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cassianoyoung

Inspired by two favorites from the Nano-Reef community, I have decided to start my own nano reef. I will be mixing an matching ideas from the magnificent tanks of both MrNanoReef and Scorched to make my own little reef while keeping track of the actual cost of building a (hopefully nice :)) Nano Reef tank. Any advices that you veterans have for me would be very welcome! Now, lets dive into it.

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cassianoyoung

Here we go! Getting started here with a DYI 20 Gallon long tank Sump/refugium. 

 

Material used:

Aquaeon 20g Long (Petsmart - $27)

1/4" acrylic sheet 18x24 (Home Depot - $22)

Acrylic cutter (Home Depot - $5)

1 Dap aquarium safe silicone tube (Home Depot - $4.50)

Epoxy 

 

Cut 5 baffles out of the acrylic sheet (no waste)

2 9x11.93

2 7x11.93

1 4x11.93

 

Sand and scratch the surfaces of the baffles which will be in contact with the silicone for additional adherence. Cement the baffles with a little "U" shaped using a dab of epoxy putty. Finally cover it all with silicone, make sure to completely cover the epoxy as well to prevent contact with water.

Drilling 5 holes on the back of the perfect low iron Mr. Aqua is next!

 

 

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Weetabix7

Curious to see where this goes....

Welcome to N-R!! :welcome:

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cassianoyoung

Preparing the baffles for the silicone.

As mentioned I made sure to sand and then apply some deep scratches on any surface of the baffles which would be in contact with the Silicone so that it has a greater chance of sticking together as desired. This has proven to work extremely well and the baffles on the tank are solid. Highly recommended.

 

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cassianoyoung

Here is the final product!!

I am very pleased with it and the Epoxy cement is something that I will use in every sump build from now on. I can literally lift the tank from the baffles, that is how strong the bond of the epoxy is. IMPORTANT: Since the epoxy is not officially rated for aquariums -- at leas to my knowledge (might not be an issue but better safe than sorry) if you do this, I would recommend that you make sure to completely cover the surface of the epoxy with the aquarium safe silicone:

 

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holy carp

Do you mean Epoxy?  If not, what is Epox?

 

There are many types of epoxy, and most of them are reef safe once cured.  (Just avoid those that contain metal particles for reinforcement, like the automotive ones) Many of them can cure under water safely as well, though they may make your skimmer overflow temporarily.

 

Can't wait to see what you come up with here.

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SantaMonicaHelp

Welcome and good luck! ;)

Waiting for new updates!

 

-Paola

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cassianoyoung

Some of the new toys have just arrived, cant wait for the next step: Drill Glass :)

 

 

Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light, 36 to 48-Inch (Amazon - $165)

 

Jebao DCP Sine Wave Water Return Pump (DCP-5000) (Amazon - $89.99)

Tinksky Coated Drill Bit Glass Hole Saw Set 28mm 38mm 45mm,3pcs (Amazon - $8)

 

 

Now just Waiting for the bulkheads from Bulk Reef Supply to get started on the drilling process!!!

 

 

Total $$ to date: $490

Sump: $60  //  Lights and Pump: $255  // Mr. Aqua 12 Gallon Long: $115 //   Bulkheads, Screens, Loc-Line, drill bits: $60

 

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cassianoyoung

Yes! Parts, parts, parts. Got my order in today from BRS with my Bulkheads and Loc-Line arms. Based on Scorched's initial complaints/struggles with the expected flow rate he was getting with his 2x1" overflows, and knowing that we can always decrease the amount of flow with a gate/ball valve, but can't increase flow, I have decided to go with 3x1". What you see below is the following:

3 x 1" Bulkheads: there will be three equally spaced overflows on the back panel of the tank

3 x 1" Low profile strainer: to be screwed directly into the bulkhead eliminating the need for an overflow box and saving premium real estate

2 x 3/4" Bulkheads: These will be used for the return inlets

2x 3/4" Loc-Line bulkhead + 3 segments + Flare nozzle: this will be connected to the 3/4" bulkhead on the upper left and right sides of the back wall

 

Apologies for the 2nd grade drawing, but just to give you an idea. The blue dots are the return and the red dots are the outlet into the sump.

