Rygh's 250 gallon - rev.2

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by rygh, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well I'm mixing up water for a water change and I decided to do 2 brute containers worth (I should have kept the 2nd 100g tank, that would be an ideal amount :D). And part of the larger than normal (for me) is I'm going to start siphoning refugium sand out. I really like the way Kris does his refugium, which looks like a bunch of rock rubble (need to ask him again) but that seems like something that can easily be siphoned out, where as with sand you're almost guaranteed to siphon just as much sand out as you do crap. He replaces his sand quite often though.

    Corals will encrust to acrylic bottoms. I had a lepastrea form a puddle that was easily 6 inches wide on my bottom once. And I've also had green slimer encrust and branch (if you don't like the flatness... remember though flatness allows detritus to move and settle in dead spots a lot easier so you have target areas to siphon!)

    If you have time check out Rich Ross' tank thread, he did a textured bottom with sand and epoxy IIRC. It looked great at the beginning but like everything eventually became coraline covered. But if it's just a texture, then go for it.
     
  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    The downside of rubble is that it traps detritus really well. Fine if you can vacuum everywhere,
    but pretty hard to get behind rocks, and I was really hoping to keep it truly in suspension in display tank.

    Yes, sand is really just for a bit of texture. I may deliberately put some encrusting corals down.
    That is an interesting idea.

    Do you have a link for Rich's tank thread? I looked but could not find it.
     
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

  4. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    A quick sand bed experiment.
    Take 1/8 acrylic. Sand with 80 grit a bit. Coat with epoxy, the cover with Aragonite sand.
    I also epoxied on a few pieces of rubble in the front, and a bit of extra sand for texture.
    The idea being that I will never place any rock structures in the very front, and it will visually
    break up a boring flat surface.
    Looks like I need to put a bit thicker coat of epoxy on though. A few thin spots and gaps.
    What you see below is all solid. I has been washed and cleaned.
    sand1.JPG
     
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    It looks good, my problem would be how well does it wear. Coraline going to start forming on that? Then it'll look like a textured coraline surface.
     
  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I am ok with that.
    I did not want it to look like a weirdly-flat coraline covered surface.

    Interestingly, I had some sand that basically turned to concrete, and it never really grew coraline.

    My main concerns:
    1) I have to do this in sections, and the joints between sections might leave a visible line.
    2) I worry a corner or edge will lift a bit, get some sand or crud stuck in there, and stick up.
     
  7. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    If you're worried about lifting, a couple drops of super glue on the bottom should be fine. Another option is to leave it loose and if you need/want to remove it for any reason that remains an option, obviously parts with rocks on top might be a bit harder.

    As to the seams you pretty much are assured to visible lines. You could try to mask it a bit by putting your rocks over a seam, or put some encrusting coral parts. Probably no way to completely eliminate them though.

    Although another option would be to use a band saw and cut some weird irregular non-repeating pattern the length wise of a piece of acrylic, this could break up the line to the eye, and you will have a matching shape on the other side of the cut. I dunno man... why not just glue all the edges of your short pieces together to make one big piece?
     
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I will play around with the super glue idea. Although I thought it melted acrylic, so I will check that first.

    Perhaps I can glue the whole thing all together under water....
    I can first mix sand with under water epoxy.
    Then push the mixture into the seams.
    If it sticks to the bottom of the tank a bit, it also keeps it from lifting.
    Time to test a few things.
     
  9. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    If the tank will be running while you do this, ^ is a workable idea. With irregular shapes and rock placement, a bit of epoxy will hide the seams. Avoid the straight line and lines perpendicular to the front and it should just disappear. Size a sheet of acrylic to fit the tank and go all random on it with a jig saw or similar.

    Acrylic always seems to curl. How are you going to stop that?

    Mark, is this a glass tank? You could probably get away with just some epoxy to make random shapes and let coralline grow directly on the bottom.
     
  10. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I have an acrylic tank.

    Acrylic will curl when one side is wet.
    It seems to be better behaved when both sides are evenly wet. But now one side is epoxy and sand. Hmm.
    So a good point. I need to check that.
     
  11. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    I wonder if presoaking would help. Get the acrylic to absorb (adsorb?) as much water as possible then coat with epoxy and sand.
     
  12. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I am thinking acrylic might be the wrong medium for that base layer.
    Perhaps a simple layer of fiberglass. Wet it out, and dump sand on it.

    Or perhaps nothing at all, just epoxy.
    I could make a female mold, with a semi-random shape, like a deck paver.
    Mix sand and epoxy, and press into mold.
    Basically, have the bottom be covered by 1/8 thick sand-epoxy pavers.
    As a bonus, they would end up rather lumpy and bumpy.
    And with that, I could super-glue them together, and spread sand in the seams.
    Being rough, a bit of trapped sand underneath would just go into the crevices.
     
  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    To be clear on one thing:
    I plan to do all this while tank is all set up, running, with current fish and corals.
    I want to move rocks/corals over a bit, clear a space, put in some bottom, then move things back.
    That greatly complicates the problem of course.
    But far easier than emptying out everything.
     
  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Fake sand bottom not going well.

    I did a couple of small tests.
    One with sand epoxied on acrylic, one with sand epoxied on fiberglass, and one with just sand/epoxy mixed.
    The acrylic and fiberglass both warped when wet.
    The sand/epoxy mix did not warp, and seemed like a winner.
    sand3.JPG

    So I went for it, and made a big section, about 30" x 22".
    It came out great, or so I thought.
    sand2.JPG
    The front looked nice, since I added some bumps and coral pieces.

    But .... it started to warp.
    And of course, it warped with the corners up.
    Bummed. It looked like a great solution.

    So .... rather stumped.
    I could do it if I drained the tank, but I am not willing to do that.
    I did a quick test with super glue on some acrylic scraps. It definitely melts it,
    and does not really stick all that well. So gluing corners down seems like a bad idea.

    Any thoughts???
     
  15. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Draining tank not so bad. Just get like 5 big trash cans and fill em up. Do your work. Pump back in. Return cans
     
  16. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    Have you tried making agrocrete? Seems like you could make it into relatively thin sheets (+/- 1") that would fit into the bottom of the tank. It would have to be cured before setting it into the tank. (http://www.garf.org/class.html)
     
  17. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    True. Although it does take a couple of days to cure the epoxy.
    Although I could plumb it into the current sump + fuge easy enough.

    The main issue then is stress on the fish, and trying to catch them.
    Corals would be easy.
     
  18. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I made some of the original rock formations out of concrete + rubble.
    Like the emaco-marcorocks stuff.
    Not the best luck long term.

    But it would be nice and heavy, and not warp.

    Down-side would be deep crevices where the pieces meet, and around edges of the tank.
    Perhaps they could be filled though.
     
  19. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Sand bed plan:
    So after lots of imperfect solutions, I think I will just do the easiest.
    Main bottom will be truly bare acrylic.

    Plus, I am already getting growth on parts of the bottom where I removed
    sand, and it is not so bad.

    However, I will be building sand-like piles under the rock structures, and
    as part of my random mini-mounts up front.
    Those are shaded, so would not get growth on the acrylic.
    And I can place some small fake-sand sections here and there for aesthetics.

    So likely 50% of the bottom will be fake-sand piles.
    Add texture. And I can remove them to clean pests if needed.
     
  20. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Will the fake sand piles be just epoxy and sand?

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     

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