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The Routemaster - slow build ...


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#1
castiel

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I am sure some of you have had similar moments, where you see a tank or design and it inspires you to go off an plan (obsessively) your own.

Well my trigger was Adru24's Double Peninsular. The idea of a display tank and display fuge all in one was amazing, and I spent the next month working designs and trying to come up with my own take on it. An AIO was an option, but after a a few months with my picos I wanted something larger, with separate sump ... but not too large given our current house and the fact that renting, I can never be sure what the next place will be like.

So the first step was tank. Top choice was an ADA, but you wouldn't believe how expensive they are down here in Australia ... a 60H runs for $1,100 (yes, one thousand one hundred). Insane. Then I came across a thread where someone had bought a Yi Ding Chinese made tank that looked a lot like an ADA, but at a more reasonable price. So I started obsessing about finding one, with no luck for weeks. Then a random trip to a local LFS, and what did I see on the shelf but the very tank I was looking for! Apparently it comes with a glass lid, which was broken/missing ... though of course I didn't care, I just used the fact to haggle the price down (annoyingly the stubborn employees only budged $10 in the end ... but I still had a small victory!).

Note that this is not a picture of my tank (I don't have a decent one yet), but it shows the quality ... which from what I have read is quite close to ADA - dimensions are 24"x12"x15":
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I also have a sump/fuge tank of standard glass (plus pretty crappy silicon job!), but it was dirt cheap. Has the same footprint 24"x12" but is not quite as high at 12" - so I think equals about 14G.

Next came the stand, and I decided to try and make my own. So I downloaded Sketchup and started trying out designs.
First attempt:
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Second attempt (and pretty close to how it will actually be)
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So then the reason for this thread, is that I actually made a little progress on the build today!

Here is the moment it came together (the top piece is not attached yet) - note it isn't finished, I need some more brackets and screws to add further braces (another 'surround' like at the top will go half way down):
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With the sump tank balanced on top (it's lighter than the 17G starphire glass!)
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The area at the back is intentionally long for two reasons. 1) The top has to be longer than the tank anyway to accommodate the sump/fuge below, so double the width of the legs, 2) I decided I like the idea of a cool plant at the back of the tank (remember this is peninsula), plus it allows room for the overflow and light fixture.

Here's an idea of how the sump will go. On the same width top, but not as long so it fits between the legs. Raised off the ground somewhat, either on legs or I am thinking even wheels. The idea is that it can slide out if required.
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And then finally, I am planning a 60W CREE light (probably from eShine), so needed some way of hanging it as I can't drill the ceiling in my rented house. Saw this fixture and thought it would be perfect.
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The idea is that the stand top is drilled (also drilled for the pipes to and from sump) so the fixture can go through it, and then it attaches to each of the braces.
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And finally, here is my plan for the sump/fuge design. Again I want it to be peninsula and a display fuge, so thinking this is the best way. I will need to go to the LFS at some point to get some glass cut to size. Haven't decided yet for sure whether to go with the T-return, or if the extended divider will suffice in pushing flow around the tank.
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Stocking plans
Display tank:
- RBTA
- 2x Clownfish (yet to decide on variety)
- Lawnmower Blenny
- Bengaii Cardinal (because the wife loves them and you have to keep them happy somehow, right?)
- Cleaner Shrimp

Fuge:
- Some colourful macros (if I can find them)
- Maybe also a few mushrooms and ricordeas

Equipment
Nothing certain right now, but I am thinking:
- mp10 ... or maybe 2x cheaper powerheads such as Koralia or Sicce Voyager. Haven't decided yet whether I can justify the mp10 price ($300 down here!).
- HOB overflow box - something like the eshopps nano overflow (can't be arsed to drill)
- Bubble Magus NAC3.5 skimmer
- Sicce return pump - though I have no idea what gph I will need. Guess it will depend on the height difference between the tanks?
- 60W CREE LED for display tank
- tbc LED strip(s) for the fuge, stuck to the underside of the display tank

So that's about it so far. As it says in the title, this will take a while ... don't expect any water for at least a month, if not longer!

Edited by castiel, 23 October 2011 - 01:20 PM.

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#2
nickjqz

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This is going to be sweet! I can't wait to see more progress.

#3
Maeda

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Slow and steady wins the race.

I really like where this is headed.

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#4
castiel

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Thanks, both =0)

I should have also mentioned ... the Routemaster is the make of London's iconic red double decker buses, as shown above. Just in case anyone wondered!

Also should clarify that although I live in Australia now, I am a Brit and lived in London for the last 9 years.

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#5
JoelRHale

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You should paint your stand red then ;)

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#6
castiel

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Hahaha. The thought did cross my mind ... but I think the association stops with thinking up a cool(ish) name for my build thread.

