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Old 02-06-2010, 01:30 PM   #1
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Jake's 150 Gallon Cube Build

Well, it finally came in. The marineland 150 gallon cube with built in overflow and a black pine stand. After a short utilization of a U-Haul truck and paying a few friends with food to help me carry it in, its in its home for time to come. Let me tell you, this thing is not light. With no center brace, they used 1/2" glass and the tank alone weighs 244 pounds.



I also just got information from Dr. Foster and Smith that my order has shipped. I ordered the following:

(2) 300 Watt Stealth Heaters
(1) JBJ ATI controller & small azoo pump
(1) Eheim pump for the integrated refugium/quarantine
(2) Hydro Koralia circulation pumps
(1) CPX-150 Return Pump
(1) Coralife 2 Stage R/O DI
(1) 7" Sump Intake
And some small things like hoses, clamps, etc. As you can see, I forgot to order a 1" bulkhead for the return pump. I am going to have to find one locally or wait to have one shipped.

I also need to get my ASM G2 protein skimmer which I am hopefully going to get for my birthday. We will see, otherwise I need to order that too.

The sump is under construction. I purchased a cheap Ryobi table saw that is too small for the application as their is no way to attach the rip fence at 16" which is the height of the sides of the sump. I have made due though, and I expect to have it finished this week. I have been using weld-on #3 which is working fine, but I doubt it is water tight. Thus, this week, I am going to track down some weld-on #16 and use it in all the interior corners to seal everything up and give me a little piece of mind. A plan of the sump is at the bottom of this posting, though orientated sideways. The design is not traditional, and may possible get some flack for the built in quarantine/refugium, but I am hoping it works the way I want it to.



I live in a small condo in the city of Chicago and have no room for top off tanks, quarantines or anything else with exception of whats available under the tank. That leads to a problem... more on that later.


So... thats where I am right now. I will start installing the overflow today, and hopefully finish up the last pieces of the sump. I am waiting until I get the return pump though, so I know what size to drill the bulkhead. I should also wait until the pump comes in so that I know exactly where to drill the hole. Any advice on this?

A couple of problems...

Marineland says in their book that the storage area under the tank is 35X35. Thus, the sump that I built is 34 X 28 1/2" Well, low and behold, there are bracing in the corners of the stand.



This is going to be a problem since the 28 1/2" dimension (front to back) won't fit. Looks like I am going to have to build up the bottom of the stand with some plywood so the sump has a level surface to sit on above these braces.

Problem #2... I planned on re-using my (2) 150 watt HQI + 4 T5 light fixture since it cost me around 500 bucks. The brackets that came with it are supposed to straddle the side of the aquarium rim. My aquarium came with a nice looking thick trim piece all the way around the top. Additionally, I can spread the brackets on the light out to a maximum of 35" and the tank perimeter is exactly 36"





So it looks like my options are either to call Catalina aquarium supply and ask them to build some custom legs for my tank, or to hang the light. I don't however have an outlet at the ceiling, and the lights are all going to be on timers, so would the cords run off of a hanging light and then into the stand where the plug and timer is? I think that would look stupid.


Anyway... I will be updating this as things progress. I look forward to all comments, questions, or criticisms.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Sump.pdf (50.6 KB, 170 views)
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Old 02-06-2010, 06:57 PM   #2
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It looks like the adventure begins. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:32 PM   #3
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Sweet. I love big cubes. My LFS has a huge one for their DT. Looking for ward to seeing this one finished.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:05 PM   #4
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Thanks guys (and girls).

Well, new and developing issues.

I finished hooking up the included overflow system. Those bulkheads are huge and measure 1.5" inside diameter. I didn't expect them to be that big. Now, that concerns me a little. The return line on the pump is only 1" according to the manufacturer. Obviously that means that my plumbing is going to have to accomodate an increase in pipe size before connecting to the over flow. Is that going to be a problem?



Second issue: I am going to have to get my light fixture legs reworked. Right now, fully spread out, they are about 1" short of making the 46" length of the aquarium. That or I am going to have to rework my fixture to accomodate a larger distance between legs.

Third issue: I am becoming increasingly fearful that my half built sump is not going to fit. Not only is the issue with the bracing below, but now I am not sure that I can even get it into the stand. Looks like I am going to have to take the tank off and drop it in, however with the lip around the stand to support the tank, I am not sure it is going to make it.

