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Jigsaw

Jigsaw's 10G Coldwater Build!

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Hello all!

 

I've been a lurker for quite some time on these forums and am posting to create a decent tank journal and maybe drum up some interest in the coldwater scene. Some of you may have seen my posts on the Facebook Coldwater group, but I wanted a space to put all my photos and build progress, so I figured why not here?  My main inspiration was Steve Weast's tank over at Oregon Reef

 

Anyway, I'm not one for long intros and all that, so without further adieu, here's the tank build!

 

BUILD INFO:

 

Tank: 10G custom TruVu acrylic aquarium, with 1/2" acrylic for insulation. The measurements are 24x12x8. So shallower/longer than your standard 10G.

Stand: New IKEA BRIMNES black stand with 2x4 reinforcements (just in case).

Filtration: Small sump, about 3 gallons of water in it (picked up locally for free!) with filter floss, bio balls (for bio filtration) & eventually carbon. Will tailor this eventually

Return Pump: Syncra Sicce Silent 3.0, 714 GPH

Chiller: Initially it was a ChillWorks CXSC 1 ThermoElectric Chiller. But they suck, so I upgraded to a 1/15 HP JBJ Arctica, which works REALLY well.

Lighting: Current USA Orbit fixture I had from a previous build. 

Other Fun Stats: Grey Schedule 80 PVC for better insulation, CEPEX ball valves from BRS and SupplyHouse (seriously, this site rules for PVC fittings)

Temperature: 55-57 F!

 

Potential Livestock:

  • Catalina Gobies
  • Strawberry Anemones
  • Waratah Anemones
  • Red Foot Moon Snails
  • Maybe some tidepool shrimp/hermits

 

FULL PHOTO ALBUM HERE (constantly updating it!)

 

ALSO HERE'S MY IG FOR STORIES AND SUCH!

 

The one thing I wanted to do with this tank was do it in the best way I could; most coldwater builds I have seen in the past have cool creatures, but the rest was an absolute mess. I'm trying to avoid this, so I took a few months to get to where I am today. So, anyway, here's a few pics of the build from the beginning! I'll add all of them to a photo album and link it from here!

 

Initially, I bought this Thermoelectric chiller (CoolWorks) in hopes that it would have a significant pulldown at a decent price (since our apartment is usually around 70-72 anyway year round). So I got it from eBay, tested it on a 5G bucket for a few days. Ended up getting it down to 62.5 consistently. "Awesome!" I thought, as I thought it would work perfectly. How wrong I was...

dn3bfJA.jpg

 

 

I proceeded to think about my sump options as well as my tank options. I knew I didn't want any cords or anything hanging off of the tank, so I decided to go the sump route. Plus, who doesn't love a big project??

 

Anyway, I was able to actually pick up a free sump from /r/reeftank on Reddit (amazing! I never am that lucky) and it turned out to be a big score for me. Perfect size!

 

PJEeG8i.jpg

 

 

Onto the tank! I actually used TruVu before back home for a 40 gallon, but since I moved, the tank inhabitants went to my brother and the tank is retired. Anyway, I contacted TruVu, asked for 1/2" thick glass and they delivered. I mean REALLY delivered. I decided to go dual returns because A) I wanted the overflow in the middle of the tank and B) It looks badass haha. The fish don't know that this tank was already inhabited by a fierce kitty already 😉

 

WXsag0E.jpg

 

ArjKQxR.jpg

 

mfjYt9e.jpg

 

 

Onto the stand! I picked out an IKEA BRIMNES cabinet because it fit the sump perfectly and it was easily reinforcable. After building it, I coated the bottom and sides with polyurethane to help waterproof it and added waterproof neoprene to the bottom. I also wood glued it together, so it was much more sturdy than your average IKEA piece of furniture. 

 

After that I did a lot of measuring and eventually cut out a rectangle in the middle where the overflow box was. I used a Jigsaw for this as well as drill bits to mark the edges of the box. I am not a woodworker. LOL

H5U3fd5.jpg

 

6UEatZW.jpg

 

68k6Yf9.jpg

 

 

Also wanted to reinforce the stupid cabinet just to be safe, so here I am reinforcing it with my project manager... 

U9n5m4i.jpg

 

 

After all that was finished, I was finally able to start plumbing! The overflow consists of 1" bulkheads, whereas the returns are 3/4". Not sure why TruVu did it that way, but I just rolled with it anyway. In retrospect I probably would have bought new bulkheads. 

 

37uQb84.jpg

 

YlTZ4CA.jpg

 

After a lot of internal debate for the return piping, I finally settled on this. See that ball valve facing us? That's for when I do water changes! a "mini" manifold if you will. The top left part is where I put a shelf to support the thermoelectric chiller....which I ended up ditching for the 1/15 HP JBJ. The unfinished union there is my emergency pipe (it's a full union now, don't worry haha). 

