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Old 01-10-2011, 05:44 PM   #1
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Stand Ideas

So I also posted this in my tank thread, but I was hoping for some ideas for the DIY guys too. If that isn't allowed mods please feel free to delete this post.
Anyways here goes. So I have had to start my tank over almost completely as I had an issue with a "helpful" neighbour filling my fuge to the rim with fresh chlorinated water while I was on vacation. If anybody is unaware or was thinking of trying this themselves, I would recommend against it. Not only will it kill everything living in your tank, but it was also cause a flood as the fuge is now overfilled.
So for the past month I have replaced the carpet, put down hardwood, and in the meantime worked on saving what was still alive in the tank, which seems to be a massive pod population, my lr, and ls, and a small amount of algae, and one yellow coral coby.
I have that I am going to completely rebuild, as I wasn't happy with several things in my tank, first being the stand. I work at a cabinet shop, so I have access to many professional level machines, however I haven't taken the time to draw up any plans yet. This is where all of you come in! I was wondering if you all could provide some input into what you wish you had in your stand, or something that when you were building your stand you wish you had planned for.

As of right now I am planning on building it in a way that would allow me to eventually expand the stand to allow for larger tanks and fuges, which shouldn't be too difficult with proper design.
Also I am planning on mounting the lights above the tank and fuge by aprox. 5" which will allow for better heat dispersion, and better light spread.
Next I am planning a sort of false back, which will allow all of the plumbing to be hidden and semi permanent. Also that will allow me to paint the back of the cabinet and the sides, without having to paint glass.
Next I am going to try and make the entire electrically self contained. This will mean making a waterproof area, which I will run all of the electrical cords, etc. in, and have only one plug running out of the cabinet. This will eliminate the need to have a mess of wires behind the tank, and also allow for better organization of everything since it will be contained inside.
Lastly, I plan on building the doors with opposite shelves. Much like a fridge door, which will allow me to store all of my chemicals, food, etc.
Other than that I am out of ideas, but I hate the idea of backtracking in order to make an adjustment that I should have thought about before hand. I will probably make a drawing in the next few days or so, but I really hope to hear from some of you about stuff you wish you had included in the stand.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:22 PM   #2
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Just some thoughts.

Some of the things I've included in my DIY stands are a "tub" area in the bottom (lip and silicon to make it water tight) to catch overflow or floods, cross pieces to mount lights or drip systems over the sump, extra height to allow for changing out skimmer cups or taller sumps, shelves which you already mentioned, and clips or hooks for hanging feeders, nets, etc. You may also want to include fans so that you don't get a build-up of heat and water vapor inside, since it sounds like yours will pretty much be sealed up.

With a single height setting on the light, make sure you go high enough - 5" is not adaquet room for you to reach into the tank and do maintance. Especially if you are using MH bulbs - you will burn yourself every time. Its also pretty close for MH bulbs, I usually run mine higher than that. You may want to keep that in mind if you are not running MH, but plan on switching in the future.

On the semi permanent plumbing make sure to include ball valves at both ends, so it can be seperated and removed without issue. Invariably as soon as you start trying to make things semi permanent something will go wrong and you will end up tearing it all apart. If you build it with that in mind you should be good.

On the electricity, make sure you are using a GFCI plug or breaker on the one outlet you are plugging everything into and make sure you have enough breaker to run everthing off of that one plug. Personally I would want a dedicated plug with a 30amp breaker if I was going to run my entire tank off of a single breaker.

Just out of curiousity, if chlorinated water was added to the tank, that should have eliminated all the bacteria in the system, including the bacteria in LR and LS, are you sure the sand and rock are still "alive". I would strongly recommend you cycle the new set-up.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:32 PM   #3
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thanks for the post! AS for your last quesiton I am pretty sure it is all back to normal now, and recycled as it was a few weeks ago the water was added. All my water tests read excellent actually, better than they ever were before hand, which I find a little frustrating but oh well.
As for lighting right now I am running two t5hos, and 1 65W coralife fixture. I was just ballparking the 5" as right now they are just sitting on top of the tank, and everytime I need access I have to move them. What do you think is a good height so that I got proper spread, and don't loose any light.
I like the idea for fans, and I looked into it quickly, I might try to rig up some computer fans, maybe two above the sump, and two about the tank. It might cause more evaporation, but at least it will stop heat buildup from everything being in the cabinet, and stop water vapor from slowly destroying it!

Thanks again for the post!
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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Happy to help.

With MH lighting I would go 9" (minimum) to 12" - keep in mind that air does not interfer with light penetration; so higher for light spread and ease of access is not going to hurt anything. I did a false open-topped canopy for one of the systems I built, it works well for the heat issues, especially with MH lights. I also like a canopy that the entire front lifts on so that you can easily remove the light for bulb changes etc. I've seen some build a pulley system into canopies as well so they can raise or lower the light depending on need to access, age of bulbs, etc.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:54 PM   #5
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I like that idea, although I'm not sure I see the value in upgrading my system into metal halide, which I think would require more engineering. Without turning this thread into a debate into lighting, do you think that my current lighting is enough for a reef setup. (1 24" Aquatic Life 2 x T5HO, and 1 24" 1x 65W Coralife PC) Currently I am running 1 actinic in the T5, and one 10 000K and the 65W powercompact is 10 000K.

Thanks for the tip about the distance not making a distance, I figured it would. Maybe I'll be able to keep it fairly high off of the tank to allow for maximum working room, without making it too top heavy.

Thanks again for the post!
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:32 PM   #6
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Keep in mind that while air distance doesn't affect lighting, water depth does - so the deeper the tank the less light penetration you're going to get. PC lights are effective for coral growth on shallower tanks, not so much on deeper tanks. The more bulbs the wider color spectrum you can achieve, as well as increasing your overall lighting. What size tank are you currently running? Two t5s will support lower light requiring softies like leathers, xenia, zoas, palys, etc out on the edges in a deeper tank like a 55gal, but would most likely only support high light demanding SPS only directly underneath the lights. In a shorter/smaller tank like a 20gal high, two t5s will support high light demanding SPS like closed brains throughout the tank.

Personally I'm not a fan of the PC lights because of the heat issues they cause.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:41 PM   #7
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Great thanks for the info! Right now I have a 20H, so I am going to plan on that one for now and maybe eventually (in a few years, once I am more comfortable in the hobby) upgrade to a larger tank. I agree, I hate the PC fixture, not only is it hot, but the 10 000K bulb by coralife it yellow compared to the T5, and I hate running it, but I figure when it comes time to replace bulbs, I'll replace the PC with Actinic only, and the T5 with 10000K for one and maybe higher for the other. I like the blue look of the tank, but only as long as I don't harm anything in the tank....
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:42 PM   #8
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So i got snowed in today so I decided to build my stand. I will post pics later, but basically I kept it fairly simple in order to avoid issues, although I already have a few minor ones... I can't figure out how to hang the fixtures, and I am trying to plumb in a spot to do water changes. Other than that it went fairly successful, I was even able to reuse doors from an old cabinet, so I have some nice glass doors at the top.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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Pictures?
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:00 PM   #10
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haha no patience. Sorry for the poor quality my camera died last night...Here they are from my phone:



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