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Geoff Southworth

New Custom 50 Gallon Build

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Geoff Southworth

Hello fellow reefers! 

 

Recently I had a rough experience with my 34 gallon solana all in one tank. Right before bedtime my wife noticed that the floor was wet in my hallway. We followed it to my aquarium and I instantly went into panic mode. The tank was leaking slowly but steadily so my wife ran to get buckets and towels while I ran to the fish store to pick up a new tank. 

 

I grabbed the closest 29 gallon tank and rushed home. I quickly placed the water and corals in the new tank along with all of my apex equipment and I sat and looked at my new mess.

 

After talking it over with my wife, we decided it was time to upgrade to a bigger reef tank compete with overflow and sump. The problem is, no one makes the size tank I need for the dedicated space and I don’t want to spend $1500 for just the tank. So I have decided to make it myself.

 

I ordered and received my 1/2” glass and will be building it this next week. The tank is 32” wide, 20” tall and 18” deep making it about a 50 gallon rimless tank.

 

The frame if the stand is made from 2x4s and will be dressed with stained oak to make it look nice. 

 

Here is what I have so far. Hope you enjoy the process!29C031B0-18F6-45AB-B8B9-482D165380E6.thumb.jpeg.921d9a5686212ae982c12ba24671f650.jpeg4654496C-0948-476C-B9B6-1B5979F8FF5F.thumb.jpeg.4c7c72bd6513d9b3439510d3fdc86ce1.jpeg1CA93D02-90C3-44C2-80D1-7E9842F795E6.thumb.jpeg.017a594d1b6d06a2ea70cd2312c7efc9.jpeg80B8CCB1-F16D-45B5-817C-9F09CD4DC877.thumb.jpeg.198dc806e256f5d2790f25264fc69385.jpegBCDB2EAB-5847-403E-BF3C-580D8E4743F4.thumb.jpeg.99e7626f1752efd79d8669b720a81e5f.jpeg

 

 

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Matteo

You're gonna build the tank??? Savage. I'll be watching 👀 

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Geoff Southworth

Sure am, check out the bottom of the tank. I stuck two pieces together to give it a stronger base. Walls go up soon!EAC4FD97-DB5C-4A81-8E27-3BA2F6FE48F1.thumb.jpeg.ca81097d57fbfde6d53a83f2c84a23af.jpeg

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Matteo

Starphire? 

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Geoff Southworth

Half inch Sapphire glass

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Matteo
Just now, Geoff Southworth said:

Half inch Safire glass

Noice

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Geoff Southworth

Wanted to give an update of the new aquarium stand. I framed it with 2x4s and faced it with oak. It’s freshly sanded and ready for stain! The top edge will have a decorative piece as well.

 

I have a Neptune apex and two dosing pumps installed on removable panels. The wiring will be hidden behind them so I should have a clean looking set up. 

 

Pending the last glass glass panel delivery I should have the tank built by tomorrow.EC3E511F-B79B-4A47-BD37-AF221BE31C58.thumb.jpeg.181c25faa26eaba1df87c010ce2ecb68.jpeg0450A1CE-6FBC-4504-9740-EA95828FC73A.thumb.jpeg.2bf8d67ce2df579e98f0f9aa347ed1fc.jpeg

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Matteo

So excited to see the actually tank get built 👀😎

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Geoff Southworth

Tank has been placed in the jig!

 

So my wife and I initially attempted to silicone the tank using clamps and failed... miserably. So I had to clean the glass from silicone which took a very long time. 

 

For the next next attempt I build a jig to keep the bottom of the glass secured in place. I used corner clamps for the tops of the glass. I then cut and placed zip ties along each edge to act as spacers so I can direct inject the silicone. 

 

I then tacked small portions of silicone on the bottom portion of the glass to help keep it in place. Then I can begin to remove the zip ties to place the continuous beads of silicone without it falling down during the process. 

 

The final process starts today!0D51CFCF-7F06-41CC-809A-EE2F604FD8E9.thumb.jpeg.c1b311ebca64d8caf759af8b86162256.jpeg37AC619B-2076-4462-8A11-88526AD8E4D2.thumb.jpeg.e1416050f2770ca5c8b1d4785f85d80f.jpeg65C69064-FBF0-41F8-982C-F25B1964C77E.thumb.jpeg.b51497af98897129a80b1cbf7bb7af29.jpeg

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Matteo

🤪 Crazy stuff 

 

I'm a diy guy but these seems above my level for sure. Kudos! Was the glass predrilled? 

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Geoff Southworth

Yes I had it pre drilled. I figured I would let the pros mess it up and replace it vs me cracking the glass and having to buy another sheet. 

 

I learned silicone and glass projects are definitely a headache. It’s crazy how slippery things get. When you are on a time crunch to get it done you feel the pressure. 

 

I pulled up the bottom tape too late and the silicone had already skinned over. Which left a couple bumps that I will have to smooth out. Thankfully it was the bottom and not the sides.