 

Another inportant thing: I decided to got with a 22 Gallon long instead. Just ordered today.

 

The reason is that becuase I previously had a 75G and then a 90G reef (Picture of the 75 before it was moved into the 90 below), I was afraid I would be regretting starting with the little 12 thinking it was way too small, so I compromised (:)) and went with the 22. I love the dwarf fire angel and felt as if I could not have one in the 12. I hope that is still considered a Nano tank. I will be selling my Mr. Aqua 12G long if anyone is interested.

 

The only down side here is that I was planning on doing the drilling work today, but now I will have to wait until next Wednesday when the 22G Long will likely arrive. Meanwhile, I guess I can work on finding the stand for this new tank.

 

Cheers!

Cass

 

 

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cassianoyoung

Got my AQUAMAXX 22G. I must say the build quality of this tank does not even compare with the Mr. Aqua. I have both next to each other and the Aquamaxx blows it out of the water big time. The clarity of the glass is the first thing you notice. I thought that the Mr. Aqua was really nice and really clear, WOW, it almost looks dark green when they are next to each other. I will post some pictures soon of this comparison. The silicone work on the aquamaxx is top top notch. It has a linear and perfect 1/16" gap between each panel on all connections, as if it was machine made because it is exactly the same distance all around.

 

OK I go my tank and started drilling right away. Put five holes in it as in the image above. 3 x 1" for overflows and 2 x 3/4" for the return. It was all free hand and they turned out within 1/32" from what I measured, so IMO, perfect!!

 

I then used rustoleum enamel to paint the back panel black and it is now drying.

 

I am still waiting for my 50/65 Gallon Stand which measures 36Lx19Wx28H (the tank is 35.5 x.12x12). I got the larger one because my sump is a 20G Long and I want both some space to work with down there and some space for extra equipment, plus with the tank a few inches back it will keep my little one's fingers away from the front panel :)

 

Also waiting for the following:

Light: Got a killer deal on a JBJ SL 140 (have not found many reviews on it but decided to take the plunge as it was on clearance from Foster & Smith's webside for $270 while the original price is $420. will see what happens there.

 

Skimmer: I might hear that I am crazy for getting such a large skimmer, but for a sale + BRS Points it came out at $180. So I got the Vertex 130. They claim it can be tuned from 30G to 100G. So, let's see what happens there too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Clown79

Looks good

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cassianoyoung

I didn't want to drill the holes too close to the edge, so went with 1" away for the larger holes and 3/4" away for the smaller holes. Now as I dry fit the overflow bulkheads without a flow and the thickness of the bulkhead the waterline would be about 1 1/4 inch from the top. Which is way too much IMO.  Additionally the initial plan of using just a bulkhead screen (as @Scorched has in his magnificent tank) on the overflow would have very little surface skimmage -- thought it does not seem to be an issue -- I am brainstorming a creative way to have some surface skimmer without using the regular overflow glued on boxes sine they are a bit of an eye sore and take quite a bit of space. 

 

As seen on my 75G from 2010 on the snapshot of the picture above, what I am most likely doing is that same thing. What I did for the overflow there was use two 3" ABS 90 degree elbows, drilled several hoes all around it, and used silicone to attach it on top of the bulkhead and the water level was just perfect, within 1/4" above the rim.  Worked out perfectly.

 

 

 

This time a 3" bulkhead elbow is WAY to invasive and large, so I got three 2" elbow, however, they are too small -- the exact same size as the 1" bulkhead flange. So what I am planning on doing is using ABS glue to connect the two parts and cement it into one piece. I think it will turn out quite well and it will allow me to control the water level to the height the I want. In addition the water level can be finely adjusted by opening or closing the holes from the inside by raising or lowering a ring made out of a 1 1/4" piece of PVC pipe. Cant wait to test that out!

Cheers,

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Scorched

Looks awesome @cassianoyoung!  I wish I would have seen your initial post sooner so I could have given you other tips on my design if thats the route you wanted to go.  

