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teenyreef

Teenyreef's 20g Study-kept Dustmite Biotope: It's alive!

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teenyreef
13 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Any progress report on this build? Sorry Tenny don't mean to high Jack your thread but so curious! 

No worries, I'm interested too!

15 hours ago, Reefkid88 said:

I love the Staxx rocks. Its too easy to make scapes with. I will be using it in my picp tank build. 

20200524_084611.jpg

Nice 😍

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teenyreef

We have plumbing parts!!!

 

20200601_230047.jpg

 

I also picked up some frosted glass spray paint for the back wall of the tank. I used this in the 30g frag tank build and I really like how it added a sense of depth to the back of the tank, while blocking the view of the pipes and cords behind the tank.

 

I haven't decided what to do with the bottom of the tank. In the 30g build, I used textured sand spray paint, which looks great. But it's a light color, so it reflects light (good) but also promotes growth of coralline algae (not all bad, but it has to be scraped to keep it looking nice). I've thought about painting the bottom black, so I picked up a can of hammered black textured paint, so it can look more natural. Or I could just use a piece of black yoga mat to level the tank and make the bottom black without any extra work.

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teenyreef

Sigh...I just realized I forgot to get a diamond hole saw for the 3/4 return bulkhead. The overflow came with a hole saw, but it's a different size, of course, and I don't have the 42mm size required. I ordered one on Amazon but it won't be here until Monday, so it looks like I won't be drilling the tank this weekend.

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teenyreef
On 6/3/2020 at 11:20 PM, teenyreef said:

Sigh...I just realized I forgot to get a diamond hole saw for the 3/4 return bulkhead. The overflow came with a hole saw, but it's a different size, of course, and I don't have the 42mm size required. I ordered one on Amazon but it won't be here until Monday, so it looks like I won't be drilling the tank this weekend.

Well apparently Friday is the new Monday, because the 42mm hole saw arrived today! omgomgomg

20200605_201349.jpg

 

There goes my excuse for not getting the tank drilled this weekend. I've been dragging this build out for years but it appears I might actually be able to get it going in just a few more months years days weeks! I mean days. :unsure:

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mipster
1 hour ago, teenyreef said:

Well apparently Friday is the new Monday

The US postal service is clearly on your side. You have no excuse now! If this tank isn't drilled and plumbed by the end of the weekend I'll..... no nothing.... because I can't cross the boarder into your country to push things along...

 

See this is why I actually prefer reading old build threads because I just want to see more and am not a very patient person lol

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dropped

Its been four hours..... have you drilled it yet?

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mipster
25 minutes ago, dropped said:

Its been four hours..

Is the tank wet yet? 

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da1001

Waiting patiently  🙂  (hurry up)

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dropped

Its been 14 hours since the drill bit arrived and three reefers wait for teenyreefs return, has he drilled it successfully? is it plumbed with water in it? or has Teenyreef forgotten about us all 😞

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mipster
5 hours ago, dropped said:

or has Teenyreef forgotten about us all

I think he forgot us, I feel unloved... 😭

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teenyreef

Come on, I've been busy drilling the tank! :lol:

But I appreciate the love :flower:

After spending the day working outside and dripping sweat, I spend the evening working in the garage on the tank and...dripping sweat again. But this time I had to make sure I kept it off the tank.

For those that can't stand to scroll through the pictures and just want to know what happened, I drilled the tank, nothing broke, frosted the back glass, and it looks great!

 

First, the obligatory unboxing pictures. Although these are a repost since I took these pictures back in January 2019 :blush:. I won the tank as a raffle prize in the N-R Secret Santa contest. Thanks again for drawing my number, @jbb_00!

 

20190123_182652.jpg

 

It was very well packed with millions of styrofoam peanuts. Which are a huge pain in the patootie to get out of the box.

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After fifteen minutes of digging, I found there actually was a tank under all those peanuts.

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I only ended up with a few peanuts in the tank.

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And that was all that happened for a Very Long Time, other than moving the box into the garage where it blocked access to the workbench drawers for a year or so.

 

Next up: drilling the tank :scarry:.

 

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teenyreef

After digging out still more styrofoam peanuts (have I mentioned that I hate those things?) I set the tank up on end on top of a towel, stuck a towel and some paper towels in the bottom to catch the water, and measured and marked for the overflow and return holes. Fijicube provided a template for the hole which worked great for marking the return. I taped both sides of the glass and clamped a board to the underside of the glass to keep the water in place and minimize chipping of the glass (hopefully). Finally I made a water dam with plumbers putty.