 

If you ever want to try making your own, be sure to make a jig to hold the bottom in place. If not it becomes quiet the mess.

 

 

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Geoff Southworth

Tank is built! Direct injection is the way to go!

 

The only issue that I had is that I pulled the tape off of the bottom panel a bit to late. This made the the top layer of silicone skin come up a bit. Thankfully the sides turned out fairly well and the front panel is almost perfect. 

 

In retrospect, I should have built the sump tank first for more practice. But what’s done is done. As long as it holds water and doesn’t leak I’m happy with the way it looks. B726FF26-5D54-4CCD-B473-B1DCE940F55D.thumb.jpeg.f5fde8bf4bb17ead88bd20e438193799.jpeg8558D49A-8B22-4B89-AE05-34E6E65E9BDC.thumb.png.ed16073c4fbd8858444492cfbb792d78.png

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Geoff Southworth

I got the stand painted yesterday. Doors will be ordered this week. I’m going to place the tank on it tonight and see if I can get the plumbing figured out. Slowly but surely it’s all coming together.

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Geoff Southworth

Time for the fill test!CBE59916-BAF9-4D4A-9B0A-2A11525489E5.thumb.jpeg.8602703fe7c64451e4e4b712e34255c8.jpeg

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Geoff Southworth

So far so good, fingers crossed!FFA6D803-F565-4D72-AD2C-89066EF5FAFE.thumb.jpeg.288cac9ea380a79a166c89eb0c1056a8.jpeg

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Wonderboy

WOW - great work! Can't wait to see this put together!

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Arce

Following. Did you buy the glass local? How hard was it to silicone together. Tempted to DIY one, costs for custom tanks are so pricey.

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Christopher Marks

How's your reef build coming along @Geoff Southworth? That's a really cool custom tank!

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Geoff Southworth
8 hours ago, Arce said:

Following. Did you buy the glass local? How hard was it to silicone together. Tempted to DIY one, costs for custom tanks are so pricey.

Hi Arce, I originally bought the glass from my local glass store. It was $850 for all of the panels including the 4 holes. 

 

Silicone is the hardest thing I have ever done. It took me 3 attempts and building a jig to get it right. Unfortunately, all of my attempts failed... 

 

After 2 days of waiting for the silicone to cure, I noticed bubbles in all of the seams except one. This is where I almost gave up. 

 

I reached out to a few different places to ask questions on the strength as well as to ask what I did wrong. Only one person got back to me, Nic Tiemens from Infinity Aquarium Design.


They specialize in large acrylic tanks and have very high end clients. He was kind enough to answer my questions as well as offer me a custom tank at a VERY FAIR PRICE. I picked up my new tank from him a couple weeks back and couldn't be happier. I really can't say enough great things about Nic and his company and highly recommend him for all of your tank needs.

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Geoff Southworth

Here are some pictures of the build. I added clamps to help hold all of the plumbing in place. I made it so I can turn the threads and won’t have to undo the clamp itself if I ever have to remove anything.

 

I am going to be running a 10g tank as a sump until I am able to get a custom one made for me. 

 

It’s a bit tight, but everything fits nicely. The canister is running off of the manifold with one more spot to run a tube for water changes or a skimmer.  

 

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Christopher Marks

That's frustrating the silicone seams didn't work out, but I'm glad to hear you were able to find a solution. That's really tidy plumbing @Geoff Southworth. I like all the clamps to keep the pipes from moving, I don't see that often. Does it all run pretty quiet?

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FISHnChix

I agree with chris the plumbing is outstanding... any updates on this tank??

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Geoff Southworth
40 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

That's frustrating the silicone seams didn't work out, but I'm glad to hear you were able to find a solution. That's really tidy plumbing @Geoff Southworth. I like all the clamps to keep the pipes from moving, I don't see that often. Does it all run pretty quiet?

 

25 minutes ago, FISHnChix said:

I agree with chris the plumbing is outstanding... any updates on this tank??

Thanks guys, the only thing I wish is that I would have the gray unions instead of the white. I made the decision to use the BRS unions right after I glued them on.  No biggie, just preference. I found that the BRS ones are definitely worth it and come apart much easier. 

 

I was worried at first the the 1 1/2” overflow pipes would be to big for a 50 gallon. I almost sized them down but decided that the gate valve would do the trick. Thankfully I was right and the tank is  silent. The Neptune COR20 is an awesome pump and I love that it ramps down during feed mode. The only time I have issues with sound is if I stop the flow completely and restart. Other than that it’s super quiet. 

 

I will I’ll post some more pics of the updated tank with livestock as soon as I get a chance. Work has been killing me and I have been working on this tank 30-40 min a day when I get off. 

 

Anything specific you guys want to see? 

 

 

 

 

 

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FISHnChix

Post up a fts once you get a rock scape going 😊

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Geoff Southworth

Here is the tank with the aquascape and leftover corals from my old tank. I lost my very large chalice unfortunately but saved the mushrooms, brain and candy cane.

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