 

8nwGzMI.jpg

 

One more photo

 

 CWcVLPH.jpg

 

 

Initial water test! This did not go THAT smoothly, as I noticed a few leaks in the pvc joints and the bulkheads. After cutting my plumbing up a bit (GRRR) and tightening the bulkheads 1/4 turn with a channel lock, I was good to go! Note that this is still freshwater LOL.

 

HvQ6iwQ.jpg

 

One problem that I noticed is that the thermoelectric chiller did almost NOTHING with the 48W pump. Not cool. Reluctantly, I decided to ditch it and sell it on ebay (it sold INSTANTLY, go figure lol). Hence, I now am the proud owner of a slightly used 1/15HP JBJ Arctica Chiller! And boy did this thing work FAST!

 

HRfQn70.jpg

 

 

 

After that, it was time to add the Pacific Ocean rocks as substrate :D. Still need a few big ones, but you get the idea:

 

naXFsGi.jpg

 

7KnyN3Q.jpg

 

 

 

TIME FOR SALT!

 

Krw3Gcl.jpg

 

Finally, here's the most recent pic after reaching 1.025 SG 🙂 Don't mind the thermometer hanging there haha

 

7UM4Ixe.jpg

 

 

I'll go into more specifics later, but I just wanted to get this up to show ya'll and get some feedback 😄

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Jigsaw said:

Hello all!

 

I've been a lurker for quite some time on these forums and am posting to create a decent tank journal and maybe drum up some interest in the coldwater scene. Some of you may have seen my posts on the Facebook Coldwater group, but I wanted a space to put all my photos and build progress, so I figured why not here?  My main inspiration was Steve Weast's tank over at Oregon Reef

 

Anyway, I'm not one for long intros and all that, so without further adieu, here's the tank build!

 

BUILD INFO:

 

Tank: 10G custom TruVu acrylic aquarium, with 1/2" acrylic for insulation. The measurements are 24x12x8. So shallower/longer than your standard 10G.

Stand: New IKEA BRIMNES black stand with 2x4 reinforcements (just in case).

Filtration: Small sump, about 3 gallons of water in it (picked up locally for free!) with filter floss, bio balls (for bio filtration) & eventually carbon. Will tailor this eventually

Return Pump: Syncra Sicce Silent 3.0, 714 GPH

Chiller: Initially it was a ChillWorks CXSC 1 ThermoElectric Chiller. But they suck, so I upgraded to a 1/15 HP JBJ Arctica, which works REALLY well.

Lighting: Current USA Orbit fixture I had from a previous build. 

Other Fun Stats: Grey Schedule 80 PVC for better insulation, CEPEX ball valves from BRS and SupplyHouse (seriously, this site rules for PVC fittings)

Temperature: 55-57 F!

 

FULL PHOTO ALBUM HERE (constantly updating it!)

 

The one thing I wanted to do with this tank was do it in the best way I could; most coldwater builds I have seen in the past have cool creatures, but the rest was an absolute mess. I'm trying to avoid this, so I took a few months to get to where I am today. So, anyway, here's a few pics of the build from the beginning! I'll add all of them to a photo album and link it from here!

 

Initially, I bought this Thermoelectric chiller (CoolWorks) in hopes that it would have a significant pulldown at a decent price (since our apartment is usually around 70-72 anyway year round). So I got it from eBay, tested it on a 5G bucket for a few days. Ended up getting it down to 62.5 consistently. "Awesome!" I thought, as I thought it would work perfectly. How wrong I was...

dn3bfJA.jpg

 

 

I proceeded to think about my sump options as well as my tank options. I knew I didn't want any cords or anything hanging off of the tank, so I decided to go the sump route. Plus, who doesn't love a big project??

 

Anyway, I was able to actually pick up a free sump from /r/reeftank on Reddit (amazing! I never am that lucky) and it turned out to be a big score for me. Perfect size!

 

PJEeG8i.jpg

 

 

Onto the tank! I actually used TruVu before back home for a 40 gallon, but since I moved, the tank inhabitants went to my brother and the tank is retired. Anyway, I contacted TruVu, asked for 1/2" thick glass and they delivered. I mean REALLY delivered. I decided to go dual returns because A) I wanted the overflow in the middle of the tank and B) It looks badass haha. The fish don't know that this tank was already inhabited by a fierce kitty already 😉

 

WXsag0E.jpg

 

ArjKQxR.jpg

 

mfjYt9e.jpg

 

 

Onto the stand! I picked out an IKEA BRIMNES cabinet because it fit the sump perfectly and it was easily reinforcable. After building it, I coated the bottom and sides with polyurethane to help waterproof it and added waterproof neoprene to the bottom. I also wood glued it together, so it was much more sturdy than your average IKEA piece of furniture. 

