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Old 12-11-2008, 11:42 PM   #1
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Week 3 of Aquarium Restoration, help me decide!

Hi guys. Ive been MIA for about 2 years or so i believe. I have a 120 gallon aquarium which i had to take apart and store because we moved. At my new house i took a look around and realized the black aquarium cabinet would look hideous with the new decor, so i decided to fancy it up a bit to match my new crib.

I spent the first week sanding and wood puttying all the imperfections. The original cabinet had two small doors on the front, about a foot apart from eachother. This prevented me from comfortably accessing the tank underneath. In fact the only way to insert and remove the sump was from the back. Nay i say to thee. I removed the two small doors as well as the support wall inbetween. To compensate i added new beams and a bar underneath as well as multiple reinforcements in all the corners. An elephant can sit on this cabinet and it won't break

In the first picture you will notice the new front doors are wood colored and not black like the rest of the cabinet. Those are the doors i made. Anway, im babbling..... i primed and painted it week two. I chose a black waterproof exterior paint for the inside. and now im at week three. i just finished doing the faux finish today all around the cabinet and in all the crevices of the overlays.







Its basically finished except im touching up the faux finish here and there, and im gonna wait 2 weeks for all the paint to fully cure before i add the glossy clearcloat.

So i plan on doing a reef tank again similar to my previous setup, except this time im going to take it slow. I want to avoid all the mistakes ive made in the past. I plan on cycling with uncured live rock. I can't decide if i should use sand or gravel. I feel like sand makes the water cloudier, quicker.

Here is a picture of what my tank used to look like.



sand or gravel for the new setup?

discussss.....
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:19 AM   #2
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Looks like you went with sand in your previous tank. Why would you want to use gravel?
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:14 AM   #3
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If i had to choose between the two i would go with sand because gravel will trap deterius and cause you issues with nitrates down the road. I think in the end a mixed sediment would be the best. Mostly sugar sized sand with a little bit of other grain sizes including a bit of gravel would probably be the most natural and beneficial to the tank.

btw the sands looks very nice and your old set up looks good too. nicely done.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pat8you View Post
If i had to choose between the two i would go with sand because gravel will trap deterius and cause you issues with nitrates down the road. I
My thoughts exactly
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:31 AM   #5
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Your restoration looks awesome....
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:02 AM   #6
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Sand all the way!
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:09 AM   #7
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The restoration on the stand looks awesome... can't wait to see it up and running again
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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here's another shot. i checked again this morning and the paint is doing pretty good along the lines of curing. maybe i can do the clear coat within a week.



in the mean time, ive decided to go with sand again. the reason i didn't want sand was because it makes a mess when anything touches it. also a few times i had powerheads come loose off their suction to the glass and point downward, turning my tank into a snow globe. it was a nitrate nightmare. this time everything is gonna be hard lined with PVC pipes and stuff. im actually planning the plumbing right now too waiting for the paint to cure.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:07 PM   #9
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looks really good cant wait to see it up and running any plans on livestock yet?
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:21 PM   #10
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Lightbulb







i painted the back blue today and after it dried i couldn't wait any longer and set it up. there's no plumbing yet and no water/fish of course, but i just wanted to see how it looked.

for livestock:

I plan on having a Rose Bulb Anemone with a large mated clown pair inside. I would also like to have the black and white clowns somehwere in the tank, but ive got to do plenty of research still and see if i can have all these different clowns together without a gang war. Once the RBT anemone finds himself a nice spot to settle down, im going to start adding corals.

im planning on taking this very slow and steadily. I dont think my tank will see any livestock until february or march. I would like to cycle it and let the bacterial colonies fully take hold with their live rock before i add anything.

Im planning on creating a ridiculous reef tank. As many hard and soft corals as is possible. fish are going to be few. just the clowns and maybe a few others here and there. no tangs or puffers or anything like that. there will of course be inverts, just not many fish.


below the tank in the cabinet im going to put as big of a sump as i can. it will house as much live rock rubble as possible, as well as a protein skimmer and heaters. at the back of my tank, where the overflow is, there is a rather large cavity that leads down to the two drain bulkheads. i plan on filling this entire crevice with rubble rock as well.


what do you guys think?
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:51 PM   #11
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Just a bit of advice.. I've always had my aquarium in the right corner of my rooms too. You should consider leaving a little more room on the left side (say, 8-10") just in case you need to reach anything on that side. It will make it much easier if you have a magnet algae cleaner so you can fit your hand back there comfortably to clean, and if you need to set up any pluming on the left side of the tank, anything magnetic (i.e. koralia powerheads), etc..

Also consider getting a good window covering to prevent direct sunlight from hitting the tank, potentially causing water temperature fluctuations.

Also thinking you may want to consider having it against the left wall instead, so power wires won't be visible running to the socket, unless there's another socket behind the stand already.

Also while you still have easy access to the recepticle, you may want to consider upgrading it to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI’s)... the same test/reset receptacles found in the washroom and kitchen of newer homes.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:59 PM   #12
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hey justin, thanks for all your input. i agree on all your points. remember the aquarium is not up and running, i just wanted to see how it looks (paintwise). i will definitaely be leaving room on the left side. also that window is getting a curtain sometime this week. there is an outlet behind the aquarium. i will be changing it to a GFI before i add any water. the holes for the overflow drains are so big, i had trouble finding bulkheads for them. the hole diameters are 3" each. i finally found suitable bulkheads at Buy flexible pvc pipe at FlexPVC.com PVC pipe, hose, & pvc fittings online @ wholesale discount prices (flexable) . they've got some interesting stuff. am currently considering using felxible PVC as my plumbing lines as apposed to the usual hard stuff. no more 90 degree angles to worry about.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:01 PM   #13
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Lightbulb Update 12/16/08

I installed a GFCI outlet and put it inside a waterproof housing. There's no way any water will ever get inside.




i also found my skimmer and cleaned it, its an AquaC




originally i had planned to use the 40 gallon glass tank as a sump, but after sitting down and trying to plan where everything is going, i decided to go with an acrylic sump. found it on dr foster and smith



so here's a rather ridiculous diagram of how im planning on setting everything up. please let me know if you guys see anything im doing wrong. eventually down the line im going to add a calcium reactor, but for now here's what im planning on doing:


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