 

This is an ancient drill I've had forever. I only keep it because I have the right-angle drill jig mounted on it. Using this makes drilling the holes easy because it holds the hole saw square to the glass and prevents it from moving.

20200606_215443.jpg

 

Just add water!

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I started drilling and realized I was now 100% commited to the peninsula orientation :eek:.

I stopped to add more water every so often. I should have expected it but I was a little surprised by how much water flew out and went all over the place.

20200606_212708.jpg

 

Done! The board underneath kept the water from falling down into the tank.

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Here's the glass disk from drilling the return:

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The holes ended up reasonably smooth and chip free, but it could have been a lot better. The drill I used with the right angle jig is so old that it doesn't even have variable speed. Next time I'll take the time to mount the jig on a variable speed drill so I can run the saw a lot slower, especially at the beginning and end. That would result in a much smoother cut. On the other hand, it only took about two minutes total to drill each hole at full speed.

20200606_215724.jpg

 

It was a little nerve-wracking, but I was very happy with how it went. Nothing broke and I have two holes that are the right size, in the right places. Success!

 

Next: painting the back wall with frosted glass spray paint.

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teenyreef

I wanted to frost the back glass to give a semi-transparent look that will obscure the wires and plumbing while adding an impression of depth. 

After cleaning up all the mess from the drilling, I used glass cleaner, followed by several wipe downs with denatured alcohol to clean the outside of the back glass. But before I could paint, I needed to mask everything off, including the portion of the glass that the bulkhead gaskets would contact. I was concerned that the frosted glass paint might degrade the seal of the gaskets. So I put some painters tape over the holes and then cut through it so I could temporarily mount the bulkheads.

 

They fit, by the way. Whew!!!

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Then I put a fresh blade in the utility knife and carefully cut the tape around the bulkhead gaskets. The bits of tape that are visible are actually on the bottom of the glass.

20200606_221249.jpg

 

Then I removed the bulkheads.

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Finally, I taped the bottom of the holes and the edges of the glass, and used newspaper to mask off the rest of the tank.

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Here's the paint I used:

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First coat:

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The final product. The tape and masking worked perfectly.

20200606_231429.jpg

 

Next up: beauty shots 🙂

 

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teenyreef

I cleaned up all the glass and moved the tank into the study. It's on the floor right now, until I get the 10g moved out of the way. 

 

I decided not to paint the bottom glass black, and just went with the black leveling pad that came with the tank. I think it will work fine.

 

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Well, that's it for tonight! I hope all the pictures were worth the agonizing 24 hour wait :biggrin:

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dropped

He Lives! He Drills! He has not forgotten about us!

 

in all honesty, looking great!

 

makes me think i should drill my up coming mangrove tank for a sump..

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neyes_ice

i wish i knew about the frosted paint

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debbeach13

Your hard work shows that look great.

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Reefkid88

Man,you did a phenomenal job bud. It looks amazing. 

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da1001

That looks slick

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mipster

oooo worth the wait, I love the frosted back. When you first said it I was expecting a black frosting, not white. I've never seen a tank with a white frost backing, I'm excited to see how the corals pop against that, very sleek looking. 

 

What's going to happen to the 10G since you're stealing its spot? Is it just going somewhere else or is everything moving into the 20G?

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teenyreef
4 hours ago, mipster said:

oooo worth the wait, I love the frosted back. When you first said it I was expecting a black frosting, not white. I've never seen a tank with a white frost backing, I'm excited to see how the corals pop against that, very sleek looking. 

 

What's going to happen to the 10G since you're stealing its spot? Is it just going somewhere else or is everything moving into the 20G?

I'll eventually break down the 10g. I'm not going to move most of the rocks because I want to start fresh in the new tank. But I will frag off the bigger corals and move smaller corals into this tank. The zoas, for example, are on small rubble rocks. I can dip them and then move them over.

 

13 hours ago, dropped said:

He Lives! He Drills! He has not forgotten about us!

 

in all honesty, looking great!

 

makes me think i should drill my up coming mangrove tank for a sump..

 

6 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Your hard work shows that look great.

 

5 hours ago, Reefkid88 said:

Man,you did a phenomenal job bud. It looks amazing. 

 

4 hours ago, da1001 said:

That looks slick

 

Thanks everyone!

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teenyreef
12 hours ago, neyes_ice said:

i wish i knew about the frosted paint

I did the white frosted paint on the back of my 30g frag tank. It really worked out well. I do have to scrape the back wall since algae really shows up against the white but it's worth the effort.