 

After that I did a lot of measuring and eventually cut out a rectangle in the middle where the overflow box was. I used a Jigsaw for this as well as drill bits to mark the edges of the box. I am not a woodworker. LOL

H5U3fd5.jpg

 

6UEatZW.jpg

 

68k6Yf9.jpg

 

 

Also wanted to reinforce the stupid cabinet just to be safe, so here I am reinforcing it with my project manager... 

U9n5m4i.jpg

 

 

After all that was finished, I was finally able to start plumbing! The overflow consists of 1" bulkheads, whereas the returns are 3/4". Not sure why TruVu did it that way, but I just rolled with it anyway. In retrospect I probably would have bought new bulkheads. 

 

37uQb84.jpg

 

YlTZ4CA.jpg

 

After a lot of internal debate for the return piping, I finally settled on this. See that ball valve facing us? That's for when I do water changes! a "mini" manifold if you will. The top left part is where I put a shelf to support the thermoelectric chiller....which I ended up ditching for the 1/15 HP JBJ. The unfinished union there is my emergency pipe (it's a full union now, don't worry haha). 

 

8nwGzMI.jpg

 

One more photo

 

 CWcVLPH.jpg

 

 

Initial water test! This did not go THAT smoothly, as I noticed a few leaks in the pvc joints and the bulkheads. After cutting my plumbing up a bit (GRRR) and tightening the bulkheads 1/4 turn with a channel lock, I was good to go! Note that this is still freshwater LOL.

 

HvQ6iwQ.jpg

 

One problem that I noticed is that the thermoelectric chiller did almost NOTHING with the 48W pump. Not cool. Reluctantly, I decided to ditch it and sell it on ebay (it sold INSTANTLY, go figure lol). Hence, I now am the proud owner of a slightly used 1/15HP JBJ Arctica Chiller! And boy did this thing work FAST!

 

HRfQn70.jpg

 

 

 

After that, it was time to add the Pacific Ocean rocks as substrate :D. Still need a few big ones, but you get the idea:

 

naXFsGi.jpg

 

7KnyN3Q.jpg

 

 

 

TIME FOR SALT!

 

Krw3Gcl.jpg

 

Finally, here's the most recent pic after reaching 1.025 SG 🙂 Don't mind the thermometer hanging there haha

 

7UM4Ixe.jpg

 

 

I'll go into more specifics later, but I just wanted to get this up to show ya'll and get some feedback 😄

 

 

 

 

 

Hi!! Looks good so far! 😀

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30 minutes ago, WV Reefer said:

 

Hi!! Looks good so far! 😀

Thanks Christy!! BTW congrats on the TOTM, I love the low tech idea!

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7 minutes ago, Jigsaw said:

Thanks Christy!! BTW congrats on the TOTM, I love the low tech idea!

Thank you 😊

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Glad to see coldwater tanks are still around, are there still people selling coldwater livestock?

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I love this so  much :)

 

@Jigsaw search my past posts on here, I've walked the path you are on ;)

 

@1.0reef I use to collect and sell coldwater livestock but no longer do, there are others that do.  Best places off the top of my head are www.matsucollections.com and www.gulfofme.com :) I also am more than happy to point you at locations you can legally collect your own :)

 

 

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Excellent build so far.  Taking your time definitely shows here, very clean looking setup!  Looking forward to more updates.

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Looks great! Also a lot of fun. I love that old school Wet/Dry sump. It brings back some memories.

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@Nano_Addict Thank you! I definitely took my time and didn't take any shortcuts (...yet 😉). My fiancee has been incredibly patient throughout this whole process... our office looked like a plumbing store for the longest time LOL 😂

 

@Porkpie5000 Thank you! Yeah it works PERFECTLY since I won't really have any porous rocks in the display due to them coming from the ocean around CA.

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Beautiful set up. Looks great so far.

 

I think the cold water tank is a great idea!

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As a scuba diver who's been to Catalina Island, I am super excited for this build! I love those little gobies! Are you going to do any macros?

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Thanks everyone! I'm pretty excited to be doing it. Working with a lot of people to get the species I want :D. 

 

@Firefish15 They will be my main fish :D. You know macros I'm not sure about, I feel like more research on my end is needed for that before I try any. 

 

Last night I worked on getting the noise down on the tank; the pump (although it's advertised as "silent," it doesn't account for tank vibrations), I decided to do some DIY as suggested by @BulkReefSupply! I added a silicon mat or two under the pump, but it still had audible (read: annoying) buzzing all in our (home) office where the tank is. 

