outside of tank, added the new gasket to the inside of tank. I sealed both gasket with acrylic glue, let them dry for about 2 days, then assembled the bulkhead again. I have been monitoring it for over 1 week and I'm happy to say that the leak has stopped.
     
  19. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    In the future you will find bulkheads at lfs or urban farmer. Hardware stores never have that stuff. Glad you got it figured out
     

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