Blah... Ill get it figured out. New tanks always have issues.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:07 PM   #5
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Oh, one other thing... I measured the inside of the glass in the tank to determine water volume. Its 34X34X25. Which comes out to about 125 gallons not including the overflow area.

Kinda bummed/angry about that. If marineland is going to call this a 150 gallon, 25 gallons off is not really close.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:59 PM   #6
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Ok, well can i first say i love the tank. I have always like cube tanks but have kinda forgot about them over the years. I now have a new kind of tank i want to shoot for. On the note of the tank volume, let me remind you that they probably counted it with the overflow not there because alot of people do not like them and order them without them. It does suck about the light issue though. Also does the sump fit if you pull the tank out? like throught the back? If not that would really stink. I wanted to commend you though on the tank. I like how you built the QT and the resvoir for top offs in the sump, definatly something i need to do for my new tank.

Now questions:
#1- whats the ball park price that cost you?
#2- did the LFS order it for you?
#3- what is the sump made out of?
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etunes View Post
On the note of the tank volume, let me remind you that they probably counted it with the overflow not there because alot of people do not like them and order them without them.
Its only 125 INCLUDING the overflow area

[QUOTE=Etunes;1073240]It does suck about the light issue though. Also does the sump fit if you pull the tank out? like throught the back? If not that would really stink.[.quote]

I was able to use a dremel to cut away the plastic end caps on the light to allow the legs to spread out more and I am happy to say that now it works. Yay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etunes View Post
I like how you built the QT and the resvoir for top offs in the sump, definatly something i need to do for my new tank.
Thanks. I did alot of research about this before I built the sump and most seasoned aquarists were against the concept. Because of such limited space, I opted to do it anyway as the alternative was no quarantine at all which I felt was worse than the option of integrating one into the sump.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Etunes View Post
#1- whats the ball park price that cost you?
Tanks & Stand = 1048.00
Equipment listed above = 850.00
Acrylic Sump = 200
Protein Skimmer = 250

A total right now of $2348 and I haven't even put a drop of water in it yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etunes View Post
#2- did the LFS order it for you?
Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etunes View Post
#3- what is the sump made out of?
Acrylic (1/4" Plexiglass)
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:32 AM   #8
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all I can say is that either there is an extension arm for the rip fence or you could make one out of a piece of plywood and a strip of wood for the ryobi.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:58 PM   #9
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Is the QT seprate under the tank or is it part of the sump (does it run through so it cintinous in the tank). If it is i can very much see why to be against it because it would just continue the disease you QT the fish for to the DT. If it is seprate then i think it is genius. And the price of this tank just gave me a minirature heart attack.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:00 PM   #10
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From the plans of the sump, i think its a great idea... the 12 gallon qt built right in with a fluval filtering it. at first, i thought it was all built in together. I dont think there will be any criticism
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:24 PM   #11
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Do you have two 1Ĺ" bulkheads? One leading to the sump and one for the return to the tank?
Where are the sump plans? I don't see them in this thread. How big of an isolated QT will you have in the sump area?
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etunes View Post
Is the QT seprate under the tank or is it part of the sump (does it run through so it cintinous in the tank). If it is i can very much see why to be against it because it would just continue the disease you QT the fish for to the DT. If it is seprate then i think it is genius. And the price of this tank just gave me a minirature heart attack.
The QT will be a full time refuig when no new live stock are present. It has a pump which takes water from the intake chamber and pumps it into the quarantine/refugium and then overflows into the protein skimmer area. Before live stock is purchased, the dedicated filter for the quarantine is turned on and seeded with tank media. The pump brining tank water into the quarantine area is shut down isolating that portion of the system. After a month or two, when stock is determined to be healthy, the pump is turned back on, incorporating the segregated quarantine/Refugium back into the main system and the filter turned off.

I also have a light on this area as a safe place to put frags.

Like I said, it isn't ideal, but it will serve the important purpose of having some sort of quarantine. It was this or nothing. Plus, I get the added bonus of additional volume for the system when used as a refugium.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
Do you have two 1Ĺ" bulkheads? One leading to the sump and one for the return to the tank?
Where are the sump plans? I don't see them in this thread. How big of an isolated QT will you have in the sump area?
Yes, both bulkheads return and supply from the tank are 1 1/2"

The sump plan is in the very first post as a PDF attachment at the bottom. I
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:25 PM   #14
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Well, I am sad to say that I conceded the idea that the sump that I started to build before recieving the tank and stand is going to fit. I was hopeful, but after closely calculating size requirements, I have determined that it will not fit. Thus, I have started to redesign a simpler sump which will be berlin in nature and will hold 23 gallons of water during operation with a max capacity of 46.