 

So I decided to buy some silicone tubing from BRS (going from the pump to the PVC connector) instead of the small bit of vinyl tubing I had and WOW, WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Here are a few pics and a check out my Instagram for a short video of it!

 

Silicone drying mat to put under the pump

 

IMG_7401.thumb.JPG.94d729f431ad71bd9fffe6b3d3abda46.JPG

 

Vinyl (LOUD) vs Silicone tubing

IMG_7399.thumb.JPG.27669a17336429e1fe7d1c6761ec8ae1.JPG
 

These pumps are great and come with soft rubber feet that help cut down on noise.

IMG_7398.thumb.JPG.f3e53c7b965de9c2ae30e5a44cad66c0.JPG

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Welcome back @Jigsaw! It's awesome to see a new cold water biotope coming online, these systems are so fascinating! Great work on the system build so far, the display looks sharp. Definitely following along 🙂

 

Wise tip on silicone tubing vs vinyl tubing, nice discovery! You can share IG posts here too, just copy and paste the share link into our editor. 🤓

 

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@Christopher Marks Thank you Chris! I'll use that embed a lot more now 😉

 

Tomorrow I'm hoping to go to the coast and get some rocks and seawater so the cycle can start! 

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Following because I love coldwater builds!

 

On 9/20/2018 at 9:33 PM, Jigsaw said:

TIME FOR SALT!

 

Krw3Gcl.jpg

 

I use those same measuring cups for my salt lol.  I think mine are green.

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Hey all! Just an update here:

 

I went to the ocean this week, just to get some sand/rocks/macro to seed the tank a bit with bacteria. It was a great success! Actually...err, it was TOO great. I scooped up an anemone hitchhiker and didn't realize it until I got home 😥.  That was not my intention, but on the bright side he is doing quite well and eating mysis! I also got a snail and some of the macro ended up having about 5-6 baby black snails! Pretty cool. Like I said, I don't feel great about getting that anemone, but it seems to be doing well. Anyway, here are some photos! First, here are some of the coast:

 

tBVBRH7.jpg

 

19iclNh.jpg

 

bZI0CcN.jpg

Closed up anems and tons of other little sea life

kb7kTky.jpg

 

 

(This is not the anem I ended up with, but this thing is gorgeous!)

 

My "haul" of sand and macro....and some rocks lol

AftjJV4.jpg

 

New Tank Photo!

 

 

q0Ul8aC.jpg

 

 

thLZy4O.jpg

 

New Rocks! Simple, but effective! The future Catalina gobies will love it 😄

 

Here's the black snails I got. It's interesting, they seem to like spending time on top of the tank out of the water and then delve into it for hours and hours. Might be because they are from the coast?

 

MeoeUvZ.jpg

 

 

 

Aaaand finally, here's my hitchhiker! Dark green aggregating anemone, I believe. Seems to love mysis and polyp labs. Been feeding him about once or twice a day. For reference, he's like the size of a quarter! I'm somewhat worried since the tank is still cycling, but these guys take a beating on the coast, and he's been thriving so far. Still feel bad I picked him up though.

 

Hjj6jvk.jpg

 

 

 

5Btsgy9.jpg

 

 

 

Hope ya'll had a great weekend!

 

 

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Looks great! Crossing my fingers for your little nem. 

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As someone who lives inland, it blows my mind that you can walk the beach and find natural sea life like anemones at low tide.  I visited some family on the west coast of Florida and we visited 4-5 beaches and I still didn't see anything like that.  

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1 hour ago, TatorTaco said:

As someone who lives inland, it blows my mind that you can walk the beach and find natural sea life like anemones at low tide.  I visited some family on the west coast of Florida and we visited 4-5 beaches and I still didn't see anything like that.  

It depends on the kind of beach. Rocky beaches, especially in the North, usually have lots of sessile animals like barnacles, mussels, nems, et cetera. Lots of different macros and grazers too. Sandy beaches usually don't have as much, besides some benthic animals like worms and burrowing snails. With sandy beaches, most of the life is farther out.

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@TatorTaco Haha yes! Totally what @Firefish15 just said. Some places there's just pure beaches and other places there is just a TON of sealife sitting out on rocks and even in the sand (like in the case of the anem I accidentally scooped up). There was even a TON of macroalgae just sitting out that is pretty easy to nab. 

 

But yeah rocky beaches IMO are cooler than sandy ones. Although in summer, you could easily lay out on this beach and then if you felt like it, go exploring at low tide. Really cool!!

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I'll keep this in mind when planning a future vacation.  :-)

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