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15H Nano DIY Project: Image Intensive...


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Hello Folks,


Like the title says, I'm setting up a 15H nano, and I'm going to document each stage of the process. I'm doing this for several reasons, but the most prominent is for the DIY'er or want to be DIY'er. In this process I'm going to cover a few of the DIY tricks, and try to make everything real easy to understand, so someone can follow along and do this themselves.


Within the context of this thread, I'm going to do the following, and may add more as we go along. I say this because I found a dusty old 2 1/2AGA in the workroom while we were doing some tank work.


- Cut Glass for the Bulkheads

- Use a different type of background paint

- Hard tubing for the tank/sump setup and Powerhead

- modify a SeaClone 100 skimmer w/ pics.

- DIY auto-topoff - this one promises to be overkill...

- moonlights retrofitted into a 96w Coralife Quad



A lot of these methods have been covered on Nano-Reef, and I'll hopefully tie them in to one tank from start to finish. I basically like to hard wire all of the PVC, use no powerheads, but prefer to make my own from PVC. Keeping expenses down. The only thing I like to pay good money for is a skimmer. I'll be using no other filtration other than a skimmer and live rock. I've done this with great success with all of my tanks, I'm hoping this will work as well.


I'll be setting up the 15h, with a 10gal sump. I don't have all of the parts as of yet, but they should be here soon. I ordered everything from Marine Depot. I'm currently waiting on the bulk heads, heater, lights, and mag 3 pump.


I'm going to try put up as many pictures as I can of the process, if you'd like to see more pictures, or clearer pictures of something, just ask. If you'd like something explained in better fashion, just ask as well.


NOTE: We will be modifying a SeaClone skimmer, but I won't recommend purchasing a new one, we use them for parts. Were currently in the latter stages of a small nano skimmer using just the cup of the SeaClone. Although, if you own one, or if you are on a low budget and can get one cheap...and haven't ever modified one, I'd recommend doing that for a small nano. It will pull some thick skimmate after modification. For this tank though, we will be using an AquaC Urchin. An excellent skimmer for a nano tank. I haven't ordered it yet, because I'm debating if we should wait for the new nano that is supposed to be coming online. Doesn't anyone out there have a concrete date as to when they're coming out?


Here We GO....



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Here is the can of spray I used for the background. I posted about this Vinyl covering on the DIY thread. There are two important points to remember when using this stuff. The first is to let it sit over night to fully harden. The second is to "not" tape over the lips of the plastic on the top and bottom of the tank. If you do, when you pull the tape, you might just pull some of the vinyl covering with it. I tape up to the edge of the lip, but not over it. When you're done, you can't tell that you didn't do it. This stuff hardens into a nice shell, that makes the back of your tank extremely durable, and not susceptible to salt.


Comes in Blue and Black. The blue is a nice rich color.


NOTE: I also wanted to add, please if you use this spray, do it outside or in the garage. It smells horrible. It's like curing live rock x 50. You were warned... :)



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Here is a picture of the first light coat I sprayed on the victim...During the drying time of each coat on the 15H, I was running back into the workshop to drill the sump(10AGA). As I was mentioning in the last post, you can see the tape I used on the top and bottom...not over the lip.



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Picked up an Oceanic Stand at a scratch and dent price at PetSmart awhile back. Normally, I like to make my own stands, but since this is available, thought I'd just use that. It is a little on the big side, as far as front to back goes, but I have some small wooden fish, and some pictures I'd like to set there of my family, so I think it will work just fine.


Funny thing, when I went to put in the sump last night, I couldn't believe that the 10gal will not fit in there through the door...I had to take it apart from the base, to put it in. Might make it hard for cleaning the sump, but I think It won't be any problem. I usually just vacuum out the sump with my wet/dry :) .


A note to those who are interested in purchasing these for their 30 or 37 cubes. Their not solid pine but made out of 1" plywood with white pine veneer. Paying quite a bit for the name in my opinion. Also, the top scratches real easy..Too Easy...




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Cutting the bulkheads are relatively simple. Although I do it with trepidation every time, it usually is a snap. I've never actually cracked a tank using this method, and I have the guys on ReefCentral and here to thank for that. I used to use a Diamond Bit, cracked one that way. Also had a hard time with the bits walking on me. If I started at an angle with the diamond bit, it kept the bit on track. The same actually applies here. If you start your dremel(or dremel knockoff) at a relatively high speed, and a good 45 degree angle, you shouldn't run into any problems. Here is a shot of the exact bit you need. Costs about $5, and after 15 holes, mine still looks like new.



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Here is a shot of everything I used to cut the holes. It helped to have a buddy along to spray the bit down when it gets dry. It seems to cut better and quite a bit faster when wet. It also cuts better if you slide the bit up and down while you're cutting. After you're done, you can use the bit to round out the hole like a file. It's not the best tool for the job, but it will work, and the glass edges around the hole aren't sharp either.


I also wanted to mention, if you do hear a high pitch squeal while cutting, you're possibly putting to much pressure on the glass. No need to go to fast, I'd just back off a little on the pressure and you should be fine. The whole job took us less than 10 minutes, and if you keep the bit damp, the cleanup will take less.


NOTE: See the safety glasses. I'd highly recommend using them, small bits of glass in the eye doesn't feel good.



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picture of the hole on the sump completed. We ran the tank under the kitchen sink to clean off the residue. Came right off.


Also, a tip, if you are cutting your hole, and you see a little white pooling(like those white spots on the glass) behind your cut, that is not to dry, or to wet. You're doing a spot on job. If the white trail gets dry, spray, if it's too wet...back off on the spray for a bit.



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The 15H with the back completed. The cool thing about this vinyl is, let's say you're spraying outside and a leaf blows by, or a bug jumps on etc. and sticks to it, then you try to remove the leaf being real careful. Oops a couple of fingerprints. Normally, a ruined job. With the vinyl, until it is completely dry, it will peel off in one piece. Pretty neat.



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Last post for tonight, let the waiting game begin. Getting a little excited at this point. Want to get this thing done.


Here is a shot of the back of the stand, had to do a little modification to the stand so I could line up the return pipe.




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While I'm waiting thought I'd post a shot of the 2 1/2, still dusty, but the light is working just fine. It's a coralife 9"/18w. Not sure what to do with it yet, but I'll come up with something.


Anyone with ideas? Filtration?


Can't wait for the bulkheads...


Best Regards,





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Heh Heh Heh...it is, but the second project that unfolds probably will be that dusty old 2 1/2 sitting there. I've been in this hobby both on the professional side, and the retail side since 1986. I have so much stuff lying around, I thought I'd do something with it. Hence, the nanos which as of late I see they're increasingly becoming popular, and I think rightly so. They're not such a drain on the pocketbook.


It might take a little extra work to keep the parameters in line, but this is part of the husbandry that is involved in any facet of this hobby. Large tank or small. Trial and error is the name of the game, and it's forums like this that help people learn...that's why I'm here. To learn.





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