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Tylernt's 25g cube


tylernt

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First off, thanks to everyone who has posted cube tanks. I love cubes. Cubes rock!

 

My last tank at home fell to neglect because it was a pain in the gluteus maximus to do maintenance. Get the siphon out, try not to suck up sand or knock corals off the rock, spill water on the carpet. Then there was the mixing of SW by shaking a 5g bucket, testing SG, adjusting, shaking, checking, ugh. And then there was all the topping off...

 

I decided when I tore it down that any future tank at home would be required to quick, easy, and highly automated maintenance. Here's what I ended up with:

 

We already had an end table I wanted to use, so I reinforced it with a foot in the center. This is just two 2x4s held on with a screw down from the inside of the cabinet.

 

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The stand would require further reinforcement, but more on that later. Next I wired up the power center. This is a 8-switch metal box which I understand is used for stage lighting and stuff ("Eliminator", it's called). I got it off Amazon for like ~$25 because a reviewer said it had spade and lug connectors inside. Sure, enough, it did, which was perfect for my purposes.

 

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I removed the switch and outlet at position #6 to make room for the float switch relay. The relay switches #7 and #8 on/off based on the float switch position. The float switches and relay are driven by a small unregulated 9V wall wart, which produces over 12V when unloaded so it works perfectly.

 

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The spade and lug connectors made this mostly an unplug-and-plug affair. I did cut off the hot connector for #6 and replace it with two lug connectors which plug in to the relay contacts. Don't worry, the bare metal connectors were shrink-wrapped after taking the above pic.

 

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(I also double-shrink-wrapped the now unused extra neutral terminal. )

 

It seems I forgot to take a pic but I crammed another relay in the metal enclosure, behind the overload breaker where there was lots of empty room. This second relay has a 120VAC coil and is plugged into my heater controller with a $1 extension cord I chopped up. When the heater controller shuts off (meaning the tank is too hot), this second relay turns on a pair of 40mm computer fans that will blow air into the AIO chamber for evaporative cooling.

 

The other outlets in the power center are used for the left/right circulation pumps, a mixing pump for the 10g AGA aquarium SW reservoir under the stand, a transfer pump to move RO/DI from the ATO reservoir into the SW reservoir when making SW, and finally a pump to refill the display tank with water from the SW reservoir. The refill pump is plugged into power center outlet #7 (which, as you may recall, is controlled by the float valves). This means the refill pump will automatically shut off when the water level in the display reaches the correct height. Neat, huh?

 

Here's the power center and a Coralife digital day/night timer Velcro-ed to the left inside wall of the stand:

 

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The two black pillars you see are the other reinforcements to keep the stand from collapsing under the weight of the display tank (I estimate 25g of water + rocks is going to be north of 250lbs).

 

In the background are twin Penn-Plax Silent Air B11 air pumps, which come on automatically in the event of a power outage and run for ~48hrs on two D batteries each. Don't reef without them!

 

Here I've installed the 5g AGA aquarium which is the RO/DI reservoir for the ATO. You can also see the permanent siphon hose from the display tank. To drain water for a WC, I just grab a bucket and turn the ball valve. Hands and carpet stay dry!!

 

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Above the FW reservoir are the heater controllers Velcro-ed to the stand ceiling. I used a Repti-Temp 500R both to protect against a rogue heater and to automatically engage evaporative cooling when temps rise too high. The twin heaters are 100W Finnex HMA electronic titanium units. I do not and will not trust bimetallic thermostat heaters after one boiled one of my reef tanks; strictly electronic for me from now on, thanks.

 

You may be thinking, 200W of heater for a 25g tank? Well, the tank is topless and we keep our house at 64°F at night in winter, so I want the tank to stay warm even if one heater fails.

 

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You can also see my twin Tom's Aqualifters. I calculcated a little over 30" of head so I plumbed them in series. Works great.

 

In the FW tank you can see the Mini-Jet 404 used to move water into the SW mixing tank via 1/2" hose.

 

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In the clean SW tank you can see a Mini-Jet 606 in the back for mixing and a Maxi-Jet 1200 for pushing clean SW up into the display tank (again 1/2" hose). I took the intake grate off the 606 so it flows more water.

 

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Next I risked life and limb with power tools!

 

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I got a local plastics place to cut me some black acrylic. I got a big sheet of 1/4" for my main back wall and some 1/8" black for the sides, (my AIO chamber does not span the entire width of the display tank to hopefully preserve some of the "cube aesthetic"), all precut to final size. However I had to cut the overflow comb/weir myself. Wasn't too bad, using a woodworking trick: http://sawdustmaking.com/Box%20Joint/boxjointjig.html. (I didn't use a dado, though, just a normal 1/8" saw blade kerf.) Cut slow, the acrylic chips out like crazy on the backside. (I put the chipped side facing the back of the tank so the chips aren't visible from the front.) Maybe different kinds of saw blades chip less, I dunno, I was just using what came with the table saw.

 

I made my slots 1" deep, both because I was afraid of breaking teeth off and because I wanted the water to come up as close to the rim as possible. (I ended up with a waterline of like 1/8" so it turned out well.)

 

Then it was off to the drill press to drill holes for the outlets, glue the sides on, and silicone it into the tank:

 

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I made up plumbing for the two 250GPH Maxi-Jet utility pumps:

 

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Goes from 1/2" tubing to 1/2" PVC with threaded outlets for the Loc-line nozzles to screw in to. What I didn't realize is that the utility pumps actually have threaded outputs, so I didn't need to bother with the hose adapters and could have done it all in PVC. Ah well.

 

Installed, with two Nano-Glos for chaeto.

 

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I wanted an open, topless look so I opted for a Ecoxotic PAR38 in a "drafters table" clamp arm lamp from an office supply store. Obviously I didn't install the shade to avoid cooking a $114 lamp. :o

 

Here it is, all assembled with some LR, cycled, and CUC added. Ammonia/nitrites/nitrates all 0 (I swear cheato is a freakin nitrate sponge!) I have a bunch of BRS rock coming Tuesday and will probably add a Royal Gramma Wednesday. Then coral! :)

 

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That water line looks so high lol.

 

But anyways, welcome to the Mr. Aqua 25G club! Love seeing more and more of these popping up. Tagging along. :)

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