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Old 06-12-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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I'm building an internal fuge/filter in my 28 bowfront. I used plexiglass so I could put a nice bow in it to match the front (and so I could fit my hand in it). I'm going to build a faux reef cement wall over it to hide the pumps on the sides. The middle will be a fuge for growing food, plants, and a few delicate guys. As an after thought, I think leaving the center of the reef wall open to be able to see into the fuge would be pretty much awesome!

If I had thought of the window before I glued it in place I would have used a thin sheet of cast acrylic. I'm not worried about the integrity as the wall will be sandwiched between the cement and the filter baffles. If I had used acrylic, it wouldn't scratch as easy.

This will probably eventually get scratched, but until then I'll enjoy the view. Eventually it will prolly be overgrown with coralline. This is gonna be a prototype for bigger and better.

So here's a peak at my design:
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I've decided 2 smaller pumps on each side would be better for flow and possibility of adding a wave timer later. So:
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And here's two days worth of building:

I had to cut out the middle support. I'll glue in a clear support later.
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I cut myself on the sharp plastic so we both got transformer band-aids.
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Fitting... The 2 pieces of paper are the footprint of the pumps I ordered.
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I had to drill 4 holes for the return tubing and on the 4th one it cracked! So hears my patchwork. Yes, that's the support I cut out earlier.
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I went out an bought another piece of plexi incase the patch didn't hold but it seems pretty strong.... Glued in place:
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AAAAaaaand drying:
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I put 4 pieces of tubing in to keep the holes open when I add cement.

Day 2

Here's some other prep to keep things clean...ish:
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Decided I should use some plastic to protect my plastic
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The next part I couldn't get a lot of photos of the process because you have to work fast with this stuff! ...and I didn't want crud on my iPhone.
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That's a barnacle shell at the bottom. I'll probably take it off later

For the faux reef, I used 1/2 a quick set polymer cement and 1/2 crushed oyster shell from the feed store. The cement is the kind they use to patch water leaks and is safe for potable water. It should also have a lower ph. It isn't as porous as the Portland cement most people use so I tried adding some salt rock to the mix but it didn't seam to help. we'll see. you have about 1 to 2 minutes work time with this stuff so you have to be quick!
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:53 AM   #2
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Drying nicely!
I don't like the bottom of the window. I'm going to break it out and use the piece to make a shelf. I'm also going to build a pocket coming out from the window at the height the sand will be on the other side of the window so it looks like the sand is coming through. It will be higher than the rest of the sand creating a lil plateau. Crabs may dig this out, but i guess we'll see.

Still waiting on the pumps to arrive before I partition the filter area.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:43 PM   #3
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Pumps arrived today! 160 GPH out of this thing??

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Gluing baffles. Learning as I go. Tape would have been brilliant! From the top you can see I angled them so from the front you can't see the the baffle walls through the "window".
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:31 AM   #4
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Reef!
Ignore the tubing in the back. I just stuffed it in there before I moved the tank back to the stand.
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From this angle you can see how I reconstructed the bottom of the window. I also made an arch to the right, but it's hard to get a good angle for a photo.

Time to fill it with water and see if it does what it's supposed to do.
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:07 AM   #5
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BAM!
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Yes! Water test gets a pass! I have to make a few adjustments to the pumps, but for the most part, it works like it should.
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:25 AM   #6
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that is sick
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Two gold fish one algae eater and to small of tank that I am going to upgrade
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:05 PM   #7
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I love this idea! Can't wait to see it all finished
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
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PH readings are around 10 after a 24 hr soak. Not too bad. I drained it, spray rinsed it, and drained it again and letting it dry. The seals around the tubing going through the wall are leaking. I think I just need more silicone. I'm also going to look into putting in some piping elbows to keep the tubing from kinking.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:44 PM   #9
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that is the coolest idea! I love that tank, so creative and beautiful. Good job man, hope it works well for you.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:47 PM   #10
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You sacrificed a lot of the display area for this interesting project.
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