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Reefkeeper's 75 Gallon Build

37188 Views 151 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  fsureefer

Recently broke ground on my 75 gallon reef tank build and figured I would get a thread rolling. My current set up is a 72 bowfront seen below. I aquired the tank and stand about a year ago and recently made the decision to upgrade to a new 75 gallon tank, and build a custom stand.

This is an older picture of the tank after about 4 months or so...

Started working on the new stand about two weeks ago with a good friend. Began with cutting and assembling the top and bottom frames using all 2x4's and a 2x6 for the top front beam.

Bottom assembled.

Top assembled

Following with getting the legs cut and put together using an L shaped design with 2x4.

Test fitting.

Then cut the two pieces to completed the front two legs using 2x6's.

Drilled the pocket holes and fastened the frame together.

Frame all put together.

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Next was to begin working on the shelving. Started by cutting blocks and drilling the pocket holes. These will be used to fasten the shelves to.

Then the plywood was cut to size and the shelves were test fit.

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I like your shelves. Are you going to support the front centre at all?
600# on a stand limits little bumps, leaning on, or accidental slip
trip n fall. My 90g broke diagonally top L corner to bottom R corner
and the stand it was on, over the years, sagged a little in the centre.
And this was an industrial stainless steel, welded stand.
I'd had the tank for probably 13 yrs. What a mess that was. Still need
new carpet in that bedroom.
Thanks, I am not going to be using any bracing on the front, that was the theory of using the 2x6 up front to channel the load to each corner.

Looks f*in solid!!!! Nicely done, great craftsmanship!
Thanks! mad props has to go to my good buddy for providing the knowledge, tools and experience.
Managed to get the top and bottom plywood sections cut out, fastened and routed to be flush with the frame. In addition the shelves have been secured to their mounting points.

Ended up having to remove one of the cross braces on the top and just center one on account of the overflow...Didn't compensate for where the bulkheads would be till the tank arrived.

Drilled shallow pocket holes for the shelving.

Got the top on and secured, along with sealing up the bottom seams with kalk in order to be water tight. Next up is paint! Had intentions to get the first coat done tonight but got tied up at work a little later than intended...

More to come!
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Nice progress so far...tagging along for this one!
Thanks man, I actually been a lurker on your build thread for awhile, came out nice!

funny, I did the same thing with my centre overflow area
Yea the new tank has an offset overflow on the left side of the back wall. I wanted to be able to have plenty of room to loosen and tighten the bulkheads if or when needed, so it kinda dident leave many other options except on brace centered.
i like the shelves in the stand, wish i would have done that...cant wait to see the tank come together. i had a 72BF and loved it but have a 75 now. what made you decide to change?
Thanks, I cant wait either!! I decided to change for a few reasons. I bought the tank, stand, wet-dry, pump, and a 48" florescent strip for 100 bucks so I really couldn't pass up the deal, it was a good excuse for me to start a reef tank basically. Unfortunately the tank has alot of scratches in the glass, which began to bother me more and more.

In addition there is also not alot of room in the stand. I had to hack it up to fit my 20 long sump, and there is now no room for any other equipment. Lastly the stand has developed a musty smell over the past few weeks and its smelling up the house. I'm pretty sure this is because there is no paint or sealant on the inside of the stand to prevent it from absorbing water and moisture. SO on account of those things mainly the musty smell I figured it was prime time to do this upgrade.

The good thing is I will just transfer my existing light fixture, sump, skimmer, etc... and part with the tank and stand alone.

I think I might do that when I build my stand for a future 150g (the shelves)
I elected to do them like that because I was not using a front center brace and didn't want to have a big square shelf right when you open the door. I should have plenty of room to do maintenance at ease. Over all I'm pretty happy with how the shelves came out.
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nice, musty smells are gross.

you could always buff the glass on the BF and either resell it or try keeping a different biotope in it like a lagoon tank or something like that. I think a shallow grassflat biotope tank would be amazing.
That is a good point, I haven't totally decided what I'm going to do with the current tank yet, might part ways with... Ill probably just hold onto it for a little bit and focus on getting the new tank up and stabilized, then make a decision.
Was able to get two coats of paint on today after slipping out of work a little early, going to let it dry good overnight and get a third and final coat on tomorrow afternoon.

Looking to skin it tomorrow or early next week and move onto the trim.

Thanks for looking!
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sweet build!

I like all the pocket holes, I still need to get mine!
I have to admit they are a nice touch, its defiantly worth the extra time.

coming along nicely!
Thanks dude!

Tighten up let's get to the fun stuff ;p
Ahhh I know, im stoked to get this thing set up!!
Got a little bit of work done today. Was able to skin the frame and do some final sealing and painting.

Started with the front side. Applied glue to the frame and lined up the oak sheet flush with the top side.

Followed with the nail gun.

Next we drilled out a starting point for the router to cut out the front opening.

Then began to route the opening

The piece that is cut out will be used to construct the doors.