 

When I was measuring where the overflow and return would go, I tried to leave at least three inches open so I could fit the scraper in between all the parts.

 

Here's a shot of the back from the 30g. This is back when I still had Doug the leopard toby puffer.

20181102-untitled-025.jpg

 

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second_decimal

the frosted look rocks. Especially since it’s so easy. Normally you would cover the entire area with masking tape, transfer an image and cut out the parts you want frosted. Then sandblast clean and remove tape for frosted effect. 
 

A small suggestion from when I set up my rock work (and had to go back to fix later) When you get ready and have everything laid out, drill a couple of frag plug holes in the flats (or anywhere) I’m sure as an experienced reefer you already do this but just in case. Don’t be a dummy like me and decide that you have to tear it all apart later. 

 

Edit:

do you already know your ATI Pro stuff? dosage / dillution etc.  

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teenyreef
12 hours ago, second_decimal said:

the frosted look rocks. Especially since it’s so easy. Normally you would cover the entire area with masking tape, transfer an image and cut out the parts you want frosted. Then sandblast clean and remove tape for frosted effect. 
 

A small suggestion from when I set up my rock work (and had to go back to fix later) When you get ready and have everything laid out, drill a couple of frag plug holes in the flats (or anywhere) I’m sure as an experienced reefer you already do this but just in case. Don’t be a dummy like me and decide that you have to tear it all apart later. 

 

Edit:

do you already know your ATI Pro stuff? dosage / dillution etc.  

Yes, I absolutely love the frosted glass paint. The only downside to watch out for is that since it's on the outside of the glass, you have to be careful not to scratch it with any of the plumbing during installation and maintenance. But then, you can always respray over the scratches and it's all fixed.

 

I've never done the frag hole thing in the rocks. Usually I remove the frag from the plug before I dip (if it's possible), or I used bone cutters to chop off the stem of the plug and just glue the disc onto the rocks. I've always like this approach because it makes it easier to move the plug later if I need to. But it's a great idea and an easy way to secure the plugs to the rocks without a lot of messing around 🙂

 

I've been using the ATI Pro stuff on all three tanks for quite a while now. I use the BRS dosers, controlled by the Apex, on the small tanks (like the 10g, and this one) because they can dose a very small amount at a time. So I don't have to dilute it. Currently in the 10g tank. the dosing is set to 30 seconds at a time, six times a day. That works out to about 3 ml per day. I just check alk every few days (or weeks, depending on conditions) and bump the time up or down by a few seconds to keep things on track. I have 20 ounce dosing containers, so I only have to refill them about twice a year. So they should be good for three months between refills in this tank.

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teenyreef

I moved the 10g over to the side on the desk to make room for the new tank. It sits halfway behind the monitor but that's ok since it's just temporary. And the monitor is on an arm so I can swing it out of the way if I need to.

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I attached the external overflow and the return bulkhead so I could see how everything will fit and everything looked great.

 

Then I centered the tank under the light, pushed it back to the wall and...oops, it won't go back all the way.

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This creates a big problem on the front end 😞

 

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I can slide it over about an inch and the tank fits perfectly. But then the light isn't centered over the tank. Everything looks great, though! Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

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So now I have to figure out some options:

1. Cut the vertical light bar shorter so that it ends before it hits the top of the overflow box. That will be ugly because the cord coming out the bottom of the bar/tube will be visible right above the overflow.

2. Attach the linear shat supports to the underside of the big shelf up above, and just use the horizontal bar. I could route the cable through the white cable raceway that's already on the wall a bit over to the right which wouldn't look too bad. But the shelf mounts aren't built the handle that kind of a load cantilevered out from the wall. It might be fine, or I might have to come up with some kind of support brace/bracket.

3. Move the whole desk further away from the wall by about an inch and a half. This sounds like the easy solution, but the desk is already about three inches away from the wall, and the cabinets are sitting on thin sheets of plywood to keep them the doors clear of the carpet. I'd have to drain the 10g tank almost completely to reduce weight, and get someone to help lift each end of the desk while we move the sheets of plywood. It's doable but still won't look that great with the desk sitting so far away from the wall.

4. Hang the wires from the ceiling. This might be the best option. Other than the wires coming down from the ceiling, it gets rid of all the other mounting apparatus and give an even cleaner look.

4. Scrap the whole hanging thing and do a bracket from one side or the other. But sooo ugly.

 

The best thing about this hobby is the challenges never stop. It's not the end of the world, I just have to get creative 🤔

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