 

My 1.0 version of the overflow was somewhat limiting on its flow capacity.  The new setup I'm running has the exact same hole, drain, and return configuration except one drain is now a siphon and the other is a trickle buffer.  This allows for probably triple the amount of water flow.  I'm running that exact same DCP-5000 (Super happy with it, good choice) and can push it at 100% if I wanted to.  Its currently at about 75% so I'm not blasting a few of the corals head on.  For comparison my first build used an Eheim rated for 650gph and I had to have it dialed this back with a valve.   This version is more demanding on the safety precautions needed as the amount of water flow greatly exceeds the gravity 1.0 version.  If you're not careful a flood is definitely possible.  

 

The screens I use also allow the water level to sit higher than the ones that push or screw into the bulkhead hole.  If you decide to go that route check them out.  If your holes in the tank are drilled too low already maybe its not something to even explore.

 

Your last tank looks amazing though so if you do the same thing with upturned elbows I'm sure this one will be just as great.  The boxes in the tank are the worst ;)

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cassianoyoung

 Thanks @Scorched I read your whole journal, which was what prompted me to starting my own. What you have done is simply amazing, so I am planning on heading in that direction :) . Since I noted that in the beginning you struggled with the flow capacity I decided to add a 3rd 1" bulkhead with hopes that this additional capacity would suffice. I love how low profile the bulkhead covers that you have on both 1.0 and 2.0 setups look, and since the water exchange per hour is so immense in this little tanks with such a powerful pump, the low amounts of surface skimmage does not seem to be an issue (as we can all see in your tank). But since my holes were drilled 1" from the top (I was a bit nervous to go much higher and snap the tank while drilling) and because the 90 degree overflow worked so well for me in the past, I will give it a shot again to see where it takes me. Also the 22G long has a bit more room for these 2" bulkheads (it would be quite invasive in the 12G long).

 

Just waiting for my stand so that I can start my hard plumbing and get it all wet.

Cheers mate!

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cassianoyoung

Just had another idea (great one IMO :) ). So I had those low profile screw on bulkhead covers laying around and was no longer going to use it. That was until it hit me that they might fit inside of the 2" ABS elbows that I picked up from Home Depot. SURE ENOUGH! If fits as if it was made for it. They fit like a glove and better yet with a little extra pressure to get it in. The great thing behind this idea is that I will have a removable overflow with a built-in screen. Check out the pictures below and if you would like the YouTube video explaining the idea in more details. Cant wait to install it!

Cheers!

 

DIY Removable Overflow Video explanation

 

 

Overflow 1.jpg

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samnaz

Can't wait to see this develop! I really appreciate your very detailed descriptions, as I will soon be drilling a tank and setting up a 20L sump and I have no idea what I'm doing at this point.

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cassianoyoung
Just now, samnaz said:

Can't wait to see this develop! I really appreciate your very detailed descriptions, as I will soon be drilling a tank and setting up a 20L sump and I have no idea what I'm doing at this point.

Hey @samnaz. Glad to be sharing this journal with folks. I have been doing research for about 3 months and also trying to convince myself that 3 kids and saltwater is a lot to take care of, but I could not help. I am in for the long haul. Please let  me know if there is anything that I could help you with. I hope to see your journal up and running soon. 

Cheers,

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cassianoyoung

They are both ready to go! The Tank and the sump! I decided to paint the sump sides, back, and bottom white to give it a clean look which helps while working down there and also help the light reflection on the refugium. I think they turned out quite nice!!

 

Next is to work on the tank stand while we wait for the plumbing parts to get here and have it ready for dry fitting and adjustments on the pluming planning to fit he sump and stand.

 

 

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cassianoyoung

Here we go! I have had some great experience with these Aquatic Fundamentals in the past. Had the 4' version for my 75 and 90 gallons (previously picture here in the journal). They are very well built and quite heavy. One thing that I decided to do this time is to paint the inside of it white with Rustoleum to provide additional water resistance, hide the salt drops that (white on white) will for sure be all over, and make the sump area a nice and bright place to work with.

 

I highly recommend these stands, and for sure recommend the application of a protective coat on the inside. They are made to be splash proof, but never hurts to have extra protection.

