Bonnie's (Natterjak) Tank

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Natterjak, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. Natterjak

    Natterjak Guest

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    Well, I have been MIA on the boards for a while - had problems with my SPS and couldn't quite figure out the cause, got busy and ended up just letting the tank coast for a while. Things were going really well up until that point too - stuff was growing really fast.

    Anyways, thought I'd make my long-overdue build post. This is basically the chronicle of the construction of our 180g tank. Enjoy! :)

    Our new house had an extra large family room - the previous owner had put up a wall to split it into a smaller family room and 5th bedroom. We decided to make the bedroom into our fish room (and other storage) so that the tank would be in wall and viewable from the family room.

    Here's the room beforehand:

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    First thing we did was pull up the old carpet:

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    Our foster kittens thought that was a lot of fun:

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    Carpet gone:

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    Then we started cutting into the wall. This was easy, since the wall was an addition, and therefore not load-bearing. One thing we did find though, was that whoever built the wall decided to go the cheap way - they got scrap studs that didn't go the length of the floor to the ceiling, so they literally patched the studs together. They also built the wall right on top of the old carpet. Brilliant.

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    Studs were cut out, and the opening was framed:

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    We then painted the floor with Epoxy Shield, which was surprisingly easy to do:

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    Then we started to build the stand:

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    We primered and painted the stand, and while putting on the final coat of paint, I noticed the stand looked a bit crooked. Turned out I had built the top frame 1" wider than the bottom frame, and it was now a trapezoid. A trapezoid that was glued and nailed together. Oops!

    Rather than start all over, we cut an inch out of the sides of the top frame, and pulled them together with glues and screws:

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    Problem solved! :)

    The stand was then put into the wall:

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    You could see through to the kitchen (which we remodeled at the same time):

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    The view from the family room:

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    I took a break to dress the dog in a t-shirt:

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    We got the tank on the stand, and then it took me a week to do all the plumbing for it:

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    Finally after we leak tested it and everything, we made 180 gallons of water. Here's the tank, nearly full, with a lonely bag of sand:
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    And Marc adding more water - next to his head is the rack with the three 250w ROIII pendants:

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    With the sand and rocks, the tank was very cloudy:

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    Took a couple of days for all the sand to settle out, and then I was finally able to move over my fish and stuff:

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    I have a Mag 12 powering the return from the sump, with the returns pointing straight down the back, and a closed loop powered by a Dart with an Oceans Motions 4-way. Flow alternates between coming from the back to the front (close to the bottom), and then back up from the bottom of the tank to the top/rear.

    Skimmer is an H&S 200x2-F2001, and I'm in the process of setting up a Geo calcium reactor (have been dosing 2-part thus far). I've rearranged the aquascaping a little bit too. I'll post more current pictures later!
     
  2. zepplock

    zepplock Guest

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    Maaan this is truly awesome. Everything is built by hand!
     
  3. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

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    Way to go Bonnie!!

    It looks good so far.
     
  4. kmaintl

    kmaintl Guest

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    Very nice setup!
     
  5. LeviT

    LeviT Guest

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    Very nice, very nice indeed!
     
  6. rleechb

    rleechb Guest

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    Wow Bonnie! Looking really good! :eek: :eek:
     
  7. Apon

    Apon Volunteer

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    cool setup
     
  8. Natterjak

    Natterjak Guest

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    Tank has been up and running for about a year now - lots of ups and downs and dealing with all sorts of stuff - hair algae, dyno, photosynthetic flatworms and most recently cyano. I've been playing around with the aquascaping, but never seem to be satisfied - maybe I just don't have an "eye" for it. :)

    Here's a current picture of the tank (not the best photo, sorry):

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  9. Thales

    Thales Past President

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    NICE
     
  10. xinumaster

    xinumaster Guest

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    Very nice set up. Can you take picture of the fish room?
     
  11. northbay-reefer

    northbay-reefer Honorary Member

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  12. cwolfus

    cwolfus Past President

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    Wow Bonnie, WOW!

    Nice to see you back! :D

    C
     
  13. Natterjak

    Natterjak Guest

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    [quote author=xinumaster link=topic=2768.msg29248#msg29248 date=1199507878]
    Very nice set up. Can you take picture of the fish room?
    [/quote]

    Yup...once I get it clean, hehe. Gonna try to tidy it up this weekend. It's not terribly interesting though.

    The only thing I regret is being hasty and ordering the tank before we even bought the new house - had I known I'd have a fish room of this size, I would've gotten a tank twice as deep! ;)
     
  14. skorpinok

    skorpinok Guest

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    That was a lot of work. Did you hire a contractor to open up the wall partition? Nice job in building / putting it together.
     
  15. Natterjak

    Natterjak Guest

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    We thought about hiring someone, but it was just me, my husband, and my dad (he had most of the tools). It took about 6 months to get everything done, but that was also with us working at a snail's pace and juggling other projects around the house.
     
  16. checkrazr

    checkrazr Guest

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    Bonnie - Nice setup! Was wondering what you did to get rid of the hair algae and cyano? Did you chemicals or were you able to handle using critters/fish? Thanks.
     
  17. Natterjak

    Natterjak Guest

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    I initially tried to manually remove the hair algae - just pulling tufts out by hand. I wasn't able to get it all though. I ended up getting an algae blenny, and I think he and the turbo snails took care of the rest.

    For the cyano I just ended up using chemi-clean. We'll see if it comes back or not. I'd been pretty lax on my water changes (think months) up until then, so that probably contributed to the problem.

    The dynos were the biggest pain. I'm not even sure how I got rid of them in the end. I was basically blasting it off the rocks daily and collecting it in filter socks. I think I tried boosting my Alk as well. Eventually it just stopped coming back.
     
  18. checkrazr

    checkrazr Guest

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    Bonnie - What did you do to try and boost the Alk? I'm trying to avoid the Chemiclean if possible. Thanks.
     
  19. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

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    I used baked baking soda - chemist geek please interject :D

    Chemi-clean is the easist way assuming you follow the directions. It will clear out dino issues as well.
     
  20. Natterjak

    Natterjak Guest

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    Like Eileen, I used the baked baking soda (washing soda?). It was Randy's formula. That was for the dinos though, not the cyano. For the cyano, I just used the chemi-clean...didn't seem to have any adverse effects on things. I started with a half dose, then dosed the rest 24 hours later.
     

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