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· French Fish
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1,652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I've been working on a 55L build for a little while now and it's still in progress. I haven't finished yet and posted a few threads asking questions here and there. I figured the place for all this was a build thread so here goes.

The Plan:

I want to build a 55 long. I picked the 55 Long because I really like the 4' long footprint the second reason is that I got the tank and stand for dirt cheap on craigslist.


Here it is the day it came home checking for leaks.


and here it is where it will reside in my living room.

  • I want a custom hood, with ventilation. Lights was between LED or CF. I didn't want to venture with MH due to the heat. I get summers with my place reaching 90 and the last thing I need is more heat coming from my lights.

  • I want a sump. My current system doesn't have one and everything is hanging over the side or in the tank. I want all that to be hidden.

  • I want to prevent having numerous powerheads and such in the tank. The goal is to see as little as possible. Since the tank is not reef ready I'm going to go with an overflow and my return is going to be diverted to one of 4 options. This will not only give me flow but changing flow.

  • Hide all the equipment. I don't want to see it or hear it. This returns to my want for a sump. Heaters and protein skimmer and all go there. Get one large return pump and divert the flow to reduce the number of ph needed inthe tank. Also by putting all the equipment in the sump I reduce the chance of bubbles forming in the main tank. No bubbles popping means no salt all over the lights among other things.

So Far:

So far I've accomplished a few things here's what I've been up to:

The first thing I worked on was the hood. I went with a 36" CF retrofit fixtures (2x96W). I think I'll probably eventually add some LEDs to it but for now it should suffice.

I built the hood out of wood. A mixture of 1/2" and 3/4" with the top piece being one solid piece of wood. I wanted the top to have some height to prevent salt creep on the fixture and to also allow for heat dissipation from the lights. I added 4 fans, 2 in and 2 out which can be turned on in pairs of one in and out. Intake and exhaust are on opposite sides to cause thorough air flow.

For the fans I used simple 12vdc PC fans and got some wiring from my local auto part store. The switches are simple 12vcd toggle switch with built in leds.

Here are some pics...


Hood after paint.


Installing fans.


Fan covers and switch installed, starting wiring and hood edge.


Mounting the light to top.


Finished hood open.


Finished hood closed and lit.

Next I wanted to do a sump. I started educating myself and realized the most common and easy way to do a sump was to get a cheap glass tank and partion it yourself. Throw that puppy in the stand and done. This is where the first issue really arose and when I realized why a 55L might not have been the smartest move I made.
The problem with the 55 gal long is that it's only 12 wide and that means the inside of the stand is only 11 wide. Good luck trying to fit anything in there especially since the back and front both have a central support.
After a lot of research I decided to follow melevsreef design and build one myself.


Image of the 3D design I did


Here is the build in progress.


Here is the finished project (well it has a few leaks I need to address.)

So that's where I am, Waiting on the weldon to fix the leaks on the sump.

Got some more goodies over the last few days:


My new RO-DI


The overflow -need to cut out the back of the hood :(


My valve to divert flow on return from sump.

That's it for now....

What's everyone think?

:beer:
 

· French Fish
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1,652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Forgot to mention I also already got my protein skimmer. A NWB-150 by reef octopus. Thanks to FutureDoc for helping me pick out a skimmer.

Fits perfect in the sump... and just clears the cabinet height.
 

· Registered
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1,983 Posts
Awesome i love the sump and the skimmer :p me and you went the same way haha but that skimmer looks like such good craftsman ship and engineering a real piece of work (same goes to that sump!!) thank god Doc recommended it
 

· Jabberwocky
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3,216 Posts
It looks like you've really researched what you want to do, but that depth caught ya. I feel your pain though, I have a 55g too, and that is the only thing I've ever hated about it, it's too narrow.

Smart aquascaping can help minimize the narrow tank hassle. Keep looking around at people's tanks for ideas.

You've done a nice job with your sump too. I'll be tagging along for the build (I'm a sucker for a good build thread.)

I have that same skimmer, sitting idle in my 75g. Can't wait to use it.
 

