The First Bump in the Road – Apparently it was a Big One
I think anytime you go into a project; you need to expect a little adversity. After all everything can’t go your way, right? Well the day my first glass was delivered things definitely did not go my way!
I woke up that morning feeling like a little kid on his birthday, you know the feeling! I bounced right out of bed pretty much floated into work. You see I was only working a half day because the tank was being delivered sometime between 12 and 4. Things went as planned at work and I was home right at noon. I figured that the tank would arrive on the tail end of the delivery window so I completed a water change on my Nano Cube. Just after 2:30 the door bell rang and it was Old Dominion Freight. The moment I had been waiting for was finally here. Eight months of research, 2 months of decision making and 4 weeks of waiting for the tank to arrive, it was finally go time! I waited patiently as the delivery driver pulled the tank and stand from the truck with a pallet jack. As the package was coming off the truck, I thought it was odd that the top of the crate was leaning; I also found it odd that there wasn’t any wood on 2 sides of the crate. I quickly dismissed the idea of there being a problem and proceeded to think about the work ahead of me. The driver wheeled the crate as close to the house as he could, I signed for the package and he was off for his next delivery.
You can see the top of the crate leaning to the right. Also note the missing wood from the lower part of the crate.Without waiting another second, I reached into the black shrink wrap, thinking I was going to get my first look at 3 sides of starfire glass; I instead get a 1 inch gash on my index finger. Pulling my hand away quickly, I get my first look at a completely shattered right side of the aquarium. I’ve always told my kids that there will be problems in your life; it’s how you handle them that defines who you are. I’m really hoping right about now that Cadlights is the company I think they are. I immediately contacted Eddie at Cadlights who assured me that they would start a new build right away. He requested some photographs so that he could work with Old Dominion on resolution. While getting the tank replaced took another 8 weeks, Cad Lights did take care of the problem. The cost to ship the broken tank back was too much for Cad Lights so they asked that I just dispose of the tank. I managed to find someone on a different forum that bought the broken tank from me and replaced the one panel.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, this one must be worth a few 100,000Even with this setback, I still had plenty of work to do with the stand, programming the controller and installing lights into my cabinet. While waiting for the new glass was not easy, it actually helped me to really take my time on the rest of the build, time that I may not had taken if I had a tank with water in it.Geisemann Cable Pull
They say an idle mind is cause for trouble so in an effort to forget about the shattered tank, it was time to get back to work. I slowly completed the projects associated with the tank startup. Next up on the docket is to get the cables from the Geisemann ran into and down the wall to minimize the distraction they create. I’m fortunate that my brother installs custom home theaters and other electronics that require wire/cable pulls. Through different projects at my house and joining him on the job, I’ve learned enough to confidently cut holes in my walls. While the task may seem complicated, it’s really quite simple. For less than $5 you can pick up a low volt box and cover, add a drywall saw and you have what you need for this job.
A low volt box, cover and drywall saw are the tools for the jobOnce I had identified where the cables would enter and exit the wall, I used the low volt box as a template to mark where the wall would be cut. The photo below shows the markings on the wall prior to making the cut. It's important to know where your studs are so that you can cut freely and route your wires without hitting the studs.
Once I was satisfied with the markings and 100% certain on my hole location, I made my cut. Its easiest to use the point of the drywall saw and simply wiggle it up and down until it breaks through the wall. Once you've broken through, the saw will easily cut through the drywall. At this point I have a nice hole in the wall. At my house, it's best if the wife is not home for this part. She doesn't care to much for the open holes in the walls.
Once I had the hole cut, the low volt box slides into the wall and the two screws are used to tighten it down. The low volt box keeps the drywall hole from getting larger over time and provides a place for the cover to be mounted to.
I repeated these steps again for the point where the wires will exit the wall. The photo below show my wall after I had installed low volt boxes in both the upper and lower locations. The stand will end up covering the lower location.
With both low volt boxes in place, I routed the cables from the entry point into the wall and down to my exit point. Once I had my cables fed through the wall, the cover plates were installed.
With the majority of work behind me, it was time to add some finishing touches. A black grommet was used to close the 2" hole in the cover plate to something easier to look at. I also added some clear wire loom to route the two cables coming out of the Geisemann into one. I will replace this clear loom with black once I can get back to Home Depot.
This last photo shows how the project is taking shape. Once the tank is installed, you will not see any wires between the light fixture and the tank.
Extending Sump ShelfMaking Tank Maintenance Easier
I firmly believe that if our tank maintenance is easier to complete, it's one less barrier to getting it done. The extending sump shelf was not in my original plan but after getting the stand here and getting a feel for the 30" width, I've come to the conclusion that maintaining the sump will be difficult unless it's put on a rolling shelf. I'm not crazy about crawling under my stand to clean detritus from the sump.
As with most of my projects, they start with a trip to Home Depot. After combing the hardware section I finally found some side mount drawer slides manufactured by Liberty Hardware. I also bought a 10' 2x1 Pine board that I cut into 20" sections. These 20" boards will be the support and extensions for the shelf. A 30x20x1/2 inch piece of plywood, some 2" L Brackets and 3/4" wood screws rounded out the materials needed for the project.
This photo shows two of the four 20" boards with the inner and outer slide components mounted to themAfter getting the slides mounted to the 20" boards, I applied a single coat of black paint to match the stand. I also attached 4 L brackets to the shelf support in preparation for installing the assembled shelf supports to the stand. You will notice in the photo below that the sliding section of the assembly is installed a bit higher than the support section. This will allow the shelf to slide freely without binding on the support.
One of the two shelf assemblies. Notice that the sliding section is a bit taller than the support section.With both shelf assemblies built, it was time to install them in the stand. I first installed the left most assembly to ensure that it would clear the door hinge on the cabinet. Once I had the left assembly in place, I measured 30"(the length of my shelf/sump) and installed the right assembly to the stand. 3/4" wood screws were used to attach the L brackets to the assemblies and stand.
L Brackets were used to install the shelf assemblies to the bottom of the standWith both assemblies mounted to the stand the platform of the shelf was simply mounted to the shelf assemblies. The platform is made of a 1/2" piece of plywood that I cut to fit the size of the shelf. The top was painted black to match. With the top firmly in place, I now have an extending shelf ready to welcome my custom sump.
Extending sump shelf is now complete, total cost for the shelf was just under $30The last two photos show the sump sitting on the extending shelf. The first photo shows the sump pushed into the stand or in the operational position. The second photo shows the sump extended out of the stand or in the maintenance position. Once the tank arrives, I will ensure my plumbing is completed with shut off valves and quick disconnects which will enable the sump to slide.
Sump sitting on the extending shelf - Operational Position
Sump sitting on the extending shelf - Maintenance Position