I am actually planning white for the stand, and even possibly painting the light stand, CREE fixture and back of tank white ...

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#7
JoelRHale

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Oh come on, go ATM with it. You should put a real bus driver seat in the tank :P

In all seriousness, a really nice reserved red would look really nice IMO and really stand out among other tanks (along with being a double decker).

So living so much closer (relatively) to where a lot of coral comes from, is it a lot cheaper for specimens?

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#8
castiel

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Hah, absolutely not. You wouldn't believe the number of times I ##### to the wife about how readily available and cheap corals are in the US.

Partly perhaps due to the size and spread of the country, shipping is an issue. So there might be an online store in the Sydney area that sells corals to ship, but they only deliver to that area. There aren't any (that I know of) that deliver to Melbourne.

Prices in LFS vary but tend to be $40+. I occasionally find 'bargains', such as four heads of duncan for $10, or a torch for $20 .. but generally much more expensive than the US. Which is annoying given shipping costs of Aussie corals to the US ...

Don't even get me started on equipment!

I think the cost is more a reflection of cost of living down here ... although the exchange rate shows that our dollars are 1:1, something that costs $1 in the US costs about $1.50-$2 down here. Luckily of course we get paid more to reflect that fact ... so % of salary prices are probably similar, if that makes sense.

Edited by castiel, 23 October 2011 - 05:35 PM.

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#9
JoelRHale

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Those aren't too bad. That's insane about the ADA cost you said earlier though!

At least you have a LFS with decent selection. Our "best" has like a browned out birdsnest and that's the most exotic thing around. Hence why I go with liveaquaria.

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#10
karisma

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looks like a sweet ass build!

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#11
Felicia

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This looks like its going to be great. I'm excited to watch the progress. I agree that red would look sweet...as long as it doesn't completely clash with your decor that is :)

#12
castiel

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Yeah, the red isn't going to happen. I agree it would be cool and 'different', but definitely would not fit in with our décor!

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#13
Builder Anthony

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Why not just take a trip down to the ocean and pick out your own corals.Pepole may cry about laws but it less stress on the animal the fewer trips it makes.Im going to google earth your location and see how far you are from the ocean.

Your like right next to the ocean like whgat 5 miles?Time for you to get some scuba gear or a snorkel.Actually my bad thats a bay but the ocean is still real close.

Edited by Builder Anthony, 23 October 2011 - 11:07 PM.

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#14
castiel

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Haha yes I do live close to the ocean, though I am not sure how close I am to a reef. I know there are sea dragons/macros etc in the bay, but I think the reefs are located north east (Great Barrier) and west (Ningaloo).

I could try and pick up one of these ...
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Edited by castiel, 24 October 2011 - 12:51 AM.

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#15
castiel

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So having taken the decision not to drill my tank, I have recently been looking into overflow boxes and think I have decided upon a lifereef box.

I am going to go for the nano box (here compared to the standard box):
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The silencer (white pipe):
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And a J return:
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Shipping is a btch ($55), but there are hardly any options at all over here ... can't find an eshopps, csr or others ... just some unknown quality overflows from Hong Kong.

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#16
Go Tigers!

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Beautiful tank ! I love the rimless !

#17
kel73

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Looks amazing!!!!

#18
castiel

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Thank you both =0)

I have now got to considering drilling the tank. I have asked Glass Holes how much a kit would cost to ship here ... was looking at the Super Nano con Dientes kit (just because I figure, for $10, might as well get the best available). I doubt anyone will say "noo, don't drill, use a HOB" ... but any advice? Bear in mind you are talking to a complete and utter sump/plumbing noob with three AIO tanks (incl. FW) =0p

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#19
_Mitch_

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Cool looking overflow, just make sure you clean that sponge very often!

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#20
castiel

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Bought a few more supplies for the stand today ... but won't have time to work on it before 2 weeks of hols. So this thread will be in hibernation for about ... the next month.

=0)

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#21
Squared

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I found your thread!

Now I will be watching, waiting for that month to pass :ninja:

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#22
JR!

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any updates?

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#23
castiel

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Nope, been on holiday for 2 weeks. I expect to make some more progress on the stand this weekend so will post pics =0)

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#24
siwelk

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Nope, been on holiday for 2 weeks. I expect to make some more progress on the stand this weekend so will post pics =0)


No pictures = Apples

Where's my candy?

B)

Edited by siwelk, 18 November 2011 - 03:41 PM.


#25
castiel

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So I lied, I did stuff all on this at the weekend.

I am also thinking that I may want to re-do the stand so far to include dowel joints, rather than just the brackets I have right now. I feel it would provide more stability and therefore more strength.

Might get chance on Sunday to progress things - but no promises =0p

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