· French Fish
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1,652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Awesome i love the sump and the skimmer :p me and you went the same way haha but that skimmer looks like such good craftsman ship and engineering a real piece of work (same goes to that sump!!) thank god Doc recommended it
Agree, Doc knows his skimmers hence why I followed his advice. My goal is not to be an expert in everything but to listen to the experts around for everything. :rotflmao:
 

· Registered
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Agree, Doc knows his skimmers hence why I followed his advice. My goal is not to be an expert in everything but to listen to the experts around for everything. :rotflmao:
:lol:

Check out my aquascaping when you get the chance
 

· French Fish
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1,652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It looks like you've really researched what you want to do, but that depth caught ya. I feel your pain though, I have a 55g too, and that is the only thing I've ever hated about it, it's too narrow.

Smart aquascaping can help minimize the narrow tank hassle. Keep looking around at people's tanks for ideas.

You've done a nice job with your sump too. I'll be tagging along for the build (I'm a sucker for a good build thread.)

I have that same skimmer, sitting idle in my 75g. Can't wait to use it.
Yeah that depth of the cabinet is a killer. Going out back of the stand on both side of the center brace was the only way to go. I now need to disassemble the stand to get the sump in and then reassemble the back brace. I guess I should be glad to be doing it with the tank empty and removable.

Check out http://www.melevsreef.com/55g/55sump.html and go about a third of the way down the page to see how he did it with a full tank. He (Marc) is the one who's sump I designed mine after with very slight modifications.

I figured with the same name and spelling it must be a sign from the reef gods. :thumbup:
 

· French Fish
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1,652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
+1 Following. Great sump!!! Did ya get all the leaks patched?I also like that valve to divert flow for your return. Where did you get that. Can you describe a little more how it works?
Still waiting on the weldon 16. I use weldon 4 for all the seams but plan on patching the few leaks with 16. It shipped but unfortunately won't be in till next week.

The valve is an OM Squirt http://www.oceansmotions.com/store/...id=34&osCsid=7e18a8d0c66c2f9c60d90328d5abc045 and the inlet is on the bottom. The motor has a diverter affixed to it and as it spins it changes which outlets the flow goes to.

My plan is to have the four discharge pipes coming out of it and place them as follow across the back. The following measurements are from the left side. At 6", 16" 23" and 36" which will give me even spacing since the tank is 42" long.

I think I'll eventually plumb Revolution nozzles http://www.oceansmotions.com/store/...id=40&osCsid=7e18a8d0c66c2f9c60d90328d5abc045 which are great because they'll basically turn a little every time the water comes on and create new flow patterns every time.

Here is animation of how the nozzle works when water goes to it:
 

· Registered
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3,834 Posts
Very cool. I'll have to check out the oceansmotions website later as work is currently blocking it.. LOL Good idea. Does the valve just require a power and ground wire? does it come with the plug or do you have to run it off of a special controller?
 

· French Fish
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1,652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Very cool. I'll have to check out the oceansmotions website later as work is currently blocking it.. LOL Good idea. Does the valve just require a power and ground wire? does it come with the plug or do you have to run it off of a special controller?
Yeah the valve is a regular 115Vac motor. I just need to get a plug and lead from home depot or the likes. Will probably do this weekend. I'll post some pics or maybe even a video of the valve in action.
 

· French Fish
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1,652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Weekend plans

So the weekend is arriving and I'm stuck with no weldon 16. USPS is going to attempt delivering it at my office tomorrow which means I won't get it till Monday since we're closed.

This leaves me with a couple of options for the weekend. My plan is to

  • start with the plumbing from the tank down.

  1. I need to cutout the overflow location in the hood
  2. drill the holes for the 4 return lines
  3. plumb the four return lines to the OM Squirt valve
  4. bring the main line down from the OM Squirt towards the sump
I can do all the pvc work part of the way down. Without the sump in place and without my return pump though can't really finish.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good return pump?
  • prepare the stand for the sump

  1. remove the rear vertical support
  2. remove the cardboard-like stand bottom
  3. cut out new bottom with extension out rear of tank
  4. fit new parts and hope they fit....
Here is the planned bottom..

 
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