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krv's 50g Shallow Thread w/FTS!


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FTS: 02/11/11









Ok, so I bought this studio loft condo in April of 2009 and I wanted to do some upgrades. I was trying to find that one thing that people would see when they first walked in and make them say "Holy S***". At this point it was around November of 2009, and I had never had a fish tank of any sort except a couple of gold fish in a bowl when I was probably twelve. I think they lived two weeks. I had decided that a saltwater reef tank under my rotating plasma and above my electric dual-sided fireplace would be pretty insane. The plasma, fireplace and the room divider they were nestled inside, were obviously there when I bought the place. At this point I had no idea how the hell I would pull this off due to the amount of space there was to work with.


Unfortunately I didn't originally plan on documenting this whole process, so I only have a few pictures, and they suck... But I figured it was better to post something rather than nothing at all....


After reading about saltwater fish tanks for about three months I decided to get started. The entertainment unit/room divider had a cutout for placing your A/V equipment. Power and coax cables were also run under the floor and up to this cutout.




I wanted the tank to be viewable from both sides, just as the TV and fireplace were. So I cut out the back wall of the unit to match the front. I later cleaned it up with some corner bead, joint compound, hours of sanding and a couple coats of paint.








The original plan was to place a 20 gallon long, centered in this space. I cut a hole in the center of this drywall platform, and after pulling the fireplace out, I actually managed to wedge some 2x4's on edge going across the unit right under where this hole was, a couple inches below the drywall. I later attached a 1/2" piece of plywood onto the top of the 2x4's and then a layer of foam. The tank was then set right into the hole I had cut out.


This is what the 20 gallon looked like at one point before I finished cleaning it up.. Unfortunately I don't have any other pictures of it...





That tank lasted about three months, and I decided I wanted something more spectacular. So I tore down most of the structure and moved the tank across the room to keep my critters alive until the new tank was finished, and cycled...






I kept the bottom portion of the structure in tact, mainly because it was anchored to the floor, well below the subfloor, probably right to the beams. I strengthened it by adding some 4x4's and bracing it the best I could. I am no carpenter, and this was the first thing I've ever constructed in my life. One concern of mine was the amount of weight that would be sitting on each of the four corners of the structure. The space where the fireplace is, is wide open with no support whatsoever. Anyways, my building was built in 1880-something and is an old mill building that used to house giant textile machines and stuff like that. I was able to talk to one of the guys that was involved in the process of renovating the building into condos and he said the floor was rated at roughly 200 lbs/square foot. Therefore no problems in that department. I believe most residential structures are typically 50-75 lbs/square foot. My new design called for roughly a 50 gallon tank, so it would probably be in the 500-600 lb range (not including the structure itself).


Here's a picture I found of when I was building it back up..




After the new custom Truvu tank was put in place, and the drywall nearly completed.





Plasma back in place after painting...




I have a 5 gallon top off bucket mounted inside the structure on the left side. The sides of the fireplace are indented in a "V" shape and allows me to fit stuff on both sides in this area. The 5 gallon bucket has a Tunze Osmolator hooked up. I also have a power block mounted in here which has ethernet connectivity. I can control each of the outlets through a web interface, which I've been optimizing for my iPhone. I have a separate web server running which provides the iPhone optimized interface which in turn makes ajax calls to the power block's web server to control the outlets. The outlets also have settings for a power schedule to control the lighting.


On the other side if the unit, I have a 7 gallon trash bucket as a sump. My Skimmer, top-off sensors, skimmer pump, and return pump are all situated in the same chamber. I have no heater at all. I keep the temperature in my unit at 75 degrees, and with the equipment in the sump, plus the powerheads in the display, I get a very precise 78 degree tank temperature at all times. I made a crappy bubble tower in the sump to help reduce the bubbles from the tank's overflow. I still have a slight micro-bubble problem in the tank due the the skimmer's output, but unfortunately everything is crammed right into the same chamber. I later plan to construct an acrylic box which will mount inside the wall of the structure, just above the tank. The box will have baffles to reduce the micro-bubbles being returned from the sump. The sump return line will go into this box. After the baffles, there will be a spout that pours into the tank like a mini waterfall.


The lighting is all LED. I have four Ecoxotic Panorama modules (blue/white) and a couple blue stunners for now. I plan on getting more modules eventually. If you rotate the plasma 90 degrees, it allows you to fold back one half of the lighting fixture, where you can then take off an acrylic cover for that side of the tank. Same goes for the other side. Next I plan on motorizing the plasma bracket to make accessing the tank a little easier.


See the top of this post for the most recent shot. Thanks for viewing!


[More info and pictures to come in the future...]

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Funktastic Wint
I'll try and get some more photos soon....


whens ur lease up? ;) i want YOUR ROOM! :D

awesome everything. what sorta stuff do u have in there?

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whens ur lease up? ;) i want YOUR ROOM! :D

awesome everything. what sorta stuff do u have in there?


When I sell the place, lol.


2 clowns, 1 bar goby, 1 blue/green chromi, 1 cleaner shrimp, astreas, nassarius', blue leg hermits, couple scarlet hermits, 2 purple tipped frogspawns, green striped watermelon mushrooms, giant hunk of zoanthids, and a trumpet coral. Just saw a hitchhiker bristle worm the other day for the first time.... Tank was started in July 2010.

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Wow, seriously awesome!

How does the tank go being so close to the fireplace? I know it's electric but I imagine it still pumps out a fair amount of heat?

P.S. Lofts are awesome!

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Wow, seriously awesome!

How does the tank go being so close to the fireplace? I know it's electric but I imagine it still pumps out a fair amount of heat?

P.S. Lofts are awesome!


Well I don't use it too much anyways, usually just put the fire on without having it blow any hot air... But even when I do have it on, the heat only comes out the front and back ports. It doesn't radiate to the tank at all.

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coolest damn thing ive seen in a while.... and im some what drunk so everything is cool atm. BTW it took me 10min to type and proof read this, plus another 3 to type the whole explanation part.

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Wow! Very cool. I'm impressed by all the equipment in such a tiny space. It's going to look amazing when it's all filled out with corals. I suggest some super colorful LPS in such shallow tank, Bleeding Apple Scoly, Acans, Chalices, a metalic orange plate coral, some really sweet Lobos, A RBTA for your clowns...

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  • 9 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Some recent work in progress.. rebuilt structure out to side wall, and planning on growing mangroves in side compartment... Currently working on the plumbing.. More updates to come..


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  • 8 months later...


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