Then repeated applying adhesive and nailing oak sheets to each side.

Finished off with filling the nail holes with wood filler and sanding off the access.

Finished the day off with a final seal and the last coat of paint.

Next up is trim!

Thanks for stopping by!
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Maybe I shoulda done the interior 1st on mine. Wifes gone today
so I'll be able to start on that and get 2nd coat of poly on. Boy
didi I get down the road from her 1st coat! Whew...
Looks pretty solid, and I like the paint inside.
Doing the interior first does make it easier, painting the inside gives it a nice "complete" look and will also help prevent water damage over time.

thats a fine looking stand.
Thanks! It's getting there!
This is very true, a big part of the stand design was to allow easy access to do maintainance and have enough room for all my equipment. That was why we decided to not incorportate any center brace so if need be the sump can be take right out the front no problem. On the other hand with the height of the stand it's nice to be standing infront the tank and have it just about eye level as compared to having to bend over to look into the tank. This was something I never really realized till a friend here locally built a tall's a nice feature.
Made a little progress yesterday. Started working on the molding, decided to go with a roman ogee style combined with a cove.

Began with routing the full length of 1X4X10 boards with each style of bit.

After that the boards were cut to length and adhesive was applied. Following the routed board was lined up and nailed down to the stand.

Then the process was repeated for the next layer.

Next the same steps were used to complete the top. There is a one and three quarter inch lip that the molding creates, this will be just enough to cover up the frame on the aquarium. Lastly we finished off the edges with some pre-routed molding.

Here's a full shot of the stand where we left off.

More to come soon!
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thats awesome, i love the way its coming out. how are you going to finish it?
Thanks! It will be finished in a satin black stain. I got a few pieces of wood I tested it on. Its nice, you can still see the grain of the wood pretty good and its not overly shinny.

WOW looks great!
Much appreciated!
when do you think it will be stained?
Not totally sure, probably won't happen this week. I still have to break ground on the canopy. I'm shooting to stain both the stand and canopy at the same time. Not really on much of a time frame or really have a deadline for that matter, didn't want to feel rushed and have the quality suffer. Things will probably continue to move at the same pace. However I don't want to prolong this process too long as I'm doing this a friends house and do not want to hold up his time and space any longer than necessary
Started work on the canopy over the past few days to get it caught up to where the stand is at. I want the finishing stage to be a strait shot thought out both the stand and canopy.

After taking some measurements we began work on the frame, starting with the two ends.

Had to drill lots of pocket and pilot holes due to it being easy to split the 1x2's when fastening them together.

Beginning to take shape!

Next up is the door for the canopy.
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that looks awesome, what kind of lights are going inside?
Thanks! The canopy will be housing my 48" Current Sunpod fixture that has two 250watt halides and 18 LEDs, nine white and nine blue.
Current rocks. I've enjoyed all 3 of mine!
Hey reefkeeper, check out this LED accent lighting.
Had I used crown molding on my stand, I would've
incorperated this into it, under molding outta site.
at 0.1" x 0.3", and flexible, it's pretty easy to hide.

if you're looking for fans for the canopy

many to choose from. Narrowed mine down to this one x4 for
my cabinet.
The LED idea is interesting, I had never thought about doing anything like that before. The canopy will incorporate four eighty milimeter fans, two on each side. Two will blow into the canopy under the halides and the two on the opposing side will be sucking air out of the canopy.

that fixture sounds great! :banana:
I have been extremely pleased with the fixture as a whole. I have had it for almost a year and still have no complaints. Originally I was concerend that it did not have anything for actinic supplement such as T5's but the 14k halides turned out perfect for me. I begin my daily light cycle with just blue LED's then, in addition the white LED's come on and finally the halides. Then the cycle ends in the same order, halides go off and the blue's and white's are left on, following the white LED's going off and only blue's remaining. Lastly the tank goes dark for a few hours.
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Here's another update on the canopy status. Began constuction on the door that will allow access to the tank. Started by cutting 1X2's for the door frame.

Following with the assembly.

Used 1X4's across the middle to add some rigidity , and attached it to the canopy frame with two piano hinge's.

Then it was time to figure the hight the light fixture will need to sit. Ended up notching the top of the canopy frame on both sides to allow enough hight clearance to fit the two eighty milimeter fans directly under the fixture on each side.

Now that the frame was completed, it was time to skin it.

The fence on my buddys table saw could not reach out as far as we needed it to in order to make the cuts on the large sheet of thin oak plywood. So in turn we through together a quick DIY fence with a 2x4 and some clamps on his work bench to run the circular saw on to achieve a straight cut. It ended up working quite well.

Once the three sheets were cut to size they were glued and tacked to the canopy frame, starting with both sides.

Then the front(door).

Fit like a glove!

Next steps will be to paint the inside of the canopy white and seal the seams with kalk, then begin to route and cut the boards that will form the trim.

Thanks for looking!
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