I will no longer have an integrated water top off chamber or quarantine/refugium. Instead, I will dedicate other space under the tank in the stand for these components, though they too will sacrifice in size. The good news is, that the new design will allow complete removal of all equipment in the stand through the door. This is a huge added bonus as I didn't feel comfortable locking the sump in the stand with 150 gallons of water in the tank above.

Also on the good news front, all of my stuff came in from drsfostersmith. Its nice living close to Wisconsin as my orders come in a single business day and still are only 8.99 to ship anything. That Gen-X pump I ordered is HUGE, and heavy, thus well worth the shipping rate.

I will start building the new sump tonight, and when complete, all I need to do is finish plumbing.

I need to start researching my substrate and live rock choices as thats the only thing remaining before I am able to actually put a drop of water in the tank and start cycling.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:53 AM   #15
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Alright... I had to take a little break from getting this tank started because I was studying for another Architecture Licensing Exam. Blah. Test over, back to the tank.

So as I stated before, I had to completely rebuild the sump. Basically, with the purchase of the additional acrylic, it would have been cheaper just to buy one off the shelf. Eitherway though, I got it built the way that I wanted it and used the most optimum amount of space under the tank.

Last night, I dry fitted all of the plumbing and just wanted to post a couple of photos to make sure nobody sees anything wrong. Hopefully you can see the photos ok. The sump is just a Berlin style, and I don't have the protein skimmer yet, but I left more than enough space for it just after the filter sock.

Let me know if you see anything before I start gluing this all in place.





Probably more 90 degree elbows than what is recommended, but with the limited space and the need to keep everything under the stand... hope this will be ok.

Ready to get this all glued together and start filling with RO water. Reading those instructions now.

Let me know if you see any major issues. Thanks
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:47 PM   #16
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No input on this from anyone.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:48 PM   #17
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Looks good too me. Like you said i do not like the amount of 90 degree angles but you do not have much space.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:44 PM   #18
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Just read your thread, looks good so far. Im really liking the cube design and looking forward to seeing you get this bad boy runnin. I know its there but where is the main line going from the sump to the pump. I see the line for the refugium, I was just curious as to where the output line was going to be placed.
Good work keep us updated.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:59 AM   #19
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Disaster! I was starting to fill the tank after getting the plumbing finished when we had a bit of an issue. It would have been convenient to connect my new RO/DI system to the kitchen sink which is 4 feet from the tank, however the faucet didn't allow a connection due to how it was designed. So, I hooked up my python in the bathroom, about 25' feet away, took off the venturi piece and the inlet extension, and basically just used the hose. Connected everything and started filling.

It was going great for about 8 hours, filled about 2" of water in the bottom of the tank. Talk about a slow process. I decieded to leave it on overnight and looked forward to waking up with enough water to start mixing in my salt. The problem starts.

At about mid-night, the python hose, which was 4 years old I remind you, burst at a kink location due to the pressure. The sound of the hose exploding under the pressure was unreal. My cat laying in bed with me and my wife freaked out, scratched her back as it ran for cover, and used my face as a spring board to jump onto the dresser. She stepped right on my eye socket just as I was waking up due to the loud sound. I think she nearly poked my eye out. The dog started barking just as the abusive cat knocked a metal cup off the dresser onto the hard wood floor resulting in more crashing.

Me and the wife, with scratched back and me with one eye hustle to the bathroom to find ALOT of water on the floor and its still flowing pretty good. We shut it off, got out some beach towels, and got back to bed about 12:30. Yikes!

My wife is such a trooper. She says "I told you we should leave that on when we are asleep or not at home". Yadda yadda yadda. But, at the same time, she was supportive and went to Home Depot to work on a resolution.

I ended up getting a dishwasher connection for the sink in the kitchen. It uses a small metal sleeve which connects to a quick snap connector which resembles a hose bib. We connected the RO system to that last night and it ran for a view hours and everything seemed fine. She will be home today so it will run all day.

I just want to get this thing full... what an experience.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:32 AM   #20
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Have you a reason to do the initial fill with RO/DI water? Unless your tap readings are that high, I would use tap for now. For one, you want to fill with water and turn all the pumps on to see if all connections are tight and there are no leaks. Secondly, cycling will foul the water anyway and you'll do substantial water changes (plural) afterwards. I'd consider using the RO/DI water then.

So, have you tested your tap and are using the RO/DI because of the results?
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