 

If you decide to paint it, make sure that you cover ALL of the areas which you don't want paint to get to. In my case I wanted black in the outside :)

 

 

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Scorched
18 hours ago, cassianoyoung said:

Just had another idea (great one IMO :) ). So I had those low profile screw on bulkhead covers laying around and was no longer going to use it. That was until it hit me that they might fit inside of the 2" ABS elbows that I picked up from Home Depot. SURE ENOUGH! If fits as if it was made for it. They fit like a glove and better yet with a little extra pressure to get it in.

 

Overflow 1.jpg

 

 

Great idea!  They fit together so nicely and provide the extra protection of snails and fish from going down the overflow.

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cassianoyoung

Yes!! Updates:

 

Got the stand setup and painted, got all of my plumbing parts from BRS. Decided to got with the clean Black and Gray theme. Since with my type of plumbing the pipes are going to be seen on the final setup I decided to go with a nice set of Such 80 fittings and Such 40 black PVC. Drew a little plan to get an idea started and then went from there. This is just the beginning (of course I will be headed to Home Depot/Lowe's a few times before it all ends.

 

Overflow: 3x 1" bulkheads. - These three overflows will be plumbed into a 1" tee with a cap which will have a small hole in to allow for smooth water flow and lower the noise. They will then connect to a reducer (being used as an "increaser" :) ) which will then connect to a 2" pipe. The idea is that I did not want to potentially lose any water flow as I would like to have as much flow as possible coming into the tank to provide both filtration and water movement/circulation in the display. I am trying my best to not have any equipment (aside for the return arms and overflows) in the main display. So instead of connecting the 1" overflows all the way down to the sump with 1" pipe, I decided to use 2". Also, was able to use ABS which is black and matches my schedule 40 pvc of choice.

 

Return: 2x 3/4" bulkheads Same overall idea here, maximize flow. I will connect the DCP-5000 into 1" pipe and reduce to 3/4" in two places: The manifold and after it "T" off to the return (as seen in the pic below). The idea is to maintain a strong flow from the pump into the display while controlling the flow with both the speed of the pump and if necessary with a Cepex valve. I will have enough Tees and Elbows that the 1200 GPH from the pump would be reduced enough to meet my requirements without turning my display into a blender :) .

 

Here are the videos of my initial take at the overflows and plumbing

 

 

 

 

Will go at it again tonight with hopes to finish the 2" return (almost there), the manifold, and the overall setup. Can wait to water test this thing!!

Cheers,

 

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cassianoyoung

Overflow: Complete

 

Success! All parts of the overflow are cemented and in place ready for a water test. Extra glue in every single joint and since the end section is already over the sump, I let the pipe that will go into the filter sock attached with pressure only to allow easy sock exchange.

 

Up next: the manifold and return plumbing!

cheers,

 

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samnaz

I got the Aquatic Fundamentals stand for my future 30 gal build and I seriously regret not painting the inside white before assembling it. Contemplating taking it apart and painting the inside white and then putting it back together. Makes the inside so much brighter. And it looks awesome. What kind of Rustoleum paint did you use?

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cassianoyoung

@samnaz I absolutely recommend that you do that. It only takes a minute to take the top off and another 10 to wrap up the outside (if you want it black --which I prefer). I had another One of these stands for my 75 and 90 setup many years ago and I think they are very nice and sturdy stand. But by no means they are water proof. Also after a couple of years of water changes, splashes, etc the original black inside gets loaded with salt (which doesn't really show on a white inside) and if you are not careful to wipe up all the time the MDF will get water in it and swell up. So get a couple of White Rustoleum Protective Enamel (IMO the glossy one is nicer and might a bit more water repellent) and a roll of painters tape and got to town.

 

Remember to apply A LOT of tape in all of the areas where you want to stay black, including about 1/2 inside of the door and don't forget to cover both of the open edges on the front/side so that the spray does not bleed through it.

 

you can also use a roll instead, it would give you thicker coats, but a bit messier. I used two whole cans with three different coats while letting it dry for about an hour in between them.

 

I hope this helps.

cheers,

 

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